Questions about installing an oil fired boiler in a shed

80sDweeb Posted By 80sDweeb, Oct 15, 2010 at 5:57 AM

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  1. 80sDweeb

    New Member 2.

    Oct 13, 2010
    Penfield NY
    I’m planning an outdoor boiler installation, which will be a standard residential fuel oil boiler in a shed in my backyard, with a burner that's converted to burn waste oil (vegetable, hydraulic, motor oil.) My first phase is to get the system design set so that a fuel oil boiler will heat my house from the back yard, and deal with the conversion once that's set. I have a natural gas forced air furnace, so the boiler will be connected to a heat exchanger in the furnace plenum, and also a sidearm heat exchanger on the gas water heater. I expect to have these two loads set up as separate zones. The water heater will have a tempering valve on it, so the boiler can keep it hotter than it currently is without burning anyone.

    I'm trying to determine where the "supply connection/backflow preventer/pressure reducing valve/pressure tank/circulator" will go. If I want to have a supply connection it will have to be in the basement. The pressure tank should be very close to the supply connection, and before the circulator, so that the circulator pumps away from the pressure tank, on the system supply side (the hot side.) Typically, all this would be near the boiler, but my boiler will be 75 feet away. This also places the boiler above the supply connection and assorted devices. I figure that as the lines leave the boiler, in the shed, I may also want an air removal device at the high point there, before the pex lines take a dive underground and head to the basement. Does that make sense?

    I've checked and there are no local codes that would apply to a residential-sized low pressure boiler in a single family dwelling, and particularly in a shed behind the building (at least, no inspections, permits, licenses, etc.)

    I've got an 8 x 10 plastic shed from Home Depot, which I'm going to use for the "siding" and roofing of a stick-built 2x4 frame shed. That's so I can have insulated walls, and a sturdier shed than what a plastic shed offers, but with the generic "nothing to see here" look of the Home Depot plastic (plus the plastic pieces were given to me, but were missing some of the metal frame parts.)

    This system is an "add-on" to my gas furnace and gas water heater. If the boiler fails to keep the temps up, the furnace will automatically kick on, same with the water heater.

    This is going into a shed instead of the house to keep all fire hazards out of the house, as well as all waste oils. Once I convert my burner to waste oil, it will no longer be considered "UL Listed", so there are insurance concerns, as well, so keeping it outside is necessary. Plus my floors/basement ceiling are very porous (house is VERY old), so any smells in the basement would be in the dining room simultaneously. Not acceptable.

    I plan to use closed-cell foam insulated 1" pex bundled inside 4" corrugated flex pipe, as seen in this ebay auction:

    This vendor, Outdoor Furnace Supply, is within driving distance from me, so I won't have to worry about shipping costs. They also carry most of what I will need to do the piping and heat exchanger side of the job.

    When I bury the pex lines, I'll have to be careful of an existing septic line. I'll be sure to slope my pex toward the basement to allow proper draining. That will be a challenge, given the proximity to the septic line. I've read the sticky about buried lines, and I've studied the "right ways" to bury lines (gravel, plastic covering to shed water, etc.)

    Then once I get it fired up and working on fuel oil, I'll do a conversion that adds a siphon nozzle with compressed air, and a preheater block to improve the oil's viscosity and get it closer to its much higher flash temperature (but I think I've got that part covered, thanks to

    It seems that since this is going outside, outdoor wood boilers (and pellet, corn, coal, whatever) have the most in common with my plumbing needs, which is what has lead me here. I've been studying as much as I can. I've got some Audel's HVAC books, and an oil burner book by Burkhardt, among others, and I've studied a LOT of websites regarding hydronic systems, oil burners, and outdoor boilers. If there are problems with what I'm doing, or suggestions for things I might not have considered, please comment. I'm studying as much as I can about hydronic heating systems, and oil burners.

    Scott in Penfield NY
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