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Baseboard heat via coal / wood stoves
#1
Been debating this project for eons now but I really think I am going to try it this year before winter, first a little back story.

Our house was built in the late 1800s, it is field stone foundation and 1st floor. There's basically no insulation in the 1st floor so the house can be chilly during winter.

Several years ago we decided to stop using heating oil (we used close to a tank a month) just because it was killing us cost wise. The oil system was baseboard hot water.

I installed a wood / coal stove in the living room fireplace, along with a hurricane liner. Worked okay but it was still chilly. Two years ago I bought another wood / coal stove and we installed it in the basement along with several vents in the 1st floor floor. Getting better, the heated floors and walls from the basement stove definitely knocked the edge off but still not 100% what I would like.

I started looking around and found the stainless coils you can install into your stove and then hook them up into your existing baseboard heating system. Here's an example of one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/250866649356

The only thing that has me stumped is how to control the flow of the water. Would it handle itself due to the heating and cooling of the water or would I have to use the pump from the old system? If I use the pump I'm curious about the pressure in the lines if it's not moving the water.

Of course an emergency pressure valve would be needed but that's not my concern.

So any of your engineer, plumber, do it yourselfers have any ideas?
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#2
I'm also very interested in this. It could also potentially be used for domestic hot water.

I'd imagine that you'd need a circulator pump just like a typically baseboard system.

ETA: In fact, you could probably just use your existing circulator pump, just run one of the lines in series with the wood stove coil. Obviously making sure you have pressure release valves in the right places, so you don't have an explosion.
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#3
bac0nfat;9207 Wrote:I'm also very interested in this. It could also potentially be used for domestic hot water.

The company that sells the one I linked to also sells a kit to heat your hot water. They recommend 2 coils for the baseboard heat and another smaller one for the hot water.
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#4
I'm certainly no expert, but if your old furnace had to pump the water through the system I would imagine that there would need to be some sort of pump near the coal stove to do the same.

I remember a few people taking existing baseboard hot water via the furnace and replacing them with pellet stoves for the same purpose, so it has to be possible, and if your old pump was not causing pressure issues from the furnace then why would the coal stove?

Sorry I'm not much help, but if you do get an answer please update, I'd like to know this too.
Vampire pig man since September 2012
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#5
I would be willing to bet the water would still have to be pumped around for it to actually work well. It might work if you installed some check valves but it probably wouldn't work very well.

We use coal at my house and we only have a small stove in the living room and it gets the room to 100 if we don't watch it carefully and that is with lots of airflow out of the room. I think this would be a really great thing to have if you had baseboard heat or any other heat system that used hot water since coal burns so hot.

If we had a coal furnace in the basement I would really look into hooking the hot water line into it before the water heater. I'd be willing to bet the water heater wouldn't turn on all winter.
"Personally, I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old to take an ass whoopin'" -unknown
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#6
I'd be careful about doing this on an indoor wood or coal stove. When you cool the gases in the firebox, you make it more likely that creosote will form in your chimney, increasing the likelihood of chimney fires.
blaster668, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#7
blaster668;9246 Wrote:I'd be careful about doing this on an indoor wood or coal stove. When you cool the gases in the firebox, you make it more likely that creosote will form in your chimney, increasing the likelihood of chimney fires.

That's a good point. I suppose you could install a thermostat in the chimney that stops the circulator pump when the gases get too cool. Although you'll have to be careful, if the water stays inside the coil for too long without circulating, you could have a dangerous high pressure situation.
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#8
blaster668;9246 Wrote:I'd be careful about doing this on an indoor wood or coal stove. When you cool the gases in the firebox, you make it more likely that creosote will form in your chimney, increasing the likelihood of chimney fires.

That only applies if you are burning wood. Coal doesn't have that problem.
"Personally, I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old to take an ass whoopin'" -unknown
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#9
Himni;9254 Wrote:
blaster668;9246 Wrote:I'd be careful about doing this on an indoor wood or coal stove. When you cool the gases in the firebox, you make it more likely that creosote will form in your chimney, increasing the likelihood of chimney fires.

That only applies if you are burning wood. Coal doesn't have that problem.

Coal does not eliminate the problem, but does make it less likely. Coal does contain tar that can condense, it is usually not as common as wood because the coal typically burns much hotter. But when you start to cool the gases, all bets are off.
blaster668, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#10
Instead of trying to quote a bunch of posts I'll just answer / ask here.

I get the pump but here's where I get confused. On an oil system the pump runs when the temp at a thermostat drops below the setting. The oil burner only fires when the water gets below a certain temp. So the water can circulate for quite some time before the burner kicks on to re-heat it.

Using a constant source of heat (the firebox) that water really never gets a chance to cool much (well it does while it travels through the pipes) - if you see my point.

As to those coils cooling the exhaust? I seriously doubt it, maybe when it is first fired but once the stove is going those coils will remain hot.

We also have a SS chimney liner on both of them, along with the dual wall pipe leading up to the chimney opening (it travels about 10 feel through a chase between the kitchen and dining room).

We normally only burn wood in the fall (and only in the stove in the living room - which won't have the heating system) when we only need a fire overnight. The basement stove only gets fired when it starts to get consistently below 40 and we only burn coal in that one.
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