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Old 07-28-2008, 05:46 PM   #1
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HELP -Looking for a new/different heat source


Hello everyone, i have a very old home that has baseboard hot water heat registers. There was never any duct work built into it as this was the original heating system. It is a nice comfortable type of heat, and we like it but the problem lies in the fact that it has a boiler that is fired by fuel oil and the cost to heat our home last year was outrageous. This year will be even worse with the price of fuel oil where it's at. I have looked into an outdoor wood burning furnace and it would be ideal for my situation but the cost is not even close to what i wanted to spend. My home has about 1,600 sq feet and the price on one of these units installed is $ 9200.00. For a home such as mine, has anyone run across a product or have an idea for an alternative type of heat source i can look into? Please help and thank you in advance .... James

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Old 07-28-2008, 05:53 PM   #2
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HELP -Looking for a new/different heat source


GEO THERMAL extracts heat stored in the ground can heat ac and handle the majority of your domestic hot water

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Old 07-28-2008, 07:36 PM   #3
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HELP -Looking for a new/different heat source


Geo thermal is a great idea but he is looking to do this cheap. Do you have a functional fireplace? You can get an insert for it with a blower that will heat your house nicely with a few strategically placed fans. You could also get a wood or coal burning stove. You may need to have a new chimney built for it though or you may be able to use your existing one.

Also consider new windows, doors, and insulating to reduce fuel usage. If your boiler is more than 20 or so years old a new one will be much more efficient.
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:39 PM   #4
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HELP -Looking for a new/different heat source


Quote:
but the cost is not even close to what i wanted to spend. For a home such as mine, has anyone run across a product or have an idea for an alternative type of heat source i can look into?
Ayuh,.... I live in an Old house like your's,....

I suggest Lots of surplus wool Army blankets,+ staying Very Close to your Honey.........

I'm going with an outdoor bio-mass boiler......
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:16 AM   #5
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You should look at corn and pellet boilers. It would supply your heating and domestic hot water. Problem now is the cost of corn.
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:17 PM   #6
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Have you thought about, or is it even possible to change the heat source in the boiler from one fuel to another? Maybe even a different boiler all together might be cheaper than some of the other ideas mentioned, that is not that big of a heat load.
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:07 AM   #7
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The outdoor wood burning sounds interesting. That you said it was perfect for you situation I would assume that you are rural and have an abundant supply of wood.


You know that that has to have been done from before oil burning furnaces were even available.


All you need is a way to heat the water and circulate it and I would assume that a temperature activate pump would already be how your thermostat functions.


The expensive unit that you checked into could have had only 3 functions that I can think of:

  1. A self loading system. (My dad thought that it was great when the got a coal shaker so he didn't have to get up during the night and load coal into their boiler.
  2. Temperature inside the furnace which I would be controlled by the amount of oxygen allowed in
  3. getting the ashes out.

The other very important thing would be building it in a manner so that it and possibly your house didn't burn down.


Is there a major library near you?


Very few people realize that librarians have college degrees in Library Science that covers a lot more than learning the Dewey Decimal System, the Librarians don't put books on shelves anyway. Their training is in how to perform research which is their actual but very unused job. They can answer most questions over the phone, but will look up more detailed things for you over time.


If you call they will try and research old style heating like that you might be able to do yourself. It's worth a phone call.


The fireplace kits that they have now at Home Depot are incredible simple to put in. We put the neighbors in in an afternoon, not counting the drywall. The way that my house was laid out I had to put a concrete pad down and build a chimney. I went all out on that because I stuccoed over the outside to make it match the house.


The nice thing really nice thing that they have added to them is an outside air intake. With the glass doors and the outside air intake you can adjust the heat to the point that you can have a fire on a summer night and only feel the heat a few feet away from the glass. They run less than $500. The only problem with wood burning fireplaces as a source of heat is keeping them fed, whereas the person above with the coal burning, provided you have access to it will supply heat for a much longer time, but as my dad told me not all night until they got a shaker to feed coal in.


I'm not certain that environmentally they would permit a coal burning furnace any longer.


The only other suggestion I can think of is to go with electric heaters and replace the water system outright. I would bet that you house being older would make that a major re-wiring job, but they've made them very efficient compared to the older ones. They'd be a lot cheaper than heating oil.
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:58 AM   #8
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thank you everyone for your input and time. Some very interesting ideas.
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:49 AM   #9
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You've got a tough one. You have to have heat and with the cost of oil/gas you need to do something. I can type pretty fast, so had no problems throwing out every idea I could think of.

Winters comming, so I hope that you can figure out an affordable way to keep your house toasty warm that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.

I live in Tampa where we use all our money on A/C.

BJ
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaw522 View Post
Hello everyone, i have a very old home that has baseboard hot water heat registers. There was never any duct work built into it as this was the original heating system. It is a nice comfortable type of heat, and we like it but the problem lies in the fact that it has a boiler that is fired by fuel oil and the cost to heat our home last year was outrageous. This year will be even worse with the price of fuel oil where it's at. I have looked into an outdoor wood burning furnace and it would be ideal for my situation but the cost is not even close to what i wanted to spend. My home has about 1,600 sq feet and the price on one of these units installed is $ 9200.00. For a home such as mine, has anyone run across a product or have an idea for an alternative type of heat source i can look into? Please help and thank you in advance .... James
I have a friend that has a combination oil/wood furnace.
The problem with wood is keeping it stacked up. The wood seems to burn out in the middle of the night.
The combo furnace is set to switch over to oil, when the wood is burned out.
Wood ash has to be removed daily, so an out-door unit may be appealing. Of course, you have to go out in the cold, to do this!

eg. http://www.yukon-eagle.com/

Last edited by Wildie; 08-03-2008 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:50 PM   #11
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I forgot to give a look see at Ebay. You can find about anything on that site.


There are several plans for building your own and needed parts like heat exchangers.


There's one listing with no picture that is selling units for $429 plus $89 shipping out of Wisconsin.


It has the contact information for you to check them out.


BJ
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:42 AM   #12
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If you have a source of firewood, I would consider a woodstove with an internal water coil. There is a company just South of Albany NY (Howes Cave) that sells these. They work great. Basically it is just a box wood stove with a stainless steel water coil inside. You plumb it into your primary heating loop on your existing hot water baseboard system. Not too expensive either ($1500-2000).

How about an efficient free standing wood stove? There are tons out there. I had used the Hearthstone Pheonix soapstone woodstove that worked excellent. It would nt blast you out of the house, but would provide a nice gentle heat.

Or replace the older oil-fired boiler with a new efficient gas-fired model. Gas is cheaper than oil now and the price of the new boiler is not too crazy either. Especially for such a small house. Depending on where you live, there may be rebates or incentives from the gas company to install. (assuming you have gas nearby). If no gas then how about propane?
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:28 PM   #13
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http://www.thermocontrolheating.com/standalone.htm

This is the wood stove I was trying to think of. Cost is $2000 plus. It is low tech, but works!
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:51 PM   #14
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I have a forced air gas furnace with central a/c.
As I also have a wood supply I have and air-tight, free standing wood stove.
I have a collector hood over the stove at ceiling height, that is ducted into the cold air return of the gas furnace.
We set the furnace thermostat down low, put the blower on continuous and fire up the wood-stove.
The wood-stove does a wonderful job of heating 1250 sq/ft until the fire burns out in the night.
Then the gas takes over for the rest of the night.
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:19 PM   #15
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And if you find a useful book on this you can borrow it through inter-library loan from any library in the US.

I see a book at Border's or on Amazon, six weeks later my local library is calling to tell me it's in.

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