Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

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Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby Rich.H » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:57 pm

I currently have an oil based system for my heating in the house. Basic system of an oil tank, a burner that heats the CH and water. Also a back burner on the fire and the Electric immersion heater. Recently I aqquired a storage unit for work use, however it is far bigger than I will ever really need so has alot of wasted space.

I've always generally found or scrounged wood to use for the fire rather than buying overpriced bad coal and lately really resent the prices of oil orders. However I came up lucky with being offered pretty much unlimted free wood from a builder providing they can just arrive with a small lorry (oil lorry sized flatbed vehicle) and offload the lot in one go with no messing. This works out fine for me as I have access to equipment for cutting this all up into managable pieces for transport to the store unit where they will be dry stored.

So I am now considering that if I were to replace my oil system with a wood burning one I could invest in a chipper for the clean wood (that which isn't fill of nails etc) and keep the rough stuff for the fireplace.

Anyone offer some advice on how well domestic wood burners operate? do they simply have a chamber that requires cleaning out the ash or is it anything more complex? Also should the odd nail or screw get missed and endup in there does it cause any major damage to the burner? The house in question is a 3 bed mid terraced so I won't be needed a very large system but does anyone have any rough estimates on costs of just the equipment before installation?
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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby Annemieke » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:23 pm

Have you thought of installing a Rayburn? We used to live in a commune which reconditioned old Rayburns. The Rayburn Royal and the Rayburn no.2 would run as many as 6 radiators, on wood. All I know about modern ones is that they are not half as good as the old ones!
Agas never run radiators.
We've always had old Rayburns ourselves and they don't mind bits of iron stuck in the wood at all.
Good luck!
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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby oldjerry » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:46 pm

Agree with most of that,though Agas can run rads but they need a separate pump system and replumbing,and it aint worth the hassle.I hate buying new stuff,and it's completely unnecessary with a Rayburn as there are tons of 2nd hand ones.Best get an oil one and convert to run on multi fuel ( bits available on Ebay.).If you have a flash kitchen,still get a used one, and have it re enamelled etc. as the new ones are crap....so flimsy they actually come flat packed and are built on site.You often see decent 2nd hand ones round here for 2-500 quid,but the cheapest are always that sort of poxy sunburst colour,avoid, unless it's free or you're visually handicapped. Incidently, rayburns will run more than 6 rads,but they need a small cheap electric pump in the system.(easy).
Best system for me was (in a 4 bed house with 3 receps) aforesaid Rayburn in the kitchen with 5 or 6 rads,and a decent woodburning stove in the living room.Best for me was a Morso(squirrel,for smallish room,will run one rad with a backboiler,Or better still a Dove,a few rads) They can be got second hand but you need to be lucky,you'll pay about 3-500 quid,if they're decent,for the big one,but you might get lucky,I got one for £100! Most second hand ones wont have a back boiler you can buy them new for circa 200,then drill the back of the stove.....be courageous! The wood burner for the living room is best run on a separate system ,and a little header tank. If you can wangle it so that the adults bedroom is above the living room that's brill cos its easy to connect that room to it,and the header tank can go above it in the loft.(Kids rooms ,bathroom warm all day with rayburn,light the woodburner in the afternoon and main bedroom will be warm when your partner goes to bed,leaving you drunk and unconscious on the sofa.
If your still with me,beware the rayburn wont get meltdown hot just on wood,but it aint bad,ash is great ,and I hear there maybe a bit of that about in the foreseeable future.Also chuck a bit of Anthracite/coal on last thing to ensure it stays in,unless you're an insomniac like me.
Thats it!.......bit nostalgic for me,Iv'e just moved into a house with Mains gas...........BWs.
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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby boboff » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:14 pm

Rich all sound advice...BUT

HETAS rules are megga shite, to do it by the book to convert is going to cost £6 - £10k.

5 years pay back on the cost of your oil.

If you can do it old fashioned, do it NOW, if you can't then I suggest you know your going to live where you are for 20 years
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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby oldjerry » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:40 pm

OK Boboff,I know I'm not going to like this...........Who the hell are HETAS ?
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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby boboff » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:59 pm

http://www.diynot.com/forums/trade-talk/hetas-engineers-a-bunch-of-lying-so-and-sos.298134/

That sums it up, BUT

in fairness

http://www.hetas.co.uk/

Its the, you need a hole to feed fresh air that's 2 meters wide brigade to burn a match in your barn brigade.
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.

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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby oldjerry » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:07 pm

Thanks Mate. Told you I wouldn't like it!
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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby GeorgeSalt » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:37 pm

Just remember that the guy on the first link is an idiot. The best comment is the one about their being chancers in every trade. Our own woodburner was a pig to install for the guys doing the lining and took the best part of the day - they certainly didn't get another job in that day. Day rates have to be reasonable for a two-man team (we had the boss in making it up to three to get the liner onto the roof safely) and a job where things don't always go smoothly - if you want a fixed price rate.

The building regs are available online and give the vent surface area for each output rating of stove. "You need a hole to feed fresh air that's 2 meters wide" is hyperbole worthy of a tinfoil hat, unless you've come across some extremely dodgy engineers.

And remember, being prepared is the best defence against a cowboy - read the regs. You need the HETAS ticket - you'll never sell your house without it, and your insurer might get edgy if there's no proof the work was done in compliance with building regs.
Curently collecting recipes for The Little Book of Liqueurs..
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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby boboff » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:48 am

All true George, and it was a joke George not hyperbole.

This facts are, they are expensive, they insist on doing things "properly" which increase costs, and the "science" of burning stuff in houses is centuries old, and there rules are not.

Oh another fact is I am extremely jaundiced about red tape and regulations which we are forced to live by.

My Beef with HETAS engineers is based upon experience of a Charity I am treasurer of spending near £45k on a wood pellet boiler which never worked, and having to resort after three years trouble to two Immersion Elements to provide heating to a building.
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby Rich.H » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:34 pm

Thanks for the replies, seems I may have to keep the wood for the fireplace, keeping it burning through a large part of the day and just use the oil sparingly for water only.
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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby boboff » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:21 am

That is the cheapest option, whilst drinking in local Pubs trying to make friends with Plumbers & heating engineers.
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.

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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby Skippy » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:59 am

We have been considering a wood burning oven rather than a whole heating system and found this on e-bay. It seems quite cheap really , does anyone have any experience of this type?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/251191558733? ... 1423.l2649


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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby boboff » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:37 pm

Pete, any chance you could get one and let me know, looks Amazing!
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.

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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby merlin » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:12 pm

I don't know about the regs in the UK, however. I have just installed a new fire. It will last at least a lifetime.

It runs 13 rads and heats the water, and no, we don't have it going like a steam train. It is working out really well.

It was a simple matter to connect it up. If you already have a chimney, I can't really see a problem.

If you have existing rads, all the better.

The unit is made in Bulgaria, a very old and respected company and the unit I chose (it would be bigger than you would need in a terraced house) was about 418 in sterling.

I suppose it is an oversized park ray type of thing really. Clean as a whistle. We have a radiator in the living room where it is located, and there is no way we can have that on as well as the fire. We had the same unit in our old house and it is so simple and reliable that we decided to have it again in the new house. It will burn anything. We were ordering about 10 cubic’s in the old house (not much insulation). With this one I have gone silly on the insulation, but it was surprising easy to do (I am not a builder or anything like that). Anyway, last April time I ordered ten cubic’s and put it away, I ordered another ten cubic this April gone and stacked that around the back under cover. We are currently using four wheel barrows of wood a week! I know this because I have got into the habit of bringing it around on a Thursday. I can tell you, there is no way I will be using the first ten cubic’s this year, I am reckoning on seven or eight, we will see, we have only been in this house since 2nd November. I can post a picture of the thing if you want, and if i can fighure out how to do it.
A few short films of us making home made food and drink in Bulgaria
http://inbulgaria.co.uk/
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Re: Thinking of changing to wood burning heating system

Postby boboff » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:40 pm

Hi Merlin, this sounds right.

The things which add are the plumbing I was told.

You have to have an open vented system which means that you have to have a tank in the loft, and then a control box which works this and the pump to move the hot water around, and I was quoted £800 just for this "box"

Any more details on the system or the supplier would be very interesting.
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.

http://boboffs.blogspot.co.uk/
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