Solar wood water heating

jraabeFebruary 16, 2004

Here is a design for a simple solar water heater (preheater actually) combined with a wood heating loop from a wood stove. This system has worked for our home for 20 years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Wood diagram (PDF file)

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Thanks for the link.

We were thinking of having a coil put in to the back of the wood stove. We found out it would void our homeowners insurance. They may like this better.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2004 at 3:02PM
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Great website! I've visited it before, and have it bookmarked. I really like the concept of a *smaller* home.

We are eventually hoping to build one with a slab foundation with in floor heating and solar electric.

Do you have any experience with or recommendations re. in floor heating?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2004 at 9:01AM
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Yes, radiant heating in a slab floor is first cabin heating. I have never designed a house where the clients didn't love it. Most were spoiled and could never again go back to forced air. (This is what happened to the Romans, who invented radiant floor heating... and we all know what happened to them!)

The custom homes I do are usually in a coastal Washington climate where we don't need AC. A hydronic heating loop in a slab floor can often be fired by a gas water heater or even a tankless HW heater if the house is not too large. Thus a smaller house on a level site can have radiant heating without too great a cost.

However, I normally tell people the entry fee for radiant is $5,000 to $8,000 (this being the up-charge over a forced air system). I have been whittling away at this by some of the things I mentioned, but some clients and builders still want a standard boiler system with several zoned heating loops. This is what runs the cost up.

So, initial cost is the main thing that stops people. But then, it's also the main thing that stops people from considering solar generated electricity.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2004 at 11:37AM
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I see. Thanks for your reply.

A question. What type of circulator to go along with a tankless water heater? I suppose it depends on the square footage?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2004 at 3:57PM
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Yes, it depends on a lot of things and your heating contractor will design the right circulation pump for the system. The sensors and controls are another important area.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2004 at 4:49PM
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If anyone wants to see the article I wrote on a solar water heating system which also has a floor heating loop, just ask, or get the latest issue of Countryside magazine,page 100. Doug

    Bookmark   February 29, 2004 at 8:51AM
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