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Compost heat

Posted by Gail_ish (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 23, 04 at 8:40

Hi all,

So I've decided to try an experiment with compost heat. We moved to an 1860's log home with a 70's addition. It had always been wood heated, backed up with electric baseboards, so there was no thought to conservation - just throw in a couple more logs.

The wood furnace was removed as it was no longer safety compliant, turned the baseboards down to the lowest setting (10 degrees C), and froze our first winter. My husband took off the siding on the addition and added foil covered styrofoam insulation and he's been removing the window trim & insulating them - can't afford replacement windows just yet.

So that's the background. Now I wanted a source of heat, now that less will be lost. And I found the link below.

So, I'm going to build the same thing, only instead of going to the showers or laundry, I'm going to the local antique dealer & pick up an old water radiator, get a recirculating water pump & a timer & see if I can heat the master bedroom. I live in the country so have ample potential for wood chips & manure, we inherited a half barn-ful of hay for building , so the cost shouldn't be that much. I'm going to start this weekend. I'm very excited.

If it works, I hope to install a radiant floor system & use the hot water generated to heat the rest of the house. I'll let you know how it all works out.

PS. While researching this, I read an interesting point about heating resources: Wood & other renewable, burnable heat sources, must be 'purposefully' burned while the composting components will be composting anyway & that heat is not being tapped. It got me thinking so I thought I'd share.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Compost heat

Sounds interesting, particuarly as I've never seen anything like it. I'm curious now how your experiment is getting allong? Also, I was wondering if you were going to install a thermostat on the system, as in theory it could work in reverse and take heat from the house if the compost ever became cold.

Anyway, thanks for sharing the info!

RE: Compost heat

I actually saw a huge compost heat machine at a lumbermill. They put a tank core with pipes running in and out within one of the huge (and I mean HUGE), piles of wood debris, sawdust, etc. Once it starts heating up, it gives "some" additional heat, but certainly not enough to overcome all that's needed. This might be a good question for the "Soil, Compost, and Mulch" forum; those people live and breathe compost (which is meant in a very friendly way).

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