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use fireplace and boiler

Hello Everyone let me give you my situation I have a hydronic baseboard system that i would like to use my fireplace as a secondary heating source for the water. that flows through it.

i can pipe water through the fire place and then incorporate it into the system with no problem however i am worried about that point where all my rooms are up to temp and now i have water that is heating but all my zones are closed because all my rooms are up to temp. Do i need a water storage tank?  any help would be apreciated.




  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    No way

     Can you say explosion.   What if circulator fails/ power outage, or as you say you need a dump zone when the rooms are satisfied.  People have tried this with dangerous results. You will be endangering life, and property by doing this, and I'm sure your homeowners will not cover it.

  • fireplacefireplace Member Posts: 2

    I would think there would be something designed to do what i want to do.  hmm kinda sad that  nobody has come up with a safe way to do it.u
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    There is

    A wood boiler designed for heating hot water.  Not some kind of a home made heat exchanger in a fireplace if that is your intentions.

  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,123
    They did this sort of thing

    In Scotland and other places back in the day and even today there are some still out there. Of course the last one I read about was in central England. The article was how it was closed off poorly and the plumber was charged with man slaughter as it blew up and killed the little old lady who lived in the flat. If you want to heat with wood and have a fireplace get a fireplace insert with a blower fan to circulate the air.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • meplumbermeplumber Member Posts: 678
    Extremely dangerous.

    When you turn water into steam it expands something like 1,700 times its original volume.  If the water in the homemade heat exchanger stops moving for some reason then BOOM!

    Wood Boilers are manufactured and installed to do what you want to do.  They do so with safety controls and under guidance from national testing labs and code.

    Please do not try to do this. 
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    Bad idea... I have had a personal experience...

    When I was just a rookie plumber, I had a hair brained idea to install a copper tubing heat exchanger on a wood burning stove insert in my basement fireplace. THis was before I knew anything about controls, so the circulator that was supposed to move water between the stove and the 80 gallon storage tank I'd installed, forgot (who ME?) to get turned on, with a roaring fire. My youngest daughter was in the study playing while I was working, and said "Daddy, how comes the stove sounds like grandmas tea pot?" It then dawned on me what I had done. I grabbed her, and started heading for the door when the coil cut loose. The steam explosion blew the two of us out of the room with a huge whoosh. By the grace of God, neither of us got burned. We just got pretty shook up. Fortunately, other than minor water damage from the burst coil, there was no significant structural damage.I cut the coil off and drained it and never hooked it up again.

    Rookie ignorance on my part, for sure, but pumps fail, and power failures happen.

    I would not recommend it be done.

    I also use to work on a major condominium back in the 80's that was all solar and wood, no back up heat. They had installed coils inside of the stoves (stainless steel) which were then connected to the solar storage tanks, which were connected to baseboard heaters. I got a call from one owner about a steam explosion in the ceiling below his stove. I found a 3/4" type L copper tube that had parted company and had imbedded itself in a 2 X 10 floor joist. I could not pull it out. I cut it off and capped it and told him he was going to have to install a conventional heat source.

    Don't do it.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    It had one...

    That someone had plugged off because it kept leaking.....

    So much for safeties.

    I had a T&P at my storage tank, which was maybe 30' away from the hot stove.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Rich Davis_2Rich Davis_2 Member Posts: 95
    Can Work If Done Properly

    Over 40 years ago, when I was first married we lived in a 3 room flat in Glasgow Scotland.  This is the time before central heating, natural gas or any other convenience.  Almost all places were heated with coal fireplaces in every room except the bath.  The fireplace in the kitchen had what was called a back boiler which was a HE that was located behind the brickwork in the fireplace back there was a sliding plate that caused the heat to be sucked from the flame up behind the brickwork past the HE.  The pipes from the fireplace were connected to a large tank (30-40gal) that was located up in a cabinet close to the sink (there were 14' ceilings).  This tank was open to atmosphere.  The water circulated by thermosyphon.  It work OK lots of hot water.  Later when the coal fires were on there way out, they just stuck electric heating elements in the tanks and called them immersers that you turned on about a half hr before you wanted not water.  The big disadvantage was you had to have a fire in the summer just to have hot water.  And to what most people think it can get pretty warm in the summer.
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,123
    Hello Rich

    My Father was working in the trade in Glasgow from 1953 to 1958. He is the one who just shakes his head when I talk of people wanting to do such things. In fact he would moonlight installing those heaters for spending money. Wiped lead pipe and all. What area of Glasgow were you in? He was near Possil Park, but did his trade through out the city. Even in the Gorbals.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Rich Davis_2Rich Davis_2 Member Posts: 95
    Lang May Your Lum Reek


      I was one of those terrible yankee sailors stationed down at the Holy Loch sub base.

    I used to stay  on my days off with a family in Provanmill, my wife is from Dennistoun  by Alexandra Park and when we married we lived in Bridgeton near the cross.  Glasgow in the 60's was a totally different place than today.  We go back every year  or so.  It was a real neat place to come of age.  So many intresting things to see and do.
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