A homeowner wants to use a wood-gasification boiler as his primary source of space heating. He also wants a propane-fueled boiler to automatically come on for backup should he decide not to tend the fire, or if he is away. The owner has read that a generously sized thermal storage tank is necessary to allow a gasification boiler to operate at consistent high efficiency.
Last fall, I taught my first online course dealing with designing hydronic heating systems. The course was titled “Mastering Hydronic System Design.” It was a collaborative effort between HeatSpring Learning Institute, BNP Media’s CE Campus and myself.
A hydronic system is to supply four panel radiators, each with its own thermostatic radiator valve, and an indirect water heater from a gas-fired sectional cast-iron boiler. The system is designed using primary/secondary piping.
The hydronic system shown above was created to connect three gas-fired, cast-iron boilers to a low-temperature distribution system that supplies 12,000 ft. of 3/4 in. PEX tubing embedded in the floor slab.The installer spends several frustrating hours attempting to get the air out of the system. He finally gets it purged to the point that the distribution circulator is at least moving some water through the floor-heating circuits.
Joe Wrenchturner gets a call to install solar water heating for a longtime customer. He buys some flat-plate collectors through an online source and decides to assemble the remainder of the system using hardware he installs for other hydronic systems.
The market for wood-gasification boilers is growing in North America. Most are used in rural areas where natural gas in not available, and thus the cost of firewood is often very competitive against the alternatives of No. 2 fuel oil or propane.
An installer is asked to provide a system that supplies two zones of fin-tube baseboard and two zones of floor heating. The system also supplies domestic water heating. He selects a mod/con boiler because it’s lighter than a conventional boiler.