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wood fired central heating


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Hi folks.We are thinking of installing a woodburner with attached hot water boiler.However I have noticed that header tanks and fittings do not seem to be readily available in France.Are these not allowed?Whats the alternative means of ensuring adequate head of water and more importantly means of expansion for solid fuelled heating boilers.Only want central heating not hot water generation.Pleased to hear from anyone with experience.

Maude            to clarify, heating only,sorry for the confusion.With the amount of residual heat in a closed loop circuit,I would be concerned about the circulation in the event of power or pump failure.

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Can you clarify, Maude, do you mean the wood burner is just for central heating (as you say at the end) or is it for hot water (as you say at the beginning)? 

Our wood/oil chaudière can do both, though we only use it for the central heating as we use an electric hot water boiler. 

French hot water tanks are under mains pressure - you do not need a header tank. 

Our central heating system has a small expansion/header tank in the roof cavity.

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  • 9 months later...

Ive researchrd this for quite a while, its definatly a viable option, but you have to make alot of decisions first.

As has been said, what are you wanting it to do, HW and heating or just the latter, is it for rads or UFH?

The options are: 

Pellet boilers that keep ticking over but you need ALOT of storage, and the price of pellets is only going one way as these systems become more fashionable. Good for Rads, slightly more complicated for UFH and good for HW

Log Boilers, either one that keeps ticking over, but you need to keep adding wood, and this way it doesnt burn efficiently so becomes more pricey for wood, OR a Log boiler that does one complete burn cycle, very efficient, semi autonomous and significantly cheaper than a pellet boiler, but other issues, see thermal store below... And you need a decent supply of wood, correctly chopped and stored etc.

Wood Burner with back boiler, does exactly what it say on the tin, but you have to keep it going yourself, again decent supply of wood, chopped and stored is needed.

Thermal Stores: Fantastic things, basically a huge tank of water (depending on requirements) that gets heated and holds the heat until you need it, can be up to a few days. Perfect for log boilers on a complete burn cycle, makes you system more autonomous, good for HW rads and underfloor, if you get the tank set up properly, and has the advantage of being able to add other heat sources, for example solar so you can heat your HW in summer without having to spark up your boiler, or an oil boiler so if your ill, break an arm or are away you know you have heating. But complicated to instal and you need quite alot of space relativly near where your heating.

I would suggest you look at German kit as they are more advanced than their Frzench counterparts, e.g. ATMOS, Deitrich and others for boilers and Akvatherm (i think) for thermal stores.

If you have a spare hour or day have a look at www.heatweb.com, one the right hand side it has all the option and a system designer- Good Luck!

Its a huge subject, if you want more info just ask, Im sure there are some experts on here that can tell you more than me.





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not gone down this road after all.Decided that ,a)pellet boilers are ,orrible to look at,are big in size with the associated hopper,expensive fuel.decided to live with the present insert which warms downstairs and upstairs with electric oil filled heaters as back-up for early mornings.looked into costs of oil fired and propane central heating systems and to me at my age are not cost effective when I look at the capital costs even installing myself.Loads of Brits locally cant afford to run the oil fired systems as it is,and oil aint getting any cheaper.Conversley,wood also is not cheap in our area,but cheaper than the other systems apart from the minor inconvenience of firing up on a very cold morning!Coffee with a dose or two of calvados helps the early morning pain though! Maude

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Have amended my current way of thinking also. As our cold weather use of the dwelling is as yet undecided, today's plan is to install a wood burner in the kitchen/sitting room and electric U/F heating also. Another wood burner in the upper floor lounge with thermostatically controlled oil filled rads in each of the bedrooms and bathrooms. This approach is the least expensive in terms of capital outlay and allows us the utmost of flexibility to review in the future.

Can anyone advise the best source of info regarding warm air heating derived from the wood burners flu?

Also, what might the costs be  for a 150ltr chauffe eau and perhaps the most competitive source of purchase?


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I think you best bet would be to install inserts, with 2-3 hot air pipe outlets, downstairs, and and use the piped heat for the bedrooms above. The flu is expensive, 30 euros/mtre but if you leave it semi exposed, it isn't pretty, this also adds to the heat in the bedrooms. For wood burning stoves to be efficient they need to free stand ie not be put in a fireplace.

Do you have a ready supply of wood ? It's going to become more and more expensive.

Check out prices at Brico Depot for chauffe eau.



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