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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    I am building a new house and plan to use in-floor radiant heating. The
    objective is to achieve even and constant and comfortable temperatures
    throughout the house. I would also like to install a fireplace or wood
    stove for aesthetic purposes.

    The problem I am having is that these technologies conflict with each
    other. The radiant technology creates even and constant temperatures.
    The fireplace/wood stove creates pockets of heat and spikes in
    temperatures.

    Is there a way to install the fireplace so that we can view the fire,
    but the energy produced would somehow go into producing even heat for
    the floor hydraulics?

    It seems to me that I should be able to somehow capture the fireplace
    energy in heat exchangers, which then serves to heat my water storage
    tank used in the floor hydronics. We would then have a nice fireplace
    to watch, and even heat on the floor, and energy from the burned wood
    would be put to use.

    How would I go about finding a product such as this, or, are we talking
    about something that would have to be engineered specifically for me?

    Thank you,
    Martin Petersen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,056

    hydronic fireplace heating

    This has been attempted since the energy crunch of the 70's. A few blew themselves up.

    The hearth industry in general does not make a hydronic heating appliance to my knowledge other than outdoor wood boilers but there may be one or two experimental units out there. You are trying to mix two totally different technologies. In order to be of any real efficiency, the heat exchanger and combustion process would need to be configured like current boilers. However, the last time I checked, boilers use blue flame technology and spurn yellow luminous flames.

    I'd forget trying to heat water with a fireplace or woodstove. Just plan on the amt. of use the Fp gets and how you are going to handle that heat being added into the space. Maybe some creative zone valves. If you want energy efficiency with wood heat, check out one of the new hybrid fireplace/stoves, which can duct heat into other spaces. Forget about a traditional open fireplace. You might do well with a nice heater rated gas direct vent Fp. Ck out http://www.fireplaces.com
    HTH,

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    vermont
    Posts
    48
    I have a suggestion that if you are going to do radiant heat and have a stove or fireplace in the same room do FLOOR SENSORS.
    that will minimize the time it takes for the radiant to get going after the stove or fireplace goes out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Thank you fishercat/hearthman.

    Your comments are consistent with what the radiant people say. I'm just kind of baffeled that no one has has tried to make these 2 things work together. Everyone likes a nice fireplace. Everyone likes the fabulous even warmth from radiant heating.

    The radiant people essentialy say what you do: 'just deal with it.'

    I was thinking about a hrv system that would position a return above the wood stove. As a fallback system which would at least disperse the wood stove heat througout the house.

    What do you think of that approach?

    Martin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Pacific Coast of Canada
    Posts
    4,008
    I like the HRV approach. We do a lot of radiant heat and strongly recommend it.
    Regarding the wood stove or fireplace heating water, I have been involved with numerous projects where the stove had a water coil which was then sent into a range boiler and then through the floor or into another storage tank.
    The problem was that the water flowing through the coil in the stove cooled down the firebox temperature to the point that it would not pass EPA clean burning regulations, so they were discontinued.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Originally posted by Collin
    The problem was that the water flowing through the coil in the stove cooled down the firebox temperature to the point that it would not pass EPA clean burning regulations, so they were discontinued.
    OK, thank you! This is the first rational explanation of why the heat exchange idea would not work.

    I picture my 'device' as nothing more than a box somewhere along the stove pipe. Inside that box would be heat exchangers, which somehow tied into either the boiler or a hot water tank or etc.

    My thought is that heating energy for the house should be derived from the cheapest sources available. The first source will be from my solar panels. The next source will (should) be from the wood stove. The final source will be from my electric boiler.

    Does heat in the stove pipe contribute to the emission levels? I would imagine that my heat exchangers will reduce the air temperatures within the pipe.

    It's a shame to see all of my hard-earned energy floating up into the stratosphere! Mother nature took many years to get ready for that one chunk of wood to burn.

    Thanks again,
    Martin Petersen

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Pacific Coast of Canada
    Posts
    4,008
    Stay away from the stove pipe.
    If you use any sort of heat exchanger there, you will now cool the flue gases resulting in creosote formation and the end esult will eventually be a plugged chimney or worse, a dangerous chimney fire.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    manitowoc wisconsin
    Posts
    4,932
    You could be the forerunner.I can see a collector something akin to a solar collector & storage tanks to achieve this.You could have a plate type heat exchanger/surround made somewhere I am positive.If you market it & become a millionaire remember my suggestions!lol
    Take your time & do it right!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Originally posted by Collin
    Stay away from the stove pipe.
    If you use any sort of heat exchanger there, you will now cool the flue gases resulting in creosote formation and the end esult will eventually be a plugged chimney or worse, a dangerous chimney fire.
    Collin,

    What is the difference between what I am proposing and what masonry heaters achieve when they force exhaust back and forth along a very long path? It seems to me that those designs have the same effect of reducing flue gasses.

    Martin

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Pacific Coast of Canada
    Posts
    4,008
    The difference is masonry heaters will conduct heat slowly whereas the metal from the stove pipe will conduct it must faster.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    2

    wood stove heat exchanger

    Martin I'm interested in doing exactly what you have in mind.Ive seen what Colin had to say o n the subject. still feel there has to be a way to extract all that waste heat from the wood stove pipe.Has anyone at least tried this? I'm thinking of wrapping a stove pipe with copper tuibing and piping this into a radiant heat system. it would be great to hear from someone who has tried it ,but if not I think some experiments are in order. Anyone have some experiential comments?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada Occupation:Interprovincial Plumber, Commercial Gasfitter Interests:
    Posts
    2,411
    Originally posted by Collin
    Stay away from the stove pipe.
    If you use any sort of heat exchanger there, you will now cool the flue gases resulting in creosote formation and the end esult will eventually be a plugged chimney or worse, a dangerous chimney fire.

    What Collin said.
    I love my job, but paydays Thursday

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8

    Re: wood stove heat exchanger

    Originally posted by dkellum
    Martin I'm interested in doing exactly what you have in mind.Ive seen what Colin had to say o n the subject. still feel there has to be a way to extract all that waste heat from the wood stove pipe.Has anyone at least tried this? I'm thinking of wrapping a stove pipe with copper tuibing and piping this into a radiant heat system. it would be great to hear from someone who has tried it ,but if not I think some experiments are in order. Anyone have some experiential comments?
    Here is a crosspost that I made of this topic in the Radiant Panel Association forum:

    http://radnet.groupee.net/eve/ubb.x/...1/m/4741042521

    After kicking this around here, and the RPA folks, and a few conversations I had with others, I am going with a simple HRV located in proximity to the fireplace. This is definitely not a total solution, by any means. The fireplace gives off radiant heat itself that ceiling vents will not pick up.

    The RPA people had other ways they recommended that would make both systems work better together. Bottom line, though, I think it will be fairly easy to spike temperatures in the area of the fireplace/wood stove.

    But that's the best we can do considering that no one else has been successful with integration. I will basically look for a low-output fireplace/wood stove, only used for aesthetics.

    The problem with using the stovepipe is that the pipe itself is used for further combustion. A heat exchanger will definitely affect temperatures in the pipe, and could potentially affect exhaust that the EPA is interested in (whatever those things are). Another poster here stated a potential issue with creosote if pipe temperatures were reduced.

    Good luck with your project. Let me know you have any successes along the way.

    Martin Petersen

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