Wood-fired Central Heating – Part One

In this series of posts, I’ll talk about issues I’ve encountered with an more modern installation of a wood-fired central heating boiler (‘more modern’ compared to the old boilers that were installed in Croatia before widespread introduction of natural gas). When I was trying to decide which fuel to choose, natural gas was quickly disqualified since, despite the fact that it enables you to just set it and forget it, I’ve missed out on its heyday in terms of pricing (i.e. I should have had it installed when it was the cheapest fuel for heating, which it isn’t anymore).

So I opted for solid fuel, since the price of wood logs remains fairly stable throughout the year, they don’t suffer from gas reductions, and in contrast to wood pellets, logs are easy to DIY if necessary. They are also carbon-neutral and a tested heating method which is used for some millions of years now 🙂 On the other hand, it’s never boring with a wood boiler, there’s always stuff to do, but this can be slightly aleviated with heat storage.

On the technical side, I’ve chosen a wood gasification boiler which, apparently, gets more heat out of wood and doesn’t require refuelling that often. I got the Buderus Logano S121, the only wood-gasification boiler available in Croatia which had the advantage of being the right size to fit into my basement and still take logs of over 50cm, which is neat as I wanted to cut the one-metre logs in half.

To make all this refuelling business less frequent, I also got a 500-litre heat storage (once again, the size was decided based on its size and my stairwell, with the intention of getting another one if it proves useful) and the ESBE LTC 141 heat charger (a cheaper version of Laddomat) with an opening temperature of 60°C.

The rest of material was also somehow acquired and after just a few months of waiting for the installation crew to arrive, the 300+ kg boiler was carried into the basement over a flight of stairs and the work began.

PB241465

For the most part, the installation went as expected, but since this was the first time for this installation crew to face off against the complicated combo of boiler – charger – heat storage, regardless of their experience, there was some serious reading of manuals. And this is where the first mistakes were made, which we later noticed. However, here’s the simplifed schematic of the system: :

 

B is the boiler, L is the storage tank charger, AT is the accumulation tank, 3WV is the three-way mixing valve, CP is the circulation pump, and R are the radiators. This is the boiler room IRL.

PC111487

Part two…