With a little time on my hands, I am thinking of a project that has been rattling round the 'to do' list - a scrap box back boiler.
My idea is a homemade copper matrix fixed to the backplate of my fire basket, and thinking to keep it open circuit to a single dedicated rad to prove the concept before piping into the return line of the combi with a bit of automated protection/OP relief - worry about that later.
My son lived on a narrow boat for a time, his wife wanted an aga cooker, the problem was all the time it is lit, you need water circulating, normally in a house this is thermo syphon, but in the boat there was no head, so needed twin 12 volt DC pumps so automatic if one failed the other would cut in. Also a strict test procedure so if one failed you are aware.
Even with a house, with at aga cooker the side boiler would burst all too often, and in the end my dad had a stainless steel one made, also it would from time to time actually boil as the name suggests, which made some loud noises, and pushed water out of the overflow pipe onto the main path to house, may be not the best plan.
There are some very cleaver wood burning stoves, [attachment=2]Hughes Condensing Stove 2 small.jpg[/attachment] this seems a really cleaver system, a condensing wood burner with plastic horizontal flue, I was interested so wrote to them asking what was done in the case of a power cut, no reply, [attachment=1]wallnoefer.PNG[/attachment] this is another where it seems the manufacturer has blinkers on, and has not considered a power cut is possible, I remember the days of coke burning fires and dropping the fire bars and dragging the burning coals out of the stove onto a shovel and carrying out side, lucky quarry tiled floor.
Where I work now we have fire tube boilers, I have also worked with water tube boilers, and the main problem is stripping them down for the insurance boiler inspector to see if he likes it.
The place I work now has two engines at end of ticket, so stripped down, as a result short of engines so they hired one, however although just been rebuilt, the insurance boiler inspector insisted it was stripped down to inspect, I think everyone had expected him to just pass it as only just been rebuilt.
And I would think that is the major problem, it is likely once your house insurance company knows you have a DIY boiler, they will want it inspecting and likely increase the premium, and if you don't tell them the insurance will be void.
[attachment=0]rocket-mass-heater-diagram.png[/attachment]This heater is used a lot in other countries, it is made with an oil drum stone and concrete there is in essence nothing to burn and a very good system, I had a friend who was interested in natural forest practice and wanted to install one, but he got a resounding no from his insurance company, even if in real terms safer than what he already had.
This house we have a open fire, which left as it is can be used in an emergency, but if I want to change it, I have to use a registered solid fuel installer and jump through all the legal hoops, not permitted an open fire any more, too many particular emissions, but I can continue to use the one fitted, as yet never lit a fire in it, use the flue for the hot air out of the portable AC unit in the summer, and that is it. As long as the oil fired central heating is working, I will not use wood burner.
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