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ricardodba

In need of some stove/boiler / off grid power advice please

Hi,

Just signed up - so, Hello guys, pleased to meet you!

Im about to purchase a house which is off grid.

So im currently planning my heating and power requirements.

House needs central heating installing and i'll need a boiler - planning on going with a boiler stove - will be used for hot water too.
looking for a stove which can heat 8 rads of medium /small size and would like one which will allow for long burning (if there is such thing!)...eg if we go out for the day and want to come home to central heating on.


Power system is going to be carried out in 2 stages:

1. New diesel genny to inverter charge + battery bank. With as minimum genny running time as possible.
2. Once can afford it - Install a Wind turbine.

i dont want solar panels on my new stone tiled roof and with kids about not sure solar on the ground is wise - so solar is out for the time being!...possibly put some panels on a large shed roof once i get a shed.

So any advice on heating and power will be gratefully received ..and any other off grid tips.

Cheers.
sean

Welcome aboard. RichardW is your man for off grid stuff and I'm sure he'll be along in a bit. It's prolly worth having a browse of some of the older threads for relevant advice too. Smile
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Perhaps don't discount ground solar, there is a bank of panels near me and there will soon be sheep in that field (i.e. they are pretty sturdy and I don't see any delicate wiring etc in a vulnerable place)
dpack

hello

until the long term heating ,leccy etc is installed and running a moderate size pv panel will charge a phone ,run led lights etc ,heating and cooking can be as simple as burning wood

if long term off grid is the aim planning for using as little energy as possible is sensible so insulation etc should be considered before you start building stuff

i have done off grid a few times and keeping electric consumption as low as possible is the best advice i can think of

heating ,cooking ,hot water etc are easy to do just by setting stuff on fire ,a "fridge "can be a evaporation cloth in a shady windy place .

do the washing in a wheel barrow of water heater over a fire ,wring it out around a post and dry it on a bush etc etc

living off grid is best done by planning to live off grid

a combo of bushcraft and mad max can be very comfortable (with a bit of hi tech for interweb ,leccy lights etc )
dpack

ps wind is

dependent on wind
requires a smooth wind ,ie no hills ,trees ,buildings etc nearby
only give about 40% of rated power when running as well as it can
aint cheap for decent kit

is there any moving water ? can any water be persuaded to move ? even a metre of drop on a small stream or a small tidal range will provide a far better yield than most windy hills and a big propeller and it is often a more constant supply .

water needs a different way of thinking to "buy a windmill,plug in the fridge "but water is a thousand times as dense as air and if it moves at the same velocity a thousand times as much energy can be extracted .
Woo

Welcome.
we too live off grid.
have you considered a duel fuel bolier?
we have recently brought a diesel wood combi boiler. we will be able to set the timer for the heating then start chucking in wood when we get up. it even starts the wood going for us. it isn't pretty but it will take big knarly bits of wood and kick in the diesel if the wood burns down when we are out.
we have solar heated water panels which get things started on sunny days. PV array for electric with a diesel genie to charge the batteries when its dull and especially on the shorter days. we have a wind turbine to trickle in charge 24/7.
but you need a back up plan for your plan. when its dead calm and dull, when the genie goes wrong and your waiting for a part, when a pump gets left running by mistake, or the batteries are low for no reason. or lightning takes out your solar controller!
LEDs, low power everything, hot feed the washing machine as the element is greedy.
its the day to day stuff that can drive you mad but exhilarate you too.
my OH is the one with all the technical wizardry. but if you have any questions I can pass them on. he dabbles in navatron but gets fed up with it every now and then. its really friendly here. enjoy yourself.
Bon courage
ricardodba

thanks for the replies.

Im considering a biomass boiler...but dont understand the difference between them and a normal solid fuel boiler stove?!?! Embarassed

If the genny and batteries both stopped working then id be out of power...so may need to think of purchasing a small backup genny to start with.

From the go i want to reduce my running costs as much as possible...also looked at the hybrid generators

the water is spring fed...but its not very quick...not sure if this can be used ...unless i dig a meter waterfall of some kind...maybe a small dam? (the spring goes through my field!

the diesel wood stove sounds interesting...but would it be cheaper to use a coal / wood stove - use coal overnight or if go out for day and just use wood rest of time. Which is cheaper red diesel or coal?

Im in West Yorkshire so any specialist electricians in the area to string up my inverter and battery bank system please let me know.

Thanks
dpack

if you have a drop even a small flow can still be useful

and you can still drink it even if it has turned a wheel Wink

a big drop is best but any drop has potential
Mistress Rose

There are three basic ways of burning wood.

The simplest is logs. Easy to get hold of and if you get a tree, branch or whatever, possible to process yourself.

The next two, woodchip and pellet, are usually called biomass. They can be automated so that there is a constant feed in.

Woodchip is the next simplest. You need to match the size of the chips to the boiler or it will clog. They must be stored dry or they will clog. You either have a suitable chipper yourself, which is rather expensive, or more usually get someone in for a day or so a year.

Pellet. The pellets have to be produced by fairly hefty machinery, although you could probably make some sort of heath robinson set up yourself if you really tried. You buy them in by the plastic sack or lorry load and have to store them. They usually go into a hopper and gravity feed into the boiler.

Logs use the least energy to produce, are easy to deal with and you can do them yourself. Woodchip is the next, and pellets are the worst for energy use to produce and you are tied into a supplier. Watch where they come from too as some are imported from the Far East.

Hope that helps. Any other questions on logs or biomass, just ask. Very Happy
ricardodba

There are three basic ways of burning wood.

The simplest is logs. Easy to get hold of and if you get a tree, branch or whatever, possible to process yourself.

The next two, woodchip and pellet, are usually called biomass. They can be automated so that there is a constant feed in.

Woodchip is the next simplest. You need to match the size of the chips to the boiler or it will clog. They must be stored dry or they will clog. You either have a suitable chipper yourself, which is rather expensive, or more usually get someone in for a day or so a year.

Pellet. The pellets have to be produced by fairly hefty machinery, although you could probably make some sort of heath robinson set up yourself if you really tried. You buy them in by the plastic sack or lorry load and have to store them. They usually go into a hopper and gravity feed into the boiler.

Logs use the least energy to produce, are easy to deal with and you can do them yourself. Woodchip is the next, and pellets are the worst for energy use to produce and you are tied into a supplier. Watch where they come from too as some are imported from the Far East.

Hope that helps. Any other questions on logs or biomass, just ask. Very Happy



What should go with for CH and heating water - Multi fuel Boiler stove or Bios mass boiler?
vegplot

Consider the passive elements such as insulation before diving into technical solutions especially when it comes to heating.
ricardodba

Consider the passive elements such as insulation before diving into technical solutions especially when it comes to heating.


Due to age of the house the walls arnt eligible for cavity filling. The roof will be and I will do this at the same time as re-roof (which will be getting done more or less straight away when i move in house).

Once i can afford to start decorating i'll insulate the rooms with insulating plasterboard...but that wont be for a while yet and i need CH in place for next winter and 24/7 power as soon as i move in (i have a young family).

I guess at the minute i need to know which boiler stove to get...so many to choose from!

Confused
Nick



Im in West Yorkshire so any specialist electricians in the area to string up my inverter and battery bank system please let me know.

Thanks

Geography and electrical knowledge not my main strong point, but, sounds like a job for Otleylad?
Ty Gwyn

Either will do the job,biomass needs more space,usually installed outside the main house,ie.adjoining building. Cathryn

Consider the passive elements such as insulation before diving into technical solutions especially when it comes to heating.

Due to age of the house the walls arnt eligible for cavity filling. The roof will be and I will do this at the same time as re-roof (which will be getting done more or less straight away when i move in house).

Once i can afford to start decorating i'll insulate the rooms with insulating plasterboard...but that wont be for a while yet and i need CH in place for next winter and 24/7 power as soon as i move in (i have a young family).

I guess at the minute i need to know which boiler stove to get...so many to choose from!

Confused

We have just had our house insulated from the outside. It has solid stone walls. It is already warmer. The roof space has been done as well.
Cathryn

We're also probably going for biomass to heat. Neither of us are entirely happy about this but we are using oil currently and the pellets for biomass will be coming from within the county. ricardodba

Consider the passive elements such as insulation before diving into technical solutions especially when it comes to heating.

Due to age of the house the walls arnt eligible for cavity filling. The roof will be and I will do this at the same time as re-roof (which will be getting done more or less straight away when i move in house).

Once i can afford to start decorating i'll insulate the rooms with insulating plasterboard...but that wont be for a while yet and i need CH in place for next winter and 24/7 power as soon as i move in (i have a young family).

I guess at the minute i need to know which boiler stove to get...so many to choose from!

Confused

We have just had our house insulated from the outside. It has solid stone walls. It is already warmer. The roof space has been done as well.

Does this mean its been clad?...i dont really want cladding as i like the look of stone!
dpack

pellet is dependant on pellet manufacture ,wood chip is possible as diy,logs n sticks are easy to diy.

a multi fuel system has the advantage of not being dependent on a single fuel ie it can burn owt from logs to shoes Laughing

another vote for as much insulation/draft proofing as possible(you do need ventilation but not drafts)
Cathryn

It does. We had dressed stone on one side which I miss. It is still there preserved underneath the cladding without being damaged so my stepson can remove it when he takes over the farm and the next insulation technique is invented. The dressed stone at the front with it's creamy stripes of bricks had been covered over by the two generations before us so it was less of a shock. Vegplot is good on this - it is very thermally efficient and the house looks different but still fine. It fact it looks very smart! (Apart from the scaffolding, hen houses, random objects collected by dogs and children all over the lawn and heaps of rubble that need removing) Nick

This gives you an idea of how it now looks at Cathryn's


Cathryn

We are going to keep woodburning stoves as well. We have enough wood on the farm for our use for a very long time but it is not worth us turning this into pellets. A locally proposed scheme to produce masses of pellets never got off the ground - too much paperwork and too many civil servants and farmers involved. Wink henchard

and the next insulation technique is invented.

Aerogel already exists (which has the highest insulation value of any known material) but is very expensive

http://www.proctorgroup.com/products/spacetherm

http://www.thermablok.co.uk
Cathryn

It was nice to see that the pretty finishes on these old walls were undamaged by this technique.


I am still waiting to see if we can use the hotfish technology for internal heating but for us it's about timing and the slightly daft green deals that are currently available.

The ancient plaster on the inside of the house is starting to fall off as it dries out. I was expecting this but just so you are aware if you go this way.
Ty Gwyn

Will people be able to breathe in their houses in the future? Cathryn

I have no worries about that. Next winter the ice won't freeze on the inside in my bedroom. Nicky Colour it green

Re: In need of some stove/boiler / off grid power advice ple

Hi,

Just signed up - so, Hello guys, pleased to meet you!



welcome Smile

is the house listed? have you got room in your kitchen for a range ?

I live in an old house, stone walls, and there are mystery drafts all over we keep fixing. We keep pretty warm just using the two woodburning stoves - we burn logs and scrap wood. We have a woodburner in the living room and an esse ironheart in the kitchen which we also cook on and it makes hot water. You can go up a few models and get a range that can do radiators too. We top up with a gas boiler - you could consider oil or lpg
ricardodba

Re: In need of some stove/boiler / off grid power advice ple

Hi,

Just signed up - so, Hello guys, pleased to meet you!



welcome Smile

is the house listed? have you got room in your kitchen for a range ?

I live in an old house, stone walls, and there are mystery drafts all over we keep fixing. We keep pretty warm just using the two woodburning stoves - we burn logs and scrap wood. We have a woodburner in the living room and an esse ironheart in the kitchen which we also cook on and it makes hot water. You can go up a few models and get a range that can do radiators too. We top up with a gas boiler - you could consider oil or lpg

Hi,

Yes there is room for a range or boiler stove in kitchen...Currently there is an old aga in the fireplace in the kitchen which is used for hot water. I dont think it will power CH too...so will replace it and sell the old aga (if its worth anything!)

There is another log burner in downstairs dining room too - which belts out a load of heat - so maybe with a new stove in kitchen i wont need radiators down stairs, just use both burners to heat downstairs... and just have rads in the bedrooms and bathroom upstairs.

i guess it comes down to price of new stove and how much casg i have.

There is a separate oven in kitchen as well as aga. Oven powered by electric and top by gas bottle, which has a feed from outside. So no need to get a new aga type cooker.

House isnt listed.
Cathryn

It sounds like it would be worth trying it all out before you do anything too drastic. Our rayburn would keep a less draughty and smaller farmhouse nice and warm and the woodburner is fab!


(Ignore Nick - he is just horribly hungover as usual. The stone work is lovely on a house but sometimes comfort wins out and ours had a few other problems as well.)
Nick

No hangovers here! Smile dpack

not listed helps a lot in terms of making sure the chimney/flues are in good condition,

if you are going to burn wood in any form make sure the flue liner is the correct type and is in good condition
Nicky Colour it green

I agree with Cathryn about not rushing into things - take your time rather than ripping something out.

You may want to do a combination of things - as I said we have the wood fired esse ironheart - that makes hot water but we also have a gas boiler for the summer/if we have flu/ didn't have it lit etc

I certainly think you want another way to cook besides having to light the range - otherwise you have to light it in summer too - we let the fire out in summer.

an aga/rayburn/esse in the kitchen is a lovely thing though - at the mo it is fairly cold out but the only heating I have in the house is the lit esse, and I am cooking a shoulder of mutton in the oven and chicken soup on the top Smile
ricardodba

So, what boiler stoves do you guys recommend for a room 4m x 4m x3m(ish) high...and will need to heat max of 8 rads and hot water?

Esse Ironheart, woodwarm and the Dunsley Yorkshire Multifuel are a few i have seen mentioned so far.

id like to be able to control the the CH if possible!

Thanks.
Mistress Rose

We have been looking at the Warmsler for years. It has the advantage of a raisable grate so in the summer you can have a small fire and just use it as a cooker. I would still recommend having an alternative for very hot weather though. It is a case of just not getting round to the alterations we would have had to make to put it in.

I would not get a stove that just heats the size of room. We have a reasonable sized closed fire in the lounge and leave the door open so it heats more of the house too. As firewood suppliers we also suffer from others who have tiny stoves for small rooms. In fact we can't supply some as the smallest logs we can do are 8" long and a very tiny stove can only take 6".

If you really want to use biomass as a direct 'plug in' for gas central heating, then pellet is probably your best bet, but as other say, you are dependent on your supplier. If you want to be as self sufficient as possible, logs are the way to go. Personally I prefer logs, but then we do supply then as well as use them, so I am a bit biased.

Very Happy
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