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15342 posts

Uber Geek

  # 1040459 9-May-2014 01:38
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My own house - 300L mains pressure hot water cylinder, Solar panels, radiator central heating, spa pool, homemade 3 way heat exchanger to transfer heat between the mains pressure potable water / closed circuit central heating water / spa water. And my main heat source is a home made waste oil fired boiler. It cost me a bit in both time and material costs to build it and install it. But running costs are almost nothing for almost unlimited mains pressure hot water, almost whole house heating. And the spa is more enjoyable knowing the electricity meter is madly spinning away to keep it hot. Currently only have radiators in the bedrooms. Will soon add radiators to the open plan lounge/kitchen/dining room and to the garage (because I can).

Alot of doing that is a hobby. But it helps that Im a Plumber / Gasfitter by trade.

Some useful info. What are you using for your main fuel? Diesel / bio diesel? What sort of water radiators do you have? Do you recommend heatpump water heaters as a way to heat the water for the radiators?

3885 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1041220 10-May-2014 01:01

My fuel source - used car engine oil. I wasn't joking when I said running costs are almost nothing. With the right boiler old engine oil burns clean and very hot. Doesn't produce any visible smoke, doesn't produce an oil smell. My radiators are just old electric oil column heaters. Just had to remove the covers, the elements and all wiring, and braze pipe connections to them. Silfos / silvalloy sticks with bronze welding flux works well. And the oil they contain gets put to good use running the boiler.

As for heatpump water heaters. Their max practical outlet temp is 55 to 60deg. Not enough for radiators. Fine for running underfloor heating though. If you are going to get a heatpump just get an air to air one.

Have you considered ducted air central heating as others have already said? 6 star efficient models have been available for awhile now.

Main reason for going with radiators myself was that the boiler had to go outside. (obvious safety reasons) This meant the only practical way to move that heat inside was with water in a closed pipe circuit. And due to the very high temperatures you can get from burning the oil, the efficiency doesn't change much heating the water to 90+ deg. And of course being a plumber installing lots of pipes is not a problem.

And forgot to say that my control system is Arduino based. My first coding project as well.

Have to add that my system is high maintenance and has it's quirks. Main one being no temp regulation. You have to either use the heat or waste it. The lounge and bathroom radiators will partly solve that problem by having them on an automatic control system that will measure the water temp and only start water flowing through them when water temps get over 90deg.

Any other questions Im happy to answer them.


2571 posts

Uber Geek

  # 1041321 10-May-2014 13:57
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Hinges have changed a bit since I did my Reno 7 years ago, but we went ALL gas (coming from the uk) have no reticulated service (rural) and didn't have an option for maintained cylinders (novo gas now does our area) and still don't like the standing charges.

At the time 18kg tank was the max that you could get filled at a station, so we got 2 on an auto swap over switch. We put a Paloma 24l (mentioned above ) and have only one shower (plus dishwasher/clothes washer) on the Paloma, but also have a gas hob and oven, and Kent fireplace. Whole house heats from the fireplace (90 square meters) and electric sits on around $70-$90 a month, gas on &50-$70 depending on how much baking the missus does.

Kent Was previously fitted, and the space saved from the cylinder's cupboard allowed a full sized pantry for the new kitchen.

Will never consider a cylinder again, as the Paloma runs everything perfectly, even when the missus puts on the dishwasher mid shower(!) TBH the only way the shower ever goes cold in when we occasionally neglect to fill the gas, or the kids open all the hot taps in the house to p!ss each other off :)

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