EcoDIY sub-urban self-reliance

Wood fired central heating

To install our stove we had to remove the chimney stack from the living room! (the stack only went as far as the ceiling of the ground floor as the upper stack had been removed to make space for the extensions). We have decided on an Aarrow Stratford TF50 Multifuel stove which we have bought online for £1060 fromStoves Direct at a good discount over the same stove from a stove shop.  We picked the stove because it was the right capacity for us - about eight radiators and hot water and it has a thermostat to control the water temperature.  It also has a secondary air supply to reduce the un-burnt gas discharged to the atmosphere.  We have used a twin wall stainless steel flu going up through the room above (giving us a little heat on the way!)  We have had the stove chimney installed by professionals because of the restrictions imposed by the local council's Building Control office.  We could do the chimney installation ourselves with inspection by the Building Control office and on payment of a fee.
The wood burner is part of our recycling economy.  The wood we burn comes from the nearby industrial estate and whatever trees we can collect from peoples gardens (as a free service - one advert in the paper has resulted in a years supply of wood offered to us!). The wood has to be cut and stored though the waste wood burns quickly and needs little drying.  We are told we will need at least 16 cubic meters of wood - we will see, my guess is it will be more!

We also now have a eight and a half acre woodland that we are coppiceing for logs and building timber.  

We are using a dual coil hot water cylinder to facilitate the input from our solar panel.  The old cylinder is left in place to take the input from our home made flat panel solar panel when its built and is set up to preheat the cold water feed to the new cylinder.  We are using a thermostatic output valve which mixes cold water with the hot from the cylinder so that we can keep the water in the cylinder at a higher temperature than would be safe otherwise.  This increases the heat storage capacity of the cylinder considerably!  The whole wood fired heating system cost us about £3000 in total.

We are adding an extra layer of insulation to the tank (it has 50mm of insulation already) with space blankets and insulating all the pipes.

The central heating pump is triggered with a pipe thermostat (from eBay) on the return pipe of the hot water thermo-siphon.  This turns on the pump when the hot water in the tank reaches a set temperature.