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Advice for heating a home in Connecticut

 
Posts: 6
Location: Connecticut
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Hi

 I live in a rented home in Connecticut.  We have oil heat.  The home is approximately 2600 sq ft.  It was built in 1986.  I would love to build a rocket mass heater indoors but its not really feasible seeing I don't own the home.  Putting a few holes in an exterior wall to run PEX or copper pipe would be acceptable. We do have a fireplace but its mostly aesthetic and I'm under the impression you would need to pull permits to have a wood stove or fireplace insert installed.  I would like to avoid pulling permits.   I am currently considering a parabolic trough to heat water that would then be pumped inside and then run through a heat exchanger.  I am also considering buying an older wood boiler and burning outside and running the plumbing in and also through a heat exchanger.  My thoughts are that I could use the parabolic trough to supplement my heat on nice sunny winter days.  And then use the wood boiler at nights or on cloudy days.  I'm just in the beginning phases of putting a plan together and wondering if any New Englanders would chime in about there experiences.  Thanks in advance!  -John
 
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One thing to consider is the level of sunniness in the winter.  I'm a bit west of you but it's often cloudy in November and December.  Luckily it gets sunnier in Jan and Feb when we really need extra heat.  But do consider the actual amount of sun as you plan out this project.

Are you likely to be in this house for a number of winters?

You know, I've never heard of people talking about using fryer oil or bio oil in an oil heat system.  I wonder if that could be a possibility?  No idea....
 
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I’m working on a similar outdoor located heater idea. What about building a Minnie Mouse rocket heater in a greenhouse with a water heater attachment. Then pump the hot water into the house. This way all the heat is used for something. Maybe a tank inside to act as mass?
 Or a system in a trailer next to the house so next time you move it’s all ready to go and use somewhere else. Mobile systems is turning into my specialty. I’m going to buy a 20 foot semi truck trailer and turn it into a workshop complete with heater. Going up and down the ramp will be a bit of a hassle but I need the exercise. Or I can park it against a loading dock.
I’m building a miniature outdoor pellet burner with a water heating attachment. A RV needs <10,000 btu so should be more than enough. A house is a different story. Would a Minnie Mouse be enough. They moved the Minnie around from cabin to cabin in one thread so that is a testament to its portability.
Anyway, let us know what you come up with.
 
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Well, I have to agree that taking a fireplace from a note of interior decor, to actual use, just might (read:will) entail an enormous undertaking; and, unfortunately, it must be remembered that any improvements you make are the property of the landlord when/if you vacate. That being said, since the landlord has put his imprimatur on going through an exterior wall for this project, can he not be talked into green-lighting a more extensive reworking of the heating, to get post-carbon?


 
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Issues I could see having an outdoor diy setup heating water is twofold. One, the danger of freezing the water if the fire goes out and a deep freeze occurs, so if away the system would need to be drained. Design could mitigate any issues by using a medium that cannot freeze at anticipated temperature ranges and burying the lines to insulate them. Two, having a fire going outside every day could lead to complaints from neighbors. Outside boilers have been slammed for smoking a lot due to a variety of reasons and if Edna Kravitz next door complains of an asthma attack due to your heating project bringing undesired attention.
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:You know, I've never heard of people talking about using fryer oil or bio oil in an oil heat system.  I wonder if that could be a possibility?  No idea....



They are typically run in "waste oil heaters" as a rule. The issue comes in with contaminants in the fuel. The waste oil heaters are better equipped to handle the nasty stuff like some antifreeze or water that gets into the oil. They are used in commercial buildings where there is a lot of waste oil, like heavy equipment repair shops. They burn the used oil and such.

At the railroad, when we changed the oil in the locomotives, we just dumped the used oil into the fuel tank. When there is only 250 gallons of engine oil being dumped into a 5000 gallon fuel tank of off-road diesel, it is diluted enough so that it gets past the oil filters and burns in the engine just fine.
 
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