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Heating two mobile homes with one wood stove via hydronic system

 
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Location: Lake Brownwood, TX
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I got a mobile home several years ago and I also got a new 104,000 BTU wood stove. The property was in bad shape so I did not install the wood stove until I could fix the place up. a couple years later I got the trailer next door. I spend about $300 a month just to heat these trailers and i decided to use the wood stove as the heat source for both. I have a knack for problem solving and a lot of experience in many trades but I am not sure exactly what would work the best as a heat exchanger at the stove, what kind of pipe or tubing to circulate the fluid and what temps I would be dealing with in the system. I was thinking a copper coil on top of the stove with some thermal mass around it to heat the fluid, a two zone manifold with circulator pumps, and buried line to the other trailer, 40ft from the heat source with base board passive heat of another heat exchanger with forced air.
I am on a fixed income so doing this a cheaply as I can is important. Would CPVC work as the conveyance or would PEX work? What would be the best fluid, water with antifreeze or something else? I do not know what kind of temperatures each stage would likely have.
Is a boiler type heat exchanger at the stove a better choice than directly pumping to the other house? I am planning to set this up this summer because I can't afford electric heat and I need a more reliable heat source as the failure of the Texas power grid left us without power for four days.
Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
 
pollinator
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Hey Garth. Phew, that's a tough one!

I don't think your stove will generate enough BTUs for all of these spaces. The conversion losses for an improvised boiler system will be enormous. You would have to feed the stove in the night -- like a newborn child. You will still need some electrical source to move the hot fluid. Frankly, I can't see a way to make it work well, or to make it pay enough to recover your investment.

Personally, I would put the wood stove in the building that must be kept warm no matter what.
 
Garth Odland
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Thank you for your input. I agree that if I still lived in South Dakota, this idea of mine would not work. Down here in central Texas, the average low is about 20° in the coldest months so I don't need to move too much heat.
My stove has an overnight burn time of about eleven hours, I think. I am not sure I'd have to look it up again. It's been several years since I read the specs. The total square footage I need to heat is around 1000 sq'. I have small trailers and a big heater.
I was thinking of building a stone shed between the two, but I would have to learn how to build with stone. We have a lot of stones. My property is mostly on bedrock.
Thanks again. I need to get up for a while.
 
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"Any thoughts on this would be appreciated."

I think we have lost our way.

You shouldn't have to pay property taxes.

For starters.



 
Simon Torsten
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I didn't mean it "that" way

.

 
Garth Odland
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I thought it was an excellent observation.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Garth Odland wrote:My stove has an overnight burn time of about eleven hours, I think. ... The total square footage I need to heat is around 1000 sq'. I have small trailers and a big heater.
I was thinking of building a stone shed between the two, ...


Do both trailers have water systems or other stored items that are vulnerable to freezing?

I wonder if running forced air from a "heater building" in insulated ducts might be less expensive and more efficient than a liquid-based system.
 
steward
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I was thinking something along the same lines as Douglas.  

Taking a wood stove that isn't intended to heat water and rigging up a heat exchanger (that won't flash to steam and blow up) seems a bit dicey. But building a small insulated shed on the side of the primary trailer with the stove in it and running an insulated duct to the other trailer from that shed, seems a bit more...  safe.   Moving the air will take some electricity, unless you can run a high (warm) duct and a lower (cold) duct between the furnace room and the second trailer and get it to move on its own.
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