It’s cold, wet and winter is approaching. We are in the thick of Autumn and the crops are dying off and more and more jars are getting filled with preserved produce from our summer crops; much like our woodshed is full of energy harvested from the drier, warmer months. We are in preparation for the cooler months ahead. Sitting here with a cup of tea in a cosy house, we are happy with our recent decision to install a wood-fired hydronic heating system.
Why we went Wood- Fired Hydronic?
For Andy, it was something that he grew up with and it always made sense to use wood fired heating. His family home, consisted of a wood fired oven which was used to cook the daily loaf of bread, a pot of soup or stew, heat the hot water and keep an ambient temperature of the house. It is simple yet it works so well. Why would we want anything different in 2015?
Deviating off the path of this sort of traditional heating system, we have had reverse cycle air conditioners, gas ducted heating, electric fan heaters, and none of these provided the same sort of heat or peace of mind like our wood fired hydronic system does.
It’s not about the cost, it’s more about our ecological footprint and way of life. For us, we enjoy going out foraging our food and our fire wood. As we know that the adventures that we take, mean that we will have hot water and warmth throughout the cooler months. It is really easy to sit back on the couch, in front of a gas or electric heater, while mega corporations are out their coal seam mining and digging coal out of the earth; all out of sight and mind and hugely detrimental to our planet, all for our comfort.
For us sourcing our firewood, amongst good friends and fresh air is an adventure more than it is hard work. It is a great chance to catch up with mates, regain a sense of community, whilst doing something that you know will pay off! Looking in the wood shed, knowing that you have a source of warmth, hot water, dry clothes and a cups of tea ready whenever you want, is so much more rewarding than ‘modern’ heating solutions. There is never a wood fire mission that we have regret!
What does it do and how does it work?
Our Dynamic 3500 43 kilowatt Hydronic Boiler, is wood-fired. It looks similar to a normal wood heater but it has the added benefit of being able to transfer heat to isolated parts of the house via a series of pipe work and radiator panels. The fire box contains a water jacket which allows water to closely surround the fire. The water then transfers energy from the fire, to various appliances throughout our house which is delivered through radiators, towel rails, coils in our concrete floor and to our hot water service. Therefore providing us with warmth.
The design of the system is 100’s of years old and still utilizes that same lo-tech principles. Using a combination of pipework, valves, manifolds and thermo-syphoning the system works extremely efficiently and effectively, warming our house up even on the coldest of Gippsland nights.
Without a doubt, the boiler has great capacity to provide us with heat to our house, dry our clothes, keeps our towels crisp, boils our kettle and provides us with hot water; but what else can it do?
What else can we use this energy for?
Ideas for the future
We want to utilize the energy and heat from our wood-fire boiler to create a food dehydrator. Rather than using a dehydrator that is plugged into electricity for hours on end, we want to create some kind of dehydrator that is wood-fired. As a part of living sustainably, we love dehydrating and preserving as much food from our veggie patch and our foraging adventures as possible. A dehydrator is a perfect way to do this, without compromising it’s goodness. As Andy says, if it can dry clothes, it can dry food! Make sure that you subscribe to our blog so that you can follow the next chapter of our story and how we bring this idea to life!
Do you have any ideas on how we could make our food dehydrator work? Or how do you heat your house? We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a message below!
– Kate & Andy