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Options for fitting a wood burning stove with back boiler to existing central heating system

Despite what you might have been told, wood burner with back boiler central heating can be installed in your home. It is entirely possible to heat your whole home from a solid fuel appliance, and in this guide we will outline how. But remember, you should not attempt any of the techniques described in this article unless you are a trained professional.

There are a number of ways in which you can go about installing wood burning stoves with back boiler for hot water, and here we will look at some of the tried and trusted methods.

Plumbed stove

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Connecting a Multi Fuel Stove with Back Boiler to Central Heating

Plumbed stove

It is possible to plumb a stove to allow it to act as a radiator within a vented system, and this is one of the most common methods of fitting a back boiler stove into a hot water system. This method of installation means that an existing gas boiler will only come on to 'top up' the system on its way to reaching a desired temperature. 

With this system, the secondary gas or oil boiler may be turned off at any time in order to solely use the wood burning stove for power. A steam vent pipe can be installed, running upwards from the boiler stove and supplying the cold water supply of a property. 

Alternatively, you might wish to connect the hot water tank and heat loss radiator to the main loop of the system, and form another loop by using injector tees and feeding the other radiators. A thermostatic switch is used with a pump to run the radiator loop, which makes sure that the hot water tank doesn't over cool because of the radiators in the loop taking most of the heat, while making sure hot water is the priority in the system. 

Giving hot water priority

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Another installation type gives priority to the hot water in a system by connecting the hot water tank and heat loss radiator to the boiler stove. Doing this runs a pipe loop which goes from the property's other radiators to the boiler stove, while a thermostat is able to monitor the water temperature coming back from the hot water tank, before switching on the pump for the radiator heat automatically when the temperature level reaches a certain point, which is around 65 degrees in many cases. 

Because the pump for the radiators comes on only when the hot water tank reaches a certain level of heat, this has the effect of prioritising the hot water. Hot water can also be taken from a coil which is located in the hot water tank, as an alternative to a top up from a standard gas or oil boiler. 

Multicoil hot water tank

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In this system, coils submerged in the water of the tank act as a heat exchanger, heated by the wood burning stove. As the system uses gravity to create pressure, it must be installed higher than the wood burning stove. You should remember not to install any valves, pumps or strainers in between the return and flow lines that run from the tank to the stove. With this one tank, you can combine water for domestic hot water, solar heated water and hydronic radiators. 

Heat accumulator

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With a heat accumulator, home owners get a greater degree of flexibility, with multiple combinations when it comes to heat sources, and heat storage. 

Not a million miles away from a multicoil hot water tank in terms of the principle of how it works, the heat accumulator is able to store heat thanks to the mass of water which it holds, and for this reason, they can be quite big in size. They are suitable for multiple heat source systems as they offer the choice in the number of coils and tapping points which are fitted. In this system it is possible to hook up a gas boiler, boiler stove and even solar panels in the same property. There are also wood burning stove back boiler underfloor heating systems which you can incorporate. 

The boiler stove can be connected to a conventional boiler, as well as the hot accumulator tank, which in turn is connected to solar panels on a roof. Heating comes from the hot water that is stored in the hot accumulator tank.

We hope this guide gives you some pointers for different installation techniques on how to fit wood burning stove with back boiler system, and provides some food for thought into which system would suit your property when installing wood burning boiler stove. The question of 'how does a wood burning stove with back boiler work?' is one that many who are thinking of adding a stove to their living room are asking, so next time someone doubts it, remember you definitely can incorporate solid fuel heating with an existing central heating system.

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