Is it possible to have too much hot water?

During the summer our water is heated by a solar panel on the roof.

So when we installed our Rayburn cookstove the intention was to fit a water jacket to provide us with hot water during the winter months. For three winters the stove has heated our home and cooked our bread, while the water jacket gathered dust in the barn and we continued to pay the utility bill for our hot water.

So our first project of the year was to fit the dusty water jacket. The stove first had to be stripped down and holes drilled to take pipes out through the back and  upstairs to a hot water tank, which sits immediately above the stove.

The header tank sits above the hot water and prevents any build up of pressure.

The water in this tank circulates by convection through the water jacket at the the back of the fire box, back to the tank upstairs and then is pumped to the hot water tank in the bathroom. While passing through the tank it disperses heat into the water that we use for all our hot water uses. In the case of the water boiling, rather than running the danger of a pressure build up, it has an open vent to release the hot water into a header tank upstairs.

We didn’t really know how much hot water we could expect to get from the stove, or if it would effect it’s performance as a heat source and cookstove. However, it quickly became apparent that not only did it continue to give us all the heat and cooking we need but also that we had too much hot water! The tank upstairs now acts as a hot water radiator, sitting at about 70 degrees Celsius and is making it too hot to sleep at night, while the hot water tank in the bathroom was so hot it was siphoning heat back up into the solar panel on the roof. Our roof was covered in snow but the panel was 40 degrees Celsius. Amazingly we have not seen any decline in the heat of the oven or any more wood needed to heat our home.

One of our next projects is to figure out a way to use the excess heat! In floor heating? Radiators?  Perhaps a hot tub….


About Jane Fowler

We are working towards a sustainable lifestyle, homeschooling our children, growing all our own food and creating art. Join us in our journey, learning with us along the way.
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