How to Make Your Wood Furnace a Water Boiler

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Converting your wood furnace to a water boiler allows you to heat your home for less money. They are surprisingly inexpensive, ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 in price, depending on the model and size. The steps below are the basic ones for installing either a sheltered or unsheltered unit, as they are the same for both types.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Equipment for digging a trench
  • Tubing and insulation
  • Concrete or other material for building a pad
  • Screwdriver, adjustable wrench, or other tools for mounting, screwing, and/or fitting parts together.
  • Determine if you want to install a sheltered or unsheltered wood furnace conversion kit. Unsheltered models can be placed in an existing building; however, more work is required to install them. Further, you must provide an additional chimney for an unsheltered unit. Sheltered models come in their own little building, with everything included, so that all you have to do is connect the unit to your existing heating system.

  • Determine where on the OUTSIDE of your home you want the wood furnace conversion kit to be installed.

  • Measure the distance from where the unit will set to where it will connect to the existing heating source.

  • Measure the diameter of the tubing that will be laid in the trench, as well as the thickness of the insulation that will protect the tubing.

  • Dig your trench as wide as it needs to be to accommodate the tubing and insulation, and as long as it needs to be for the connection to be made to the existing heating source.

  • Using the unit’s dimensions, determine how big your pad will need to be. It should be large enough so that the unit sits firmly and securely on it, without hanging off. You may want to allow for slight movement caused by vibration or normal settling with may occur.

  • Build your pad, using the materials you have chosen. (See TIPS section for more information).

  • Set the furnace on the finished pad. Install any fittings, if necessary.

  • Lay the tubing and insulation in the already-prepared trench.

  • Following manufacturer’s instructions, make all connections necessary to join the tubing and electrical power source to the furnace.

  • Following manufacturer’s instructions, make all connections necessary to join the tubing and electrical power source to the existing heating system.

  • Fill your furnace, fire it up, and enjoy the warmth!

Tips & Warnings

  • The pad that you build for the unit to sit on does not have to be fancy. A simple, but very sturdy wood square frame with solid one-piece top will be just fine, and is easier to build. No having to worry about laying a foundation, mixing concrete, pouring and smoothing concrete, and waiting for it to dry.
  • Wood-burning conversion kits CANNOT BE INSTALLED INSIDE AN INHABITED BUILDING! They MUST be located on the OUTSIDE OF A RESIDENCE or INHABITED BUILDING!
  • No matter which type material you choose to build your unit’s pad, make sure it is strong enough to support the unit’s weight. Damage could result to the unit and any connecting pieces if the pad were to collapse.
  • Make sure that the area around the unit, whether sheltered or unsheltered, is kept clear of flammable material or debris.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a water hose close by the unit to douse any errant flames or hot embers.

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