What alternative heating options are there for my home and husband's shop?


What alternative heating options are there for my home and husband's shop?

Asked by Marvel Mickelson

I live in West Central Minnesota, we own a story and a half, with a underground basement home. The total footage is about 2500 square feet. We heat with a wood boiler. We also have a 1840 square foot shop which is heating with duel heat, propane and the wood boiler system we heat our house with. We cut and burn about 15 cords of wood a season and have fuel oil back up. We have a forced air system in which the boiler system is connected to. The shop has a force air system also.

Answer this question


Harold Remlinger, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB's picture

To reduce the amount of fuel it takes to heat both your shop and house you may look into using a solar hot water system as supplemental heat.

  • There are many solar water systems available which can be added prior to the boiler with a heat transfer appliance.
  • This would preheat the water entering the boiler, reducing the amount of fuel required to heat the water in the system.

One item to take into consideration is that you must properly design the amount of storage for the preheated water. It is through increased storage by which you will increase the efficiency of the system.

There are two types of collectors available commercially:

  • evacuated tube heaters or
  • flat plate collectors.

Most of these systems have a 95% or better efficiency rating.

Find a qualified supplier and installer in your area and review their references prior to hiring them to design and implement the system.

For more information:

Read "Can you tell me how well solar hot-water heaters work?" a Q&A answered by Paul Rosen.