Follow up to the Zero Oil Challenge post

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Ok, so you may have read the comment on the original post but here is what happened.

It didn’t work… BUT, not because the furnace didn’t keep sufficient hot water.

See, we have 2 hot water tanks, one heated via the wood furnace water coil and the other an oil fired tank.

Here is the layout of our system:

Cold water from Well >> Furnace hot water coil tank >> oil hot water tank >> taps.

With that in mind, I turned off the power switch on the oil hot water tank. So we were basically drawing still from the unpowered oil hot water tank. As we used hot water, it would draw water from the ‘wood tank’ (I’ll call them the oil tank and wood tank). The wood tank had sufficiently hot water in it, but as the oil tank sat over night with no circulation (no water runs through it unless the tap is turned on) it would slowly cool down further and further until it was just luke warm water. When you ran the hot water, it would again draw piping hot wood tank water over but that would only get diluted in the cooler oil tank water and the end result would be luke warm water unless you ran the hot water enough to draw a significant amount of wood tank water into the oil tank to either replace all the luke warm stuff or sufficiently warm the existing water up.

So you can see the dilemma. If I had ┬ápex pipes in place to circulate the oil tank as well, this setup would work. The other option is to bypass the oil tank during the wood heating period so we would just be using the wood tank water. That would totally work – just a matter of adding another few valves and feet of pex pipe to bypass it.

Only problem with that idea is the stagnant water over the wood heating months and i’m not sure what more issues I might get into letting it sit in the tank like that. Might get bacteria build up or settling of sediment that might cause more issues… hard to say. I could remedy probably anything that would happen by doing this but not sure at this point that its worth the hassle. We’re saving probably at least 50% on our domestic hot water bills so we are still saving money but it would be great to turn off the oil for good during these months!

This though might be a project like I say for next year. Maybe $50 worth of valves and pex to do it. So if I do attempt it, I’ll definitely make some more posts! Maybe I should do a walkthrough of our heating system too!

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