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Using range cookers and wood burning stoves with a back boiler to heat your home

Posted by Laurence Jones on 4 January 2012 at 11:29 am

There are several ways of using biomass to heat the home. I recently blogged about independent biomass boilers that run on pellets, wood chip and logs. However, there are two other noteworthy ways of using a biomass fuel source in conjunction with a central heating system.

Although these appliances will probably not be eligible for the domestic side of the renewable heat incentive (due to be announced in 2012) in the same way that an independent biomass boiler is likely to, they can still be a good way of reducing household dependency on gas and oil.

Wood burning stoves with a back boiler

“Wet back” stoves (as they are commonly known), work by heating water via a piped system that is connected from the appliance to a hot water storage cylinder. The stove will generate hot water and also provide heat to the radiator circuit (depending on the appliances rated heat output).

When correctly installed, stoves with a back boiler can provide hot water to the storage cylinder even when there are power outages, as well as heating your lounge in the same way that a traditional stove would. Any heat provided by the stove will off-set the need to use your gas or oil system, with the potential also to reduce your fuel bills.

Wood burning range cookers with a central heating boiler

These appliances provide two functions. Firstly as a cooker and secondly as a boiler for combined heating and hot water. Often favoured for their aesthetic appeal and warming effect in the kitchen, some range cookers are also able to link up to a central heating system in much the same way that a wet back stove can. During summer months, appliances such as these can often be adjusted to be used simply as a cooker in order to help improve the appliance's efficiency.

Picture by William Warby

About the author: Laurence Jones was marketing support officer at HETAS

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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2 comments - read them below or add one

Tom Hedger

Tom HedgerComment left on: 3 September 2014 at 1:00 pm


I am currently installing a log burner with back boiler which I intend to use to heat two small radiators as well as heating a concrete, insulated heat store under my floor. I was hoping that I could divert the returning water from my gas central heating system through the heat store to add heat back into the main central system when it is available.

However I have been told that since I have a condensing boiler this will simply stop the boiler condensing and thereby reduce its efficiency quite a bit. I am wondering :-

1. Might this be worth doing anyway since from what I read most condensing boilers only condense some of the time?

2. Is it possible to stop my boiler from lighting when it is not condensing? (ie. when the return temperature is above 55 C.) And if not why not, for heavens sake? It is a fairly good boiler a Vokera Linea HE.

I would love to know if anybody else has tried this sort of set up or any usefull advice genrally that people may have.

Thanks Tom Hedger.

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heatstoreComment left on: 4 June 2014 at 7:44 am

Hey, Laurence... I have read both ways and I think both are noteworthy. But, by personal experience I will recommend "Wood burning range cookers with a central heating boiler". What you say :)

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