I would like this system serviceable, cost effective & relatively maintenance free. I just don't know the best way to go about it. I am sick of using a oil filled heater over winter.

My original idea is to plumb water from the wet back (we have a small wood range) hot water cylinder to power a water filled radiator, I figure I'm gonna need a hot water circulating pump.

What do you suggest / use to cut back on that power bill?

  • Electric is an expensive way to heat. Do you have natural gas or propane? Do you mind if it makes a bit of noise? Google "gas wall furnace" or "empire furnace" and you'll find furnaces which are gas-only, millivolt thermostat, and work during power failures. They use convection but are not quite silent, you can hear the gas light up and the frame creak as it warms. Feb 2, 2016 at 6:03

2 Answers 2


I understand your dilemma. I have a few comments about using heated water from a wood stove to circulate in a radiator. The concept seems simple, however using a circulator pump also requires a control panel of some sort, unless you intend to let it run continuously and manually switch it on and off. This task is normally controlled by a thermostat and control board. The pumps usually run on low voltage supplied through the control board. Using line voltage (240VAC in most of Europe) and an in line full voltage thermostat would be very dangerous. Another concern would be protecting the circulating water loop from an over pressure condition. Heating water above the boiling point would be a major hazard. You would need a pressure relief valve and a way to shunt water away from the heat exchanger if the wood fire overheats the water. Another limiting factor would be that this heat source would only be available when the wood stove was burning. Perhaps you might consider an infrared quartz space heater instead of the oil filled radiator. These heaters are extremely efficient, cost a fraction to run compared to traditional electric heaters.They come in a variety of styles and shapes. The cost of these heaters start around $80.00 USD to a high of $500.00 USD depending on how large and fancy a unit you select. They do not require special wiring and have a fairly low electrical draw plugged into any standard outlet. Infrared heaters work by heating objects via infrared energy as opposed to heating and distributing air. The heat in the space is usually very even and comfortable. Check out what is available in your area.


The desired temperatures for radiators (160-180F) are typically well above what is recommended for a domestic water heater (115-130F.) If you want to go down that route, it is recommended that you separate it from your potable hot water. If that was your intention, though, then you're on the right track.

Circulator pumps cost roughly $100, but they typically only use about 40W, so depending on how long you run it for, you're looking at something that should cost $0.50-3/mo in electricity... pretty cheap. The cost is in heating the water. For that, you can use natural gas/radiator, solar floor radiative heating, etc.

Alternatives to fluid/radiator heating and central-heating would be various contraptions such as this. This particular one has very good reviews, but if you look at something else, be sure to do the necessary research.

  • looks great, I have a brick chimney, I wanted to pull that out and install a metal flue. - I'm in New Zealand, so getting things like this from the USA could be a big extra cost. Feb 12, 2011 at 5:40
  • Yep... sorry to use a link to a US site, but I figured you can locate similar products in NZ a lot better than I can. It's a cheap yet effective fix, but people have raised concerns about this increasing the risk of a chimney fire (removing heat from the escaping gasses will cause more condensation, forming more creosote.) One should always attempt to avoid the types of wood that are associated with creosote formation and always, always, always design a chimney with adequate fireproofing. I would stress that you take those necessary precautions.
    – Michael
    Feb 12, 2011 at 5:50
  • PS: I sent you an email. ^_^
    – Michael
    Feb 12, 2011 at 6:20

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