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OT: Repurposing an oil-fired central heating boiler

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  • OT: Repurposing an oil-fired central heating boiler

    I am doing substantial renovation and modernisation work on our newly-bought house near Brussels.

    One of the items being replaced is a 1980s-vintage (diesel) oil-fired pulsed-air central heating system. I am going to tear out the burner and heat exchanger / plenum box today, along with a lot of ductwork. I am wondering what, if anything, in the old machine could usefully be kept and re-purposed.

    Could I make a decent oil-fired forge out of the old burner and firebox, for example? I guess there must be a couple of big fan/blower motors in the unit somewhere too...

    Any suggestions would be welcome, thanks!

  • #2
    I could use something like that for a waste oil heater in the shop.


    • #3
      Just picked up a waste oil heater for the heated portion of the shop & possible/hopefully 400 gallons of Hud fluid per month. Now myshop is heated my electric, LP Gas, Wood furnace & Waste oil. MultiFuel.
      "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
      world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
      country, in easy stages."
      ~ James Madison


      • #4
        Looking promising

        Well, my old central heating yielded a huge squirrel-cage fan, an electric motor for the fan (looks like 1/2 HP?) with its drive-belt, lots of sheet steel from the enclosure, a working diesel injector/burner and a firebox. I think the firebox/burner combo will make a good forge if I can find a way to insulate it better - is there such a thing as high-thermal mineral wool blanket? I'll cut the heat-exchanger unit off it first.

        Dismantling it was a horrid job - diesel soot everywhere.


        • #5
          I would think the burner would be useful for heating a forge. I'd worry about using waste oil since the jet might be compromised by contamination in the oil, for one thing, and the jet would be sized for diesel viscosity so might not work well on other sources. OTOH, I'll admit I don't have enough knowledge of the pulsed air technology so I could be all wet. I'm thinking it's designed to improve combustion and draft but they might well have a different way of introducing the fuel than the old high pressure pump and small jet for atomization.
          "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill


          • #6
            As far as I can see, the burner is a perfectly standard unit, of the same type as I have seen on many oil-fired central heating systems. There is a pressurised spray of oil droplets through a tiny jet and an igniter. Mounted on top of the firebox is what looks for all the world like a section cut off an old water-filled radiator - basically a big steel heatsink.

            The big squirrel-cage fan sits under the firebox and heat exchanger component, and is controlled by a thermostat mounted above the heat exchanger at the bottom of the plenum which feeds the hot-air ducts. When the thermostat detects that the air in the chamber above the heat exchanger is hot enough, it triggers the fan to suck new cold air in from below, and the hot air is forced out of the plenum up into the ductwork.

            I'll be glad to get rid of this system and switch to hot-water and radiators - it makes a ferocious noise when it's running, which reverberates through the ducting throughout the house, and it also blows dust all around the house, even with filters on the intake.