The thermal store is to be the central hub of our heating and domestic hot water system.
It will be connected to a log burning cooker with back boiler in the kitchen, a log burner with back boiler in the lounge and a couple of water heater solar panels.
The purpose of it is to “store the thermal energy (heat) that you create every time you have the fires burning or the sun shines. Each log burned not only provides immediate heat to the room you are in but also sends heat energy to be stored in the TS that can be used for the UFH the radiators and of course to provide lots of domestic hot water.
The principle behind us wanting to go the thermal store route rather than just a log burner running a few rads on its own route is a simple case of the most effective use of energy (more bang for you buck) and, to us, makes long term economical sense.
I have lost count of the times I have read on various French forums about the trials and tribulations of getting up in the morning to a cold house as the fires haven’t stayed in and having to get it all flashed up again to obtain some heat.
Therefore it makes logical sense (to me) to store the heat you do produce and then it can be used for days after the fire has gone out, yet alone just a few hours.
The one we have is capable of storing heat for over a week and usually will not lose more than half a degree per day.
It isn’t the cheapest route to take on installation which will put off the “make do” and penny pinching types and may not be suitable for all types of use, but however you look at it having access to stored energy that you have created and that would otherwise disappear makes perfect logical sense to me.
We reached this decision after a couple of years of research into various methods of heating, which included but was not limited to various green building and alternative energy sites along with surfing google to check out each new idea that cropped up and then consulting with a couple of professionals about how to design it.
This is the company product we used http://www.akvaterm.fi/fin/Akvaterm.1.html
There was a three month build wait for the tank so we made and paid our order and waited for the day to arrive which was due to be the week commencing 5th November.
I had arrived back from sea on 27th October and we started work straight away on preparing the area where the TS is to live.
It was going to be in the main space that will be MrsBs art studio so after clearing the area and deciding on orientation we set about clawing out the dead wood of a rotten beam built into the wall and then making the wall good again
After that we dry studded the wall and insulated between us and the derelict next door.
You can see the 100mm polystyrene insulation that was backed up with 100 mm isotherm fiberglass stuff. That is the wall between us and the empty one next door.
In the floor joists (under the bathroom and above the tank) is 100 mm isotherm to act as an acoustic barrier rather than a thermal one.
On this one you can see some extruded polystyrene I had hanging about which is 30mm thick and is on the wall that backs onto the lounge. Not sure if it was needed but thought bit wouldn’t do any harm (he says adjusting the braces and taking the belt in a notch)
Then we just tape and jointed and slapped on a few coats of “Johnstones Obliterating Emulsion” (which in my experience is the best emulsion paint I have ever used) and we were good to go.
The bit missing you can see in the corner is where (behind) the bath and sink drain are going to come through the floor from the bathroom above and run along that wall towards the front of the house (all hidden) so I needed to make sure I still had access to make sure I made a good connection with the drain pipes.
So onwards and upwards as I hear the familiar air horn of the hire centre truck announcing his arrival with the Manatu.I drove up to the village and had the trucker follow me around the widest bits of road to make a circle back to our place where I had him park at the top of the road while I nipped down the lane and flashed up the manatu.
When the trucker pulled back the curtains I could see that it was a gert big lorry for one tank, however it did have three rolls of paper he was taking to Vannes after my drop so my eco greeny points started to rise again.
The TS looked much bigger than I expected and also it was the wrong way round on the truck, however with a bit of fancy wriggling with the manatu and I had it sorted and then it was a simple case of take it down the lane and pop it into the room.
All was going well until “Err Huston we may have a problem”
As you can see it looks a bit bigger than the door
So it was a case of re-rig it and take off the first layer of wrapping and try again. With a little bit of shakey jiggly and with 5mm to spare each side it was in.
This next photo is awful but it does show if you look carefully through the haze how we landed it onto two tower scaffold boards on which were in turn on three wooden rollers.
Then it was a case of putting an extension on the forks and giving it a gentle shove as far as I could across the room.
Then with the help of my good neighbour Pete and his trusty trolley jack we performed the technique known as “gently gently catchy monkey” using the three rollers and two scaffold boards and the jack, and moved all 500 kilos of it 5 meters across the room and turned it 90 degrees to its final resting place.
And after a bit of grunting and groaning and “hang on a minute” whooooah, OK OK OK, Puuuush now, just a bit this way, and some choice expletives from me (as seems to be my way when I am working) the Thermal Store,. Known henceforth as “Richard” (yes it’s corny but it will be the warm ‘heart” of the house) was in situation.
Mrsb then looked at me with raised eyebrows (but smiling eyes) and said “Why have you turned my art studio into a ships engine room???”
Which it has to be said gave me a great idea, because once we have all the pipe work connected to the various heat sources and the distribution manifold installed on the side wall, we will be constructing a wall around it to make its own room and I thought, in homage to the engine room comment, I would put in few portholes in it to give it that nautical feel.