BOILERS! Can anyone give advice on

05/21/2017 - 02:56

BOILERS! Can anyone give advice on sourcing a boiler system that can use both logs AND pellets?  I've just bought a house in Piemonte and the boiler needs to be replaced. We are surrounded by trees and have piles of logs already, but need a system that can also start automatically if we're not at the house (to stop pipes freezing in the colder months).Any recommendations? Also, we're looking to install a gas/GPL boiler for hot water but have heard about solar-powered hot water boilers - any experience of these out there? Many thanks! Steve (now in Piemonte)



"We ............  need a system that can also start automatically if we're not at the house (to stop pipes freezing in the colder months). ...."I leave my place, in Piemonte, empty for months at a time over Winter.  All you need is the correct amount of anti-freeze in the system and it won't suffer damage - no need to run the system at all. Anyway - when would you run it - every time it goes below 0C? [you'd be burning a lot of fuel unnecessarily]

My old system - I drained it every winter - bit of a faff when you do a 1 week visit.  However - you will note when draining that the water isn't clear - its usually has a brown tinge.  This is rust.  Each time you recharge the system with clean water, you are adding water with dissolved Oxygen in it, and are therefore setting up the next session in the rust cycle. The way to add antifreeze to your system [it is also a rust inhibitor], is so simple.  It took my plumber 10 minutes, but it was easily a DIY project.  The way is;-

  1. Choose a radiator
  2. Close off all the valves to it
  3. 'Crack' one of the lower joints to let some water out.  If you have a radiator with a drain cock fitted use that one, rather than cracking a joint.
  4. When the required amount of water is out of the rad [required amount = amount of antifreeze to add], do the lower joint up tight.
  5. Remove the bleed nipple arrangement [relatively easy]
  6. With a funnel and short length of small diameter hose, pour the antifreeze in.
  7. Refit the nipple.
  8. Open back up the radiator valves
  9. Run the system for 20 minutes or so to circulate the antifreeze.

My plumber put enough in to "cover down to about minus 20C" -You can do it yourself, but as it really is a 'One Off' job - get a plumber to do it [mine charged about 40 Euros to do it, including the antifreeze

Hello Steve, and welcome to Piemonte! There are a number of combi pellet / log boilers on the market: For sourcing the best for your needs, you would have to visit the showroom and discuss your requirements and their technical details with the sales people. I would also have thought it possible to integrate a  combi pellet / log boiler into a solar system for hot water to provide winter back up. We have a house in Calamandrana, the heating pipes have the standard insulation coat – the house is sporadically occupied over the winter months and in 10 years we have not had any problems of frozen heating pipes when unoccupied. Best regards, Conor 

Hi Steve, We go for some weekends, indeed we were there last weekend.In fact I am going to the house to do dome things tomorrow. (wednesday)I like Rocchetta Palafea - it is beautiful. All the best, Conor

Hi Steve, It would be great to meet a new neighbour, there is an increasing amount of non-Italian residents in the area.You will be welcome to come and vist us as well, and Please feel free to contact me via All the best Conor