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Rayburns or AGAs

Posted by Jeni-780887 - Created: 15 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by powerdesal - 4 years ago

Dunroamin, interesting comment. Our rads ARE aluminium and, apart from the primary piping to the heat leak which is in copper  the rad circuit piping is low heat loss JG Speedfit barrier.

I am a bit of an insulation-nut, considering that insulation is the cheapest form of heating you can buy. That's why our total heat demand is only 10.3kw. Without the high level of insulation it would be considerably more.

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Posted by dunroamin58-811658 - 4 years ago

Powerdesal= I take your point about the number of rads, but we all know that what the makers say and what happens in reality are two different things. Past experience tells me that as the Rayburn gets older and carries deposits of various sorts on the heating surfaces, then the efficiency reduces. So you can have 10 fairly hot rads or 7 hot rads, the choice is yours. Also pay extra for modern aluminium rads that heat up quicker and insulate pipework where possible.The key with any CH system is to make yourself a thermally efficient house in the first place so you dont need such huge rads. These lovely feature stone internal walls look lovely but soak up heat like a sponge.

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Posted by bandy - 4 years ago

Powerdesal, needs to look into whether the stove is rated as high pressure as many woodburners are emphatically not.

If, like franco Belge, it is a low pressure one and thus has to be on an open-vented system, then there are special expansion tanks available which are a closed 'box' with inlet outlet and vent pipes.. There are a lot of such systems in France. As said, they are linked by a 'tap' and a non-return valve to the mains supply.

As said, UK style open loft tanks with a ball valve are absolutely interdit.

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Posted by powerdesal - 4 years ago

Dunroamin58,

An interesting post but...............the number of rads that a Rayburn will drive needs quantifying. You say 7 rads is the limit for wood - what size rads? The Rayburn 370SFW, according to Rayburn, has a boiler output of 10kw on wood to CH. Our CH design requires 10 rads, of varying sizes, some quite small and others larger. None exceed 2kw. The total CH load is 10.3Kw if all rooms were on full heat requirement, which they won't be because of occupancy diversity.

Hence the 370SFW, on wood firing, will meet our requirement.

I take your point regarding the continued use of electric DHW and I think that is the way we will probably go because, in winter we get very few visitors and hence hot water use is quite low due to there being only two of us. A cold fill washing machine and using showers not baths makes a big difference to the hot water demand.

In the past, when we had a Rayburn and later a Stanley, we ran full CH in a 4 bedroom house in Wales without any problems when burning wood. Our present house is a bit bigger and needs a bigger Rayburn than at that time.

Many thanks for your valuable comments.

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Posted by Sola178 - 4 years ago

Hi. Bob R. I have a 3 oven 16amp AGA. I didn't consider the 32amp model as that would have meant making big changes to the electricity supply. Getting the AGA was a big investment, not taken lightly but one I have never regretted. I used to rely on a wood burning cuisineaire in the kitchen and a wood burner in the lounge to heat the house. I found that relying on wood was impractical and when going out for more than a few hours I would return to a cold house. I looked into getting a gas fired AGA but the tank rental charges etc made that an expensive option. The dealers suggested the electric AGA, it was not something that I'd considered. It is easy to control, through out mid winter I run it 24/7 but in the autumn and spring use the AIMS to programme two full heat cooking sessions per day with the cooker entering a sleep mode inbetween. The heat radiated keeps the large kitchen and bedroom above at a good temperature and means that the wood burner in the lounge, when lit in the evening brings that room up to temperature very quickly. I am sure there are cheaper ways to heat the house and cook but overall I've been amazed by how reasonable my bills have been. It might have made me a snob but I do not care, I love it!

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Posted by dunroamin58-811658 - 4 years ago

Rayburn advice. Forget using it for hot water, use a chauffe eau for that. Just use the Rayburn for CH and cooking, Wood fired it will heat up to 7 rads, thats about the limit on wood.  The first two metres of piping is in 28mm copper ( from UK ) and then down to French 20 and 16 for the rest of the system. It uses an open vent system with a heat leak radiator, normally in a bathroom. Yes, they can be complicated at first as there are 4 different things to adjust to get the best out of it, but it aint rocket science. A previous poster mentioned what happens if there is a power cut and the CH pump stops. Firstly, in ten years use in France that has only happened once, not bad really. The heat leak and general convection currents in the system gets rid of a lot but you just shut all air vents, remove any wood you can from the firebox. It may boil over but thats not a big deal, it is open vented so it just blows into the expansion tank and out the overflow. I love my wood burning Rayburn, it makes a house a home. I have installed three systems ( in present and previous properties ), if anybody needs advice feel free to email me.

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Posted by paulandpat-787341 - 4 years ago

Powerdesal - we also contemplated the possibility of having a combined wood pellet / woodburning central heating system installed. According to both french installers we discussed this with in order to comply with french 'normes' the system would need a heat store / equalizer equivalent to 50 litres of water for every kwh of heat the system was capable of producing - so for a 20 kwh system you need a 1000 litre storage tank in order to guard against the possibility of a closed system overheating. Apparently this is the case with all wood / solid fuel wet central heating installations - something to do with the difficulty of controlling the temperature and pressure of the water circulating in the system .

The other thing that no one has mentioned is whether an Aga or Rayburn qualifies for a tax refund for french taxpayers (up to 30% + a small departmental contribution) if its considered to be energy efficient (flamme verte) - there is no mention of it on the Rayburn.fr website.  

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Posted by noonoo-943217 - 4 years ago

28 mm is available from plumbers merchants such as aubade,French system is based around a thermostatically operated valve which allows mains water into the system to reduce the temperature if pump fails and excess water is blown out via a pressure relief valve,you really need a French plumber with experience of wood or solid fuel systems.

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Posted by powerdesal - 4 years ago

Jeni,

We are planning the installation of a Rayburn CH Cooker. We want the new 370SFW which, at the moment, is not on sale in France. According to Rayburn France Head Office it may well be available later this year.

We will probably buy direct in UK and bring it to france ourselves, this will inevitably mean a lower price and will avoid the possibility of transport damage by various carriers. 

There will of course be warranty restrictions but as the solid fuel models are relatively simple with no electrics / electronics it should not be an issue.

The present problems are:-

The rayburn needs 28mm copper piping to / from the domestic hot water cylinder (DHW) and, so far, I have not found any 28mm copper pipe in the Brico sheds.

All advice indicates that the DHW cylider needed for solid fuel fired systems is an indirect, open vented type with a cold feed head tank, just like the old fashioned UK system. This ( I think) does not meet French plumbing Normes and ''may'' be against the law. I am trying to clarify that point though.

I cannot find any sealed ( indirect, unvented) DHW cylinder that is stated to be suitable for solid fuel system use. 

If anyone on here has any relevant information on the above I would be most grateful to hear / read it.

As a further matter of interest, all the rads in the house are piped using JG Speedfit PEX barrier pipe, but the primary circuit MUST be in copper, as must the first meter of pipe from the copper to any PEX pipe, that was info from JG themselves.

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Posted by noonoo-943217 - 4 years ago

What's efficacy? The falcon range cookers look quite nice and are available in various colours,a Rayburn used to be a poor mans aga,years ago we used to put a hammer through them and chuck them in a skip along with Victorian pine doors ,picture rail and moulded skirtings,you can get oil fired range cookers which are cheaper to run than the electric versions ,they can also run your heating and switch off and on when you want.