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Esse lionheart & hot water

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:20 pm
by sheepshank
Hi there

We're currently going through the process of choosing a woodburner to heat the room plus our water. Obviously we like the Esse Lionheart as it looks great and seems to give a load of heat to the room, has a big log box and we can cook on it. But 2.6kW to the hot water seems low. Has anyone got one of these and do you use it as your sole hot water supply? Do you find that in order to get enough water for a bath you end up with a stiflingly hot room? It would be great to get some personal experience to help us choose.

The Rayburns are also of interest but we're wary of piling logs into the thing without heating the room much as all the heat is off round the radiators. Also it's lovely to see the flames isn't it?!



Re: Esse lionheart & hot water

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:00 pm
by Zech
Hi Mike,

Our set up is a little different as we use the wood burner for central heating as well as hot water, but maybe I can make some general comments that might be useful. Ours is very strongly biased towards the water (including central heating), rather than the room: 3.2kW to the room and 7.5kW to the water. That output heats a small-ish sitting room just fine, without getting too hot. Are you looking at the Esse with 8kW to the room? I guess if you have a big or open plan room, that would be about right, but it would be way too hot for us. There are standard calculations for what size heater you need - you may have seen them. Some of the manufacturers have online calculators.

As for hot water, we also have an immersion heater as backup, and that's 3kW, so I'd think 2.6kW for water isn't ridiculously low. I suppose it depends on how many baths you have!

Hope that helps a bit, even though it's not really what you were asking for.


Re: Esse lionheart & hot water

Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:19 am
by sheepshank
Thanks Rachel, that's interesting. I've also read some of your posts on thermal stores, which we're thinking about as well, but I'm struggling to see how a small tank (300l) would store enough heat to indirectly heat water for a bath as well as rads. And I worry that we'd be piling logs into our woodburner, not to heat the room but just to keep the thermal store happy!

I've realised I keep calling it Esse Lionheart but actually it's Ironheart. Our room is fairly small (12' sq) but in an open plan-ish house. My feeling is that 9kW to the room would be too much and 2.6kW to the water not quite enough, annoyingly. The other option is to go for a bigger Esse/Rayburn and plug it into a thermal store but it feels to me like having an ocean liner when a small tug-boat would do. I do a lot of bread baking so am romantically inclined towards a wood range!


Re: Esse lionheart & hot water

Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:19 pm
by Zech
If you're using a woodburner to heat the whole house then you'll certainly spend a lot of time feeding logs into it - we do.

Our sitting room is only a little smaller than yours, so I think you're right that 9kW to the room would be too much. As for the thermal store, ours is 350l and doesn't have much spare capacity over what we want from it. What we want is enough heat for a couple of hours of heating in the morning (house is a two bed, two recep. bungalow) plus a shower. We don't have a bath, which helps.

One thing worth noting if you are considering a thermal store, and I mention this because it's something we hadn't thought about in advance: If you use thermosyphoning to get the heat from stove to store, and if your stove and store are on the same level (yes, this is possible), and if there are no valves in the system to prevent it, then when the stove is cool and the tank is hot, the heat will flow in the other direction. We have trouble storing water at high temperatures (over about 70C) and I think this is because it thermosyphons back to the stove. Our plumber insisted on having no valves at all in the loop for safety reasons, but I think that a single no-return valve would be fine, and would stop the hot water flowing the wrong way round the system.

Re: Esse lionheart & hot water

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:18 am
by sheepshank
It sounds like we have a similar setup -- ours is a 2 bed bungalow too. Previously we had a small cottage which we were able to heat with a standalone woodburner and we wondered about trying to do the same thing here or whether to go further and heat water/radiators too. Then we got into looking at Rayburns/Esses and suddenly we're into expensive territory! We need to talk to someone who's got one as I hear lots about these companies trading on their history and actually selling poorly manufactured things these days.

It sounds like a 350l thermal store will not be enough for us as we have two young kids who are only going to get bigger... Useful to know about the valves, thanks.


Re: Esse lionheart & hot water

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:40 pm
by ojay54
I don't have one in our present house ,but have had both Rayburns and Agas.You're 100% correct about the new things:they arrive flat-packed! Far better ,and far cheaper,buy a gas or oil rayburn 2nd hand ,say £3-4 hundred and convert it to multi-fuel,all bits available on line.

Re: Esse lionheart & hot water

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:01 am
by sheepshank
Well as it happens we do have an old Rayburn, left by the previous owners of the house and running on oil (converted badly from solid fuel). We've tried to get someone to convert it back but they say it's too difficult/expensive. It's certainly too expensive to leave it running on oil!

The model is 216M. I'd love to know if anyone here has experience of running one of these on wood and whether it's viable as a cooker as well as hot water and heating. If we went down the thermal store route then we wouldn't need to keep the Rayburn in all night, which I know is tricky on wood.

Re: Esse lionheart & hot water

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:48 am
by ojay54
I'm not sure if you can 'reconvert' as it were,but the oil to S/F is relatively easy.BTW most people put a shovel full of Anthracite on them to keep them in at night.

Re: Esse lionheart & hot water

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:34 am
by Kiwi bloke
Well. Im late to this page and its summer over there as I write this, so you may not get this pennys-worth when it was as chilly as it is here presently.
I know solid fueled cooker pretty well as I repair them.
ojay54 is correct. Converting one back to wood &/or coal wouldn't be an issue.
A few parts and Bob's your auntie. Its basic stuff and Im sure you could do it your self.

If you are unlikely to use coal, then you can choose a wood only grate. It holds the embers up where they are best to keep them.
Coal on the other-hand, needs air to come up from under the grate and pass over as much of the coals surface as possible.
This is why they have different grates,.... and for the most part, wood fired appliances don't have a grate at all.

A 216M Rayburn has a 4.5 or maybe its 4.7Kw boiler. It used to be known as a Rayburn MF (multi fuel)
The older Rayburn's, (Rayburn's 2,3 & Royal) before the MF (now re-labeled 216) were just 3 kw. As were the old but still popular (in NZ anyway) Wellstood cookers & old ESSE.

What we have, is a Rayburn 355 and we just have wood to keep it going. We are off grid and wood (free) is so easy to find.
We don't need any other form of heating and my wife is from the tropics so warmth is REALLY important!

Hoping that you found a solution

Re: Esse lionheart & hot water

Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:56 pm
by Weedo
We are looking at selling the "town house" soon(ish) and building off grid on the farm (the house only off grid because we need electicity up to 3 phase for the farm) Part of the investigation is looking at a wood gasification boiler (like Kiwi Bloke, wood is plentyful and free) backed up with solar providing heating and hot water.. Any experience with these out there - these are very new in Australia.?