Cold War Radar Station Heating!!

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by Benn Quirk, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. Benn Quirk

    Benn Quirk New Member

    Hi folks

    My wife and I have take over an old radar station on the Isle of Man on the side of the mountain. We're planning on turning it into a motorbike cafe as it's right on the TT course and I'm looking for some advice on heating the place. It's bloody huge at around 560sqm, built of cavity double thick walls, block and beam roof and absolutely no insulation....
    We've been exploring every conceivable heating option air source, wind, solar thermal, solar electric, gas, electric, etc etc and we've come to the conclusion that the most cost effective (funds are draining rapidly) is to perhaps install a conventional oil boiler system with cast iron radiators (probably not the most efficient but look the part) and perhaps low velocity fans to keep the warm air down (ceiling height is nearly 4m). Obviously we'll be getting professionals in to fit the system but given the huge amount of knowledge on tap here I thought I'd see what you folks thought. I've read a similar thread that mentions smart pumps, thermal stores etc but I'm not entirely sure what they are. There's a pie and mash dinner for the best advice!!
  2. sospan

    sospan Screwfix Select

    Interesting project.

    Having ridden motorcycles literally in all weathers, I would consider some large wood burners with back boilers to feed a heat store / radiators. Guys on bikes normally like to stand around and chat after being on a bike for a while plus the opportunity to dry off wet gear. Wood burners create a better ambiance / atmosphere than underfloor or rads. Plus they are greener than using oil.

    I would stick in a few bathroom style rads which would give it that industrial look but also let people warm jackets and gloves on. The aren't going to dry but it is much better putting on a warm wet clothing than a cold ones.

    You will need a lot of fans ! If you have ever been in a room with a what looks like a section of a Klingon army, wet leather, odour from the machines and the humans does get pungent.

    The main problem will be getting any flues or vents through the walls - but glad I won't be doing the job
  3. Benn Quirk

    Benn Quirk New Member

    Thanks So span, wood burners will be a feature but we want to be able to hear the place independently from them as well.
  4. sospan

    sospan Screwfix Select

    I get the wood burners with back boilers that can link to a heat store which will keep the water warm for a while this can then be pumped around some rads or underfloor heating. With a heat store you can include other sources such as solar water heaters or your gas / oil boilers which can provide hot water as well as a back up for the solid fuel.
  5. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Screwfix Select

    I can't help with the heating I'm afraid, but will admit to considerable jealousy!

    It's not what was Murray's Museum is it (I'll quite understand if you don't want to publicise the location on here though).
  6. Benn Quirk

    Benn Quirk New Member

    It is Joe! Hell of a project......
  7. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Screwfix Select

    By gum, that really is ambitious, but what a place. There's a rather agreeable statue outside too (unless they've moved him?)

    I wish I could offer some help but it's not really my field I'm afraid.
  8. kiaora

    kiaora Screwfix Select

    I think it may be an idea, to think about heat loss, it’s more important than how to heat a place. !

    My view, if I were looking around would be.....

    Think about north south west and east.

    North is normally where the most heat is lost, are there large windows, or openings ?
    South is good, you get solar gain,

    I worked on an eco house many years ago.
    Put simply, on the south side was a very large glass wall/ conservatory.
    No windows on the north side.
    Below ground large basement area full of rocks,
    The heat gain in the sunny days was transfer to the basement to warm up the rocks, and reversed in the winter.

    That’s simplifying it, hope you get the gist of it. ?

    The site may not be suitable, but good design and insulation must be considered
    Good luck
  9. Benn Quirk

    Benn Quirk New Member

    Thanks Peter, alas windows are all fairly small in comparison to the size of the place. Looking into spray insulating the ceilings so hopefully that'll help!
  10. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Screwfix Select

    Our narrow boat has spray foam insulation on it (in fact nearly all narrow boats from the last 20 years or so do) and with (diesel powered) central heating and its woodburning stove, we
    happily use it in winter, so that sounds like a good idea.
  11. Benn Quirk

    Benn Quirk New Member

    Back to the heating side of things, using the basic kw calculator the energy requirement is coming in near the 100 kw mark, would I be better sourcing a large capacity boiler or should I be thinking about linking 2 domestic boilers such as the Worcester danesmoor units, any thoughts?
  12. Dam0n

    Dam0n Active Member

    Is there enough ground for a ground source heat pump? I'd maybe pair this with underfloor heating system and then use log burners for when it gets really cold.

    Bikers won't want it boiling anyway and the TT isn't until the warmer part of the year.

    Can I have my pie and mash now? :D
  13. Benn Quirk

    Benn Quirk New Member

    Cheers Dam0n, the plan is to have the cafe open all year so we really need some form of automated system so that the building has had time to warm up before we arrive. Ideally we'd like to start with a basic system and add to it as we can afford to.
    Dam0n likes this.

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