Here's my set-up. A hand fired Tarm boiler. Coal bin on the left with the orange handled "stoker" laying in the bin. The white tank is my water heater. Actually and old oil fired unit that I use for a storage heater. You can see the sidearm heater I built between the boiler and the tank. Water circualtes (by convection) to this unit and when the tank needs hot water heated it turns on the brown circulator you see above the tank. This pulls water out of the top of the tank, circulates it through the sidearm and back into the bottom of the tank. It's 40 gallons. Even with convection supplying the heated water to the sidearm, we never run out of hot water and we had 4 kids - 3 of them girls!
Anyway, it's old-timey but it's a great system. It doesn't look like much but that pile of coal you see (about 3 tons) is all it takes to heat my home of 4 bedrooms, living, bath, dining, large kitchen, and even the cellar in northern NY state near Quebec Canada. During the summer I make a quick conversion to oil and burn about 100 gallons to heat my hot water for domectic use from April to November or so. When I change it over I do the yearly, thorough cleaning from top to bottom of the unit.
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