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One Central Furnace Heats Three Homes
In Kenmare, N. Dak., three next-door neighbors are heating their homes from one central system. Last winter, it cost the three of them less than $200 each to heat their homes.
A central coal burning furnace and boiler sends hot water to the three houses which range in distance from 75 to 140 ft. from the heating plant.
"We're really sold on this central system," Curtis Wood, one of the owners, told FARM SHOW. "It has triggered a lot of interest from farmers and ranchers in this area, and several on-farm systems have already been installed. With one central system, a farmer could heat his home, barn, workshop and garage for a lot less cost than he could heat the same buildings individually."
The central boiler which Wood shares with his next-door neighbors Marvin Sorum and Elmer Richnalski cost each of them about $2,000, including a shed for the furnace and boiler, and underground piping to the three homes. Each of the owner's homes had to be converted to hot water radiators at an additional cost of about $1,000 each.
"The system burned about 40 tons of coal during the 1979-80 season, and coal today is still cheap at $13 a ton," says Wood. "I figure my heat bill will be about $225."
Wood believes that houses or other buildings heated with a central system could be as far away as 200 ft.
Would central heating work as well using fuel oil or natural gas, rather than coal, for fuel?
"It would work with any fuel," answers Wood, "but oil is too expensive. Coal is cheap in this area be-cause we're only 40 miles from the coal fields."
Water pipes to the three homes are 1 in. in dia. and placed inside a 4 in. plastic sewer pipe which is buried 41/2 ft. underground.
"This pipe within a pipe idea serves two purposes," explains Wood. "It provides dead air space around the water pipe for insulation, and makes it easy to pull the pipe out without digging it up if ever there are maintenance problems to solve."
Wood notes that the system meets all North Dakota building codes. "Now that it has proved itself, it has interested other neighbors. Several have asked to be tied into the system but we can't do it because we'd then become a public utility. The three of us share the expense and take care of maintenance and ash removal."

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1981 - Volume #5, Issue #2