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Question about hot water in Poland and the use of water heaters?


gumishu 11 | 5,692
12 Oct 2011 #31
a note on the topic of central hot water - actually central hot bathing water is heated in so called heat exchangers in case central heating comes from a central plant (for the whole city) - the thing is it is it can be pretty complicated system and if a building (or an estate) was not designed to employ it there is no straightforward way to install it - and it often may prove to be less cost effective than heating water with gas heaters in individual flats - and yes - central bathing water simply is the same grade as drinking tap water because it's always the general purpose tap water that is heated - this is different with the water used in central heating systems (though in smaller central heating units the water used for heating is the same as the tap water)
mcm
12 Oct 2011 #32
Thank you for your replies,
We have relatives that live in the area-they all use coal for heating and water as well but I understand this is more to do with the fact they worked in the mines years ago so their fuel is heavily subsidised.

I do not relish the thought of shovelling coal around in our later years of life.
Regards the wood burner and fireplace, many years ago I used to design chimneys for Selkirk so I am somewhat aware of it being costly but She wants one so thats it!

We have asked the question if mains gas might be made available in the road at some point and this is being looked into.

On a side note we have looked in this area for some time for a property that might suit us.
We have talked to local builders in the area and actually found a property being built that we liked but it was on a very small plot of land. So far we haven't found the right plot for us and then we saw this particular house come onto the market. We made arrangements with the agents to view the house at 11am Friday a few weeks ago, flew out there thursday night and were ready and waiting outside the house at the required time..................an hour goes by and still no agent. Phone calls were made only to be told they were 'busy' and had re scheduled the appointment for the Saturday morning, pity they didn't inform us of the change.

So we flew home Saturday morning without being able to view the house internally.
Estate agents are the same everywhere it seems!
pawian 178 | 15,928
12 Oct 2011 #33
For a year or so the Krakow Power and Heating Station has been advertising its services for hot daily water.

Lower your costs of heated water!
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
13 Oct 2011 #34
We have relatives that live in the area-they all use coal for heating and water as well but I understand this is more to do with the fact they worked in the mines years ago so their fuel is heavily subsidised.

It's just the cheapest solution in Poland right now.

We have asked the question if mains gas might be made available in the road at some point and this is being looked into.

In Poland, my only advice is to forget about it. If it's not there now, there's no guarantee that it will come - especially if other forms of fuel such as coal are cheaper.

For a year or so the Krakow Power and Heating Station has been advertising its services for hot daily water.

I don't understand - why are they advertising? Surely anyone with an ounce of common sense would use central hot water over a gas heater if they had the choice?

Also we are not used to oil fired boilers and would like for a reasonable guess what this house would cost to heat at todays rates.

Impossible to say, but such a big place will be expensive to heat with oil - I can tell you that.
pawian 178 | 15,928
13 Oct 2011 #35
=delphiandomine]I don't understand - why are they advertising? Surely anyone with an ounce of common sense would use central hot water over a gas heater if they had the choice?

What if you accept their offer and after 2,3 years they raise the prices so that they exceed gas heating cost??????
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
13 Oct 2011 #36
I know it's Poland and all that, but surely....economies of scale would mean that a customer of the power station would always get a better deal than a private customer of gas?
gumishu 11 | 5,692
13 Oct 2011 #37
Also we are not used to oil fired boilers and would like for a reasonable guess what this house would cost to heat at todays rates.

Impossible to say, but such a big place will be expensive to heat with oil - I can tell you that.

what makes heating with oil so expensive in Poland is that the tax on it (paid in its price) is equal to the tax on diesel - it was thought as a necessary remedy to people selling heating oil a as a diesel substitute - the tax on heating oil was much lower before and there were even once incentives to install oil heating instead of coal heating

mcc if you actually buy the property you can consider buying a LPG tank and converting your heating to gas fired - sure it will cost you additionally but it can be the more economical solution in the longer run (and it does not involve any shoveling on your part)
BLS 65 | 188
3 Feb 2012 #38
Merged: Heat and Hot Water in Southern Krakow

This cold spell has me wondering about how the heating works in the southern part of Krakow. My flat receives heat and hot water somehow from a plant in Skawina, so no water heater is necessary. Is this a common method of heating in Poland? I have seen other flats around town with water heaters, so not everyone receives their heat in this manner - why not?

Does anyone know the details of how this system works? Is hot water transported along the pipe and distributed to the various blocks of flats, or do they send steam through the pipe and use it to heat water from Krakow? Is there one large "plant" or several small ones where the water is heated and distributed? And what is the maximum distance that is considered efficient? Obviously, heat is lost during transport, so how far away is too far?

This system is absolutely foreign to an American like me, so I am curious how it works. Perhaps someone knows of a website or map that can help me understand how it works. Thanks for any and all constructive input!
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
3 Feb 2012 #39
Is this a common method of heating in Poland?

Yes. Hot water from the plant +100'C comes thru big isolated pipe (50cm) to heat exchangers localized near housing estates. It warms up water in another isolated circuit for radiators +70'C and isolated circuit for domestic hot water +52'C. Big electric pumps continuously move mass of water in radiators. Computer continuously watch for water temp and outdoor temp.
BLS 65 | 188
3 Feb 2012 #40
heat exchangers localized near housing estates

Do you have any idea how many households can be serviced by one of these heat exchangers? Are new ones built periodically?
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
4 Feb 2012 #41
Are new ones built periodically?

I'm not sure if any new ones are actually being built these days, except where an existing system might need more capacity.

I'd love to know for certain, though.
scottie1113 7 | 898
4 Feb 2012 #42
I don't know either, except that the one I have keeps my flat warm even in the coldest winters.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
4 Feb 2012 #43
Do you have any idea how many households can be serviced by one of these heat exchangers?

Old style group exchangers are able supply heat for up to 4-5 blocks (about 180 flats)
New standalone are small, compact and built in a basement of each block or even house.
Jimmu 2 | 157
5 Feb 2012 #44
I don't know either, except that the one I have keeps my flat warm even in the coldest winters.

Right up until the time they decide to descale the boiler in the main plant in the middle of the winter.
And I don't always agree with their decision as to when it's cold enough to fire up the boilers or warm enough to shut them down.
Polsyr 6 | 769
6 Feb 2012 #45
I work in central heating and cooling for a living, especially district cooling and district heating, where a plant feeds chilled/hot water and/or steam into a large network which in turn feeds several buildings.

The rule of thumb with these systems is that the bigger they are, they more efficiently they run. This is true in the majority of cases. Quality of equipment, fuel/energy source and climatic conditions also play a role.

I am also involved in servicing boilers almost on daily basis. No rocket science. Nearly every plant has duty + standby boilers so you don't always have to shut down the plan to service one boiler. Scheduled and preventative maintenance is the key for smooth operation.

The concept of large district heating plants is going to be a very "hot" topic in Poland over the next 10-15 years by my reckoning.

Regarding heat exchangers, they need to be opened and cleaned periodically, and the frequency of cleaning depends mainly on the water quality and the difference in temperature between the cold side and the hot side. Some heat exchangers are plate design, which is compact but has many gaskets that need to be replaced whenever the plates are cleaned. Others are shell and tube design, which tends to be larger and requires more complex tools and skills for cleaning, however, they have fewer gaskets to replace and therefore may potentially cost less to operate on the long run.

I have attached a picture of an insulated steam pipe sample that I found in my office. This is similar to what is used in central and district heating. This particular pipe is 15mm diameter, schedule 40 carbon steel, with 50mm rock wool insulation and aluminum cladding. Overall diameter is about 14cm. A pipe this size is about enough to provide 60kW of heating power (or about 100kg/hr of steam which is enough for a 500 square meter modern house for example). For district heating, pipes with sizes up to 1m diameter or even more are used. Putting this infrastructure in place is expensive and time consuming, not to mention difficult.



BLS 65 | 188
8 Feb 2012 #46
The concept of large district heating plants is going to be a very "hot" topic in Poland over the next 10-15 years by my reckoning.

Can you be more specific? Why?

Also - is the energy from Skawina sent to south Krakow via water or steam? I assume that there is a maximum number of homes/blocks that can be serviced in this manner - what are those upper limits? And what are the limits in regards to distance? Since only the south part of Krakow is serviced by Skawina, I am assuming that other parts of the city are too far away - is this correct?
Polsyr 6 | 769
9 Feb 2012 #47
Why?

Because I expect stricter regulations with regards to boiler emissions in the future, and this will make it increasingly more difficult for charcoal fired boilers to remain competitive because the cost of complying with stricter regulations will eventually outweigh the savings generated by using lower cost fuel (coal vs. oil or gas). This is what happened in North America over the years. Both Canada and the US have massive reserves of coal, yet most homes in both countries are heated with either centrally generated steam or oil/gas fired boilers. Of course, greener energy like solar will be used more often, but it will not become the primary source of heating energy for some time to come due to capital cost.

Also, since the cost of buying energy is going up, people will inevitably look for lower cost alternatives, such as district heating, and investors will see this as an opportunity to cash in.

Remember, most of New York City is heated by centrally generated steam, and the same goes for many other large cities. If it can be done in NY, it can be done in Krakow. It is not easy to retrofit a system to an existing city, but it can be and has been done elsewhere.

I am not very familiar with Skawina, but with will, and equally importantly, money, they could probably get their steam to where it is needed.

Technically speaking, the distance that steam can travel depends on the quality of the installation and the pipes being used. Hot water is easier to deal with, but carries lower energy content and therefore larger pipes and higher flow rates are needed, which results in more energy being used just to pump the heat carrying medium.
BLS 65 | 188
9 Feb 2012 #48
Remember, most of New York City is heated by centrally generated steam

I didn't know that - thanks for enlightening me! And thanks for your valuable insight on the topic...you helped educate us all!
Polsyr 6 | 769
9 Feb 2012 #49
how many households can be serviced by one of these heat exchangers

A heat exchanger can (in theory) be built to any size as needed. Limitations are due to space, weight carrying capacity of plant room and shipping. You can have a heat exchanger that services a single jacuzzi or one that serves a 25 storey building or more.

I have attached a picture of a heat exchanger sample that I took last Monday at an exhibition. This is the plate type, and typical of what is used for heating or cooling. Most of the plates have been removed so you can see a few individual plated and gaskets. The gaskets need to be replaced periodically. The plates are usually made of stainless steel, and can be cleaned and reused under normal circumstances.



GabiDaHun 2 | 152
9 Feb 2012 #50
I'm in Krakow and we get our hot water directly from the power plant. It's a new building.
inkrakow 1 | 98
9 Feb 2012 #51
I'm also in Krakow and strangely enough we had a discussion with the other owners of our building (a 1930's kamienica) today about the possibility of installing district heating. Apparently MPEC will connect us to the system for free (we have a mains pipe either in our street or 50 m away) and possibly even subsidise the distribution pipework within our building, all of which sounds too good to be true! I guess it's to do with Krakow's appalling air quality due to coal burning. Does anyone know anything about this? I'm going to call MPEC in the morning to find out for myself but as we seem to have some people who know what they're talking about here, I thought I'd ask...
Polsyr 6 | 769
10 Feb 2012 #52
connect us to the system for free

That is not unheard of. Considering how much return they will make on their investment, don't be surprised. However, they may impose contractual conditions such as using them exclusively as a source of hot water or steam by all units in the building for a certain number of years.

Also, while they may agree to retrofit the building to work with their system for free, the aesthetic quality of such free installation could be questionable (example, lots of visible piping and valves etc). This is hard to avoid when retrofitting an older building.


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