Is it effective to install a stove or generator in an apartment building – expert explanation

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Material by by Oleksandr Sergienko, director of the analytical and research center “City Institute” for ZN.UA.

Every day it gets colder and Russia gets angrier… On on the unfortunate Monday, October 10 probably all Ukrainians felt that in winter the radiators might not be as hot as usual. Or even cold. Daily attacks by “shahids” and rockets at residential buildings and critical infrastructure do not allow us to forget about this. So people rushed everywhere – some for power generators, some for stoves, and some for firewood. Social media raised questions about whether it was possible to put generators on balconies and stoves in kitchens. Won’t we do even more harm to ourselves by saving ourselves in this way?

Who and how is warming up today in the countryside and in the city

There are approximately 6.1 million apartments in rural houses (as they are called and counted by statisticians), and the lion’s share of them are heated autonomously: either by boilers – 3 million, or by stoves – 2.7 million. In other words, they have little dependence on external influences, with only one vulnerability – gas supply.

Instead, in cities with 11.3 million apartments, more than 8 million are supplied with heat through district heating systems, and 783,000 are supplied with heat through centralized heating systems. – boilers and 78 thousand. – stoves. (Of course, all the figures are pre-war.) And it is not entirely clear how another 2.4 million city apartments are heated.

Probably, the statisticians have their own kitchen (methods), and perhaps they do not include communal mini-boilers and small boiler houses of enterprises that traditionally heat their departmental fund or surrounding buildings. One way or another, out of the total number of 17.4 million apartments in Ukraine, about half, 8 million, are vulnerable if district heating systems, or rather CHPs, TPPs and other sources of heat production, are disrupted.

So, it’s relatively easy for someone who is the owner of his own house – he can build a rough house and dig a well in the yard. What should residents of urban high-rise buildings do?

Of course, our people are inventive, and they paid attention to electric generators – diesel, gasoline, small, large, different. The Internet offers many options. Each of them comes with instructions on where and how to install and connect them (there are some peculiarities), and if someone can’t read the instructions, a company will come and arrange everything. All instructions are based on the state standard DSTU IEC 62040-3 (the letters IEC mean that it is in line with this European standard).

However, even without the instructions, it is clear to everyone that it is impossible to install a generator in an apartment, stairwell, or pantry – it emits exhaust gases like a car engine, rumbles as loudly, and heats up. In principle, it can probably be installed on the balcony, if the neighbors don’t mind and it doesn’t poison them with exhaust. But you should consider whether the balcony can support it, because the generator may also need a foundation or a separate base. Of course, no building codes allow this, but they don’t prohibit it either.

With stoves and stoves, things are much more complicated, as you need to provide a chimney or chimney. You can put the pipe in the ventilation duct (it should be separate for each apartment), but there is a danger that there may not be enough draft provided by the height of the pipe (I say this responsibly, as a country operator of three stoves). The taller the chimney, the better the traction. One more warning about stoves: even a hundred bricks for a stove means an additional half a ton of load on the interfloor floors, so you need to calculate everything carefully, otherwise the stove can be teleported to the apartment below.

The only way out, literally and figuratively, is through the wall to the street. For example, in the city of Novodnistrovsk (and probably in many others) there are high-rise buildings where every kitchen has a gas boiler outlet that heats the apartment, and people live with it. Of course, this is a violation of the law (regulatory framework), because the external facade of the building, which is fixed in the project, is being changed. However, the phasing out of centralized heating systems in many small Ukrainian cities makes such a breach inevitable.

In order to ensure that the boiler (or stove) operates in accordance with DSTU, a separate ventilation duct must be installed. Such systems work, for example, in the residential complex “Shchaslyvy” in the village of Sofiyivska Borshchahivka near Kyiv, where apartments are heated by gas boilers. Unfortunately, they all have a high degree of danger, firstly because of the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, and secondly because of explosion hazard, so such systems require strict control and maintenance.

One more note about stoves (in case anyone hasn’t dealt with them). It should be understood that they do not keep heat as long as a stove or a stove – they heat as long as the wood burns, and then quickly cool down. So, anyone planning to escape the cold in an emergency should keep all these features in mind.

What the capital’s authorities advise

ZN.UA asked the deputy head of the Kyiv City State Administration, Petro Panteleev, to tell us how the Kyiv authorities are preparing for this winter of war and what advice he would give to people.

– The use of stoves in apartment buildings with dense construction is not the best option. Kyiv has chosen to use mobile diesel-fueled boilers and deploy heating stations in case of emergency. In addition, we have mobile generators.

We plan to use such boilers for buildings where it is critical to prevent changes in temperature, such as maternity hospitals, hospitals, etc. If necessary, they can also be used to deploy warming centers for residents, for example, in schools and other buildings that can accommodate a large number of people and provide them with heat.

Conclusion: Themost efficient and reliable heating system is a district heating system, especially in large cities. For example, in Kyiv, it is the largest in Europe and, despite the high degree of wear and tear on the heating networks, it provides heat to Kyiv residents. Even daily gusts, which can reach dozens in winter, are quickly eliminated thanks to the efficient organization of the repair teams.

In addition, district heating systems in Kyiv and other major cities of the country are actually more resilient than they seem and have a significant number of backup sources of heat production. Therefore, the normal course of the heating season in Ukraine as a whole largely depends on the professionalism and readiness of local authorities. This does not mean that citizens and residents of villages and towns should not prepare for emergencies themselves (to the best of their ability), relying only on the authorities. But taking into account all the nuances we have discussed and safety precautions.

This is war, and war is war.

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