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Add on/Stand alone wood furnace

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by EatenByLimestone, Jun 24, 2009.

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  1. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Unfortunately my father passed away earlier this month.

    One of the things he left me was his house. The house needs work, but is in a much better school district than the one I live in now. The wife and I have decided to rehab his house and then sell our current home.

    When I was young, there was a forced hot air furnace in the house. When that furnace went (I'm guessing around 1980.) my father put a coal stove in the basement and ran what I believe is a 7X12 masonry chimney up the back of the house. It's a regular coal stove that he had fabricated a bonnet for and he successfully heated the house for years. He incorporated some cage fans into new ductwork to move more air. The stove and chimney are still there, but the bonnet is long gone. I still have a few shovels full of coal in the old bin though. The rest of the ductwork he installed minus the bonnet is still there also. I plan on lining and insulating the chimney.

    Oil prices must have come down (and he warped the coal stove) because he then installed a boiler around 15 years ago. He was planning on dropping the oil and going natural gas with the next boiler but the thing quit just as winter was starting last year. He was stuck with oil and purchased a new energy star 85% effficient boiler.

    So here I am with a new oil boiler, an old coal stove, and a quest to keep the baby due Nov 5th and wife as warm as possible for as cheap as possible. I don't expect to be done rehabbing the house until spring, but may be....

    I have the original hot air ductwork that would take minimal work to get functional again. I have a different set of duct work from the coal stove that also would be easy to get operational again. I have a fully functional boiler that burns expensive black stuff.

    I was looking at the Englander 28-3500 as a stand alone when I noticed that it wasn't EPA certified and after burning an EPA stove I really don't want to go back. I like clean(er) chimneys and moving less wood. I sweep my current chimney from the bottom and really can't do the same with this one. I don't want to be climbing the roof when it's iced over.

    Is there anything like the 28-3500 that is EPA certified? The house is fairly small, about a 1K square feet cape in it's current state. It'll pick up another 500+ or so when I finish off upstairs. The house will be fairly well insulated when I get done also.

    Matt and a little overwhelmed at the moment, but determined to finish one thing at a time.

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  2. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    Well the mini-caddy would probably be your best bet if you want an epa rated furnace. Either that or the Caddy which is a larger version of the mini-caddy. They are well built units, and have the viewing glass as an added bonus. The downside is it might be difficult finding a dealer, but shouldn't be impossible. Plus they do qualify for the 30% tax credit. As far as I know the only units that are EPA Certified are those of PSG, as far as forced air goes. The 1950 Hotblast I have is, but its a re-badged caddy. Here is a link.

    http://www.psg-distribution.com/products.aspx?CategoId=16

    These carry the option to add an oil-burner, or an electric backup heat source. They also make an add-on thats made to be tied in series with the current furnace.

    http://www.psg-distribution.com/products.aspx?CategoId=15

    Hope this helps.
  3. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Does the caddy heat the space it is in directly or does the majority of the heat go up the plenum?
  4. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    Its a furnace so all the heat goes through the ductwork. Its nice to have the even heat in the home with a woodfurnace.
  5. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I was at HD last night picking up fence supplies for my Aunt and they had the 30-NCH for $999 (and I'm sure 99 cents). I may have to look at this option too. I wonder if I could use a stove hood as the start of a bonnet? I remember my father saying he had trouble dissipating the heat from the coal stove and had trouble with it drying out the beams in the basement directly above the stove. IIRC, there is still drywall up there that he used to try to move some of the heat away.

    Does anybody know how clean the Englander add on burns?

    Matt
  6. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    The englander might be just the stove for you, but ... there are a few more add on wood furnaces out there, you might not want to eliminate the rest quite so quick. I'd do a search on here for add-ons by name, see what people are saying about their wood furnaces.

    If it was me (and I am biased, I own a Yukon, and normally we all defend what we have spent money on) I would buy a yukon yukon-eagle combo furnace, (can share a chimney), then both the wood furnace and back up would be forced air.
  7. CrappieKeith

    CrappieKeith New Member

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    I'd reccomend a Yukon too!

    What ever you buy ...look for an afterburn/gasifier,major heat exchange surface area,a bunch of dense firebrick for thermal mass and draft regulator with thermostat to regulate your heat.

    Just because it's EPA rate does not mean that they are as efficient as you can get...it just means they are better than the old style stoves.
    Call any testing facility and talk to the engineers. You'll see what I'm trying to say.
    The EPA 40/60 subpart AAA is the standard you refer too when saying it's EPA rated.

    For a solid 30 year warranted furnace ...see Yukons.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There is a lot more discussion about wood furnaces in the boiler room. Have you tried that Hearth.com forum?
  9. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Something else to think about is waiting. Oil is fairly cheap right now, and probably will be for some time. I can't imagine it will cost all that much to heat a 1000 sq ft cape with good insulation and an efficient burner... certainly under 500 gallons a year or $1000 or less. It's also ready to go and doesn't require any time. This means you wouldn't have to deal with installing/fabricating a wood burner or have to worry about preparing a year or two worth of wood to burn... keep this in mind since it sounds like you have a lot of other work to do rehabbing a house and preparing for a newborn. You can always get back in the wood burning game next year as your schedule opens up. Sometimes your time is worth more than the little bit of money you might have saved otherwise. ;)

    BTW, sorry to hear the sad news about your father... and congrats on the bun in the oven!
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    When you're trying to stay warm for the immediate future and there is an existing central heat supply in place it is usually the cheapest to just keep feeding that thing oil. Last I heard oil was relatively cheap.

    Sounds like your father had several different independent heating systems. The coal stove and its own ductwork. The oil furnace and its independent ductwork. The oil boiler must somehow feed some radiators?

    If I had the ductwork in place I would strongly consider a multifuel wood/oil or wood/gas furnace simply because the furnace works fine on the petroleum if you are not there to feed the fire or if you should become ill or something.
  11. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    I missed the fact you currently have a boiler. You could run an efficient wood boiler, and use your current setup. You have a new boiler, so I would wave that option before dropping money into a new system to switch to forced air. You have some things to think about. If your plan is to duct heat through the home, then a furnace would be the way to go. Trying to move heat through the house with woodstove isn't impossible, but its nothing I would attempt with ductwork. As far as the englander add-on its not going to be the most efficient wood furnace, but would do the job. Definitely look for secondary air and a heat exchanger. With that as square footage, a wood furnace can run you out of the home quickly in mild weather.
  12. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I may wait. That's pretty good advice. I just hate burning money. Last winter I got my 1600 sqft 90 year old house down to $426 in heating costs. It's going to hurt paying the oil man. We'll see. I may have time to play with it yet. I have 2 years of wood up and half dry at my house now. I was going to move the wood over as needed. It's only a mile and a half away. Funny thing is, is I moved all of it out of his front yard as that is where I processed it!

    Matt
  13. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    One thing I havve learned about add-ons is, you get what you pay for.
  14. CrappieKeith

    CrappieKeith New Member

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    You got that right....think about buying factory direct instead of through a retailer skipping that middleman mark up and state sales tax.
    Then look for steel thicknesses and firebrick which equate to weight.
    Look for an afterburn ....30-40 % of your heat should be made burning off that smoke.

    I've heated my 1500 s/f home in north central Mn. by loading my BJ90 in the a.m. and p.m.
    It never goes out...I'm always working off of a bed of coals.From Nov through May it stays lit and it's a controlled heat via a motorized damper and thermostat.
    I will also point out that if your needing a smaller furnace...most likely there is no afterburn built in anything under 90,000 btu's.

    The BJ90 is rated for 50-90K.
    It weighs 600 lbs. without a blower on it.It has a afterburn and is loaded with 3200 degree firebrick.It is made with 7 guage steel and has a rolled or round top to add strength.
    No furnace co. makes one like it.

    PS...my 100lb propane tank is still half full after 10 years serving my back up furnace.
  15. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    [/quote] ...most likely there is no afterburn built in anything under 90,000 btu's. [/quote]

    The mini-caddy is a 75,000 btu furnace that has the same technology as your new secondary combustion woodstoves.
  16. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I read they are no longer making the 1950. Is that true?

    Matt
  17. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    Well yes and no. They are still produced, but are a Caddy instead of a Hotblast 1950. Usstove bought some to distribute, but they never made them. They are made by a company in canada called SBI. They are distributed through PSG. The 1950 is a caddy that has the blower, with the option to add on electric or oil as a supplemental heat. Even though usstove quit selling them, I did qualify for the tax credit and got my certificate. Thats a plus! The only difference was the hotblast name, same color everything. They are well built. Its basically a EPA Certified stove with an advanced heat exchanger above the firebox surrounded by an insulated air jacket. I'm still currently installing mine, but everyone I have spoke with have been very impressed with theirs.
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