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Advice on Gasser or Combo

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Pologuy9906, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    God's Gift to Gassification

    You better have a thick skin if you want to hang in the wood boiler world.

    Ideally, if the following are true:
    1. You can power vent your oil burner and have it meet code (distances to windows/doors, not dumping on a deck/patio, etc).
    2. You don't mind losing a piece of your basement to 1000 gallons of water storage.

    I would definitely go with a standalone wood boiler designed to operate WITH storage.

    If NEITHER of those is true and you WANT a combination boiler and one that can be run without storage, you really only have one choice left and I'm not even going to bother to say it since Fred and Mike are already in here.

    ac

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  2. __dan

    __dan Feeling the Heat

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    It was reading the board here that sold me on the Froling. Mostly I read others experiences that I did not want to repeat myself. I also read for years.

    One thing, A lot of the guys who are doing their own have unusual extensive technical experience, contractors, operating engineers, programmers, technical problem solvers. One of the things you have to ask yourself is how much do you want to attend to the unit daily or do you want something with the convenience of oil or gas. If the latter, the pellet boiler is the way to go. Honestly, I look at your standard situation and no house like yours should be built and sold today with oil heat. If gas is not available, they should be pellet boiler primary.

    The other thing you have to ask yourself is not the upfront cost, you want to know what system is the lowest cost to operate and maintain at the ten and twenty year mark.

    If you go cordwood gasser, you will absolutely need storage with the HW baseboard loads
  3. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    The Garn Junior has a lot to offer; efficiency, simplicity from a plumbing stand point, much simpler than adding storage to most boilers. The company has a good track record. Their units have been in operation since 1983! A person installs a Garn and you rarely see them on this site. Is there anyway a portion of a basement wall could be removed or single door be made into a double door, to allow the Junior into the basement? Pending on where you can locate the Junior, it can be direct vented through a wall to the outside; not requiring a chimney. The foot print of the Junior is going to be very small and likely no bigger than a boiler combination with 3 prebuilt storage tanks that will fit through a standard 36" door.
    I myself went with 1,000 gallons of storage before gasification was heard of. Storage offers firing at your convenience and allows your boiler to run flat out, achieving a very high efficiency level. And on the subject of storage you can never have too much storage! Lots of luck you are facing a uphill grind. !!!
    BoilerMan and flyingcow like this.
  4. Pologuy9906

    Pologuy9906 Member

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    I truly thank all the information given to me by the users on the site. Not having that technical background as others make the learning curve much more difficult. I width I could pull the gran in. That was first choice. My balco doors and entry door to the basement are not big enough. I'm surprised more havent made units that fit in a basement as narrow as 30".

    Its frightening when you see a unit for 5000 then one for 8000. You say to yourself is the 8000 unit hype or is the 3000 well worth it.
    flyingcow likes this.
  5. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Enjoy
    hobbyheater likes this.
  6. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    The key to making an intelligent decision is research. Tell the people on "HEARTH" exactly where you live and how far you are willing to travel in days. If you are willing to do some travel to see some of these systems in operation, I'm sure some members will chime in with their location. It seems to me that you have never heated with wood, let alone a wood fired boiler. Seeing these systems in operation can go a long way in your education.
    Other things to consider! How long do you plan to live at your present location? Is the capital investment worth it? Can you do the installation yourself? Do you have access to firewood? Do you have the tools, saws, hydraulic woodsplitter and a pickup? Do you enjoy making and collecting firewood? Do you have space on your property to store 10 to 16 cords of wood? If your answer to many of these questions is "NO", find another source of heat!
    On the price difference, boilers such as Garn and Tarm have been long time quality maker of gasification boilers and you pay for that quality. The newer lambda control boilers are more high tech so they can think for you, therefore a higher price range. In many situations, the price of the boiler only represents half of the cost of the installation once you add storage and all the components to make it work. The most important thing is to have fun with your potential system! ;)
    BoilerMan likes this.
  7. Pologuy9906

    Pologuy9906 Member

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    I'm 38 and plan on dying here, well worth it oil bill 3000+ a year and that wasn't using my entire house, I have expert help if I get schematics, I have access to wood, I have all tools except a splitter at this time, I own a few vacate lots I'm currently storing wood at. I'm serious about this purchase and trying to do my due diligence to ensure I made the right decision.

    I live in Fairfield County in a 2700+ sqft home with a 1200 sqft basement. 4 zones adding a fifth(basement). Home built in 1986. Insulated with batts. Cedar clapboard siding.
  8. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    You have said your door to the basement is not large enough for the Garn. Have you explored the costs involved to temporally making the opening large enough?
  9. Pologuy9906

    Pologuy9906 Member

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    Concrete foundation. I don't want to start screwing with my foundation.
  10. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    That makes sense. Again try and get to see some of these systems in operation. It will help you in the decision.
  11. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    If the door opening into your basement is only 30" wide, this narrow width may also narrow down some of your choices on boiler sizing and the types of storage that you will be able to use. o_O
  12. Pologuy9906

    Pologuy9906 Member

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    It's bigger. Lol
  13. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    Post a picture of the door! Bilco or Balco ?:rolleyes:
  14. Pologuy9906

    Pologuy9906 Member

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    Bilco door then an entry door
  15. Pologuy9906

    Pologuy9906 Member

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    I have about 31-33" of clearance. I just measured it. I have the bilco door which is much wider.
  16. __dan

    __dan Feeling the Heat

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    I'm getting the sense that you're all gung ho to burn wood, that's great. With an effiicient system, there's a tremendous quantity of heat in wood.

    Try going through the motions mentally to see what equipment fits your lifestlyle. Determine the equipment footprint and tape off or chalk the floor. Figure how you're going to move cordwood from the outside to the boiler through the bilco door and stairs?. Try that a few times physically to see how it fits what you want to do. I load two 32 gallon Rubbermaid plastic trash barrels and walk them through an Andersen walkout double door, but will switch over to a Gorilla cart.

    I'm gung ho for you to switch 100% over to wood, but I'm getting the sense that you may be busy, and the better system is probably one that saves you a lot of your own labor feeding and maintaining. You're also planning on making living and sleeping space in the basement ?

    Do it by the numbers in planning and design.

    That $3000 annually oil swags as 857 gallons #2 fuel or 5.7 cord. Do you want to invest that much of your own labor into moving five cord into your basement seasonally.

    You should also target taking out the electric DHW tank. I would swag that costs $130 monthly for $1600 annual. $3000 + $1600 x ten years = $46,000. Really, imo, that's the upper limit of your budget, meaning, can you do better spending 40 grand over the next ten years. I'm thinking the top line system you would want is 25 to 30 grand, installed cost. So you can justify getting the best available. really, This would be a standard calculation fitting every similar home on your street and in the state, everyone can justify top of the line but the hurdle for most is financing the short term upfront cost.

    Once you do the numbers and carry two barrels of cordwood down the stairs a few times, you should be all set to go for a 25K system. Not knowing anything of your specifics but knowing your typical application, you should be fully sold on a new Froling P4 pellet boiler or the Windhager.

    There are advantages, the cleanliness and lower labor of prepared fuel, smaller footprint with no or small storage, excellent efficiency at seasonal part load or for summer DHW, easier install by tossing out the oil boiler and tank.

    I'm not trying to stop you from a cordwod gasser, but it's a much bigger install with storage and keeping the old oil boiler as primary. Maybe you can put the gasser in the garage or add a workshop, man cave, outbuilding in the yard.

    For cordwood gassers, add the Froling FG L to your list, cannot wait for winter to start burning.
  17. Pologuy9906

    Pologuy9906 Member

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    I appreciate your advice Dan. I'm sold on cordwood. Pellets cost money and I don't mind the splitting, stacking and carrying wood. It's a nice workout! I actually like it. I honestly never looked at pellets
  18. __dan

    __dan Feeling the Heat

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    Yep, pellets should be the go to solution for people on oil who don't have cordwood.

    The Froling FG L is built to last. Over the life of the unit, it should be at or lower cost compared to your list. good luck.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  19. stratton

    stratton Member

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    Pologuy,
    i live in fairfield. Your welcome to check out my setup.
    Its a DS aqua gem 3200 non gasser it works great for me.
    give me a call LUKE 203-610-7667
    hobbyheater likes this.
  20. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    This was the main determining factor when I purchased my boiler. The list narrowed down to 3 boilers due the the narrow entry into the basement. My boiler even got a bit scraped up when we lowered it in.
    I think I can may be able to get a 500 gal. tank in my basement when the time and budget allows and I have the ambition to remove an oil tank.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  21. Woodstuck

    Woodstuck New Member

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    After just moving into a house that does not have access to natural gas I am sort of in this guys boat. My original plan was to buy an eko 40 this past spring with 500 gal propane tank. Thinking about it long and hard and knowing that installs rarely go as smoothly as you would like them I decided on installing a woodstove now with a boiler in the near future. This way you can take the time to have a good plan in place and not be in a rush. I am an electrician in the automatic temperature controls business and deal with large boiler installs on a weekly basis and I honestly believe there is know way your going to get something installed before this heating season. Every home and building is unique so the unit really should be sized and the system balanced properly to really get the efficiency out of the boiler. Also as far as the door opening goes have you measured the rough opening if you remove the door frame. This could buy you a couple more inches and would not be messing with your foundation.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  22. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Minister of Fire

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    Polo, I have a similar set up with a 3000 ft2 house, I have a TARM Excel 2000 with 1200 gallons storage. The last couple of years I figure I burned about 7-8 cords, that's heating the house, all of my DHW and a hot tub. The TARM is a combo unit which is nice having the oil back up, but if I had it to do over I would go with two separate units.

    I got my set up from Preston Trading post, but I'm sure there are other folks out there in CT.

    If you give me a chance to clean up first, you can come over some time, (I'm in Colchester) and have a look at my setup. I installed everything my self and built my own storage tank.

    I don't know if it sold, but there was a TARM solo with storage for sale on the forum in NY back around July 16th.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  23. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I don't have the numbers to throw at you but based on my experience with my EKO 25 and 500 gallons of storage, 500 gallons seems a bit light for a 40Kw boiler. My house is very well insulated and tight and gets more efficient every year. It's a hobby! The 25 heats the 500 gallon vertical unpressurized tank to180 degrees in about from 130 or so in about 3 to four hours. If your house is not super insulated the 500 gallons of storage will not be adequate. 500 gallons with a 40 Kw boiler is more of a buffer than storage.
    hobbyheater and BoilerMan like this.
  24. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    http://www.americansolartechnics.com/products.html

    This is a company that makes storage that will be easy to get into your basement. The boiler and zones run under pressure but storage is not. Also your DHW is just a copper coil immersed in the tank. This is a respected company on this site which would make sure the design of the storage would match your boiler and load.

    In my boiler manual, there is a complete set of plans for building your own soft storage tank; construction, plumbing and electrical. These I could forward to you.
  25. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    The Windhager LogWin that I saw in the lab in Austria had that same feature. Each piece of the refractory was individually replaceable. Wish I could get my hands on one of those....automatic lighting, automatic flue cleaning like their pellet boiler, lambda control, modulating burn rate, extremely heavy.....all the good stuff. It would probably be in the $8-10K range if they ever bring it over here. windhager 2013 008.JPG
    hobbyheater likes this.

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