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Benjamin CC500 wood/oil boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by gshep, Feb 16, 2008.

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  1. Jimxt88

    Jimxt88 New Member

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    Loc:
    Central Maine
    I'm afraid you have lost her. You guys went right over what her primary concerns were after keeping her house heated..." but I’m a middle aged woman who hasn’t the time nor desire to be married to a wood only boiler. I’m looking to simplfy things. What happens during cold spells? How does the wood get into the firebox if I’m away?" So what do you say guys... how does she keep the pipes from freezing if she doesn't have an automatic fossil fuel backup. Listen to the customer.... I know I'm butting in but I want Gshep to know she is being heard.

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think we're addressing her concerns. I'm suggesting leaving her existing oil boiler in place as a backup and installing a dedicated wood-fired boiler for primary heat. The alternative is to tear out the existing oil boiler and install a combination wood/oil boiler. My point is that it's unsafe and inconvenient to vent both oil and wood sides into the same flue. I've done it, and I don't recommend it. I'm also suggesting that it's unwise to put your entire heating system into one pressure vessel if you can avoid it. Better to have two separate appliances that can be isolated from the system in the event of a problem, such as a leak or a plugged chimney.
  3. Jimxt88

    Jimxt88 New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
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    Yes, you are right. I knew you were giving her good advice. I thought she may have felt her problems were solved with the CC500 and wanted confirmation. I know what it is like to think you've found the solution to your problems only to be told it isn't going to be that easy. I know you are not salesmen. I appreciate all the genuine support and interest you have shown my concerns. I hope she takes your advice. Would you recommend the Harmon Pellet boilers. Not necessarily to gshep but in general. I am thinking of buying one to solve another heating problem in my life not previously addressed on this chat room.
  4. Jimxt88

    Jimxt88 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    40
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Having trouble finding a dealer around here for the Harmon Pellet Boiler. I'll have to call the fellow in Maine I was referred to earlier. About Gshep and the CC500: as I understood you Erik, you were trying to tell her that she can avoid being married to a wood stove by leaving her existing oil burner in place and adding a wood-only gasifying boiler arranged to work in parallell with her oil-fired boiler. By means of a plumbing/electrical circuit that would induce the oil appliance to kick in when her wood-fired boiler is left unattended. Is that right? The caveat being that she would also have to find a way to vent the two appliances independently of one another. Chacnes are, if her existing oil boiler is twenty-five years old, her chimney is not lined. If she puts a wood burning appliance into that flue she will have to line the chimney not only for code compliance but for health and safety. Of course she would want to do this even if she went with the Benjamin CC500. Is venting the oil-boiler out the cellar window something that can be done within code limitations?
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    From most perspectives, a pellet boiler is an excellent choice. I don't know anything about specific brands. My only concern with pellets is that their pricing will always track that of oil. If oil goes up a buck a gallon, you can bet that pellets will rise in price accordingly. You'll probably always save money with pellets, but you have to factor in the initial cost of the boiler vs. oil, and realize that the savings won't approach those of chunk wood, which can be had in many cases for little or nothing. And the price of raw wood tends to be a lot more stable. But it's also a lot more work. So it's more of a lifestyle choice than anything else.

    A clay-lined chimney is technically a Class A chimney, I believe, so it would work (and be legal) for a gasifier or conventional wood boiler. It might or might not work as well as that same chimney with a stainless steel liner, but I'd try it first just to see, especially with a gasifier, which won't produce any creosote.

    You've got the oil backup/wood-based primary setup right. Why tear out a perfectly good oil boiler and replace it with something that might not work as well? Makes no sense to me. There are plenty of good ways to set the two up to work together. Personally, I just disconnect my gas boiler and use the wood all the time, except on those rare occasions when I'm out of town for more than a day in the winter. Takes about 10 minutes to get it working again.

    In gshep's case, I'd consider power venting the oil boiler (out through the foundation or wall) and use the existing chimney for either a gasifier (half the wood and no smoke, but higher initial cost) or a good conventional wood-fired indoor boiler (lower initial cost but twice the wood consumption, smoke and good chance of creosote).

    My motivations are pretty transparent: I believe in burning wood instead of fossil fuels, and I want to encourage people to use the best technology they can afford.

    That said, I also believe in supporting our sponsors. Cozy Heat (top banner) has a nice line of pellet-burners that I would encourage you to check out.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The single flue idea is always interesting, but I suppose a lot of code authorities would question the Benjamin (two separate stove pipes) - even if it has a listing. Many would want the chimney to have the capacity to burn both fuels at one time at full bore. Others would simply turn it down and tell you to appeal it. I know because this has happened to me in NJ.

    Also, what are the chances of an older oil flue meeting current NFPA? Meaning that it is 2" away from all wood on the whole way up....almost impossible. The chimney therefore must be relined with a smaller pipe - again, a smaller capacity.

    So all these things must be taken into account when making a decision. Better to have too many opinions than not enough.
  7. mlrautiola

    mlrautiola Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
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    3
    Loc:
    southern NH
    Hello,

    I bought a Benjamin CC500 last year for my new home. The home is around 2000 SQ FT . I moved into the home at the end of November. I have been burning wood steady since i moved in. I am guessing i have burned about 4 cords so far. The 2 negative points I have encountered is that the wood box is too small which requires multiple loading around 4 or 5 times a day ( depending on how cold it is.) and that the buildup of creasote on the fire door ripped at the gasket. (Dry wood will eliminate this, I burned some green wood because I ran low on dry.) Even with these 2 negatives i have been impressed and have been warm and toasty without supporting the OIL companies. I am on a short Vacation right now so I let the OIL run while I am gone. Before i bought it I did look into the TARM units. They are alot better and efficient but double in price. I think this unit would heat an 1000 SQ FT home with ease.
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Welcome to the Boiler Room, mirautiola. Glad to have you aboard.
  9. gshep

    gshep New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
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    Loc:
    Northern NJ
    Hi,
    Thanks so much for sharing that information with me. I suspect that if your unit is heating 2000 sq feet; and the amount of wood required to keep it comfortable; it's probably safe for me to say that I may need only 3/4 of that. I'm taking into consideration, I have a much older home that is not well insulated and obviously outside temps. I realize all of this must be factored in. What really concerns me is your mention of creosote build up. How often has cleaning been required? Are you speaking only of the fire box or of the chimney as well? Please let me know; provided you get this.
  10. mlrautiola

    mlrautiola Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    southern NH
    Hi,

    The creasote build up I mentioned is on the fire door where you load the wood. When your house is not calling for Heat and the Boiler water temp reaches the peak (190 deg F) the auto draft closes and kinda smolders the fire. As the fire is smoldering the exhaust temp is lower and if the wood is to green can even lower the exhaust temperature more and cause creasote to form on the inside of the door and else where. The creasote usually does not form thick as it is burned up when the draft is back open and fire can roar. On my case the creasote stuck to the door and gasket and when i had opened the door to reload the wood It ripped a little. I called my dealer and the shipped a replacement free of charge. Since i turned it on over 2 months ago I have not cleaned any except for a simple scape down at the door to prevent future tears to gasket. I used a mirror and peared up the chimney and it looks fine for now.
  11. Mainewood

    Mainewood Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Somewhere in Maine
    Here is a copy of Gshep's email:
    Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 6:24 PM
    Subject: Benjamin cc500


    > Hi Mainewood, I hope you get this email. I really appeciate all the advice
    > I've received from the forum. However, I feel as though I'm being pushed
    > toward a add-on wood boiler. I'm being told what to take into
    > consideration
    > but no one is taking into consideration the fact that they don't know the
    > layout of my house. Additonally I clearly said early in the exchange; that
    > I was not interested in a wood only boiler.
    > My house use to be a summer bungalow that was converted years ago to a 4
    > season home. The original structure consisted of a walk-in basement and
    > bathroom noted as level #1. The chimney at that time was on the outside of
    > the structure. Level #2 consisted of kitchen and living room only. Years
    > later a garage was added to level #1 and a 2nd bathroom and two bedrooms
    > were added to level#2. As a result of the addition the chimney now runs up
    > the center of the house because the builder built around it. Based on the
    > design of the house; the Benjamin seem as though it would work. I spoke
    > with the building inspector, he stated that the one chimney could be used
    > for a multi-fuel boiler. He said I would need a permit for the fire and
    > electrical installation. With that being said; I already assumed the
    > chimney wood require re-lining. Otherthan that the installation appears to
    > be cut and dry; take out the old boiler and put in the new; keep in mind
    > this is pure speculation on my part.
    > A wood boiler needs to get vented somewhere; I believe there are
    > restrictions on length and height for the vent. The outside walls are not
    > accessible from the current set-up, neither are the windows. So the
    > thought
    > of adding a wood boiler doesn't seem possible without riping my house
    > apart
    > to accomondate a 2nd boiler.
    > I have already dumped money into my old Weil-Mclain. Its not as efficient
    > as the current models and I'm totally dependent on the oil companies and I
    > would like to change that. I want to put the money back into my pocket.
    > All
    > I really wanted from the start of all of this was to know if anyone had
    > prior experience with the Benjamin and what I should be concerned with.
    > Tarm and NewMac can't accomondate me based on budget and the layout of my
    > home.
    > Please if you can respond with your experience.
    >
    > Thanks
    > Gshep
    >
  12. tmac

    tmac New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    nova scotia
    Hello
    I purchased a cc500 benjermin boiler 3 years ago. My house is approximately 1800 square feet. It is a older home which i have reciently renovated. The boiler can be installed on a single flue, there is a flue restriction switch in the exhaust pipe from the oil boiler which will not allow the oil burner to come on if the chimney is resticted. The fire box door is 13 inches wide x 12 inches high, it can take a 20 inch stick of wood . I live in Nova Scotia Canada about 100 miles from where the boilers are built, manufacture not very helpful with tech support . I burn between 10 to 12 cords of hardwood per year, have not had any issues with boiler cracking but friend of mine has same boiler and his cracked where exhaust pipe exits fire box ,boiler was 2 years old company would not warranty unit, he had to have boiler welded. Also there are two domestic hot water coils at rear of unit they are inside of insulating jacket bolts came lose holding coils in ,boiler developed leak ,water evaporated before leaking out onto floor ,he did not realize it was leaking until he turned boiler off for to repair cracked exhaust pipe. When he contacted company he was told it was installer's responsability to check bolts for tightness which would require taking insulation jacket off of boiler. He had to have boiler patched to repair rust. Burn time approximately 2 to 4 hours on fill. What other person told you about not putting all eggs in on pressure vessal is true. This boiler has two seperate fire boxes one for wood and one for oil but they are incased in one outer drum which contains the heated water if leak developes in one unit you cannot use the other. I would not recommend that you purchase this unit.
  13. Mainewood

    Mainewood Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Somewhere in Maine
    tmac, I am a distributor of Benjamin products in Northeastern United States. I am sorry for your problems with the CC-500. Please contact me if you would like to discuss your situation with me.

    www.mainewoodfurnaces.com
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