1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Benjamin Maine Wood/Oil Combo Boilers?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Badfish740, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,404
    Anyone have experience with these? I have forced air oil heat now which I supplement with an Englander Add-On furnace. It has worked well for the last five years and saved me a lot of money, but in the winter our house gets as dry as a popcorn fart despite our best efforts to keep it humidified. Plus, we are planning on doing a large addition eventually (it's a 2 bedroom/1 bath ranch right now) that is going to require major changes to the heating and cooling systems anyway, so when we do that, we'd like to switch to a hydronic system. Gas is not available where we live and I don't want to switch to propane either. I was just doing some Googling and came across this company. I'd love to hear from someone that owns one and how they like it.

    http://www.mainewoodfurnaces.com/products/indoor-cc500/

    From what I can tell it sounds like their dealers are all located in and around Maine. We live in NJ but go to Maine often, so I could easily trailer one back with me after a vacation.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,836
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    I used one for 17 years until this time last year, and live 15 minutes from where they're made.

    VERY inefficient at burning wood - I don't think they have a BTU output rating spec'd anywhere that I saw, but if I had to hazard a guess, I'd guess around 50,000.

    If you don't have much of a heat load, and don't mind burning some oil now & again, and don't mind cleaning your chimney 4 times a year, and don't mind tending the wood fire every 4 hours - you might like it. Better than burning just oil, I'll give it that much.

    You could have come to Nova Scotia & trailered my old one home, up until a month or so ago. :)
  3. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,404
    Sounds like my Englander :p They do make a gasser-maybe that's worth checking out too?
  4. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,836
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    They do?

    Do you have a link to it?
  5. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,404
    http://www.mainewoodfurnaces.com/products/wood-gasification/

    And it's a combo unit. The combo is attractive to me since I'd be starting a hydronic system from scratch. If I had an existing boiler that would be one thing, but the prospect of having to install two boilers at the same time is a little daunting. Having both in one unit would be great.
  6. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,836
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Ah OK - that's a Biomass (brand) unit. Nothing to do with Benjamin. Check out the 'Biomass' sticky at the top for more info on those. I haven't read much though of anyones experiences with the Biomass Combo. It was on my short list when I was looking. Looks like a good unit but more hands-on info would be nice.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  7. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,404
    Ok I get it-so Benjamin is just acting as a dealer for Biomass. I'll start looking into those.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  8. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,836
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    I think it's more like Maine Wood Furnaces is a dealer for Benjamin & Biomass.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  9. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    376
    Loc:
    SE CT
    I looked into the Benjamin DO series ad on wood boiler a bit when I first started looking at boilers allmost 2 years ago. They seemed nice and simplistic at first, but after looking at more units out there I realized they are nothing more than an old school boiler that resembles a baby basic OWB. "Oval firebox completely surrounded by water jacket, no messy fire tubes to clean, etc." Which means it will never burn clean and it has no real heat exchange setup to keep the fire hot and efficient at secondary combustion. Apparently that was a correct impression based on what Maple 1 experienced.

    Last year my stove was needing more repairs than I felt like giving it, again. It was getting up there in age. I saw a 3 year old Englander 28-3500 for sale in central Mass on CL for 1/2 price. The seller gave it rave reviews and said it did a great job on his 3000+ sqft basement & house. Folks around here also had good things to say about the company and that furnace. I had fallen for the looks and design but waited too long and it sold, so I got a new one from HD.

    6 weeks after hooking it up it plugged my chimney. I had to clean it as the flurries were starting to fly the morning a blizzard was rolling in. That pissed me off because in 16 yrs of burning 2 different stoves with secondary burn designs, I never had a clogged chimney, only about 1/2 gallon of dry flyash to clean out annually. I have to add a disclaimer that the creosote clog in the chimney was not entirely the Englander's fault as my oak was not as dry as it normally is. I had a grapple load of oak delivered and cut, but was seriously delayed 3-4 months in splitting it due to a chest injury. I experienced a choking event and the 8 -10 hiemlick's I received had my rib cage AFU for months. That injury was the event that solidified the fact that I MUST ALWAYS be several seasons ahead with my wood proccessing.

    We were prepaired to run the 28-3500 again this year and were still looking into boilers when we came across a deal on a used but refurbished Empyre Elite 100. So for the 2nd season in a row I am swapping burners and on a new learning curve.

    IMO, you should run with what you have and plan carefully. If you are looking into the addition and a swap to hydronic, a gassifier and plenty of storage with ??? as backup sounds like a good path to take.
  10. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,836
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Pretty well nailed it, with everything you said.
  11. TWP36

    TWP36 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    I posted awhile back about the problems I have had with my Benjamin wood/oil furnace. IMO and the opinion of the professionals that helped me rebuild my furnace is that they are very poorly engineered and are built with substandard materials. Do yourself a favor and continue looking elsewhere.
  12. TWP36

    TWP36 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    First off, I hope you have the best carbon monoxide alarms money can buy. Secondly, if I were you, I would do everything in my power to get Benjamin to take that furnace back. Honestly, I hope a class action lawsuit is brought against them. Between Benjamin and their dealer in Maine, I have never experienced such poor customer service. I could go on and on but I think you get my message. Look at the Better Business Bureau reports on them, I wish I did before I purchased their product.
  13. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    914
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    Call Mark Norwood (207) 807-6570 and speak with him about them. I am helping him install one in NH (unemployed atm), and I bought my pellet boiler through him. GREAT guy, worth a call to pick his brain. Tell him Jeff told you to call ;)
  14. Mainewood

    Mainewood Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Somewhere in Maine
    I do not follow this forum as often as I would like. I have found it to be a valuable resource in gaining knowledge about wood boilers and regularly tell prospective customers about it. I have also learned that you need to discern the facts from opinions and misinformation. I am the "Maine dealer" referred to in the post above. I would like to add a couple details that have not been disclosed.
    1. My company did not sell the furnace in question. It was purchased from a dealer in N.H. who is now out of business.
    2. I was contacted by the customer for help with his Benjamin wood/oil hot air furnace.
    3. I listened carefully as he told me he had a problem with smoking and poor draft. He also said that he had problems with the chimney and that his heat exchanger had burned out.
    4. The heat exchanger burned out prematurely because of excess creosote build up that I believe was allowed to sit in the unit over time. As we all know creosote has a corrosive nature. I also know from experience that even gassers can have creosote problems if they are not operated correctly. http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/creosote.116530/ Many times the problem is not the product, but incorrect installation or a lack of understanding in its proper operation. I do understand the frustration & anger because I have experienced it also while learning. That is why this forum exists... so we can learn from each other.
    5. I contacted Benjamin for a solution. I told the customer that I could provide him with a replacement heat exchanger at my cost.
    I did not sell the original unit, therefore I made no profit on it. I offered to sell a replacement at my cost. How does that equate to "poor customer service" or warrant a "class action lawsuit"?
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
    sinnian likes this.

Share This Page