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Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by BoilerBob, May 3, 2013.

  1. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Lady down the road was all excited her boiler was coming soon. I seen the price on her brochure. I almost had a heart attack. Salesman told her a few blocks a day would heat her house, barn and swimming pool all winter.
    [​IMG]

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    Heat Output Capacity 262,000 Btu/hr †
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  2. NCFord

    NCFord Member

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    Is that installed? I hope so! I guess boiler salesmen are learning something from car salesmen.
  3. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    Wow, too bad she didn't know about The Boiler Room before buying that expensive thing.

    IMO, all OWB's, gasser's or not, should be required to list the standby heat loss(btus/hr) in the specs. Could take more than "a few blocks a day" just to cover the standby losses, assuming those blocks are dry. I'm sure the salesman made all that clear when he took the deposit.:rolleyes:


    Noah
  4. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

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    Now I understand why they make the firebox so big, for a few blocks a day.

    She might have to order a hydraulic lifter like this.
  5. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Good Grief! I gotta raise my prices.....I just quoted a guy's new house complete for a little over $19K including the ventilation system, all the infloor tubing, chimney, the Windhager pellet boiler and all the zone piping.....

    But hey, That's Central for you. They have pretty much mastered the promotion and marketing of their product and they do that particular aspect of sales better than anyone else. That thing will probably heat her house, pool etc all winter but she better have about 25 cord of wood processed and be ready to feed that thing night and day.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  6. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    To me it's sad that "a few blocks a day" is touted and people don't do any research and actually believe it! Having not seen this house barn and pool, I cannot speak, but that's a large load I'm sure. And we don't know what "a few blocks a day" really is, I'm guessing 25+ cord of blocks as well. Even at 100% efficiency which we all know is not possible, "a few blocks a day" won't have enough BTUs to heat one of those items, but again we have not seen any of this and my idea of a "block" of wood is something that is still in need of splitting and stacking so I can dry it and actually get 80% or so of the BTUs in it to heat my house etc.

    TS
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I see an ice rink in her future.
    flyingcow likes this.
  8. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

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    I was really bothered by this, because I know a few blocks a day won't cover her heat load in that boiler. Her hubby works away for 30 days at a time. But she was OK with feeding the boiler by herself and she was very adament on her choice. When I asked her if they had researched different types of boilers or other companies, she told me I could not change her mind.

    I would never spend 20g to 30g on a boiler system that I have to feed north of 15 cord per year, as we all know is very likely.

    Heck, I wouldn't spend 1g on a system I had to feed 15 plus cord /yr.

    I just don't get it.:confused:
    BoilerMan likes this.
  9. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Sometimes I have to wonder if it's the price point that makes people think they are getting some "state of the art" wood burning system. Well if we spend 20 g's on this unit it must be able to do what they say, and no one else's system can even come close because they don't have the "super efficient tech." that this system will! Marketing.

    TS
  10. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

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    So why do people keep buying these things? It is my understanding the Central sells more boilers each year than all the high efficiency indoor equipment suppliers combined. What is the message that is resonating so strongly with homeowners? Obviously something I've thought a lot about, but I would really appreciate any feedback on this. Thank in advance. Chris
  11. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Dang, had a reply typed then hit the wrong button.

    I'm in the same area. Simply: honest general consumer ignorance. I was actually likely in that segment before I found this place.

    Nobody is selling more efficient alternatives. Gassification? Storage? Nobody's heard of them. If nobody's selling anything better, how do you know there's something better?

    Even worse when there are 3 manufacturers within an hour from me and they are all still in the dark ages with their wood technology. There should be opportunities for manufacturers and dealers/installers (and by extension consumers) in this situation. Very aggravating....
  12. My neighbors son in law is a 'rich' doctor living in a 4500 square foot McMansion. When he realized what it would cost him to heat the place with oil he bought a CB. Said he was going to cut the wood on his own land and heat the place for free. That worked for most of the first year. This last year he had two truckloads of tree length green hardwood delivered in October. He cut it to length right before he fed the boiler.

    Apparently it didn't last as long as he hoped -- About a month ago my neighbor was cutting pine trees down and loading them onto his trailer. I asked him what he was going to do with it? He said the grandkids were gonna be cold at night since they had run out of wood... AND THEY STILL THINK I'M CRAZY for cutting and splitting 8-9 cords of pine to heat a 3500 sq. foot house!!!
  13. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

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    Up here in Northeastern Pa, most people seem to not even want to engage in the "gassing is better" conversation when they hear about things such as "storage", boiler protection pumps, extra piping , dump zones etc...
    They only care about the "sales pitch slogans" that have become the norm in "wood burning boilers", ie,
    a) this thing will burn anything
    b) you only feed it once of twice a day
    c) no need to split anything, just chuck the half logs in, no need for toothpicks(my fav..15cords of half logs,
    or 6 cords of small splits..what a conundrum)
    d) run an open system..you do not even need a HX, just convert your system to an open loop(love that one)
    e) it will last the same as any other boiler...(good one) and we have all the parts you may need...but not usual.
    f) it needs almost no maintenance..just clean out the ashes..my brother in law has found out about that one.)
    g) we usually bury the lines about a foot or two down,..we have some real good insulated pipes...
    h) we will deliver and set on your pad..no extra cost
    i) it has a roof on it and real good insulation...so no worries regarding the elements.
    i) etc etc....and free bologna

    By the time they have dropped up to 20k on the system, they start finding out the extra money or work needed to get the extra 10 cord they did not plan on and it is starting to get annoying.
    Then the parts start warping and rusting of...now they are getting pissed
    3-4 years in, it has become a cumbersome operation
    5-7 years...they have a metal lawn ornaments and are switching back to oil,
    Then, they hear gassser and say..I am done with wood..too expensive and way too many headaches.

    Of course not true across the board on all OWBs...many are doing great and some(P&M) are built very well, but it's a standard scenario for many others.

    IMHO...the consumers are at fault for not investigating the claims and performances of the products, but conversely the dealers are completely immoral and ignorant or worse...and I am not advocating for Government intervention, but if stupidity rules, then what? Darwin may have been right, but the fallout is greater than just individual elimination from the pool. The problem becomes systemic.

    Scott
    BoilerBob, scooby074 and heaterman like this.
  14. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    That pretty much sums it up Scott. CB and others like them have made burning wood very uncomplicated as far as the operation of their equipment is concerned. Nice packaging, nice looking control panel, easy to use, not finicky about what you burn.....or maybe a better word is digest, in them. They also have the EPA in their back pocket from what I can tell and that doesn't hurt matters any.
    The down side is horrible air pollution anywhere within 400 yards downwind, (the equivalent of something like 400 packs of cigarettes being smoked in your yard or 4 semi's idling 24/7), utterly grotesque efficiency, and what is probably the worst thing; they give wood burning in general a very black eye. If it keeps going the way it is right now, there will come a time when wood burning is severely curtailed or maybe banned altogether in the name of being environmentally friendly.

    I have to relate this........When I was in Austria this past February I went to a very large trade show for wood/pellet burning equipment. I was looking through the list of manufacturers there and .........behold and forsooth, verily I say unto you........CB was listed as being there. All the big guns in the industry were there, Viessmann, Windhager, Okofen, Froling, Atmos, EKO, to name a few of the basic wood oriented products, and then there was a host of lesser known but very high quality chip burners and other wood/pellet equipment
    This was interesting because I was trying to explain the concept and design of an OWB to Windhager's export manager just the day before and he was having a hard time with the whole premise of operation and concept. Kept asking, "why".....

    So I went hunting for CB's display thinking I would show him what I was talking about. They were not to be found in the main display area anywhere but the show was in multiple buildings so I thought they were maybe in a different one. About halfway through the day I hear someone calling my name and it was Bernhard from Windhager wanting me to come along with him. Turns out he had found CB's booth and wanted to know if that was what I was talking about. We went and looked and listened to the salesman's hype, Bernhard was enthralled....maybe that's not the best word because the look on his face was a mixture of amazement and disbelief at what we were being told. At any rate when we left he said, "I can see why they put them in a different building". I just chuckled and said I wished we could do the same in the US. I have no idea how they are able to sell them over in the EU given their air quality standards but they are trying to get their foot in the door there too.
  15. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    What you said Mike.........Driving around the countryside I see many....I mean a LOT, of recently built McMansions with OWB's sitting outside and it makes me wonder what they were thinking when the built that humongous place. Sure the builder told them it was very well insulated and efficient (maybe compared to a 1930's house) but it's still 4,000-6,000 sq ft!!! Even at a heat loss of 15 btu/sq ft you are still talking 60-90,000 btu /hour at typical design temps for Northern tier states. That's 1 gallon of LP gas per hour when it gets really cold. $40-50 per DAY!! at our prices around here. So maybe there are a lot of people who have money to burn on a house but no common sense.....or something to that effect.....
    As someone else said here, a few years down the road and the OWB is sitting there unused because they have just resigned themselves to paying $3-4,000 per year for fuel and their $10-20K "invesment" didn't pan out quite like they thought it was going to. They sad part is, they are soured on burning wood pretty much forever.
  16. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    BoilerBob, We need a report on this situation along about the end of February 2014......... ;)
  17. chewy

    chewy Member

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    Well I can't speak for anyone else, but my "free heat machine" hybrid fire 150 is the cats meow! I just love this thing. It burns up words of %20 percent efficient. I mean why on earth would you want the mess inside? Oh and if you're worried about not seeing what the f you are doing at 2am when it's time for more wood, not to worry it has a light bulb! It's funny when I hear people talk about there 2 burning chambers and heat transfer and 2000* bla bla bla.... I just sit back and laugh and know that my hybrid fire is taking care of me. (It's a different kind of gasification)

    I would recommend this owb to my worst enemy.

    Erin
    BoilerMan likes this.
  18. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

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    View attachment 101502
    It might be that seeing them in the yard, smoke billowing away, has the same effect as the stupid waving-dancing inflatable, attention getting blow up things you see at the car dealership.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  19. arbutus

    arbutus Feeling the Heat

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    The question: WHY?
    The answer: Ignorance, often willful (closer to stupidity then).

    I heated my former house with something akin to a barrel stove made out of 1/4 inch plate. 11 full cords of wood, reasonably dry, for a year's worth of uneven heat, roaring hot then cold four hours later. We did that for a few years then bought the largest Pacific Energy stove we could find, night and day difference in regulating the heat, and we burned half the wood.

    Go to another outdoors type forum and ask which wood stove is best to heat the house, and there will be a few that recommend a setup like we first had, on the basis that these newfangled EPA approved government regulated stoves are hard to light (only difficult with wet wood), don't put out a good heat (only if "good heat" means "glowing cherry red"), and can't dampen down at night (no, not all the way, but we're using it to heat, which you need at night, not make charcoal, and who cares about CO poisoning anyway?)

    Two houses near our previous place put OWBs in. I stopped in to speak with both of them, they showed me their setups, and seemed happy. Lots of wood, mostly green, was being consumed. There was wood available for free in that area, so no loss to them other than their time.

    What I found obnoxious about that setup was the frequent yard full of smoke.
    I came here a month ago and started reading and was surprised at all of these strange brands, with no mention of Central Boiler, Hawken, or any others. Someone here had compared the OWB to a washtub over a campfire, and, having spent time next to a poor family that did their laundry in a washtub over a fire in the driveway, it is an excellent comparison.

    I haven't settled on a boiler for our new to us house, but I'm considering the Empyre Elite 100, EKO 40, and Woodgun E140.
    I'm not even sure I want to drop the money on a hydronic system, even though that is the least intrusive replacement for the current expensive electric baseboard heat.

    I do have five+ cords of split maple being delivered over the course of the next week, after learning the importance of DRY wood for these boilers.



    Europeans are much different than Americans when it comes to discerning quality as well. I've heard the tale of an American housewife shopping for fish, and buying something based on price. The European housewife will waft her hand over the fish, and determine the stuff on sale, while a good price, is a week old, and will buy something else.


    A real example ... I just bought a Honeywell Braukmann sediment filter for my house. This thing cost two or three times what a comparable Vu Flow filter or similar size cartridge filter would have, but it is STOUT, very well made, and I'm reasonably certain that the plastic isn't going to degrade and crack after a few years, nor am I going to have to suffer slow weeping leaks as reviewed on Amazon.


    Thus endeth the wall of text.
  20. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Solid-fuelled (well wood only) systems are so user-dependant. The fuel quality&type, loading frequency, fireside cleanlyness, etc.... are all such huge variables. I've been trying to figure out the CB folk for quite sometime now, I know several CB users. They all are happy, with the huge amount of wood they burn annually, I even know one who burns into the summer for DHW. One will even admit that he'd burn far less wood if he had a gasser (he is a heating guy no less), but continues to stuff it anf shut it. Arbutus, not everything in Europe is better, having a Europens car collection and a true appreciation for good quality, I can say they do have many things right, but they do have their downfalls. I truly don't understand why we (Americans) don't have the same high quality material craftsmanship as they produce in Europe though. We do make some wicked rugged stuff, it just is not available to the public.

    TS
  21. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    The outdoor boiler is not the entire problem. Education will help. I cut my wood for an outdoor unit and had it dry went to purchase the unit and laws changed. The EPA approved outdoor units passed EPA as a batch burner not as a constant fire. The EPA OWB are now too expensive to achieve any savings. I went to see 5 differant e-classics in operation not one had the proper dry wood. So I think they get a bum deal based on end users misunderstanding based on some sales pitches(from friends and relitives also) that they have heard. This is how I found this site as I looked for alternate methods.
    What I have found here on this site. #1 thing: heat loss calculations to properly size the boiler and system #2 seek advice from many differant sources(more than one way to skin the cat)
    Many OWB owners have too large of a unit for extended burn times. because its easier for many to justify just buying the bigger one for a few extra bucks.

    I believe it it a shame we have divided indoor boilers and OWB. IMHO the differance is really the manner in the way we burn wood constant fire vs batch burning.
    Batch burning to storage even with a non-gasser indoor or outdoor is much better. the problem is cost to implement. it wont happened till we are forced(laws).

    Benifits of an OWB (IMO): 1. mess outside 2. no taxes on the boiler 3.relatively easy retrofit install

    After reading/educating on this site I have learned much more about central heating with wood boilers. but now I will only achieve benifit number 1 (mess outside). the real benefits I will gain though is long term reliability,less wood consumption.

    I would think there exists a real business oportunity for an indoor wood boiler company to collaborate with Central Boiler and produce a real performance OWB at a modest price.

    IMHO
  22. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    real performance OWB at a modest price........

    From what I see and what I know about the "inner workings" of burning wood efficiently and cleanly, those two factors are mutually exclusive.
    Making both happen in the same piece of equipment is physically impossible. Either goal diminishes the chance of the other happening. If it were not so, it would have been done already because the requirements for a clean, efficient burn have been understood by all the manufacturers and engineers who are truly involved in the business for a long time.
    It's time for the wood burning community to face the real costs associated with doing things right.
    BoilerMan and Frozen Canuck like this.
  23. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    I agree!

    The key to me was realizing Im installing a full central heating system. Not just buying a boiler and heat exchanger. This has more variables to ponder.

    Imagine for a minute you could buy a state of the art lambda controlled boiler that is self enclosed for outside installation and purchase the necessary heating system(plumbing&storage) Say for $15,000 from one knowledgable dealer. Then the end user can then shop the work for the install based on real data provided for the boiler and system.
    The real performance owb at a modest price would be the unit itself. many variables to consider the system.

    I disagree a bit on "it would have been done already" the market dictates what is produced. The classic OWB has a great following and many units are out there. they are bringing big money used on craigslist and they dont last long. That is why education is needed as most people burn would with a constant fire. So the opportunity is to capture the market with a real player and produce an OWB(gasser/batch burner) unit that works with a heating system designed properly for the aplication.

    my misconception with the OWB models was that I thought the water storage was acting as a thermal storage but reality it works as a heat transfer method.
  24. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    IMHO: because Central has provided a product based on an available market. The Market dictates always. Indoor boilers are just that indoor boilers. Put a shroud around it and call it a OWB and get it approved by EPA and sell it as an OWB.
    blend your technology with what the market wants, change the laws and you have a recipe for making profits. CB has no real competition in my area so they name their price. the only discount is manufacturer rebates. which means dealer makes profit.

    If I was building new I would design with an indoor wood boiler and indoor storage with radiant heat. with a local supplier with a storefront.

    To heat my existing home currently I just want to put a unit outside next to my wood storage and pipe it to my basement indoor storage(open or closed). So I look allover for a solution.
    IMHO all the boilers are too costly.
    As a note: just returned from WI. saw three differant CB tractor trailers. I did not see any other brands on the road. Brand recognition! Business CB has done well they now have a product priced at or above most indoor units and they are selling! amazing. If CB builds an indoor unit I bet they would sell it.
    If wood boilers where my business, I would collaborate early and get in on the ground floor.

    if OWB get banned 100% then to remain the logical thing would be to produce indoor models or go out of business.
    If IWB do not sell then to remain one would need to team with an OWB company to capitalize on their market.

    I went looking at first to buy aCB OWB thinking I would have some inefficiency in wood consumption but also thinking in my mind I wanted to be in the $5000-8000 range. So I guess in a way the OWB market is allowing indoor models to get brand awareness.
  25. arbutus

    arbutus Feeling the Heat

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    I agree.

    It would wind up being something like the Pro-Fab Empyre Pro or Elite XT lines with a regionally popular name.

    Most indoor gassifiers are still seem to be near double the going rate of OWBs, starting at $7-8000 vs $3.5-4000

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