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Building a Small Wood Boiler, Advice Needed

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Theodore, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. Theodore

    Theodore New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Hello Everyone,
    I am wanting to build a small boiler to install in my shed, I have already laid the insulated piping under ground going from the shed to the house before the ground froze. All the home made boilers I have seen are way to big for what I need. Has anyone built a small boiler and/or could direct me to a good tutorial that I could look at?

    Any help would be awesome!

    Thanks,
    -Theo

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  2. 700renegade

    700renegade Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    NE Wisconsin
    You don't mention it but I assume you intend to burn wood and a gasifier isn't a requirement.

    my advice is track down a used commercially made boiler on craigslist and save a ton of headaches, time ( and probably money ). I sold a nice Buderus 140k btu unit for $1300 this year - I'm sure there are plenty of options like that floating around. Probably can pick up an 80k unit for cheap as most will be looking for something bigger.

    If you are industrious and handy enough to manufacture a boiler, you're better off buying a used car with a blown head gasket, fix it some Saturday and use the $1k or $2k profit when you sell it to pay for the boiler.

    my 2c
  3. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    861
    Loc:
    North central Alberta, Canada
    + 1 to be sure. You will likely get enough work cleaning/moving/reassembling a used gaser to give you the sweat equity feeling. Use those skills to earn $$$.
  4. Theodore

    Theodore New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Thank you for your input. I'm a big DIY kind of guy. I like the feeling of completing projects like this. I really do like the idea of using profits from other projects to pay for my current project... I guess I will continue to do some research in hopes to come up with a solution that will fit my needs.
  5. Lapeer20m

    Lapeer20m Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I built my own boiler. I think a smaller one would be easier for a few reasons:

    Smaller tanks are cheap and easy to find.

    There is a lot less welding on a smaller boiler

    Its easier to move, especially important while welding on the unit.

    You could use a 44 gallon welltrol tank for either your firebox or the outer wall of the water jacket. These are nearly free after the diaphragm ruptures and they are no longer suitable for well duty.

    There are lots of used air compressor tanks, or 100 gallon propane tanks, or other similar sized pressure tanks out there for cheap if you know where to find them.

    If you don't count installation you could build one pretty easily for under $500.

    Myself, I think a smaller firebox would equal shorter period of time between loading, so I think bigger is better. I do think you could put a lot of heat into water with a much smaller unit.

    Another option is to use an airtight wood stove as the firebox and simply find a tank that the stove will fit inside of. If you look on Craigslist in the summer months you can find wood stoves under $100 in Michigan.

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