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)

Converting my oil boiler to wood pellets.

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by AndrewChurchill, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    I've been watching the Pellergy wood pellet conversion kits for a few years now and I've decided to bite the bullet and convert the oil boiler in my duplex.

    I've seen one that's been in production for two heating seasons and the owner of the system has been very impressed.

    There's about a 4 - 6 week wait to get the unit delivered so it looks like I'll have it installed sometime in mid to late May.

    I'll post pics once it's installed.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Messages:
    856
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Neat, I'm excited to see how it goes. How expensive is the Pellergy unit and what is the boiler that you will be putting it on?
  3. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    Completely installed with an 8 ton bin it'll be around $6000. I'm putting it on a Buderus Logano G215/3.

    I forgot to mention Efficiency Vermont is giving a $1000 rebate for this conversion so my total outlay will be around $5000.
  4. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    The Pellergy unit was hooked up this weekend and is running great! I ended up going with a 3.1 ton bag bin instead of building a wooden bin. Tonight I'll get the outdoor bulk feed pipe installed and I'll take some pictures Tuesday.
  5. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,575
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    A couple of the P&H guys around here have installed them as well with good results. They say it's about the same cleaning as with the oil. I'm curious about the ash acumulation on a European three pass boiler setup though. Buderus's are easy to clean with the swing out door though.

    TS
  6. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    It is easy to clean. Not that I've had much to clean yet. The swing out door is nice and the heat exchangers are easy to remove. I'm hoping to get 3-4 weeks between cleanings. It shouldn't be an issue in the summer since it's only heating hot water.

    Time will tell!
  7. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    As promised here are the pics. I've got this set up so I can switch back to oil if needed in less than 10 minutes.

    Auger.jpg Bin.jpg

    Attached Files:

  8. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,641
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    very interesting!
  9. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,575
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    Is the pellet bag completly sealed? When they fill it do the have an pnumatic truch with a hos to pull the air back out which they use to move the pellets, keeping the dust to a minimum? This seems like the best of all things pellet. I like it!

    TS
  10. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    The bag is sealed and when the pellets are blown in the bag inflates and acts like a large filter so a return line is not necessary.
  11. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,194
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    What is that bag equivalent to in oil storage? I've got the smaller buderus running on HHO and biodiesel mix.
  12. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7,078
    Loc:
    Salem NH
    Hello

    Wow, that is very interesting! Did you convert your Buderus Boiler to burn wood pellets? What model Buderus is it? I have a Buderus G115WS/4.
    How much did it cost? Do you know how many pellets your friend burned last season?
  13. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    It's a 3.1 ton bin which would equal conservatively 300 - 360 gallons of fuel oil. Total cost of the conversion is $6500 and based on current fuel prices my pay back is about 3 years.

    The boiler is a Buderus G215/3.
  14. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7,078
    Loc:
    Salem NH
    Many thanks for the Info.

    360 Gallons is about what it takes to heat my house for the winter since the 109,000 BTu Buderus with SuperStor Indirect DHW and my new attic insulation is more efficient. However I use the wood pellet stove and 3 tons to heat the house now. I still use about 225 gallons a year for the hot water. So with that conversion and another 1.5 tons of wood pellets I could get off oil!

    So looks like 4.5 tons at Home Depot's $209 per ton = $940.5
    Instead of 585 gallons of oil at $3.29 per gallon = $1924.65 of oil per year (Heating 2k sqft and DHW for family of 4)
    Of course my old oil inefficient 155,000 BTU Valliant Oil boiler with tankless coil took double the oil and today's cost would have been almost $4,000 !!!!

    225 gallons I now use for DHW at $3.29 = $740.25
    1.5 tons I would need for DHW at $209 = $313.5

    Saving $426.75 to convert DHW to wood pellets per year at $3.29 but that goes up in the winter!

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!
  15. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,575
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    I like the math too!
  16. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    Here's my math. Last year I bought 1300 gallons of fuel oil to heat the duplex costing $5300 and I bought 10 tons of pellets for $2500 to heat my single family home. Both houses are roughly the same size and insulated similarly.

    Currently HHO is running about $3.60 P/Gal and bulk pellets are around $265 P/Ton so the math looks like this, provided HHO doesn't spike during the winter which seems unlikely based on previous experience.

    1300 gallons of HHO $4680 10 tons of pellets $2650 equals $2030 of savings for this year and that's just if the HHO price doesn't go up.
  17. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,194
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Andrew.

    I love it when our local schools around here have changed to big biomass boilers. If you think about it.. That's GREAT that it's cheaper for you. Think of the fact that you most likely are buying pellets that are keeping some LOCAL loggers and a pellet factory going. The bulk of the money is staying very close to your home. Unlike oil where the bulk of your money is heading offshore, or at least MUCH further from your local area.

    AND..

    Those trees that made the pellets regrow a lot faster than any oil does!

    It's great when something cheaper turns out better!

    JP
    DexterDay and AndrewChurchill like this.
  18. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    I did my first cleaning yesterday. Based on the amount of ash in the boiler it looks like I can go about 6 weeks before I need to clean the boiler during the summer. I got the compressed air option with this boiler and it's keeping the burn pot very clean.

    Attached Files:

  19. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,575
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    Hey now, don't scratch up that nice blue german paint! LOL.

    TS
    AndrewChurchill likes this.
  20. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    544
    Loc:
    Fairbanks, Alaska.
    So dumb question... Where does the ash go/accumulate.
  21. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    Look at the right picture in post #18. That's the inside of the boiler.

  22. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    544
    Loc:
    Fairbanks, Alaska.
    That's what I thought, seems like you would lose ALOT of effiency. That much ash would block tubes on a LE. But I suppose pellets are much cheaper then oil.
  23. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    I'm getting 82% efficiency with pellets vs. 87% with oil. I've done a couple of cleanings and so far there has been no ash accumulation in the heat exchangers. As long as I do regular cleanings there shouldn't be a huge loss of efficiency.
  24. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    544
    Loc:
    Fairbanks, Alaska.
    I'm ignorant when it comes to Buderus stuff, how are you getting the efficiency number? Just very curious, because that seems like a lot of heating surface that is getting covered up, and every inch of heating surface covered is fuel wasted. Its good none of your tubes get ash in them. With the swing out door, should be pretty easy to keep up with the ash, and definitely is still cheaper then oil.
  25. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    622
    Loc:
    Vermont
    The Buderus is a triple pass boiler. Only the bottom of the boiler gets covered with ash so only a little of the total heating mass is actually effected. The efficiency number comes from a probe that analyzes the exhaust gasses in the flue.

Share This Page