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Converting to a Gasifier Need Advice on Brands

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by JimmyJames, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. JimmyJames

    JimmyJames New Member

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    After years of being a slave to the wood stove and having a house warm on one side and cold on the other its time to upgrade to a gasifier. My father in law is a HVAC installer with 30+ years of expirence and I am a jack of all trades master of none. Together we will be installing the system. I need help with what brand to go with. Iam very interested tin the Orlan EKO 25 but I am open to other brands. I have a pre civil war 1600 SF farmhouse in NE PA that is currently being upgraded with additional insulation new Storm windows ect ect. We have already performed a heat loss calc when we installed the heat pump/AC. I definaltley want to go with storage to make life easier and heat DHW. Do the Oraln's have a good reputation? Any advice or input would be gretly appreciated before I spend a signifigant amount of money.

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  2. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    After you heat the water with the boiler.. how is it gonna heat the house?

    Radiators? Baseboard?

    I of course am partial to the boiler I bought. I wont get into a ford/chevy debate. I bought the boiler solely because of the dealer. You won't find anyone on here talking bad about Mark at AHONA. Google him up. He's got quite a few boilers set up at his facility.. and is a wealth of knowledge. You're close enough to him that it would be worth it to take a drive.

    JP
  3. JimmyJames

    JimmyJames New Member

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    Thanks JP I will be using a heat xchanger with forced air in the existing brand new insulated ductwork. down the road I would like to install radiant floor heat in the downstairs. I will check out AHONA, your right having a good dealer is pretty important too.
  4. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    In addition check out alternate heating systems and smokeless heat
  5. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to Hearth!

    There are lots of factors to consider with a boiler purchase, and you can spend plenty of time on here reading about them. You will find plenty of Orlan EKO users here on the forums, and lots of advice on how to best operate them.

    Given your location, I would make road trips to go see AHS (the makers of Woodgun), Smokeless Heat (Varmebaronen, Attack, EKO, and IRLEH, I think) and AHONA (Vigas, Paxo) since they arent too far away. Users here have all had great luck with these dealers, and it would be great to see them in person. Dont rule out Effecta, Econoburn, or any of the Tarm/Froiling family either. It really depends on how much you want to spend, and how many features you want. You can get some that will burn pellets, some that are natural draft, some that are lambda controlled, etc.

    Since you have a wood stove, you should have some wood split ahead. If you split in the fall to burn that winter, you gotta change your tune, and get ahead by at least a year. Gasifiers like dry wood.

    But go see some dealers, talk to them, and depending on where you are you might find a member here that will show off their system so you get a good feel.

    Ask more questions, read old posts, and start thinking about how you want to pipe things up.
    Taylor Sutherland likes this.
  6. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Dang, lots of people posted in between when I saw it! Sorry for the repeats everyone!
  7. JimmyJames

    JimmyJames New Member

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    Thanks Clark. This site is great. Im ahead on wood so thats not a problem. I only burn well seasond wood my woodstove. I was looking at the Vedolux, how do you like yours?
  8. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    I am very happy with my boiler. Started using it last January, and there was a bit of a learning curve to it. I struggled a little, had less than ideal wood. But the thing is, it just works. Start fan, put in wood, light fire, close door, and it goes. My wife can run it without a problem, which was important to me. There are some adjustments you can make to the air, but chances are really good that where you start will work, and you can tune once you get to know it. Its really easy to clean, and thats all done from the front. Really nice option, especially in my basement where the head height is limited. I had a great experience with Dean @ Smokeless Heat, he put up with a lot of my questions and concerns, but was great to work with. But there are very few electronics that could break, and Maple1 has the model that doesnt even have a fan, so he can burn without power. I would have gone that route, but my chimney is too short.

    Only downside that I can see is that the pressure relief valve on mine is good for 1.5 bar, or around 23 PSI. It will impact the amount of expansion space you need, since other boilers can go up to 30. It may not be an issue if you use unpressurized storage, but it is an important consideration.

    The only issue I have with my boiler now is that I am envious of the new Varm lambda models, and want to trade it in :) Those are rated to 30 PSI, and look sweeeeeeet.

    All that said, I have heard great things about Mark @ AHONA here on the forums as well. Then again, everyone here was amazingly helpful when I was getting started and trying to figure things out. Keep reading, and feel free to ask questions or post designs!
  9. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

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    Welcome to the forum. Do your homework an your "piping" as well. Just from my reading (here) I know that you will need 2 different water temps when you add your radiant, it does not need the hotter water that your "hot air" system needs and provisions for this future use should be in your planning.
  10. JimmyJames

    JimmyJames New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. There is alot to think about and do to get ready for next winter. Another consideration is do I install ot the basement or build a shed and install outside? I have a walk out basement with a good masonry chimney but it would be nice to have all the wood, dust, ect outside. Do these units smoke at all when loading them twice a day? Installing outside would up the cost alot as well.
  11. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Both of those options have their merits, and you will find users that have done it either way. I would put it in the basement so that any heat losses from the boiler/tanks stay inside your house, instead of the shed. But as you mentioned, it does keep the dust, dirt, and smells outside. And it makes a little (or big, depending on how you build it) man cave, that will stay warm in the winter. Depending on if you need the shed for other things, it can now be a wood storage building also. Really its up to what your budget will allow.

    The smoke question depends on the boiler. I dont have a problem with mine if I open the bypass before I open the door.
    Taylor Sutherland likes this.
  12. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    for me anyway, i NEED a man cave detached from the house where i can escape from the domestic happenings within the home. will be about 10'x30' within 25'x'50 steel barn that i am in twice a day anyway to park the truck. also the only easily accessible space i have for wood stacks is behind the barn so that option makes sense for me. does add to the cost but keeping any mess out there is nice also.
  13. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Although I give up efficiency with the boiler in an outbuilding, I'd never have it any other way. Others here with the boiler in their heated space feel just as strongly for the obvious convenience and efficiency advantages. But everytime I screw up and open the door at the wrong time and get a big billow of smoke I'm glad it's where it is. At the moment the floor of my boiler barn is pretty messy with ashes, bark and wood pieces. My system is pretty much as you plan. Boiler's about 120' behind the house where the wood, splitter and other stuff lives. I initially had planned on an EKO because of it's proven history but took a chance for the same price on a BioMass and glad I did. The BioMass and EKO are kinda brother and sister products from eastern europe. The EKO has many years of many satisfied customers and now the BioMass is accumulating a similarly satisfied customer base of about 5-6 years. I'd include the BioMass in your trade matrix.
  14. JimmyJames

    JimmyJames New Member

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    Thanks for the adivce the shed would be my ideal situation just have to see if I can afford the extra cost. What kind of pipe did you use to run the HW to your house?
  15. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    good question. i was looking at outdoorfurnacesupply.com this morning. they seem to have good prices on PEX tubing. most guys seem to run 1-1/4" and some 1-1/2". stay away from the bubble wrap insulated one they have though.
  16. JimmyJames

    JimmyJames New Member

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    The thermopex is nice but very expensive.
  17. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    For our 60 class boiler and an underground run of about 300' round trip, I used oxygen barrier 1 1/4" pex and spray foamed it. Read the underground sticky. Lots of info on how to do the underground and when it makes sense to spray foam and when to just buy Thermopex. Several crappy products out there for the insulated underground so be careful. Foam in place works great if you get the right foaming contractor.
  18. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    All brands will work, some have more features or slightly different designs that have positives.

    Figure out what you are going to need to satisfy your load first. Check to see who's local next as support never hurts.

    After you have all that set go out and buy a Tarm. :p

    K
  19. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    I had the EKO 40 and it worked well enough for me. Insurance made me change the way I did things and I ended up with a Portage and Main Optimizer 250 which is an outdoor gasifier with built in storage of 240 gallons. They are a bit pricey but when you count the cost of storage and the boiler the Optimizer is like an all in one which simplifies plumbing.
  20. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    If
    if i were to install an outdoor unit that is the one i would get
  21. EffectaBoilerUser (USA)

    EffectaBoilerUser (USA) Member

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    There are many different brands of wood gasifiers on the market today which makes it more difficult to make a buying decision. However, I would certainly encourage you to look at the newer technology boilers that use a lambda sensor control system. In addition, I would highly recommend using the gasifier with water batteries (thermal storage).

    Please let us know if you have any questions!

    Brian

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