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Posted By goathill,
Dec 2, 2008 at 6:33 PM
We live in Ware. We'll be building in Hardwick.
Make sure the boiler you purchase has the listing UL, ASME, or otherwise, required by your local building department and insurance company, or you won't pass inspection or be insurable. My locality requires UL only so I went with a Tarm (Baxi). Econoburns go a step further with the ASME listing that Floydian indicates may be needed in Massachusetts, I don't know. Last I looked the Eko had neither, but that was a year ago and maybe has changed. The first step I took prior to purchase was to bring the product literature to my insurance agent and Building Inspector for their go-ahead. A pain, but necessary to avoid a potential financial bath.
I just found out putting the system outside reduces the efficiency of heat transfer to the water by 10% because of the need to use antifreeze. Another thing to take into consideration.
Tarm's are great boilers. This is my second both in MA. I'm sure the guys at Bio Heat could help if you local guy can't. Where ever you place the boiler try to have a few days worth of wood available and easily accessible.
Wood. Gassifiers like DRY wood. If you are splitting for this winte. Split it small, stack it loose in a sunny / windy location. 2 year seasoning is recommended but 1 will work.
You can design the house with a boiler room at ground level that has its own access to the outside for ease of moving wood and is accessible through a garage or the house so that you don't have to go outdoors to tend the fire, but the mess is not inside of the living space of the house. This saves on the expense of burying the lines and doesn't require freeze protection. The idea of a separate structure comes from mimicking the OWB setup which exists because it would be dangerous to have a smoldering fire indoors. Gasifiers burn so clean you don't have the risk of chimney fires etc. that older wood burning technology had. A boiler room off of the house solves the problem of wood mess in the house and is a good compromise you might want to consider.
If you are not self-installing, then I would contact the local guy who does Tarms and see if there are any others that install gassers in your area. Get them involved early in the process... There are a few companies that sell refurbished propane tanks that can be used for storage if the price of commercial storage is too high for you. AHONA and Smokeless Heat come to mind as two that offer tanks that are ready for install.
I ended up going with an Econoburn 150, and installed as mentioned above in an add-on space to the back of the garages at ground level. The EB150 is piped to the natural gas boiler in the basement via 1.5" pex. I installed a triple lined 8" chimney pipe up the side of the garage 2nd floor, also an addition (bedroom) during the renovation project. We are not fully moved into/living at this house yet, but worked there all winter doing trim work, etc and had the boiler going many days. I would find that it sometimes created more heat than I could use via the hydro air. I do not have storage, yet.... Anyways, the dedicated space attached to the house/garage seems to be the way to go. my garage never got below 52 degrees all winter, even when it was in the single digits outside, and I have not installed a heat exchanger out there yet. I do have a small modine that will go in before next season. I had a rear garage door installed also, so getting wood in is simple. I also consulted with an installer here in CT long before the actual install. I installed a 300 cfm ceiling fan above the front of the boiler to rid the area of any smoke that may come out of the boiler when you open it. The building inspector was involved and all they made me do was install a 2nd layer/wall behind the boiler as the flu pipe was less than 17" from the combustable wall. I had offered to brick it, but they required a 1" air gap, so in installed a sheet of aluminum diamond plate on the back wall and ceiling with stand offs and double nuts to position it 1" away. It looks really cool too
You may be able to still have the boiler in a shed without glycol by having a pump circulate water every so often or an auxiliary heater in shed for times when the boiler is cold.
I will be putting mine in a shed with 1000 gal of storage also in shed ( no glycol ). Putting it in The house would be more efficient though.
One of my worries is an ice storm that could cause us to go without power for weeks. We were thinking of putting a wood cook stove in the kitchen to keep things from freezing if that happens. I suppose the antifreeze would be an insurance policy if the boiler were outside. Like insurance it comes with a price. Today I was thinking of putting the boiler in the basement and the wood in a carport next to the house with a chute to drop it in the basement. Thanks for all the suggestions.
Living in New England you do need to worry about ice storm related power outages, but the cost of a generator has come way down over the years. Not only will you need heat to stay warm, but lights to see, a microwave to cook, and keep the refridgerator going to keep things from spoiling. Spend 7-800 on a decent generator and forget about power outages.....
Forced hot water heat draws a small electrical demand, circulators, boiler fan etc. Forced air sometimes more because of 220V fan motor + boiler set up. When you start talking about no power for an extended period and being comfortable.... Do you have well water ? A well pump 220V is usually the biggest demand on a generator.
good point Rob. I have hydroair, so I need the 220v for the air handler. I have a 10 circuit GenTran panel with 2 used for the air handler. The rest of the (8) circuits are for the boiler(s), fridge(s), microwave, lights, etc. I DO NOT have a well, thankfully..... I have a 5,000 watt generator and it is more than enough to run all of the above. For an extended power outage in a house with a well pump, you would need power just to flush the toilet, never mind heat or eating.....
Another thumbs for the Econburn. I installed a Econoburn 150 last fall to heat my house and DHW and was extremely happy with its performance. I'm really looking forward to burning again next year because I've learned alot during my first year of burning. Should just get more efficient with time/experience.
I changed my mind about putting a boiler in the new house and I'm leaning towards a masonry heater. The two main reasons are cost and the simpler technology of the masonry heater.
Cost??? I believe a masonry heater will actually set you back more than a gasification boiler. I'd be surprised if you could build one for less than $10,000, even the kits are pricey. The masons that build these heaters are very specialised and they don't work cheap!
I didn't try to make it sound like masonry heaters are cheap wood burning appliances. But if you include the cost of a boiler, flue, water storage and plumbing. I think the masonry heater can be built for less as long as it's kept simple without some of the options available like fancy stonework, bake oven, heated bench. I will be giving up the hot water but I think that will be offset a bit by not needing electricity for fans and pumps.