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empyre pro series/greenwood aspen or e-classic 1400?? opinions?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by firecaptain, Feb 23, 2010.

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  1. firecaptain

    firecaptain Member

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    i am considering two different models of outdoor gassifiers. the CB e-classic 1400 or the empyre pro series, which is the same as the greenwood aspen model.
    which would you recommend? i have heard both arguments for and against each one.
    just to throw this in, i am not considering and indoor gassifier. personal reasons, as my login says, i am an engine captain with a fire dept. i currently use an old school indoor wood burner and want to upgrade, just dont want the fire in the house.... seen too many houses reduced to ashes due to indoor stoves.

    so please give me your good/bad thoughts on each of the forementined units. any personal experiences?
    thanks in advance!!!!!

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  2. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Might I suggest an indoor tried & true gasifier in a building outside away from the home, location as per your property & wind direction so very little/no smoke drifts toward the home. Not that the outdoor models are bad they are just untested/unproven over time. Many members here have gone this route as it gets all of the mess & fire hazard away from the home. This would open up far more boiler choices for you, basically all the gasers discussed here would be available for you to choose from. Then it comes down to which one best suits your situation. Many who have gone this route recommend making the building large enough to hold some wood, a few days worth seems to be common & extending the roof to provide a place to have dry storage for the remainder of your wood. Most report that this option was no more expensive than going with a unit that is a stand alone outside unit, the plus for them is a shed for all the wood as well as a warm dry place to fill, service. clean etc. Worth some thought IMHO. My unit & wood are outside & I intend to keep it that way.
  3. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    While I don't see any real difference between burning wood inside in a metal box, and burning dinosaurs inside in a metal box; I agree with the idea of doing an inside style gasser in an outbuilding, or alternatively if one does want the "liitle house" look - it might be worth checking out one of the new outdoor Econoburn models...

    I'm rather nervous about the OWB maker products as it seems like we've had a fairly high percentage of people coming here w/ problems, and the problems looked to me like serious design flaws. I don't think the OWB folks have got the design concepts down right, and are using their current customers as beta testers, which is only OK if they tell you that you are one up front...

    Gooserider
  4. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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    The way the gasification flame is dealt with is extremely important. IMHO this is where many of the OWB companies are going wrong in their new designs. You really must have ceramic (sometimes called ceramic refractory) take the brunt of the flame. Econoburn has proven their ability to deal with a gasser flame, so I would recommend looking at their new outdoor model. The E-classic put steel in the path of the gasser flame and we have seen the pictures here of users who have twisted metal there now as a result. I have not seen feedback on some of the newer ones these other OWB companies are putting out. These appliances are expensive enough that I personally would not want to gamble that they got the design right at this point.

    Many here have built sheds to house an indoor model and are very happy with having enough room to store their wood as well in it. The roof keeps it dry and the residual heat in the shed helps dry it further. With the -20% MC required for gassers, this is an advantage.
  5. altheating

    altheating New Member

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    Firecaptain, you may want to consider taking a trip to Syracuse this week. We will have the new Outdoor Econoburn at the NY Farm Show at the NY State Fairgrounds on Thursday-Saturday. As the other posts have indicated, Econoburns are one of only a few that have been able to contain and handle the extremely hot gasification flame (2000 degrees) Being around all the folks in this industry I get more than my share of complaints about the competitor's problems than most. The biggest thing I hear most often is the fact that owners are sick and tired of being the guinna pigs for research and development of all these new untested gasification furnaces. What I also hear is the folks who answer the phones at these companies really don't understand how their own stoves work. It seems that they always want to fault the homeowner for the furnace problem. User error may be a cause sometimes, but with a lot of these units it is the fault of the furnace, just ask the dissatisfied CB Eclassic owners. Tin boxes and gasification flame just don't cut it! Many other manufacturers should not be making gasification boilers, hell they don't even make a good non gasification boiler.
    The Econoburn has proven itself in the indoor market and with the introduction of the Outdoor Econoburn it will soon lead the way into the outdoor market as well. From what I have seen since the introduction of the outdoor unit last week, this is what the people really wanted, a tested unit that can be placed directly outdoors, currently at a price almost $3000 less than most of the competitors units. That's right we are selling them for the same price as the indoor Econoburn's until March 31st.
  6. ken999

    ken999 New Member

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    Firecaptain- I've got a e-classic 2300 and have had decent results with it. It took me some time to get things figured out but it's been burning much better as of late. I had some trouble getting the unit to consistantly operate with an acceptable amount of smoke, but it turned out to be mostly issues on my end. Now that I'm through the learning curve things are much better.

    The newer units have been improved alot since the first iteration and it surely seems that CB has left alot of testing and tuning to the owners. My boiler has the steel Fusion Chamber and it has not ruptured as of yet. The new units have a revised chamber made of refractory. I have been told that I will be getting one of the revised units at no charge when mine fails. The new boilers also have a revised controller with additional temp. sensors that likely will aid in shortening the learning curve.

    That all said, I'd be pretty interested in the new Econoburn outdoor units if I were buying a new boiler. Given Econoburns experience with gasification, the boilers are likely to be very good.

    Whatever model you choose, get your wood cut and split now if you don't already have that done.
  7. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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    I am glad to see that they are working on improving this problem. I would ask if they are using "ceramic" refractory though. If they are using regular refractory, my understanding is that it will erode and need replacing a lot. I think CB will eventually work all of these kinks out and it sounds like they are making progress. I am reassured to hear that they will be replacing the first generation units to compensate early buyers for their design errors...
  8. ken999

    ken999 New Member

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    I'm sure that CB understands that their future depends on these stoves working. I was told prior to buying mine that CB had employees burning the 2300's a year before they released them to the general public. I wonder how some of these problems never surfaced before the general public got their boilers though. Ceratinly by looking at existing gasification boiler technology, one would think that the engineers from CB would have known better from the get go. Looking back at things I feel kinda foolish for not picking up on that design flaw myself. So far it's been no harm no foul for me.

    I think CB could have done a better job initially with things like prepping the dealers before the units went on sale. I hear alot of comments on the net where people are printing out forum text and taking the text to their delaers in efforts to 'educate' them. Many times the help recieved online from other owners is/was better than what can be had from the local dealer. I know CB had rep's out traveling around to dealers across the country helping them deal with customers that were having issues, so it appears that CB has recognized this problem and is addressing things.

    Considering the improvements CB has made in the units since production started and the current effort to better inform dealers and customers alike, buying a e-classic is a better proposition today than it was a year ago when I got mine.

    The end result will still be up to the user. CB, Empyre, Portage and Main, Econoburn et al can build the best boilers imaginable, but if people don't want to burn good dry wood and otherwise operate the boilers correctly (read: don't burn garbage in them...) it won't matter what brand they buy.

    Edit: I think I might have mispoke about the new chambers being refractory. I looked up some pictures over at the Forestry forum and they appear to be made partially from cast iron. I'll put a call into CB tomorrow to see if I can find out what exactly they are made of.
  9. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I don't think the Empyre and the Aspen are the same design. But someone can prolly clarify that.

    CB has huge market share, yet keeps changing their existing unit, trying to get it to work. First they put refractory in, then they had people take it out. Then there was the paperclip trick.

    What's all this about "Econoburn being proven"? How long is the longest one here been burning? :wow:
  10. firecaptain

    firecaptain Member

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    since i first posted this i did buy an empyre pro series OUTDOOR gasser.
    havent installed it yet or used it, so i cant report on the performance.
    some of the things i noticed while looking at all the brands.
    empyre does use refractory, both in the primary and secondary burn chambers. 1.125" thick.
    seems to be a pretty well built unit. time will tell.

    i know most of the people on here are in love with their indoor systems(even if they are in an outbuilding), so
    im sure there will be some negative replies to this post :ahhh:

    either way, to each his own.
    i know if its in an outbuilding there is " no risk of burning the house down"..... just the building it is in. i chose the
    outdoor unit so it is isolated from any structure, period. it may sound like im dwelling on this..... but who out there has ever been in a burning structure. if you have, you would see my point, and think twice about any fossil burner or indoor fire source.
    have been there many times and its not a good feeling!!! yes i have seen houses burn from oil furnaces backfire, gas furnaces explode, etc. and i know a lot of this is due to the care of the user and how they use them.

    thanks,
    firecaptain
    Engine Co. 17 "SEMPER PRIMUS"
  11. Birdman

    Birdman New Member

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    Is there a website where i can check out this " gasser" . I checked one site and reqad about it... but it didn't mention that this was a " gasification " type boiler. Anyhow.. I am sure you will be happy with your purchase... it seems to meet all of your specifications on what YOU wanted. Keep us updated.
  12. webie

    webie Minister of Fire

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    I have had one house fire and it was not pretty . I know where you are comeing from and couldnt agree with you more .
    Mine came from the electric cooking stove .
    We now only eat out . ( Ya Right )
    Maybe we should all shut off our power at the entrance as I have heard of electrical fires too . Or the cloths dry starting on fire even the gas water heater explodeing . Better leave the car out side I thnk I have heard of car fires too .
    I think there is a time and place for everything but I do beleave if you are this paranoid about useing a solid fuel boiler you will always have issues.

    Just my .02 cents worth
  13. firecaptain

    firecaptain Member

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    as far as checking out this unit, google "empyre pro series" it will come up.

    as far as house fires go. why dont we just go live in caves? problem solved.
    i see your points, but if you can eliminate 1 MAJOR cause..... why not?
    speaking on my experience inthe fire service, if you have some lets talk, the majority of house fires are in the winter months, and most "electrical fires" are ruled "electrical" due to no certain cause of origin. again, im speaking from experience..... not just blowing smoke.

    maybe you could go to the state fire marshalls website for your state, look at origins/causes of structure fires and see that the largest culprit is solid fuel burners. i decided to "upgrade" my heating source and made the decision to go with an outdoor unit for many reasons. the main being the possibility of house fires.

    i know someone will come back with more sarcastic comments, they are welcome.

    i can see this is a 1 sided topic, for indoor burners, and all will be said about being paranoid or whatever. as i stated inmy first post i was not considering an indoor unit, but everyone put there 2 cents in for them anyway. i guess some people cant containtheir personal opinions.

    i know we all watch the news and see "electrical fires", maybe look deeper into the story and get your facts straight, then we can have an intelligent discussion.

    thanks.....
  14. DaveBP

    DaveBP Minister of Fire

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    Cap'n, every forum has a certain tangled underbrush of opinion to wade through. Though not specifically a downdraft gassifier forum, the Boiler Room here is often characterized by a certain amount of 'evangelism' for those types of wood burners. But not exclusively.

    There is a treasure trove of info here that pertains to ANY type of boiler, indoor or out and a lot of posts from folks wanting to know more about how to install an outdoor unit in the most efficient and convenient way possible and lots of good replies from people with good suggestions based on their experience. Quite a few pros post here, too, and their perspective can be very valuable.

    Learn to use the search function up near the top of the page and do some research on whatever comes to mind. How to bury and insulate hot water lines between buildings is a perennial hot topic here, and a very important part of a trouble free, efficient system, gassifier or otherwise. After you read some of the past posts you will come up with more questions and after searching for info again you will come down to questions you want more details on or specific info for your personal situation.

    Then it's time for a new post with your new puzzles (and then probably another) and I think you'll find this forum a great resource. Welcome.
  15. webie

    webie Minister of Fire

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    Try and find a gassifier boiler that has caused a house fire then lets talk . My chimney is as clean as my gas boiler I dont use ( period ) oh maybe I should leave the door open and burn it . Stupid is as stupid does.
    Hey put some new batteries in your smoke detector and forget about it.

    I can find a 101 ways to burn my house down .
  16. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Firecaptain: I think what you are running into primarily is a lack of understanding/agreement with your choice of manufacturer, as (correct me if I am wrong) they are an OWB manufacturer. (God awful things that if we had some effective legislation would have never existed). Trust me on this I own one & in about the time it takes you to whistle "Dixie" I can load it with enough wood (that will be poorly burned everytime) to pollute 200 acres. Yes they are trying to make a gaser, so far all efforts have met with failure some of the failures are far too close to being abysmal/catastrophic. Aiming a gaser nozzle at mild steel & being surprised when it burns a hole through the steel....well thats just poor design....coupled with a lack of regard for your customer. Definately a situation you want to avoid as I gather from your posts that you want to avoid an uncontrolled fire outside of the fire box that would indeed consume all the combustibles it came in contact with. Using standard fire brick in a gaser chamber as opposed to the ceramic refactory that established gaser companies use, is exactly the same thing. They save a few bucks & your unit fails, it just takes a few more fires in the second case. Many posters have the same concern as you re: fire in the home & have chosen to place their unit in a building away from the home, difference is they stuck with established, tried & true, proven over time, gaser companies. They took the good indoor technology & built a woodshed to house it away from the home as opposed to being a test case for a wanna be gaser/OWB company that really shows no sign of understanding the technology & simply keeps modifying their last failure & hoping this one works. You see they desperately need a success in the gaser area before their OWB operation is legislated out existence (more than a few states ready to pill the trigger on this right now). I sure hope this works out well for you, however I as well as many other members will be surprised if it does, then again someone has to get lucky sometime right???? That's why they built Vegas.
  17. dogwood

    dogwood Minister of Fire

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    Firecaptain, in your experience, what would be some of the major causes of fires related to solid fuel burners. Improper installation, chimney fires due to creosote, etc? Is there anything regarding indoor installation you would recommend that might mitigate the chance of a fire from an indoor gasser. I'm going to be framing out a boiler room for and installing my Solo Innova indoors shortly, and would like to increase the safety factor if at all possible. I've thought of increasing the manufacturers recommended clearances to combustibles, and putting in 5/8" sheetrock. I saw some some combustion resistant wall insulation on the "Holmes on Homes" T.V. show. I wonder if that's worth searching out? What would your thoughts be? I'd like to benefit from your experience if you wouldn't mind sharing. I'm sure you've seen a lot and know what you're talking about when it comes to fire safety. That's the kind of experience worth listening to.

    Good luck with your Empyre boiler. Let us know how you like it.

    Mike
  18. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Ahhhh....what to heck. Throw a little gas on the fire..Sorry, couldn't resist.

    yes we seem to be onesided on this boiler topic. But for good reason. You can build a small shed, completly unattched from house, and put an indoor gasser in for about the same money as an OWB(and have your wood under cover). You have to bury the water lines either way. A high end Gasser is about $7,000.00 Some with a couple less bells and whistles are maybe $5,000.00? With the exception of the Econburn(which just came out with an OWB model) any gasser will use ]at least 1/3 less wood[/i] than any OWB on the market. Also good points about creosote build up, there typically is none in a gasser. A far safer unit, when installed properly, in a house.

    My 2 cents worth. Have a good night. FWIW. I'm heating a 2 story, 1800sqft plus basement, on top of hill in northern maine, average insulation, family of 5(3 kids in teens), DHW in summer heated with boiler. Doing this on about 7 cords, maybe a little less. Keeping house very cozy in the deep of winter. If I did this with an OWB, it would be about 11 cord.
  19. ken999

    ken999 New Member

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    FC- Congrats on the new unit. I'll be interested to hear your experiences with it.

    Crow- Did you have a OWB gasser prior to your existing boiler? How do you know you would burn 11 chord with an OWB?
  20. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Damn, I think the collective HearthCom Wife must be seein' Red, cause you guys are all gettin pissy lately.

    Everyone here values a certain aspect of their choice of burner. The Cap'n wants his fire in a detached building. So do I. Granted, I'm not a flamin' lunatic about it. . .

    It's spring and unless you got storage getting your burn right is a b!tch.

    How many days till the first fall snow?? :wow:
  21. tigermaple

    tigermaple Member

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    Sorry folks, the Captain is right about this. I don't even see a argument against putting a wood burning unit with up 2000º flames away from the house. I have been in a house in the process of burning down (electric stove malfunction) and it was a terrifying event. Reducing any chance of a fire in your home is just common sense. Not to mention keeping the smoke, ash, wood and mess away from the family(wife).
  22. Birdman

    Birdman New Member

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    Maybe this discussion will be moot soon. If CB can finally get a boiler that gasifies correctly all will be good. However.. being someone who was going to buy one... but then got a Tarm solo and installed it in my basement.... at this point.. knowing what I know now about gasifying... I would go with the new outdoor econo model. As far as I am concerned all the OWB are great if that is what you want. Wehn you start talking about gasifyers... then it is a different animal. maybe people who have switched from OWB to gassers will chime in? Or... has there been anyone who has ever had a gasser and switched to and OWB? Maybe they can chime in too?
  23. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Actually, put the wife in the outbuilding. Any time you 'go to visit' you'll have an appt and things are much smoother that way ;-)
  24. ken999

    ken999 New Member

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    Birdman- What exactly is incorrect about CB's current gasifiers? From what I gather from the people who have the newer models with temp sensors located in the Reaction Chamber, they are getting gasification temps...???...Is there something other than the correct temps needed that I'm not aware of?

    If I were to be buying one today, I too would be looking hard at the Econo's as they simply have a more proven design. Unfortunately they were not an option when I bought my boiler. All in all I don't think the CB's are a horrible choice. CB HAD to design a boiler that didn't smoke and met emissions standards. Based on my findings after 4 months of use and the fact that the EPA has certified them, I'm not sure what else they have to do.
  25. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    No I did not have a OWB before. But the E-Classic dealer in area told me to figure about 1 cord of wood equals about 100 gals of oil. I was typically going thru about 1000 gals of oil. But since going to the system i have now, i've kept my house warmer in the winter than when i was on oil.
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