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Expert Ratings of Gasifiers

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Pologuy9906, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Pologuy9906

    Pologuy9906 Member

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    So what units work best with pressurized systems?

    I'm definitely adding storage next year. As someone put it " hung ho"................no just very excited at the idea of coming off of oil

    This site is hands down the best out there. Great knowledgable technicians. Thank you all.

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  2. __dan

    __dan Feeling the Heat

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    Responding to your PM,

    Cordwood gasser is a good choice. I went from being a no wood burner to loving making a fire. Love making, having heat. .

    Because of the hydronic baseboard loads, you will need storage, no question. With no storage, you would need the baseboards on continuous circ and roast out the house until the fuel is exhausted. Or, idling of the boiler, which will make a mess unless you have a boiler rated for idling. With storage, you will be able to make any of the boilers work. I would set the baseboard water temp with an outdoor reset controller.

    As a contractor, better material is a labor saver and the labor is expensive, so higher quality, more expensive material, is a money saver because of the labor savings. Knowing this, it was natural for me to get the Froling when I could afford it. There is a learning curve and I wanted to pay the factory for their learning rather than fight with cheap quality poorly designed products. This is a general rule for me applying to everything. Note that even though I did the install myself, the labor is still more expensive compared to the material cost.

    So for me if I was installing the boiler, I was only looking at Garn, Froling or Viessmann, which is not available in the US. There are others that will work, but my primary concern is years down the road, will I be happy or will I be spending money on replacement, repairs, or spending labor fighting with it

    As you narrow down your choices, the forum and the guys will tell you if you are on the right track or not. good luck
  3. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    IMHO, not so fast. In the absurd, imagine a 200mbtu gasifer with 1/2" pex plumbing, 300' line from boiler to loads, and an off the shelf circulator of any kind, plumbed exactly like a schematic. My point simply is that hydronics is more than a schematic. Serious attention needs to be given not only to boiler btuh capacity, but the various loads, adequately sized plumbing to carry the required btu's, and a circulator(s) matched to the job. Pump head is a silent gorilla that many ignore with unsatisfactory results that may be blamed on the gasifier.

    My first install followed a well-respected mfr's schematic to the T, but I used 3/4" steel pipe, lots of L's, and a 007 circ, all with a simple load of the storage tank that functioned as a radiator to heat my shop. I wondered why my gasifier was idling all the time. Does anyone else wonder? I hope the obvious is apparent.
    skfire, heaterman and Chris Hoskin like this.
  4. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    And lots of attention to potentially the biggest efficiency killer.... the underground. Ask me how I know.
    BoilerMan and heaterman like this.
  5. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

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    EW... how'd you get the little dots over the o? Next time I post something about Froling that would definitely add to my credibility. :)

    ö = hold down the Alt key and enter 0246
  6. Ok so I'll add, the installer needs to be able to read a schematic and use a VS pump along with pipes bigger than what you'd use to plumb in an ice maker. ;lol

    My point was when adding a wood boiler next to an existing heating system it's not that complicated. Use 1.25" or better yet 1.5" piping to make the connections, do a little figuring on the pump size ( vs pumps are even better) and make sure the expansion tank is big enough.
  7. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    http://www.alt-codes.net/ shows pretty much all of them ( alt 1 ) = ☺
    ewdudley likes this.
  8. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    My wife and I love our BioMass, but the Fröling has a high customer satisfaction rating here. Fröling boilers have cool controls, Fröling speed regulated draught fans, Fröling Lambdatronic S controls, Fröling RGB control, Fröling is Austrian which is kinda like German. And I think the looks of Fröling boilers rock. Fröling's signature color is red just like Ferrari's.

    Thanks for the tip EW and HM :) I feel good. All jesting aside.... I really like Fröling. That red baby in my man cave would look good.
    skfire likes this.
  9. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    The insulation factor of your house is critical to your comfort. The moisture content of your wood, and how you burn it, is critical to the efficiency of your heating system.

    I am no expert on boilers, or any heating system for that matter, that is for sure. But I certainly would agree that how the entire system is installed is critical to any successful heating system. When I had my system installed I hired two guys who do heating systems full time, including extensive boiler experience. I still did my research before I hired them and then printed off the "Simplest pressurized storage design." by Nofossil. I also printed the "Theory of operation." from this sticky, and explained it to them and then asked them to read it and make sure they understood how I wanted the installation done. Thanks Nofossil. They did a great job and my system works beautifully. I used 1-1/2" pipe from boiler to tank and back, and throughout primary loop. I have insulated most of the primary loop. My secondary loops to the baseboard and the radiant in-floor in the garage are 3/4". From reading of others experiences, the proper sizing of piping and circulator pumps is very important.

    I am heating a fairly well insulated house that is a little over 4000 sq.ft., a well insulated garage at about 900 sq.ft., and my domestic hot water in the most northern part of New York. Up on the Canadian border where the temperatures get and stay fairly cold. All of this with a boiler that is rated at 100,000 BTUs, but probably puts out more like 120,000. I have made a few modifications to the system for better stack temps and sealing the exhaust. I would like to eventually add another 800 gallons of storage to the system. But doubt I will be doing it anytime soon, if at all, because the system works fine the way it is. If I need to, can use my basement as a "storage" tank when it gets really cold outside and increase the temperature down there. Then turn the heat down in that zone at bed time and let the heat slowly rise to the upstairs of the house overnight while I am sleeping comfortably. Although that is only needed when the temps go below 0, which is not many days of the year.

    If I was at the beginning of installation, and could afford it, I would install 3 or 4 times the 400 gallons of storage I have now. Because the most efficient way to burn wood is to burn it flat out and store the heat. And most efficient when your wood supply has been properly seasoned to bring it to the proper moisture content.

    To anyone installing a system and whatever boiler you choose. I would say spend the extra money if you can and put plenty of storage in so you can burn one long fire a day, maybe through the evening hours each day and coast for the rest of the time while your stored heat keeps you cozy. And if you have the opportunity, get your house insulated as best you possibly can. If you don't, concentrate all your efforts on figuring out how you can better insulate your house ASAP. What ever wood burning appliance you choose, get your wood processing down to a science, get ahead by at least a year so your wood is properly seasoned.
    Reckless, leon, BoilerMan and 3 others like this.
  10. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

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    +1 on the Fröling, 3 years now into it. and very happy..
    and yes my basement has become the man cave....
    working on adding the tv by the fridge(yes full of brews).
    Red(Boiler),
    White(fridge)
    and Blue(Busch or Spaten Octoberfest when I am feeling high end)...

    Scott
    Chris Hoskin and flyingcow like this.
  11. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Yah... Sehr gut and gutes bier!... Scott. Now if only Fröling would offer a glass window for the upper chamber like one of the other European boilers (forgot who at the moment) that would seal the deal for me. ;) Cool... just noticed the new toolbox for faces in the Reply window! :cool: Anyway... most guys around me upgrade their bass boats.... I'm eyeing wood boilers....:p "jubel!"
  12. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Really, I don't have any tool bars in my reply window. How do I make them appear?
  13. leon

    leon Member

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    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Its nice to know we think alike.

    I filled my wood and coal boiler half full of firebrick and its been fantastic
    when I start doing some serious wood burning. I have to add a chimney extension
    to make the coal burn better as the chimey barely clears the peak of the house.

    I have 35 gallons between the Buderus oil unit and the Switzer wood and coal boiler
    and a very old house that was a one room school house that is hopeless to try to
    insulate and heat very well and I wil run out of wood this year early.

    If possible I will start on oct 1 with wood as I am way ahead on the oil budget,
    but the tiny electric heaters warm the place up quickly too and that has been a big help.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
  14. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Fred..... I have no idea...:confused: Absolutely no help to you...:oops: It must be features of the new upgrade>> Yup.... right above the reply box there's a bunch of buttons for text, indexing, links, and.....:ZZZ():rolleyes:;em..............;lol Jubel!!!! (my new German word for cheers)
  15. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Gassifiers are unknown to the masses due to simple honest ignorance. I had no clue until I stumbled on this place a couple years ago.

    It is impossible for this ratings thing to work unless everyone doing the ratings has experience with all the boilers on the list. Otherwise it just comes down to experience with the one boiler they own & their personal preferences.

    I like mine, and on that note will point out one thing that has not been mentioned yet that could also be put in the honest ignorance category - gasifiers can work very well with no electricity or fans required and with the utmost in simplicity. IMO a very overlooked and important capablity for some people & situations that is simply not known about. So my vote is for the natural draft Varm UB 40/50 models. :)
    Fred61 likes this.
  16. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

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    Not to pick a fight maple1, but, I guess I disagree on all counts:rolleyes::

    With Google as your friend, it is hard to imagine that anyone who does even the most limited amount of research is not going to come across wood gasification as an option. As I have said before, I am pretty well stumped as to why OWB continue to sell in such high numbers, but perhaps it is ignorance of a better option as you suggest. Hmmm._g

    I think customer ratings or feedback can, and do, work very well. I would say that they are one of the key things that make eBay and Amazon work as well as they do. I don't need to have worked with every seller on eBay to be able to offer feedback on my purchasing experience with one particular seller. Similarly, I don't need to have owned fifteen vacuum cleaners in order to offer valuable feedback on Amazon about the one that I bought. I think someone who is considering a wood boiler would find some value in one person's experience with one boiler. Of course, if the comment starts with "I have owned five different wood boilers in my life and...." well then, that kind of think is obviously going to be given more weight.

    Lastly, I'm not sure what the advantage is of a boiler that is able to run without electricity. Except in the very unusual situation where the heating system distribution is gravity fed, you need electricity for your pumps. So, if you are going to have to have back-up for at least a couple of pumps, it is easy to supply electricity to the boiler too. Granted, this is a bit more of a thing if you have a 220V boiler like the Fröling FHG or Tarm Solo Innova, but the Tarm Solo Plus model 30 has a 30 Watt / 110V fan (that's about half the draw of a typical zone pump). If power outages are are a real concern, make sure you have a wood stove.o_O

    Sorry about the over-use of the emoticons:p, but they are kind of fun ==c;ex

    Chris
  17. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    Chris,
    IMHO the OWB companies have marketed like crazy and when a non epa OWB could be installed it was a cheaper alternative then the new EPA OWB. I found this site looking for an alternative to an epa OWB because they are too much money for the life expectancy of the unit.
    I was originally sticker shocked at the indoor gassers as well. with careful planning and a bit of patience a system can be installed much more in line for a residential purpose. Your company has a proven track record and great products to sell.
    I think if I was building new I would buy the top of the line Froling and storage for a grade entrance basement. But what I have for a house an OWB looks very inviting for simplicity. Might well be the same for others as well. I must say that the PM and CB dealers in NH spent much time with me to educate me on their products, but I just couldn't bite with the cost of the units and the obvious to me efficiency of the units.
    This type of central heating has increased in cost from years past. still has great savings potential in long term. But I must say that if you have no heat and a source of wood an OWB can be bought in the morning and running by the end of the weekend.
    Also the cost of good cordwood has increased if you buy your wood. Craigslist has all sorts of OWB free wood ads. very low quality wood huge chunks usually but free! personal economics plays a big role in ones decision. when Cat stoves first came out low and behold the green wood burners had dirty glass and clogged cats. education in wood burning and the various options for systems would help the industry.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  18. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    That's all from my experience, where I live.

    When I started out in my searching for a boiler replacement, it was only pure accident that I found this place & learned all about what I know now & own the boiler & setup I do now. Nobody I talked to here [where I live] (or talk to now after the fact) knows anything about gassification or storage. Dealers, suppliers, installers - nobody. There are three manufacturers within an hour of me, they are all stuck in the dark ages with their technology. I was completely on my own, as anyone here [where I live] would be in the same situation. So if area/local dealers, suppliers, manufacturers & installers don't know anything about this stuff - how is the consumer supposed to know? Stumble onto it on the Internet like I did - but you're still left going way beyond the extra mile, in buying what you think you want or need from someone a long ways away (likely in another country), sight unseen (that is sticking your neck way out there given the size of the purchase & committment), and installing it all yourself if you have the ability to and can figure it all out.

    Being able to run without electricity was a big consideration for me. Not that it would run that way all the time, but that it is able to, easily, in a power outage. My system can convection flow, and if you you add in the fact that being able to run without electricity also means by extension way less moving parts to worry about breaking down, replacing, or contributing to your power bill - well, I think those are important considerations. To me at least. I have read quite a few controller/fan issue threads on here from more than one brand that are not even a concern to me.

    I guess that means we will have to agree to disagree. :) ;ex
    Chris Hoskin likes this.
  19. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    The only OWB operator that i know does not have a clue about burning dry wood. He will burn wood the same day he cuts it down. His OWB has HUGE firebox. looks like 9 CU FT 3'x3' . HIS wood pile is also as large as a small house for 1 years worth of heat. More need to be done to address the lack of knowledge with these stoves.
  20. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    Just a thought.

    Has anyone ever seen a math book word problem relating to wood heating?

    cords
    btus
    temp
    pump calcs
    Chris Hoskin likes this.
  21. I definitely would have been interested in a natural draft boiler free from all the electrical gizmos if it had been available when I bought my boiler.

    The way I see it the simpler the better. Less things to maintain and lower long term costs. And less parts to worry about replaceing if your dealer closes up shop
    maple1 likes this.
  22. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    FWIW---, NE WOODBURNER, i also looked at OWB's, then got the price tag. At the time Classic EPA boiler was over $12,000.00 I could buy a high end gasser for 7k to 10k and burn less wood. Stumbled on to this site and the rest is hiistory.

    Getting off topic, try to get back on. I wish Consumer Reports would have done a serious look at wood boilers. but it's not like these things sold in the millions, like washing machines, cars, etc. CR wouldn't sell many copies about wood boilers.

    I think PM did one( a couple of yrs ago) but it wasn't very in depth.

    You want to have a spirirted debate, go onto tractorbynet and start a discussion about the value of windchills on tractors and equipment and whether you should plug in the block heaters.::P
  23. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    Haha! Just don't you dare mention the use of Ether... even if the machine was designed with a factory "Ether start" system.

    Sorry, was lurking and trying to learn, but I got a good laugh out of this!
  24. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Forgot about the ether debate. :)
  25. leon

    leon Member

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    Nothing wrong with ether as long as its used the right way.
    My preference is my 125,000 BTU multifuel space heater
    which I use for my truck, firewood processor, tractor and
    snow blowers to melt the snow and ice off them and also
    warm them up B4 use. You would be surpised how well
    a processor works with heated oil the year round-yes I heat
    it in the summer too as the tank is 25 gallons of cold oil.

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