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Garn 1500 Arrived - Can't afford to hook it up

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by rvtgr8, May 22, 2008.

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  1. rvtgr8

    rvtgr8 New Member

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    Loc:
    Elbert Colorado alt. 7300
    I spent months perusing this forum and reading on gasification boilers before deciding on the Garn 1500. I have basic plumbing experience and helped put in the radiant system and propane boiler that currently heat my home. The Garn was obviously pricey, but seemed worth the investment after doing my research. We live in a forested area of Colorado at 7,300 feet of elevation. Propane is almost too expensive to keep the house warm and wood is our fuel of choice in the winter. The company that delivered the Garn to us wants $8000 to install it. We don't have it. I am forced to do the work myself because the cost is prohibitive.

    My question is what books might some of you recommend to me on design of the system. Again, I know the basic components that I will need to hook the thing up, but I have one advanced concept in mind. I do not want to completely abandon the propane system. If for some reason, we had to be away for an extended period of time were unable to fire the Garn and the house temp dropped below a certain level, we would like for the propane to back up the system.

    I am thinking I should just offer the installer cash for the set of drawings he prepared so I can work it out based on the agreed plan, but I am not sure he will go for it. He has me over a boiler.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Robert

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  2. SteveJ

    SteveJ Member

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    Loc:
    CO 9000ft
    Robert,

    I live off-grid in Colorado at 9000ft. My Seton wood boier is hooked in series with my propane boiler and the propane boiler is an automatic backup.

    The setup is pretty simple and there were only two tees into the existing system (not including the DHW preheat).

    Take a look at this thread at the bottom of p.1 onto p.2 http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/12118/P15/

    Also, the basic hookup diagram is at http://www.thermavolt.com/page31.html

    There are many knowledgeable people on this site that will advise you.

    Please read and review and proceed with what you are comfortable with.

    My wood boiler was hooked into my existing system for about $2500 that included expert installation and all parts - pex, pump, aquastat, etc.

    After seeing it done (and even helping), I could probably do it now. But, I am glad I had a certified boiler expert do it at the time.

    Steve
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Central NYS
    I'm sure you can handle it, Robert. Nothing very complex and the simpler, the better.

    You might want to consider not doing the propane connection thing now, but getting the Garn up and running and then adding the backup later. That wouldn't be hard if you planned it properly and it would save some immediate cost. Another suggestion is to get as much stuff as you can on Ebay. The only catch is that you need to know exactly what you need before ordering.

    Maybe you can provide a diagram or sketch of how your existing system is set up. We can take it from there. You may have detailed it in the past, but if so, I've forgotten.
  4. Rick Stanley

    Rick Stanley Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Southern ME
    Robert,

    I have a Garn 2000 ordered. How did yours come? Was it on a low-bed or a flat-bed? How did you unload it? I'm thinking a big hoe or loader from the excavator guy. I guess rigging companies are used at times because it can be hard to know exactly when delivery will happen to have equipment standing by, which can be costly.

    Rick
  5. free75degrees

    free75degrees New Member

    Joined:
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    433
    Loc:
    Boston Area
    wow, I need to go into the Garn installation business! Good luck, just take your time, you have all summer.
  6. rvtgr8

    rvtgr8 New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Elbert Colorado alt. 7300
    To everyone who has responded to this post so far, thank you. My wife and I were staggered by this development and have been disheartened since. I was prepared to pay up to a couple of extra thousand for the peace of mind to have it done with a level of expertise by an installer. But heck, with your kind responses, we are both feeling a lot better this morning. There is a glimmer of light coming from the boiler room and it is much appreciated.

    Steve J

    Thanks for the illustrations. They were helpful in they confirmed my basic installation scheme. I'd gladly pay $2,500 today for the work, but I will just have to roll up my sleeve and do more homework to get this done.

    Eric

    I am in the process of drawing up my existing propane system and will share it just as soon as I can. It is pretty simple and to be quite honest, if I had it to do over again, I would have done a little better job with some of my zones in terms of length etc.

    Ricks

    When we first decided to order, we were under the impression that the installer would take delivery at his site and then bring it up from Colorado Springs. We did not have to do anything special. Then, the price on delivery went up even after we had agreed on a price and closed the deal. We gave that extra because we know that diesel prices are killing these carriers. Then the plan changed and the Garn was to be delivered here on a lowboy. I have a big JD 500 backhoe so I thought it would be pretty easy especially with the installers now saying that they would be here when it arrived to help. Of course the installer decided at the last minute that he did not want to be here because he had business elsewhere. The Garn arrived on a flatbed semi. It was too high for me to get my bucket over the top. I had to get pretty creative, but managed to put some forks on my bucket and get under it. Of course the forks would have never been able to hold the 3,900 submarine so I chained the end of the forks back over the top of the load and down onto the arms to move the weight back onto the loader. As soon as I got it too the ground the driver was gone with the wind. My wife and I managed to get it into the boiler room, but it was slow and tedious. I think perhaps I was an Egyptian pyramid builder in a previous life (of course I'm kidding) because where there's a will and a couple of simple machines, there is a way.

    Free75degrees

    I wish a lot of people would go into the Garn installation business. It might just bring prices back down to Earth.
  7. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I paid for my installation 100% . . . well 'cept I put up the building it went in and laid the T-pex myself. I say remeber the schmuck that gave you the 8k bid come wintertime when the reality has set in for him that, even though inflation is raging, people will only pay inflated prices for things they absolutly NEED. And clearly you don't need his help with this.

    Hopefully GARN is some help . . . GW was basically NO help after the sale. But there are enough people here that have done this stuff, so you'll be fine.

    On the down side. . . it's gonna be back in the 80's this week, so I'd be more concerned with whether the AC is working than the heat :roll:
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'm hoping that heaterman, Father John and TCaldwell will be able to walk you through the installation steps, as well as help you design your piping layout in a Garn-specific fashion. If not, I know the rest of the gang will pitch in. I think the biggest challenge is probably sizing your flat plate heat exchanger, but I think nofossil is working on that as we speak. I also think that Dectra Corp. should cough up some piping diagrams and other assistance, considering what you paid for the boiler.
  9. bjleau

    bjleau New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    SE MN
    I'm looking at a 2000 and when talking to my dealer in MN and Dectra he/they were telling me about the book that they give you before it is delivered that has all sorts of setup/hookup info etc.... Did you get this? Talk to you Dealer or call Dectra. While your at it tell them what an A$$ your dealer was, they seem to be great guys (slow to return Phone calls though) and I'm sure that they would be plenty embarassed about the whole situation.

    Brian
  10. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    I'd be happy to lend a hand or do some drawing for you. I have a bunch of basic designs on file and I'm sure that I can get one that's right for you. I'll keep it simple and as inexpensive as possible but not cut any corners. That doesn't work with hydronic heat.
    Send me a PM with the following info:

    BTU input of your current boiler
    How far from the Garn to your current mechanical room
    What kind of piping is on the propane boiler Steel? Copper?
    What type of heat emitters are in the house? Baseboard? Radiant floor?
    What accessories do you already have as far as pex going from the Garn to your boiler?

    You won't be sorry you bought the Garn. I haven't found anything yet that performs as well.
  11. rvtgr8

    rvtgr8 New Member

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    Loc:
    Elbert Colorado alt. 7300
    Heaterman,

    Your offer is both kind and generous. I am in the process now of talking with my county building inspector to ascertain whether my Garn can be placed in my garage if I convert it to to strictly a boiler room. This may not fly and so the answers to many of your expert questions on placement may not be answered until I get his decision. When I do, I would be grateful for your advice. This forum, and the people who regularly frequent it are awesome.

    Robert
  12. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Ladysmith, WI
    STOP! Hold Everything!!

    You need to get your hands on "Pumping Away" by Dan Holohan.... And maybe "Primary/Secondary Made Easy" (also by Dan).. That man has a way of making hydronics so simple, your first grader could go to work installing garns and making the $8k that they wanted! :)

    You really need to do it right and set up a primary secondary system.. You can interface your propane boiler, or anything else to it for heat (solar panels, coal boiler, you name it) and add additional loads easily as well.. more expensive, yes... But sooo much better in the long run....

    On second thought, read every Dan Holohan book you can get your hands on! :)
  13. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Dan is a very dear friend and I couldn't agree more with what you said. If you get on his website ( www.heatinghelp.com ) you can order all of his books right there. They are worth their weight in gold. If you ever get a chance to attend one of his seminars, don't pass it up. Even if you are only going to do your own system and never pick up a pipe wrench again, it'll be the best money you can spend.
  14. rvtgr8

    rvtgr8 New Member

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    All off you are such kind people to offer so many valuable solutions. I have not hear back from the heating contractor as of yet so I believe I will be using even more help here. I will try once more tomorrow. I purchased the recommended book tonight.

    Robert
  15. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    I got Dan's books through interlibrary loan. But, to be fair, I have a near-photographic memory so I only really need to read them once anyhow.......

    Definitely a good investment I should say..
  16. rvtgr8

    rvtgr8 New Member

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    I contacted my install contractor and offered him some money for his drawings. He seemed genuinely confused that I would think I could have gotten this done for the The couple thousand I had set away for the work. He tells me his parts alone come to over $5000. He wants to come out here on the forum and see what other people are thinking. I like the guy, but if this is $5000 for parts alone, even with me doing the work, I'm dead in the water. The county has made me eliminate my garage on the installation that I have in mind and so I have had to build a carport on top of everything else. I hope the next winter isn't as tough as this hookup.

    Robert
  17. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    $5000 in material to hook up a boiler? To an existing system? Something's not adding up here. What else do you have to buy besides pipe and maybe a couple heat exchangers and circulators? I thought the Garn was supposed to be simpler...

    Chris
  18. bjleau

    bjleau New Member

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    Did you get a parts list with the bid? If you didn't ask for one that is itemized. The two Garns that I have seen looked extremely easy to set up:Garn + insulation, pump, pipe, insulated pipe, pipe fittings, heat exchanger, shut offs and an indoor fill and boiler chemicals, the electric, and one had run wire so you could see the temp of the garn in the house....

    With all the Big boiler brains on the forum I'm sure you could do it on your own... Did you ever get the Garn setup book, they had diagrams etc... in there?

    Brian
  19. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    If you could post a parts list, Robert, it would make analyzing the validity of the quote you got much easier. Large-diameter pex can be expensive, especially if it's insulated properly. So the distance of the run from the Garn to your existing system is an important piece of information. 1.5-inch valves and other fittings can run up the bill pretty quick, too. And, what are you tapping into? What kind of heat exchanger do you need?
  20. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Hey rtvgr8, Are you making any progress with your install?
  21. foxt

    foxt New Member

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    I'm new to the forum, and am considering a GARN 1500 (in addition to an EKO 60 and a TARM solo 60). I can't find much info on what's required for a GARN install (probably need to talk to the dealer). This thread caught my attention due to what seems like a costly setup for the GARN?

    I'm retrofitting an existing oil-fired system that consists of mixed radiant and baseboard . Baseboards are fed in home runs off of the primary loop from the boiler, radiant is fed in home runs off of a secondary loop with lower temps in that loop controlled by a Tekmar that cycles a circulator between primary and secondary loops. I'll probably keep the oil-fired for backup for at least the first season, so I want to integrate the wood and oil systens.

    For those of you who have installed a GARN, do I understand correctly that, as an unpressurized system, I'm piping the hot water (with chemicals) from the GARN integral storage to a hx that I can hook up either in parallel or series with my primary loop off of the oil-fired? Like others have said, I should just need a pump, some valves, the hx, nothing fancy, right?
  22. Jim K in PA

    Jim K in PA Minister of Fire

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    foxt - this should probably be a seperate thread so we don't hijack rvtgr8, but you can integrate your existing oil furnace without a HX. I am going to depressurize mine and run the furnace in series with the GARN. The choice is yours. The install of a GARN is not any different than any other gasser wih storage, except that the unit itself is quite large, and needs to be enclosed in an insulated structure.

    Call the folks at This Warm House (they are your local dealer). David is working on my quote right now for a WHS 2000.
  23. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Buy it now. From what I understand, steel prices are forcing another increase of about $500 in July
  24. rvtgr8

    rvtgr8 New Member

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    I want to again thank all of you who have expressed concern over my situation with my Garn. I am running for County Commissioner on top of now having to build another garage and reading all of the excellent books that have been suggested. I know that I can get this all done, because of this great resource. This forum is the only bright spot in my Garn story so far. I know that it is a great system. I just needed to learn a bit more about the installation before leaping in. Heck, what's an Everglade without a few few large and toothy amphibious reptiles?

    Robert
  25. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    You got Everglades in the Colorado Rockies?..........Maybe there is something to this Global Warming crap.
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