1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

gasification wood boilers

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by vermont jotul user, Feb 4, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. vermont jotul user

    vermont jotul user New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    southern VT
    I've been looking into a wood boiler for our 2000 sq. ft. fairly well insulated house, so I was very interested in the discussion involving the relative merits of the TARM, EKO, Econoburn etc.

    We're starting with a clean slate here so one major question for us is whether to get a oil/wood combo, or to get a backup oil boiler and a wood only boiler. We are now heating entirely with a wood stove (no backup heat) and have nearly unlimited firewood on our property--but it might be nice to leave the house for more than 12 hrs!!

    I went and saw the TARM 2000 (combo) and the Solo plus. The sales rep. says that if you are heating primarily with wood and only backing up occasionally the combo is the way to go as the oil side is not efficient enough for full time heating.

    EKO recommended the EKO 40 for our application, and a backup oil boiler for those times you want to leave the house for more than 12 hrs.

    Now at about $11,000 for the TARM 2000, and $5600 for the EKO 40, I could buy a lot of back-up oil boiler if we went with the EKO. But then there is the added complexity in installation and we currently have only one 6" flue. So unless we went to a direct-vent oil boiler (Monitor offers one for about $4250) we would have to put in another flue.

    TARM also offers the Solo, wood only, for about $6300. Is it worth $700 more over the EKO for the better warranty?

    Speaking of flues, the Econoburn and the Wood Gun seem to require a 8" flue. Now it's not impossible that we could add another flue, even an 8" flue. After all the Econoburn is made in the USA, and makes claims of higher efficiency than the others. They also claim that it can burn GREEN WOOD! I'm not sure I really believe this.

    The Wood Gun can be converted to burn Bio Mass fuels, I suppose that's a plus...

    As you can see, I have a lot of questions, and not very many answers.

    I would appreciate any input!!!

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,840
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Welcome to the Boiler room, vju.

    My usual knock on combination wood/oil boilers probably doesn't apply to the Tarm 2000 since, according to our Webmaster, the wood side is basically a gasification boiler, or at least is as clean and efficient as one. That eliminates the one danger of a combination boiler that vents into the same flue, i.e., that if you have a chimney full of creosote and you switch over to oil without cleaning it, you could have a serious safety issue. A clean-burning boiler shouldn't produce creosote.

    However, you're kind of putting all your eggs into one basket (or welded pressure vessel) with any combi. If the boiler springs a leak at some point, you don't have a backup. This may or may not be enough to overcome the necessity of installing another chimney or a powervent arrangment for the oil side. You don't need a special boiler--just a power vent kit that allows you to vent the exhaust out of the side of the house or basement. They're not all that expensive, and can be mated to a basic oil boiler, which is all you would need or want for a backup. Plumbing wise, putting in two boilers at one time is not much more difficult or expensive than putting in one, when you get right down to it.

    As to the relative merits of different boilers, who knows? The Tarm has a 20-year warranty, but I believe it's fairly limited when you get beyond 5 years, which is what the EKO and Economburn offer. They're all good quality equipment.

    I can burn green wood in my EKO, but I wouldn't want to and wouldn't recommend it. You can burn biomass other than wood in all the gasifiers you mentioned, though I think Wood Gun gives you the option of rigging up a hopper or some other feed system to make it easier than shoveling the stuff into the firebox. For occasional/emergency/curiosity use of things like pellets, corn cobs, nut shells, etc, I doubt it would worth spending the money on the upgrade. But I say that without the benefit of any experience or details.

    Efficiency claims are all basically theoretical under actual battlefield conditions. I wouldn't get too carried away trying to compare them. Actually, the EKO claims 91 percent efficiency compared to 87% for the Econoburn, but you won't notice any difference among the brands we're talking about, I'd wager.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,165
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I would somewhat disagree that the Tarm is not efficient on oil. Certainly it cannot match the top of the line stand-alone oil boilers, but it uses a completely separate combustion chamber and a different series of firetubes. It also, as you mention, uses only one 6" flue.

    I would question claims from one manufacturer or another about burning green wood or more efficiently. These boilers are not rocket science - you can look at the combustion designs and see the basic similarities.

    I'll let others chip in here, as my main area of expertise is the Tarm units since I formerly imported them (I sold the company to the current owners).
  4. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Did you say a Tarm is 11k now? Then they went up a lot in two years!

    I have no experiance with a combination unit, though I looked at an oil option on a CB that I almost bought. Just my uneducated opinion, I'd get an inexpensive oil burner and a good wood-fired hydronic unit. a/k/a "Do as I say, not as I do"
  5. solarguy

    solarguy New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    southern, nh
    Wondering, where do you guys come up w/ these prices for the Eko?

    The reason I ask is according to the sales literature, an Eko 40 should be around $6,500.00 plus shipping. I can't even get one shipped to NH for $5,600.00

    I've been told that Eko will be coming out w/ a 20 limited warranty just like everyone else in the industry.
  6. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    913
    Loc:
    Hesperia, Michigan
    http://www.cozyheat.net/eko.htm I think it is the latest, looks like the price keeps going up with the dollar.
    leaddog
  7. vermont jotul user

    vermont jotul user New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    southern VT
    Eric, thanks for the tip on the powervent, and I agree with you about having all your eggs in one basket... seems like since I have the option it might make sense to have a seperate backup, and since I first posted I've been fairly well convinced that installing two boilers isn't that much more complex.

    As for prices, I was quoted the $5600 figure for the EKO 40 after saying what the TARM was going for. Maybe the salesman isn't hitting his quota!! Call quickly and save, save, save!! :)
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,840
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Installing them at the same time is the way to go, I think. You can get everything matched up and working together. Go with a parallel arrangement if you decide to go the two-boiler route.

    Pricing can be funny and it pays to shop around, especially when shipping is involved with machines weighing 1,500 or 2,000 pounds.

    I can't speak for any other brand because I only did my homework on the EKO line after I decided that's what I wanted, but you have a situation where you have an importer (New Horizon) selling direct, and also supplying several dealers who compete with the importer and each other. I found a big disparity in pricing on the 60. Some dealers charge extra for shipping and some don't. I think Tarm is only sold by the distributor, so what you see is what you get. And there are EKO dealers in Canada, some of whom may ship to the U.S., although I have no idea whether they actually do or not.

    One thing is for sure--the weak dollar has inflated prices across the board over the past year by a considerable margin.
  9. solarguy

    solarguy New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    southern, nh
    Tarm is sold thru a network of dealers, but Tarm protects it's dealers.

    Beginning to sound like Eko doesn't protect it's dealers & that sucks because
    we just became a dealer.
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,840
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    I think they do, actually. When I was shopping I called a dealer and got a quote and then called Zennon and tried to get him to give me a quote. When he found out I was talking to a dealer, he was happy to give me information on the boiler, but not a quote. Which I found to be admirable. And maybe they won't quote systems in other dealers' territories--I really don't know.

    And you're right on the Tarm dealer network. My mistake.
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,165
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Speaking of "dealer protection", this is almost impossible for most central heating units, simply because not enough dealers usually want to carry them. Back when we owned Tarm, very few dealers were interested - the P&H;guys were into oil, and the stove dealers were into gas. It would be one thing if a brand had 200 dealers or something like that, but most don't.

    Now that there is a sudden renewed interest, the dealers (of course) want territory. But for an important or manufacturer with millions of dollars in inventory and investment, that is a tough wish to grant unless (and until) those dealers have a track record of moving lots of units.
  12. solarguy

    solarguy New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    southern, nh
    That was good to hear Eric, thank you.

    That's the sad part about this whole industry Craig.

    Most manufacturers only care about moving product & I feel most really
    don't care who moves their product as long as it moves, the greed factor.
    Look at the OWB world. Most of those dealers are landscapers,
    tractor dealers, mobile home salesmen & lumber yards.
    What do they know about heat?

    I wouldn't go to a plumbing supply house to buy a tractor.....
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,165
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    The market is a funny place. As I said, when I sold wood boilers all the "good" dealer were missing in action. They said it was too much trouble (too much education) to sell boilers like ours. That is also why the OWB's were sold by fence companies....because no one else would sell them!

    So it's not the manufacturers fault - any maker HAS to sell things where and when they can. I would have loved to have 100 dealers selling Tarm, but we probably had 10 decent ones in the whole country...so what the heck to do? Were we supposed to give them territory? (we did with maybe 3 of them, who actually displayed products).

    So, again, I think you will find most of the high quality units having high quality dealers and sending customer leads to them. But the day of the customer only having one choice of where to buy a product is mostly over...and that is probably a good thing. Any dealer with the skills to deliver, spec and install these units is probably not going to have a problem getting work. Not too many people are familiar.
  14. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,253
    Loc:
    Northwood, NH
    Econoburn is the "Cadillac of wood boilers." They aren't cheap, but they are one of the most impressive boilers on the market.

    The flue outlet is 8" on all models for simpler manufacturing. The folks over there are very responsive and I've already spoken to Mark (one of the VP's) about getting the manual to explicitly state that installing a reducer immediately at the flue collar is acceptable. 6" is fine for the smaller model. As long as it says that reducing is acceptable, in the manual, then code allows it. So, that should be fixed, soon.

    You can burn green wood. It won't hurt the boiler. But it will take some of the energy (heat) to steam out the water, so you will reduce your efficiency. I wouldn't recommend it.

    What are you planning to use for radiation? Radiant, baseboards, radiators?

    Joe
  15. vermont jotul user

    vermont jotul user New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    southern VT
    bht: we'll be using baseboard. I have to say the Econoburn does look like a very impressive unit, although I have yet to see one in person. Or to get a price quote for that matter.

    In the end a lot is going to depend on convenience and my feel for the dealer. In that respect, so far the TARM is winning. Literature was sent out the same day I called and arrived before my visit the next day! In my visit I was very well treated by a very knowledgeable salesperson, and at 45 minutes away, I can drive up and get a unit plopped in my pickup. Getting it out may be a different story! :lol:

    In contrast, my contact at EKO has yet to send the promised literature...
  16. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,253
    Loc:
    Northwood, NH
    You should get a pretty timely response from Econoburn. If you contacted them and have not heard back, drop me an email with your info and I'll make sure that they get jumping on it. They were just at the expo in Boston this past weekend, so they might be slightly behind on the return calls as a result.

    If a road trip to southern Maine is something you feel up to, I can arrange to show you one in operation.

    Joe
  17. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    ohio valley
    i just faxed econoburn today for prices on the 100 and 150. we will see how long it takes to get an answer or reply.
    the boiler does look good to me very similar to eko maybe more refractory to dry the wood in the top chamber.
  18. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,253
    Loc:
    Northwood, NH
    I was actually just chatting with them earlier today regarding heat storage systems, so I mentioned your fax. They tried to send you a reply, but couldn't get through on the fax number they had for you. They forwarded me an electronic copy of the letter they tried to fax to you; if you'd like, I can email it to you. If not, I'd suggest giving them a call and making sure that the fax number didn't get garbled or something.

    Joe
  19. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    ohio valley
    that would be great thanks ryan
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page