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)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Gasser, about to pull the trigger

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by mustash29, Aug 3, 2013.


  1. There are plenty of other makers that have figured out how to make a boiler out of boilerplate.

    Maybe they have a magic wand that prevents users from burning wet wood???

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,270
    Loc:
    northern-half of maine
    Also should have mentioned, i got a real close look at the Vigas and liked what i saw. Mark at AHONA seemed to be all about customer service.
  3. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,099
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Having talked to him for a couple of years before I bought one from him.... I would agree with you. Great service before AND after the sale.
  4. Dan Rondeau

    Dan Rondeau New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    Messages:
    13
  5. Noob2wood

    Noob2wood New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    PEI

    Has your unit rotted out ?
  6. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    616
    Loc:
    Southern Tenn
    Don't forget the BioMass. Lots of us successful users, it's still WAY up there as far a bang per buck. When you look at performance and ROI it's up there with the EKO, which says a lot based on the EKO users here. Every time I see that pic of Dan's setup I drool. If I had radiant I think I would have pulled the trigger on a Garn last year. But what I'm doing is now assembling a top of the line storage/circ system. In several years I may then upgrade to a Froling or maybe one of Heaterman's pellet rigs. Point is the BioMass or EKO are excellent "starter" boilers with, for me heating with propane, a ROI in less than 2 years. BTW, the upcoming season will be our fifth year running a boiler and first year with storage. So storage is not essential but I soon hope to experience what all the storage guys here rave about.
    woodsmaster likes this.
  7. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Messages:
    667
    Loc:
    NJ
    Storage is the bees knees its legs and its arms. This coming from a guy who before six months ago has never ran a wood boiler, let alone one with storage.
  8. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    Messages:
    618
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I couldn't imagine running without storage. I'm annoyed with how often i have to make a fire, and i have to make about half as many as allot of others with storage.
  9. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    616
    Loc:
    Southern Tenn
    Yeah.. the light really went off last season when I saw our boiler running flat out with seasoned wood. I'd been choking it down for years to minimize idling and maximize burn time since there was no place for excess energy to go when you open her up. Yeah... I guess I've been plowing a field with a race horse. Not looking forward to cold weather, but it's gonna be fun finally tuning the boiler to run like it wants to. But it's all good with me. I'm building the system in stages and the operator get smarter each year. I figger by the time I'm in my 90's I'll have a boiler that runs on one Viagra pill a day.
  10. arbutus

    arbutus Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    237
    Loc:
    Michigan UP
    That's expensive heat. Don't they cost $13 each or something?
    !!!

    My local scrap yard had a bunch of fine looking propane tanks in the pile. A couple of 250 gallons, several 500 gallons and one 1000 gallon.
    Available at 20 cents a lb.
    I don't even have my boiler shed built yet. Should I get a tank?
  11. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Messages:
    667
    Loc:
    NJ
    Yes! 75cents/gallon is a good price. A 500gallon tank is about 1000 pounds if i remember correctly. Go get em!
  12. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    341
    Loc:
    SE CT
    Well, we have been contemplating a gasser for about 1.5 years now. We saw some pre-season sale prices advertised and did some hard thinking.

    These boilers have a bit of a mixed reputation. They seem to have had their share of growing pains the first few years they were out on the market. According to my local dealer and a lot of info that I dug up here on Hearth (this place is AWESOME), a few of those were issues with the initial design of the boiler, which has since gone through several revisions. They now come with a stainless lower firebox liner, an improved air gate that redirects the primary air across the smoke curtian during the loading process, improved doors and door latches, and most importantly, in order to qualify for warranty coverage, they are now sold with a Low Temp Return Water Protection (Danfoss) valve as a "required" accessory for proper install.

    My local dealer also informed me that the vast majority of the units that experienced rapid corrosion issues were units that were improperly installed, without a Danfoss or equivalent LTRWP device. Many units simply used a pump and HX for a primary loop, some even ran their HW baseboard or water to air HX's at atmospheric pressure and returned that fluid directly back to the wood boiler. Of course, some folks have a "one fire per season / always keep the firebox full" train of thought (instead of batch burns) that leads to extended idling / cycling. And there are those who burn improperly seasoned wood.

    I think member willyswagon hit the nail on the head with the following:

    "I have run a lot of business in my life, and the easiest one to make and keep successful are those that the customers has no input in the process, other than to pay for it. I would never build or sell a solid fuel boiler as I have no way of controlling how they run it."
  13. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    341
    Loc:
    SE CT
    With all that being said, we decided we were going to delay the decision making process on a boiler and just run the stove or Englander 28-3500 furnace this year.



    But I am a craigslist junkie. ;lol



    A 2011 Empyre Elite 100 was improperly installed in someone's house. It did not have any low temp return water protection (Danfoss valve) and developed a water jacket leak. The home went up for sale but would not pass inspection as the wood and crappy old oil boiler were hooked up to the same chimney flue.

    Seller ran the Empyre through the ProFab warranty process. The unit was removed, factory refurbished with a stainless firebox liner, completely cleaned, re-painted, new refractory & gaskets installed, etc. Essentially a new boiler was returned to the seller and plopped in the walk out basement. Apparently this swap out cost about a grand for removal and re-delivery of the unit. The home had a nasty, narrow, hilly and off camber access path to the back yard and walk out basement doors.

    The home buyer had zero interest in the wood boiler and spent 9000 installing a new oil boiler and indirect fired DWH tank. !!!

    The local Empyre dealer recommended the wood boiler be sold for 4000. It was listed on CL for 3500. The dealer was the same guy who I had contemplated buying a new one from. He told me to jump on it like a hobo on a ham sandwich, and sold me a gallon of water treatment and the new style latch for the firebox door at cost.

    I got the refurbished Empyre Elite 100, 2 sets of firebox rakes & flue brushes (old & new), some other misc chimney cleaning tools and fire poker tools, 1/2 gal of water treatment, a 30 plate brazed SS heat exchanger, 2 Grundfos 15-58 3 speed pumps and about 12 feet of copper pipe & fittings.

    It took me 5.5 hours to get it out of his walk out basement, 25 miles home & into my walk out. I borrowed a friends 500 CC 4x4 quad with winch, rented a 4x7 Uhaul trailer, backed the trailer into his dual french basement doors, set to boiler on the trailer with an engine hoist and drove it out of there without spinning a tire or getting my truck tires muddy.

    I installed wood landscape timbers on the feet as skis and pipe rolled it from my garrage into my walk out basement. Coming in via the slider was out of the question since there was already 3 cord of 1.5 year seasoned oak stacked outside that door under the deck and top tarped.

    $16 and change to rent the trailer for a day + a bit of fuel to pick up and return the borrowed quad and rented trailer was WAY cheaper than the 300-400 I was being quoted to rent a skid steer with fork attachment. My landscaper neighbor helped me out, but his tractor was too tall to fit under the other guys deck and his bucket is not a quick attach so the fork attachment was out of the question. We had limited height and width clearance to work with.

    I'm hoping to have it up and running with 330 gal of additional buffer / storage volume for about 5 grand total. That includes some plumbing mods to the house, 2 additional dedicated heat zones for the rec room & garage + an indirect fired DHW tank.

    Slideshow pics are in reverse order, start at the end and go backwards.

    http://s23.photobucket.com/user/Mustash29/slideshow/Empyre?sort=3
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  14. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,664
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    The home buyer had zero interest in the wood boiler and spent 9000 installing a new oil boiler and indirect fired DWH tank

    Holy crap. Did you get a pic of that? _g

    Awesome find, awesome job. You guys should have a nice warm winter.
  15. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    341
    Loc:
    SE CT
    The plan:

    My chimney connector thimble is currently too low. I have to swap the thimble and the first 3" section of Simpson Duravent HT pipe.

    Then hang some sheetrock.

    The Empyre will go where the stove / Englander currently resides.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On the other side of that wall and 1/2 level (4 feet) lower is my actual basement with oil boiler. Not very far at all to run the primary loop, HX, Danfoss, etc. I plan to install a 330 gal "oil tank" as additional buffer / storage volume. The tank will go in the corner where the junk shelf is, boxed in with polyisocyanurate sheets or spray foamed.

    [​IMG]

    Due to the height difference of the split level foundation, the 330 gal oil tank mounted either normal vertical or standing on it's end will still allow it to be the low point of the system, so the Emyre's 60 gallon water jacket will serve as expansion volume as well. The Empyre has an overflow pipe tapping just below the water level guage.

    I have not made any official drawings to post yet, but.....

    Primary loop, atmospheric: Empyre, Danfoss, Grundfos 15-58 charging the 330 oil tank, pump runs when boiler is in run mode (turned on), combuston fan runs as needed per the temp controller. Will eventually configure a low stack temp shutdown control to kill the combustion fan and circ pump.

    Secondary loop, atmospheric: 330 oil tank, Grundfos 15-58, 30 plate HX, pump runs when there is a call for heat.

    Tertiary loop, pressurized: My existing oil boiler, 121 K btu @ 1.05 gph, Taco 007-F4, living room zone and bedroom zone. I need to add a 3rd zone for the rec room, 4th zone for spot heat in the garage via a home brew or modine type heater, 5th zone for a 40 gal Crown Mega store indirect (CL score for 75 bucks).

    [​IMG]

    There is also the option of installing the Empyre electric back up kit, which includes a secondary temp controller and four standard 4500 watt electric water heater type elements. For summer DHW I could bypass the 330 tank and use the 60 gallon Empyre water jacket to feed BTU's to the indirect.

    I have also looked into heat pump DHW.

    If I take down a bunch of trees and put some solar panels on the roof, I can feed that to the 330 tank as well.
  16. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    341
    Loc:
    SE CT
    Any suggestions, comments, recommendations on pump sizing are grealty appreciated.

    I'll probably do most of the rough in myself. I may have to hire a plumber to help with the install of the addlitional zone valves, etc.

    Currently running:

    Burnham boiler, Beckett burner, 121 K btu @ 1.05 gph, 4 gpm tankless hot water coil.
    One Taco circulator 007-F4.
    BR zone = 32' baseboard, the last 5' strip of it hits the unfinished rec room before it returns to the oil boiler.
    Living zone = 40' baseboard.
    Since Aug '96 I've used 9126.77 gal of oil to the tune of $15,497..41. Typically a spring fill up will last untill fall, fall fill up will last untill spring, heating mostly domestic hot water.
    Small stove was installed in fall '97. It ate about 2 cord per year.
    Large stove was acquired around 2000. Gradually wood use has increased to about 4 cord per year.
    Englander 28-3500 installed Dec 28 2012

    I currently have about 45000 btu of radiating capability from the existing baseboards. 5 feet of that is in the rec room on an interior wall. That will be eliminated and moved to the west and north exterior walls. How much to add to the rec room after eliminating that cheezy 5 foot section? The room is 13 x 24 or about 330 sqft.

    How much do I need in the 22 x 28 garage? About 660 sq ft, R-19 walls, insulated steel 7 x 9 garage doors? It usually stays about 40 out there even in nasty cold snaps. I just need enough to take the chill off when I want to work out there. Tired of the smelly 30 K btu propane salamander stinking up the place.
  17. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    341
    Loc:
    SE CT

    Nothing too elaborate looking, 40 gal Crown Mega Stor and a red oil boiler.

    [​IMG]
  18. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    You scored there! I'd put it up on cement blocks so you don't have to bend over so far to load it.
    Can you send a couple of pics of inside the boiler. I'd like to see what changes they have made to it.
  19. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,664
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Wow. Makes me feel better about my project cost.

    Then again, if I had paid trade labour costs on all the hours I spent on mine, I'd likely be pushing six figures. :p

    Then again, there's no way the productivity of my labour would have justified trade labour costs. :p :p
    Coal Reaper likes this.
  20. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,627
    Loc:
    Cayuga County NY
    +1 I put mine in the bucket of a loader before I installed it, and tried loading wood and going through the motions of cleaning at different heights, and ended up building a stand 22" high, which I'm happy with.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  21. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    972
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    I would try to avoid using the water jacket of the boiler as an expansion area (At least, thats how I read your previous post. My brain might not be processing it right....). Better to keep that flooded I would think.

    Sweet deal on the Mega-Stor. Im jealous!
  22. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    341
    Loc:
    SE CT
    Another member pm'd me asking about the updated fire box design, so I figured I'd post the pics in here for all to see.

    Stainless firebox liner, with the improved creosote lip to prevent drips from getting behind the brick. This is also what the removeable cover on the secondary air tunnel looks like:

    [​IMG]

    Another shot of the secondary air duct cover:

    [​IMG]

    Cover removed:

    [​IMG]

    Top view of cover:

    [​IMG]

    Bottom view of cover:

    [​IMG]

    Right front corner of firebox, air comes down a duct along the right door jamb and enter the secondary air duct via this hole:

    [​IMG]
  23. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    Thanks for the pics. I did something along the same line. I arranged the brick in such a way that the upper brick was on such an angle that it was under the old style lip. To do so I placed a small strip of Koawool ceramic insulation behind the bottom of the lower edge of the upper brick.

    I then used stove cement to seal the crack between the boiler side plate and the brick. Now any creosote runs down onto the hot brick and is burnt off.
    It seems to have worked well so far.
  24. arbutus

    arbutus Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    237
    Loc:
    Michigan UP
    Thank you for the pictures!!
  25. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    341
    Loc:
    SE CT
    I have to modify my current wood stove wall thimble and raise it up so the Empyre will connect to it. It's only 3 feet off the floor. The Empyre is 4 feet tall.

    I cleaned the flue today in preps for the job. My plan is to use a couple of ratchet straps to support the weight of the chimney, remove the base support, remove the 18" tall thimble, remove the bottom 3' section of pipe, swap them and put it all back together. The entire weight of the flue sits on that support. Where it penetrates the fire stops within the chimney chase the cracks are packed with insulation.

    Is that going to work?

    Lower basement, stove flue on the right with the clean out cap.

    [​IMG]

    The Empyre is going along this wall & hooking up to the 27' Simpson Duravent HT that is currently venting the Englander. The Englander, old stove and junk shelf will be going bye bye.

    [​IMG]

Share This Page