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Geothermal is out! Need advice on the boiler route

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by denvershepherd, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Great thanks. I emailed Jim about an hour ago. I'll let you know how it goes.

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  2. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    I can't answer for the OP but I also have the Solo Innova and like it a lot. To me it sits right in the middle, it's not as fancy as the Froling, you have to set the primary/secondary air by hand but my experience has been once you get it set for your wood you are all set and don't have to mess with it. The Solo Innova is however a bit more advanced then a boiler like the EKO or similar products. It's firebox design is like that of the Froling so you can open the door and not have to worry about smoke rolling out. There's also no bypass to mess with, if there's a fire going and the fan is running just open the door and you are good to go, even if the fan cycles off during a burn just push the door button and it will start the fan for a couple of minutes so you can do what you need to do. Nothing against the EKOs or Econoburns of the world, there seems to be a lot of happy folks with them I went with the Tarm because it gave me a simple design but with some really nice features that others didn't offer.

    Garns are sort of on their own IMHO. If you have the space you can't argue with the simplicity of the design.

    I also looked at a Vigas, they looked like nice units too. In the end Tarm had the name so that's what I went with. That and the local distributor and the importer were very good to deal with.

    Oh and to answer a question a couple of pages back...Tarm Biomass is the company that imports Tarm HS & Froling boilers. They're separate companies, Tarm Biomass's name does make it a little confusing though.

    What's the availability of wood pellets in your area? If your not so sure about dealing with wood, pellets are a good alternative. Check out Tarm Biomass's Blog (http://blog.woodboilers.com/) they have some nice examples of some of their Frolings both in home and commercial use. Those units are just a step below oil/gas as far as easy of use.

    K
  3. surviverguy

    surviverguy New Member

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    Can you do any insulation upgrades to reduce your heat losses? Just something else to consider in the equation...(use less wood and have more stable temperatures)
    In addition to the boiler, a large woodstove on the main floor with those high ceilings would help a lot.
    I wouldn't buy propane anything...you have electric hot water and baseboards which could be used when you go out of town (on low).
    There are 2,000 btu's per ton (heatpump) ...so your geothermal setup would have been 6 1/2 tons. Geothermal design usualy has em runnin 24/7 at design temp (lowest temps in winter).
    I second the idea to read John Siegenthaler's book "Hydronic heating for residential and light commercial buildings"...and also check out his article on the web "from wood to water" part 1 and part 2.
    I'd also recommend getting lots of wood (css) now while the gettin' is good..18" logs would fit in any large woodburner and are you're gonna have at least one...
    One advantage to radiant floors is that they make use of the lowest temperature water which makes them the most efficient. Radiant floors provide the greatest confort (assuming proper design). The downside to radiant floors is their cost.
  4. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Thanks for clearing that up about Tarm vs Tarm Biomass. I was a little confused about that. I talked to a company that Heaterman had suggested today and I really liked them. They deal specifically with Garn so if I go with them I'm going to have to clear some space in the wreck room on the first level. I think it may be Tarm or Garn at this point. But that may change tomorrow. I'm having the company come out to do a complete heat loss calc on my home to see exactly what I need.

    Neil
  5. Paver56

    Paver56 Member

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    Denvershepherd,
    My house is 3 years old. We used an 1" to 1.5" of spray foam with R13 on top of that. I went with the Froling 40/50. I have it on the 50 setting.
    The boiler came with a lot of the valves needed for installation, including the termover blending valve. I believe we paid a little over 11k for it.
    So far the only thing I do not like about it, and this is minor, is that all of the temperature displays are in celcius. I just downloaded an ap for my phone to convert to F.
    I have been cleaning it once a week. It comes with a small ash pan and tools which make the cleaning very easy. It usually only takes between 5 to 10 minutes to clean it. I usually get all of the weeks ashes in the pan that comes with it.
    I should mention that one of the nicest features on the Froling is the middle door which is used to light the fire.
    Another thing that the unit came with was a control box which I believe Tarm makes. It can be set to wood only, backup only, or backup on. It is an easy way to choose which way you want to heat your house. Right now, I am home everyday and have it set on wood only. If we go away I can set it so my HC propane boiler kicks on when my tank temp gets low. If I choose to just heat my DHW with propane in the summer, I can set it to backup only.
    Hope this info helps. Good luck on your decision.
  6. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for clearing that up about Tarm vs Tarm Biomass. I was a little confused about that. I talked to a company that Heaterman had suggested today and I really liked them. They deal specifically with Garn so if I go with them I'm going to have to clear some space in the wreck room on the first level. I think it may be Tarm or Garn at this point. But that may change tomorrow. I'm having the company come out to do a complete heat loss calc on my home to see exactly what I need.

    Neil,

    What do you mean when you say, "They deal specifically with Garn so if I go with them I'm going to have to clear some space in the wreck room on the first level? You mean the first level of your garage?
  7. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Hi,

    I have a utility room down on the first level which is attached to a large wreck room. I meant that I would have to expand the utility room to hold the garn/wood etc.... The garn can go right in your house correct?

    Neil
  8. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    As long as you can get it in there and you have enough head room then yeah, well that and if your floor can support it (we're talking a cement pad right?).

    K
  9. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Yes. the whole wreck room is on a concrete slab. Do I need to put steel underneath of it if I decide to get the Garn?

    Neil
  10. gtjp

    gtjp New Member

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  11. gtjp

    gtjp New Member

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    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    hi from a GT-Nut 1980--- to date:

    PLEASE FIND 12000 BTUHS PER TON IF YOU HAVE A 44-DEGREE ENTERING FLUID IN A GROUND LOOP OVER 3GPM PER TON ACTUAL COMPRESSOR TONS INSIDE , SAY A WATER-WATER RADIANT-IN-FLOOR HEAT EXCHANGER, R410a.

    Then
    see calculator sheet notes www.geopros.org (click that rough -built logo)

    find a 3000 sq ft are in -20-deg winters need only size for ! 80% of a TRUE-get through a night or 3, load peak for heating...
    setting GT Heat Pumps to run 24/7 at 74-deg, without supplemental heating at 80% sized, results in easily staying above 68 through a few coldest nights using the very high mass whole-house as a "flywheel", I believe you find others successfully doing.


    4400 sq ft homes , UNINSULATED SLAB BASEMENT REC ROOM over thick carpet and primo pad ONLY... with 6" stud wet-cellulose spray, r- 50 vaulted and attic cellulose...
    2 story,
    N-Ohio 6600 deg day area (-12-17 below frequently 1-3 nights)
    uses only 64.000 btuh GT on a 6-ton loop, 34-deg entering; and does not turn on a strip heater until a couple weeks in sub- 7 to 8 below weather, ( ~ 600 sq ft glass). ( ~ 12000 kwh/year - HVAC and Hot Water On-Demand "instant" by total compressor Priority)
  12. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    No
  13. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    gtjp: I cannot understand you.
  14. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Hi Woodmaster,

    I'm trying to price out storage with my system as I'm leaning back toward the Froling FHG-L due to the HUGE size of the Garn. Is there a good place to buy storage and what specifically should I look for in the tank if I'm wanting to pair it up with the Froling?

    Thanks,

    Neil
  15. Paver56

    Paver56 Member

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    Denvershepherd,
    One thing I would recommend is if you go with the Froling, put in plenty of storage. Mine has no problem with the 1500 gal of storage. I would not want less. More storage=more time between fires!
  16. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I'm notsure were to get tanks in your area. Try calling salvage yards. Most propane dealers won't sell you tanks but if you call them they may be able to tell you who will.One thing to decide is if you will need a coil in the tank for dhw
    or solar. If so that can be added to most any tank by a professional welder. An indirect tank is also a good option for dhw and no need for the coil.
    Stainless milk tanks are also an option if you have old dairys around. They are insulated -usually cost more. There is a salvage yard around here with all kinds of tanks but I don't Know what shipping would cost.
  17. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

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    +1 on the Froling.
    A good balance between heat-load, type of emitter temperature requirement(usable range of BTUs) and storage is advisable.
    Of course the Froling can easily handle 1500gallons, but the amount of "food" is also a concern.
    @ 1500 gallons you may need 2 loads back to back to satisfy tanks and concurrent houseload, depending on the calls.
    Lots of factors involved.
    From my limited experience, 800 gallons get me through with 1-2 fires a day(not full firebox load)depending on outside temps.

    Of course space considerations are also in the mix.

    +1 Woodmaster on the tanks.
    Also check used air tanks(verticals if you have the headroom). New air tanks run cheaper than new water or new propane and they are still ASME.

    Good luck.

    Scott
  18. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    Don't forget unpressurized storage like American Solartechnics. Tom is a member on here and if you don't like lifting heavy things and then finding and then dealing with welding the thing up so you can use it.

    These tanks are nice since they give you lots of options later one. Adding a DHW coil or even a solar exchanger is pretty straight forward. Tom's a good guy to work with, I've had a condensation issue with my tank and he's been over to try and get it resolved.

    K
  19. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Can you tell me what type of storage you have Paver? Brand, pressure vs non pressure, where you got it etc...

    Thanks,

    Neil
  20. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    I see you have a Buderus LP back up . Does it switch automatically over to this when the boiler is not loaded and the hot water in the storage runs out? Do you need a device that connects the two?

    Thanks,

    Neil
  21. bro-tek

    bro-tek Member

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    +1 on the Froling, 2x500 gal propane tank standing up is a good setup, even better would be 3x500.
  22. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Cool Bro-Tek. What type of storage do you have?

    p.s. I'm originally from NB but haven't live there for almost 15 years.
  23. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

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    You're making good progress dialing in a quality boiler with storage, but have you done anything on the firewood side of this yet?
  24. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

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    Yes, Tarm Biomass provides a "switch box" and aquastats, choice of setting to "wood only", "back up" or auto.
    The rest is the way you pipe and wire your system & controller.

    There are other way than controlling it, but why rediscover the wheel, their set up is very well designed.

    Scott
  25. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    My neighbour who has tons of seasoned wood just dropped 3 cord off to get me started. He also said he's got 5 or 6 fallen trees that I'm welcome to. Of course I'll have to do the work on those.

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