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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. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Ya probably more than 25,000 in matterials.

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  2. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Might be better to get different house.;sick
  3. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Here is a better breakdown.

    Froling FHG 3000 40/50 gasification indoor wood boiler, non-pressurized 820 gallon
    thermal storage tank, two heating coils, one domestic coil, expansion tank, boiler fill valve,
    back flow preventor, emergency heat dump, system controls, system pumps, and
    thermostatic mixing valve for hydronic system.
    $19,507.65


    High efficiency propane boiler, 40 gallon indirect water heater, expansion tank, boiler fill
    valve, back flow preventor, seven thermostats, system and zone pumps, Zurn thermal
    track, zone tubing and manifolds for seven zones, boiler venting, condensate drain for
    propane boiler, indoor gas piping for propane boiler, copper piping, fittings, brackets,
    hangers, zone controls, concrete sealer, structural adhesive and screws for thermal track,
    domestic thermostatic mixing valve, and type A high temp wood boiler chimney piping
    $26,618.36

    Estimated freight costs for wood boiler system: $1,200.00
    Equipment (fork lift, pallet jack, and man lift): $850.33
    Taxes: $3,413.32
    Labor for 4 weeks (will probably take 5 – 6 weeks to complete): $15,400.00

    Job Total: $66,989.66

    All the exclusions I posted earlier still apply.

    Also.... Is it not in good taste for me to be putting these prices up on this forum? Someone had sent me a private email suggesting that. I'm not sure how all the rules work on this forum so if I'm doing something wrong one of you more senior members please feel free to let me know.

    Thanks everyone,

    Neil
  4. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Definitely alot of money. But for what you are getting it doesn't seem like alot. Can you use your existing heat emitters instead of doing 4 floors of staple up.
    That would really cut down on the labor and materials. Also if the wood will be your primary heat source again can you use your existing boiler for back up since it probably wont get much use.

    I spent almost $17,000.00 for my system. The unit was $9,000.00 and the rest went into building a boiler room,(which was my cost of materials and my labor) and paying my plumber for materials and labor. I used my existing boiler and heat emitters.I would love to do staple up but its labor intense.

    As far as the price listing here, I personally don't see a problem unless you are giving out the installers name and address. But I also don't really know all the rules.

    Maybe take it slow and do it in phases. So it's not one big bang.

  5. Or take a sabbatical from work after taking a few plumbing courses at the local community college and DIY.
  6. dogwood

    dogwood Minister of Fire

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    Neil,

    You can go online at places like PexSupply and price out each of those smaller plumbing parts you listed. Tarm Biomass would give you the cost on the Froling and shipping. A propane boiler shouldn't be all that expensive. Menard's site has all the chimney parts and prices. Find the prices online for everything else you need and add it up yourself. Look for alternatives to the staple up radiant. I bet you could cut the heck out of the $26,618 and labor cost figures. If I thought my installation was going over $20,000 total, it wouldn't be happening.

    If I had anything near your budget and your situation I'd find a way to fit in the Garn (because it has its own storage and doesn't need a chimney) and estimate pex instead of copper pipe for panel rads instead of staple up, and price a standard boiler. There is a wide variance in boiler and furnace prices. I can't believe you couldn't come in under $30,000 even with labor.
    woodsmaster likes this.
  7. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    The existing radiators are old electric baseboard that we want to get rid of. We don't have an existing boiler as the entire house is electric baseboard heat. I think I can do the staple up myself but it will take some time which I'm ok with.

    Thanks,

    Neil
  8. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Great points Dogwood. Maybe I just need to buckle down and do the research. I think you are right about finding better prices for the individual pieces. I'll keep you all posted.

    Neil
  9. TCaldwell

    TCaldwell Minister of Fire

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    Another question is how involved do you really want to be? This proposal is for a whole house system with 2 boilers that uses the most efficient products out there. I would suspect there is a fair amount of engineered design time to insure the system runs optimally and is guaranteed to do so. You could shop the parts to death and maybe find a qualified installer and hope it works in the end, in my opinion this is a risk not worth taking, the system is comlpex and requires product knowledge by the installer. Most of us have integrated wood boilers and storage into our existing heating systems, this in it's self runs over in cost and time and comes with alot of babysitting to get the bugs out. Yes it is a learning curve and can be rewarding and frustrating with no guarantees. This forum has helped us all get through. My opinion would be to try to negotiate a better package price, let them have the responsibility and start stockpiling firewood.
  10. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    A job as big of yours would be quite an undertaking. Maybe you could do some of it and hire the rest.
  11. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    Hello Neil,

    With the big numbers being discussed here I cant help but think there is a better way to solve this comfort/efficiency game.

    It seems you love your house and plan on it being your "last" house with this kind of investment. If this is the case I would strongly consider a few things:

    Get a blower door test done( a few hundred $'s) to know what kind of air leakage your dealing with.

    Do you foresee needing new siding and window upgrades at some point? If so, this could be a great time to add a lot of R value to your wall, add a continuous air barrier,
    lower your heat load and increase comfort all at the same time.

    It sound like your south facing glass is typical passive solar of the 70's and may not be helping you all that much. There are important ratios between % of south facing glass to floor area, amount of thermal mass that the sun actually "sees", solar heat gain of the glass itself (SHGC), quality of the building envelope, etc.
    Properly designed south facing glass should gain more energy than it losses but is not as easy as just loading up a wall with lost of glass.

    Obviously I am in no position to say if this is the best approach for your situation, but while your getting crazy expensive quotes on heating systems you might as well get a crazy expensive quote on a deep energy retrofit from someone who knows air barriers, super insulation retrofits, heat recovery ventilation, passive solar design, etc.

    I recommend spending some time here:
    http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/

    A gasser+storage may yet be a good option, but I think this too big of an investment to not consider your building envelope first and foremost.

    Good luck,
    Noah
  12. bro-tek

    bro-tek Member

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    Hi Neil,
    This may have been mention before, IMHO I would recommend keeping the electric heat has your backup & post pone the propane boiler.
    Buy a small generator for any hydro down time, to supply the wood boiler.
    Sorry if this has been mention before.
    You will be happy with the Froling.
    Richard
  13. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    All great points! Thanks.
  14. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Question...When my installer talked to Tarm they mentioned that I should only get 500-800 gallons of storage because they said based on my heat calc and usage that anything over that would not be efficient and that I would have to do multiple burns a day to keep the large water storage hot. I was under the impression that more storage was better. Am I confused on something here? I guess if you have way more storage than you are using then I can see that being a waste.

    Thanks,

    Neil
  15. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    Neil,Based on your heat load you only want to be burning twice a day on the coldest of days.I would have a minimum of 1000 gallons of storage.I think you have spoken to Mark at ahona about your needs?
  16. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd New Member

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    Hi Henfruit,
    Yes, I have spoken with Mark and I was going to go with the 1000 gallon storage from ahona but the comment from tarm saying I shouldn't have more than 800 gallons has me concerned. I wouldn't think the froling would have any trouble heating a 1000 gallons easily, would it?

    Thanks,

    Neil
  17. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    It's all just thermodynamics. Storage can be "too big" if it's poorly insulated. I have 1k gallons.. and I would love 4! I wouldn't mind that it would take me a couple of days of wide open burning to get it up to temp.. cause you'd have a fire every couple of days in the middle of winter.

    BUT.... I'd lose a whole lot more space than I'm willing to. 1k gallons is a good compromise I think with floor space vs. heat storage. My verticals take up about 4x8 of floor space. Another 2x8 for the expansion tanks.

    JP
    ewdudley likes this.
  18. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    Neil, The froling should handle it ok.It all depends on how long you want to go between each fireing.Less storage less usable btus to heat with.it is all on how often you want to be building a fire to keep the tanks hot . 1000 gallons works great for me 2 loads a day in the middle of the winter.
  19. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    I think I'm sort of repeating what others have said but what it comes down to is what you want your pattern to be.

    Less storage, less fuel to get it up to temp but also less usable heat stored.

    More storage more fuel to get it up to temp but more heat stored.

    Ideally I think you want to match your storage so at a normal interval (say twice a day during the winter) one full burn will get you up to temp and have enough stored heat to get you to your next burn. My thinking is you can have to much storage, or a least to much for the way I want to operate. I don't want to have to reload the boiler just to get my storage up to temp, even if that means I have more stored heat. I'm not home so I want to hit my target temp on one burn and then not have to think about it until the next one.

    Now there's a lot of factors there, like how many BTUs you are going to use between burns and how well you storage is insulated.

    During the winter my Solo Innova 30 and 820 gallons of storage worked well for my house. I lit fires twice a day and it was able to hit my target temp most to the time. The few cold nights I did have I just threw a few extra chunks in before I went to sleep, no big deal. When it warms up just one fire a day does the job, then one ever other day.

    One thing I'm going to have to do is insulate my pipes. I have a longish run back to to my zone valves and I'm always amazed at all the heat at the top of the stairs. I don't know how many BTUs I'm loosing, it will be interesting to find out.

    K
  20. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I agree with kopeck that the storage can be to big if you cant heat it on a full load of wood while also meeting demand from the house. It does depend on your schedule and how you want to run it. If you are going to be home for a while each day and want to burn two loads to bring storage to temp then you can use larger storage. If I remember right you have a good size heat load so 800 gallon may be right for you ? It allso may depend on what tanks you can get a good deal on.
  21. Paver56

    Paver56 Member

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    I heat my 1500 gallons without any problem with my Froling. One fire a day was sufficient in the winter. When we get a cold winter, I will really get to see how my system works. I love the 1500 gallon storage- I just went 9 days between fires for my DHW. In the summer, I do not want to have to worry about burning every couple of days.
  22. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    You didn't say what size Froling you have though, that's a big factor.

    K
  23. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

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    Output vs storage vs time

    Here are some of my burn data from last year.

    tanks at 100f avg.
    boiler loaded with 127lbs of mixed harwds(mostly ash &cherry) all between 15-19% mc and about 5.8cb ft(air/bark incl).
    at end of burn & cycle(appr. 5hrs later.(actually ID fan shuts off after about 3hrs)) tanks at 187 avg (no load draws).
    total system capacity app.850 gallons = 616,003btu(no consideration given to thermal mass loss towards tank/boiler steel).
    burn was at avg(best) FG temp of 360-370f.

    If I had another 400 gals of storage I would require back to back fires to bring storage up to same temp(again assuming no concurrent loads).
    My system's design "allows" for heating down to 105f, so I can afford a large Dt, but the added storage would personally hinder my day, since I would need to back to back loads. Now I load, light(not always) and walk away. Easier to do one burn a day(heart of winter) or at worst 2 a day(0f)(am/pm).

    Conversely if a system with smaller Dt requirements (say in the 50 range), the need for back to back fires is augmented(more so with having to heat more storage), but the balance in heat loss data, storage size vs firing/load time must be analyzed and planned accordingly.

    I have personally found, it is easier to do smaller fires as needed, especially when planning multiple loads of laundry and kid's post-barn showers!
    If I had more storage my DHW would suffer as well, since it would result in increased luke warm water, not enough temp to satisfy my DHW set up, thus more burning and more fuel(incrementally).

    The beauty of this, is the flexibility in system parameters and lifestyle preferences.

    Good luck Neil, break it down more now and spend/worry less later.

    Scott
  24. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking that with well insulated tanks and good stratification, extra gallons won't hurt much. You wouldn't necessarily have to heat all the water fully - as long as the hot water is at the top, and the loads are taken off the top, extra cooler water on the bottom of storage won't affect loading/operation?
  25. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    That depends on if you can keep it from mixing.

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