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Help deciding on Gassifier wood boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Den69RS96, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. martyinmi

    martyinmi Member

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    heaterman,
    I will rephrase this question for you: Has the GARN ever been tested by the EPA and put on a list where gasifying OWB's might exist? And if so, did any gasifying OWB's place higher on the list than the Garn?

    Also,
    How much did that OWB save its owner in those 9 years? Probably a 4-5k purchase back then. My guess would be that it returned it's owners initial investment in 2-3 years maximum.

    Three simple questions. One word answer for each question will suffice.

    Thank You

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  2. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/owhhlist.html

    * The wood-burning appliances that are "qualified" under the EPA's Voluntary Hydronic Heater and Fireplace Programs are not "certified" per EPA's Wood Heater New Source Performance Standard. Contact your state or local air quality agency for clarification on the type of wood-burning appliances, if any, that may legally be installed in your area

    Please Note Energy efficiency numbers that have been calculated using the current test procedure are generating numbers that do not represent actual efficiencies. As such, we have taken down the efficiency column from this web site. Please bear with us while we review this issue.

    http://garn.com/wp-content/themes/Chameleon/forms/GARN EPA 1 2 3.pdf
  3. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    marty: you should be able to answer most of those Q's for yourself with a simple search on the EPA site, yes?
    AFA payback goes, different for just about every install, heatload & a few other variables.

    If you want to do a calc on cost of ownership on that OWB vs say a Garn as that seems to be the one that interests you the most.
    It would go something like this: Garn cost 12 -15 k depending on model, lasting 40+ years according to info here, we will use 40 to keep the math simple.
    Cost of boiler per year over lifespan $300-$375 per year.

    OWB cost 4-5K, we will use your numbers, lasting 9 years as in the case above. Cost of OWB per year over lifespan $444- $555 per year.

    Not looking good for us fellow OWB owner, I have not included the cost of removing 3 worn out units & installing 3 new ones over the 40 year span of the Garn. We know these don't give out in the middle of summer right, so I should have included some $ for the property damage we will suffer when it goes on the coldest weekend of the winter (typical, stuff never quits when you don't need it, always when you do) x 3. I also forgot to add inflation to the equation for those 3 extra OWB's we will buy with future $$$ not at todays price for sure. Probably a lot more I forgot to include as well, indexed to inflation of course because we get to do this 3 times more in the future, while the poor bored Garn owner only gets to have all that fun once. For know I had better stop, as thinking about all this extra money that I will need to spend is jacking up my blood pressure.

    Hope this helps to clear it up for us OWB owners.
  4. martyinmi

    martyinmi Member

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    Canuck,

    Answer to your initial Question: Yes

    Also did a google search on the availability of a registry of 40+ year old Garns still in operation. I'll search some more tomorrow. It has to be there.

    12-15K for installation? Things are very inexpensive up 'dere.

    9 years is apparently a well documented age for all types of OWB's to mysteriously fail? My search engine must be lacking some relevant data there too. Dang neighbors, lying to me about 15 year old CB and 18 year old Taylor. You ever hear of a welder?

    Need I continue?
  5. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    My first boiler was a used Taylor 450 that was 9 years old. It would have likely last many more years. The firebox was large enough that you could weld from inside easy.

    I sold it and bought a indoor gasser. It is leaps and bounds better for over all satisfaction. The Taylor smoked so bad it was embarrassing, I don't think you can compare them to any modern gasifier. I have been a paid firefighter for a long time. We have a saying, "Smoke is fuel".

    gg
  6. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    1. Simple answer ....no. EPA had/has no way of testing a Garn. Their protocol does not work with a storage based system.

    2. My best estimate based on what my combustion analyzer tells me and what I observe is that OWB gassers will Max out at 55-60%

    3. I would guess he broke even
    Dug up and replaced cheap outdoor underground. Replaced several pumps. At least two controls and a draft blower that I know of. Yearly water treatment. Cost of wood, harvesting the same, chain saws, splitter, not to mention labor at even $5/hr. Just adding it in my head it's iffy...,.....
  7. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Marty, speaking to the point you make about length of life for OWB's, I had an interesting conversation with a representative from Farm Bureau Insurance last September at the Logging Congress in Escanaba. I was helping out in the display my brothers had up there for chainsaws and the insurance guy was right across the aisle from us. Over the course of the three days there we struck up a conversation about wood burners. He had seen a Garn outside along with many brands of OWB's that were there and we got talking about them all after I told him I was a "heaterman" by trade.
    He mentioned that his company insures heating equipment under their standard homeowners policy and that they were paying out many claims for failures on OWB's. I asked what brands and he rattled off 6-7 names, all of which are bandied about here and as far as their internal numbers showed they were pretty much all the same. He asked about the "one outside that looked different" which was the Garn. I told him I had encountered several in my travels that were well over 20 years old and had recently rebuilt one with a serial number of 29. To the best of my knowledge Garn has been made since about 1981-82 so I would guess that unit was near that with a serial number that low. The only brand of OWB I have seen make it past 15 years without a water jacket failure of some kind is a Hardy. There are several around here that I installed in the mid 90's that are still in use. I truthfully do not know of any of the other common brands that have gone much past 10 without having to undergo major repair. Both Of my brothers have OWB's that are 11 years old and both have had to have them welded up on more than one occasion. Both will probably buy indoor pellet boilers when they make the switch.
  8. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    FWIW, the Portage and Main 250 that Marty seems to have, is, based on one I examined at a show, a true downdraft gasification unit with a very well designed multi-stage fire tube heat exchanger. The design included some wonderful features for ease of checking and cleaning the firetubes. I was impressed with design and robustness of its construction.

    Econoburn also has an "outdoor doghouse variant" of their gasification boiler.

    It's not where a wood boiler lives (OW or indoor) it's the technology it uses.

    A good outdoor unit should work fine and is probably better overall than something like a Biasi non-gasifier or a New Yorker non-gasifier.

    PS- seeing a Garn in operation is what launched me into the current modality of acquiring and using a gasifier-- although at the time it seemed bulky and expensive. I now think that by the time you factor everything in (plumbing, storage, controls, etc) then as long as you have a place to put a Garn, and a heating system that can use water down to moderately low temperatures, the Garn is impressively efficient in terms of dollars as well as combustion/ capture of heat.
  9. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    I am trying to think under what circumstances an Insurance company would pay out on an OWB?
  10. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    SS is really not well suited to building fireboxes in boilers. It is less ductile than mild steel and more brittle, and it absorbs more heat than mild steel does so expands and contracts more. Hence it tends to warp and crack over time when heated. It is also a lot harder to weld than mild steel, and it is WAY more expensive. Never mind that it does not transfer heat neartly as well as mild steel. The only real advantage of SS is that is does not rust out. However there are anti-corrosives that prevent mild steel from rusting, and so they can last 20 years or more in a boiler, easy.

    Read: SS in a boiler = spendy sales gimmick (Avoid!)
  11. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    They are the only insurance company I know of that does that and it doesn't matter if you have a furnace, boiler or what it is fueled with. If it fails beyond reasonable repair, they will replace it. Pretty nice addition to a typical homeowners policy I would say.
  12. martyinmi

    martyinmi Member

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    heaterman,
    FYI-If there weren't so many benefits associated with a gasifying OWB, I would have installed a Garn in an out building on my property. The European imports would never be a viable option for a variety of apparent reasons. Thank you for your reply's. I will be contacting you personally in the future.

    Marty
  13. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    I think your P&M will prove to be one of the better OWB gassers Marty. They have an actual heat exchanger in them for one thing and a decent system for gasfication.

    By all means send me a PM sometime, maybe during my travels I could stop and see your setup. I have enjoyed meeting every single person I have come in contact with through this place.
  14. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    What are all the apparent reasons for ruling out a Euro import?
  15. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    So they basically have a rider that is sort of a maintenance contract.

    Very nice. Never come across that before, wonder if they would do one on my truck...

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