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)

HELP/ Looking at HERLT, GARN, EKO

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by NP ALASKA, Feb 10, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. NP ALASKA

    NP ALASKA Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    132
    Loc:
    North Pole, ALASKA
    OK, I am done...
    CB OWB LOAD IT, LOAD IT, LOAD IT... I have went through 15 cord of wood, and about 3000 pallets this winter and it aint over...I am heating 8000SQ Ft between 4 buildings. Three forced air exchangers and one flat plate on my Burnham.

    I am looking at a different option and less smoke.

    I am impressed with the Garn, $$$$$
    Herlt seems to be good but I think I would need two. May aswell pay for the Garn.
    EKO looks great too. I think I will need two here also.

    Any Ideas guys?

    Thanks Morgan

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,268
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    I don't envy your winters, but N MN has its share - down to -24 last night and high of -10 today. You also might consider the Tarm, Their largest is 198000 btu, the Solo Plus 60. The key to getting real advantage out of these, unless you can use all of the hot water all of the time, is sufficient storage for the excess and use as needed. Good luck.
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    You'll definitely burn less wood and get more heat with a good gasifier.

    Wood Gun makes some models up to 1 million btu/hour, I believe. New Horizon Corp. sells small industrial wood gasification boilers that might work for you. The Garn is a great option, I think.

    Running two EKO gasifiers in tandem is something that is discussed in some detail in the manual and literature, so it's probably worth checking out--both with the EKO and other gasifiers like Tarm and Econoburn. The thing I like about that idea, with your heat load, is that it gives you a lot of flexibility, and might negate the need for a storage tank. In your climate, if you can run one full out all the time and use the second as a cold weather backup, I bet you could devise a firing schedule that was really efficient and responsive.

    OTOH, the EKO 80 might do just fine.

    Most anything you are thinking about, we've probably got someone here who uses one. Or we will have before long.
  4. solarguy

    solarguy New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    southern, nh
    I hear you about the central boiler. They keep you warm but they sure are wood eating monsters.

    According to my heat loss I should go thru 10 cords a heating season, I go thru 20 feeding that GD thing. This is my last season with it & I'm going to an eko. I'll burn less than 10 cords next heating season.
  5. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    912
    Loc:
    Hesperia, Michigan
    I love my eko80 and it will put out alot of heat but in your situations I think you will need some storage no matter what you put in. The reason I say that is you are running water to air ex and they can put a big load at one time on your boiler. I think that you might beable to get by with a eko80. Wood gun would work also but if you have the room I think the garn would work the best. It has the storage, it is easy to start, and would give you more flexabity on firing it up depending on outside temp. I guess I left out some others but those were the ones that I investigated the most. Putting two in tandum would work well but then you have more dollars than a garn.
    A shipping container would make a great boiler room also.
    What ever you chose besure to include storage or you will short cycle when your load is small and play catch up when the load is large. My eko80 will really put out the btu's but if I would have been behind to day I would have had a hard time catching up. -3f with 35mph wind
    leaddog
  6. WRVERMONT

    WRVERMONT New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Messages:
    104
    Loc:
    Northern Vermont
    Two gasifiers both with storage tanks would be nice for your application $$$$.
    A question for NP Alaska: Where are the Herlt boilers available.
    Thank you
  7. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    ohio valley
    have you found someone selling a herlt boiler? i would be real interested in those boilers. they seem to be the best of both worlds. that is a gasifier with secondary burn chamber and allot of refractory surrounding both chambers for using wet wood. its like the seton design with a true gasifier design and the secondary burn chamber is the best iv seen out of all of them (lots of turbulence) to burn the gasses. please let us know if you have found a supplier.
  8. NP ALASKA

    NP ALASKA Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    132
    Loc:
    North Pole, ALASKA
    Guys sorry work has me going crazy...

    I found the HN-13 the new little Herlt being sold in Canada, I believe it was Alberta.
    If I can find it again I will post the website.

    I am still trying decide what to do...

    Do I go for the Garn adn have to encoorporate it into a building, which can be a hard to do.

    Or

    Do I install a 1000 gallon plus tank and then decide which system to buy. Herlt, Econo, etc....

    I am going to be in Reston Virginia the first part of April on business. Does anyone know dealers close to there I can visit and help in making a decision. I will be there for a week.

    Thanks
  9. canyon

    canyon New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    38
    Loc:
    Homer, Alaska
    Hey NP AK,
    Did you check out the Garn installation in Dot Lake yet? Get ahold of David at Alaskan Heat Technologies as he is a Garn dealer and has experience. (882-2000) I imagine you already heard about the Tanana project which is Garn also. We have a couple going in down here on the Kenai Peninsula as well.
    Cheers from the banana belt !
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,268
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    There are +/-'s to each choice. I bought a gasifier last summer and had it up fired up by Sept. I don't think I could be more satisfied. My prior experience includes 17 years and continuing of indoor wood stove heating and 10 years of heating with a traditional OWB, now replaced by the gasifier.

    I regarded the Garn and the other gasification boilers I looked at (Tarm and Eco) as having comparable wood burn technology, with none having a distinct advantage over the other.

    The big pre-purchase advantage I saw in the Garn was integral water storage in a volume that to me seemed to be adequate, and I would not have to purchase and plumb a tank separately.

    At the time I made the purchase decision I did not choose the Garn because:
    1) up-front cost: due to lack of integral storage, the other boilers were less costly. Also, the others could operate without storage, so it wasn't critical to initial operation to have storage (although I believe now storage is essential). I'm a good scavenger, and I felt I could up with an adequate storage tank or system on my own at a cost savings.
    2) size and dry weight: living in a rural area, I need to be able to handle almost all things by myself, and my tractor did not have the capacity to move the Garn to an initial location, and possibly relocate it, in the future.
    3) saw another unit: I attended a forestry conference, and Tarm, one of the boilers I had been considering, had a unit on display. I had not actually seen a gasifier before and seeing this one positively impacted me.
    4) price and delivery: the Tarm dealer was local (within 1 hour driving), offered a very good price and provided free delivery.

    A factor I was not aware of at the time, but now am, but still would not have altered my decision, is the relatively small firebox of the Tarm (20" splits, but 18" seems to work better). In operation the firebox size is plenty adequate. 8 hours of burning pine brings my storage from 70-100 up to 150-165. This is an initial load plus a half reload of wood. I suspect that one load of oak or similar would do the same thing.

    So, I did not buy the Garn and instead bought the Tarm. I did come up with 800 gal of storage for $125, although I am in the process of replacing that with a larger storage tank. I'm seeing current prices of used LP or FRP tanks in the 1000-1200 gal range at $500-$1200.

    The Tarm is a low pressure, closed system, although my install uses an hx to an unpressurized tank and unpressurized distribution. I think there may be a durability, less corrosion, advantage to a low pressure, closed system boiler, due to lack of oxygen in the boiler system. Tech people could say more about this.

    The Tarm and tank is installed in the primary building I am heating. I think there is a large advantage to this, as all lost heat from the boiler and tank is staying where I want the heat to be delivered, and distribution plumbing is minimized (no underground lines). Also, I will be moving the boiler to a new building, so the size and weight reason for buying will be a reality.

    You have a big decision to make. In the final analysis, list and prioritize all the factors that are relevant to you, then rank each boiler on each factor. That should be a good guide to your final decision. And let us know what you decided and why.

    Wishing you a great outcome on this.
  11. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,990
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    Just be done with it and buy the Garn.

    I sell and install several brands of wood burners, gasification and non gasification type and I have to say if I were to burn wood, it would be with a Garn without a doubt. They are no more expensive than any other gasification unit when you factor in purchasing 1,500-2,000 gallons of storage separately and they just flat out work. I have found that a Garn requires much less maintenance and "tinkering" than a typical EKO, Tarm, Econoburn etc. You literally just throw in the wood, set about 2-3 hours on the timer according to the wood load and weather and walk away. Presto, you're done for 8-12 hours. No muss no fuss, just load it and walk away. No wood hanging up in the fire box, no creosote or ash issues, the integral storage handles over temp situations with ease. (Unless you're REALLY crazy and load it full when your water temp is already 200*)
    I hear back from customers with all types of wood burners ranging from typical OWB's (filthy burning wood eaters) to the top of the line gasifiers and the folks that I have installed Garn's for are universally happy.......no.....overjoyed, with the way their units work. I have one guy on a large dairy farm that we are presently installing Garn #3 for. All of 'em are WHS 2000's. He LOVES them!!. His wood use is even less than what I figured it would be much to his delight and what he is heating is far and away above anything considered normal. One of the units is heating the farm house which is 3,800 sq ft., old and drafty, heating domestic hot water for a family of 8, an 1,800 sq ft repair shop, the 800 sq ft farm office, the unattached 1,400 sq ft garage plus the chicken coop. That my friend is a load of heat and he told me last week that he has only burned about 11 face cords of wood so far this winter. If you could actually see what he is heating you would realize that is an incredibly small amount of wood for the load. He removes a 10 qt pail of ashes about every 7-8 days.

    Garn #2 is heating the new dairy barn which consists of 3,700 sq ft of in slab radiant floor plus a 175,000 btu overhead hydronic heater. The barn has been under construction since November and as you can imagine the load on the Garn has been massive to say the least. (think plastic sheets covering the sides of the barn, open stud walls, doors open constantly...........but it's been able to maintain working temps (40-45*) in the building through out all but the coldest weather. Just load it and walk away. He's amazed, I'm amazed, neighbors stare in disbelief that it's able to keep up. One crusty of duffer who has a Central Boiler OWB even stated that the Garn is using no more wood than his unit does heating about 5,000 sq ft of well insulated house and shop.

    Garn 3# will be piped in with #2 to provide additional heat for the dairy facility when we fire up another 4,000 sq ft of concrete slab in the outdoor holding area for the milk cows as they stage to enter the milking parlor. (we call it the poop melt zone) These two units will also provide approximately 700 gallons of 170* hot water PER DAY for washing and sanitizing the milking equipment. I have no doubt whatsoever that they will be up to the task.


    The smallest Garn will provide a firing rate of 325,000 btu's and provide 1,500 gallons of storage. For a typical home or home and small shop totaling below 5-6,000 sq ft this is all you should need unless your living in an ice box like interior Alaska, upper Canada or Northern Minnesota. Do an actual heat loss calculation at your design temperature to find out what you actually need.

    Garn is also coming out with a 25 year warranty for their units and it's bulletproof. You send in a water sample once a year, they send you the chemicals indicated by their analysis of your sample and your covered. Simple as that. The fact that I can show you units that have been is service for over 25 years with no failures should say something about the product also.

    If your serious about burning wood for a long time, a Garn is definitely worth serious consideration. I've not run across anything that works as well or as simply.
  12. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    440
    Loc:
    Central Wisconsin
    More of that sweeeeeet music! I couldn't agree more. These units are like the Energizer Bunny.. they keep going and going... Needless to say, I am throwing together ideas to home build another Garn style boiler. Really the only difference is more water storage. This is the ONLY way to burn wood. I'm thinking of giving my first unit to my dad and build me a bigger one.
  13. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    I agree with everything that heaterman said, but there are a couple of things he didn't say that might affect your decision.

    The Garn gives you the boiler and storage in one package, but that means you have to spring for the whole thing at once. If you get one of the alternatives, like the EKO, Tarm or Econoburn, you can buy the boiler now, use it, and add hot water storage later. Or not. You have more flexibility with a component system.

    Along those same lines, you can't just drop a Garn into your basement like you can with the others. It will either dominate an outbuilding or require a separate building of its own. So that's something to consider as well.

    Some of us have our boilers in outbuildings and our storage in the basement. That's not a bad option when you consider the allocation of space and standby heat loss from the tank.

    The Garn doesn't come with insulation, so you'll have to factor that into your cost calculations.

    And finally, bear in mind that it takes a long time to heat p 1,500 or 2,000 or 3,000 gallons of water. A separate tank gives you the option of bypassing the storage whenever you like. So if you leave town for a few days and come back to a cold house and a cold Garn, it's going to be awhile before you see any appreciable heat.

    It's possible that none of these factors applies in your case, in which case I'd vote for the Garn, too. But they need to be taken into consideration.

    As to the notion that the other boilers are more finicky than the Garn, that may or may not be the case. We only have one actual Garn user active on this site, so it's hard to draw any conclusions from the apparent lack of problems reported, compared to some of the other brands represented here. I will say that after 4 months of relatively trouble-free use, my EKO basically requires me to load wood a couple of times a day and clean the ashes out once a week. And that's without the benefit of storage.
  14. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,990
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    Points well taken

    Just moving a Garn into place is a project in and of itself. They do take up a lot of space but I have yet to see a device that will compress water. 1,500 gallons is 1,500 gallons no matter what or where you are storing it.

    AFA to store or not to store, I have yet to see a valid reason to not use BTU storage in the form of water. There really is not good reason IMHO. In fact, if you do some reading on practically any of the Euro gasification boiler sites, you'll find that storage is nearly considered to be mandatory. Herlt goes so far as to recommend a given storage volume for each model of boiler they make. Storage eliminates idling losses and allows for a continuous, hot and therefore very clean burn. You should see the inside of all the Garn's I have out there. There is NO creosote, not even a hint of shiny stuff. Just dry ash.

    Personally, I feel that the place for any wood boiler is in an outbuilding and not in the basement of your home. Why take a chance with a fire and why introduce all the bugs, ash, smoke and crap into your house. If you open the door on almost any wood burning appliance which has a fire it in, you will get smoke in the structure. Draw through combustion appliances such as Garn and Herlt are the exception. That being said, I realize that this is just plain not always possible. The best scenario as far as I'm concerned is to keep the wood burner, wood and all the associated crap out of the house.

    It not only takes a long time to heat up that much water, it takes a long time to dissipate it also. In a lot of cases a house that is operating at a reduced thermostat setting could very well last the whole weekend on a hot Garn. Warm up time on the ones I have installed runs about 3-4hours to go from 120 to 190 or thereabouts.

    All that being said, any system or appliance will have its own set of advantages and faults. There's no particular system that is perfect for every application. A Garn solves a lot of problem inherent with wood burning IMHO.
  15. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    440
    Loc:
    Central Wisconsin
    "Load wood a couple times a day" I don't like the sound of that. And your worried about leaving town a couple days with the Garn. A big plus of the Garn design is the induced draft fan. You can load wood, scoop ash and watch the fire burn without getting a face full of smoke or ash. Looking at the plumbing sculptures and oversized bathtubs that folks have built, I would (and am) build a seperate structure for the housing of the Garn and not think twice about it! And 25 years and 4 automobiles later I can say, "Balls, that Garn was one hell of an investment!" :)
  16. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    You consider loading a boiler twice a day with no storage to be excessive, Garnification? I've got a friend who had a Garn and when it was below zero, he had to get up and go outside every 4 hours to feed the thing. And he's a Garn dealer.

    I always like to mention the pros and cons of the various alternatives, and they all have their share of both. If you ignore the potential problems or obstacles, it starts to sound like a sales pitch.
  17. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,990
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    Loading frequency has very little to do with the design of the wood heater (within reason) and everything to do with the rate at which BTU's are extracted from the system. What storage does for you is smooth out the "bumps in the road" and allow for a complete burn at high heat. Idling is when you lose efficiency, accelerate the formation of creosote and create a host of other combustion problems. It's nearly impossible to "modulate" a solid fuel fire by simply restricting the O2 supply. The fuel is all in there yet and chopping the combustion air causes smoldering. A smudgy stinky fire is one of the main reasons OWB's have given the entire wood industry a bad name.
  18. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    440
    Loc:
    Central Wisconsin
    Another scenario. With a Garn you can burn all year around and not affect the boiler or its performance. I know, so can a downdrafter. But without storage? Well, I can buy a used tank or build one to suit my space and make a hx and run one possibly two extra circs and insulate the heck out of the tank and...and...and...just spend the extra money and save yourself the headaches.
  19. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Like you did?

    Not everybody around here has upwards of $15,000 to spend on a boiler installation.

    Would you prefer they get discouraged and buy an OWB or a conventional wood-fired boiler instead?
  20. Jason_in_AK

    Jason_in_AK New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    17
    Loc:
    Tok Alaska
    Dot Lake has a Garn... and a Garn dealer?!? This I did not know! I actually go there a time or two a month as part of my job. I'm definitely going to call and arrange to see that setup next time I'm there!

    I'm personally leaning towards the Garn for myself here in Tok Alaska. It might take a few years to put the money together to do it, but I like the built in Storage. I'm thinking of going with a drastically oversized model with the idea that I'd then have the potential to grow into it on my property with building a bigger house, heated garage, etc. Plus, the larger storage capacity would be nice during those rare -70 cold snaps. I'm planning on building a workshop at some point in the near future, so I can just incorporate the Garn into the design of that building.
  21. Rick Stanley

    Rick Stanley Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Messages:
    391
    Loc:
    Southern ME
    What are some good ways to insulate a Garn? Also, these units don't need a stack?? Is that right??
  22. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,990
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    RE: Garn insulation

    Depending on where and how your Garn would be positioned, freestanding, against a wall on one side, etc. you simply construct a 2x4 frame pack it with fiberglass insulation and cover it with drywall, OSB or whatever.

    When we install one for a customer we use 2x4's for the sides and top, metal studs for the front. We put OSB on the sides and top, the back is always against a wall for the intake air and exhaust. We cover the metal studs on the front of the unit with sheet metal for a little added safety from sparks and coals that may fall out of the firebox. We build the frame so we have a minimum of 8" for insulation at the narrowest point which is on each side. As the Garn in circular in shape, you wind up with as much as 18" of insulation on the corners. We size the enclosure so there's at least 12" of space for insulation on the top. The framing on the top has to take into account access to the anode rods and the manhole cover. We frame in the required openings and leave OSB just laying on the frame. When done this way you lose a very small amount of heat through the "jacket". You could actually construct the jacket with pole barn steel and set the Garn outdoors if you wanted but why anyone would want to trudge through the snow to fire their boiler mystifies me.

    As far as the stack goes, that would be a matter of personal preference and what circumstances are involved with the installation. You don't need a stack for the function of the unit but we have some operating both ways. You will find that a horizontal vent may produce some staining on the side of the building from the moisture coming out of the exhaust. There is very little smoke during a normal burn but there can be a fair amount of steam condensation from the exhaust during the first 1/2 hour of the burn. It depends a lot on your wood quality. If you would be facing the exhaust into the prevailing wind direction I would try it without first and add the stack later if you wanted.

    Attached Files:

  23. Rick Stanley

    Rick Stanley Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Messages:
    391
    Loc:
    Southern ME
    Thanks!! Great Pics. I'm actually dancing around an application very similar to the first photo. Only I'm thinking of putting the boiler inside the existing building and adding on an attached semi-open-sided structure for wood storage. The existing building has an unlined cinderblock chimney that's in good shape. Wonder if venting the boiler into that would be safe??
  24. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,990
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    If you dropped in a stainless liner it would be fine. It would not be all that expensive either. I sell a 25' flex liner with the bottom tee and cleanout cap, top plate and collar, cap, screen and windguard for $419. You should be able to find one locally for about the same $$

    The low flue temps that a Garn generates will destroy a block chimney in short order.
  25. Stlshrk

    Stlshrk Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    152
    Loc:
    VA
    heaterman - "The smallest Garn will provide a firing rate of 325,000 btu’s and provide 1,500 gallons of storage."

    What is the physical size of the unit you mentioned above. I am still waiting to hear back from Garn to even see if there is a dealer anywhere within a couple hundred miles of me. They are on my short list and I am bascially gathering as much info as possible before moving ahead any further with the construction of my building. I had started it anyway last fall as storage for outdoor and lawn equipment, but decided to hold off until I made a furnace choice. You know, so that I am only building one structure.

    Also, am I correct to assume that the storage is, or can be, pressurized?

    Man, I'd really like to see one of these in person! All anyone in my area seems to be running are Hardy's, Taylor's, or any number of other OWB. Mention gassification and most think that I am trying to save $$ on gas or diesel for an auto...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page