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Help w/ Long Term Plan

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by avc8130, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I know it sounds crazy, but I really have NO WAY of acceptably adding a flue for my situation. My house is a ranch. Both gable ends are occupied. 1 side has a garage, the other the addition. Both other sides have way too many windows/doors/decks/porches to legally powervent oil. I have a nice masonry chimney with 2 flues coming up the center of my house currently. 1 is for the current oil burner in the basement and the other is for the Jotul in the upstairs. As I have said, I do NOT want to lose the Jotul. I could build a pipe chase, but there are no closets on that side of the house to hide it in. Plus, I really don't want to see a class A chimeny poking up next to my nice, stone fascade chimney.

    Adding any type of flue is quite costly. I can't see how this Tarm oil burner could be SO inefficient that it would cost more to operate as a backup for the next ~20 years than the cost of adding a flue.

    I have PLENTY of space in my basement for the boilers/storage/oil tanks. I currently have 2 275 gallon oil tanks 20+ feet away from the boiler location. I could easily add thousands of gallons of water storage in the future without worrying about "missing" the space.

    Propane costs a fortune around here. Generally it costs a bit more than oil per gallon, but the BTU content is MUCH lower so the cost per BTU is MUCH higher. It is a viable option, as it would be a nice fuel for my cooking stove...but adding the cost of a tank and install starts getting significant...especially for a BACKUP system. I already have all of the support in place for OIL as a backup.

    The Boilermate has me really wondering. It would essentially act as "mini storage". I wonder in the summer if I could get away with small, hot fires every couple days until I decide I really want to go "all-in" on storage.

    ac

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  2. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't quibble on the 83% claim but try to get that after only a months worth of wood burning and you might as well go troll for tuna in the Sahara desert. Not going to happen.
    The issue with combo units is keeping the HX spotless which is nearly impossible to do unless you really enjoy brushing out your boiler every week. I would say a wood/oil combination will see around 60% on the oil side typically.

    I would heartily recommend thinking about a detached structure of some kind to house your wood or pellet boiler.
    Taylor Sutherland likes this.
  3. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Does that still hold true if the oil burner is in its own, SEPARATE, heat exchanger?

    http://www.woodboilers.com/product-photos.aspx?product=47

    Check that out. The oil burner doesn't just fire in the "wood" chamber like most combo units. It fires into its own chamber just like a "normal" standalone oil burner.

    ac
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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  5. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    The "Dutch Oven" concept of completely surrounding the wood firebox with water , this concept just does not work for burning wood safely , in a none gassification boiler.
  6. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    You're on the research path many of us have traveled here. Since I intended to do the install myself it was a staged plan leaving all that was currently working in place as I debugged our new wood boiler system. I'd say your first decision is the debate that goes on here continuously and as I've stated frequetently BOTH camps are correct; go for maximum efficiency where the IWB is located in the house or go for minimum dust and smell where the IWB is in an outbuilding (note it is an IWB at both locations). I will quote a well known installer who posts here freqently (and politely protect his identity), "In my experience I've found that the customer is more likely to be happy if the wood appliance is located out of the house." I think what he means by "customer" is the guy and momma. There are those of equal passion about feeding their boiler without the need to go outside as there are like myself who would never tolerate the mess/smell that my boiler and I create out in my barn. I actually enjoy walking out to the barn on crisp nites, but I rarely have to plow thru snow. But the whole splitting, storing, burning, occasional smoke escape, ash removal, cleaning processes are away from our home.

    I'm so glad I did not do the boiler AND storage at first because as a DIY'er I might as well have been in Outer Mongolia that first year.... this site was my only lifeline to debug the five things that were going on simultaneously.... which made debugging very challenging. If you do the underground RIGHT from jump street, you should be able to install a very good EKO, BioMass, etc without storage in an outbuilding for maybe under 10k and leave what is working right now alone. Probably can't do it at that price if you choose one of the fancier boilers, but in my case I wasn't sure that wood heating was compatible with my lifestyle. From where I am today... much wiser and with a little more money in the bank I'd probably do Garn or one of the boilers with brains. If you're able to search some key words you'll find probably a 100 guys over the past 5 years going down the same decision path you are right now. My only comment is the decision tree is 1) where's it gonna be, 2) which boiler (usually cost/performance driven), 3) storage right away?, 4) then all the nuts and bolts... pumps, mixing valves, air purge, type of lines, etc. Have fun and you've found the best support site.
  7. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    You never Know what the future holds. A new job, Loss of a job, divorce, death, etc. I like the idea of being able to keep or sell the boiler in case of a move. I'm currently In a situation that I may have to sell my boiler. I'm hoping not but hey who Knows. I wish I could find my crystal ball. lol
  8. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    If I had a $10k combo unit in my basement, and I needed to sell it, I would just hop on craigslist and buy one of the 10 $1k oil burners for sale.

    Keeping separate just on the basis that I MIGHT have to sell one in the future is not a good enough reason for me. The other problems of flues or switching backup fuel systems FAR out-weigh that minute possibility.

    ac
  9. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I've been following this thread since it started, as many have, Tennman stated ALL of us have been where you are right now.... research.....google......hearth......questions......questions..... It seems like you have your mind made up, all of the suggestions that have been made on the Hearth you've rejected for favor of a conbo unit. Get it if you want if you think it's the right choice for you, we've givien the reasons why we have the units and installations we do and what we've collectivly seen in the past with wood/oil units. I have two class A chimneys on my house and I made (vinyl brick) surrounds for them as I don't care for the polished stainless look on my roof either, but felt that class A's heat up quicker, keep the flue hotter, and are less likely to build creosote with any wood apliance..... So, I did what I thought was the right decision for my situation. Bottom line it's your call, we are here to help, not hinder.

    TS
  10. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    TS,

    Thanks for the advice. I know it is tough to fathom, but I just can't see another class A chimney in any area I could fit my boiler. I already have 3 flues coming up through my rood in 2 locations. I also can't see spending another $5k+ on the "backup" system to convert to propane. I've already chased the propane guy off my property once :). If I am buying a propane tank it will be to fill it with water for storage! :)

    I'm still considering the Tarm indoor setup, but an outdoor setup is starting to pique my interest more and more. The idea of the mess all outside is very appealing. As is not lugging the wood down stairs into the basement and the ashes out. I know I would be giving up some efficiency, but I would stick to gassifiers only. The big question with that is how the payback works on a $10k outdoor furnace. There isn't a lot of longterm data on the gassifiers to prove they last long enough without expensive repair/maintenance to make their money back at $2k annual savings on oil.

    ac
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I've read that New York, anyway, is getting picky about the location and height of the outdoor boiler stack.
  12. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    My wife called the town today. They are sending me the info packet with the regulations/requirements. The lady at the town did say they got more "strict". We shall see.
  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, you wouldn't want to spend a bunch of money and then have hassles.
  14. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    You could do like some of us, and put an indoor unit outdoors in a shed. Cost me the same as an outdoor unit without a shed. Did make my taxes go up slightly, but not enough to worry about. I believe it is probably much nicer loading in a shed then out in the wind, snow, and rain. Less standby heat loss too.
    mikefrommaine likes this.
  15. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I got the info packet from the town. Really the regs aren't bad at all.

    Minimum 2 acre lot: no problem, we have ~12.
    Min chimney height: manufacturer's requirement and/or above adjacent residential buildings. Not 100% happy about that since it will mean a bit of a chimney, but not the end of the world.
    Distance to property line: 300'. This IS a problem. With the way that lays out on my property, the OWB would have to be in my front yard. I don't like that. We are calling the town to see what options are.

    I am back to my thoughts about the Tarm Excel 2200. I am seriously researching this setup with additional storage.
  16. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I do like the looks of the 2200. I flys in the face of not useing two appliances on the same chimney. You are correct in saying it is basically two appliances sharing a common flue. My only question to an owner of one would be how much fly ash collects in the oil firetubes. Are there turbolators in the fire tubes, it does not appear there are? Nice looking unit though. I'd consider it if I were in your situation.

    TS
  17. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    From my understanding, there are turbulators in the OIL heat exchange tubes and NOT in the WOOD tubes from the factory. This can be changed.

    ac
  18. McKraut

    McKraut Member

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    I am curious, did you decide to get the TARM?

    Bob
  19. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I did...but then the guy sold it out from under me.

    Now I have a Woodgun waiting installation in the basement.

    ac
  20. McKraut

    McKraut Member

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    Sorry to hear about the j/a that sold the TARM. I think you would have been very happy with it. I hope the Woodgun does a great job. Best of luck to you.

    Bob

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