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  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Sand Lake, NY
    I'm coming around to thinking more seriously about a wood (or maybe even a pellet) inside the house boiler.
    A small insert is keeping the first floor pretty much warm, the second floor doesn't get too much, and I can't put in a bigger, or freestanding stove.
    The house is a 6 year old colonial of 2,000 ft2 with an unfinished basement that has a ground level door.
    The main heat is a Burnham oil boiler with standard radiators-no ductwork.
    The wood usage I've been seeing from the gasifiers on a recent post seem pretty good.
    I figure it's a way to get heat to the second floor to keep everyone happy.
    I like tinkering with things too.

    So how do I begin? I've been reading the boiler forum some over the years.
    What are good brands? Are there some that are really to be avoided? Is there a problem getting service or parts for some of these (exotic?) Euro models?
    What size would I need (location is 20 miles east of Albany, NY)? (I guess the answer would be to do a heat loss calculation-however that's done).

    Would there be any recommended installers around my area?

    Thanks for any help.

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  2. Well I bet by now you have received some PM's from a few dealers.

    Eko, econoburn, woodgun and tarm all seem to have many happy owners. I am quite happy with my Biomass and have used less wood than anticipated so far this winter. I did the install myself and I'm looking at a 3-4 year payback with 'free' wood.

    As far as sizing you can get a rough idea by looking at the tag on your existing boiler.
  3. KenLockett

    KenLockett Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern Upstate NY
    I am east of Albany near mass border and just installed gassifier. PM me and we can exchange phone numbers if you'd like to discuss. Got a great and reasonably priced installer in our area.

    Ken
  4. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Upstate NY
    Mike has a good point about getting a rough sizing idea based on your current boiler.

    However, there are some good links in the sticky at the top of the forum about a heat loss calc, and I would start there to make sure you have what you need.

    Having gone through the same process not that long ago, I might be able to offer some insight.

    Where do you want the new boiler to go if you got it? In the basement or in an outbuilding? Do you have room for storage? That will impact your choice of boiler, as some are not listed for use without it.

    "Good" brands is, as mikefrommaine put it, will be hard to quantify. Lots of people here have different boilers, and are very happy with them. You can get more expensive models with lambda controls for peak efficiency and cool factor (Froling, Effecta Lambda, and I think there are others), or ones that do not have the lambda controls. Several thousand cheaper (on average) to go without them, but they are pretty spiffy. Tarm (now BioHeat) has been in the game here in the US for a long time, but many of the other makers of boilers have been in Europe for years now.

    I dont know about parts availability, but as far as service, that would probably depend on the dealer or whoever you decided to have install it. Most are pretty easy to service yourself it seems (this may be a huge exaggeration on my part)

    Keep reading around here, and think about what you might like in your system.

    Also, based on your area, there are lots of folks around the Capital Region that have these boilers, so you could probably check a number of them out in person if you wanted to. (myself included)

    Good luck, keep us posted, and you will be required to post pictures once you get started :)
  5. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, nothing yet.

    I'm probably going to have to do some sort of presentation on payback for the missus; I've been getting log lengths delivered at 650 per.

    I could maybe install myself to some point with the existing boiler working (it provides dhw via indirect tank).
  6. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    WI
    If its going in the house go with a induced draft.

    gg
  7. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    At the nozzle size installed, the boiler is rated at 91 MBH gross and 79 MBH net.
  8. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    A couple of other things to consider:

    Do you have a spare chimney flue? Cause you cant share with your oil boiler, and I would think you dont wanna get rid of the Quadrafire (thats up to you).

    If your output is 79 MBH, you could go with a Tarm Solo 30, an Eko 25, a Varmebaronen Vedolux 30, BioMass 25, Attack DP-35, EconoBurn EBW-100 (made in NY!).... You get the idea. Lots of choices. These could all change depending on how much storage you want to have with your system, and how fast you want to charge it up.

    As far as figuring out how to pipe it, the "Simplest Piping" sticky has some good ideas, or you can look at the ones that Tarm has put out there here: http://www.woodboilers.com/admin/uploads/public/WoodBoilerPlumbingSchematic0111Web.pdf Good stuff, and thats where I started with my dreaming. (I didnt end up there, but thats another story entirely....)
  9. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I have an odd question - how old are you?

    You don't have to answer, but one thing I've been considering is realistically, how much longer do I want to keep up with the labour involved in burning wood? I just turned 50 - I don't feel like what I use to think 50 would feel like, but not sure I want to be still doing the woodchuck thing in 20 years. Or have someone else do it for me. And it will be a sizeable investment.

    Now that I got that out of my system, I hope you've got some time to spare, because there is a ton of info here to digest. Sounds like you've got a situation that would benefit greatly and adapt relatively easy to an add on gasser. If you've got room for storage, you could do all your heat & hot water with it year round, and be a lot warmer in the winter in doing so.

    I'm surprised Clarkbug got thru his whole post without mentioning his boiler brand. If you have more than 26 feet of chimney, my first choice would be his in a natural draft model. But there are all kinds of good choices - makes decision making very hard.

    Good luck.

    EDIT: Typed too slow - I see he snuck it in his second post. ;)
  10. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    C'mon Maple! You can't go calling me out like that! :) It was supposed to be all stealthy-like.
  11. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    The Wood Gun seems to be the boiler that does the best without storage although even that does better with it. There are lots of other good gassers, I would recommend storage with them. Some will tell you that storage is mandatory with their boiler. The simplicity of the WG is one of its strong points. On the other side is the Lambda boilers that will do all the adjusting for you. My next boiler will be a Lambda boiler with probably double the 720 gallon storage I already have, Randy
  12. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Wow, thanks for the offers. I'll take you guys up on them!
    A co-worker has a new outdoor Central boiler-not sure of model. I'd go with an inside boiler though; the basement is mostly unfinished (insulation on walls) with about 9' to bottom of joists, and there should be room for storage.

    I have to find out about what lambda controls are.

    Would that be induced, as opposed to forced draft? I worked at a couple of power plant projects that were balanced draft coal plants.
  13. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    I believe all of the Lambda boilers are induced draft. My opinion is the Froling & Effecta are the top 2 & the Vigas after because of a little less tech in the controls. Randy
  14. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Wow again. Great info so quick.
    I'm 58. Every time I work on the pile, something hurts for a while. And, it takes a while to process those 6 cords.
    I've gotten to wearing 4 braces on misc. body parts now, and more coming.
    What's the alternative, just pay for the oil? Or, are you hinting that pellet might be the way to go? Or, perhaps, retiring to Florida? :)
    I probably have 28' of potential pipe. I think I'd have to consult a sweep to see if there's still room in the chase for another chase (currently has 2); last time I was up on the roof it seemed like there was indeed room-as I recall it was like 6 feet .

    Here's a picture of the chase:
    [​IMG]
  15. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Induced Draft - air is sucked into the boiler, smoke is in your fan.
    Forced Draft - air is pushed into the boiler, smoke not in your fan.

    Lambda controls use an oxygen sensor in the smoke pipe to adjust the primary and secondary air throughout the burn to make sure you arent getting too much or too little air. I would say the easiest thing to picture is fuel injection vs. a carburetor on a car. Both work, but fuel injection is constantly tuning and adjusting.

    In NY all new outdoor boilers have to be the gasification type, so you need dry wood for them (which means wood shed outside). Plus you may have to add a lot of height to your smokestack depending on how close your neighbors are. Thats the main reason I didnt look into one when I put in a boiler. I would have needed a monster stack.
  16. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Well, there are several companies that make pellet boilers that would tie into your central system, so you could heat your upstairs easily with it, and just deal with loading the bags into it instead of time out at the wood pile.

    If you have enough space, you could buy a LOT of pellets in bulk and get a good deal.
  17. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I've been storing 4 cords of wood in the garage the last two years. I'd have to put build a roof of some sort under the back deck, or just bring into the basement big blocks of splits from a new pile out back. There'd be going up and down the stairs too, but I'm assuming with these units there wouldn't be as much as with my little insert.
  18. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    You could put a boiler out in the garage if you wanted to. That way your wood is right there, the mess stays out of your house. You dont get the benefit of having the heat loss stay inside your living space, and there are potential issues with having to make it impossible to put a car in your garage with code, but its something to think about.

    Plus then your total stove pipe length could be shorter.
  19. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Speaking of mess, I've read that opening the door can be messy, with talk of exhaust hoods, etc. Are they all like that?
  20. Willman

    Willman Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    As far as the age thing goes, the design hook at present is "aging in place"
    The effecta boiler can be refitted with a pellet burner I hear. Others maybe able to also. So when a person can't do cord wood any longer, just bolt in the pellet burner. Bulk storage eliminates the bags. Sell the saws and splitters and relax. Prolly the approach I will take.

    Will
  21. huffdawg

    huffdawg Minister of Fire

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    They are only like that if you load the firebox while its still burning. I had a smoke hood made up just for that reason , then after running my boiler for a few days I figured that if I just let the fire burn out and start a new fire that my smoke hood was a waste of money. Now its hanging sideways up on the wall in my boiler room. But I have storage so that makes thing easier . I don't have to let it idle and keep reloading it all the time.


    Huff
  22. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Okay, thanks, that makes sense.
  23. I did pretty much the same thing. Still have a bunch of parts to return for the smoke hood i decided I didn't need.

    Another consideration for me was a UL listing. Not all boilers are listed. It wasn't required by my town but I thought it was good piece of mind.

    In my case payback is a little longer because I had to put in a new chimney and i built a dedicated boiler room with fire rated Sheetrock and doors.
  24. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Too old to handle stove wood? Age? Who ages anymore? Boomers live in style forever - that's what the media, food, recreational, and drug companies sell us on. That aside, a person doesn't need to cut, split and stack all needed boiler wood at once. Between the house and shop I need average 8 full cords per year. Entering each heating season I start with about 18-20 cords in the wood shed or covered with steel roofing panels. Each spring, summer and fall I take down dead trees and process fallen trees in good condition as time and conditions warrant, split and stack as convenient, so that by late fall at least another 8 cords are ready for two full summers of drying before burning. The physical exercise is free, no health club, no gym membership, no stylish exercise clothes, no expense to join the fitness fad culture - just be fit. And with avid summer road bicycling, swimming, water skiing, and an at home winter strength and aerobic exercise routine, plus Medicare, a beautiful wife, adult children and grandchildren, life couldn't be better - at least for today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
  25. turfman

    turfman Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Messages:
    17
    Loc:
    western ny
    So how do I begin? I've been reading the boiler forum some over the years.
    What are good brands? Are there some that are really to be avoided? Is there a problem getting service or parts for some of these (exotic?) Euro models?
    What size would I need (location is 20 miles east of Albany, NY)? (I guess the answer would be to do a heat loss calculation-however that's done).

    Would there be any recommended installers around my area?

    Thanks for any help.[/quote]

    I just installed a Vigas 40 myself this fall. It has been working great! I picked it up just east of Syracuse. PM me if you need more info.

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