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i am thinking about getting a central boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by adamant, Feb 18, 2008.

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  1. adamant

    adamant New Member

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    Sep 30, 2007
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    hello, with the high cost natural gas i need to think of another heat source.
    what i have now is a wood burning insert that keeps the house somewhat warm but handling the wood is getting old.
    we have to split the wood haul it into the garage (4-5 cords), then bring it into the house a few times a day to load it.
    i seen a dealer that sells the central boiler brand which he feels that its the best.(he is the dealer. of course they are the best. LOL)

    my house is 18 years old, 4 bedrooms,about 2400 sq. feet ( i think)
    gas heat "forced hot air",gas hot water. gas dryer and gas cooking range.
    my gas bill was in October,$57.00,November $62.00, December less then $100.00 January $81.00 that is using the wood stove aggressively.
    i had him come out to the house to give me a estimate !
    its hard to tell what my real heating cost will have been because of the wood stove but talking to guys on the job they are paying anywhere from $180 per mo. on a budget plain(12 mo) to 400.00 per mo for the 5-6 cold months.

    $15000 installed seems like the quote i got from the dealer.
    130 feet of pex tubing, the central boiler mod. no. cl6048 and a 140k btu h/e coil ect...

    whats your guys feeling on the central boiler brand?

    thank you
    ant

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Welcome to the Boiler Room, adamant. I would say that for $15,000, you can do a lot better than a Central Boiler. IMO, that's old technology that's going to be obsolete (and perhaps illegal in many places) in a few years. Poke around here and learn about wood gasification boilers. If you're not going to do anything before next heating season, you've got plenty of time to really research your options and plan your system, whatever it turns out to be.

    Unlike a dealer, we don't have any official brand bias around here. We do tend to push the cleaner, more efficient alternatives, basically because most of us believe that's the way to go. But there are many different options to choose from, and we're fortunate enough to have users of most of them represented on this board.

    I'd say you've come to the right place. Feel free to ask any questions or start new threads.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot of things to consider - do you buy your wood?
    If you do, using it in an inefficient appliance could make the cost as high as gas.

    For instance, hardwood at 170 a cord - burned at 40% total efficiency, would be the same as Gas at $1.60 or do per therm (I pay about that much right now).

    Even if the wood is slightly less, you have to add for the work plus the cost of the initial boiler.

    Not trying to talk you into or out of anything - but given your relatively new house and lower heat load, perhaps a more efficient free standing wood stove would give you more heat for the money?

    Quick calcs - an initial outlay of $15,000 - assuming 6% interest on the money - that is $900 a year that you have to save to just pay for the boiler. Then you have to save even more to make the work worth while.

    I am, of course, speaking from an economic perspective - but that seems to be the question you asked. If you want to burn wood for the "green" aspect of it, and have access to free wood (and enjoy the process), then economics does not mean as much. Still, the fact that a high efficiency boilers puts out more heat per log and produces 1/10 or so as much pollution still would have me leaning toward an efficient appliance.

    Some states are starting to ban outdoor units of the type you mention, and I suppose NJ will not be last to the game.
  4. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    When I read your thread, I made a few quick observations (most of which were stated already by others ;-) )

    1)You mentioned the work of using your current wood-fired unit. The work is going to increase with ANY wood fired CENTRAL heating unit, no matter what brand.
    2)15k installed????? TFF Unless there is something unusual about your install, that is too much money
    3) If I understood how much you pay for heat properly, I think you are CURRENTLY heating very cheaply. Some of us here would go through 275 gals of oil every 3 1/2 weeks or so. If you end up buying your wood, it doesn't sound to me like you are going to save any money.


    I think the most important thing is to take a deep breath and chill for a minute. Energy prices are high. It's almost March, and you are going to spend a ton 'o bucks to save about $100 before the heat season ends. Don't rush this. Rushing is probably what got you the 15k estimate :roll: For the next 6 weeks turn the stat down (this will help the Wife be more receptive to your need to spend money on a new hydronic unit this summer) and get yourself educated. Just reading on this forum a few minutes everyday will make you happier with the purchase you eventually make.

    Jimbo
  5. solarguy

    solarguy New Member

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  6. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    There is always room at the top. Do not let them tell you, that there is not!
  7. deerhuntrer

    deerhuntrer New Member

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    I own a Central Boiler 6048. The one reason I went with this option is that I get my wood for free and ok second reason is that I heat a second unit and my barn.
    With that being said I do not believe a one size fit all scenario. If it were just my house, Id go with wood gasification. The Central goes thru a lot of wood and is alot of work. Which I dont mind. But if I had to do it all over again, I would seriuosly look into wood gasification boiler. From being on here just a few months, I have learned more than I would from a dealer. A CB is alot of work, and if you buy your wood, I wouldnt recommend a CB or any OWB. My OWB works for me, but what works for me, may not work for you. Also towns and states are banning them everywhere, Id be careful in purchasing one right now. Also 15,000$ for install??? Wow, I think that is alot. My 2 cents worth.
  8. adamant

    adamant New Member

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    thanks for your replys..wow i learned a lto now..that $15k was the unit and installation.
  9. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Save the $15K. Buy a big cast iron kettle and hang it over a campfire in the yard, run some hoses from it into your house and you have nearly the same technology and wood consumption as a typical OWB. :) Plus, the campfire will smoke less, won't burn you hair off when throwing wood on it AND you can roast hot dogs over it!!

    That's said with fingers only halfway crossed behind my back.

    Seriously, I think that in your case, practically any wood fired central heating system would be a waste from a purely economic standpoint. The payback would be Waaayyyyy out there, like 15+ years. Natural gas is going to be much more stable in price than LP or fuel oil so you don't have to anticipate costs that increase by 20-30% each year like the other fuels mentioned have recently. If I were you I'd use a nice indoor wood burning stove to take the edge off the fuel costs. You can probably get a good quality EPA rated stove installed with a chimney (class A all fuel) for $5K or less depending on the particulars of the installation. JMHO :)
  10. solarguy

    solarguy New Member

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    >won’t burn you hair off when throwing wood on it AND you can roast hot dogs over it!!

    Glad to know I'm not the only one that's happened to.
    Hot dogs, you can roast a whole hog...
  11. deerhuntrer

    deerhuntrer New Member

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    I have learned to ALWAYS wear a hat while loading the CB, if you dont, youll walk around with "highlights" in your hair. (singed hair that is)
  12. ssupercoolss

    ssupercoolss Member

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    southeast pa
    ant - i am pretty much in a similar situation, except your cost for heating are much lower than mine. i think people on here are actually pretty jealous of you. (i know i am) i currently do most of my heating with a pellet stove, and have the oil for the extremes, but still get quite a few deliveries of the liquid gold.(oil)

    my plan is to have an IWB up and running for next year. the pellet stove works well, but central heat is keen.

    i agree with the masses on this board. 15 k is too much, it wil just take to long to recover that.

    have you looked into an add-on furnace for your current system? is that a possibility for you? theres a ton of options with wood that i would have no idea about if it wasnt for this board. i think for 15 k you could probably have a new wood/gas furnace installed no problem.
  13. adamant

    adamant New Member

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    i pulled my gas bills from a few years ago when we ran out of wood. and my gas bill in 03 was high 200's per mo for 4 mo. of the coldest heating season at that time. so with out the use of my stove it would be that high this time of the yr. or more.
  14. shayneyasinski

    shayneyasinski New Member

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    canada
    you think filling your indoor unit is getting old....
    buy a OWB and you will not be any better off.
    by the look of your post what you pay for gas in the times you had no wood is not enough to warrant buying a 10 to 15 thousand dollar wood setup.
    I would gladly pay $400 a month on gas than what I pay to get wood and feed a POS boiler that has me tied to it!!!

    then I could let it go out after I buy $1200 worth of glycol so it dosent freeze and break!!

    whatever you do is up to you but befor you drop the cash spend a cold weekend at a guys house with a boiler and see what you are getting into.
  15. deerhuntrer

    deerhuntrer New Member

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    Their are things that you should know about the CB that I experienced in the first year of ownership that I never thought of. I never fill it more than twice a day and that happened on the coldest of temps. Usually once a day. An OWB is still alot of work, you do not have to split the wood, which for me takes a step out of prepping firewood, so instead of handling it 4 times, I handle it three. I burned wood anyway in a wood stove and used about 500 gallons of oil to boot, plus large electric bills for the DHW. Now no oil and no large electric bills, but the trade off is I need to put in physical labor to offset these costs and that is not for everyone, as seen here on this board. Central Boiler is the best OWB in my opinion and I researched it and talked to a number of different users of different makes and models. I also considered and oil/wood combo furnace, but it didnt solve the problem of heating an exterior apartment unit. OWB are not convenient and when I leave for an extended time I need someone to fill it for me, which isnt a big deal. However, if I did it all over again I would still purchase the unit as it works great. They are not for everyone and it will pay for itself as of right now in 3 more years, I bought it 1.5 years ago. Good luck.
  16. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I had to re-read that . . . did you say you heat for $800 a season???????????????

    Hmmm, maybe my cardboard box is not insulated well enough . . . .
  17. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    I remember the winter of 1999, one month I paid a 60 dollar nat gas bill, the next it was close to 400 bucks. Same temps, same usage. The next month we sold the house so it wasn't bad, but the problem was really that gas jumped that high that fast.

    There are other possibilities than just a wood boiler, such as a solar water heat setup (my current favorite, planning it for my next house). From what I've seen on various sites it just takes a few of those panels to heat a lot of water, and this water can then be used to both heat your drinking water and heat the house. No idea what it would take to retrofit to an existing house since my own plans hinge on building the house to use it to begin with, but if nothing else you might be able to just have to use a central boiler at night, and use the sun in the daytime. Folks in Canada have success with heating water in the winter too, so it can be done effectively.

    Something else that I see nobody's mentioned in this thread either, is conservation measures taken. Have you checked the insulation and window leakage? Some insulations will compress down and lose effectiveness, and other times the house just doesn't come with enough. My horrible horrible never buy one again McMansion came with ceiling insulation just to the top of the joists, which was 6 inches or so. Probably substandard in the walls too, but I don't plan to be here long enough to make it worth my while to add more insulation or put in better windows. I did have another foot of insulation blown into the ceiling (local contractor, 800 bucks to cover a 1900 sq foot area with blown fiberglass 1 foot thick), and it made a huge difference as this winter is colder than last, yet last year I was sending 200+ per month to the gas company and this year I've not had a bill higher than 160 a month. I keep the house cold enough that everyone's gotta wear sweaters and long johns in the house though. So far I've saved back half of what that insulation cost me in heating and cooling bills, although it's not so noticeable with the cooling. Looks like it knocked about 20 bucks or so a month off the cooling bill.
  18. Tritonman

    Tritonman New Member

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    Well here is my 2 cents. I am also new to the site and would of done things different if I knew this place existed. I have a heatmor that heats a 2900 sq. ft. ranch w/ a finished basement(along with my water). My house is 4 years young with a high effeciency propane furnace. From Nov. to April my first year I spent $2,500 in propane. Thats over $400 a month. I purchased and installed my owb for $6,300. A 125,000 btu heat exchanger in my furnace and heat exchangers on my water tanks.
    Now, after a whole bunch of cutting, splitting and handling of wood. My house is at a steady 72 degrees. I have a mixer valve that mixes my hot water with cold water to get it where I want it at the tap. If you do not have to buy your wood, it is worth it to me. But, you'll need a splitter, saw and something to haul your wood with. And your gas. For me if I have to travel more than 45 minutes it is not worth it. Unless I am desperate. I load mine once a day when it's warm(above 30 degrees) and twice when it is cold(now). Alot of physical work, but it feels good when you look at your stacks of wood, and your big muscles. One of the reasons I did not go with the cb is due to it's control panel and buttons. The heatmor is very simple. I'm sure it has it's own cons, but I have not ran into any yet. The water only got cold once and that was because I forgot to load it. Now, after finding this place and the new resrtictions about to surface, I would have seriously looked into a gasifier. That is my luck. But, if you burn clean wood and stay away from the junk. Maybe your neighbors won't say anything. It also helps to have 10 acres surrounded by pine trees. I'll just start my own meat smoking business. Anybody need a ham?
  19. adamant

    adamant New Member

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    i am getting it installed tuesday..and it was a high of 63 deg. today
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