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In the market for an outdoor wood boiler in NW Wisconsin.

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by J_Silver, Feb 13, 2008.

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  1. J_Silver

    J_Silver New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    WI
    Hi , I'm a new member from NW Wisconsin and I'm in the market for an outdoor wood boiler. I have been reading through many of the postings on
    the site for awhile, and I wanted to say upfront that I appreciate all of the excellent advice and courteous people that are extending their knowledge to
    help others looking for an alternate method of heat.

    I really have no knowledge about outdoor wood boilers, other than the fact that everyone I talk to that has one seems to love them! Currently, I have an LP boiler
    in the basement. We have in floor tubing in the basement (finished 1200 sq feet) and the upstairs (additional 1,200 sq ft) is heated with baseboard fin tube. Also, we have an 800 sq foot garage that has in floor tube, and is kept around 40 degrees in the winter. I would like to keep the LP boiler in the loop for backup reasons.

    With the price of LP, we are now most likely going to be buying an outdoor wood system this summer, and I will also be adding a new outbuilding that will be heated as well.


    My question is this. Does anyone from this area (Eau Claire, WI) have ideas on which manufacturers would be the most helpful in explaining my different options? From what I've read so far the closed systems seem to outlast the open systems, and I also have corn avaialble on my property that I could use also. (ie.. a combo wood / corn burner). I would also like to use the outdoor boiler to heat our hot water (shower,sinks..etc), and is that possible with a closed system?

    I guess I'm starting to ramble now, but I guess any beginner advice would be appreciated, as I really don't know where to start.

    I do live on 60 acres, and about 40 is wooded, so I will be cutting most of my own wood if that's something that needs to be taken into consideration. The other portion is farmland that is rented out each year. (That's where my corn supply would be).

    Thanks for any help!

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  2. solarguy

    solarguy New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    southern, nh
    Don't do it, it's a trick.

    I've used a central boiler for 6 or 7 heating seasons & I can't wait for this heating
    season to be over. Whatever you think you'll burn for wood, double it & that's no BS......
  3. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    ohio valley
    obviously a gasifire type is the better approach if you read most of the posts in the boiler room. I'm in the market also and getting prices a we speak from most suppliers. you mentioned corn and that can narrow your search a little. the eko, biomax and econoburn units all can burn a mix of wood and corn. the seton type is another choice you can look at but i don't know if you can burn corn. do some searching on these boilers and ask questions allot of people here have real world answers.
  4. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,404
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    I too would be cautious about a traditional OWB; and cautious about corn/pellets. You live in an area with lots of available wood, I think. Corn/pellet prices are going to be tied much more to the energy (oil and NG) futures market than round wood will be. One advantage of those fuels is the fuel bin which keeps the boiler running. A properly sized gasifier with storage can be fueled no more than twice a day, and often less. Plus, it will be far more efficient and use much less wood that a traditional OWB. Over time my belief is that the round wood boiler, in an area with good wood supply, will cost much less than alternative fuel boilers. I believe on a new install prices also are competitive. If a gasifier or corn/pellets are the choice, also consider the Tarm.
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Hey, welcome to the Boiler Room, J_Silver. I'm originally from Coloma myself. Deep behind the Cheddar Curtain. It's always good to have another cheesehead onboard.

    You'll find a natural bias towards wood gasification boilers on this site, but we have members with all different kinds of wood-based central heating systems, so there's a pretty good knowledge base to draw from. And as my friend nofossil is quick to point out, you'll get lots of opinions and even a few facts if you stick around long enough.

    I assume that you're thinking about putting in your system for next heating season, so you have plenty of time to reasearch your options and this is probably the best place to do that. I would suggest poking around in some of the existing threads for information, and then feel free to post away with questions about various systems. We all like to talk about that stuff, and we've got people capable of discussing it on various levels from simple (me) to pretty darn technical (nofossil, etc.).

    But to answer a couple of your questions: Yes, you can heat all your domestic hot water with any wood-fired boiler. And most gasifiers can burn just about anything that ever lived, as long as it's dry. But if you have plenty of wood, burn the wood and eat/sell the corn. My boiler can burn corn cobs, so that's a good compromise.
  6. J_Silver

    J_Silver New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
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    Loc:
    WI
    After reading the responses, I'll definitely be researching the gasifiers and other options as well. Who knew there was such a wide variety to choose from!

    Thanks again...Your help is greatly appreciated.
  7. sled_mack

    sled_mack New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Conklin, NY
    You won't find much in the way of outdoor gassifiers. But, don't give up. If you really want the boiler outside the house (like I did) you can put the "indoor" boiler in a shed away from the house. In fact, if you are thinking of building and heating an outbuilding anyway, that may be a good location for your boiler and storage tank (if you choose to use storage).

    Good luck!
  8. Mainewood

    Mainewood Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Somewhere in Maine
    Other options not yet mentioned.
    Benjamin and Greenfire boilers.
  9. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Ask questions, and just remember some posters are salespeople in varying degrees of disquise . . . .

    Things like this should be in a special room for comics

    "The firebox is completely surrounded with water to absorb the greatest heat possible from the wood combustion. The "Dutch Oven" concept of completely surrounding the firebox with cooling water, prevents damage from overheating and eliminates the need for firebrick."
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Here's one of my favorites from an old thread I started:

    This is what I get for spending my lunch hour on Ebay. I noticed an auction for a used Taylor Water Stove. The description was a lot of the usual hyperbole about how you can heat a Walmart with one of these, burn “all manner of combustibles,” heat your pool, yada, yada, ya. So I asked the seller (a Taylor dealer) what the “overall efficiency” is on these stoves. Answered within a couple of minutes. To wit:

    “I know there are a number of rating systems for the efficiency of a wood burning stove- but publishing a rating without pages of qualifications really isn’t fair to a regular person without ASHTO access and the ability to interpret the results. Taylors are rated between 87 and 93 percent efficient- based on a number of test conditions. That being sais- anyone can understand that the bigger the water capacity of the stove the more efficient it is in wood useage since it’s the water that stores the heat. Taylor and the various knock-offs have the largest water capacity in the industry. We heated a 2600 sf home in NH, had plenty of hot water and provided over 200 gallons of hot water to our horses in the NH winter, using a Taylor 260- so small it’s not made anymore- and 3 cords of mixed green unsplit hardwoods A YEAR.....It’s the water that does it......more water = less wood.”


    Amazing! Over 90 percent efficient and somehow you’re getting energy out of water!

    Sign me up!

    Too bad the model that only burns 3 cords of green, unsplit wood isn’t made anymore. Que lastima!
  11. shawntitan

    shawntitan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Messages:
    51
    Loc:
    NJ
    "The “Dutch Oven” concept "... I thought that meant something else, lol.
  12. bbb123

    bbb123 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2007
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    95
    Loc:
    Coxsackie, NY
    Heh me 2 I thought thats where the term "gasify" came from?
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,327
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Funny, Eric - but sad also.
    Here is a guy telling us about a situation that we can guess is 20% system efficiency, and claiming it is 87.....

    And, he has perfected fusion - able to get heat out of water!

    PT Barnum was right. But it isn't only suckers I am worried about. People put a basic trust in manufacturers and dealers - sure, everyone knows that a salesperson want to sell, but at the same time the customer expects SOME KIND of accurate info.

    This is the same stuff that frustrated me when I imported Tarm. We were being outsold 10 to 1 because we told the truth. But who can compete against claims that water=heat?
  14. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    231
    Loc:
    SE Minnesota
    Buy local if you can from someone you trust. Talk firsthand to someone who has the boiler you are looking at. Go see where they are made if you can. These are all things I didnot do. I have an Adobe, do not beleive anything they say. Do not buy one. They give no service or help. On the plus side you might want to check out Sequoyah Paradise boilers from Mauston atleast they are close to you.
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
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    Central NYS
    Welcome to the Boiler Room, muleman51. Sorry to hear it's not working out with the Adobe. Maybe we can help you out if the factory won't. We have a number of members with Greenwoods, Setons, Black Bears, etc., which I believe are similar to the Adobe design.

    Why not start a thread discussing some of your issues, and let the group take a crack at it. Sure hate to see you spend all that money and not get the results you were expecting.

    And that's good advice about checking around. We try to provide some of that here, but you're right--seeing one operating is usually a pretty good approach.
  16. altheating

    altheating New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Central New York
    I spoke to muleman51 earlier today. He is having the same issues with the folks at Adobe as I had. No phone calls back from the factory, they wouldn't ship parts, the instruction manual was not complete, the DVD failed to show many of the parts in their proper placement. Then they had the nerve to say the boiler was not properly assembled. It was assembled just as the directions and DVD had shown. Parts were missing, the boiler can't keep up with the heat demand. He actully received the wrong size boiler and they won't take it back. The folks at Adobe actully altered the tag according to muleman51, according to him they hand wrote over the tag to change the BTU rating. (and all this time I thought you had to burn more wood in a bigger boiler to get more BU's) The owner of the Adobe here in NY will most likely purchase an Econoburn to replace his Adobe. Muleman51 stated that his boiler is actully blistering and the blistering is being caused by the metal rusting through. Call the company and tell them you want to buy a boiler and they are all over you ask about a problem you are having and they don't know you. The guy here in NY had to tell them he wanted to purchase a boiler in order to get through to finally discuss his disaster and to finally order parts. I agree with muleman51, go look at a boiler that has been in operation for awhile ask the owner about the factory service that was received. It unfornitute that there are companies out there that are operating in such a fashion. Saving a few hundred dollars up front may actully cost you several thousand in the long run. Just ask muleman51. Go with one of the top manufacturers who have good ratings in this fourm.
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