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Looking for an Excellent Pellet Boiler Dealer and Installer

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by WKB, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. WKB

    WKB New Member

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    Boston
    Hi guys,

    I'm considering installing a pellet boiler. Any recommendations for dealers and installers in the Boston area?

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  2. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    Hello WKB,

    I would take a good look at a couple of these options, particularly the Windhager. http://www.hydro-to-heat-convertor.com/pelletboilers.html . They should be fairly close to you(Billerica).

    Search Windhager here for more info.

    Do you know your heat load(btu's per hour at design temp) and what is your current heat distribution system?

    Good luck,

    Noah
  3. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Get in touch with Milne Plumbing from Manchester. I know Scott Milne personally and you'll get an excellent installation plus a fair deal. He's one of the original "Wetheads" from Dan Holohan's Heating Help website.
    Tell him Steve from Michigan sent you his way.

    http://www.milneplumbingandheating.com/

    I also agree 110% on the Windhager BioWin. I could not be more pleased with the performance of this product.
  4. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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  5. WKB

    WKB New Member

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    Boston

    Thanks!

    We currently have a pellet stove and are looking for a replacement. But a pellet boiler tied into our oil boiler (shut off during pellet operation, of course) would be really cool.

    Are the pellet hoppers for these units sufficient for a weeks worth of burning during the coldest season? I see the fabric hoppers you can buy, which would be great if we can make some space. We've got tons of old baby clothes and other stuff we need to sift through!
  6. WKB

    WKB New Member

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    Thanks! I'll definately look at the website and get in touch with him.
  7. WKB

    WKB New Member

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    Boston

    Thank you.

    A few others in this post have mentioned the Windhager as a popular model. Do you know of a ratings consortium to choose the best for performance, reliability and value?
  8. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    I know of no agency that rates any solid fuel appliances for reliability or performance such as Consumer Reports etc.......maybe I ought to start something like that........

    The best I can tell you is from personal experience, which is often more accurate and useful anyway.
    The Windhager boilers we have installed and in operation have been rock solid reliable. There were no problems reported or observed with any of them. I think the one with the highest run time on it had over 1700 hours of burn time on it. Unlike a pellet stove or a lot of other pellet boilers, they are designed from the ground up to be THE primary heat source for a home or business. Maybe a better way to say it would be that the intended use is that they are the ONLY heat source.There are over 45,000 BioWins installed and in use worldwide so it is a proven product to say the least.
    Performance of these boilers in field use has been excellent. Maintenance is next to nothing compared to what we typically think of when considering pellet burning equipment. I won't get into the mechanisms involved here but the cleaning interval is roughly 1 time for 800-1000 hours of operation. I burned 3.2 tons of pellets through the one in my house and collected the equivalent of maybe a couple 3# coffee cans of ash from it after that use. One owner who burned a little over 7 tons (in a 6,400 sq ft building) cleaned his twice.
    Efficiency has been a pleasant surprise to say the least. The numbers I got from combustion testing were the same at start up as they were with 1000 hours of operation. The picture attached here shows the read out on my combustion analyzer for the BioWin260 I have in my house at the end of the heating season. They are easily equal to a normal gas or oil fired boiler. Any technician would be happy to see this level of efficiency if he were looking at an iron or steel gas boiler.
    If I were Consumer Reports I would give the Windhager 5 stars for Value, Performance and Reliability.

    Other pellet boilers I have worked on have demanded much more "user interaction" than the Windhager did. Mainly in the cleaning and maintenance area. Cleaning was needed every week or two in order to keep efficiency up and keep the unit running reliably. There are others on the market that perform in the same league as the Windhager but the $$ involved are significantly more. Froling is equal to the Windhager in the maintenance free department and is an excellent boiler but more costly. Harman is at the other end of the scale on price and performance for not a lot less money.

    I found that in my drafty old house I needed to fill the pellet hopper about every 3-4 days depending on the weather. Sometimes it would need 3 bags to fill, sometimes 5-6. It heated my entire house + all of our domestic hot water. When I calculated the actual fuel cost it came out to about 10% less than natural gas in our area. (which is very cheap right now at $.78/therm delivered)

    Attached Files:

  9. WKB

    WKB New Member

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    Thanks, Steve, for this great information and the recommendation. We're still considering whether to replace the pellet stove or go for the pellet boiler. I liked your comment about boilers being perceived as the only source of heat, rather than designed more for a large room--though we did heat our home almost exclusively with our pellet stove last year. You may be right: the boilers may be more robust, since they are asked to do more from the start.

    Does the Windhager give off any heat? It actually would be somewhat beneficial in our case, because our heat pump water heater tends to switch to resistance heating, since our basement it unheated.
  10. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    They are very well insulated and designed to lose almost no heat to the surrounding space. Best way to supply heat to a space is to do it in a manner that can be controlled like you would for any area.

    I have to say again that the boiler is a completely different beast when compared to a stove. Not the same class of product in any way.
  11. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    Hi WKB. I am in the process of purchasing a Windhager Biowin 260 which will be installed sometime in late September or early October. I'm in New Hampshire myself and will be writing up the install on this site with pictures if you are interested.

    I'll give you the back story.

    I am not by any means a heating plumbing guy. Just a home owner fed up with the high cost of heating with oil in New England. My home is about ten years old and has a very low quality contractor grade oil boiler in it providing heat. When I first decided to make an investment in revamping my home heating system I thought I'd replace my current oil boiler with a premium quality, high efficiency oil boiler. As I began to do the research on the oil boilers I came across a great deal of literature and information on alternative fuel sources. I researched all of these, solar, wood, heat pumps, geothermal, coal, pellets etc etc and determined that the best solution for my particular situation would be a pellet boiler.

    After deciding to go with a pellet boiler I researched the companies currently offering them in New Hampshire. There are actually not that many in this country as it's kind of an emerging technology/market. But I contacted the companies that sell them and spoke with them about their product and pricing (many of the people I spoke to post on here by the way.) I even viewed demos of several of the different pellet boilers from the different manufacturers. After all that I decided to go with the Windhager because it not only seems like a very high quality product but it also seemed to be the best value among the pellet boilers that are available for purchase in my area at this point in time. I have actually spoken via this website with heaterman who was kind enough to share his experiences with Windhager and I am now even more confident that I have made the right decision.

    Are you thinking of making a purchase prior to the coming heating season? As I said I will be chronicling my install on this site for anyone interested to read about. I recommend the Windhager but I would also strongly encourage you to do your own research, talk to the vendors, ask lots of questions and see demos of the units if possible prior to making a decision.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  12. foamit up

    foamit up Member

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    I just started to install the Windhagar BioWin 260. Had to hall the Woodpecker to scrap yard first. Then get it in building and off pallet. Second day hook up supply and return and start wiring. I have a couple hours doing wiring and the vent hook up yet. Then i am going to build the pellet bin. Then Marc is coming to lite it. I have picture but could not get it to work. Let me know how. Foamit Up
  13. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    Foamit did you have trouble getting the unit in your basement? I have a bulkhead and Marc has said he could help me if I need him to but I was hoping I might be able to safely get it in as one piece with a little help from my brother without having to pay someone.

    Also were you asking how to post a picture in your thread? If so you would just slect upload a file below the post when you write it. That uploads the picture and you then just click insert full image.
  14. foamit up

    foamit up Member

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    Dana, my unit is inside a truck box so had to roll off trailer into box then get it to position and roll it off pallet by my self. I used steel stakes 6 under unit plus a bar to lift and make it move. It worked really well. I would do same on basement steps. 3/4 plywood on steps, heavy rope or strap around bottom tied to truck, stake rollers under, and slowly let it down with truck. Three people job. Two to guide it and keep rollers under, and one to let truck move. The bottom of unit is heavy duty. Could do this with it in crate if you have room, then you don't scratch anything. Here is my unit just wiring and vent to go. Foamit UP
    p3.jpg
  15. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    Foamit up:

    Have you turned up the boiler yet? I found a plumber who will do the install and he's going to help me get it into the basement. I'm looking at an install sometime around the 2nd or 3rd week of September.
  16. foamit up

    foamit up Member

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    I have had it running for short time, but so far no call for heat. It is getting down to 45 tonight, maybe i will turn it on. It has to be on for tenants by Oct 1 so not to much time before it is on for season. Foamit UP
  17. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    We have not turned ours on for heat yet either but it's been getting a little chilly at night. I'm thinking we'll be using by the middle of next week. What do you plan on burnign in it?
  18. foamit up

    foamit up Member

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    I sell MWP pellets on side so they will be going in to the BIO WIN. They are a blended pellet. When it gets really cold i going to try for a month the all softwood ones just to see how they do. Remember i am heating a big apartment building 4 units with the BIOWIN. It figures out to take 16 ton for whole year. The most i got the previous boiler to burn was 10 ton and that was a struggle, plus i had to burn oil when it was down. I am really counting on less work with the BIOWIN. Foamit UP
  19. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    I just bought two tons of the MWP blend to get me going for the season. they were supposed to be delivered yesterday but they had a problem with the truck so they'll show up today. Have you had good luck with the quality of these pellets Foamit UP?
  20. Patti

    Patti Member

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    Hi Foamit Up! and any other WOODPECKER Boiler owners, past or present.....
    This post caught my eye....You had to haul your Woodpecker to the scrap yard????? YIKES! GULP. I just installed a 'gently-used' one this past fall and I am having a LOT of trouble with it.
    Here is the scenario:
    My 25kW Woodpecker is in my shop (about 100 feet from the house).600 gallon water storage tank in the shop beside the boiler.
    Insulated pex tubing buried 5' down. Heat exchanger in the house. Right now, it is only used for heating the house, (not domestic hot water or the shop). The house is about 2500 sq ft. It is two 1857 log cabins together, and there is 6" of new spray foam insulation in most of the roof. It does need new windows.
    There is infloor heating in the kitchen, so I set that temperature around 68 degrees, close the upstairs loft (600 sq ft), and kept the house at about 64 degrees most of the time (which was actually quite comfortable), but would sometimes put it up to 66 or 67 on the REALLY cold (-30 to -40 CELCIUS!) days and nights that we had (which were WAY too many for my liking!)

    The boiler was set to a max temperature of 180, but the temperature in the water storage tank never went above 160. The temperature of the water going to the house and returning FROM the house was always a standard 160. It would drop for a few minutes while the heat exchanger kicked on, but it came right back up. I figured this was pretty good, because it meant that there was plenty of heat available, and I wasn't pulling much heat off if the temperature of the water was coming back to the shop at 160.
    Problem was....I was burning through pellets like CRAZY. Some days, I would be putting in EIGHT, yes eight, bags of pellets (at that point I didn't have my big pellet storage tank set up, so I was bagging it) and one month, it cost me $1500 CAN for pellets and that was with discounted pricing! I tried hardwood, softwood, mixed- nothing made a difference.

    So....we switched some plumbing around and instead of the heated water going directly into the storage tank, and then to the house, we now have it going directly to the house and the return water goes into the tank. So far, it hasn't made a difference, but apparently, we need a 'special part' as the thermocoupler we installed in the water storage tank won't communicate with the boiler ( or something like that!) I am looking for information about this part....

    As a previous owner, I would really appreciate hearing about your experience with it.
    It doesn't sound like you were very pleased.
    How long did you have it for? What were some of the problems you encountered? Who did your combustion checks and calibrated it for your pellets? ANY tips, help, hints about do's and don'ts??

    In the manual, it says that the moisture content of pellets must be below 10%, so I am wondering if it is possible to burn corn in it as well? What is your opinion? If I can find low moisture corn,(as close to pellets as I can get- maybe 4%) do you think it would work? I have a 4 ton hopper installed now (and I think I will double it this summer). I think corn is going for about $120 a ton right now, as opposed to the best price I can get on bulk pellets- which is $275 a ton, plus $150.00 delivery charge. I'm not too worried about the fines, because the load of hardwood pellets that I had delivered were brought by a feed truck (one of the few guys I could find in all of Ontario who would pick up bulk pellets for me- can you believe it- the manufacturers up here don't even deliver or have trucks to blow them in??!?!) His feed truck chewed up the pellets somewhat, so I had a LOT of dust (even though there was an exhaust pipe) and there was a LOT of fines. I just finished burning the last of the load, and the boiler went out a couple of times, which I think was a result of the high amount of fines, but overall, the boiler handled the fines without much problem. I actually think I would have a lot fewer fines with well cleaned corn than I did with having the pellets blown in with this feed truck! I believe that corn burns hotter, but I'm not sure why that would cause any problems with the boiler. It has a brand new stainless steel burn tube in it (the old cast one had melted....). Do you (or anyone else out there!) know any reasons why I shouldn't try the corn?

    I have had some ignitor issues, and error code 12 'extinguished due to low flame', although the draft etc. is good, but it seems that we have resolved that problem.
    I am definitely NOT thrilled with the amount of cleaning I have to do....I take the whole thing apart once a month- minimum- because my stack temperature gets up to about 380degrees within a 3 week period and there is all kinds of soot/ash on the tubes.

    One of the main problems I am having is that I live in Ontario, Canada and there is only one tech guy who works on these as more of a hobby, as he has a full time job.
    He is often out of the country, so it's been hard to get assistance from.
    I would also appreciate the names of any people you know who service Woodpeckers or at the very least, sell parts, because as far as I can determine, the original company was sold, and I think it has now gone under (great......groannnn).
    I have spoken with George Robbins at WeBiomass in the States, but if you know of anyone else, I would appreciate ANY contact information you have.

    Finally, I would love to hear about the Windhagar Biowin260 boiler you installed.
    What size is it? Cost? How many sq ft. does it heat? Approximately how many pellets did you burn this winter? (do you have cold winters where you live?)

    Thanks for your help Foamit Up!
    ANY and ALL help, suggestions, information etc. GREATLY APPRECIATED!!:)
    Patti
  21. BoiledOver

    BoiledOver Burning Hunk

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    DB Cooper?
  22. Patti

    Patti Member

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    Hi! Are you replying to my post? Is DB Cooper a company in the States? If so, where are they located? Thanks. Patti
  23. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._B._Cooper
    I don't get the connection, but I'm not the hippest guy around.
    It might be related to the fact that you responded to a two year old thread.

    I attribute the lack of participation of other Windhager users to the fact they just work.

    Maybe yours is too small for the heat load-you can't get blood from a stone. Those underground lines can suck away some heat.
  24. pbvermont

    pbvermont Member

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    RE: D. B. Cooper=hijacker
    Hence: "hijacking the thread"
    Chris Hoskin likes this.
  25. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

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    WKB in addition to Marc Caluwe/Windhager in Billerica, google "New Day Energy". They have offices in southern NH and MA and are very familar with MA regs and incentive programs.

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