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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

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2013
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    Loc:
    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

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
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    Southwestern VA
    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

    Joined:
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    3,097
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    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

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2013
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    Loc:
    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

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

    WKB New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    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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    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    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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    Loc:
    Boston

    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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    Loc:
    So. New Hampshire
    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?

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