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Looking for help. wood or pellet boiler?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by JBainbridge, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. JBainbridge

    JBainbridge New Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2014
    Messages:
    15
    Loc:
    Southwest Michigan
    Hello all
    I'm a new member on the forum but have been lurking here for about a year now.

    I currently heat my home and my dads home next door with an OWB and after burning 23 cord of wood last winter I'm done. This summer I want to install a gassifier but not sure what the best option is. I was originally leaning towards a Garn but am now thinking It would be nice to have a wood boiler with a pellet attachment like the Effecta or Varm.

    some of the questions I have are:
    Is running a pellet attachment on a wood boiler as efficient as a stand alone pellet boiler?

    Are there any other wood boilers that have pellet attachments besides the two I mention?

    Also are there any dealers that any of you know of in the southwest Michigan or northern Indiana area?

    Thanks for your help

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  2. tjvt

    tjvt New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2014
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    Loc:
    Barnet, VT
    The Wood Master Flex Fuel will burn cord wood or pellets.
  3. foamit up

    foamit up Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Messages:
    75
    Loc:
    Central, Maine
    Marc at www.ahona.com has some wood/pellet combo units. I have a Vigas wood boiler but if you want to go away in winter you have to have a baby sitter for boiler. That is not easy. I have a pellet boiler in another building and it is so easy to leave for the weekend, fill the hopper and go. I just hate to burn oil. Foamit UP
    flyingcow likes this.
  4. GregMajecki

    GregMajecki New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    18
    Loc:
    Upstate, NY
    I got my wood boiler fall 2013 and it was a lot of work and frustration with wet wood, setting and etc..
    Wood is a lot of work specially at the beginning.
    If you can afford pallet I would get good quality pallet boiler and spend les time in the basement feeding it.
  5. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    3,215
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    My experience with combo units of all types, wood/oil, wood/gas, wood/whatever....has been more negative than positive.
    They work but they are a compromise to both fuels due to the different nature of the fuel itself. One example; heat exchanger design must be fairly open for wood, whereas a tighter design and better efficiency can be done with pellets or gas and oil.

    If you're going to burn wood you can't do much better than a Garn. If you were my customer I would rather recommend a separate unit for each fuel. You'll have less maintenance headaches. If you go with a good pellet boiler you'll pretty much eliminate the need for a backup anyhow if you set it up with a bulk feed system. Fill the the pellet bin every 4-6 weeks and forget about the thing. The good ones are that reliable.
    Where are you in SW Michigan? We have a couple Windhagers installed downstate and wondering if one of them might be near you.
  6. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    2,472
    Loc:
    northern-half of maine
    I've got a very nice gasser/storage combo(installed in 2008). And i also really like the Garn.

    But if i was to do it over again......I'd get a really good pellet boiler. And don't look back. Right now I've got over 16 cord of wood to stack.I bought it all processed......and i still think, be nice to have pellets. And i'm very spoiled with the wood. Stack it on the pallets and I'm done with it until i need to move the pallets. Then fire up my tractor, slide a beer into the holder, and move the pallets....
    Chris Hoskin likes this.
  7. JBainbridge

    JBainbridge New Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2014
    Messages:
    15
    Loc:
    Southwest Michigan
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Heaterman, I live near a small town called Marcellus. It's about 25 miles southwest of Kalamazoo.

    I was afraid of the Combo boilers not being as effective or reliable as a boiler designed for a single fuel type. My thought was if there was a shortage on pellets like last winter I could always burn cord wood. I still think I want to go with a pellet boiler though.

    I've never heard of Windhager (sounds German). I've read a lot of good things about Okofen or Kedel do they compare well to those? I'm definitely interested if you know of anyone in my area.

    Thanks again
    hobbyheater likes this.
  8. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    From all I've read on this place, Windhager would be my first look w.r.t pellets. There are a lot of happy users & stories on here, and getting to be more all the time.

    We don't know anything about your house - but from what I've read so far, I might be thinking of a Windhager for primary, and maybe also a decent woodstove if you're worried about periodic pellet supply problems or still have a hankering to burn wood. Seems to me also from what I've read that where you're at is a good place to be buying pellets.
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Sand Lake, NY
    What's interesting to me is that you have a relatively automated way of dealing with the wood and you STILL have a hankering for pellets.

    PS: Is that face cords?
  10. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Good point. But if i was to do it all over again I'd do pellets. The cost is about the same for pellets as is for wood.

    It's 16 cords, not face cords. I am putting a boiler in my truck garage. Between my house and garage I'll be burning between 10 or 12 cord a year.Plus I'm trying to get my wood to the two yr seasoned stage. I'll buy 16 cord again next year, that'll give me enough extra to push it into 2 yrs. And I know, If I'm pushing others to pellets, why am I putting another boiler in? Because i will be writing my wood off as a business expense for the garage. Who is to say how much i will burn down there.....might be 16 cord? ;)


    Got to keep my baby warm 704026_602634776422974_1430587733_o.jpg
    skfire, 91LMS, Fred61 and 1 other person like this.
  11. bigbobs

    bigbobs Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
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    Loc:
    Lee, NH
    Ah, you must haul milk, hence Flyingcow! Like the Moose Bars on the front end. Have they saved the radiator yet?
  12. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I get the Flying Cow now!
    flyingcow likes this.
  13. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    yes I had a bumper like that on my other truck.hit a 600-pound cow moose only ruin the bumper. I hit her at about 65 miles an hour
  14. TimfromMA

    TimfromMA Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Central MA
    A pellet boiler will be alot closer to set and forget than a wood boiler. With pellets, as long as your pellet storage is full, you can set your desired temperature and walk away. If you have a storage silo, you can have bulk pellets delivered at set intervals just like oil.
    flyingcow likes this.
  15. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    At this point we are the "go to" people for all things Windhager in Michigan.
    Contact info is on our website in my signature here.
    flyingcow likes this.

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