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Looking for wood/gas (propane) combo boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by gimmegas, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. gimmegas

    gimmegas New Member

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  2. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    I'm a fan of more storage.. less frequent burns. A 1k gallon tank would take up 40" wide or so.. before insulation.. so call it 4' wide to be safe. 20' long plus a few inches. You could use the storage ABOVE that tank.. You wouldn't want to schlep wood up on top of that tank, being 4' tall.. but it would be good infrequent use storage space.

    Chucking wood down a bulkhead is ok.. but then you gotta stack it again. If you had something that was, roll in, roll out.. you could come up with some cart or pallet based system. I envision something like a garage on one end of the house.. and a wood boiler/storage on the other end of the house. You wouldn't need frequent access for wood.. but you sure want it easy.

    JP
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  3. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    As for DHW.. mine is a zone off my boiler. Indirect tank is heated via wood boiler tanks if tanks are above 135 degrees. Whole house is radiant.. so i can use temps down that low, unlike baseboards. I allow my storage temp a wide swing.. from 195 down to 135 degrees.

    I did use wood heat for domestic hot water this summer. I wasn't done insulating yet. I think I could run one fire every 3 to 4 days and it would work out. Better than a gallon of oil a day.. which is what I was running previously.

    JP
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  4. gimmegas

    gimmegas New Member

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    I hear you, man. I'm all about easy, but my plan includes hunting, fishing, gardening and drinking home brew. Stacking wood may be the only thing I do that keeps me in shape.
  5. gimmegas

    gimmegas New Member

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    JP, glad you like the radiant idea. What type of flooring do you have? I understand ceramic does the best for transfer of heat, but I'm planning on pine boards. Any thoughts? Sounds like you are just getting done w/ new construction?
  6. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    I haven't see ReVision Heat mentioned yet, you should give them a call.

    http://www.revisionheat.com/

    They've been doing this stuff for a long time and are a top notch group.

    They carry Tarm & Froling wood boilers and pellet boiler and are also importing they're own Kedel pellet boilers. I don't know if you've looked at pellets but if you are planning on buying wood (if you don't have your a "back 40" to cut your own wood) I would seriously look at them as an option.

    Tarm and Froling are also very good boilers. The Froling is sort of a wood buring space ship, the Tarm is not quite as high tech but a bit more refined them some of the other units you will see around. Not to say there aren't other units that are as good, there are you should talk to Henfruit he sells Vigas which seems like a really nice unit.

    There's options and there's really good folks to deal with here in Maine!

    K
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  7. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    I have radiant in the concrete foundation.

    First floor has staple up under subfloor. Ceramic tile in much of house.. laminate wood in the rest.

    Been in the house for almost 5. boiler is a this year addition.

    JP
  8. ozzie88

    ozzie88 Member

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    That web site is from 2008,few years behind new laws.
  9. gimmegas

    gimmegas New Member

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    Hey, Ozzie. Thank you. I guess the main thing is that you can vent both systems through the same hole which is a very good thing.
  10. gimmegas

    gimmegas New Member

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    OK. I will give them a look. Good to know there are options in Maine. I have not looked at the pellet idea as my options for gathering wood on the cheap are good. I'll cut, haul, split and stack my own. Can these boilers burn softwood?? It would not be my first choice and would never burn it in a plain wood stove other than for kindling. Just wondering??
  11. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    Yup, you just don't get as much heat per pound (ie not as many BTU per stick). Some of the guys on here, mostly Canadians, burn softwood exclusively.

    You're going to find the boilers from ReVision are going to cost more then say and EKO or BioMass but you do get what you pay for IMHO. Not saying the EKO wont heat your house, it will, and a lot of guys here put them to good use, but the designs are a bit more refined. One thing I love is how my boiler will not smoke you out of the house if you open the loading door while it's running. No bypass levers, just punch a button, start the fire, load 'er up and walk away.

    Also, like some others have suggested, go with storage.

    K
  12. gimmegas

    gimmegas New Member

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    I just looked at Henfruit's web page. I will likely give him a call. Do you know people w/ a Vigas? I see JP11 has one w/ 1000 gal of storage. I thought that was a lot but he says it cuts down on the the need to keep throwing wood in. For a 2500 sq ft house, is that adequate? More than enough?? Good to know about the softwood. I would have been concerned w/ the moisture/creosote. Thanks.
    Gimme
  13. gimmegas

    gimmegas New Member

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    JP. How does the radiant in the foundation work? I would assume that once the concrete heats up it retains heat more than other materials? Do you have a slab? basement? I guess once the material heats up, it doesn't matter what the material is as long as you have the capacity to keep it that way and perhaps another reason why you like a lot of storage? I see you have a Vigas -Pros? Cons? You might have mentioned already, but what is your square footage you are heating? Thank you,
    Gimme
  14. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    I've seen a Vigas running in a trailer, it was cool but not the best "real world" example. That being said the Lambda Vigas would be high on my list now.

    Storage not only means less loading but more efficient burning. Think of it this way, storage allow your boiler to burn at full tilt, less idling means less wasted heat, less wasted means less wood burned! That also plays into your question about softwood, the gasifcation eliminates the creosote problems, that is as long as it's happening. Idling means that you're not gassing...

    Pretty much I load my boiler twice a day during the winter. When it get warmer then it once a day, once every other day and so on. With out storage you would need to keep a fire going all the time...let just say I like storage.

    1000 gallons is more or less the norm. I use a 820 gallon heat bank from American Solartechnics which seems to do the trick. They're made here in Maine, you might want to check them out. Tom, the owner of AST, is also here on the board.

    K
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  15. K, you have a froling or tarm?

    Gimme, you will find that gasser owners break down into several groups:

    In a shed vs in the house
    Storage vs let it idle
    Lambda vs non

    All have their pros and cons.
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  16. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    Tarm Solo Innova 30.

    I like it a lot.

    I would also like to add that I looked at everything when I was trying to figure out what to buy. I'm sort of nutty on the research bit, I drove my wife nuts. When I first started looking I thought a GreenWood was the ticket...I'm glad I didn't bite right away. Then I started to look at Econoburns, which seemed nice but there wasn't a local dealer and honestly seemed kind of pricy (to me). Then it was EKO/Biomass/Paxos vs Tarms & Frolings. The Froling ended up being more then I could afford and the Tarm had features that I really liked. It was a nice happy medium, had features that I wanted at a price I could afford. The Vigas showed around the time I was settling on the Tarm, I think I would give them a good look as well.

    If I was building new I would have looked at a Garn.

    The other X factor is local support which was far away the best with the Tarm.

    K

    Edited: Expanded on topic.
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  17. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    It works great. Really lends itself to wood heat too, as it uses 110 degree water.. So it's mixing down the temps.

    It's sort of, set it, and forget it. Very slow to respond. It's a basement.

    I'm heating 6k sf. 1900 of basement slab. 1200 of garage and utility room slab. Same amounts staple up radiant on 1st floor. That runs at 140 degrees.

    Very happy with the vigas. I have zero complaints. In my opinion... a lot of these boilers are very similar. They all do the same stuff. I'm VERY happy with how easy and quick the Vigas is to clean out.

    The biggest thing IMHO is the guy who designs the system. If you don't get the piping and the flow rates and pipe sizes right..... it's like trying to make a race car go with no wheels on it.

    I can't say enough good things about Mark at AHONA. I've never seen anyone on here say a bad word about him. THAT is saying something in the internet age. I spoke to him at the fair for two years before I spent a penny with him. He answered my questions both before and after the sale.

    You're doing the right thing.. KEEP READING and learning. Go take a look at a few guys setups. I've shown a couple guys mine. You'll avoid others mistakes that way.

    JP
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  18. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    On the size of space thing, my whole system - boilers, storage tanks, & 6 cords of wood - is sitting in a 14 x 24 footprint. Thats with room for walking around, and it also includes my water pump & tank, and old oil tank which will be removed in the spring. 13 x 30 should be quite adequate. If you're in the planning stages, try to lay things out assuming no power if possible. That will allow you to try to get by in a power outage by convection. Boiler down low in the basement, top of storage slightly higher - then your zones above all that. It will also help greatly for overheat protection issues. Also, if you wouldn't be using the propane for anything else and wouldn't be using backup heat much at all, maybe consider an electric boiler instead. But propane would likely be the better choice if you have other uses for it or would be away in winter periodically.
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  19. ozzie88

    ozzie88 Member

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    Amen, I would say storage is a must,has alot less time messing with stove,burns better, I had a wood boiler before and no storage,wow,AWAYS messing with it,clean out flue every 3 weeks, now with gasser I clean once a year then it really dont need it, fire it once or twice a day,storage now nice going 3days in shoulder weather without running stove, Learn from guys on here,we have made mistakes so you wont have to,lol
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  20. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I'm surprised by how many store wood in their basement. I roll my Harbor Freight wood cart out to the woodshed every time I go light a fire. Just part of the job. Not difficult! I don't want any wood in my basement. I'm even concerned about the few sticks that are left on the cart if I happen to bring in too much.

    woodsheds resized.jpg

    80 feet to woodsheds from basement. Paved nearly all the way. The one on the right is a dog kennel left behind by the previous owner.
  21. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    What is it that you're concerned about?
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  22. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Critters!
  23. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    My house has had wood stored inside for hundreds of years. Before the remodel it was in the attached wood shed, after that the basement.

    We never had any trouble...
  24. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I guess it's whatever we're comfortable with. I am kind of strange. I don't do Twitter, I don't do Facebook and I've never had chicken nuggets.
  25. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Guilty on the nuggets - but likewise on the other two.
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