1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

opinions on firechief boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by ssupercoolss, Feb 12, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ssupercoolss

    ssupercoolss Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Messages:
    223
    Loc:
    southeast pa
    i am in the research process of my wood boiler project, i have a list of boilers that i think are in my price range, and will do the job for me. unfortunatly gassification is really not an option for me finacially. i keep coming back to this boiler, i kind of like it, but maybe just because its red and black. any opinions?
    http://www.victoriansales.com/gc750b.html not really sure why but i think i like this model better than the harmon boiler, which is on my list as well.

    thanks

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    356
    Loc:
    Lafayette IN -BoilerMakerCountry
    how much?? Does it have a blower fan?
  3. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Messages:
    652
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    I am also questioning my needs. I have a nice wood/coal boiler that I could have (great payback) to replace my nice wood stove DHW heat setup, or plan on a gassifier eventually. The price to get into that game can be high initially but save over the long term. That being said, the wife is getting a little tired of moving wood (digging it out of snowbanks this year) so we are exploring the possibility of burning coal (bagged). I am also in the position of not always having wood with a moisture content that a gasifier seems to need. Being able to burn coal seems to be a nice option-and you live in PA!. I see the boiler you are interested in has secondary combustion. That to me is a big plus. As long as you can burn it flat out and have storage that should eliminate most creosote problems. Keep in mind you'll burn more wood than a gassifier. Is a 150K rated unit sized right? Don't oversize. I don't know much about that particular model. What price range are they going for?

    Anybody know any coal suppliers in northern Maine?

    Note: I am still burning wood.
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    My only cautionary note would be that all conventional boilers claim secondary combustion, but I don't think it's easy to accomplish with a firebox surrounded by water. And you really have no way of verifying that it's happening without a glass window of some sort. Maybe the Firechief is different, but I suspect it's got the same fundamental problem as any other conventional wood-fired boiler trying to get hot enough temps to achieve the secondary burn.

    Sometimes what those websites don't tell you is more important than what they do say. There's not a whole lot of information there to make any kind of informed judgment, IMO.
  5. reaperman

    reaperman Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Messages:
    168
    Loc:
    Central Minn
    I have the firechief wood furnace. Looks like the same unit. I'm sure the "guts" are identical. As for a secondary burn, I have no way of knowing if is happening. There is really no rocket science engineering inside of the unit. A burn chamber with the smoke exiting the front of the firebox and exhausting out the back. One thing I'd like to see different on this unit is a way to get air to the rear of the firebox without having to run the draft fan or open up the draft wheel under the grates too far. Both ways like to burn wood fast.
  6. ssupercoolss

    ssupercoolss Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Messages:
    223
    Loc:
    southeast pa
    i understand without being able to see whats going on, its kind of a guessing game with a secondary burn chamber. but isnt the attempt to make a secondary burn chamber worth something? the other models i have seen in this catagory also do not have a draft blower. i kind of thought that was a plus, no? i think this model is in the area of $2500. pretty much same as the harman boiler - http://www.harmanstoves.com/specifications.asp?id=31
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Pook: Quite a bit if you can get it, I think. There will still be plenty of smoke to keep the black flies out in the woods where they belong.

    The "secondary burn chamber" in the Firechief looks just like what the Royall has, with the sliding bypass damper. Judging from the smoke, I never achieved secondary burn with the Royall. Before that, I had a Marathon Logwood for about 9 years. The mfg. claimed secondary burn on it, too, but judging from the smoke and creosote that it produced, I doubt I ever got it to light off, either. Not for lack of trying. They recommended water temps of 200-210 to get secondary combustion and I got there and then some on many occasions. But no secondary burn that I'm aware of.

    The problem is that you need a combination of really high temps and superheated secondary air, and that's a combination that's really hard to achieve with a conventional boiler design, mainly because the firebox is surrounded by water (for maximum heat transfer), and the water keeps the temps too cool for the magic to happen. If it were easy, the OWBs would be designed that way and they wouldn't produce any smoke. Given the threat that the smoke presents to the future of their business, I'm sure they'd be interested. There's no real difference between an OWB and a conventional boiler like the Firechief.

    I'm not slamming the boiler--it looks like a good one. Just don't count on it burning clean.
  8. reaperman

    reaperman Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Messages:
    168
    Loc:
    Central Minn
    I'm sure you have looked at the cross-section of the wood furnaces on the website. They show and label the features. The secondary burn chamber of the furnace is pretty much the same as most brands of wood furnaces available. I wont say the secondary doesnt work. The set-up is just way different than a epa woodstove. Which gets its efficiency from secondary burns

    As far as the draft fan goes. I'am only assuming they advertise it as thermostatically controlled, much like the wood furnaces. From what I've found in my furnace is if I run the draft fan from the thermostat, the furnace gets very hot, fast. Too hot for my liking. If the thermostat is bumped up a couple of degrees, it may take 10-15 minutes to reach that temp. Meanwhile the draft fan is blowing air on the fire the whole time. Thats a mighty hot fire. It may be different with a boiler, having a water jacket protecting the panels. But my back panel will actually warp out some when it gets this hot. I've found it runs fine without the aid of the draft fan. But I occasionally use the fan manually to bump up, or get a stubborn fire started. Once the furnace is up and running, the plenum fan kicks in, and doesnt shut off until the fire is almost out.

    Example: If my house is 70 degrees, and I start a fire. And I set the thermostat at 73. Once the furance is running and the plenum fan kicks in. The draft fan will continue to run until the house is 73. Even though the fire is hot and the plenum fan is doing its job, the draft fan will continue to run. Lets say we finally reached 73 degrees. The draft fan will shut off. But the plenum fan will still be running to keep the furnace from overheating and continue to heat the house, until the fire starts to die down. By this time the house is 80 degrees. So there really is no way possible to keep the house at 73. Like most wood burning units, you take what they give for heat. The only real thermostat is a window. I will add there is a limit switch that will shut off the draft fan if the fire gets too hot. But I have never saw mine get close to reaching it, and believe me, its not because my fires weren't hot enough.

    I can only tell you what I have found with my wood furance of the same brand. I cant speak for the boiler.
  9. ssupercoolss

    ssupercoolss Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Messages:
    223
    Loc:
    southeast pa
    i am here to be educated on boiler, trust me comments from people other than a salesman are welcome. i didnt take it as a slam to the firechief. i think its pretty new to the market, at least the boiler is, and i havent really found much info on the unit from the web. its good to get feedback from different source, this way i can arm myself with questions for the manufacturer or dealer.

    reaperman - i take it you dont think the draft fan is a "bonus" the way it is set up on yours now? my first impression was that it was.

    another boiler i kind of like is the harman, the link is posted in a previous post. i think harman has been making stoves for a while, and just kind of broke into the boiler market. it looks to me (and i'm no expert) that there isnt really much different between 2. looking for feedback here......
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Most conventional wood-fired boilers, from what I've seen, are pretty similar. There's not much you can do with the basic technology other than add a few bells and whistles. I liked the Marathon Yankee Logwood, especially the innovative grate design and natural draft arrangement. But to me, one looks just like the next one. You kind of hit a wall on efficiency, and there's not much that can be done about that. And, as I said, OWBs aren't that much different.
  11. reaperman

    reaperman Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Messages:
    168
    Loc:
    Central Minn
    [quote author="futureboiler" date="1202930989"]
    reaperman - i take it you dont think the draft fan is a "bonus" the way it is set up on yours now? my first impression was that it was.
    quote]

    I wont say the draft fan isnt a bonus. I installed the furnace with my HVAC guy and electrician, as the manual recommends. And ran the furnace according to the instruction of the owners manual. And after running it that way for a few fires I found out the fan wasn't really needed at all, at least in my application. It just gets the fire a blazing, even with the slider barely open. I just figured once the fire was hot, (as with any wood stove) it begins to heat. And eventually that heat is going to radiate throughout the home. Each home has a different layout design, thus each home is going to heat differently. Some of my duct runs have long trunks on them, which will take longer to heat those rooms. But in time they will all get heated. With a typical fire, the plenum fan will kick in and run for about 5 hours, without adding wood. Thats a lot of heat being poured into a home. So, to me, a draft fan kicking in to boost the heat a bit quicker is not a big necessity. The home will warm up just about as fast without the aid of the fan. And my wife has really been on me this year to keep the home "COOLER", if you can believe that. So I'm down to only one fire per day. I light the furance after supper and add a bit before bed, it goes out sometime during the night. I wont have to light it again until the next day after supper. By this time the home may have cooled down to 68-69 degrees. I do have a new home that is insulated very well, and I'm lucky enough to get some solar gain during the daylight hours. Your doing the right thing by investigating ahead of time. I know once you make a purchase its final. My unit seems to be well made and the side panels are well insulated. Even with a hot fire, I can touch the sides and they are hardly warm. I wish I could help more, but I know nothing about the boiler units. Overall, I'm happy with my furnace. I've never had to run my LP furnace in the 2 winters I've lived in my home, except when I wanted to. In fact I have it shut off at the thermostat. And have opened windows on many occasions.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page