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)

Outdoor, but only, outdoor boiler review compare brands of OWB's, list particulars

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by sdrobertson, Nov 16, 2007.

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

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    733
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    I'm located in West Michigan and use a 2006 Central Boiler 6048. My house is approximately 1400 sq ft with a full basement. I do not heat dw as I have natural gas service and there is a minimum charge so I may as well use it while paying for service. I have approximately 5 acres but live in a village. I use approximately 8 full cords for heat. I'm extremely pleased with the CB and would recommend it to anyone that lives in a rural setting but I am going to "up-grade" to an EKO gasifier within the next two years as there is talk in town about outdoor boiler ban in the village. I'm extremely careful to burn dry good wood and I'm not having an issue with the smoke output, but I'm sure at somepoint someone else will put an OWB in and not take care of how they will burn it. I only fill it once a day, and always at night. It really irritates me that OWB are getting such a bad rap, but it's the owners that are screwing it up for everybody. I was talking to someone the other day and they were bragging about only having to fill there OWB everyother day. They stated that they fill it as full as they can with green wood and it would hold a fire that long. I asked how much smoke he was producing and he laughed and said that sometimes he couldn't even see the woods through the smoke. I suppose we have to pass Laws to protect the stupid.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    733
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Ok - went out last night to measure wood pile as I realize what I call a "cord" might not be a cord in other parts. Looking at the definitation of a Full Cord being 128 cubit ft - I have 5 rows 27' x 5' x 36" (most of it is way under 36" but I dont want to underestimate it again) which equals almost 16 "full cords" by volume. The house was built in 1968 and was well insulated. I have a two stall garage under part of the house in the basement that is also heated but with poorly insulated (orginal) garage doors. What I was trying to state was that I really like the OWB and would recommend Central Boiler if it is burned right as I have had no complaints from the neighbors about its use. I purchased this unit before I had heard about the EKO and others like this system which I would have purchased as they are approximately the same expense. As for the "green wood" I was talking about - it wasn't "green treated wood" or telephone poles - it was green as in freshly cut firewood.
  3. akwood

    akwood Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Messages:
    16
    Loc:
    alaska
    have aqua-therm which i've used last couple years and really like. wasn't sure i'd like the forced draft or not but do like. it's either burning hot or when fans off it looks about like a toyota at idle. nothing bad to say about it. had ithaska (sp) boiler , naturally draft, before that and couldn't say much good about that one
  4. WILDSOURDOUGH

    WILDSOURDOUGH New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    250
    Loc:
    Unity, NH
    Mine is a Central Boiler-
    (Why it's called a Boiler I don't know- it doesn't 'boil', unless the damper sticks open and water reaches 212)
    Second year with it- installed last year, 100' from house with pipe 4' underground to radiant pex in the basement floor. We lived in the basement with house closed in but unfinished (no insulation upstairs, no soffets, tarpaper roof) Stove ran 24/7- eating a TREE or so a day (15+ cords, I lost count) and all I was able to get was 55 degrees tops ! (wife was very unhappy camper).
    Buttoned-up the house this year, and started the stove three weeks ago with a cold spell- WOW, what a difference- 74 in basement- 65 upstairs when it's been 12-30 outside overnight. AND i'm only having to put 2-3 Logs in a day or every other day ! Fantastic- and wife is happy now. I did not even start it today- think i loaded it 3 times last week.
    Haven't had to run my Lopi Leyden much, 4-5 times so far- gets way to hot in here- waiting for the 'real' winter to set in.
    I like my Central now, Have had to wd-40 the damper linkages twice- sticking-(but thats maintainence, per manual)
    Sure will use less trees this year.

    Craig-
    Everyone should burn 'seasoned firewood', I do- and that is all I burn, and once it gets up to tempeature-It burns very clean.
    BUT--- I also know some 'knuckleheads' who have these units, and burn- green wood, trash, painted wood, treated wood- anything, treating the stove like their own private incinerator (except w/o epa registration). You can see and smell them for miles around. The manual tells the owner, the sticker on the unit tells the owner- BURN ONLY SEASONED FIREWOOD. But, alas- some people will always do as they please. I don't have any solution for this problem- except maybe some communities baning them- if their population is too dense ( Hey- their is a joke in here, I just wrote that...HAHAHA, HARDI HAR HAR).
  5. Chuck Eicher

    Chuck Eicher New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    NE Ohio
    I have recently installed ( mid Sept.) a Hardy H4. I started by heating our swimming pool, added DHW and now with the injector to the fuel oil furnace unplugged heating a 2100 ft. old farm house that was my grandparents. We have replaced the windows (Pella) and blew in insulation in 1990. Our fuel oil usage has been in the 900-1000 gal/season. We would have the house at 70. I was very close to putting in an outdoor corn boiler in the fall of 2006,but the doubling of the price of corn made it impossible to put the the system in and buy corn for the same or less than our budget payment. I manage a farm that has over 60 acres of woods and numerous fence rows. I am only cutting dead or down trees. Usage has been on the coldest days 25@night 40 during the day a wheelbarrow full. The house is 74-75 and my wife is not COLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PRICELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    When I first started heating the swimming pool it was a real draw 2 wheelbarrows a day. When it got up to temp. 85+ it varied on the outside temp.

    When I get a better handle on usage cord wise I'll report back.

    Have a wonderful & blessed Thanksgiving!!!
  6. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Messages:
    140
    Loc:
    North Central Indiana, Kokomo
    My buddies and I have outside wood boilers, we have had them for a couple of years now. Of course we meet at the fence row to cuss, fuss, and discuss which one is better. The WoodMaster, the Central Boiler, or the Heatmor. I dont know about you but my buddies and I had to buy different brands just so we could argue:).

    The one thing that we can all agree on is we wish that woodboilers were listed on epinions or a similar sight so that newbys as well as us could find out the pros/cons etc of each woodboiler such as expected issues, wood consumption etc. made by each of the now dozens of new manufactures. Does anyone know of such a sight? Shall we just start one here?

    While it is fun for the 3 of us, that is a low sample of 1 piece of data per manufacturer. To make a good descision, you would need much more data to identify any trends.


    Please follow this format for your posts:

    OK then we will begin here with the comparisons I suppose:

    1. The home and conditions:

    I live in North Central Indiana, in the country close to Kokomo

    I am heating a 100 year old farm house that is 3300 square feet of a well insulated (R38 in celings / R19 in the walls) two story home using a forced air furnace for the upstairs and a forced air furnace for the downstairs

    I have little to no windbreak (come on planted trees, grow), and the wind really whips around here, especially in fall, spring, and winter

    My typical propane bills (prior to the boiler installed in March 2005) were about $2000/year with two 90+ furnaces and a tankless hot water heater

    I have always used digital kickback thermostats with the following settings: 445am 70, 7am 50, 430pm 70, 930pm 60

    2. The boiler:

    It is a Woodmaster 4400 made with mild steel, 125 gallons of water, fan induced draft

    Woodmaster themselves said that the stainless steel is not a good value for the money and they sell stainless also. My friend with a Central Boiler was told the same thing by their engineers as well.

    It sets about 30 feet from the house

    1” pex line buried about 34” in the ground

    Smoke looks like when you first start a campfire for about 10 minutes then it goes away, while idle, smoke looks about like what comes off of a big fat cigar

    I use it to run my upstairs furnace, my down stairs furnace, and heat my water

    Boiler does NOT run year round, it is not worth the effort (to me) to run it in the summer just to heat our domestic water

    Boiler typically runs from mid October to mid May so like 7-8 months total per year

    3. The wood:

    I burn any kind of wood from pine (in the cooler months) to hardwoods (in the midst of winter) and telephone poles ($1.00 each from our local utility) that are used for those sub-zero days and nights with the really low wind chills

    My neighbor is a tree trimmer so I have an unlimited supply of fire wood

    Many of my co-workers donate their fallen down trees if I will cut up and remove

    In the town I work, there is a saw mill that makes pallets (from hard wood only) you can buy their scrap, typically 8” x 8” x 24” to 36” for $20.00. That is two dumps onto your trailor, truck etc. from their 5 cubic yard payloader. When its all said and done, thats about a cord of hardwood for $20.00. This is good to use if you are in a pinch because of snow or whatever.

    4. Filling the boiler:

    This element is so dependat on the weather so it is nearly impossible to judge. If the wind is blowing from the NW at 15-MPH but the outside temp is 32, I will burn much more wood then if the outside temp is 0 with no wind. Wind is my nemisis.

    I most generally fill the boiler 2 times per day. At 6am then again at 5pm to get this type of times between fill ups, you must adjust what TYPE of wood that you use as seen above with the pine, hardwood, telephone poles example above.

    I do go out often to stoke the fire. Just because I like an excuse to go outside. While I am out there, maybe I throw in a log or two each time.

    5. Total amout of wood used per heating season:

    I have only had my boiler for two complete seasons (now entering the third) and I estimate that I burn between 9-12 cords per year again depending on the wind.

    It is hard to really judge though since I am always picking up a little wood here or there.

    Right now, I have 10 cords cut and split since spring, and the boiler is going. But, on nicer days (even in January) the boys and I will go cut a truck load on the weekends just for somethibng to do.

    6. The problems:

    The little glass jelly jar light cover on the front of the boiler does not stay on very well

    Hope that this gets everyone started so that we can do some comparisons. If we all follow this same format, it should be easy to decipher for people.
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Moderator's Note:

    Pdboilermaker has asked that responses in this thread be limited to the topics and format outlined above. I've agreed to delete any posts that don't adhere, at least in spirit, to those guidelines.

    I think this is a great resource for OWB owners to compare their conditions and equipment, and for others to learn from what they report. So I hope others will contribute in that spirit.
  8. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Messages:
    140
    Loc:
    North Central Indiana, Kokomo
    Come on guys, there has to be someone out there who isnt ashamed that they bought a heatmor or something. Pick up guys, chime in on your OWB's to help the people that are looking for a new one this year
  9. atlarge54

    atlarge54 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Messages:
    185
    Loc:
    Hoosier
    I've heated with wood for most of my life and always wanted an OWB. A few years ago I moved into a 1250 ft. sq. home (built in 1953). The crawl space was not insulated and I decided to put in pex floor radiant before I insulated it. The local stove dealer had a Global Hydronics OWB that had a corroded water jacket for $300 I think it was 4 years old. I surrounded the fire box with five sixty foot coils of 3/4 K copper with a 1" dia. manifold at the top (coils connected first in last out). The water jacket was replaced (not water tight just a mechanical fit) and the cavity was filled with pea gravel for thermal mass. When I first fired it up I was totally amazed how much heat was puked out the chimney, I immediately disabled the blower motor and the aquastat only opens and closes the air supply. This is my third winter and I'm really quite satisfied with this system. In the summer I switch two ball valves and the boiler is only operating a side arm exchanger for DHW using a chunk of wood every day or two. My entire system cost under $3000 including Zurn manifold for floor (not really worth the extra expense). If I were starting from scratch and spending big money on new equipment I think I'd prefer an indoor boiler in a garage or outbuilding to utilize some of the heat wasted by the exposed door etc. and have dry wood storage at the stove. Gassifiers sure look sweet but it looks like the expense and storage costs would make payback a long term affair. Radiant in floor is great and also allows a lower water temp. I run 130-140 F. Retrofitting floor radiant in an existing building can be a nasty job. Milwakee Hole Hog drill bits are worth their weight in gold if you ever try such a job. Thats my two cents. Wishing everyone a nice warm home this winter.
  10. Polarbear2008

    Polarbear2008 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    Central Alaska
    Hello all. A few weeks ago I had a Central Boiler 6048 installed and am happy with the heat output. It is now my primary heat source with an oil boiler as a backup. I have noticed the damper stays open way past the shutoff temp but calls to those who should be able to help seem fruitless. Temperatures here will get down to 40 or 50 below frequently during the summer. Anyone have any ideas about the damper? Have replaced the solenoid once...it buzzes alot.
    ALSO...I have had different opinions on how much wood to keep in the firebox...full/half full/quarter full...I go with a little more than quarter full and put wood in twice a day.
    Thanks!!
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
  12. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    ohio valley
    has anyone with owb seen this one: elite heat wood boiler. looks like a clean burn and can burn wood chips possibly. check out the videos. i think the boiler is made by inotek (western pacific boiler).
  13. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    440
    Loc:
    Central Wisconsin
    This boiler is/was built by spirit boiler in Sparta WI. The video is shot in front of Spirit boiler building. There junk. A perfect example of a owb's inefficient combustion is like trying to cut through well pipe with water on the back side using a torch-can't do it.
  14. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Messages:
    140
    Loc:
    North Central Indiana, Kokomo
    Dear Chuck,

    We have an Empyre 450 from Cozyburn that handles all our heating needs. The first couple of years we had to replace the air injection tubes inside the burn chamber. I think the company tried to lighten up on the steel and they burned through fairly quickly. We were told to keep the coal bed lower than the air tubes. Also the dealer replaced the air tubes with a much thicker version. It has been 2-1/2 yrs since then and all is well.
    The newer furnace versions have a blower mounted in the loading door. I would still keep the coal bed less than half the distance from the bottom of the chamber to the bottom of the door. I stir the coal bed each evening before loading to sift out the ash and dump the ash pan every other day. Just do it in the idle mode and not right after the blower has shut off. The gases will ignite with the introduction of fresh O2. This time of year I empty the pan on the snow then cover it with more snow to extinguish any live coals. In the spring I scoop up the ashes and spread them in the garden.

    Our furnace runs 365 24/7 , we have a dry kiln and domestic hot water that depend on the heat supply. A 30kw Onan generator backs up the electrical needs in the case of outages.

    I can not give you a definite answer on how long before it will freeze up without filling the fire box. I have had to shut down the system on occasion to replace the air tubes and it took a couple of days to cool down enough to work on it. Also, when your propane kicks in the heat exchanger should transfer heat to your 450 to keep it from freezing--The flat plate heat exchanger we have works both ways.

    I also found that dry wood and reducing the stack diameter from 8” to 4” has made a huge difference in performance and burn time. I have 2 sections of insulated SS pipe for the chimney and 2 reducers placed at the top ( perfect fit ) to achieve the reduction in diameter.

    Good to have you aboard,

    Hbbyloggr
  15. WILDSOURDOUGH

    WILDSOURDOUGH New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    250
    Loc:
    Unity, NH
    Polarbear2008-
    Sorry, I found your post only today.

    "Anyone have any ideas about the damper? Have replaced the solenoid once...it buzzes alot"

    Don't think it's the damper- you might be looking at the door gasket. I just replaced mine last weekend- same symptons...
    Temps going way above 'setting' (like mine had two boil overs- water got past 212 degrees)- found it was a leaky door gasket.
    CB 5036 gasket and sealer kit was $18.00- a cheap fix ! ( Your's will be twice as much- cuz everything is 'imported' for you).
    Ps... My solenoid buzzes all the time... but two years w/o failure- just keep it WD-40'ed- like once a month ( I put wingnuts on cover for ease of access).

    Best to You- happy holidays !
  16. eco-one

    eco-one Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    41
    HAS ANYONE HEARD OR PURCHASED THE NEW ECO-ONE FROM AQUA-THERM?ITS STILL THERE ORIGANAL UNIT WITH A NEW BAFFLE DESIGN.
  17. akwood

    akwood Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Messages:
    16
    Loc:
    alaska
    eco-one ...do you have or are you looking at getting one? i talked with aqua-therm recently and they said they had an upgrade for older models,but haven't seen any paperwork on it. sounds like a baffle improvement and maybe ? a fan on the door. was thinking about modifying mine into more of a down flow since it is fan induced already. i think they may have a picture on there website
  18. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Welcome to the Boiler Room, guys. Akwood, I think you're our first Aquatherm owner. Not the first member from Alaska, though.
  19. eco-one

    eco-one Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    41

    I WILL TELL YOU RIGHT NOW IM PART OF THE DESIGN ON THE NEW BAFFLE .WE MAKE THE AQUA-THERM STOVE AND KNOW IT FROM FRONT TO BACK .INSIDE AND OUT. BEEN MAKING THEM FOR 25 YEARS AND BEEN THERE SINCE DAY 1.IT IS A VERY GOOD DESIGN AND VERY CLEAN BURNING.IF INTERESTED ON THIS ALSO YOU CAN CALL ME @320-346-2263 ASK FOR DAVE.
  20. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    ohio valley
    how is the eco-one different from the original aqua therm models?
  21. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Why don't you post some pics, Dave? I think we'd all like to see what you're describing. Tell us how the new baffle works compared to the old one.

    I used to run into Olaf at trade shows. Nice guy; retired now, I guess. I hear you guys are importing a Euro pellet burning boiler. Can you tell us more about that?

    And how about turning off the caps lock on your keyboard? No need to shout in the Boiler Room.
  22. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    ohio valley
    maybe just a loud talker at least he's not a low talker. or even a close talker. HA HA
  23. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    440
    Loc:
    Central Wisconsin
    How is the Omega gasifier coming? Do you have any involvement with it? Is it ready for the public? I myself am interested in the hybirds ( gasifier), not the Dodge power wagons (owb). ;-P
  24. eco-one

    eco-one Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    41
    well im not involved with the omega!that unit is made by a different company in the twin cities.we are in central mn that make the aqua-therm stove.
  25. eco-one

    eco-one Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    41
    the new aqua-therm is much cleaner and almost smokeless and no fire brick to worry about.its almost like a gasifier but only burning the unburnt gasses (smoke)over again .is there any gassifiers that are passed by epa yet?i would like to know.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page