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Outdoor wood boiler newbie

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by robins44, Dec 27, 2011.

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  1. robins44

    robins44 New Member

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    Looking at purchasing to heat my 3600 square foot house (1 main floor and basement), and a 30x40 polebarn to come in future, do not currently have but plan to build hopefully summer. I am looking at http://ridgewoodstove.com/ridgewoodsept_002.htm . They are local (10 mins away) and the price is definately right. Wanted to know if theres anything specific i should look at, ask? Or any concerns that you fellers see. Also should i spring for the larger model seeings how i want to build my pole barn? Also will the larger unit use more wood until i get my pole barn, and if so will it be a signficant difference?






    Thanks




    Cody

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  2. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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  3. varna

    varna Member

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    Cody,

    Yes, you do get what you pay for so I'm leary of all "cheap" units, but, without seeing one in person it's hard to give an opinion either way. What I will tell you is that I have a Central Boiler 6048 and I heat 3000 sqft house, 24X32 pole barn, hot tub @ 104 degrees, all domestic hot water, and in summer I heat my 45,000 gal inground pool. I'm pretty sure that my CB is rated @ 500,000 btu but take ANY boiler's ratings with a grain of salt. I put (not fill) wood in it twice a day when winter sets in. I could fill it once a day but I get better burns doing it twice. I burn about 10 full cords a year not counting the pool. I just started heating the pool in Nov and only for a few weeks so I don't have a good count on that yet, but I can already tell I will be burning a "bunch". During last summer just heating the hot tub and DHW, I would only use about a wheel barrow full every 2 days, so, I don't feel you will burn more wood than you need to until you put your pole barn on. It will only need to produce heat to cover the load you put on it. It is also my opinion that a unit that holds more water will work better in keeping boiler temps up. My old boiler only held 175 gallons of water and always struggled but my CB holds just shy of 400 gal and never has a problem.
    Rule of thumb.....see what size they recommend for your application and buy 1 larger.
    What is nice about the non-gasser OWB is that if it fits through the door, you can burn it. Makes wood prep so much nicer. All the uglies, knots, Y's that would get "hung up" in a gasser are no problem burning. I had a OWB gasser so I know first hand. Yes, if you have any close neighbors you may run into trouble with smoke, but I have seen indoor wood stoves that smoke just as much as me during start up.....and there is NO law against them. As always, the drier the wood the better your results will be.
    Whatever boiler you choose, DO NOT skimp on the underground piping! Pay the money up front and save yourself from headaches down the road.
    Although this site is an awsome source of information, most of the folks here are not OWB "friendly" so to say, so you will probably get several "Smoke Dragon" comments.
    Another great source of info "mostly" on Outdoor Boilers can be found here:
    http://www.outdoorwoodfurnaceinfo.com/forum/

    One thing we all enjoy is NOT seeing the fuel man!
  4. robins44

    robins44 New Member

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    I have one neighbor and he has a hawking owb. He thinks this wood boiler will be a great choice for me. So smoke is not a concern.




    Thanks looking for any expierence with this particular brand.



    Thanks



    Cody
  5. robins44

    robins44 New Member

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    well went and looked at them today, they look like there very well built! Thick steel and good strong welds with plenty of penetration, and thick spray foam insulation!
  6. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Do you access to "free" wood? Will you have a lot of time you can devote to wood accumulation? How well insulated is the 3600 sq ft you will be heating?

    I guess what I'm getting at here is the design of this boiler does not appear to be very efficient as compared to some alternatives you may wish to consider. The less efficient the appliance the more wood/$$$/time you will need to be comfortable in your home thru the cold months.

    I must say, I'm not particularily impressed with the photo of the insulated underground lines.

    In any case, good luck with your decision and as usual, pics or it didn't happen :)
  7. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    How are you going to stop the heat loss from the pump the way they have it exposed to the elements. If you are going to buy an out door boiler at least get a good one!
  8. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    The pump should be enclosed on all sides which it probably is. The things I would be concerned about is that it looks like a open draft rather then having a blower. The other major thing is what is the size of the outlet pipe? You may be limited on your btu's depending on the size. The site did not give warranty info that I could see. A lot of companies go out of business in a few years and then you are on your own.

    Is it steel or stainless? And what grade? IF you do a lot of research I think you will find the life of a OWB around 5-6 years. I am going on 6 years now with mine but one of my employees has the same model bought at the same time and he has had to have work done on his for the past 2 years for a total of about 2K.

    Do I regret buying a OWB? Not really and it has served me well. But you will find that they do use a LOT of wood! They are handy for burning garbage ,tires and bodies though! (duck and run)! :lol:

    Gary
  9. robins44

    robins44 New Member

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    10 year warranty, pump is enclosed, natural draft. 7 to 10 cord Is what his customers are reporting on average, some as low as 5 (for small house)
  10. robins44

    robins44 New Member

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    Appreciate all the replys, I did get 6 cord of free wood this year, mostly cherry. I did have to haul cut stack split. But as far as the steel goes I think it says on his site, but pretty sure its 3/16 mild steel. Firebox is propane tank, you need to add sodium somethin or other to the water and send in 2 water samples a year.
  11. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    I see that you are in MI same as me. When you say 7-10 cord a year you are talking full cord and not face cord? You will want to keep your PH on the high side. Something I did not see that you will want is a filter, and you will find that you will need a lot more fittings and shutoff valves then you could even imagine! :lol:
    You will want to go to the biggest heat exchanger in your plenum if you have forced air and consider a sidearm or flatplate exchanger for you hot water heater if you have not. When you build your pole barn you will probably have to add another pump and more controls.

    Go for the bigger size boiler though. Another thought I had is if it has a aquastat on it or not?

    Gary
  12. shmodaddy

    shmodaddy Burning Hunk

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    Welcome to the forum! The people on here are very informative and love their gassers! I have read and read and read on here and learned a ton. This forum gets very addicting very fast. Stay out of the gear thread as they will infect you with a horrible chain saw collecting disease. Trust me its takes all I can not to keep buying saws!! Seriously tho they won't steer you wrong around here.


    I am using a hardy heater used that a got from.a very good friend who bought a new hardy their newest biggest model. It is an old hardy and I'm actually the third owner and the fourth house it has resided at. It has had no major problems and has done my friend wonderfully and now myself wonderfully. If you have access to wood and no neighbors to worry about smoke that boiler will do you well. But they are inefficient and plan on burning wood. The gassers when combined with storage will use considerably less wood with out the smoke and creosote. If I had the money and space I would consider a gasser with storage and probably will upgrade eventually but for now I fill her up at night and toss some in in the morning before work and walk away. We are roasty toasty and not burning any propane!!
  13. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    That's not very thick. Mine is made from 1/2" boiler plate. You get what you pay for I guess.
  14. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    And your installed cost was? Don't get on somebody for trying to save money.

    Gary
  15. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    I used a gasser for 4 years before the insurance company changed its position on me. I currently use a ceramic version of an OWB and yes my wood consumption has gone up 2x+/-. Varna gave some real good advice concerning wood quantity and quality. I get better results not filling my boiler up and also by burning the driest wood I have available. The boiler you are looking at has built in storage mine does not but it takes about as long to deliver usable heat as the general design as you are looking at. So there is no mistake I am pro gasser but I have learned how to minimize the smoke from my OWB so that it actually runs a good 4-6 hours out of 12 with only tell tale smoke. Plainly put even a 1/2 load will smoke a lot so if I want to keep the smoke down I put in about 1/4 load and then wait a couple of hours befroe adding more. Once the boiler gets up to temp and the wood gets hot it will smoke less because it will be heating the wood while idling instead of heating the wood and the water. Once the wood gets hot it will be releasing less water and burn better too. My OWB uses more wood than my gasser did but I have learned to load it more sparingly and get more use out of the wood I am using. I am burning less and getting more heat which means I am working less to get the job done. Loading technique will greatly reduce smoke while increasing heat output. A word of caution is soon there will probably be some pretty hard mfg restrictions on the place you are considering buying your boiler from. If they are not willing to adjust to the up coming environmental storm they may go out of business and where will your warranty be then?. So be prepared to walk the road alone just incase. A smaller load will generate less creosote stress on the burn box of your boiler. Gassers are much more picky as far as wood size and less tolerant with borderline moisture content. However OWB's don't have to be as offensive as some think but the users have to be more output efficiency minded. My unit came with a ten year warranty but learning how to make that ten years real is also part of my learning curve. Will you be running bseboard, panel rads, water/air heat x in the current furnace or are you going to go radiant? Welcome to the forum.
  16. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Sorry I was mistaken. Mine is made from 1/4 " boiler plate
  17. robins44

    robins44 New Member

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    Yes 7 to 10 full cord. Side arm comes with stove. Question if I spring for the larger stove how much more wood will I go threw in the meantime until I get my polebarn? Would it be significant.
  18. martyinmi

    martyinmi Member

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    There shouldn't be any difference to speak of if all variables are close to identical. The advice the guys on here gave you is sound. Spend a little more money up front and buy a big enough gasser to heat both your home and barn. When you get a little older like me, you'll appreciate doing only half the work in the woods.
  19. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Yea Marty, that's kinda what I was getting at. No matter what your age is there are other things in life that can easily occupy your time and resources other than cutting 7 to 10 cords of wood a year. I have to admit, right now I am cutting close to 7 but it's becasue I want to and not because I have to.

    It is amazing to me the advances being continually made in wood burning....interesting stuff for sure! In any case, not matter what you buy it will surely save you $$ in the long run as long as the appliance is well designed/built, can easily be repaired and hopefully the manufacturer stands behind their product.
  20. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Useless piece of sales puffery. Is your heat load 'average'? I would not consider plunking down that kind of casholla for a tin can. If you hang around here for 6 months, you will know so much more about what you want to do.

    Buying a wood boiler in Winter is like buying an a/c unit during a heat wave. You are going to make compromises, and you are going to pay too much.
  21. robins44

    robins44 New Member

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    well i appreciate your opinions, but i only plan on living here for a few more years, and i cant justify the cost of a gasification. Around my area everyone has owb, and im hoping that this purchase will increase the value of my property as well. I can have the stove delivered, installed, and running sitting in my yard next week for a little over 5 grand. I appreciate all the help, but thats about half the cost of even just the stove you guys are talking about.

    Im 24 years old, love to cut wood, and enjoy the exercise and hard work. Maybe as time goes on that will change, but for now i do enjoy the work, and the time i spend cutting the wood would probably just be time spent in front of a tv. Maybe after i sell my first house in a couple years and have a few years at my job under my belt i could consider one of the more expensive units. But for now i think this wood (haha get it) be a great stove to cut my teeth on and get a taste for heating my house with wood. All the wood i collected this year was from freinds and family, and some paid me to take it away, and there is plenty more. Even if i have to have some logs delieverd over the summer i am still at more than half the cost of propane. I realize i wont be saving much money with how long it will take for the stove to pay off, but i enjoy the work. Also it would take even more time for one of the more expensive stoves to pay off.

    Any comments, concerns, or b*itching is more then welcome :) Tell me if you think im wrong here, i always like people to open my eyes and show another side or viewpoint



    Cody
  22. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    May I safely assume you don't appraise real estate professionally?? :smirk:

    Think about it . . . IF the next owner could not purchase the same unit and install it as quickly and inexpensivily as you(ie, prices going up drastically, government regulation changing), then yes, there would be opportunity cost to him. But what if he wants a different unit? Or doesn't want to burn wood? Quite likely the grantee is going to give you LESS cash, as he is going to have to dispose of the unit.

    If you're going to move out in a couple of years, put in a wood stove and take it with you when you go.
  23. robins44

    robins44 New Member

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    Then ill take the stove with me to my next home, or sell it on craigslist locally for $3,000 :)

    Appreciate the comments, keep them coming


    Thanks again


    Cody
  24. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Then buy one on CL now and save >$1k and bump up your ROI ;-)
  25. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    IMHO, living in the house for only an add'l 5 years changes a lot in this discussion!! The appraisor comment is right on....the OWB would be no more an asset to the property as an inground pool would be. Actually it probably would limit the market and or sale price for your home just as the pool would. Depending on the buyer, both the pool or OWB scenario could be a liability to the seller.

    If you take the OWB with you, what does the buyer have for a heating system?

    If I were planing to move inside of the next 5 years I would be spending as little as possible but where I would spend any $$ on would be the items that would make the place more marketable. I guess you could spend $5k for the wood heating system...call it break even after 24 months or so and use the $$ saved in the next 3 years to broaden the market/increase the value. I also agree on why not buy a used unit in good condition and spend even less?

    Good luck!
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