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)

Pellet Boiler Options

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by arngnick, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. DZL_Damon

    DZL_Damon Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Messages:
    149
    Loc:
    Maine
    I'm 99% sure you can build you own bin, just set it up with x2 4" cam lock fittings for auto delivery (Supply/vent). A slide in hatch high on one of the sides is good for self loading as well.

    A local installation guy I was talking to said he made them out of plywood with the Zip system and the green vapor barrier on the inside. He would seal up all the seams with the zip tape. That way the inside was more "slippery" to allow the pellets to slide down the tapered bottom to you auger better (or vacuum system). It also gives moisture protection to the wood if is sweats. Insulating between your studs is a good idea as well especially if the bin is outdoors.

    I found standards on how to build your own somewhere on a European site. Other than some metric conversions (unless you're from Canada!), it was pretty well laid out for standards of sloped bottoms etc. Only difference is they use 100mm Stortz connections vs 4" Cam-Locks for standard delivery connections.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. arngnick

    arngnick Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    Messages:
    241
    Loc:
    Mansfield, PA
    Any good leads on a good installer in the Derry, NH area? I was going to go up and install the boiler for my uncle but according to the NH rebate program it needs to be installed by a NH approved Plumber/HVAC guy.
  3. DZL_Damon

    DZL_Damon Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Messages:
    149
    Loc:
    Maine
    I have no experience with them, but it appears these guys 1 hour from Derry in Peterborough: http://www.frolingenergy.com/ sell Okofens, Frolings, and Kedels. I found their name on the Kedel website and they clearly do the Okofens and Frolings as well judging from their pictures and name. They might be somone good to talk to since they appear to have experience with several systems and could give you some good side by side pros/cons of each system.
  4. arngnick

    arngnick Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    Messages:
    241
    Loc:
    Mansfield, PA
    I believe I have...I was looking into the Froling P4 and theysaid 14K just for the boiler...I kindly said no thanks.
  5. DZL_Damon

    DZL_Damon Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Messages:
    149
    Loc:
    Maine
    I wouldn't think they sold anything else judging by their name, but they had pictures of Okofens (same as MESys) and Kedel lists them as one of their dealers. Did they mention anything about that? I too contacted them last winter and was pretty turned off by the same price tag. But this time last year Kedel only had 1/2 dozen boilers in the state online, now I count 60 on the map I think in just Maine. So they were probably not selling them last year, perhaps they have diversified with other brands as well since then??
  6. arngnick

    arngnick Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    Messages:
    241
    Loc:
    Mansfield, PA
    I am not sure...been taking a breather for a few days on the search for a new boiler. I am quite impressed with the boiler from AHONA, The Herculese Eco. The price tag is very reasonable compared to many other systems. The Biowin is coming in at a close second based on price, since so many people on this forum have been happy with theirs. A small part of me says that it may be an ok idea to just upgrade the oil boiler and supplement with pellets or wood. (the politics of the NH rebate program scares me a bit)
  7. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    875
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    Call Mark Norwood at Evergreen Heat 207-807-6570. Great guy! Worth bouncing some things off of him, and if you bought from him, he would set up the installation and be there for any issues or service down the road.

    http://www.evergreenheat.com/

    Tell him Jeff sent you ;)
  8. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,912
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    From what I see and looking at these things from an installer/servicer point of view, there are 2 brands that are going to rise to the top of the heap in the pellet boiler market here.
    They are Windhager and Froling. The engineering, design, manufacturing quality and control function is second to none and they flat out work. Period.

    Anyone looking at a pellet boiler would do well to take a good hard look at either one because you will not be disappointed with the performance. There are very real differences in these two and just about anything else in terms of being user friendly, adaptable to different types of heating systems, long term reliability and durability. Some others I have seen have the same features listed and appear to be comparable on paper but that's where a lot of the similarities end.
    Already I read on this forum and others about many makes experiencing control issues, condensation and boiler protection issues, cleaning frequency (daily?!?!?!_g) and other things that just should not be happening if the boiler was well designed and thought out. That is not how a pellet boiler should operate.

    I'm going to open up a couple Windhagers this morning to for their first cleaning and I'm guessing they will each have about 800 hours of operation on them. They have not been touched in that time and there were no failures or other issues. They just did their job and that is how it's supposed to be. I try to get some pics of what they look like after I'm guessing 3 tons of fuel through each.

    This of course is just my humble opinion and you are more than welcome to tell me to shove off......:cool:
    stayfitz and arngnick like this.
  9. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    419
    Loc:
    Lyme, NH
    I can confirm that the NH rebate program allows a site-built bin. The only requirement is that it be of at least three ton capacity.

    Also, just FYI, Froling Energy is a dealer of ours and sells several brands of boilers including Fröling. Top notch company and people. The company is owned by Mark Froling and there is no relationship to the Austrian manufacturer Fröling, just a happy coincidence!
  10. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    875
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    How long have they been operating in North America?
  11. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,912
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    Both are recent arrivals to N/A but the "tell" to me is the total production of the product and how long it has been around in it's current form. Neither of the makes I mentioned are "johnny come lately's" to the pellet boiler industry .
    I don't know Froling's exact numbers of their current model but Windhager has produced nearly 50,000 BioWins and sold them worldwide.

    As far as backing their product goes, all I can say is that it was pretty impressive to me when Windhager flew a tech from Austria here for the sole purpose of doing the start up and commissioning on the first one sold in North America. At that time no one here had much in the line of training and they cared enough about their product to go to the expense of getting someone here to make sure it was done right.
    Only other "furrin" company I've ever seen do something like that in the boiler industry is Viessmann.
  12. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    875
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    There is a big difference between 50hz vs 60hz ~ so it still remains how these European models run long term. I would rather go with an Austrian model like the Windhager and Froling, than the Eastern European makers like Kedel, Viadrus, etc. though.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  13. DZL_Damon

    DZL_Damon Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Messages:
    149
    Loc:
    Maine
    50hz vs 60hz is no big deal... especially if the speed of the fan/augers are being controlled with sine wave chopping like on my boiler since frequency on an AC motor only dictates speed.

    Almost every motor that is planned to be sold internationally will have it's speed and amp ratings for 50 hz and 60 hz. Running a motor at 60 hz actually draws less juice at full horsepower is a function of speed.

    And just a side note: Kedel has sold over 30,000 units in Europe. Look at the map of the ones connected to the internet alone: http://stokercloud.dk/
  14. Dana B

    Dana B Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    242
    Loc:
    So. New Hampshire

    I have a Biowin 260 and live in NH too. I've been burning for about a month now and so far so good.

    There are a few things that I would like to point out about the NH rebate/bulk storage option:

    1. I researched the NH rebate program and it did seem as if the program was very political and only set up to benefit certain pellet boiler manufacturers. I came away thinking that it was basically a one hand washing the other politics and business as usual deal between the state of NH and the Okofen dealers and not really a program designed to bring awareness of biomass heating to the people of NH. No surprises there right?

    2. On the surface the bulk storage option sounds like a great idea? A truck comes out and fills you up just like the oil company did before, no fuss no muss. However, there are very few companies in the NH/New England area that are currently offering bulk delivery. The companies that are offering bulk delivery have one or two choices of pellet to choose from and the cost of the transporting the pellets to your home is factored into the price you're paying for the pellets. The effect of this is that it pretty much negates your ability to shop around for the best deals on pellets. Some may argue that even if you're buying buy the palletized ton you're going to pay delivery charges. That is true but if you have a pickup truck and some time you can eliminate or minimize those costs. You can also shop around and find dealers with reasonable delivery charges. I found a dealer in Londonderry, NH that will sell you as many tons of MWP as you want and only charge you a $10 flat rate delivery fee. On top of that great delivery fee their prices on this particular brand of pellet are cheaper than just about everyone else in the area.

    Another thing is the cost of the mateirals and installation involved with a bulk storage solution. Again there are not many companies in the NH/New England area selling bulk storage hoppers. One of the few companies that does sell them told me stright out "we cannot sell you a bulk storage hopper because you don't have an Okofen." The other company had pricing that would have made it a break even deal when the NH rebate was factored in. I was not willing to spend the time and effort to invest in a bulk storage option to just break even or come out a few hundred dollars ahead.

    Some people may say that even with a bulk hopper you can buy whatever pellets you want and just load them into the bulk hopper. What was the point of the bulk storage hopper then if you do this?

    Before during and after the purchase and install of my boiler I haved looked at so many of the concerns regarding pellets, bulk storage, the different boilers etc etc from a million and one different angles. I have done a great deal of research, spoke to numerous different people and companies and determined that a commerically manfuctured and purchased bulk storage unit did not make sense for me. Your uncle's situation may be quite different. I know many people may not wish to be bothered with the storage and loading of the pellets but for me it's no big deal. i can order 4 tons of pellets, have them dropped at my basement's bulkhead door and have them stacked on pallets 10 feet from my boiler in under an hour's time with the help of my brother or a friend. After that it's literally a ten minute job to fill the boiler up once a week.

    So to sum it all up. As someone who lives very close to your uncle here in NH I'm pretty happy with my Biowin so far and I don't reccomend the bulk storage. I suggest that you and your uncle consider all the possibilities of the different boilers and what they will mean as far as costs, lifestyle etc etc before making such a major investment.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
    arngnick and BoiledOver like this.
  15. Dana B

    Dana B Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    242
    Loc:
    So. New Hampshire

    Sinnian brings up some very good points. I left my old oil boiler in place just in case something ever happens to the Biowin. It's peace of mind. Also if your uncle ever sells the home the prospective buyers might want to see oil as an option. Unless the oil boiler is knocking on death's door or there is an issue with space I see no reason to get rid of the oil boiler.

    I called the company that carries my homeowner's insurance policy before purchasing my boiler to ensure that my policy would not be cancelled or otherwsie adversely affected. They said it would not and I had them send me a written document stating this. Your uncle should do likewise. I also contacted town hall to make sure that all the permits/codes were in order.

    As sinnian said there are some individuals posting on here that are in the pellet/boiler industry. However I do not believe that there are people on this website seeking to deliberately mislead and lie to others. I think many of the people on here that are in the industry are passionate about alternative energy sources and the products that they have to offer. naturally there is going to be competition in business. This is a good thing. Ultimately no one cares more about your uncle than you and your uncle so it's up to the two of you to do the homework and make sure you make the right decisions.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
    BoiledOver likes this.
  16. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,912
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    You have hit the nail squarely on the head Dana. From what I have heard/read about that program it is targeted to benefit select companies and help them "lock in" customers.
    I've been looking into it because some representatives here in Michigan were wondering what other states were doing and as far as I can see this is a good example of how NOT to do it.
    arngnick, sinnian and BoiledOver like this.
  17. Dana B

    Dana B Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    242
    Loc:
    So. New Hampshire

    Yeah I was pretty dissappointed when I found out about the "three ton bulk storage capacity" requirement. If the true objective of the rebate was to bring about awareness of alternative (non oil) green, renewable, forms of energy as a means to heat your home and encourage the use of those alternatives by making the upfront costs more affordable while simultaneously stimulating competition and growth in this emerging market then there would not have been a three ton bulk storage requirement. It's obvious to anyone that's looked into the program what it's all about.
  18. foamit up

    foamit up Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Messages:
    58
    Loc:
    Central, Maine
    I built a one ton bin for my BioWin out of wood just to try it out. It actually holds about 1 1/4 tons. I lit it Oct 1 and it is still burning out of that first fill of bin, will have to refill this weekend. I may make some modifications to bin next yr, as pellets do not totally feed to bottom. I sell pellets so i get them in bags. I just empty bags into bin when i stop by to check on boiler. If all goes well this yr. i will probably build a bigger bin in the truck body and i won't have to stop in for a couple months. I can always modify to accept bulk fill in future, however they are more expensive right now in Maine. Foamit Up
  19. bdud

    bdud New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    Messages:
    34
    Loc:
    Franklin, MA
    For me, I saw no advantage in keeping the oil boiler. It took up space, I hated the idea of an oil tank, it needed the oil supply line upgraded to comply with latest codes, I had no intention of using oil again ( I had emergency heat I could use if necessary pellet stove and water heat pump), more plumbing and possibilities for leaks if the oil stayed especially if it just sat unused. I went with the Biowin as I had confidence in its reliability and its track record. A major selling point was the automatic cleaning and pellet feed. I do not need any extra chores so one of my major criteria was that it should not be much more troublesome or upkeep required than the oil boiler, so I have a custom metal pellet silo that holds ~3.5 tons, which is installed where my old oil tank was. The only pellet bulk delivery for me at present as far as I know, in MA, is Sandri ~ 90 miles away. Their minimum delivery is 3 tons and I believe they are New England Pellets. Their bulk delivery price + delivery charge for 3 tons is not much different than the La Crete that I purchased about a year ago. Hopefully more companies will offer bulk deliveries. At present the Biowin says it has used 360lbs of pellets and the ash in the 'wheelie' style collection pan is minimal. Another great plus is how quiet the pellet boiler is compared to the oil unit.
  20. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    875
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    You may do this already, but..... if you have (or if not borrow, from a friend, which is what I do) a child's slide to a play set, take it off and put it on the stairs of the bulkhead and slide the bags down. I can get 9 bags down at a time, so I only have to up and down the stairs 3 times, versus 50 times -> with a 40# bag being one of the legs of the trip ;)
  21. Dana B

    Dana B Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    242
    Loc:
    So. New Hampshire

    Does it not bother you that there is only one bulk delivery company offering only one pellet at one price?
  22. Dana B

    Dana B Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    242
    Loc:
    So. New Hampshire

    This is my first season using pellets and so far I've ony actually gotten one delivery. My brother helped me and we got two tons in the basement in 20 minutes by walking them down the bulkhead steps. I think I may do something like you mentioned with a slide. The nice thing is that I have a completely unfinished open basement. I could order 10 tons and get them all down there in a single afternoon on some Saturday in May and not have to worry about a getting another bad into the basement for two years.
    sinnian likes this.
  23. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,375
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Wouldn't it still be possible to buy by the bag/pallet, and just dump them in a bin - if you put a bulk storage bin in?
  24. Paste

    Paste New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    NH
    Yes, I set my bin up so I could accept bulk delivery or fill it by the bag. The NH rebate brings my system cost down to almost the cost of the boiler alone, so the bin was worth it to me.
  25. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,375
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Well then, the fears about putting in a 3-ton bin and getting locked into one fuel & one supplier for forever seem kind of groundless.

Share This Page