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Pellet boiler shopping

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by timberframe, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. timberframe

    timberframe New Member

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    When we built our home 10 years ago, we put in a elaborate in-floor radiant floor heating system. Because it ran off a propane boiler and was expensive to run, we purchased two Quadrafire Sante Fe pellet stoves. They have run very well for the past 4-5 years. But we miss the toasty warm floors and it bothers me to think of this fancy radiant floor heating system just sitting idle in the basement. If we change to a pellet boiler, can I go with a 60.000 BTU pellet boiler? Currently we have a 60,000 BTU gas boiler and it supplies enough heat when running. Also in the $6-7000.00 range what are my choices in pellet boilers? Any one in particular that you prefer? thanks
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013

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  2. timberframe

    timberframe New Member

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    Little help here please
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Patience. Patience. People need to finish dinner. >>
    sloeffle and maple1 like this.
  4. Former Farmer

    Former Farmer Feeling the Heat

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    I have the Harman PB105. That would be over kill for 60,000 btu's. I am sure that some of the others will be on to help you out.

    Are you doing your own installation? This would effect your price significantly.
  5. __dan

    __dan Feeling the Heat

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    Add two more pellet boiler features to your list. The boiler needs to be built with a modulating firing rate, fire turndown capacity and it needs to be able to auto start and auto shutdown effortlessly as needed. There are a few top line European boiler imports that do this. Turndown ratio of 3 or 4 to 1 would be great.

    Given the same heat load the boiler should be measurably more efficient than the stove, and the radiant distribution more efficient the convection air. Price range may be a be little north of your 7k figure, but if you get a high quality model with an expected lifetime over 20 years, should be well worth it.

    Wrong boiler choice could be far more expensive over time than the most expensive to purchase boiler available now.
    arbutus likes this.
  6. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    Well, I can only tell you to check the Windhager BioWIN automatic pellet boiler. Probably BioWIN150 or 210
    Many of them installed in MI state. Heaterman will shine in on this
    Check this forum with the search function up top: Windhager
    or just check this link: http://www.hearth.com/talk/search/23567661/?q=windhager&o=date
    arbutus likes this.
  7. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

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    Look at the Harman Hydroflex. It's rated for 60,000 btus.
    iceguy4 likes this.
  8. timberframe

    timberframe New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I was surprised that there are not more local plumbing places carrying the pellet boilers. So far, looking at cost for a smaller BTU unit, it looks like a Harman would be the least expensive, then EcoBoiler, then Kedel? (dont know their price), then Windhager, and then ya get into more units from there. Does this sound right? Am I missing any in between?
  9. timberframe

    timberframe New Member

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    I would not be doing my own installation. I think the installation would be minimal as the radiant floor system, pumps, and zones are currently all there, and running off of a gas boiler..
  10. iceguy4

    iceguy4 Minister of Fire

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    X2 American made
  11. timberframe

    timberframe New Member

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    I was considering putting the unit either in the basement next to the existing gas boiler or putting it in the garage above the basements utility room. I thought if I put it in the garage, I could save on chimney cost. Any thoughts?
  12. timberframe

    timberframe New Member

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    Do all pellet boilers require a stainless chimney? Any of them require just PVC?
  13. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

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    Another thought would be a pellet conversion for your existing boiler. I'm using a Pellergy PB1525 on a Buderus boiler at two of my properties.

    Not all boilers are a good match for this system. The price for the system depending on options is in the Hydroflex ball park. I would recommend adding at least 120 gallons of storage though. Www.pellergy.com
  14. Former Farmer

    Former Farmer Feeling the Heat

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    Local building codes may require a completely enclosed room for the boiler if installed in the garage. You may want to check with your local building inspectors and your insurance representative on that one. It has to do with flammable vapors from the cars, lawn mowers, etc. that are kept in the garage.
  15. katman

    katman Member

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    I think some boilers are rated as acceptable for garage installations but that probably won't make any difference if your local building inspector doesn't want to approve it.
  16. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    Initial price of the pellet boiler is in my opinion less important.
    Especially when we are only talking only a couple thousand of dollars difference.
    "The bitterness of poor product quality remains long after low pricing is forgotten!" - Leon Cautillo

    I would also look at overall quality of build, for instance the weight of the boiler, the pellet consumption, used electrical components, ... .
    It's like with cars, one car gets you 20 MPG another brand/model gets you 30 MPG.

    Over the 25 or 30 year life of the pellet boiler this "minor" upfront more cost will pay big dividends.

    You need to spent the money, to be able to save the money.

    Merry Xmas
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
    Frozen Canuck likes this.
  17. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Unfortunately, we are living in the Walmart Generation.

    Makes for a hard sell sometimes for the quality items of life.
    sloeffle likes this.
  18. arbutus

    arbutus Feeling the Heat

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    The Windhager installs and reports impress me.
  19. SmokeEater

    SmokeEater Feeling the Heat

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    I know of the Windhager, but own and operate a Harman. I can only say that, yes the Harman is relatively simple in operation compared to some of the European pellet boilers, but I don't need to worry about cleaning complex fire tubes, nor be concerned with turbulator operators, ash removal systems, burn pot mechanisms that clean away clinkers or ash. I only empty the ash pan about once a month. Occasionally, I pull the water tube ash removal rods, clean the burn pot once a week, wash and wipe the fly ash off the observation glass once a week and clean all once a year. Simple and reliable is what I like. Price is right too.
  20. timberframe

    timberframe New Member

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    After doing more research on our existing gas boiler, I believe it is 80,000 BTU
  21. VT_Bubba

    VT_Bubba Member

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    Timberframe,

    I do NOT recommend the Garage Install for the following reasons :
    1) Most Building codes require walled-off area.
    2) Most Ins Co's require walled-off area (We had a Local fire that destroyed a $500K House, because of that...).
    3) Heat Loss is Significant and Could Have freezing implications too (unless you want\plan to heat the Garage...).

    BTW- I got a killer buy on an Amazing Heat Boiler on CL($1000 cash !), with the plan to install it in the Garage, for the same chimney reasons. In the end, I bought the HF60 for my basement install and re-sold the Amazing Heat on CL (in 1hr !), for a nice $1500 profit !

    I highly recommend a Basement Install for Heat Loss reasons and proximity to your existing boiler (saves on install costs too - plumbing is not cheap these days !).

    VT_Bubba
  22. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    I'm curious as to why one would worry about....." cleaning complex fire tubes, nor be concerned with turbulator operators, ash removal systems, burn pot mechanisms that clean away clinkers or ash."
    Fred61 likes this.
  23. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    You see a lot of that on this forum. Certain unit is so much easier to operate because you're not required to actuate a lever or close a door. Boiler is less than desirable because wood needs to be cut an inch shorter than Brand X.
    DZL_Damon likes this.
  24. SmokeEater

    SmokeEater Feeling the Heat

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    My comment was most likely to emphasize "keep it simple...." and am not in any way criticizing any product made here or abroad that we discuss on this forum. If that was taken that way, I apologize. I like the idea that a good dependable pellet boiler for residential use can be purchase here in the USA and it's made in the USA, for a reasonable price.
  25. DZL_Damon

    DZL_Damon Member

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    Very happy with the Kedel thus far. I've only cleaned it once this year and it was partially due to my own set up. It wasn't doing it's periodic cleanings and I had a failed ignition. It sent me an email that if failed, I logged in from my phone, increased amperage to the ignitor and got the boiler lit while I was on the road. When I got home I found some ash accumulated in the hole that hot ignition air blows out.... if my cleaning intervals were set right it probably would have been fine. I cleaned it out (5 minutes) and have had no issues since.

    They are less expensive than the Harmons which were my 2nd choice at the time and still are high on my list. I hear less maintenance needed with the PB105 vs the HydroFlex60 on this site and from the dealer who were real nice fellows (Evergreen Home and Hearth Solutions in Ellsworth, ME).

    The Windhagers look real nice too and I had not heard of them when doing my research.

    If I was to do it again, I probably would do the Kedel again, but a smaller model. I have not yet got my extra 1000 sq. ft shop online yet which is why I got the 102kbtu unit vs the 54 or 68 in the first place. During this recent cold snap of -10*F (-35*F with windchill yesterday), I ran an average of 35% firing rate looking over my 24hr trends to heat the upper 1300 sq.ft to 71*F and the 1100 sq.ft downstairs to 50*F.

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