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Pellet boiler, wood boiler, or nothing?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Flem, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. Flem

    Flem Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Messages:
    131
    Loc:
    Western MD
    I've been considering a pellet boiler or wood boiler but am on a bit of a budget. Right now I have a Whitfield Profile 30 that is having its share of issues finally. I supplement with an oil burner and hot water baseboard. Oil also heats my domestic hot water. I love the feel of the hot water baseboard heat. Should I invest in a pellet or wood boiler with a domestic coil to stand beside my oil boiler? Or should I keep spending money on my stove? What are the best options for a pellet or wood boiler? House is about 2000 sq. ft. Also wondering if a wood boiler is much cheaper to heat with than a pellet boiler. Would like to get away from oil all together. Any info would be appreciated!

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  2. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,580
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    Pellet or wood boiler should handle the whole house heating. Choosing between wood or pellets would be what is more convenient for you and cost. You'd have to weigh the pro's and con's of both with the dollar factor. You'd also have to consider service and maintenance between the 2.

    As for what unit? I think the PB105 is a bit large for the size house your heating. The HydroFlex 60 would probably be a better choice. There are several others out there to choose from. Hopefully other members pop in to share advice!

    http://www.harmanstoves.com/Products/HydroFlex-60-Pellet-Boiler.aspx
  3. Flem

    Flem Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Messages:
    131
    Loc:
    Western MD
    Thanks. Have a feeling wood boiler would be cheaper but leaning toward pellets due to less work.
  4. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    566
    Loc:
    Billerica, MA
    Any wood boiler wood require a water storage of min 500 gallons to run efficient. This is a significant cost.

    Top notch pellet boilers do not require water storage and are able to modulate down to 30% of the maximum output to match your heat load at any point in time and perform at maximum efficiency.

    A pellet boiler with a 325 Lbs capacity pellet hopper will last you 3 to 4 days depending on your heat load.

    A fairly well insulated 2,000 SF house will require a 2,000 x 25 BTU/sf = 50,000 BTU/hr pellet boiler.
  5. EcoHeat

    EcoHeat Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Fuel costs will be lower with wood, though you sacrifice convenience, and the upfront costs for a wood boiler are higher. As Marc mentioned, you need buffer storage with a wood boiler, and a dump zone. Outdoor wood boilers lose a lot of heat to the outside air, so you might not even save any money if you're considering that route.

    For your hot water, it's best to avoid tankless coils. They require you maintain higher temperatures, and don't give you the opportunity to shut down the boiler in the warmer months. You'd be better off with an indirect water heater.

    The budget issue is going to be an issue no matter what you do. You could consider a two-step process, with the indirect tank this year, and a pellet or wood boiler next year. If you have home equity, you might look into a home equity line of credit. You can find interest rates at your local bank for around 4%, which can mean you are cash flow positive from the start if you're displacing oil.
  6. ScotL

    ScotL Feeling the Heat

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    Feb 7, 2011
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    289
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    kedelboilers.com
  7. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Messages:
    677
    Loc:
    Torrington, CT
    Pellet boilers are just about as easy to run as oil. Wood boilers are nice too, but a hell of a lot more work. And this work extends to you all year long with not only the perpetual feeding, but the off season cutting, splitting, stacking, and trying to keep it dry. You will be married to it for the better part of winter and when the wood runs down, if you forget to feed it, then the oil kicks in. If you are not diligent about keeping it fed, then a good chunk of your anticipated savings will end up in the oil man's pocket. remember, I am a pellet man, but I say GO PELLET OR BUST!!!

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