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Pellet boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Fredman, May 6, 2008.

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  1. Fredman

    Fredman New Member

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    I was thinking about a pellet boiler for my garage I am going to build either this summer or next. 30 x 60 x 16 with two zones. I am going to have in floor heat with four inches under the slab of insulation. I know already that my outside wood boiler will just eat the wood like it is nobody's business. I figured I would go through 20 full cords heating both and I am not interested about cutting that up every year. Just looking for now and will compare about updating to a more efficient outside stove or just running the outside stove to my house and a pellet boiler in my shop.

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  2. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Yes.
  3. thomcoastal

    thomcoastal New Member

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    Brand new to the forum....I am looking at installing (in a parallel arrangement with my oil hot water furnace - Riello and Biasi) a pellet boiler. I am looking at the Tarm Multi Heat (Pellet/Corn), Harmon PF105 or the Pinnacle PB 150. Is there any specific reason to throw one or more of those out of the mix completely?? I need some of the veterans of the forum to give me info as heating oil for a 1200 gallon pre-buy price today topped $4.15/gallon in Bangor Maine.

    My house is 2700 square feet but spread out in basically two 2-story houses connected by a 14 by 22 addition. Odd configuration so the house uses 1600 gallons/year. I need help as the local shops are starting to get a back up of over 45 days at this point don’t want to wait too long.... House has 60% radiant 40% baseboards for heat output...any specific suggestions.....
  4. nchezy

    nchezy Member

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    My situation is almost a mirror image of yours - I am in Brunswick area. I have been looking into pellet boiler options pretty hard also. The Tarm unit is about $11k (they were doing $1k rebate up through 5/15/08). The Harmon and the other you mentioned are closer to $7k for the boiler. I was also looking at Verner and Orlan - both are next to impossible to get your hands on - seems like there are about 20 units or less sent over from Europe as the US quota. Then I heard about Maine Energy Systems (Les Otten's venture). I am ready to send in my $500 deposit tomorrow. The boilers are about $8100 or $8,800 for the larger unit and they are goint to be doing bulk delivery for $250/ton - I am not sure if they will service Bangor yet.
  5. thomcoastal

    thomcoastal New Member

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    I have not gotten any good info from the Maine Energy Sysytems as to availablity in Bangor - The website says yes but no one has contacted me yet to provide any info on the pricing or availablity. If the boilers are as good as they are portrayed to be I'm in. I can get bulk delivery for $235 from a local supplier in either 1 ton bags or 40 lb bags. I am also looking into several boiler stoves from Europe (Ecotherm H2O 34, Artel 14, Etc) so I can avoid the needed tear-out to make entry into my limited access basement. But if they are not able to work on 60Hz (rather than 50Hz - European power standard) I am willing to hand a pile of money to Mr. Otten to ensure my pre-buy (this week is $4.59/gallon) doesn't put me in the poor house or worse the street.
  6. PelletOwner

    PelletOwner New Member

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    I know a guy at MEsys - he tells me that installations should begin in late july/early august. I actually own a system similar to their installed systems, and they have selected some fantastic parts for their system. I use an inverter, but they say that they should have worked out the 50Hz/60Hz stuff in the next few weeks so you don't have to buy any extra electrical equipment.

    I want to stress that MEsys is going to be the only American seller of European-built Janfire/Bosch systems that are appropriate for use on a 60Hz/120VAC line. I'm looking at modifying my own equipment courtesy of MEsys - my inverter makes a high-pitched whine you can hear within thirty feet of the basement door, and it's in a corner behind my pellet hopper!

    Edit: also they're putting distribution centers in Bangor, Lewiston, Rockland, Norway, and Portland, so yes, you'll be able to get pellets delivered this winter.
  7. thomcoastal

    thomcoastal New Member

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    Got a reply from ME Sys. They are training the installers the next three weeks and the first shipment of boilers will be in the Port of Portland by June 3rd. Installation should begin for the names on the reserved list nearly immediately.

    After doing some research on the system they are installing, it apppears to be a great system. Less maintainance than the comparable Harman and/or Traeger and less expensive than the Tarm. The info from Europe says the equipment has at least a six year history with very low rates of failure (less than 3%). The main failure appears to be related to failure to protect against surges and brown-outs which is a simple fix (use of voltage conditioning system like UPS systems used to protect computers.

    I am hopefull that the demand for the stoves continues which will ensure trained techincal staff will continue as well. Pellets are so preferrable to wood for me as I don't have a wood lot and do have a very small area of my yard to dedicate to storage (plenty for pellets for the year but not enough for log-length logs or split logs to be delivered). I have pellet quotes from local suppliers for my 8-10 tons of pellets from 220/ton (plus a single $40 delivery fee) to 250/ton delivered. Considering my local purchase price for a single 250 gallon purchase will be over $1140, I am looking forward to the "hassle" of feeding a pellet boiler for the winter.
  8. Richardin52

    Richardin52 Member

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    I put in a Pinnacle PB 150 in April and have not shut it off yet. Heats all the hot water and heat for a four unit apartment. I'm about to run insulated pex to a duplex next door.

    I went with a Pinnacle because it can run at 85,000 BTU's or 130,000 BTU's and is a listed boiler so I know it is safe.

    A tarm in Wilton had fire back up the auger and start the pellet hopper on fire.

    I got mine through Mark Norwood at Evergreen Heat in Old Orchard. He is a great source of info.

    I figure I will heat for about 1/3 of what I would be paying for oil this winter. Thats the differents between making money renting or going in the hole.
  9. PelletOwner

    PelletOwner New Member

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    I talked to a MEsys rep today and they said that they've been receiving a lot of interest about training to install their system. Apparently oil has a leg up on the pellet industry: only those with a master qualification in solid fuel can install them, whereas someone with a journeyman or master qualification in oil heat can install oil heat alone. This means that a pellet installer is going to be more knowledgeable about the system, but it also means that there are much fewer installers are available.

    Another interesting bit about MEsys; they're going to be offering a set price on pellets (I think 260 a ton delivered, you didn't hear this from me) to those who purchase an installation and system.
  10. thomcoastal

    thomcoastal New Member

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    Looking at the specs on the systems being bantered by the MESys people, I am now much more likely to choose them if they are in the ballpark for dropping and plumbing the system into my existing system. I still don't know if the system can be vented through the wall or needs a lined chimney for exhaust. Sent a specific e-mail I hope to get a reply soon. I'll let you know what I know when I know....

    I just found out the local pellet supplier (a non-big box hardware store) has a 10% off coupon on all purchases....off to pay for my pellets for the year (8 tons) and save even more on heating my home! Happy Heating!!
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Janfire,

    Just to confirm for our board.....

    Do you have any financial or other tie to the boiler brands or suppliers you are discussing? Your posts seem to be more advertising than anything else. We are pretty rigid about the boards not being used for commercial "plugs" without full disclosure of relationships.

    Let us know so it does not end up discrediting you or those you (possibly) represent.
  12. PelletOwner

    PelletOwner New Member

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    I have a similar system, and I know someone who works there. I'm not employed by nor own stock in MEsys.

    They have sweet parts and a sweet system, and someone who works there helped me (on their off time!) order parts directly from suppliers in Europe so I could get the system installed.

    I guess I do look like a bit of a corporate shill, but I haven't had any problems with my system and I'm very satisfied with its performance.

    Edit: I am satisfied with its performance to the point of recommending it to anyone who needs to keep their house warm. I have faith in the products that I bought and I have faith in the pellet fuel market.

    Edit 2: I'll try and keep the MEsys cheerleading down, but it's a little hard when your favorite pellet burner/boiler is only sold by one distributor :(
  13. thomcoastal

    thomcoastal New Member

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    The Janfire appears to be a sweet system. Have you have yours on yet? I'd like to know how it works if and when you fire it up.

    I am waiting to get some last specs for other systems (3 European pellet boiler stoves and two pellet boilers) and I may be joining you in the Janfire System.
  14. PelletOwner

    PelletOwner New Member

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    I actually use it for my hot water and my nighttime heat. It has a modulating fan so you get constant heat instead of starting and stopping, and it has an automatic control for pretty much everything, from loading to firing. My installer told me that it would even warn me when it needed ashing, but I'm keeping my own schedule ;) When I want to show it off, I turn on some hot water taps, and it does the rest.

    I haven't had any problems with anything, really. Installation was smooth and seamless, even with a preexisting oil burner from god knows how long ago. They had to replace my hot water tank so it wouldn't burst at 180 degrees. The pellet burner itself worked the instant I plugged in my inverter. It was really neat to see the system auger up pellets from the hopper, load it into the burner, and have the burner fire for the first time. If I could do it over again, I'd get transparent auger casings so I could see the pellets come up.

    One interesting thing that I haven't seen prominently on any other systems is a low melting point plastic tube between the hopper and the burner. If the pellets start to burn back, the hose connecting the pellets and the burner disintegrates and I don't have millions and millions of BTU's per hour ;)
  15. thomcoastal

    thomcoastal New Member

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    I curently have a hot water maker/boiler mate to make hot water from the current boiler - the system use are using produces 180 degree water from the boiler and then it is mixed down at the outlet by use of a mixing valve (It that right?).

    I can't stand the sound of my oil burner come on during warm weather to produce a tank of hot water by heat exchange.
  16. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

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    i know the feeling about hearing the oil burner running.

    most boilermates are set up like another zone in your boiler system. when the water needs to be heated, a circulator pumps boiler water (+/-180 deg) into a coil inside the domestic water tank until the desired hot water temp is reached. mine is set at 133 degrees. a mixing valve is used where i want the domestic h/w to be less than 133 degrees.
  17. thomcoastal

    thomcoastal New Member

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    The Janfire system that is being proposed by MESys apparently produces only domestic grade hot water from the system. The water is produced at 180 degrees and is sent to the hot water storage tank at that temperature. When the water is used it is mixed at the outlet of the tank to typical domestic water temp (135-145). It seems like it would be a much better use of heat produced than the heat exchanger model most of us use but I am not sure of the exact benefit.

    I am waiting on the details from the tech rep for 3 seperate models of boiler stoves to let me know the specifics on running in the US (60 Hz rather than 50Hz). The models are the ECOTHERM H2O 34 (34 Kw total 15% to room and 85% to the water - cost 7100 to get here but it is great to look at in our living room and would add more than my maximum heat load to my existing setup) and the Artel 14 Boiler stove (14 Kw 5% to the room and 95% to the water but if I add storage it should supply nearly all my heating needs with the exception of the coldest days below Zero F), the last one is actually a series, MCZ makes several models of Pellet boiler stoves which could meet my needs as well.

    The Artel rep just responded, it will operate fine on 60Hz and the total cost of getting the stove here is $7094.60 - a lot of money but it vents through the wall, is located in living space and would meet my heat and hot water needs for 350 days per year. I need to get a bit more info on the other stoves before I jump.
  18. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

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    is it a domestic h/w coil in the furnace?
  19. PelletOwner

    PelletOwner New Member

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    No, it's a downmixed hot water tank. The benefit is that you don't have the heat loss from a big surface area tank and can minimise the heat loss total from the hot water tank while the water is being stored.

    If you wanted 180 degree water I'm sure you could ask your plumber to stick a valve in there, but.......why? Do you need a tea faucet? ;)
  20. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

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    so if i understand you correctly, the janfire unit only produces domestic hot water? as in you could actually drink the water running through your baseboards?
  21. PelletOwner

    PelletOwner New Member

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    No, the baseboards have 180 degree heat. The water tank is 180 degrees, but it uses a mixing valve for tap hot water.
  22. Willman

    Willman Minister of Fire

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    Does the Bosch set up from MES have a plastic (melt able) link ? How about some pics of your set up,or maybe even a short video on u tube ?
    Will
  23. PelletOwner

    PelletOwner New Member

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  24. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Is that really a "feature"?

    One can assume that if pellets are burning back into the plastic tube, and it melts, that burning pellets can then both drop and get access to air (to burn more)...plus ignite anything that is on the floor, etc.

    Explain the benefits, please.

    Are you sure that isn't just an outside combustion air intake?
  25. PelletOwner

    PelletOwner New Member

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    When the pellets start to catch on fire "before" the burn cup, the auger in the burner clears them into the boiler. If the auger is stuck, the pellets can burn all the way through the burner and into the feeder tube above it. That tube, which connects the hopper auger to the burner, melts away, which does increase the amount of oxygen to the fire, but also prevents its spread. Since the fire is isolated, it doesn't spread to the hopper - and you don't see a 56 million BTU fire in your basement.
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