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 Boilers.... Where are you????

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Mack The Knife, May 3, 2008.

  1. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,973
    Loc:
    Near Williamsport, PA
    Mack...I believe that would be Harry Chapin?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Mack The Knife

    Mack The Knife New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Messages:
    51
    Loc:
    Southern NH
    That's right Harry Chapin.... I'm so embarrassed.
    I got so little literature on the Orlan that I'm not sure what the specs even are. Again, my unhappiness with the many units is that they have a very colorful card but not much for capabilities, specifications, etc, etc. I don't think that the Orlan ($7580.00 quoted) has an automatic feeder system although you might be able to adapt an external silo, but I don't know. None of the literature mentioned those options, so I just assumed that it doesn't have that option. But, like a pellet stove or non automatic feed system you fill the hopper (35 gallon... strange unit of measurement instead of a weight in pounds) and then it burns off. Whether is lasts one day or three, I don't know.
    It is one of the higher rated units in efficiency at 92% that I found. That is a "huge" plus!!!! Which is what raises my interest. But the lack of an automatic feeder system pretty much takes it off of my short list. A unit without an automatic feeder system has to be tended to refill the hopper, otherwise the fire goes out and pipes freeze and water damages the house etc... etc... It's the same with oil or any other fuel.
    The Europeans build their homes (in the last few decades) around the central heater system and how pellets in this case are going to be stored. Some home and especially businesses just have the pellets poured or pumped into a concrete divided area alongside where the boiler will be located. Otherwise an outdoor silo container is used. That way the delivery truck has reasonable access.
    The Harman is rated 0 - 105,000 BTU's up to about 2500 sq ft. I actually have closer to 3000 sq ft. From what I've been told the boilers perform better and want to keep running. It's not efficient for them to turn off and back on. They are built to maximize the heat generated by the burning of the pellets. Most oil burning boilers are rated at 80% - 86% efficiency.
  3. kohout77

    kohout77 New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    long island
    The harman is 113,900 btu it has tubes but that is part of a water jacket so it will last longer and not burn out.Harman claims it will do more than 2500sq but I would take it at 2500. You probaly have a local dealer near you and that would be better for you if you need service plus we all have an area and as far as the evo its not yet availble in the U.S. The EPA is testing it in alaska I met the rep at dist. He says what is sold here is old tech and its hard to bring new product into the country The integra 2 is ass kicking and you don't hear it running.Homeland security made them take out the dial up control feature saying it could be used as a bomb at $4000 thats some trigger. but it comes in 10 colors.The evo might be availble this summer he said.
  4. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    920
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    YES, please do!

    ----

    After going and talking with a Harmon dealer in NH, I am really leaning towards it. The price quote I got was $6040 (no tax). Why is it the only one available in NE with an automatic ignition? To me the ones that do not, can not be that efficient if they are consuming during idle.

    I have also decided not to get the coil, and get a storage tank instead. Anyone have any suggestions on a tank?
  5. EWD1

    EWD1 New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    CT
    Mack,when and where did you get the price on the biomax?
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,252
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I don't think it will be of too much use to most shoppers - without knowing ALL the other variables which affect boiler and heater performance. But a quick introduction.....

    There are two major factors (related) that will affect the efficiency and capability of a heating system - including a boiler. One is the actual combustion of the fuel......you must burn it efficiently in the first place! With a pellet central heating system, this is not a big problem since the fuel can be metered and burned hot in a relatively small fire pot.

    The second part, which relates to the boiler construction, has to do with the available heat exchanger to properly soak up the heat from the burning pellets and transfer it to the water - and then to the house. This is where a Pellet boiler may differ greatly from a wood or coal hand-fed unit.

    There needs to be a certain amount of "square feet of heating surface" which I think is defined as the surface of steel with water behind it that is exposed to the heat of the fire. In a case where you have a very controlled burn such as Pellets, this might be a series of tubes or baffles located above the pellet fire through which the gases pass. The engineering of the boiler should carefully match the heat generated by the fire to the heat which is able to be soaked up by the water. Excess heat exchange is not desirable - you only need to soak up the right about of heat to create the efficiency you are seeking - no more. Also, having a water jacket around all sides of a pellet boiler and the bottom (these are know as "wet leg" or wet bottom" boilers ) is not as important as with wood or coal boilers, since the heat from the flame can be contained and directed into a small area.

    As to fire tube and water tube, my guess is that:

    Firetube - a boiler with round tubes through which the exhaust gases pass - these are either horizontal or vertical and surrounded by water.

    Watertube - a boiler with horizontal tubes above the fire which have water circulating through them - the exhaust gases pass around the tubes.

    So one has the water on the outside of the tube and the other on the inside. I assume that in most cases a firetube boiler is the preferred heat exchanger type.

    My guess, anyway.

    As a summary, while I might hold water volume and sq ft of heating surface important with a hand-fired wood or coal boiler, it would seem that a Pellet boiler could be engineered to use only an efficient heat exchanger on top of the fire and not a lot of water storage in the boiler itself.
  7. Mack The Knife

    Mack The Knife New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Messages:
    51
    Loc:
    Southern NH
    I got the price of the BioMax 40 and Orlan Pellet Boiler on a quote sheet from New Horizon earlier this month.... literally just a few of weeks ago.
  8. Willman

    Willman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    617
    Loc:
    Sabattus Maine
    Thanks Craig
    Will
  9. alaz

    alaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Loc:
    Milford PA
    I am new to these forums. But I read postings last night and feel like I was reading my life. I have found the Traeger (small hopper, maintenance), the Harmon (low BTU output-85%of 113900 with perfect pellets), the amaizeing heat (less maintenance good price, local but concerns about ability to burn pellets effectively: really designed for corn), and the Bosch system out of Maine (not local, $$$$, but seemingly flawless in theory). I was introduced to the Orlan ( but how big is hopper, and what is BTU output). Currently heat with oil, system 2000, hydro air (hw coil in duct). HELP! Any word on overseas boilers being any closer. Oh yeah, the Tarm ($$$$, storage tank?, not local)


    As for the fire tube vs water boilers tube: isn't Harman fire tube 3 heat exchangers and is that good or bad?
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,252
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Being in PA, you should consider the Harman since it is made there and parts and service may be available in the future. Considering models that are not even in the country yet could be a chancy decision.

    I don't see why the Tarm would need storage...... and they have been imported since the mid-70's so parts and service are likely to be available. The Tarm is probably engineered better than the Harman, but at the same time priced higher. So while Harman may not be the state of the art, the price reflects that and most Harmans are solid units.

    Most homes could easily get by on the output of the Harman.....my house, for example (2700 sq ft) requires less than 30,000 BTU per hour on a cold winter day.
  11. Mack The Knife

    Mack The Knife New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Messages:
    51
    Loc:
    Southern NH
    I just passed on an opportunity for a TARM 2.5 @ ($7500.00) because the automatic feeder was an additional $2000.00, plus another few thousand for installation. I struggled with the decision for over a week, but decided if I was going to spend that kind of money I would go by way of the Maine Energy Systems Bosch/Janfire which for the price I'm told comes with a 4.5? ton hopper and I was further told could be "direct vented" without having to vent into the existing chimney. I think that is probably the way I am leaning at this time. My understanding in speaking with "Dutch" of Maine Energy Systems is the $12,500.00 is what would be the "most" anyone might plan to spend. That is for buying the larger of the two units they offer with bin, burner, auger, and installation. They are also offering multiple sized silos for bulk delivery.
    I'm waiting to hear back and be "sold" on the Traeger which comes in at a lower purchase price, but also lower efficiency.
    Please give me your inputs gents.
  12. alaz

    alaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Loc:
    Milford PA
    I also called on the MES Bosch system:
    I do not believe the 4.5 ton hopper is included in that price, though I hope I am wrong. I am going to call tomorrow.
    Thanks for the note regarding the Harmon: I like the option for a 1700 pound hopper. I am heating 3700 sq. r-38 in my ceilings and r-19 in my walls. I want to be able to heat house with no doubt with whatever I choose. How confident are you that the Harman will do it?

    The a-maizing heat is even more local (installer in town). What issues are there? Are the updates to the burn pot enough to make pellets work effectively, any concerns with the auger mechanism (ie. melting, backed up smoke)

    As for the Traeger, I spoke to these guys out in Ohio who have made some improvements to the burn pot so it requires less maintenance, and it is a proven product, but again not local and, my biggest issue: 160 pound hopper.
    I go through approx. 1100 gallons of oil I estimate that will equate to 8.5-9 ton of pellets. Any thoughts.

    alaz
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,252
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Hard to have a lot of input on these things that have not been on the US market for very long - if at all.

    I do agree that anyone who is dead serious about Pellet Central heating should have the option of either a VERY large hopper or feeding from an external bin and hopper. Loading a bunch of bags into the thing once a day would seem fine only for those with lower heat loads.

    Question for yo, Alaz - did you compare the boiler cost and fuel cost for an automatic coal stoker boiler? If not, why not? At first glance it would seem the fuel cost is about 40% lower than pellets and you can get a system with decades of proven performance. On the other hand, it is not a renewable fuel - but it seems as if the Pellet boiler "boom" is coming from a price angle anyway since there was almost no demand up until the last year.

    FYI, a good friend of mine has had an EFM coal stoker boiler in his house for 25 years....with almost no servicing needed.
  14. alaz

    alaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Loc:
    Milford PA
    Craig
    I was at a coal guy yesterday looking at keystoker and EFM. Three problems which convinced me pellets.
    Yes coal is more cost effective, however, I wanted to accomplish 2 things, save money and get "greener". I am not a hippie but coal releases more green house gas than oil (at least that was my understanding). Also, too much ash removal. Finally, the coal itself is a dirtier than I hoped.

    So you feel pretty good that the Harman will meet my heat needs?
    Are there any pellet boilers that I am missing?

    I appreciate the help...
    I am pulling my hair out and I am bald to begin with. Anyone know of issues with the a-maize-ing heat?

    Thanks again.
    Alaz
  15. Mack The Knife

    Mack The Knife New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Messages:
    51
    Loc:
    Southern NH
    You will find much more discussion on the amazing heat unit on the Iburncorn.com forum.
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,252
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    You have to work backwards from oil to calculate your heating needs....

    example: if you burn 200 gallons in the coldest month of the year.

    That means about 7 gallons a day, or 1 million BTU.

    Meaning a pellet boiler at the average of 40,000 BTU for 24 hours would do the job......

    That is a rough calculation, of course, but never the less a good rule of thumb. You certainly need to have some reserve for those few super-cold days, but since the Harman is capable of almost double that, it would probably be fine in the example given.

    As to other brands, I am somewhat old-fashioned when it comes to heating equipment - in that I want to know about the company that stands behind a piece of equipment for decades in the past and the future. This comes from my time in the business when I saw many "boat anchors" caused by lack of special parts or service knowledge. It is one thing to "take a chance" on a wood stove which is easily repairable, but quite another to do so on a very expensive central system. I like the fact that Harman has been around 25+ years and is now owned by a large company with a lot of resources.
  17. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    920
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    I DID it! I went a head and bought the Harmon, and for several reasons.

    1. less expensive; matched with an indirect hot water storage and installation, I'll be around $10k; which at the current projection give me a payoff in 3.5 years; however I discussed with my wife that if things reverse and oil prices come down and/or pellet prices go up, we'll still be 'green'; not that we're hippies either
    2. is the only boiler that I found available that had an auto ignition; so when at idle, there is no fuel loss
    3. local servicers
    4. at 85% efficiency rating it matches my oil boil, BUT the heat is not going through my flue like it is with my oil boiler
    5. can be direct vented; the MES can not (sorry Craig), as well as may others
    6. comes with an adequate hopper, and there is the available 1700 pound hopper
    7. feel that if we waited for the European models, it would already be too late
    8. could second guess myself to the funny farm

    Now I have the daunting task of getting the pellets. We're not in a good geographic location as far as supply goes. Best value is $255 for 3 tons plus $100 delivery. Unfortunately at this time they have a 3 ton limit, otherwise I would get more which would lower the total cost per ton due to the delivery charge.

    Any of you Mainers know a reasonable supplier close to Limerick, let me know.

    I'll still be aroundMES Chimney RequirementsMES
  18. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,252
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Sounds like a good purchase.....good boiler.

    It does seem like the price of pellets is going up quickly, as you will be paying about 290 delivered. That is about the highest I have heard since before last winter. Maybe you want to get requests in at Pelletsales.com and some of the other regional places....even if you have to wait. Not getting cold yet.
  19. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    920
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    / Thank you

    I think I will get the 3 tons just to have them. Pelletsales.com was a lot more expensive, due to delivery. Additionally, they are no longer accepting orders.

    You would think that here in Maine that I would have a good supply at a reasonable price. However, I think it all comes down to population density. We have few people here, thus less people who have pellet equipment = less pellet sales, etc. etc.
  20. Tinman

    Tinman New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    25
    Loc:
    Western MA
    sinnian,
    You'll love the PB. Did your Harman Dealer tell you about the new pellet boiler they have coming out with late this summer? Though it is only 60,000 BTU's and would have to be on a zoned system with indirect hot water tank. anyway enjoy it I use one to heat my garage.
    And for anyone that still wants to place a order through pelletsales.com you can still place a order through them by going through www.pellets2u.com !!
  21. alaz

    alaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Loc:
    Milford PA
    Hey Sinnian congrats in making a decision and going with it! That is more than I have been able to do.
    I have been sitting around contemplating my inability to move ahead with the pb105 and I realize my exact concern. This is based on my absolute lack of knowledge of boilers in general. If anyone can please help I would appreciate it!
    Here is my question: I have 2 zone hydro-air. Each coil is rated for 160-180 degree water and will output approx 60k BTU at a flow rate of approx. 6-7 gallons per minute. I have seperate circ pumps (taco 007 and 0011). I plan on hooking the harman into the heat and letting my oil (system 2000) boiler handle my dhw. The zones can both call simultaneoulsy, but this does not happen too often (on the coldest days more likely). The temp. drop across the coil is approx. 23 degrees. I want to set the harman at approx. 180 degrees, my return temp will be around 155. Can the harman put back out 180 degrees to my coil; essentially can it handle that temp. differential? I have a pretty well insulated house, (3600 sq. ft.). I thought I would run the harman on manuel, I question auto ignition in the heating season. With 2 zones I probably would have a call every 20 minutes, I thought it would be more efficient with a fire going, rather than cold starts. If the Harman won't do it would the traeger or pellets in general. Any help would be appreciated, even a direction. I do not know how to approach this.

    Thanks!
  22. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    920
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    Still learning as I go along....................

    Why do you still want to use your oil boiler for DHW? You would be better off getting an indirect hot water tank and zone to that from the pellet boiler.
  23. fr8tdog

    fr8tdog New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    mid maine
    I just talked to my local Harman dealer looking for the pb105 boiler and they said the earliest they could get one was December or January!! Has anyone else heard of this long of a delay or is it just here around northern Maine?
  24. alaz

    alaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Loc:
    Milford PA
    Sinnian,
    I wanted to hook my oil into my dhw b/c I want the pellets to focus on the heat side. I have a system 2000 boiler that is pretty good at heating water but priortizes and I thought seperating the water from the heat would help. I plan on heating 3600 sq. with harman boiler and I did not want to run into issues when there is a call for heat. As for ordering the PB 105 my local guy tells me 30 day lead time, but it will get worse!
  25. critterfitter

    critterfitter New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    Western Ma.
    fire starter:

    I run two zones of baseboard and indirect on the Harman here in western ma. in 2200 sq. foot house. I burnt about 4-5 tons. I think may be little less next year as I did remodel work this winter windows out and few walls uninsulated . I have the pb-105 boiler dealer was good but support from Harman was less than satisfactory as far as I was concerned. I'm plumbing and heating contractor and if my supplier can't answer question then manf. tech support usually is more than happy to answer questions.I needed the dealer that I bought it from call Harman and say I was there installer before they would answer me any question .AS the dealer couldn't answer the install questions I had.They just deal with the flue piping not the plumbing of unit. The unit is well constructed .But you must keep up with cleaning of unit. Depending on control on your oil boiler you could set the temp down on your oil boiler so that it only comes on as backup.Harman has some piping scenarios in there book.

Share This Page