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

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

  1. harttj

    harttj Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    121
    Loc:
    Ohio
    You might want to check out iburncorn.com
    Some maxim threads in the old forum under other manufactures

    Some use corn and some pellets.

    Tim

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  2. fireguy976

    fireguy976 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Port Perry Ontario
    Any updates from the group???

    Tending to lean towards the Traeger/Pinnacle,

    but still looking into the VIGAS

    KJ
  3. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    477
    Loc:
    Wisconsin
    Those VIGAS are like candy in a window
  4. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    3,600
    Loc:
    Central NY
    Fireguy, check your PMs
  5. fireguy976

    fireguy976 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Port Perry Ontario

    Ok Im lost with that one,,,

    do you have experience with them?

    KJ
  6. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
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    477
    Loc:
    Wisconsin
    it was sort of a lament from a guy with shallow pockets - more appliance than I can afford
  7. Hoval

    Hoval Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    37
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    Last Fall I converted my Hoval ZKT to a pellet burner using a PellX 20KW burner conversion. The original Hoval was a 30 year old multi fuel boiler made by Gustav Ospelt Hovalwerk AG In Liechtenstein. When I bought it I was told that I could heat with anything-Oil, Nat Gas, Liquid Propane, Wood, Electric or Coal. I don't think that Wood Pellets were even a gleam in the eye of the manufacture. For the switch I made two adaptor plates so I can switch back to fuel oil in 10 minutes if necessary. It think has a 150 gal of heating hot water and 50 gal of domestic hot water, with 5 zones of baseboard heat. Over the years I have used fuel oil for the whole year going through 1200 to 1500 gals per year. I priced Fuel oil yesterday at $3.399 per gallon. That’s $4,078 to $5,098 per year in today’s prices. Several of the years I used a mix of Coal in the late fall, after temperatures were below 35F, winter and early spring switching to Oil for the rest of the year as I used this for my hot water all year. I would usually go through 4 tons of coal (say $980) and 450 gal of oil (say $1,500). I started using pellets in September and I have used 6 Tons or $1,580 so far this year. On the very cold weeks I will go through 1 ton in 2 weeks.

    The Hoval that I have was a perfect unit for conversion. What I have found out is that I need to clean the burner every 1000# of pellets burned and clean the boiler every ton of pellets burned. This requires that you can gain access to the fire box and heat exchanger. My Hoval has a swing open door that opens up the front of the unit for cleaning. I then use a small shovel to clean the ash off the bottom of the boiler and a brush and vacuum to clean the heat exchanger (after it has cooled off). I spend about 10 to 15 minutes to clean the burner and half an hour to clean the boiler.

    The PellX unit comes complete with the control box that allows you to adjust several functions to get the proper burn. I can adjust the amount of pellets feed rate for start up, pellets feed rate to operate, fan speed and the temperature on the high limit as well as 4 start up temperature options based on the high temperature shut off. An auger is included that is about 1.7 meters feet long. The unit also includes a temperature sending unit that needs a well in the boiler for shut off temperature. I did need to buy a safety temperature shut off as a safety back up. (this has never been triggered) The burner has a high temperature shut off on the pellet inlet stack. (this has shut the unit down three times when I have not cleaned the burner often enough.) The PellX unit is self lighting, self shut off, self feeding and somewhat self cleaning of the burner.

    My useage bin holds 1 ton at a time. I built mine out of plywood on legs with tin for the bottom to help the pellets slide down to a 3†pvc toilet fitting that goes into a 3†pvc “Yâ€. I used a 45 degree “Y†unit that drops the pellets into the straight part of the “Yâ€. This allows me to remove and replace the auger if needed while the bin is loaded. (it comes out easy but need some fooling with to get back in)

    My plans are to make my own pellets starting this spring. I have found a supply of product and plan to process and produce about 600# every hour. But that is another story. Let me know if you are interested. Let me know what you think.

    The Pellx conversion unit cost $3,275 and in my case will pay for itself in less than one year compared to the cost of oil. This is not for everyone as you need the proper boiler and first hand knowledge of your boiler as well as allowing some time to service the unit. For me the time to clean is far less that the time I was spending heating with coal.

    You can leave me a message with questions.

    Attached Files:

  8. fireguy976

    fireguy976 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Port Perry Ontario
    Hi all,

    looks like we will be changing direction now,

    going pellet furnace, so time to check them out. Leaning towards the Pinnacle.

    Good luck all.

    KJ
  9. astock1977

    astock1977 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Eastern CT
    All,

    Just joined, looking into doing this with next year's tax refund. Looking at options right now. Questions I have:

    Is the Maxim from Central Boiler an outdoor or indoor unit?? Looks like indoor, but on their site it says outdoor boiler.

    I'm looking at this unit from Harman, anyone have any experience with it?
    http://www.blackswanhome.com/product/hydroflex60-pellet-boiler

    Also, anyone know dealers that will finance? I've seen a couple, but that is all.

    -Andrew
  10. harttj

    harttj Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    121
    Loc:
    Ohio
    Outdoor.
  11. astock1977

    astock1977 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
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    3
    Loc:
    Eastern CT
    Thanks, that was what I figured. I can't do outdoor though...not enough room on property to meet CT regulations.
  12. EcoHeat

    EcoHeat Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    EcoBoilers also have automatic ignition, and like other pellet boilers, can be paired with existing oil or propane boilers. The wood pellet boiler becomes the primary heat source, while the oil or propane boiler becomes the back-up, or in the case of very large heat-loads, the supplementary heat source.

    I'm attaching an image of a chart of wood pellets prices vs. oil and propane prices. Prices are different everywhere you look, but this chart lets you see how much the discount is where you are. Multiply your heating costs by the percentage discount on the chart to approximate how much you can save annually. In most cases, it's somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 a year. I hope the image is readable.

    Code:
    http://www.ecoheatsolutions.com/fuelpricecomparisons.html

    Attached Files:

  13. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Wisconsin
    Do you have that spread sheet with Natural Gas on the left?
  14. astock1977

    astock1977 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
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    3
    Loc:
    Eastern CT
    Or with fuel oil/#2 kerosene?
  15. EcoHeat

    EcoHeat Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Here's a chart with Natural gas prices compared to wood pellets, and Kerosene prices compared to wood pellets. Natural gas is very cheap now, and therefore it's hard to make an economic argument for switching to wood pellets. Kerosene is expensive compared to wood pellets, so switching to wood pellets is much easier to justify.

    Attached Files:

  16. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
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    Loc:
    Colorado
    Our Propane is under $2.5 a gallon, for now anyway.

    The tricky bit is knowing what future prices over the life of the Boiler will be.

    Then there is efficiency ratings. These charts assume the same level, whilst it would be reasonable to assume that any given new gas boiler will be more efficient than a comparable pellet boiler.

    I assume they would be connected to a similar delivery system, forced air, under floor etc so you could ignore that.
  17. EcoHeat

    EcoHeat Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Propane prices have increased a little more than 9% per year for the past 12 years! That trend may moderate as people find alternative fuel sources, but depletion in North America, and increased demand overseas should keep the trend going up. Even with propane at $2.50/gallon, wood pellets are much less expensive.

    Thermal efficiency is higher with new propane appliances, but usually not as high as advertised. If the heat emitters require high temperatures, these boilers will not condense the flue gases, and so they won't achieve the high efficiencies they're rated at.

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