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Propane now.......basement boiler to forced air furnace

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by DPQ, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. DPQ

    DPQ New Member

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    I live in Michigan in an old farmhouse with somewhat poor insulation. It is about 3500 square feet. I am not interested in an outdoor boiler. I cannot get wood for free. I am looking hard at the PB 105 pellet boiler to use for hydronic coils added to the plenum in my main furnace and in a smaller attic unit. I would like to use for DHW as well. Does this seem feasible and likely my best option. Pros and cons would be appreciated. If there is a better boiler out there I would be interested in researching that as well. Thanks.

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  2. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    You have duct work in place , why not go with just a pellet furnace ?
  3. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

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    Need hydronic if you want dhw.
  4. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    The pay back time for a Boiler for just DHW would be large. Depending on the amount of hot water used, demand electric, propane or gas for DHW is a option.
  5. DPQ

    DPQ New Member

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    The ductwork in the house is a split system. Going with a pellet furnace would require a pretty major rework of existing duct that would have to include a tie-in of the upstairs attic based system and the lower floor/basement system. By staying hydronic I can feed both coils without changing the ductwork. I just want to make certain that there is enough BTUs in the system I purchase.
  6. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    The boiler then makes sense!
    I have no experience with pellet boilers but there are some very experienced people on here and hopefully they will chime in, although this time of the year is the slow time for help.
    Best of luck.
  7. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Are you hooked up to natural gas or propane? If you're NG I think you may be wise to research NG boilers instead of wood. Even if you're on propane a high efficiency unit may make more sense. Perhaps with a small investment in insulation as well. Paying for wood has always seemed like a losing proposition to me. It's a lot more work than many will realize. If you have to pay for the wood on top of the amount of work it is to manage the piles....I just don't see the payback. My two cents only, however.
  8. DPQ

    DPQ New Member

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    I am on Propane. I just received a card today from my propane suppliers quoting a price of $1.69/gallon for first fillup and $1.77 locked in for the next year. I average close to 300 gallons per month. So it is just under $4000 per year. I think I can cut that in half by going with a pellet boiler don't you think?
  9. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Crunching the numbers you come up with this:

    Propane at $1.77/gallon and typical efficiency of 80% for an iron boiler yields a cost of $24.22 per million btu's
    Pellets at $189/ton and efficiency of 85% from a Windhager yields a cost of $13.48 per million btu's

    So you're looking at roughly a 45% reduction in outlay for fuel.

    (I don't know what pellets are going for in your area so I used the cost of what we can buy them for here locally)
  10. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Using Heaterman's math above let's say you save $2,000 per year switching to pellets. Let's say you invest $6,000 in the pellet boiler system. That's a three year payback on the boiler.

    Using really, really rough numbers it looks like you're going to be somewhere in the ballpark of 40-50k btu/hr heat loss at your house. That's pretty high for an average. I'd bet investing $2k-3k in insulation and perhaps some new windows would reduce your heat loss quite significantly. Maybe even by 50%? I don't really know how feasible this is in an older home but insulation is money very well spent in most cases.

    Again, I'm only sharing this angle because you have to pay for wood/pellets. Most of us around this forum aren't paying for the fuel so our justifications for our systems are radically different.

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