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Ready for change...to a wood boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by RowCropRenegade, Mar 20, 2008.

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  1. RowCropRenegade

    RowCropRenegade Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    302
    Loc:
    Southwest, Ohio
    I've learned a tremendous amount about the different type of wood boilers the past couple days. Even picked up on some of the abbreviations. I'm new here to the community and tried posting last nite but apparently it didnt go through.

    I know I need to do a heat loss calc. Here's what I know. I have a two level decently insulated farm house. Its heated by a fuel oil perfect temp boiler with wall registers. This past year I have burned 2000 gallons of fuel. I don't use number two fuel oil but rather farm diesel and treatment. Cheapens it a little, but not much. Staring at 4.00 fuel scares me knowing it will cost 8k to heat the home.

    I am not afraid of the big up front investment of a wood boiler. I know it will pay me back. I have an endless supply of wood and tools to gather it. However I'm not totally sure what will fit me best. I know I don't want an Outdoor woodburner. I've combed these pages looking for ideas. I think a storage tank is a must for my situation. (only able to stock fire morning and evening.) I prefer something simple to maintain and operate.

    Of all the ones I have looked at, the Garn seems to impress me. Its water capacity, simplicity and durable design makes it very appealing. The Eko, Tarm, Greenwood and Switzers sound like equally nice machines.

    Currently I only heat the house. However, I have an unattached 2 car garage that I would like to heat and a section of my mortan machine building to heat. Thats probably 5k-6k feet. I would probably be here when I am heating all three.

    So the question would be. What system best accodomates 1) Stocking a fire twice a day to heat my home 2) Stocking the fire 5-6 times a day to heat house, barn and garage.

    I also plan to put the boiler in the garage. Appreciate everyones input!

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Welcome to the Boiler Room, RowCropRenegade.

    You can download a free heat loss calculator from http://www.heatinghelp.com. I've never used it, but others on this board have, and it seems to do what they need done.

    On your choice of a boiler to accommodate your fuel loading schedule, I'd say offhand that the storage tank is probably the key to that. Most any of the boilers you mentioned should work well with sufficient storage. I'd think about oversizing whatever you buy just a bit so that you can get more heat into the tank with one load of wood. You should be able to size your boiler to your tank to meet your heat load and loading schedule.

    There are pros and cons to every setup, but it sounds to me like you're in a perfect position to make it work well. It also sounds to me like you're on the right track.

    Poke around our collection of old threads to learn a bit more, and then feel free to fire away with specific questions. I'd recommend starting at nofossil's excellent website and some of the threads on storage tanks and heat exchangers.
  3. sparky1961

    sparky1961 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    17
    Loc:
    maine
    ckeck out greenfirefurnaces it simular to seton or greenwood the price is right.
  4. stihlgoin

    stihlgoin New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Candor, NY
    Welcome! I'm pretty much a noob here, as well. I'm currently trying to decide between Garn and Switzer, so perhaps what I find may help you. At the moment I just received literature from Gary Switzer, and have some local installs to go and see. Two main differences at this point. Garn is non-pressurized (safer?, but more work to keep water ph neutral, etc. as you have an "open-topped boiler" ie. man hole that rests on top), and Garn has a set-it and forget it fan timer (convenient, but could be inefficient if you set too short or long a time). The Switzer has automatic fans set with temp sensors to control chimney draft, induction fan etc., basically eliminating guesswork. It is also a closed, pressurized boiler. Both offer integral water storage, though Switzer offers more increments in volume to tailor to your needs. I would think either (if sized large enough) would allow you to heat on once daily burns, it's just a question of which apple to pick. At this point I'm leaning toward Switzer, though I have yet to see one in operation. My only gripe is that he uses a metal heat exchange plate instead of ceramic refractory, but if the exhaust gas gets combusted, it's really a moot issue.
    The big difference down the road (so to speak) is that Gary lives just over an hour from me. If I want extra storage later, he can easily drive down and hook it up. I don't have all my buildings constructed yet, so if his build quality and performance look good to me, the accessibility factor will seal the deal. Good luck.

    Chris
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