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Realistic Worry

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by wdc1160, Dec 28, 2007.

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  1. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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    I have seen no one admit to having a WC55 from alternative heating sytems inc.
    seen here
    I got a quote from them today and wanted to share it.
    3978 Base
    375 for a draft inducer
    200 for a "fire-brick shielded baffle"

    I told the guy that I would run my furnace wide open to thermal storage, when indoor needs were met.
    It was explained that although most of the firebox has the luxury of having water remove heat "this" portion of the firebox above the flames
    didn't and would warp potentially unless I got the magic 200 dollar upgrade. Snake Oil?? PS He seems legit...


    For those of you guys who think the quotes expensive it goes down 500 after Mar 1

    Bill

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Welcome to the Boiler Room, ABGWD4U. I've seen the AHS Wood Gun up close, but not operating. That's their wood gasifier. It goes for a lot more than $4,000, so the WC55 must be quite a bit different. The Wood Gun has a stainless steel firebox, I believe.
  3. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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    Thank you for the welcome. The link I included points to their multi-fuel line.
    The gasification models all start with “e” like the e180.

    With the fact that this is a multi-fuel in mind do you have a recommendation or advice?
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I know that AHS makes quality boilers, and I believe them when they say they've been engineered specifically for the applications listed. As noted, this is not a wood gasification boiler, so I think it's fair to expect smoke and creosote as part of the deal.

    I do have a couple of concerns with multi-fuel boilers in general. First, you're putting all your eggs in one pressure vessel. If you only have one boiler and it springs a leak in the middle of the winter, you don't have very many options. If you have, say, an expensive wood gasifier next to a basic oil or gas boiler, you not only have the backup you need, but it's a separate unit. Either one can be taken out of service at any time for maintenance or replacement, and you don't have to drain your system and move into a motel with the gold fish. A friend of mine had a multi-fuel boiler fail in February in northern New York State, and he had no choice but to buy another one just like it--fast.

    Another knock on multi-fuels is that most share a common chimney. That means you could be burning wood, and then switch to oil for some reason. If you don't clean your chimney before switching over, you run the risk of CO contamination due to a plugged-up chimney. For that reason, among others, it's illegal to hook two separate appliances burning different fuels to the same flue, but there's a loophole allowing you to do it with multi-fuel units. It may be legal, but I don't think it's safe, even though I ran one myself for about 9 years. I cleaned the chimney once a week. A wood gasifier combination would be less of a concern because they don't produce creosote.

    Finally, in my opinion you always compromise something when you try to combine wood burning with any other fuel. Particularly with non-gasifiers, you simply need different firebox and heat exchanger designs for maximum efficiency. So if it's optimized to burn wood, it's probably not going to shine as a gas or oil burner. Ditto with coal. There are good ways around that--i.e., separate fireboxes/hx arrangements for both fuels--but it's still a compromise. That's fine if the boiler is optimized for wood and you only want the gas or oil as an occasional backup. But it's going to cost you down the road if you decide you'd rather burn oil or gas than wood. I don't believe there were any efficiencies listed on those pages. If there were, I couldnt find them. Saying it's more efficient than other boilers of its type isn't saying much if they don't give you a credible number.

    That's kind of like the line about "ASME-certified pressure relief valve." They imply that the boiler is ASME-certified, which it isn't unless you pay extra. Show me a $20 pressure relieve valve that isn't ASME or Warnock Labs certified.

    Those are my general thoughts and observations on combination units in general. Other than being aware of AHS's high quality, I can't comment on this particular boiler, having never seen one. The spec sheet doesn't tell the whole story; they never do.
  5. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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    I find those types of comprimises true in most all of life. One of my favorite greek sayings has to do with a guy who finds it harder to wing shoot when two birds are present, because while aiming at the first--he has to keep the second in mind.

    I actually don't have a second bird in mind. I have no use for the anthracite coal (which is why it is multi). And, there is only one combusion chamber --so far as I know. Lol.

    Do you think that since coal is the other fuel option that it would be more "inefficient?"

    And, why is it no one here has any "AHS" stuff? I am getting nervous.


    Bill
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I suspect for that price it probably has only one combustion chamber. I paid $6,000 for my gasifier, and now they're up over $7,000. So it's not a cheap hobby. The AHS gasifier I saw at a trade show had less capacity than mine, but it was a "show special" sale for $10,500, as I recall. But it was built like one of those handy outbuildings we had when I was a kid--only constructed of brick. A really first-class looking piece of equipment--and with a cylcone to boot.

    The boiler in the link has the oil option, but I guess it's more money (probably a lot more).

    If you're not interested in the oil or gas option and you have no plans to burn coal, why don't you just buy a good wood-fired boiler. If you're not interested in paying extra for a gasifier, there are plenty of different brands to choose from. I've owned a Royall and a Marathon LogWood. Tarm makes some great conventional wood boilers. There are plenty of others. Click on the Cozy Heat link at the top of this page. They have a really nice cast iron wood/coal combo that I think sells for less than $4,000--delivered. And yes, I think you give up some efficiency when you try to burn wood in a boiler designed for coal.

    AHS has been around in various forms for a long time. A company called Eshland Enterprises designed and marketed some of the boilers that they sell now, including the gasifier line, I think. My impression is that they have traditionally been more geared to industrial sales, so there may not be a lot of people who have them. Plus, we've only been doing this Boiler Room thing for a couple of months. At first it was mostly EKO owners, but now we've got plenty of Tarm guys and even a few Garn owners and at least two guys with new BioMax gasifiers. I expect we'll pick up some AHS people before long. And don't forget Econoburn, the banner ad on the bottom. They make a really nice gasifier.
  7. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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    I know you are getting the gist of what I am saying, but if you want to see the WC line of boilers, you have to scroll farther down the page. You have been describing the WO line.

    You bring up good points.
    The brands you have mentioned above have been considered, and to me most do appear to be wood/coal combos.
    Most don't have either the features this AHS has or it isn't as good a value. -- from my research.

    That said. A specific stove that costs 4g's, has the features, and wood only fuel boiler. Got a specific model in mind. comparabile size??

    Even if you don't. Thanks for the comments.

    Bill
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    They don't have a picture of the WC55, but that square light green one is the W40, which I see is wood only. Does the WC55 look like that? That's a pretty basic looking boiler compared to the other models on that page. But that's not a bad price for a 180,000 btu/hr boiler, either.

    But it doesn't change anything I said. If you're only interested in burning wood, I'd get the W55. Weighs less and probably burns wood better than a boiler with coal grates and a shaker.

    Here's the wood/coal boiler I was talking about. 144K btu.

    http://www.cozyheat.net/fd42.htm

    What else, specifically, did you want to know?
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'd recommend the Royall 6150, if they still make it. They make something like it, anyway. The 6150 is 150K btu, but there is a larger model. I'm not sure on the pricing anymore, but those actually are ASME-stamped boilers and they last forever. The one I had I bought used at about 25 or 30 years old. I abused it for 4 years and I bet the guy I sold it to gets another 15 or 20 out of it.

    But to back to your question--you seem to have done your research and know what you want, and I'm not in a position to recommend one over the other. But I enjoyed looking over the AHS spec sheets.
  10. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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    I actually had looked at those two stoves and had noted pros and cons for each of them.
    First the price and "word of mouth" quality all seem relativly good.

    What weeded out this stove
    for the fd-42
    The loading chamber dimensions
    height x width x depth 9 x 12 x 28 inch

    This really was the clincher for me. The cubic foot of wood I could fit in this thing really was lesser than compared to its comptition.
    Even though the 3600 dollar price tag is nice. I didn't see any mention of induction options.
    My goal was to run the boiler hard relying on thermal storage after every burn or two.


    The Royall 6150 didn't have the same weakpoints as the fd-42. Infact it is comparable I find in almost every way.
    The only differences were slightly smaller firebox, and higher price tag ( not a huge factor)
    The fact that you give it your seal of approval makes it more appealing.
    I'll check into it.
    and post back.

    Thanks Bill


    Thanks Bill



    Eric I was recommended against the w55 by the owner of AHS and one of his stove electricians and redirected to the WC due to the fact that it had the cleanout grate at the bottom allowing for cleanout during use.
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The thing I really liked about the Royall compared to the Marathon that I owned before that was the draft induction blower. You get much better response with a blower than you do with an Ammark or other natural-draft option. The natural draft has some appeal--I had mine in a house up north where the power went out frequently--but it takes more screwing around. With the Royall, it was basically just a matter of loading it up and forgetting about it.

    My only complaint, other than the fact that it was a bit small for my needs, was that I couldn't control the smoke. But I had an old one with the old grate system, so that probably had something to do with it. I would try to fire it hard when the wind was blowing the right way, and stuck to smaller, hotter fires when it wasn't. The people at Royall were very helpful, even though the boiler I was using was built before some of them were born.

    But it's built like a tank. You can fire the living daylights out of it without worrying about warping or damaging anything. The water starts where the firebrick ends. And it had a nice bypass damper for loading.
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