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  1. EForest

    EForest Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    How many here feel the need to depend on others to service your wood burning systems on an anual basis for optimum performance. If you own an OIL guzzler you need anual cleaning. The average gas boiler/furnace can go a year or two/three
    without a tech. Is there a need for wood boiler service guys? If enough people are willing to burn wood maybe a new trade is
    in the making. The Germans probably have this covered but how many heating guys in the US "get" wood based hydronics?
    I stopped in at Hydronic Alternitives www.hydronicalternatives.com to talk to Paul Ross the other day and he was
    the first guy in the greater Springfield MA area to get the whole wood heat concept. I'm wondering if the students of today
    should be taught the technology of wood gasification. Every wood burner I have ever known has been a do it yourself guy
    with lots of mechanical abilities and no desire for help. If wood burning systems continue to grow in the general public shoudn't a pro be available? Just a crazy thought of a future world..... :roll:

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  2. smangold

    smangold Member

    Feb 17, 2008
    Northeast CT hills
    Ed, wood burning in America is a fringe society thing. Always something that do it yourself people our more into. Pros would need to travel far and wide for steady profitable work. Of course this may change as oil climbs higher. More people with out common sense will burn wood and maybe them self. The boilers that you and I are getting probably will never be in a course at the local tech school. We will need to self tinker, scratch our heads and keep firing the beast. This all said I think some open minded heating guys are going to learn more about quality wood heating . Just my two cents Scott
  3. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

    Feb 23, 2008
    Burbs of B'more, MD, Hon!
    I have always prided myself in living "on the fringe". After you get over the fact that the neighbors ARE going to look at you funny, ask them how much their utility bill was last month. Most of them won't tell me anymore. I see lots of firewood piles in our neighborhood, but you can tell from looking at the chimney, they don't have a wood stove. I can't even convince my father with the 150 year old farm house to put in an insert. They'll come around after a while. My father is still convinced he is going to lock in on <$3/gal oil next year. I hope he's right.

    The gasifier crowd seems to be a renegade bunch that is willing to put up with the experimental nature of the beast. While one part if me wants to stick with what's tried and true, the conservationist in me realizes that we have to look to the future and explore the possibilities. My hat is off to people like nofossil and renewablejohn and others that are willing to invest the considerable time and resources to explore something new, even if it isn't proven. The specialized nature of these things will breed a new generation of technician, but it is going to take a while yet. There has to be a demand for it first, and I think that demand is growing.

    Wondering now what the neighbors are gonna say when I put in a CNG pump next to my driveway...

  4. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Oct 16, 2007
    Falmouth, Michigan
    Good question. The times they are a changin'. A couple years ago I posted at heatinghelp .com that I thought we needed fuel to be at $4 a gallon before folks would get serious about conservation and alternate energy. It appears that "magic moment" is actually occurring. It's a shame that people didn't invest in alternative energy sources before this, technicians and installers included.

    Back to your question.........You are correct that most of the market is DIY type people. I like to call 'em independent thinkers. For the most part, speaking from an installation perspective, the systems work but many could function much better if they had been installed using good piping and control methods. Piping practices and tubing size is probably the item I see mishandled the most. The OWB industry has perpetuated the myth that 1" pex is all you need for anything, just install a bigger circ. Right!!! I saw one last week that a guy is using a 0014 Taco trying to get enough flow through his 1" to drive a 200,000 btu load. It can't happen. Not unless he can get a 40* Delta T from supply to return. It's not rocket science but sometimes you have to do your own good diligence and not rely on a salesman who will promise the moon just to make a sale. Many times the salesman doesn't even know himself..........wandering again........

    As far as servicing goes, most of it can be done by the owner given a willingness to get dirty and the appropriate tools. At least that holds true for what's on the market right now. If Viessmann or Froling bring their modulating pellet boilers over here that will be a different story requiring tools, training and skills not possessed by a typical homeowner. It will be the same as going from old cast iron, standing pilot equipment to the modulating condensing boilers we install now. The installers and techs that haven't done their homework, purchased the required testing equipment and continued their education are responsible for much of the negative issues with newer style equipment. Time and the new wood burning units coming out will ultimately determine who's needed to do what. The next 10 years will see a lot of changes in equipment but for today, most of it is user friendly and easily serviced if installed correctly.

    BTW Happy Easter!!! Don't forget what the day is about.
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