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Super Jack vs. Max Caddy

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by mcdanie1, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. mcdanie1

    mcdanie1 New Member

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    Greetings all!
    First I want to thank all of the dedicated members of this forum! I have learned so much just by reading past posts. By doing so, I have gone from wanting to install a zc wood burning stove to quickly considering an OWB, to finally figuring out that an indoor wood furnace would be the best option for us. We are currently heating with electric/propane in the basement for the fist floor and a seperate heat pump in the attic for heating the second floor. I'm looking to eliminate these for the most part, having them as backup to the wood burner only.

    In my area there's really no reason you cannot have access to plenty of free wood from various sources. I have 'collected' approximately 5 cords over the last month with very little effort and only expense was fuel and maintenance for my chainsaw and vehicle.

    So after MUCH research I have narrowed it down to either the Yukon Eagle Super Jack or the Max Caddy. The house I will be heating is approximately 3k sq. ft. with four bedrooms upstairs and the master on the first floor. One section of the house has a two story open space which has a loft/balcony area.
    Both of these units should be adequate for heating this house, both have the ability to add-on DHW pre-heater of some sort, both qualify for the 30% tax credit.

    The Max Caddy has a window in the door which is kind of nice. The Super Jack is SLIGHTLY less expensive than the Max Caddy.

    What, if anything, am I missing as far as benefits of one of these vs. the other. Are there any gotchas with either of these units that I have overlooked?

    Any help, guidance, advice, or opinions are GREATLY appreciated!


    Thanks in advance!

    Mac

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  2. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    I have the superjack, so I will just speak from my experience, and why I bought the SJ.
    I heat over 4000 sf, and the sj is in an uninsulated garage. I find that I burn more wood than I thought I would - but if I insulated the garage I think I could really cut back on that.
    I can get 10 hour burns, and even on the coldest nights I can get at least 8 hours - but it took me over a year to get those - it has a learning curve.
    Dry wood makes all the difference (dry being 20% moisture content - at least 1 full year - not summer - split and in the sun!)
    Shoulder season sucks - May and October or so - it more efficient to burn propane.
    I keep the house at 74 or so all winter, everyone loves it because when we burned propane we kept it at 68.
    They guys at Yukon are great, they will talk you through anything on the phone. Crapiekeith is a member here, he will help you, but he is a salesman - he thinks a little too highly of his product.
    The SJ is built like a tank - I don't think you can hurt it unless you leave the door open during a burn - and then maybe not, but I think you could warp any steal if you did that.
    The "secondary burn" on the SJ only happens when it's cold outside and the furnace is really working - otherwise you are smoldering too much. I have some ideas to fix this but it requires welding on my furnace and that scares me too much to actually do it.
    I really wish there was a window so I would see what was going on in there.
    If I was buying again - I'd buy it again - it has paid for itself in 2 years.



  3. mcdanie1

    mcdanie1 New Member

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    Thanks for the reply! Regarding smoke, I know that technically if you are burning good clean fry fuel, there should not be much smoke once you get a good fire going. Does this hold true with the SJ? Also, when you say "smolders" does that also mean that you have a good bit of smoke coming out of the stack? If so, does that happen often and under what circumstances?

    Growing up we heated with only a buck stove fireplace insert, and I know that then there wasn't much smoke at all, with good fuel once you got it going. I do not have any experience with the furnaces though, thus the reason I'm asking.

    Thanks again!

    Mac
  4. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    I burn a Caddy, which is the little brother of the Max Caddy. The Max caddy uses the same combustion properties as the Caddy, making it an efficient furnace. The firebox is larger so you have more btus than the Caddy. We had a bad winter this year and even the neighbors had burned more wood than they thought. We burned 20% less because of the secondary burn on the Caddy. The Caddy furnaces are well built, with the same thickness as the Super Jacks. You can add electric elements, oil burner or both to make the Max Caddy a multi fuel unit. They also have a multi speed blower that changes speeds when the plenum temps change. So if the fire is getting low, a low blower speed will do. Have a raging hot fire then the blower will switch to high mode. Something the caddy doesn't have which would be a nice option. I was able to burn during the shoulder seasons without much buildup with our furnace. At the end of the season I think we pulled less than a gallon of fine stuff from a 35' chimney. Not having ducting to the second story will make heating it a little harder. Do you know your heat load? The Max Caddy is capable of producing alot of heat.
  5. mcdanie1

    mcdanie1 New Member

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    I do not know my heat load. My plan was to have the fan on the upstairs heat pump running and pulling the heated first floor air through the upstairs CAR and circulating it that way.
  6. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    It may work running the air handler on the second story, but you will also lose some heat that way unless the ductwork is sealed and insulated. Either way you would pretty much eliminate or lower the use of Propane. We only burned 50 gallons this winter, which we have a gas stove, dryer and furnace.
  7. mcdanie1

    mcdanie1 New Member

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    Is there much smoldering or smoke with the Caddy? With good fuel and fire of course :) Also, did you have any issues with the shoulder season?

    Thanks!
  8. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    There is not much smoke at all, especially if your wood is dry, in fact often you cannot see any smoke rising from the chimney. If I overload it (which I have a tendency to do) then I get more smoke, because it idles more.
    I do think that the caddy's secondary burn system is more modern and efficient, and this especially helps when there is more idle time (shoulder season) - but I base this on others talking about their furnaces, not actual experience.
    I think the caddy in my situation (uninsulated garage over 3000 sq ft) would not keep up, but the bigger one you are considering might - I know the SJ does.


  9. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    Very little smoke, only on startup or reload. Its not hard to burn the unit cleanly during the shoulder season. We burned from the end of september to some of april and we used about 6.5 cords.
  10. mcdanie1

    mcdanie1 New Member

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    Laynes69 How large is the area you are heating and how is it laid out? (1 story, 2 story, caddy in the basement? Sq. footage, etc...) Also, do you store wood in the house and if so how much?
  11. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    Having sold, installed and used the Max Caddy I can only speak for it. We have sold quite a number of the Caddy products and 6 Max Caddys. Every Max Caddy owner is absolutely thrilled with the performance. We have one installed in a local commercial application. It's about 3000 sf with steady foot traffic opening and closing the front showroom doors and the side warehouse door. It is a wood oil combo. They use less than half the wood they used to use in their old clunker wood furnace. Virtually smokeless all the time, 10-12 hour burn times are easy, even with the load in that old building. I just sold one to someone in the NE, a wood only Max Caddy for about $3300+ freight..no tax. He plans on heating about 2700 square feet. He is guessing that furnace will pay for itself in less than 2 years. The Caddy line is one of the few products I feel comfortable about selling anywhere in the USA knowing the customer will be very pleased and I wont be stuck with an out of town customer service issue. Feel free to PM me if you have any technical questions on the Caddy, or email me at fsappo@firesidechatts.com
  12. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    I heat a 2400 square foot victorian. The ceilings on both upstairs and down are 10' so the heat load is higher. The radiant heat keeps the basement warm. Our house is insulated pretty good, but being over 150 years old, it has some good areas of air leakage and we have 42 windows in the home. I normally pull in maybe a cord of wood at a time in our basement. The last half of wood I burned last year was far from seasoned. I'll have better performance this year with good dry wood and a liner in the chimney. I have nothing bad to say about our furnace.
  13. Gator eye

    Gator eye Member

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    Super Jack owner........heating 3200 foot.

    Mike just about says it all about the SJ. It will have no problem heating your house. It has a learning curve and I am willing to bet you will be cleaning your chimney more offten than you like the first year you own the stove. With the big fire box it hard to learn how to build a small fire.
  14. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    The learning curve is well worth it when your talking about a fine piece of equipment that will be heating your house on wood. Do you get real overnight burns on the SJ in the real cold months?
  15. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    I heat over 4000 sq ft and the SJ is in an uninsulated garage. On the coldest nights I load it up at 10 pm, the house is usually about 74 at that point, I turn the thermostat down to 69. At 6 am, the house is 69, and the firebox still has lots of coals, just load it up, turn the thermostat back up to 74, and it's 74 in less than an hour. That is the worst nights - on more moderate nights, there is charred wood left in the firebox at 6 am. I can't image how much heat I loose to that uninsulated garage, if I get that done, I will shrink my wood usage and get longer burn times.

    It did take me most of the first winter to get those burn times; wood was not dry, I was getting too much smoke, I was having to clean the chimney too often, I was allowing too much air in the door, I had the baro set wrong, I loaded too early, didn't turn down the thermometer at night, I didn't char the wood before turned down the thermometer.... could I have done anything else wrong? It was frustrating, but now that I have it down, (dry wood, used the right tool to set the baro, not too much wood when it's not freezing, load at 10, turn the thermometer down at 10:15) it's simple. :)

    I'm not saying buy the SJ, I am just saying I am happy with mine.
  16. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    Mike does your 4000 square feet include your basement? How much wood did you burn this year?
  17. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    Really it's closer to 4800, but about 800 of that is unfinished basement that I try not to heat too much. About 2400 upstairs and 1600 in walkout basement (not including unfinished stuff), 6 bedrooms.... When we bought it, there were 7 of us, down to 4 now, so the house is getting too big.

    I burned about 8 cords, maybe just a little over that, that's all I had and it's all gone! When the winter began, I thought "I'll burn 6 and have 2 to spare and a start on getting ahead," that did not go as planned. I have 15 cut and ready for next winter, but it will not be as dry as I'd like, has only been cut and split since January.

    Something I will change for next year: I will only burn at night during the shoulder seasons, I'll burn propane during the day when it's 45 or 50 and wife or mom-in-law say it's cold in the house. Either I heat the house to over 80, or I smolder wood all day when I try to heat during this time of year. I was basically out of wood this spring, so that is what I did, and it worked well, and I still only spent 400 on propane in 2009, none so far in 2010. I still don't have the hang of building small fires I guess.....
  18. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    That doesn't sound too bad for the amount of space. But even then thats still alot of wood. I burned more than I should have because I was new with our unit. Our wood will be much dryer this winter and with a liner I think we will get around the 5 cord mark. Even burning 6.5 cords we dropped 20% off our consumption from the past and this winter was a bad one. You should move your furnace into the living space and that would help alot. Is your furnace insulated? When you touch ours its cold on the jacket all the way around with a roaring fire. If you didn't see the fire you would never know.
  19. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    No, the unit itself is not insulated, the uninsulated garage stays at 50 or so on those very cold nights - what a waste of heat. If I put it in the living space I would be tracking wood into our house - the very reason it is in the garage. I think if I insulate and drywall the garage this summer and fall, I can get down to somewhere around 6 cords, which would be great with me - even if I bought 6 cords at 150 /cord I'd still only spend 900, which is way cheaper than propane, and I have yet to buy any wood. I also thought about insulating the unit itself, wrap it in insulation. I'd think that would help no matter what I did with the garage.
  20. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Are these boilers
  21. mcdanie1

    mcdanie1 New Member

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    No, these are indoor wood burning furnaces. I believe each of these has the capability to pre-heat DHW via an additional accessory.
  22. Kevin St

    Kevin St New Member

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    I'm bringing this thread to the top as I am looking for input on clearances as I have found discrepancies between manuafacturers. Namely Yukon and PSG. I am looking to install a add-on wood burner this coming Spring. This will prove very tight in a basement 7'-6" deep due to the height of my conventional upflow furnace with A/C coil and plenum at approximately 7'-3" total height.

    When I look at the Super Jack owners manual, it requires an 18" headspace clearance between the plenum or stovepipe and any combustible wood structure such as the ceiling joists above. When I look at the Caddy manual, it quotes 6" headspace clearance for the plenum an 18" clearance for the stove pipe. When I review NFPA 90B, it appears that 18 inches is the required clearance between wood burner plenum/ducts within 6 ft of the unit per table 5.1.2.1. I would appreciate some guidance/clarification if any exists.

    I am brand new here so please forgive my ignorance of convention.

    Kevin
  23. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    I believe clearances are based on what's tested. 18" clearances would be a default number if nothing was listed. Different furnaces require different clearances, always follow the manual.

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