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  1. nporter

    nporter Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Messages:
    25
    Loc:
    Midcoast Maine
    Well Eric the Tarm Google experiment has netted another boiler interested party.

    I have spent a number of hours trying to get up to speed on what projects folks have on the go. It is interesting, informative and inspiring (43 cords!)

    I am looking to install a Tarm Solo 30 in my basement. I have a 2000sqft home, three heating zones and one dhw. At this moment I am running a NewYorker oil boiler. (120,000btu) The plan was to have a Tarm with oil backup and storage but alas as time goes on prices increase. (oil, copper, labor)

    I am now looking at a $22,000.00 job to have this set-up installed by a crew that knows what they are doing and the sticker price is getting much higher than I initially anticipated. (more like $15,000.00) One must spend to save though! Keeps the economy going.

    Are there any ideas on other options out there? Other boilers? Ways to reduce the cost? How to DIY books or resources?

    I am planning to build the 600 gal storage tank for the project out of 2xs, plywood and blueboard insulation and do the interior grunt work to prep the site but that is about the limit of my expertise at this time.

    Thanks

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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, Than. Good to have another Tarm type around here, though who knows, we might get you pointed in a different direction.

    I know what you mean about spending the money and getting done right the first time. Personally, I've always taken the learn-as-you-go approach which is fine if you like fooling around with these things. Because sometimes that's all you're going to be doing. Periodic "upgrades to the heating system" are kind of a way of life around here.

    To do it all yourself from scratch would probably cost you around $10,000 and a year of your spare time. A lot of that time and some of the money will go towards the learning process. It's great to have a forum like this, however, as you may be able to learn more quickly and avoid some common mistakes. It pays to remember that professional installers pay wholesale for parts, but charge you retail. Plus, I think some tack 15% on top of that. So they're making money before they touch anything. On the other hand, that's just part of their profit picture. I'm not saying it's a ripoff because everyone has to make a living and skilled craftspeople should be well compensated for their work and expertise. But it's something to bear in mind.

    I like to dig right into things, but ideally if you want to try to tackle part or all of it yourself, put it off until next season and spend the time you have between now and then figuring out what you want to do and how to do it. This would include finding out what codes apply in your community and making sure that you can comply with them. Also, I've found that you can get pumps, valves, fittings, aquastats etc. on Ebay for around the wholesale price, if you are patient and know what you want. It would probably take about a year to accumulate everything you would need doing it that way. But you'd save at least half, and probably more. Look at it as a new hobby.

    It's also possible that the price of boilers will come down over the next year, as more manufacturers start to build and sell them in this country. It's also possible that the dollar could strengthen over the next year, making the imports like Tarm and EKO somewhat more affordable. But I wouldn't count on either thing actually happening. I think you're probably ahead to buy the boiler when it's time to hook it up. Last spring Tarms did go on sale, however, so you might want to consider that as well.

    If you're going to hire the work done, I'd shop around. $22K sounds a little steep to me. Hopefully one of our professional installer members will jump in and offer their perspective. There's a few people around here who really know their stuff and are thus qualified to offer more than a relatively uninformed opinion, which is what you are getting from me.
  3. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    912
    Loc:
    Hesperia, Michigan
    as far as storage goes I really like pbvermont's idea. It is a variation of the Tarm storage. Go to the topic "Hot Water Storage" and on page 8 he tells how he made his. A round tank is alot stronger and easier to hold the water in. I know as I have a retangular tank and it takes a LOT of bracing. The other option is to check with scrap yards for stainless tanks. Here in Michigan there is alot of factories going out of business and there is alot of stuff going to the scrap yards. I have a friend that goes to auctions and buys scrap and he has got me some really good things for my projects. in fact just the other day he asked me if I wanted to buy some stainless sheets. he had about 1000lbs of odd sizes up to 6ft long. I didn't have a project for them so they went for scrap at .85 a lb. It is a real shame of all the stuff going for scrap. I have gotten some good pumps, heat ex, controls, valves etc. If a person will look around there is some really nice stuff available, It just takes time.
    leaddog
  4. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    294
    Loc:
    upstate ny
    One thing to keep in mind when looking for a boiler which is for backup or secondary heat. Any professional will size your heating system for the coldest day of the year. In most area's we only have about 10 of those days. The rest of the season the system is grossly oversized, so, i believe it is best to slightly undersize any auxilliary system. Not to mention you get the most energy out of a wood fire when it is burning full throttle. Thats were water storage comes in handy. Thats my 2 cents anyway.
  5. nporter

    nporter Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Messages:
    25
    Loc:
    Midcoast Maine
    Yes, periodic upgrades do seem to be a way of life and my look at nofossil's website indicates that there is lots to "upgrade" to when one has the time. Amazing stuff there.

    So a "new hobby" is what we will call it. I feel the installers who I have been dealing with are giving a "fair price" considering they need to make money and have plenty of expenses, it is just getting out of my price range so was wondering if I could tackle some of the project. I appreciate your comments and thoughts about timelines and where to look for some of what I will be needing in the way of parts. Well, let the learning begin.

    I guess that I will contact Tarm directly to get an idea of current costs and transportation.

    I am lost when it comes to engineering the project so have been following any diagram that has come across the forum to try and get an education. Where the valves, pumps and other mysterious fitting go? Each project is so site/project specific that there is no real easy fit that I can use, will just have to pick and choose and see where it gets me.

    The idea that leaddog reminded me of is the round tank rather than rectangular. It makes more sense geometrically so I will have to review pbvermont's ideas on that.

    Many on this forum seem to have larger boilers than I am looking into and larger storage. Does the Solo 30 with 600 gal sound like a match for a 2000 sqft home?
  6. jklingel

    jklingel Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Messages:
    279
    Loc:
    Fairbanks
    As for Tarm prices, I received a sheet a few weeks ago. The Excel 2000, 102K btu/hr wood, 120K oil, lists for $10,995. The Excel 2200, 140K/160K, lists for $12,495. The Solo Plus 40 (wood only), at 140K/hr, lists for $6,895. Apparently you can add about $2500-3K for their storage tank. The concept of one machine to deal w/, vs an oil boiler and a wood boiler, has appeal.... so does independent machines.... coin toss. The Solo 30, 102K, is $6295. Now add shipping??? If your guys are talking about installing the Ex 2200 and a Tarm water tank, they don't seem to be charging too awful much for labor, relatively speaking. Good luck w/ your call. For $22K, one may want to consider a Viessmann boiler (more effecient than the Tarm oil side, according to Tarm) and get educated on eventually installing a stand-alone gasifier yourself. Maybe???
  7. jklingel

    jklingel Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Messages:
    279
    Loc:
    Fairbanks
    Uhhh, never mind that comment. I just re-read your post. For a Solo 30, that DOES sound a tad spendy. Make that two tads.
  8. keeya

    keeya New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    South California
    Hmm. Thanks for all the information in this thread. I'm also planning to buy the same thing but i'm still doing a research on this.



    Regards,
    Keeya
    Simulation pret immobilier
  9. garysec

    garysec Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    NEK of Vt
    I had a Solo 30 put in last winter, tried to do as much of the grunt work myself, pickup, getting it in the basement and up on blocks and a gofer during a professional install. I have just under 16,000 into it and that includes 1500 for 16 feet of stainless chimney installed and 500 for a modine in my basement which was more then I had expected. The boiler is in a separate room about 35 feet away so includes 90 feet of 1 1/4 inch copper. With oil prices going down from when I made the decission the payback is quite a bit longer then I previously figured.
    But the wife convinced me this week to start my first fire for the season, no more oil furnace coming on, turned the thermostat up to 72, we love it. Someday I'd like to add storage and I need to get DHW added. The quote for DHW was over a thousand and I was already over budget so waited.
  10. kevindauch

    kevindauch New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    56
    Loc:
    Marcy NY
    $22,000.00 for a solo30 install seems very high A system without storage I would guess that it would be half that assuming that they can reuse your existing manifold.
    Solo 30 $6295
    Termovar loading unit $500
    Auto Backup Control $500
    Various parts $500
    Shipping $500
    + labor 16 hours @ $100 = $1600
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    $9995
  11. ohbie1

    ohbie1 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2007
    Messages:
    133
    Loc:
    WESTERN NJ
    I have 3400 sq. ft.(but I'm down here in NJ), 3 zones and DHW. I have the tarm Innova 30 and plywood box storage in the basement. I felt like you, that I could not afford all the extra costs over and above the boiler itself. I'm not an engineer, but as a handyman/hobbyist type, I was able to install the boiler with no major problems, following Tarm's plan for plumbing unpressurized storage. If you can solder pipe, and understand electrical concepts, AND have some time, you're probably good to go. Of course it will take you longer than you think. You can get any expertise and resources you need from this forum.
    Here's a good place to get some idea of building your own storage:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SpaceHeating/SolarShed/Tank/Tank.htm
  12. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,331
    Loc:
    northern-half of maine
    I have a 1800sq/ft house, 2 story, on top of a windy hill. Average insulation. 3 kids, wife. Was pushing 800, closer to 1,000 gal of oil a year. I have a Innova 30 w 800 gals storage. Seems to work well. Most of my house is baseboard, I think if i had 600 gals it would be a little on the small side. I lean towards 800, maybe even 1,00o gals. I'm able to go about 5 days in the summer for DHW on one firing. Maybe 7 cord year round.
    -
    What kind of heat delivery system you have? Baseboard?radiant floor? etc?
    -
    The Tarm Innova lets very little smoke out when burning. Might be a consideration. I've had some minor issues with the system, and Tarm has been good to deal with. I followed their suggested layout, so that makes it a lot easier in figuring things out. Sent digital pics of piping and it helped.
    -
    Hell, if you want to travel up this way, you can peek at my setup.
  13. julien

    julien Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Loc:
    Québec Canada
    Current price liste (august 2009) jumps up significantly...

    Solo Plus 40 -- 8,590$ , +24%

    Solo Plus 30 -- 7,980$ , +26%

    Excel 2000 -- 11,500$ , +4.5%

    Excel 2200 -- 13,125$ , +5%

    Termovar loading unit -- 595$ , +20%
  14. hayrack

    hayrack Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    73
    Loc:
    central maine
    Look into buying a boiler from Kotly in Poland. I bought an eko 40 for a little over $1,800 in April. They were $7,000 here in the US. If you want an affordable tank look for a used propane tank. I had 3 given to me. They can be found if you look hard enough. If you are a mechanical do it your self kind of person you can save some more money. Good luck
  15. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,420
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Hayrack; The boilers from Kotly are no more. I bought my Atmos from them & it was about half price of what dealers wanted here. Kotly no longer ships boilers or parts to the USA as explained to me in an email from them, Randy
  16. Rory

    Rory Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    Messages:
    193
    Loc:
    Central Me
    Just thought I'd point out - you mentioned "blueboard insulation" when describing your potential DIY tank. I believe these temps get too high for that, and you should use the foil faced yellow stuff.
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