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The BIG question, Indoors or Out?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by HydrordyH, Jan 27, 2010.

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  1. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    I'm a first season user, but I would never want this smoke and dirt in my home let alone expect my wife to tolerate it. There are still some occasions when I open the door at the wrong time and get a ball of fire! Nope not in my irreplaceable historic home. I'd expend far more emotional and physical energy trying to control the smoke and dirt, than the extra time in the woods (that I enjoy) gathering wood to offset the lost btus. Just one vote but absolutely not. These things deserve a Mancave.

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  2. HydrordyH

    HydrordyH Member

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    U.P.
    Green House. Hmmm. I like that idea and we have good southern exposure to boot. I like the idea of using the shipping container as well but leaning toward something attached. I have lots of wood to burn and we are not located in the UP greenbelt. I think the corny UP yoopers probably are in areas where they can get their hands on the cob. I also like the excuse to have to be out in the woods.
  3. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    West Michigan
    One year of some smoke and mess in the house, 20+ years without vs. 20+ years of always getting dressed to fill the boiler and 20+ years of burning a little more wood than you need to.

    I don't think anyone has a smoke free/mess free first year with a boiler whether indoors or out. There is certainly a learning curve. But once you get the hang of them they are easy and clean to run. I'd be more likely to get bored with wood heating 10 years down the road if I was still having to go outside several times a day...
  4. VtRv

    VtRv New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
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    Loc:
    Morrisville, Vt
    I have a Tarm in my basement with a 500 gallon LP tank for storage. My basement is divided in half with a play room on one side with the stairs and a door between that and the work, storage, utility area on the other. I also have a set of stairs that go directly from my garage to the basements utility side. It’s true that wood causes a certain mess with the bark and dirt. I’ve never had an insect problem and this is my third year with the unit. On occasion I may get a small puff of smoke but that is usually my fault and because there is a door separating the boiler side from the stairs side I never smell smoke in the house. Over the utility area coincidently I have a tile floor and although I don’t have radiant heat the tile acts as a giant heat sink and keep the house toasty warm with whatever heat I loose through radiation.

    I’ve considered building another house and have given it quite a lot of thought. I have a few friends that have outdoor wood boilers and like them. I’m of the opinion that I don’t want to go outside in the weather to tend the fire. They have bigger fire boxes that burn longer then mine which would be nice but with my storage I think I’m being more efficient. A friend who has an outdoor boiler kept my unit going for a week while I was on vacation and he said he was surprised how much less wood I used and how much less ash I produced.

    If I were going to do it again I would like to have a walk out basement where I can have a utility room separated by a door from the rest of the basement to keep the mess isolated. I would like an attached wood shed with a door to the utility room and a big door to the outside. This way you can load the wood shed from outside and not have to lug wood to burn it. I would also have a minimum of 1000 gallons of storage. I would also consider over sizing the boiler to get a bigger wood box.
  5. shoeboxlen

    shoeboxlen Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
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    Loc:
    Schoharie County NY
    i have an eko 25 inside and yes it does add some dust especially when cleaning the boiler but it is well worth it in my opinion as I dont need shoes to throw wood in the thing. some say they stink the house up when loading we have not had the problem since changing our door seal to a silicone seal. And as others have said waste heat just goes to the house in a inside installation which is always (my hardwood floors are never cold :) ) but in a catastrophy situation outside would probably be better but I take good care of our stove so hopfeully there will never be a catastrophy. gl with your choice.
  6. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Stee, I did sound overzealous in advocating the outdoor approach vs the indoor. There's no question which approach in the most efficient and convenient. I should have said that the priority for MY system was not the highest efficiency or convenience, but that the only thing coming into our home was hot water. We live where the average winter temp is 38F so even 1 inch of snow here is a major event. You guys would have different priorities. And I am getting smarter regarding the smoke.
  7. firecaptain

    firecaptain Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    western pa
    hello evryone!! have been reading posts on here for a while and just signed up.
    i have been looking at outdoor models, but due to "possible" regulations in Pa. i have started to consider indoor units.
    i currently have a wood stove and getting tired of feeding it every 2 hours for the past 7 winters.
    so here is my question...... i know how the outdoor boilers would connect into my air handler for my A/C, would an indoor pressurized boiler utilize the same setup, a heat exchanger in the ductwork?
    also, can anyone give me some honest burn times on an indoor unit before refueling?
    last question. i see a lot of users here talking about storage(thermal storage for hot water????) for indoor units. whats the deal? is it necesary?
    i have a ranch style house, 1350 sq ft upstairs, about 700 sqft finished basement, well insulated house.
    any recomendations?
    thanks in advance!!!!
  8. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Welcome to the forums... Will try to give short answers - as most of your questions fall in the "frequently asked" zone...

    1. Yes, you can tie a pressurized indoor boiler into your HVAC air handler the exact same way as an OWB would... There are other alternatives like retrofitting radiant floor that are more expensive / difficult, but can give better comfort and / or efficiency, but that is a separate question. Note that for best efficiency, you really want to over-size the water / air HX, which can get expensive.

    2. If running storage, you don't really care about burn time as the idea is to burn flat out till the storage is charged, and then live off the storage till it drops and you build a new fire. Run time on storage is a function of your house heat load, and the size of your storage (in usable BTU's), and thus isn't really predictable w/o more info - however it is fairly easy to design for 12 hour burn cycles at peak load time, and 24 hour is doable but harder, and will probably take a few re-loads to fully charge the tanks. W/O storage, again it depends on boiler size vs. house loads. Burning flat out with a full firebox, most boilers will go 2-4 hours on a load of wood, if you don't have storage, you go into idle mode, when the house is satisfied, and consume some wood but less so - I've seen reports of 10-12hr burn times when not using storage.

    3. Thermal storage is the magic sauce that makes gassers such wonderful tools - in peak heating it lets you "time shift" your burn loads to better match your schedules. In shoulder season it saves you wood, because rather than idling, or having a smoldering fire that is eating wood but not making heat, in order to get heat when you need it, you burn at maximum performance levels and STORE the heat until you need it, long after the fire is out. Depending on the weather, this can mean only needing to burn a fire every 2-4 days, which really makes life easier during shoulder season...

    4. Recommendations - One of the smaller gassers, 500-1,000g of storage, possibly located in an outbuilding next to the house if you want to save room in the house. (Though I will say I like indoor installs better, as I don't want to have to get dressed to go out and feed the fire...) If you want to get a good "primer" and have see an example of a really nice setup, look for posts by "NoFossil" and take a look at the website he links to in his sig.

    Gooserider
  9. firecaptain

    firecaptain Member

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    Loc:
    western pa
    thanks fo rthe info!!!! i will look for posts by "nofossil" to see how to make a storage system.
    just throwing this out there...... if i had the boiler inside, then make an insulated storage system outside, would this work?
    im asking due to limited space inside. or is it best to have stoage inside?
    please excuse my stupid questions, im new to this and just getting my feet wet in this type of system.
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    While there are subtleties in how things need to be set up, the short answer is you can have the boiler and / or storage inside or outside as best suits your needs. If you go outside, you will need to have some sort of enclosure to keep the boiler under cover. The big downsides of being outside are that any heat lost by the system or storage just warms the outdoors, whereas any losses from an inside unit warms the house. In addition, the plumbing to get from an outside install to inside the house can be VERY expensive - you would need two runs of large diameter PEX, with substantial insulation, and a deep trench to bury it in... Figure $10-20 per foot, just for materials...

    The upsides are that it obviously saves inside "real estate" and it keeps the wood related smoke, mess, etc. out of the house... Many folks build a larger than strictly needed outbuilding in order to combine the boiler room with storage for firewood, and / or shop space, etc. The boiler can make a good "excuse" for this...

    Gooserider
  11. taxidermist

    taxidermist Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Fowlerville MI
    Well Stee I know you love your indoor install but..........I think I am pretty good at running my system and I still have smoke and fly ash and bark ect. Truth be told these boilers are smoke machines(the older EKO) cant say how the new ones are. We all know we should load when empty but what about building a fire? this is where I get all my smoke problems not loading it during a good burn. As for the wasted heat in the barn if you insulate the bottom and wrap your pipes loss is very little.

    Just my .02

    Rob
  12. USA-1

    USA-1 New Member

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    Loc:
    NH
    Support your fellow American. Buy an American made outdoor boiler. 3/4 of the anti-outdoor posters on here are user 'posers'. They are actually tied to European indoor stove sales, but type a very convincing contrary story as a user. Any real outdoor boiler user can tell you that you load once a day during fall and spring, and twice during winter. One week into running it you will figure out that you only have to feed in the morning going to work, and when you come home from work. The scare tactics about "dressing up to go out in the cold" are fairy tales written by non-users who are tring to scare people into the Polish indoor units. If you don't have a job, then yes..you will have to go outside for a couple of minutes. But then again, in the middle of winter it actually feels go to get outside and do something like this. I guess these indoor salesmen don't ski, snowmobile, ice fish or do anything outside in winter? I'll tell you...One good chimney fire that could kill you and your loved ones, and I'll go for the comfort of having the mess, bugs, water, cold wood,smoke, and fire danger outside any day...
  13. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

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    West Michigan

    I'm not sure where your coming from but I am not tied to European indoor stove sales nor do I feel most of the other posters are. I've done the OWB route with 2 different boilers, one was a homebuilt DEB design and the other one was a CB 6048. All of my wood burning appliances have been outside of my house so I can not comment on having one in my house. I don't find it a problem to go out in the cold to feed the boiler. When I had the OWB it was more of a pain as the wood was covered with snow and it was pretty cold filling it as it was out in the wind. My current system is in a insulated portion of a polebarn so I head out of the house in a light jacket for the short walk and then fill the boiler in a t-shirt. If I would have had room in my basement, I would have put the storage in the house but I would still leave the boiler outside of the living space. This would be the ideal system to me as any standby losses from the storage would be in the dwelling.
  14. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    I am a farmer / geek not a boiler salesman.

    I am no more inclined to support an American made product than a European product. I am a foreigner to both. I am inclined however to support an efficient, clean burning product with a serious track record, that uses less wood; hence the gasser.

    Back to the topic at hand. After learning that an outdoor install had to be 100 meters from the lot line (by-law), which would have necessitated a long walk many times per day in nasty weather, I decided on "slightly indoors". It has worked out better than expected.

    My boiler is in the attached garage and under the family room which previously had been the coldest room. It is now the warmest.

    The storage is in the basement and I expect any heat loss there to help heating the cooler end of the house, assuming some day I complete the storage project.

    We now have a heated garage thanks to the heat off the boiler and the piping. We never had used the garage for cars anyways. We dump a few tractor-bucket loads of wood in the garage weekly. It dries some thanks to the boiler heat. No stacking. I already felled, bucked, split and stacked it once; darned if I'll handle it any more than what is absolutely necessary. Next year, I'll just bring skids full of wood in, one half cord at a time.

    The smoke when there is any (and there isn't much), is dealt with by opening the big garage door for a few minutes. I can load the stove, monitor it and grab a beer from the beer-fridge all on the same trip without any extra clothing. It's not as far as the basement, or the other side of the barn. In the wee hours, I go in my pajamas.

    It's ideal in my opinion; neither indoors nor outdoors.
  15. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    913
    Loc:
    Hesperia, Michigan
    I don't know where you get your idea that the indoor people are tied into the sales of the European boilers but I know and have met several of them and most of them are just users like I am. The sales people here are quite easy to identify and if they get into sales pitches the mods will town them down.
    And you are right that with the OWBs that you can load them up just twice a day, or maybe once a day, or if they are really big maybe every other day. BUT I garentee you that you WILL burn LOTS< LOTS more wood and smoke up the sky. I know as I had a couple. I also built a HASA and have had a inside wood boiler.
    Three years ago I could see the handwrighting on the wall and started to do some serious searching out what to do to heat my house. For me gasification boiler was the way to go and I ended up getting the eko-80. For me it fit what I wanted to acomplish and with my abilities. After I bought my boiler I found this site and it has been a great resourse for me.
    My boiler is out in a shed and I wouldn't have it any other way but for some people it works better inside.
    As far as buying American, I like that thought, but I also have to buy what fits me. I almost bought a Woodgun but because they were setting up dealerships and the price jumped up $1500 and to get the price that was quoted to me first I would have had to lie saying I was buying for an uncle in ohio I didn't want to work that way. The garn is a great boiler but because I was making my own storage etc it didn't fit. The ecoburn is a copy of the eko basically and when they were first adv they were not using the most truthful type sales tactics( in my opinion) and that turned me off plus they were higher priced. (They since have been very honest and Have been very helpful I'm told). The e-classic wasn't out yet and I still would wait untill they have the bugs out. The seaton and clones have had some issues. And as far as buying another OWB I wouldn't do that again even if it was dirt cheap.
    You have to realise that most of the good gasification boilers are coming out of europe because they have been using them over there. We are just basically getting into it. Like alot of things we are behind the 8-ball here with clean energy and it is going to take some time to catch up. I like cheap oil just like the other person but it has kept us from developing better products. Also we have to get our act together as far as laws and regulations so it is profitable to develop better products at a competitve price.
    I really belive that when someone will make a good modulating boiler that burns chips here for residential use that they will find a huge market.
    leaddog
  16. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    My boiler and storage are in the basement and I wouldn't have it any other way. I can't imagine getting up out of my recliner, slipping on my mackinaw, sliding on my boots to fire or check my boiler on a 20 below night. I don't have any creosote in my chimney and have learned to produce a minimum amount of smoke in the area of the boiler. My wife has the nose of a beagle and can smell smoke a mile away.
    I have an electronic air purifier in the upstairs living area that is supposed to remove dust, etc. from the air. I don't think it does much on dust but it eats any smoke odor before my wife gets a chance to smell it. My door gaskets don't leak and I have every joint in the smoke pipe sealed with high temp silicone sealant. I believe that most dust produced by these boilers comes from the flue pipe. The bark and other droppings are easily picked up by my shop vac. I use one of those wood transport carts sold by Harbor freight to transport my wood and only wheel in one load every or every other day.
    Although my storage tank is insulated very well there is still some loss but most of the loss to the basement comes from the boiler, flue pipe and plumbing which is a good percentage of my total home heat. It just migrates upstairs.
    Also, I just would like to point out that I am not affiliated with any business that is involved in marketing heating systems.
  17. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    1,772
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    Just wanted to point out that it's no wonder that you only need to load the CB once a day. I stopped over to Wes Smith's CB lot one day to take a look at the units. When I opened the door on one and saw the size of the firebox, I figured I could just move in with my furniture and heat the boiler water with a hot water heater and be nice and toasty all winter.
  18. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

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    Aug 13, 2007
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    Loc:
    West Michigan
    I'll admit that when I went to the EKO from the 6048 I didn't think I would like the size of the smaller firebox. I wanted the CB to last forever so when I would shut it down, I would climb in the firebox with a air powered needle scalier to clean it really well. I've yet to find a couple squirrels that I can train to do this in the EKO.
  19. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    I can say that I'm not associated w/ any of the wood boiler makers, and don't get anything from any of them to say nice things about a particular brand. (I have had one vendor suggest that I could get an exceptionally good price from them because he likes the job I do as mod, I don't think anyone could guess which one from my posts, if they can, I'm not doing my job...)

    I know that I do keep an eye on the sales pitches, as I'm sure several of our vendor members can agree :smirk:

    My take on USA-1, after reviewing his previous five posts (the above is #6) is that he's either a troll, or a sales droid for an outfit that doesn't have much to offer, other than platitudes... Definitely a one-track poster at any rate, the above is not much different from his earlier posts...

    Sure you load the OWB once or twice a day - with how much wood?

    Sure the OWB's are made in the US, but so are some of the gassers and the Garn - Might ask him how many US made OWB's will pass the EU's specs on emissions? Personally, I find that the louder a company gets about waving a "Made in US" flag, the greater the odds are that the product doesn't have anything else positive to offer over it's foreign made competition... Says something that the Euroboiler folks have no trouble selling their boilers to US customers (many of them former OWB owners), but I've never seen any discussion of US OWB dealers having much luck peddling their products in the EU....

    I will also freely admit that I don't do more outside in the winter than I have to - I go through all this stuff with the wood so that I can afford to stay inside where it's WARM... While one might imagine USA-1 going out to tend his boiler in his skivvies, there are some things that are just to scary to contemplate.... :ahhh: :lol:

    Gooserider
  20. USA-1

    USA-1 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
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    14
    Loc:
    NH
    6633 posts?? Thats downright embarassing. You need to get off the keyboard for a while and go outside and cut some wood, then maybe your opinion won't be so narrow. Maybe if you did spend some time working outdoors you would appreciate the virtues of an OWB, like most others do.
    It's no wonder your opinion is so biased. BTW most outdoor boiler owners don't post 'in defence' on a debate like this because most are outdoorsmen with land, and they don't spend all their time wasted on the internet arguing with people like you. They like what they have and it works. If coming home on your Vespa/Guzzi and tossing a few sticks in your little Polish boiler suits your lifesyle, then good for you. Just don't think for a second your point of veiw is 'right' because you surround yourself with internet posters.
  21. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    No boiler yet, as you would have noted if you looked at my sig... Instead I have a genuine USA made, Vermont Casting's stove, that is an excellent example of a good reason NOT to get "Made in USA" I certainly would expect less smoke out of a Polish boiler, or even one of the American ones...

    But then I don't have high expectations of rational behavior from a troll...

    Gooserider
  22. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    858
    Loc:
    North central Alberta, Canada
    OK. Here is a response from a 10 year OWB user.

    1) USA 1, you are ignoring a lot of the facts in your post & response, that's too bad as there is a reasonable discussion to be had re: the pros/cons of any system vs any other. In this case OWB vs gasification.
    2) Goose is correct in what he said & he did provide USA made options for those that are interested in them.
    3) Goose is doing his job (being a mod). If I were required to read as many posts as he is I would have many suggestions as well esp for first time posters. ( I am willing to bet that if you check back a lot of his posts are on points of courtesy etc, things we all count on the mods to do). I know he had suggestions for me & I am glad he did, saved me a lot of time & effort. Sped up my learning curve you might say.
    4) I came to this site in an effort to learn about what I thought was a better way to heat all of our buildings using wood. So far that's what I have been doing (learning) from others posts, reading (a lot) in my attempt to select what is best for our situation where we live. If I had to select right now it would be a USA made unit a GARN. Not that I think it is the best unit in the world (honestly I don't know which one that is) but because I feel that it is the best unit for our situation.
    5) I agree that OWBs do keep the mess outside but that is where any perceived benefit from them ends. Having owned one for 10 years I can say that they are extremely inefficient, burning 2-3 times (or more) the wood of a gaser while pushing out far more pollution than any gaser (I think the EPA agrees with me here). I cut, haul, pile, store, retrieve, feed in, remove the ash from, & clean up after 23-25 cords per year for our OWB, then I find people here with similar square ft buildings in similiar climates that are using 6-8 cords in their gaser & getting the same end result (heating their buildings). Makes me think I got something very wrong 10 years ago, and makes me far more inclined not to make that mistake again.
    6) You are right you will not find a lot of people here who are in love with OWBs (me included). However I am sure there are sites specifically for OWBs and their users, perhaps you can find some like minded people there.
    7) I am guessing here, but you sure sound like your involved in the OWB industry in some manner. As OWBs are very close to being legislated out of existense you are going to have to re-invent the wheel (& get it right) or go the way of the other dinosaurs that have come (& gone) before you. We call this progress, the European's wonder why we waited 30 years to catch on.
    8) As to your reference about gaser user's sitting around, well they made a better choice than I did, you see while I am out working to feed my OWB they can invest 25% of that time to get the job done. That means they have 75% to do with as they please, if for them that is staying warm inside well more power to them, you see they made a wiser choice than I & are now free to reap the benefits in whatever form they choose.
    9) Hope this little discussion one OWB user to another (at least I think you use an OWB) has been informative & helpful as that is what this site is all about. Thousands of people sharing information, knowledge, ideas, problem solving etc. Hard to lose when you have a formula as good as that.
  23. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
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    2,382
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    The real irony here is that USA1 is actually doing more of a dis-service to OWB's with his posts than he is helping them. Any intelligent human out there looking for advice on wood burning is going to read his posts and realize it's all emotion and no useful content. Not to mention the "Buy American" debate is so overdone. He types his rant on a Chinese made computer, he likely cuts his wood with a German/Swedish made saw, the car he drives is probably 30% content from Mexico and after he get's done cutting his 18 cord of wood this year he's going to sit down and watch his Japenese made TV from his couch that was made in Vietnam.

    Goose, whatever you do, do not ban this guy. He's probably already sold three people on Tarms, Econoburns or EKO's just this week. He's a goldmine for the Euro-Boiler sellers...
  24. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    2,410
    Loc:
    northern-half of maine
    FWIW, I have my euro gasser in a building next door, storage(look at my sig) in basement under living room(very little heat loss). About 100ft apart. 99% of time only do one fire a day. shoulder season 1 fire every day or two. Summer 1 fire about every 5 days. I got 3 teen kids, so i'm very happy with that. Usually start the fire about 4pm when coming home, or my son does it after school.


    Just expaining my set up, if you have an extra building, or build one over he summer wouldn't be a big extra expense. I have my boiler(in an insulated room) inside the building and also my wood in the cold section. I will be palletizing my wood off of the splitter from now on. I will be putting the wood inside the building with tractor. Load boiler directly out of pallets when needed. Eliminate a lot of handling. But even if you don't have a tractor to handle wood, it works really nice for me, everyones set up is good for them, this is mine.

    Should keep insurance companies happy. My building that i have was a garage, we redefined it as a wood storage facility to keep 'em happy. Also, a well insulated under ground heat pipe will loose very little heat, heard of quite a few in the 300ft range and working good, but the further away, the more $$$'s.

    And these are not stupid questions!! This is the place to ask and you will get great advice. With the exception of USA1, everyone on this site is exceptional. We get one azzhole that either has an axe to grind with something, or just a welfare case bored with a computer. (whoops, did i just say that out loud?)
  25. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    I love STEE6043's response. It is true that almost everything is made overseas. It is even more true in the Great White North.

    We have everything made overseas and pay for it with rocks and trees. I like that because it keeps pollution to a minimum.

    I won't be good if oil gets expensive though, because we won't be able to get our stuff cheap and it costs a lot to ship rocks and trees.

    Seriously, Euro boilers are good products, tested under fire :) and as long as shipping allows us to get them at competitive prices, why not!

    The people on this forum are respectful, helpful and fun. One fella with a strong opinion is not going to change that. One can feel his frustration.

    Most of my neighbors have OWBs. We are friends and talk about the relative benefits of both systems (OWB and IWB). They don't split and stack and spend less time loading and building fires. They use a lot more wood and create lots of smoke but have plenty of wood to spare and there's lots of space between farms so nobody complains.

    I have only 100 acres with 40 acres of wood; so not enough to sustain an OWB with my load. They respect my decision; less wood, less pollution, more work and I respect theirs. Gassers were not available when they bought. Whether they would purchase another OWB is an open question. OWB's may not be available in the near future thanks to encroaching legislation.

    The Euro purchase never was mentioned...like I said nothing is built here anyway.
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