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The right combination

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Chairmaker, Feb 29, 2008.

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  1. Chairmaker

    Chairmaker Member

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    I am currently heating my home and shop with a couple of catalytic woodstoves and an oil fired boiler that kicks in when the temp out side reaches about 20. I also get my hot water from the boiler. I burn about 5 cord a year and 350 gallons of oil, but with my 50 wooded acres, the oil is seeming pretty lame. I am considering a combination of equipment to replace my current equipment. From what I have read on the forum and other places, it seems to me that a gasification unit (I would like to have it in my walk out basement) combined with a storage tank and perhaps an electric back up unit (for summer hot water and when I am out of town) would cover my bases. Does this sound like I'm on the right track? The electric back up (versus oil) seems like a good idea because I could get rid of the gross oil, possibly use some solar panels later and heat the storage off hours. Thanks for any input,

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Welcome to the Boiler Room, Chairmaker.

    Sounds like a good strategy to me. You'll probably wind up burning about the same amount of wood, but no oil. If you get hot water storage, you can dispense with the electric hw backup, since you should be able to charge up the tank--say once a week in the summer--to provide hot water.

    I would keep the oil boiler, though. No point in tearing it out if you don't have to. It's nice to keep your options open, nice to have a backup, and if you ever sell the house, nice to have a conventional heating source to add to your sales price.
  3. Chairmaker

    Chairmaker Member

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    Thanks,
    The reason that I'd want to dump the oil burner is to use the existing chimney. I believe that it is against code, and unwise, to run two units on one chimney. Would my current 6 inch metal chimney work with a gasification boiler?
  4. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

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    I don't think a 6" metal oil chimney will work for wood. I would keep my oil boiler and I would put an outside gasificatoin unit in. Get the smoke and mess out of the house, much better on your marriage. Shop locally where you can talk and see the boiler you are looking at in operation. You will need storage to make the system work. Be sure to figure all those costs in when evaluating a particular boiler. Ididn't and it is costing me dearly. you are luck to have found this site first. Good Luck
  5. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

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    I will disagree with saving wood, you will use more wood but only because you are providing more heat. Catalytic stoves are usually pretty efficient. The central heat is nice to smooth things out and to eliminate the oil use.
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Assuming it's a Class A metal chimney, you can hook a gasifier with a 6-inch exhaust up to it. That's typically a boiler of 100,000 or less, though that's not a hard-and-fast rule.

    Instead of tearing the oil boiler out, I'd decommission it and use the chimney if it's as described above, for a gasifier. That way you can always reconnect the oil boiler if you move and take the gasifier out, or you can powervent the oil boiler for a lot less than another chimney. A powervent simply vents the oil boiler out the basement window, or through the foundation. That's acceptable. Using the same chimney for more than one appliance, especially burning different fuels is not only a major Code violation, but a big safety hazard as well.
  7. Chairmaker

    Chairmaker Member

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    That's great advice about keeping the oil burner around, I suppose I can use it for those away times. The chimney is a metalbestos type, if it's good enough for my other units, I suppose it would work for a gasification burner, if the size isn't a problem. I guess my biggest question is about the storage tanks, about which I know very little. It makes sense to burn hot and store the heat. How can I estimate the size for my needs. My boiler is 180,000 btus, although I think that it is oversized.
    Thanks again for the good advice
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