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Thermo control boiler?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by muncybob, Jun 4, 2008.

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  1. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Out of curiosity I decided to do an Ebay search on wood boilers and this mfg. came up. Prices are much less than similar boilers but this is one I've never heard of....anybody have any knowledge of their products?

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  2. avocation

    avocation New Member

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    Yes, I reccomend this unit. It works great for the money, not a gassifier but puts out a lot of hot water.
  3. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    I'm assuming you have one or have experience with one? I'm keeping an open mind on all there is out there before making my purchase this year and am always looking for real life experiences with any boilers.
  4. GARYL

    GARYL New Member

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    Thermo Contol was/is made near Cobleskill, NY. I bought one of their units in 1979 and ran it till 2001. I used two 275 gallon oil tanks for water storage in my basement and it worked like a charm...EXCEPT when the power went out, which was not often, fortunately!! What I especially liked about it was the automatic damper control which no other stove (I looked at) in '79 had.

    In '01 I had enough, my stove was on it's last legs, my chainsaw bit the dust, hauling 8 cord down cellar for 25 years was WAY old, so I quit and said "NEVER AGAIN".

    I am now looking at a gasifier....I gotta be nuts!!!

    Gary
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Saw them recently at the logging show and am very familiar with them from back in 1979. While there is nothing really wrong with them, you are buying 1970's technology (well, truth be told, probably older than that). That is why the price is less. If you don't mind the various down sides to that - more smoke and pollution, more chimney cleaning and chance of chimney fires, and less heat (efficiency) from your wood, then it may serve your needs.
  6. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Well, all those would be concerns to me. Too bad though...real nice pricing!
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    As I am quickly finding out (or have long ago learned), in general you get what you pay for! Not that you can't save money.....one might find an EKO boiler for less than a Tarm, etc......

    I'm constantly shopping for one thing or another (from houses to fireplaces to mattresses).....and the same tends to apply. The good ones cost more.
  8. avocation

    avocation New Member

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    O.K...... Let me have my say. I have one of these and they are 5 times better than having just a wood stove which is what I used to have. I do not care how old the technology is, they do the job. I used about 45 gallons of propane last heating season on a 2000 sq./ft house and most of that was for the stove and dryer. My house ( and more importantly) the second floor was toasty warm which was not the case with just a stove.
    I also get my domestic hot water from this as well. Now I will agree that the new technology ( gassifiers) are the way to go if you have 10g's to set it up, but I don't. I had all I could do to cough up 2100. and scavange pieces and parts to hook it up. I'm sure there are a lot of people in the same boat that can only look at the gassifiers and dream about them. The bottom line is it works, heats the house and domestic water and is not as efficient as the new stuff, but is affordable.
    btw, the stove is built pretty rugged and has stainless heat exchangers and should last a while without to much hassle. And if burning dry wood ( as we should), the stack should not creosote on you, if you have a fire it is not ANY stove's fault!!! IT'S YOURS!
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    There is always something to be said for affordability!

    But I think the poster was asking about it compared to other modern units. There is a difference and the customer(s) should be aware of it. I often buy things that are MUCH less than the best available....but I usually know it and am willing to make the compromises.

    Also, in the long...long....long run we are likely to see all wood burning systems regulated and also a much higher price on firewood and equivalents. All these things have to be taken into account when making a purchase.

    Not a slight on Thermo-control....but rather on the entire US Energy policy and even our industry itself. While we are still selling and using 1970's technology, Europe and others have been innovating many generations of cleaner and more efficient products. It would be nice to see some US companies step up to the plate, hire real honest-to-goodness engineering staff, and come up with advanced equipment at reasonable prices. I can wish, can't I?
  10. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    I wish that too!!! and I wish it happens before the next heating season!! LOL!!:)
  11. atlarge54

    atlarge54 New Member

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    What model do you have?
  12. GARYL

    GARYL New Member

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    Until I saw this post I didn't realize Thermo Control was still in business. As I posted above, I used their 500 boiler model for 22 years and it worked fine. Of course it isn't as efficient as the modern units BUT it did the job. I called Thermo Control and found that I could still buy any and all parts for my 500 model. I do plan on getting a gasifier but it isn't in the cards for the upcoming heating season so I am going to resurrect the 500.

    I found the best way to burn it was to put a load in and run it almost wide open and heat up the 550 gallons of storage I had. The two 275 gallon oil barrels acted like radiators and heated the basement nicely which also heated the first floor. I used 8 cord of wood and about 300 gallons of oil on average each heating season. Since I stopped using wood I have averaged 1200 gallons of oil each year.

    So, it's back to the Thermo Control for one more winter and hopefully to the Switzer gasifier the following winter.

    Gary
  13. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Amazing what pops up on Ebay every now & then. Now there is a Marathon wood boiler(very old) within very short driving distance of me for less than $500!! If I was any good at welding or fabricating I would be very tempted!!

    If the Thermo Control would be more efficient than the standard OWB and be clean enough on emissions I would give it some serious consideration. Perhaps I'll contact the company to ask about emissions but I have a feeling that with old technology it will not pass EPA standards?

    GARYL...your winters are probably comparable to ours and I could live with 300 gallons of oil a year. Did your oil usage include dhw?..but at the same time I'm trying to stay with a unit that requires no more than 2 loads of wood per day and probably this unit would not fit the bill?

    It's hard talking about wood boilers and heating today with our temps well into the 90's!!!!!!!!
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Doesn't matter much what the company says - it is a square box with water or coils about it. As other have said, efficiency would depend on sizing and use, but - yes - a good indoor boiler (NOT the models with coils only...must have full water jacket) burned correctly will beat an old OWB (non EPA) in terms of efficiency....for a number of reasons.

    1. The jacket and radiation heat losses are usually in the basement, which helps heat the house
    2. The fireboxes are not as vastly oversized, so can be burned at a decent clip in cold weather
    3. Less heat loss in the piping
  15. GARYL

    GARYL New Member

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    GARYL...your winters are probably comparable to ours and I could live with 300 gallons of oil a year. Did your oil usage include dhw?..but at the same time I’m trying to stay with a unit that requires no more than 2 loads of wood per day and probably this unit would not fit the bill?

    Yes. My oil burner has a DHW coil and I always kept the wood & oil systems independent of each other. However, I did have a water tank next to the stove that prewarmed my DHW before it went into the oil burner.

    I usually had only 2 burns per day if it stayed above zero. Once in the morning and then again at about 10 at night. I would fill the stove and let er rip and I would still have embers at the next firing. I NEVER had a creosote problem, only fine ash. The water filled tanks would go from 160* to 100* over a few hour span. I think it would have been very difficult to heat 100% with wood.

    I can tell you the heat going out the chimney was probably enough to heat another house. My stack temps were over 800*. That is why I will eventually go with a gasifier. I like 300* stack temps better, alot better BTU capture = less wood.

    The other consideration is how much does wood cost you? I have 35 acres so I never had to buy any. If I had to buy wood, I would most certainly not resurrect the Thermo Control. 8 cord is looking bigger and bigger as the years pass, so I know a gasifier is in my future.

    To sum it up....buy the best you can afford. If your budget is at the Thermo Control level....I highly recommend them.

    Gary
  16. sparke

    sparke Minister of Fire

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    I came very close to buying one of the units on ebay. They claim to have a secondary combustion system. Is that a lie? When I spoke to the guy at the factory he assured me the secondary combustion worked and this unit was more efficient and cleaner burning then a traditional smoke dragon. Lies or just half truths? We do have a member that owns a new one of these units but I dont remeber his name and he has not posted since winter 06/07...
  17. sparke

    sparke Minister of Fire

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    Here is some dialogue I had with Mo(Member with Thermo Control) a while ago:

    Actually I don’t know if you should use me for info. I only had the unit 1 season and the wood I was burning was only months old becasue I didnt buy the boiler till october and sparted splitting in Sept. the people at thermo are real nice. this year I split by may so it should be much better. If you hold off a year I’ll let you know next spring.

    Mo

    Hi Mo, I think I am going to buy this unit. Can you tell me - When you say you load it 3 times a day. Is the fire completly out every time you reload or do you still have a nice bed of coals? How many cord of wood do you expect to burn in an average year?

    Thanks

    Jeff

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If you have the money you might consider a Tarm USA combo boiler wood/oil. Great unit i know people who have but pricey. Gives you the opportunity to use either. If I had to choose between new oil and the Therm Control. I would go thermo. It does easily heat my 2400 ft house. I have very little time and it does the trick with 3 loads a day. Generally coals are still there 10 hours later. Only complaint is first 30 minutes of smoke(neighbors complained. Now I load at 5am(before they wake), at 6pm everyone is inside for the night and at 10pm or so. 6-7 cords per year of barely seasoned wood did it last winter.

    Mitch


    OK, If I am still interested next year I will drop you a line. I decided to change my oil boiler this year instead of the wood boiler…

    Thanks for the reply.



    Actually I don’t know if you should use me for info. I only had the unit 1 season and the wood I was burning was only months old becasue I didnt buy the boiler till october and sparted splitting in Sept. the people at thermo are real nice. this year I split by may so it should be much better. If you hold off a year I’ll let you know next spring.
    Mo


    Hi Mo, I think I am going to buy this unit. Can you tell me - When you say you load it 3 times a day. Is the fire completly out every time you reload or do you still have a nice bed of coals? How many cord of wood do you expect to burn in an average year?
    Thanks

    Jeff
  18. GARYL

    GARYL New Member

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    The units are the same as they were 30 years ago. They have a secondary combustion chamber in the rear but the water is heated in the firebox, not in the secondary chamber. I can tell you from experience it can get VERY hot at the back of the stove if the secondary combustion chamber is working well. They claim that 50% of the heat is radiant into the room and 50% goes into the water. I can't fault that statement. I wouldn't say that I acheived secondary burn most of the time. The wood had to be real dry and conditions just right. It possibly works better with the hot air model rather than the boiler model because the water tends to keep the firebox a little cooler.

    It was good technology 30 years ago and may still be ahead of some makers today.

    Gary
  19. jerrieric

    jerrieric Member

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    My trun to chime in. I have a Thermo Control 500 unit that must be 10 years old or so. Had it hooked up in line with my oil burnance. Bump moved water continuously from burner thru stove. Heated domestic hot water and my baseboard BWH. Still could use the thremostats in the rooms. Worked great, burns 2' unsplit logs. Burned about 5 cord a season. Finally had a new oil furnance put in and never hooked up the wood furnance. Getting to old to lug the wood. I am in Windham Maine and would consider any reasonable offer - and you pick up. Unit is in basement.
  20. sparke

    sparke Minister of Fire

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    The unit is a boiler correct? You have me a bit confused when you say oil furnace. A wood furnace could still do DHW with a coil so I just want to clarify. FYI, if that unit is in good shape and it is a boiler you can probably get 1K for it advertising in Uncle Henry's...
  21. jerrieric

    jerrieric Member

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    It is a boiler. There is a bump between the oil boiler and the wood furnance. The furnance has water tubes inside to heat the water as it passes through and back to the oil boiler that contains the hot water for domestic and baseboard.
  22. sparke

    sparke Minister of Fire

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    Dont short change yourself. That boiler (if in good shape) is worth alot more then $250...
  23. jerrieric

    jerrieric Member

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    Thanks, It's in great shape. There is a steel damper panel in the back inside that would need a new flat plate welded onto it. Over the years of banigng in BIG logs the plate finally got a hole poked into it. But fixing is a very simple thing to do. I'm not looking for a killing. Just would like to get it out of the basement. I bought a pellet furnance. Less work for me but may not be as good as the wood furnance. I would really like for someone to clear my lot and remove stumps in Salem Maine. Would be willing to trade stove for work. Also would allow them to take allot of the wook. Birch and hardwood right on year round rode.
  24. sparke

    sparke Minister of Fire

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    I wish I could find that kind of deal (wood clearing) close to where I live. I bet if you post that offer in a new thread you may get some interest. You are NW of Farmington right? I know we have a few members in western Maine.
  25. jerrieric

    jerrieric Member

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    Yes 1/2 way between Kingfield and Rangely on 142.
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