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Thinking Wood Gun...any advice or experience?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by avc8130, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I have been researching and searching on this forum for 2+ months for a wood boiler setup that will meet my needs. I absolutely have to have wood and oil in 1 unit, non-negotiable. That limited my options quite a bit. I thought I was buying a used Tarm Excel 2200, but it sold before I could get there. I've now moved on to the Wood Gun E180.

    I've read EVERY post I could find about this unit, and I think it is the right fit for me. They are having a 10% off sale if I commit before 9/30. Push me over or back from the ledge!

    ac

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  2. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    It's worked for me although I have the smaller unit. As with anything new, you will have the learning curve to go through and as with any other wood burning appliance dry wood is important. Yes, the WG will burn higher MC wood but you'll have the same problems as any other unit with wet wood so don't so it.

    It's a solid heavy duty build, many parts are non propietary. Fairly easy on going maint./cleaning. Can't speak to the customer service these days as I have not had to use it since the new ownership took over 2 years ago. The oil burner is used by us when we go away over a weekend....it's probably not very efficient but we use it so little that it's not a major concern for us.

    I will say that I'm not happy with the amount I get out of the chimney cleaning...it's primarily soot/dust, very little creosote but I had expected to have much less each year.
  3. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Wet wood won't be an issue for me. I have 10+ cords ready to go that were planned for the wood stove. I like to keep well ahead on the wood supply.

    That was a big selling point for me. None of the parts looked like something I wouldn't be able to find at the local plumbing supply if I had an issue. I have heard of the center nozzle brick needing replacement, so I might blast a few out of thick steel to try.

    Same boat here on the oil burner. We don't vacation much during heating season, so it would only be used when we are gone for a day here and there. Any in-efficiency will be more than made up for by burning wood 95% of the time.

    You are NOT happy with that chimney cleaning? It sounds perfect to me!

    ac
  4. Karl_northwind

    Karl_northwind Burning Hunk

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    Storage, storage, storage.

    karl
  5. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Are you 100% sure that you need to have wood & oil?

    Could you go wood & electric boiler instead? It opens up so many more options if so. I think when I was doing my researching, I narrowed it down to 2 choices if I had to go a wood/oil combo - the Wood Gun, and the Biomass 60 Combo. Both quite pricey compared to all the options if combining stand alone wood & electric units.

    Not sure that helps, but good luck.
  6. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Storage is something I thought we would do by now...and there are times(shoulder seasons) I wish I had it for the convenience factor. I just have not been able to justify the expense for storage to gain some convenince when I have so many other money hungry projects in the works...maybe one day down the road. Certainly if you have the space and $$ it's a great idea!

    My chimney cleaning comments is based on the little amount others have removed. I think I probably get a similar(small) amount of creosote as others have posted but the ash is a lot more than I expected(1+ gal.). I will also say that the Sooteater product has paid for itself, yesterday was my 1st cleaning with it and I'm very happy with the job it did.
  7. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Karl,

    Do you have a Wood Gun?

    ac
    Gus likes this.
  8. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I COULD go electric...but i'd have to buy one and my BTU requirements are quite high (current boiler is setup for 140k btu). I already have all of the fixings for oil, and with the storage capacity I have (725 gallons) I can price shop a fair bit in the summer and probably buy quite a few years worth of backup.

    I think you hit the nail on the head: Biomass 60 or Wood Gun are what I narrowed down to also. I was leaning towards the Wood Gun because the install seems cheaper as it is more "plug and play" for my install. It can also run without storage which is a big plus to cut down on initial cost/time to get it up and running for THIS heating season.

    ac
  9. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    They can all run without storage, they will all run better with storage on the wood side. Cant shut off a wood fire like you can a fossil fire.
  10. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    The electric suggestion was mainly based on it sounding like the backup wouldn't get used much at all. If it would be, I might retract my suggestion. It does all depend on all the factors in your situation - otherwise we'd all have the same things.What about a wood boiler, and a mini-split heat pump? I'm thinking one of those would be in the same price range as the add-on oil option? With a/c as a bonus. I guess after all the digging & humming & hawing I did, I'd recommend everyone consider all other options available before deciding to stick with oil.

    There will likely be others in on this, but I think I remember also reading about the oil burner/nozzle getting dirtied by the wood fire if the oil was seldom used, and causing starting issues? I think between the two I might lean to the Gun for reasons aleady mentioned - plus they've been around for quite a while. Although the Biomass looked like a good unit - from here at least. I would likely still have wood & oil, if oil wasn't so costly to burn.
  11. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Wood Gun would contend that it IS possible to stifle a wood fire...at least temporarily.

    ac
  12. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    While the intent isn't to use it "often", I certainly don't want to be totally screwed if I have to rely on it a bit. To get a 140k btu electric boiler looks like $2k+ if even possible.

    I already have central air conditioning.

    I have heard about the nozzle issues. Wood Gun installs a separate burn chamber from what I am told, but it is certainly something I plan to investigate when I visit the factory this week. If clogging is really a problem, then it won't be a "reliable" backup!

    I don't know about the Biomass, but one of the things that I really like about the Wood Gun is the common components. All of the controls are simple Honeywell aquastats that the local plumbing supply house. The door gaskets are rope and available from the local stove store. I like that I should be insulated from possible obsoletion.

    ac
  13. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    The WG was on my short list. But not because of the combo. I would try to avoid the combo.

    How long do you have to wait before firing the oil when you have been burning wood? One thing I like about two boilers linked with an W2WHX is that when the slightly under-sized wood boiler can't keep up (-15::F) the oil can give it a boost.
  14. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Good question. Adding it to my list to ask them.

    I don't think my wood burner will be undersized for my application.

    ac
  15. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    It is however there are consequences to doing so. General consensus on the board is that wood should burn flat out & completely to be clean & efficient. Hence storage, it allows multiple fires to charge the storage with a rest period. Providing the storage is sized to the load.
  16. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I hear ya. I've read probably thousands of posts about it. However, with that said, "efficient" is very hard to quantify.

    Sure, I'll "lose efficiency" running a WG shutting the fire on and off...BUT...will I lose enough to get back the thousands of dollars invested in a storage system when I might be "wasting" "free" wood on the lost efficiency?

    What I can never find is hard facts and data.

    ac
  17. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    All the facts & data would be variables, dependant upon water temp, ambient air temp, insulation type & thickness, flow rate, pipe type & length & diameter, surface contact & at least a few dozen others, fun being a system engineer & having to nail this calculation. Now I know why they can be so grumpy. ;lol That's just on the water side, a hole other set of calculations for loss on the fire side.
  18. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Agreed 100%. The engineer in me just needs to "experience" it firsthand since I can't research it well enough.

    I figure I can always add storage later if I'm not happy for one reason or another, the Wood Gun affords me that variable. The Biomass seems to NEED storage.

    ac
  19. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I don't think you would need a 140k boiler. If it's only for backup when nobody is home for a short period, that is a big difference in heat demand - set the thermostats back to 50 or so while your gone, no doors opening & closing, and also no domestic use. I got a 20k electric boiler. Not all set up yet, but we would only be away for maybe a weekend max. I think if I heated the house a bit warmer than usual and charge my storage and turn the stats back before I left, the electric wouldn't even kick in. Or at least not for long.

    I really did like my oil side when I had it, hot & convenient. But it was getting way costly (especially for doing DHW in summer). And oil can be a big liability - I would also have been due for a tank replacement in the next couple of years whether it needed it or not.

    Of course I could be back on it some day too, never know what the future will bring. Be sure to keep us posted.
  20. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    For sure avc you can always add storage at a later date if you so choose, suggest that you plumb that possibility into your piping scheme now so its easier later. Have fun with the boiler & the learning curve.
  21. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    As for the dirty oil nozzle, they now offer a ceramic "plug" for the oil burn tube. I leave mine in there as 99% of the time I am burning wood but you would need to be sure to remove the plug if you intend to run the oil or if you set the unit to auto rather than dedicated wood or oil.

    The WG will switch to oil when in auto depending on the temp cut off you select. Select a low enough temp and the wood fire will basically be out when the oil kicks in. I always am sure that the wood fire is extinguished before turning on the oil.
  22. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I'll let you convince my wife the cats and dog get to be in the house at 50F :).

    I have no intent of using oil or wood to make hot water in the summer. I am plumbing in an electric hot water heater for use during the non-heating season. My tanks are in my basement. Should be essentially good "for life".

    I have no desires to start fires and have a hot basement below my living space I am paying to air condition.

    ac
  23. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    That's in the plan. A few Tees are cheaper now than later.

    ac
  24. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Perfect! I thought I read about that plug somewhere. I didn't plan on setting the WG to "auto" for the backup. I figure if I am home enough to only miss a loading here or there the house won't be TOO cold to bring back with wood. Going back to oil will be a fim decision.

    ac
  25. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    My condolances on not getting the Tarm. The Wood Gun also seems like a nice unit.

    On another note, your fuel tanks might last forever, but maybe your fuel won't. I've read of micobiological fouling that can occur. I think there's a biocide for that.

    Are your emitters baseboards? Does that factor into any of this, like the higher temps they might like when it gets real cold out?

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