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Thoughts on Pellet Boilers

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Chris04626, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Chris04626

    Chris04626 Minister of Fire

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    I just found out in Maine your allowed to have two things connected to one chimney

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  2. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    And one of them shouldn't be a pellet boiler!

    You mentioned "furnace" in another post, was that an accident? A boiler and a furnace are two very different things. The Harmand and MESys that you are looking at are not furnaces, they're boilers.

    The Pinnacle PB150 Biomass Boiler:
    • 80,000 or 130,000 btu/hr Efficiency 80%
    • Works in series with your existing boiler
    • to provide heat and hot water for larger homes,
    • mutli-units, churches and commercial buildings.
    • Will offset 75-90% of oil and leave you warmer.
    • Intertek Safety Listed, A.S.M.E. Stamped
    • Building Size 2,000 to 6,000 sq.ft
    • Size 60”hi x 40”wide x 27”deep
    • Weight 560 lbs
    • Hopper Capacity 160 – 240 lbs
    • Flue Size 4” Power 110 volt
    • Has Tankless coil, LWCO, Pump, Relief
    Price $ 6,950 + freight, tax, install
    http://www.evergreenheat.com/our-home-heating-products/traeger-pinnacle-biomass-boilers/
    Doesn't cost anything to ask questions. Mark is a great guy ~ tell him Jeff sent you
  3. Chris04626

    Chris04626 Minister of Fire

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    Yes i have an old wood furnace that dont work, and a oil boiler now. Wood furnance is coming out as soon as the weather warms up.. And i hope to have a boiler put in its place next to my oil boiler, by next winter.
  4. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    You really cannot compare the Okefen (MySys Auto Pellet) and the Harman PB105. While the PB105 is a great boiler, and even better by the price, it has some drawbacks. First, it utilizes single stage combustion, so you are going to need a large dump zone or a very large super store. It is not nearly as efficient and will require a bit of daily, weekly, monthly maintenance...the Okefen utilizes 2 stage combustion and can somewhat turn off the heat on demand, thus incorporating into your existing plumbing a bit easier. The price tag is hefty. The maintenance it near zero. The Harman will react differently across pellet brands, the Okefen will not...or not so much. The Okefen is also scalable...whereas the PB105 is not so much.
  5. wil lanfear

    wil lanfear Feeling the Heat

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    Why do you feel that one needs a large dump zone or a very large SuperStor ? I've been using my boiler for nearly 6 years now, I do have a dump zone in case the boiler may overheat, never has though.
  6. Chris04626

    Chris04626 Minister of Fire

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    So you think the Convertible model is just as good? They say the auto pellet one is not available in my area due to it requiring pellet delivery and they do not deliver to my area at this time.

    They say the convertible is only available in 68k btu while the Harman is 114,000btu. Does that still make the mesys better? My worry is it not heating my house. Like i said i have the englander 25 pvc right now the 2200 sq foot one and it has issues heating the room its in on sub zero days to get the room the stove is in to 70
  7. Centurion

    Centurion Member

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    Interesting comments on the Harman PB105. My dump zone is my heating system but I keep high temp at 180* and never seen it go into dump. I've had my boiler 4 years now and scrape the burnpot and pull the exchanger rods once a week, clean the combustion fan twice a year, dump the ashes 3 to 4 times a year, and a thorough cleaning with chimney once a year. I'm not saying that this is what Harman recommends.....just sayin that it works for me with the pellets that I burn.
  8. wil lanfear

    wil lanfear Feeling the Heat

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    My advice to you is, don't undersize a pellet boiler unless you don't have an issue with the oil boiler being fired to help heat the home when the temps require it. I used to burn around 1000 gal of fuel oil per year for heat and DHW prior to installing the pellet boiler, now, 0 gal of oil, 8.3 tons of pellets for heat and DHW ( yes, pellets heating DHW in the summer months zoned using a SuperStor) plus the fact that using pellets we keep the home around 3* warmer.
  9. Chris04626

    Chris04626 Minister of Fire

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    Thats what im afraid of is ending up with somethign thats not strong enough to heat the home. I do like the fact of the autocleaning mesys system as im gone for work alot
  10. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Is the pb105 really through wall, for sure? That would really save a lot of money.
  11. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    There are a lot of factors to consider in the purchase of a boiler (any fuel type) I tend to look at the design and construction first.

    I have to say the best i have seen for the money so far is the Windhager Exclusive series that is now available in this country. We installed one for a customer the first of December and I've just been amazed by the performance of this unit. It is self cleaning and combustion is so complete I doubt a person would have to remove the ash container (wheeled) to empty more than a couple times per season even if the boiler was operating at 100% output for most of the time. I looked in the flue pipe of the one we installed after it had been in operation for 6 weeks and the inside of the pipe was bright and shiny yet.
    The Windhager uses two stage combustion via primary and secondary air in the burn pot (which is heavy gauge stainless) and they seem to have it absolutely nailed. There isn't a trace of black soot anywhere. The burn pot and flues are automatically cleaned and residue is dumped down into the bottom of the combustion chamber where an auger moves it into the ash container. To take care of the ashes you simply unlatch the container, pull out the retractable handle and roll it to wherever you are going to empty it out.
    I also like the mechanism they've designed to take care of residue in the burn pot. It's like the shutter on a camera with overlapping plates that scrape them selves clean when it opens. Really slick idea there.
    The burner is automatic turn down to as low as 30% firing rate based on load so on/off cycles are reduced to a bare minimum. That is a big advantage when it comes to wear and tear on components and enable the unit to operate at maximum efficiency under nearly all weather conditions from mild to frigid. Measured efficiency on the one we installed has never been observed lower than 87% when I tested the flue gas and I have seen it over 90%
    (without condensation) more than once.
    The electronic control is simple to operate and you can program different time/temperature schedules into it to set back your entire system automatically without having to mess with a programmable t-stat(s) in the house.

    I saw someone mention that one of the brands they were looking at could be sidewall vented. Some would consider this to be an advantage but there is something very important to keep in mind with any biomass fueled boiler. Windhager says the boiler has to be connected to a chimney and it is primarily for this reason......When you have a gas or oil fired boiler in operation and the power goes off the fuel supply stops instantly. With biomass that is not the case. There is always fuel present in the firebox when you have a fire going in there. If the draft fan quits for whatever reason what happens to the unburned fuel? It smolders and creates CO by the bucket load. If you have a sidewall vent chances are very good there is not enough draft to carry all the combustion gases outside so they wind up leaking out into your house. Not good. If you have the boiler vented into a chimney, the draft will take the residual gas up and out. Is this going to happen a lot? Probably not but it only takes one time to have a carbon monoxide tragedy on your hands. Call me a fan of chimneys.

    I would say that anyone considering a pellet boiler should at least look at one of these. I am flat out impressed with the product and the way it performs. It would make me think very hard about burning cordwood if I had to make a decision between the two fuel types.

    This is a very well established and proven unit with over 45,000 in use throughout the world so they are not a new kid on the block. Very good track record.
    Jasbolto likes this.
  12. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    The more bells a unit has, the more that can go wrong with it
  13. wil lanfear

    wil lanfear Feeling the Heat

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    X2
  14. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    That bells and whistles saying was coined by a small minded, short sighted and most likely financially challenged consumer that couldn't afford an upgrade. The Okefen isn't all bells and whistles, it's better design and by virtue of design it can do more work safer and more effciently with less work on the user.
    UMainah likes this.
  15. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    Says the guy that will probably get the service call ~ great business model! Many solid fuel installers in Maine, few repair techs.

    Pretty presumptuous, and insulting statement made by you ~ about me. However, my statement still rings true no matter whatever the product. The more it can do, the more that can go wring with it.

    And by the way, my PB150 still measured 87% efficiency after 4 years, a few weeks ago. Who upgrades a $10K+ heating appliance after 4 years?

    OH I get it now! You're sore because what you get with the Pinnacle is excellent customer service, backed by the seller. If you have a problem, he comes out and fixes it, versus YOU getting the service call ~ Unlike (some) Harman, and MESys.

    Yes there are some great pellet/biomass boilers out there now, but I'll keep my Pinnacle. Nothing can go wrong with it that I can't fix, or have Mark here the same day fixing. No bad ignitors, control boards, additional motors, etc. etc.

    What a pompous POS you are Mr. Williams.
  16. Chris04626

    Chris04626 Minister of Fire

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    SO basically there are a bunch of options and most everyone have their own options on which system is best lol
  17. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    Yes. But think about who would service your appliance if something were to happen to it. Doesn't cost anything to talk to EVERYONE. The Harmon and Pinnacle would be comprable to the amount of service you would have to perform. The European models will have less that you will have to do in regards to service. If there was an issue that you could not resolve with the Harmon and European models, who would be there to resolve the issue?

    I would also not direct vent a biomass boiler, too many issues for that chance of a power failure. While you could probably use your existing flue, I would bet that you would need to get it lined before you could use it.

    My pellet boiler had issues with the pellets I used the first year. They were the CleanFire Hardwood, and as silly as it sounds, were compressed too hard. I went through 3 Lovejoy couplings. Traded a few bags with Mark (the Pinnacle dealer), and they broke his as well. Not only did Mark step up to the plate giving me money for oil, but Pinnacle stepped up to the plate. They said they were not going to let a pellet get the best of them, and gave me a redesigned cutter, and designed a new coupling system and motor. Haven't had an issue since ~ and it was definitely the pellets, not the original design.

    Keep us updated with whatever you decide. Very few of us boiler guys compared to the pellet stove guys out there.

    Btw ~ I used to use about 800-1000 gallons of oil a year, now use 5-6 tons of pellets. Though I shut down the unit in the off season, and use an electric hot water heater for domestic HW ~ I also use it as storage in the heating season ~ basically HOT water from the boiler goes into it, instead of cold water.

    Other than when the air conditioners get turned on in the summer, I don't notice a difference in my electric bill.

    Anyway good luck!
  18. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    "I went through 3 Lovejoy couplings...."

    Not picking a fight here. Just pointing out differences in the construction of some of the units on the market and this is a good for instance.

    On the Windhager I mentioned there are no Lovejoy type couplings in the drive line of the auger. The pellet feed has a direct drive motor connected to a right angle gear box. No slip and plenty of horsepower to shear off any pellet you may encounter with ease. There are some pretty pronounced differences when you get to looking at all the stuff out there.
  19. wil lanfear

    wil lanfear Feeling the Heat

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    Totally agree with you about differences in construction of these boilers but...... one needs to realize at some point that one may need a part replaced or service of some sort or maybe just to buy a replacement part to install yourself so......... if no dealer is in your area, what will you do???
  20. Mr._Graybeard

    Mr._Graybeard Member

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    My PB 105 is direct vented and we've had several power failures this winter. No significant smoke entered the house. Just my experience.

    I've got a CO detector mounted right next to the boiler just in case, BTW.
  21. wil lanfear

    wil lanfear Feeling the Heat

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    sinnian,
    The Pinnacle pb 150 doesn't have electronic ignition so I'm wondering how you are controlling the boiler from overheating when temps outside, (like a 45-50* day), don't require much heat to heat your home. I know it should go into pilot mode when the high limit setting has been reached but it just seems to me when a fire of any size is burning after the high limit setting has been reached, it will overheat the boiler which should activate a dump loop.
  22. Chris04626

    Chris04626 Minister of Fire

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    At the moment i am leaning towards the Harman and the MySys. My concern with the MeSys is it can only go up to 68k btu There is a Harman dealer about an hour hour and a half from me. But im really big on the looks and the ease of the MySys just wish i could get pellet delivery here so i could get one of their bigger units.
  23. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    It has a set pilot mode, either every 6 minutes for 2 minutes or every 14 minutes for 2 minutes. There is a dump zone, per code when it was installed ~ since not a requirement ~ but have never needed it. It will also shut completely down if it reaches its high limit. It isn't like an oiler boiler, it runs at the low limit. The high limit is the shut off point, and will cycle back on automatically once it cools down. That has only happened twice in 4 years that I know of.

    It is the oldest (the PB 150, not mine specifically) operating biomass boiler in North America. The furnaces have been around even longer.
  24. harttj

    harttj Member

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    Have you calculated how many bags per day you will need at 68k?

    You most likely will never want to run at that level for very long.

    I was pulling 55k for a couple of days in Jan. Not pleasant on the pellet stash.

    Tim
  25. Chris04626

    Chris04626 Minister of Fire

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    no i haven't. I know with just my pellet stove cranked to the max i can burn 2-3 a day. That is why i want a boiler thats plenty big enough to heat the home so i dont need it cranked to the max all the time like i do with this stove.

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