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What boiler to buy

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Tony H, Oct 24, 2007.

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  1. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,156
    Loc:
    N Illinois
    Hello, I am new to the forum but have been lurking a bit and have learned quite a lot from all of your posts.
    I am looking to purchase a gasification type boiler to heat my home located in N Illinois. The house is about 3700 sq feet with very good insulation in half and fair insulation in the older half and new windows all around. The house is heated with a forced air furnace running on natural gas.
    I am considering running the system without a water storage to start with and possibly adding one in the next year or two and also maybe some solar input to provide hot water during the summer.
    I have read about several different boilers from Greenwood, Seton, AHS, EKO , Tarm, Garn, Blue forge, Adobe and Econoburn
    and heard good things about several and bad things about some and nothing about others. Cost and reliability are both major considerations.
    Several of the models look pretty good EKO, AHS, Econoburn and Greenwood, seems like the AHS and Greenwood are higher priced than the EKO and I have no idea about the Econoburn but I do like the idea it is made in the USA.

    With respect to price and the application what units ( listed or not ) shouild I look at ?

    Thanks

    Tony

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,381
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Given the nature of this type of product, you want to look at parts types and availability. Although a new startup might be a good thing, you also may end up being the R&D;department. It is a high priced purchase, so do your homework and think of all the things that could happen in 15 or 20 years. Example - when I sold Tarm boilers, a lot of customers would buy an extra set of ceramics with the boiler...just to make sure!

    Another example - the original Taylor outdoor waterstoves developed leaks after just a few years....or at least a lot of them did. Almost 100% of early Wood Guns (eshland) leaked after a few years use.

    The storage will help that somewhat. As much as I like to support new and growing businesses, I also have to protect myself (or you) - so look at the unit and think "if the company folded, could I still repair it?", etc.

    The only one that I have real experience with is Tarm, which is of course a fine - fine product! 80 years of making boilers in Denmark is a good track record. Greenwood uses a different design (dry walls), which is probably less likely to ever leak because the heat is exchanged using an external plate exchanger.

    Look at warranties - look at track records - look at certifications (american and european).....consider the service you are getting from the companies as you inquire and ask questions up front.
  3. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,422
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    For this class of boiler, it really depends heavily on your desire and/or resources to tinker with it. I'm at one extreme - I'd be happy with a kit that contained a pile of steel sheets and a MIG welder - I built, wired, and plumbed my house, for instance. For most normal people, the experience and helpfulness of the local support (furnace dealer and/or plumber) is probably the most important criteria.

    I would say that getting the installation and controls right is more important than the brand, although as Craig mentions there have been models with heavy-duty quality problems in the past.

    In my case the EKO was really cheap, and I'll build my own when it dies. I didn't care at all about the entirely non-existent local support. I love tinkering and trying to improve on the manufacturer's design. Not everyone feels that way. This forum is a good source of advice and clever ideas, but no substitute for a plumber who's done a dozen similar installations.
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