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Why is everyone down on non gassers?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by chadley, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. chadley

    chadley New Member

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    Today was the first day I got on this site to look around. I've been researching outdoorwoodfurnaceinfo.com for the past several months. It seems like everyone on here is WAY down on non gassers. Why is that? Gassers need more maintenace, are more finicky with the size/type of wood burned and cost more. Many people (non dealers) who have had both gassers and non gassers say there is not as much difference in efficiency between the two.

    So my question is: Whats the big deal on this site with the dislike for non gassers?

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    You can search and read the threads and find out a lot about the subject, but the short and sweet is that your question, in a general sense, is like asking:
    "Why don't people like a 1978 Buick that gets 12 MPG and puts out 10X the pollution of the newer model"
    or
    "Why don't people use a 386 IBM PC for word processing? After all, it is more than powerful enough to do the job".

    If we took a normal wood boiler from 30 years ago (and most "normal: designs are that old or older) and a brand new top-line clean boiler, chances are that the new one would get twice the efficiency and emit VASTLY less in pollutants.

    That's the short story. You can find a lot of threads which might have a longer one!

    Welcome to the forums!
  3. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    I have never heard anyone that has had both say they had the same efficiency, myself included. I am very happy with the clear exhaust from the stack when my boiler charges the tank. Running for 4-6 hours a day vs the OWB that I had that created copious amounts of creosote and smoke.

    gg
  4. tom in maine

    tom in maine Minister of Fire

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    The simple answer is the smoke and the poor efficiency.
    There is a learning curve on some gasifier devices, but that is a small tradeoff given the better performance.

    Unfortunately, the outdoor wood boiler industry has a bad reputation of making devices that produce a fair bit of smoke and
    have brought down the wrath of the EPA and other regulators on the entire wood boiler industry.

    My 2 cents worth.
  5. Yankee

    Yankee Member

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    Loc:
    midcoast/central Maine
    I would guess that the outdoor wood furnace site is where you hear about the more maintenance. I have been burning wood all my life beginning with old fashioned wood furnaces at the age of 14 (42 years ago). The easiest, simplist wood burning appliance I have ever used is the Frohling boiler that I am now in my second season with. It is really no more fussy on wood size than any other inside unit I have used. It likes the wood split and dry, just like my furnace did, like my russian style masonry stove did, like my woodstoves did. I will leave the efficiency talk to others, except to say that in my existing farmhouse, we used to use more wood, was less comfortable, and spent more time tending the fire that we do now.
    Keep an open mind, explore the possibilities, and get the most bang you can for your dollar.

    OH! Welcome to the Boiler Room.
  6. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    My history with wood burning boilers goes back over 30 years. On of my early non-Gasser :sick: created an ooze that would turn a flue cleaning brush into a ball of tar. The only way to keep the chimney clean was with a twice weekly chimney fire :exclaim: Veeeery scary :exclaim: The Gasser I have used for a good part of those 30 years has never needed the chimney cleaned :cheese:

    One of the pictures, I'm told, is not the recommended way of telling if your Gasser is burning clean. ;-)

    Welcome to the forum.

    Attached Files:

  7. 8nrider

    8nrider New Member

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    i guess it really depends how you burn those old boilers, i have been burning for about 3 hours a day with 4 arms full of good seasoned wood. not really much smoke coming out of the stack and it brings my storage up for another day.Best of all was the price!!!
  8. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    The smoke you see coming out the chimney on a non gasser is fuel & most people here don't want to throw that away or polute. Creosote is a big one for me also, I don't like chimney fires, had one with a non gasser & didn't want another. I think the "many people" are pulling your leg. Gassers have typical low flue gas temps & burn most all the fuel, things that guarantee superior efficiency & not just by a little bit, Randy BTW, Welcome to Hearth, you are asking some good questions.
  9. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I'm really don't look down on people with non gasser. To each there own. I was going to buy a regular OWB when
    I started to research them, I ended up here and boy did I learn a lot. I ended up with a gasser. I have at least twice the
    heat load with the addition of my shop and heating my domestic hot water and only burn around 20% more wood than
    I did heating my house with an old wood stove. Welcome to the hearth.
  10. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    I am not down on gassers. They are easy to use. The wood is usually not split (at least around here). But they do go through a lot of wood. Two neighbours attest to that. One neighbour with a 2000 sq. ft heating space used 14 bush cords. The other neighbour used 18 cords for a 2600 sq.ft heating space. I'll use 9 or 10 for 4000 sq.ft (incl basement) + 2000 sq.ft of barn/garage +DHW. Same indoor temps. We three heat exclusively with wood. Mine takes more time to C/S/S. Fuel costs (either money or time) and should be a major factor. The environment likes gassers better too. I can look outside to my neighbours plumes and prove that quickly.

    My gasser install was a thousand dollars more than my neighbours. In that cost I have 1500 gallons of storage.

    Research carefully and you will choose gasser. I have no doubt.
  11. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I would rather see you burning wood in a non gasser than burning oil, period. But I believe I would rather see you burning a high efficiency natural gas or propane burner than a non gasser. Much cleaner burn, but your fuel will cost you a lot more money. The idea that there is not much difference in efficiency is simply incorrect. Those things being said. If you had to go out and buy a new fossil fuel burning boiler/furnace. Would you buy one that was less efficient and polluted more or buy one that was more efficient and polluted less? If you want an outdoor wood boiler, good for you. Go out and buy an outdoor gasser. Or an indoor gasser and inclose it in an out building. You will be a happy camper/burner. Something else to consider would be putting an indoor gasser in your basement/garage/workshop. (Following code of course.) All the heat that radiates off of your boiler, and there is a lot, will then be heating something that would benefit you to heat, instead of the outdoors. Good luck with whatever you choose inguy. And welcome. I hope you stick around the boiler room, and hearth.com. Check out all the other fourms as well. This is a very cool place.
  12. chadley

    chadley New Member

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    okay. I will take your words for it but I've talked to Earth, Shaver, Hawken, and Hardy dealers, an install man, and 3 OWB owners and they have all said they don't see much difference in the gassers vs. non gassers in efficiency or smoke/pollution. They all have said that the gassers need smaller wood and more maintenance. These are not including the comments from outdoorfurnaceinfo.com.

    Why such a big discrepency between most of you and all of them? Obviously both sides make sense but you can't both be right. :)
  13. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    I would love to hear a testimony from one of them that has gone from gasification to none gasification :exclaim:
  14. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Never owned a non gasser, but I see many in operation around here. From what I have observed, about the only time they don't smoke is when they are not running. My boiler will smoke at start up but quickly changes from smoke to steam coming out of my chimney. To me, that says a lot. I know I would rather have steam than copious amounts of smoke put into the air.
    My boiler is not picky about the wood I feed it othern than it being low moisture content and I believe any wood burning device benefits from dry wood. Just because you can burn wet wood doesn't mean you should. My boiler is supposed to be rated at burning 30% mc wood, but I'm not going to do that. Yes I guess the size splits I feed it are smaller than many OWB's will take but my wife doesn't want to deal with any large wood and neither do I first thing in the morning! Besides, smaller split wood is probably drier than large rounds.
    I was looking at an OWB when we first decided to burn wood for heat. One factor that swayed me to a gasser is the better efficiency which means less wood to cut which means more free time to do other things in life. Of course, little did I know that I would become a wood cutting addict but I cut wood because I want to.... not because I have to.
  15. chadley

    chadley New Member

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    you make a good point. I don't know any that started with a gasser and went to a non gasser. I don't understand why multiple dealers are steering me clear of the gassers when they could sell me one and make more money than they would if I bought the non gasser they are pushing. Somebody used a car analogy earlier. Its like me saying to a customer oh no you don't want to buy that brand new mercedes. You want to buy this 1984 buick. Why would an OWB dealer do that?
  16. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    If they :coolgrin: can sell you a none gasser now, at a later date they will get to sell you a gasser too :exclaim:
  17. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Northern Canada
    I have a gasser
    I luckely found this site,a ton of info if you want to spend the time reading.
    The reasone the dealers are telling you what they are is because they want to sell the OWB.One reason they want to sell them is because their time is limited,they probly are worried about getting stuck with odsolite inventory.The OWB dealers are like snake oil salemen, talk a great speel then disaper when you need them.
    When i was looking for a unit,i recived allkinds of misinformation.
    Then i was saved by Hearth
    So instead i ended up with a gasser and storage.Very simple to operate.My wife loves it too.She has no problem starting and maintaining a fire.
    Mine is in a dedicated building,no smoke,ash,bus or mess in our house.Most important to us is their is no flame source in our home.This was brought home last week when a family of 4 plus thier freind died from carbon monoxide in thier home in Whitehorse,leaves were 10x what would set of a detector.I sleep great at nights,having less to worry about.
    Thomas
  18. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

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    Central Ma
    One reason might be the fact that some states are in the process of putting regs into place which will eliminate sales of new smoke dragons. No idea if Indiana is considering that, but the dealers probably figure if not now, then soon - dump them while we still can. And, that's another reason why the folks here are against these things. Gassers get dragged into this, along with everything else, and will also get rejected if the companies don't stay ahead of everything that needs to be submitted to the regulatory agency. The gassers will ultimately be approved for sale, but not before lots of $$ is spent by the builders, complying with the regs. And that additional cost of doing business has to be passed along, and will ultimately result in a higher-priced gasser :mad: .
  19. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    :lol: Good one Allan!

    Inguy, you are making the right decision and you will not regret it! Gasser w/storage is the way to go. Will cost you more money up front, but you will save it over the years, and a gasser will last you longer as well. You will have less smoke(energy) going up your chimney. It may take a few more minutes each day in the beginning. But after you get through the initial learning curve, it becomes load it and go. Depending on the weather, I can burn once a day when it is mild out. Store the energy in my buffer tank, and then burn 24 hours later. When it starts to get colder, most of the time I load twice a day. When it gets real cold, which hasn't happened much this year, the wife or I may have to add a couple more pieces at one more time of the day. We love it. Consider setting your system up so you can heat your hot water with an indirect hot water tank. We heat everything, house, garage, and domestic hot water, with wood.
  20. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    Have you ever heard of a ford dealer say that a chevy was a better buy for you. They want to make a sale. The other thing is most OWB dealers have had very little training in heating and air conditioning. I've found that there is even very little knowledge here in the USA on the gassers that is so common overseas. I went from an OWB and knew that it's life was getting short. I started to research other heating and discovered gasifing and started reading up on it. I was taken back as I and most people hadn't heard of it and it's the excepted thing overseas. I will say that almost ony person that thinks bad of the gassers has not understood them. If not for this site I don't think I would have been happy. I just had to learn how to burn. The old idea of cut green and big and fill up that firebox as full as you can idea that the OWB dealers promoted just won't work with the gassers and that IS a good thing. No smoke or very little. less wood consumption, very little polutants, healhtier air, and less fire danger all lead to less time prosessing wood, healthier family, lower insurance, less dependance on the oil man and not worrying about waking up to a chimney fire. looks like a win ,win to me.
    leaddog
  21. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Which would you buy?

    A Model T for $6-8,000 or a newer car, maybe a Taurus for $20,000 (seeing as how I used Ford in the first part)

    What's the difference anyway.......they both go from point A to point B and they both burn gas...so why spend the extra on the Taurus?

    Same deal with the wood burner. There is that much difference in performance. All that smoke you see from a standard wood boiler is extra wood you have to cut, split, haul, stack, load, etc, etc.
  22. chadley

    chadley New Member

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    To answer your question; I would rather have a 1984 Ford pick up (instead of the model T) than a 2012 ford pick up. Too many gadgets on new vehicles to go wrong and it costs more to work on them which is one of the biggest complaints I have heard about gassers.

    I think I may be finding a difference here. We may be talking apples and oranges. Being on this site, I have seen a lot of stove names I have never heard of before. The OWB companies that make gassers now are not showing up on this site. For example, heatmor, heatmaster, shaver, hardy central boiler, hawken and many more. They are the gassers that I've heard negative things about. people like their OWB's better than their gassers-partially b/c these companies are new at it will all the EPA guidelines.

    So, tell me more about these gassers i've been seeing on here like the orlan, atmos, frohling, econoburn etc. They don't look weather durable. Are they meant to be inside? Are they more durable than say the OWB's? What about leaking? Can you give me some brand names to research. Every site I've been too won't give prices without calling them. I just want an idea of how much one would cost to heat 2500 sq ft house and 3200 sq ft garage/barn.
  23. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    With rare exception, the gassers are not meant to be exposed to the elements. Many have built sheds of some sort to house them, sectioned off a garage(if code allows), placed in basements, etc. Take the time and do some research here and you'll likley find answers to all your questions....and then some!

    Gassers , just like most anything else, cannot be painted with one brush. To say all gassers are complex in build or difficult to run is a rather broad statement that I don't consider applies to my boiler or many others that you can read about here. You may not find online pricing but I had no trouble getting quotes over the phone.
  24. Noggah

    Noggah New Member

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    Inguy, you are right about the gasser in your last paragraph. Most are indoor gasser, but alot of people seem to build sheds around them or install them in a shop/garage.

    I am using a Central Boiler outside gasser and could not be happier. I split my wood but leave it quite large. As long as its dry its good. I am using very little wood and im getting burns well in excess of 12 hours. The maintenance is minimal. I don't know who is telling you that gasser need alot of maintenance, but in my case this is not true. I scrape the sides when I fill it, just because I want to. I clean ash at 2-3 week intervals and there is not much. I have cleaned the air holes once this season. Other than that it takes care of itself.

    Mine is the e-classic 2400. With pipe and parts and installing it myself I have about 13k in the setup. I am heating about 4600sf of radiant floors and domestic hot water in Maine. I have used exactly 0 fossils this year.

    It seems that Central may have had issues in the past, but my experience has been nothing but pleasant. (Knock on wood)
  25. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    I don't believe any of the companies you listed above even make gasifiers so why would their dealers tell you to buy something they don't sell?

    gg

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