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Wood Boiler choices

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Chris S, Feb 22, 2008.

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  1. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

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    I just got back from a 440 mile round trip drive to Syracuse NY for the NYS Farm Show. I made the trek because one of the wood gasification manufacturers emailed me to say that they would be there with their unit. To my surprise & delight I got to see & talk to manufacturers & vendors for Wood Gun, EKO , and Econoburn. Two others who I was not considering were also there, as well as several outdoor boiler vendors ( not interested)
    I only spent 2 hours at the show, but it was a worthwhile trip because i now have all of the information I need to make my purchase. Knowledgeable , helpful people all, great opportunity to see all of the units in the same place on the same day.

    Eric- thanks for your invite to see your installation, but another 2 hours was not in my plan, and it wasn't necessary anyway. I wanted to go to Syracuse tomorrow when I had more time but snow is on the way.

    My clearing contractor is moving in tomorrow to clear my lot- I anticipate 30 cords from the clearing- much of which I will give away, then we break ground around March 10, This time next year I'll be burning wood. I'll probably be back here before then asking more questions etc.

    I forgot to ask the rep if that boiler comes in any other colors

    Chris

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  2. slug86

    slug86 New Member

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    Hey,which boiler did you decide to go with? What were the good and bads of the diferent brands? Do you know anything about the KP Pyro and if you do what do you think about it?
  3. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    If you are going to be burning wood next year I sure wouldn't give the wood away as you are going to need it and if you cover it it will last along time.
    leaddog
  4. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

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    My lot is primarily Ash, with a few red oaks- what we'll be taking down will be 90 % ash. Dad needs 2 cords which I'll get to cut & deliver then he'll split & stack, and my sister needs 2 cords at the lake house. I'll cut bro inlaw will split 7 load ( on my truck) & take to the lake , then my flooring contractor takes some& I'm still left with 20+ cord. I anticipate 4-5 / year for my use, I don't want that much on the ground plus we have 22 acres heavily wooded there's at least a few cords per year to be had without leaving the property, and finally, my clearing cont ( who's a friend & clears building sites for us) will bring me a log truck load anytime I ask for free ( I work on his boiler) Thanks for your concern though;)
    And I thought you were going to ask what color I had settled on!!

    :) Chris
  5. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

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    Slug86,

    Before attending the show I had narrowed my search to Woodgun, Econoburn, Tarm, and EKO. I'll be buying an EKO and installing at least 500 gallons of storage. I'm building a new home ( which is my primary business) which will be very energy efficient, 100% radiant heat, and I'll have a CI oil boiler for back up ( & when we're not home).
    I asked each of the salesmen why their product was better than xyz down the aisle, and some of the answers were comical ( our handle is better) some just showed their ignorance, or lack of experience in the industry, maybe some were just tired.
    2 Years ago I purchased a Multiterrain loader ( skid steer on tracks) after attending a show in Las Vegas, and visiting all of the players & asking all of the questions in the same day. Part of that decision was based on proximity to a local servicing dealer. I had hoped to accomplish the same here & i did. This is the best choice for me, not necessarily for everyone, but I'm confident it'll heat my home, provide good service ( with good support)- save me money & I'll be walking around all winter in shorts because with free heat my wife will have that house tropical.
    At any rate we have a local dealer who I know & have delt with for 20+ years (he sells Tarm) I respect him & trust him & he has taught me a lot, but I learned even more today. When I stop learning- dig a hole for me.

    Chris
  6. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    Good choice although any of the ones you mentioned were good. I'm not real crazy about the green color as my favorite color is blue but every time I look at mine I see green for all the propane I'm saving so I guess it's a fitting color. When I was researching gasifiers I found that there wasn't many people knowledgable but I think the dealers are learning with the rest of us.
    leaddog
  7. slug86

    slug86 New Member

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    thanks for all the info, makes sense and was helpful.

    Slug86
  8. easternbob

    easternbob Member

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    Chris S.,
    Don't want to be too nosey but what model were you looking at and what prices did they quote you for the different companies? I'm also looking at those same brands and wondering what they are going for. I'm not going to start building until July so I have a little longer to look.
    Thanks
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'm just leaving for Syracuse now. Looking forward to getting a good look at both the Econoburn and the Wood Gun.
  10. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    I am also in the market and by the sound of it have similar issues, but a higher heat loading.

    I am in Colorado so Syracuse woud be a bit of a trip. I appreciate that local service is specific to you, but I would be interesed in your reasoning. Sounds like EKO had a big plus over Tarm for example.
  11. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

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    Once again- I highly reccommend finding a venue where you can see the products you are considering to make your own informed decision, and if possible visit someone who has one running, and of cousre gather all the info you can here, or anyplace else you are able to find it. I think the tarm is a great unit, and you probably will not regret buying one. I think an OWB is an awful choice. I installed one for a customer who is in the roll off business. His logic included free abundant wood, his access to where he was putting it was good for trucks, or small roll off containers & he liked the price & simplicity. Then his neihbors complained & our town passed a town law specific to OWB's & he had to move it further away from the property line. The dealer he bought from did not reccommend a HX ( a mistake in my opinion- probably a cost factor) the new location is lower than the original location- problems with the 2nd floor heat etc etc. And now he's a slave to it because the boiler in his house is LP standing pilot probably 85% eff.- don't want to count on that to keep the OWB form freezing ramble ramble.

    I like the controls of the EKO- the higher standards in all European appliances, the built in ability to cycle the circulators, and the longevity & experience they have in this market ( a lot of things they have in common with Tarm) We install oil & gas boilers as part of our livelihood, we are familiar with the piping requirements & theories outdoor reset etc. I am going into this with open eyes, and am prepared to do the work now & in the future to make this thing work for me. I also realize that the cost of the unit is only the start. Get all of the info you can, if I were you, I'd spend the money to make a weekend excursion to a show somewhere so you can satisfy yourself before making this purchase.
    Best of luck with it
    Chris
  12. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    Good stuff, thanks.
  13. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    30 acre clearing??? McMansion :smirk:

    Question for ya, since you're in the heating business it sounds. . . . Did you consider the Vitolig?
  14. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

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    I have a wood question for you- being from Colorado- I'll try & post a picture but here goes:
    I have a tree on my lawn that is approx 14' tall the top 1/2 is definitely a Colorado Blue- hence your expertise
    The bottom half looks like a Baby Alberta soft- small needles
    One tree guy who came by tells me it was grafted some years ago, but another knowledgable guy ( carves bears with chainsaws) says that it is simply a Colorado Blue that was never pruned.
    Have you ever seen that in the wild? (tic)
    Chris
  15. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    I did not think they were pruned, unless you were into topiary.

    I would describe the needles as more prickly, can not remember any that have different textures.
  16. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

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    Sold the McMansion last year 3k a month in taxes plus we lost our view to a proposed 40 lot subdivision. Is the vitolig available? Still reading about it.

    Only clearing for the house, drive & garage- need some trees to protect us from errant white flying orbs!
  17. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Ok, that was 'sposed to ssay 30 CORD, not 30 acre. Eric can tell us how many acres it takes to get 30 cord, but I know it's more than a typical house including driveway and landscaping.

    Too bad you sold because of taxes . . . the STATE is going to fix LOCAL taxes (by forcing locals to downsize while they upsize), do nothing to reighn in spending, and in three years our taxes will double. It's a good thing we have a great climate, good views and hot women here in NY, otherwise we'd all be leaving!!

    I've not actually SEEN a Vitolig here, but as soon as I can save enough cash . .. though I think we have a member here that plans to get one before I do . . .

    BTW, welcome aboard
  18. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That depends on what's growing on the acres in question and how heavily you thin it. In my case, I think it's about ten cords per acre. But that's a one-shot crop tree thinning. If you can calculate the growth rate (it varies depending on climate, soil conditions and species grown), then you can figure out how much land you'd need for a sustainable yield of firewood. It's usually not that much land--maybe 20 acres would by my WAG, on average. Maybe one of our foresters can come up with a better number.
  19. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

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    I'll probably be close to that, I can drive my ATV throughg the woods now, but not a truck- it's pretty heavy. 1500 ft driveway, home site, septic field, detached garage (where all the equipment will live) I'm thinking 30 cords.

    Eric, how'd you make out in Syracuse?

    I already made some calls , we've never installed any Viessman equipment, and the one supplier I deal with who had them no longer does. So I'm looking into that.
    My Son says the German boiler will occupy the home (factory ) of the Polish boiler but eventually be repelled by other third party interests. ;)
    Also- we use a Wohler compustion analyzer is this better suited for the German Boiler will it not be able to correctly analyze the gasses in a foreign language boiler?
    All things to consider.

    If I get any responses re Viessman next week I'll be sure to post here
  20. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The show was great. I was thrilled to see so many different brands at one show--including a few I'd never seen before. I checked out the Greenwood, Econoburn, Garn, EKO and Wood Gun. I chatted with the guy from Marathon, who I'd met a couple of years ago picking up a boiler for a friend at the factory. As you said, there was no shortage of OWBs. The Central pellet-burner looks pretty cool. I see that Heatmor has a camo design on one of their OWBs. Maybe hoping the neighbors won't notice?

    I was hoping to see a BioMax, but the dealer (same guy who sells the EKO) said they're in short supply until the next shipment (60 boilers) comes in. I was also hoping to meet Zenon, but he stayed home in WV.

    I'm hoping I can convince Garn, Greenwood and Wood Gun to exhibit at our show in Vermont this coming May. Econoburn and EKO have already committed. Made some contacts that might pan out in that direction. I was surprised (well, maybe not) that Tarm wasn't at this show, since virtually all their competitors were there. If they're not losing market share, they're not gaining any as their competitors snap up all the potential customers in this rapidly-expanding market.

    The factory rep from Garn acknowledged the slow-to-no response to phone calls, emails and other sales inquiries. He said that should start to change in a month or two. I told him you need to be more responsible when running a religion.
  21. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    What sort of show should I be looking for, or more pointedly is there one in Colorado?
  22. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

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    I sent email inquiries to the manufacturers I was interested in and got a response from one suggesting i attend the farm show. I think a home show might have some vendors but probably not as many as we saw yesterday & today. There is also a wholesale show in March Atlanta I think- doesn't help you.
    Send out some email- make some calls theres got to be one somewhere.
  23. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Any alternative energy fair ought to have a few good gasifiers. I know there's one in Wisconsin that won't let OWBs in, but I'm sure gasifiers would pass muster. As Chris said, this was a farm show, and I was surprised at the selection of gasifiers. The show I mentioned that my employer puts on is a logging/sawmilling equipment expo. I suspect in the summer you'll have at least one of the above in CO--probably many more.
  24. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    We have been to the one in Fort Collins and I do not remember any Gassifiers. And nothing in Denver at the Home and Gardens, lots of PV, Radiant and even Wind.

    I will do the obvious, contact the manufacuturers.
  25. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    We didn't have any gasifiers at our show last year (or any year prior to that). This year we'll have at least two, hopefully more. So things are changing pretty fast. I think oil price increases and negative publicity about OWBs have a lot to do with that.
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