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Wood Burner questions - could be a long read

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by ffjosh, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. ffjosh

    ffjosh New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Loc:
    Columbia City IN
    Ill try to give as much information as possible. If you dont want to read it all scroll down to the cliffs

    Im looking at a
    http://www.naturescomfortllc.com/outdoor-wood-boilers-and-wood-furnaces/

    NCB-175
    *Heats up to 4,000 sq ft** | 175 gal. water jacket | 220,000 BTU | 1733 lbs
    Does not come with installation kit or pump
    Asking $3,000

    Its 2 years old, been used every winter all winter long. Its my boss's at work and its not big enough for his 2,500 ft house

    My house
    4 years old
    Single story (with basement)
    1400 ft
    In a woods (little wind)
    All electric (no gas at all)
    I want to hook this to my furnace
    I want to hook it to my water heater
    Installation kit looks to be $720-$1100 without the pump (im assuming I can get this cheaper)
    http://www.naturescomfortllc.com/assets/Uploads/PACKAGE 40.pdf
    Im putting it within 20 feet of my house if that is ok. Im not sure what the recommended distance is.

    I use a fireplace right now. However its a prefab.
    I thought about installing a wood stove but I would probably have $1-$2k in that when its all done.

    Im also building a garage/shop right now. It would be nice to install in floor heat when I do concrete.

    My biggest electric bill in the winter can be around $300. With a newborn in the house I am sure it will be more due to the extra heat. I used to keep my house around 64 degrees and now its 70.

    In the summer my electric bill is around $100 (give or take $20)

    Im curious if I can get my bill down to $100-$150 in the winter with this set up?
    How long of a life do these have?

    Any information would be awesome.

    Cliffs
    1400 sq foot house (all electric)
    Wanting to buy used NCB-175
    what can I get my bills down too

    Edit - Ill be using this to heat my house and water
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013

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  2. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

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    Loc:
    Lyme, NH
    this boiler is MUCH too big for your application. It's too big for your boss's house too. My guess is it was connected to his house with 3/4" or 1" piping and that is why he could not get enough heat into the house, not because the boiler output is too small.

    Put in the woodstove or wait until you have built the garage/shop built and put in a decent gasifier with thermal storage (a 500 gallon LP tank would be a great thermal storage option. Be sure to allow ceiling height for a vertical 500 gallon LP tank in the shop).
  3. ffjosh

    ffjosh New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
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    Loc:
    Columbia City IN
    He is using 1 inch. Its a old farm house, poor insulation lots of old windows ect. Im sure there is more too it but I dont care haha.

    Being too big for my house would it just be a waste or would I just burn less wood? I have a 24x30 shop I would like to heat as well.

    I want a outside furnace mainly for saftey and ease of use. Nothing like throwing in a load of wood and walking away.

    My insurance will go up too with a woodstove. Not sure how much though
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  4. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Nova Scotia
    What or how exactly will you be heating with this? From your post, it sounds like only your hot water tank? I maybe missed something? Saying all-electric implies you don't have a heat distribution system in the house to tie into.
  5. ffjosh

    ffjosh New Member

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    Loc:
    Columbia City IN
    Sorry I should of put more information.

    I will be using this to heat my house and use it to warm my water.

    I have a electric furnace..

    From what I read I will install something in my furnace (looks like a radiator) that will be heated with the water. Then I just use the furnace's fan to distribute the heat.

    sorry I am very new to this. Just started to do research
  6. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    West Michigan
    I'd be concerned about the statement your boss made. No way, no how is this boiler too small for his house. He could leave every window open all winter long and still have heat to spare.

    So he doesn't like the boiler for some reason. Is it not functioning properly? Is it damaged? Is he looking to upgrade or perhaps even get a SMALLER unit for his house? All questions you should ask your boss.

    How far from your house your boiler goes will have a significant impact on total cost. Most places around here are required to have the boiler 100+ feet from permanent structures (this would include your barn). Check your local codes and price out insualted pex. Consider this in your total cost calculation.

    My recommendation would be to find a much smaller indoor boiler you could install in your shop. Depending on how much time you spend in your shop you may want to ditch the idea for in-floor heating as well. Either way, I think you could find a much better way to invest your heating dollar than the direction you're currently leaning...
  7. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    As Chris said, this unit is oversized for your house. That will mean lots of idling, and lots of smoke, and lots of croesote. And likely lots of wood burned.

    An ideal solution IMO is to encorporate room in your garage/shop build for an indoor boiler plus storage. Plus maybe the wood it will burn. You might have to wall it off separate from the rest of the building with its own entrance, for insurance/code reasons. You will need to evaluate whether you can do that, though.

    If you go the OWB, you need to make sure your undergound is done right, or you will be in the same boat as your boss. You'd likely be looking at $5-6k by the time you get it ready to fire - I think I also would be tempted to go with a good wood stove for at least this year, while making plans for years to come. At least then if you put a boiler in later, you should be able to sell the stove later if you want.

    Do you have dry wood ready to burn? Or can you get some? If not, you might not be able to do anything at all this year anyway.

    And sounds like your boss is in for some big disappointment if he doesn't do something about his piping - size & maybe also quality (insulation). I know you said you didn't care, but feel free to pass it on ('Some guy said....').
    Chris Hoskin likes this.
  8. ffjosh

    ffjosh New Member

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    Columbia City IN

    Theres nothing wrong with it. It just wont keep up. He is getting a bigger unit because he thinks he needs a bigger one. He is not ripping me off. So dont worry about it having issues.

    With that said most of the boilers in my area ranger from 20-40 feet away. I saw a few withing 10 feet but it look scary.

    The main thing I want to do is heat up my house. The shop and secondary to my house. However if I can get a boiler that can do the house and shop I am all for it.

    However like you said, if I can find a small unit and just do the house im ok with that too.
  9. ffjosh

    ffjosh New Member

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    Loc:
    Columbia City IN
    This is what I was curious about. It appears I would be burning more wood. However I was not sure about installing in ground heat in my garage. I wouldn't want to get a boiler that does my house just fine but when I try to use it for my shop its too small.

    yes I have a ton of wood ready to burn. I use my fireplace a lot.

    Im sure he is, however Im not worried about him lol

    i do know he has 1 inch pex and good insulated pipe going into his house.
  10. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    A boiler half the size you're looking at should do both your house and your shop depending on how frequently you want to load the wood.

    I still say there is something wrong with you bosses boiler. If it's not keeping up on a 2,500 square foot house there is something really, really wrong with the setup. More BTU's is not going to solve his problem. Even at "ultra drafty" his heat load has got to be well below 100,000 btu/hr. My 3200 square foot home averages 20,000 per hour on a normal winter day.

    Buyer beware, that's all we're trying to say.
  11. ffjosh

    ffjosh New Member

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    Either way It looks like this system is out of the questions. Seems way too big
  12. ffjosh

    ffjosh New Member

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    You could be right and thanks for the help. I know the sale guy and eng have been out to his house a couple times and they say everything is fine.

    Ill start searching for a small one...they seem hard to find online
  13. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    ffjosh, just for comparison--- I am heating my 1800sq/ft, 2 story house thats on a (windy)hill in northern maine with a wood boiler thats rated for 103,000btu's. This replaced a 85,000btu oil boiler. Both units heat the house fine.just a basic r-19 in the walls, etc. I replaced 1,000 gals of heating oil(per year) with 6.5 cords of wood. Oh yeah, this includes 2 adults and 3 kids for DHW use.


    biggest bill is $300? probably will be higher due the new(vs old baby) baby. Congrats by the way. I also just had a Mitsu heat pump(air sourced) installed. The Hyper units are very efficient. You might want to take a look at them. Provides A/C and heat. My winter heating season is close to 6 months. Whats yours, 3 or 4? Just curious of ROI on a wood boiler.


    Welcome to hearth, a very good group here with many great ideas and input, that you don;'t ask for. But it;'s well intended.

    Whats the cost of a cord of wood in your area? Even if you cut your own, it's a value you should use for ROI.


    Good Luck.
  14. ffjosh

    ffjosh New Member

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    My biggest bill was about $330. Its normally around $300 for 3 months.

    I would be using the boiler for about 5 months. Late sept to around May. Indiana weather can be screwy. I went golfing 2 years ago in january because it was 65 degrees.

    I live in a 5 acre woods. I have all the wood I want haha

    I have a electric heater (sort of like the Mizu) but it didn't seem to do much with my bill.
  15. ffjosh

    ffjosh New Member

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    I really dont mind if it is not cost efficient for me to heat my shop as well. Im ok with a old school wood stove in the winter.

    So if forced air would be better I would go with that as well. I just like the idea of heating my water as well. Anything to help reduce my bill the better
  16. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    So let me get this straight. Your biggest electric bill is $300.00/mo. during the heating season and you want to install this hardware to heat your home which will bring your electric bill down to $100.00/month.
    IMO, you will need to live a long time before you ever see some payback for the cost of the hardware and the labor and on top of that, the task of processing wood every year plus the day to day task of firing the beast.
    Coal Reaper and flyingcow like this.
  17. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    I'm with you Fred61
  18. ffjosh

    ffjosh New Member

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    I enjoy gathering wood. I do it all summer long.

    If I save $600 a year and spend 3000 on this set up that will take about 5 years. Plus I get to heat my barn.

    No wear and tear on my Water heater or Furnace.

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