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"Wood Gun" by Alternate Heating Systems

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Jimxt88, Apr 14, 2008.

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  1. Jimxt88

    Jimxt88 New Member

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    Is anyone familiar with this gasifying wood boiler?

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've seen a couple, but never one in operation. It's similar to the Tarm/EKO/Econoburn/Biomax design, though it does have some important differences.
  3. Moosestache

    Moosestache New Member

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    One of my neighbors has one, and I'm going on a field trip to look at it this week, hopefully. They make a unit that is all stainless steel inside, which does away with some of the concerns with the breakdown of the units. They really push the ss units over the carbon steel units even though they continue to make the carbon units. One of the big advantages they claim the stainless units offer is the ability to (I'm probably not wording this correctly but) shut the fire down quickly, basically on demand. The point being that the creosote will harden on the ss walls and then just burn off with the next firing. Because the walls are ss, the creosote and other junk won't break down the walls as quickly, like they would on the carbon steel. This allows a more on demand boiler and does away with much of the need for a separate water storage tank. All this is according to them, so take it from whence it comes. You end up paying a couple thousand dollars more for the ss units, but they mention on their website they have a number of ss units that are functioning well at over 20 years of age. I hope this helps, and I'll post back once I have seen the unit in operation.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    This was originally called the Eshland Wood Gun - made in Essex, CT. It dates back to 1990 or so when Gasification boilers were just getting started. They had a number of units which were somewhat competitive with the Tarm, but not as "finished" (rougher looking). They did have some larger units, which were useful for those with much larger homes.

    They did have some major problems with corrosion - much more so than the Tarm. A very large percentage of early units failed. I'm sure the move to ss is because of that - but some welders and metallurgists here have indicated that SS does not solve all of that sort of problem and is not the best material for boilers. I'll let others with more expertise comment on that.
  5. Grapenut

    Grapenut Member

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    What did you find onyour field trip?
  6. Moosestache

    Moosestache New Member

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    My friend has been using his wood gun for 2 full heating systems now. He is very happy with it overall. I think his words were "working as advertised". He does not have any water storage and he didn't see any real need for it. In actual use, in the cold months, he filled it three times a day and never had any issues with it going out or anything. The only issues he mentioned, and this was also mentioned by the people at wood gun, was that you should expect to replace some of the refractory bricks regularly. It is an easy easy thing to do, but I would expect to do this every couple of years, maybe $200ish each time, I'm sort of guessing but close. I ordered one of the carbon steel units. I saved a substantial amount by going with the carbon unit, and my general feeling is i should get at least 15 years out of it, and I would bet in 15 years the technology will be much better than what we currently have and I will want to change anyway. With oil as high as it looks like it will be, I figure no more than a 3 year payback... 1300 gallons of oil even at 3$ is $3900 I can get the wood for $1000 ....should be 3 years easy.
  7. Der Fuirmeister

    Der Fuirmeister Member

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    Did you get the carbon wood gun? How did the purchase go? If you did buy one, how's it working? I'm considering this unit and two others and would appreciate your opinion.
  8. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Last year I spoke with a person that has had both stainless and non-stainless. The non unit was of course a number of years ago and sold by Eshland(I think)...there have been a number of modifications to the Wood Gun over time...but this person could not say enough good things about the stainless unit. He was very emphatic that if it were him he would absolutely only go with the SS unit...I think he said his current SS unit has been running for about 5 years now and he also has another larger SS unit used for commercial purposes. Neither unit utilizes any type of "storage" and both units have exceeded his expectations.
  9. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Here's my opinion on another thread:

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/member/12136/

    Sorry I screwed up. I'll find that post!

    The WOOD GUN convinced me that wood gassification was the only way to heat with wood but it had some issues. It would eat up it’s insides in one heating season. I found myself paying more to replace ceramic nozzles ,door seals and other refractories each Spring than it would have cost me to heat with oil. It did have one featrure that was great! A motorized inlet flap. Never overheated nor made much creosote. Only a small amount in the loading chamber. However unless I used a good firewood that “coaled up” well the fire would not restrart after long idle time. Ran it for ten years and then sent it to the scrap heap.
  10. chiefburritt

    chiefburritt New Member

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    I have a wood gun E-250 SS chamber and so far I'm very happy with it. My version is for steam heat and one of the few if not only wood fired boiler for that application. I have gotten relight times of up to seven hours using decent but not excellent wood. Maintanence is simple, once a week clean it, about a half hours work; then fill it, burn it. AHS seems to be very easy to work with and any problems were discussed up front. Those problems being the replaceable refractories, gasket issues on doors and wearing of ceramic door linings. These were acceptable to me as regular maintenance items. So far I am very pleased and would recommend this boiler to any one.

    Now I'm not going to trash their competition, I'm sure they all make a comparable unit, however I have been around the forum and other gasification units seem to be very maintenance driven from opening this door to then cracking this door to relighting every time etc.... With the wood gun I don't have to do this. I light it and walk away until I refill the box. I have had the same fire going since November! just add wood and clean.

    One note the flue needs to be stainless steel... preferebly 22 gauge or thicker there is an amount of moisture from this stove, but I attribute it too my not so perfect wood supply. (seasoned) I have a class a all fuel chimney prior to this boiler install.

    This boiler has only been in service since OCT 08. Installed by me, including the steam piping.
  11. Der Fuirmeister

    Der Fuirmeister Member

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    Muncybob, Dry Steam and Fred61 thank you all for your opinions. Your experiences are helpful. It seems there are a lot of variables to consider.

    I have a 6"X6" masonry tile flue approx. 23' tall. Installed new in 1993. I check it every year. It's in great shape. Have you heard of any problems with the Wood Gun or other gasification boilers using a tile flue?
  12. chiefburritt

    chiefburritt New Member

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    Nope no experience there.....
  13. Brialin

    Brialin Member

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    I had the eshland woodgun quite a few years ago. Stay away from them. It was a maintenance nightmare and parts were expensive. If there was any sort of air leak it would drip creosote. Stainless was not offered when I bought mine but was available later on. My firebox developed a water leak which was warrantied. I had to remove and bring the unit to the factory at my expense. I was then able to pay for the stainless upgrade in the firebox. One year after I went through this I developed another leak down lower. They said bring it back and they would fix it. Well I brought it right to the scrapman and bought a Tarm gassifier which is now 13 years old. The only problem with the Tarm is the cost of the firebrick ( around $500 every 2 to 3 years). I burn year round with 1000 gallon unpressurized storage tank.
  14. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Firestarter....no input from me on the liner. I'm hoping non SS will be ok as that is what we have and this spring will be purchase time for us. The person I spoke with on his unit said he did have some problems as stated above with his older units, but he still felt they were a good boiler for him. He and others have stated that the newer units are a different beast altogether...much better quality. Do your own research though and go see one if possible as I have no 1st hand experience. I am planning a day trip to their facility perhaps in March and hope to visit a customer somewhere along the way that has had one running for at least 2 heating seasons.
  15. penfrydd

    penfrydd New Member

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    I operated an Eshland Wood Gun from 1985 until 1990. It ate door gaskets, but the most frustrating thing was that the draft fan was on the hot side of the fire. The heat would travel down the fan shaft and burn out the bearings of the motor. It also produced a ton of creosote, which would cause the draft fan to make screeching sounds that were "less than pleasant".

    I will say that it was so much better than a woodstove. Heat throughout the house and all the mess in the boiler room. I burned oil from 1990 until now, but have a new Tarm on a pallet, waiting to install. This time, I've gone with storage.

    This forum reminds me of my reaction to "Best Buy"...too many choices...too much information. But it's a great source of knowledge. Thanks
  16. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think it's great that somebody actually makes a wood-fired steamer for residential use. Steam heat is a wonderful thing, and there are plenty of houses around with steam power plants. Converting to hot water is a major expense and fraught with potential problems.
  17. chiefburritt

    chiefburritt New Member

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    Yes.

    That was my problem eric, I have a one pipe system and was burning 1700 gallons of oil a year. At 3.90 a gallon!! ouch. I found this company at the woodsman's field days in Boonville in 2007. After a long conversation with Jeff the owner I was very interested. After further conversations with him and a customer in Mass. I was sold.

    Now the AHS boiler or any other unit is not a oil fired boiler at all. There is work to it and regular maintenance, but I am willing to do both and not having bought a drop of oil since last april, 08 is a fine thing indeed.

    Door gaskets are easy you just maintain them and they will last, the draft fan has been dramatically redesigned. Both bearing are outside the fire now. Also I have not had any creosote outside the main load chamber, everything else is dust and a few small pieces of cinder.

    Moisture is a problem only because of my wood. Next year it will be better. The moisture drips a little from the cyclone seperator. no biggie just something to deal with.
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