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Wood Gun vs Econburn

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by heat4steve, Aug 13, 2009.

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  1. heat4steve

    heat4steve Member

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    First, I have no experience heating with wood to put things in perspective. I am deciding between the wood gun and the econburn. The wood gun seems to be better construction and boast that it can completely shutoff and a a result there is no need for thermal storage. In addition the wood gun does not require as dyr wood content as the econburn. Both units are pricey about $8000 for 150k BTU/hr (carbon steel only) although there are equivalent tax (1500) rebates. Any one have an opinion, recommendation, or experience that could help me with my desicion. Thanks

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  2. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Any reason you're excluding Tarm and EKO from your list? Not to further confuse....just wondering.

    I haven't heard many bad things about either boiler on this site. But I think in general you'll find more support for the Econoburn. I could be wrong, however....
  3. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    I have never seen an Econoburn in person but have heard/read many good things about them. I recently bought a Wood Gun SS oil/wood boiler (to replace my old oil boiler) to avoid having chimney construction work done. Not installed yet but I can tell you it is built like a tank and weighs a lot! It relies more on mechanical functions as compared to some units that are very electrical for control and it seems most of the parts are available from most any heating/plumbing supplier. If I had a second chimney available I may have made a different decision...but my choices were limited.
  4. heat4steve

    heat4steve Member

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    Reply to Stee6043

    I actuallly was able to see these units which which provides me comfort when spending this type of money. Is there a cost savings with the TARM or the EKO or some other advantage? I have received mixed information on the EKO and was told that neither of these units qualify for the $1500 goverment tax credit.

    Thanks for your help
  5. heat4steve

    heat4steve Member

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    Reply to muncybob.

    I agree the Wood Fun is well built - seems better design and construction than the Econburn. However, the warranty for the Econburn is 25 years whcih is better then the WG at 20 years with SS and 6 years with Carbon Steel. What would your decision be if you had a chimney available.
  6. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    I probably would have made a point to see an Econoburn in person...for that matter I probably would have wanted to see several others as well. But my choices were limited to a combo oil/wood unit. The Atmos was going to be too tall and the Tarm seems to be more dependant on drier wood and seems it would much prefer "storage". I will know after this winter if I made the right choice as I would prefer not to put in storage due to space limitations and $$$ and looks like a lot of the wood I'll be burning this year will be 25-30% moisture content. WG says neither of these situations is a problem for their unit...we'll see! It does feel decent to buy US made(PA at that!) and it does qualify for the tax credit.
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I have not heard anything particularly "bad" about either Econoburn or Wood Gun, but if I were making a purchase decision right now, I'd be somewhat more inclined towards Econoburn... Some of the stuff on the Wood Gun website (which is a very large and overall well done site) strikes me as a bit "snake-oil" flavored... Maybe it isn't but it's hard to tell from a distance, but I don't buy the "no storage" requirement, or the lower moisture wood claim... There were other aspects that seemed a bit puzzling like the very unclear suggestion that it might be OK to side vent the Wood Gun, w/ no data on what would be required to do so.

    I sent e-mail to the WG folks asking about some of this, and never got a reply... Econoburn has a couple of folks that post here quite regularly, and seem a bit more responsive.

    I also like that the Econoburn doesn't seem to have as much of a footprint requirement, as it doesn't have that extra ash separator hanging off the side, and it looks like they might not need as much room for maintainance access at the rear... The other thing I like about the Econoburn is that I have a bit of a preference for having the combustion fans on the intake side rather than the exhaust - I can't see how exposing the fan to the elevated heat and combustion products of the exhaust side would help it's reliabilty. This may not be an issue, but it still seems better to lower the stress on the fan if possible...

    The downside of the Econoburn is that it needs an 8" flue... If I put in a gasser, I'd need to replace the existing gas furnace chimney with Class A, but given the existing stack is 6", it would be a lot easier if the replacement were the same size, so as to minimize the amount of hassle in doing the changeover. (I believe 6" Class A has about the same OD as the existing insulated gas chimney)

    Gooserider
  8. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Flue size of 6" was a factor in my decision to buy the WG. The storage claim is yet to be proven this heating season but I did speak with 2 owners of the WG(1 had an older model and the other was a recent model) and neither had storage and both seemed satisfied with the performance and wood consumption level. I must also state that the sales dept was slow in any responses before the purchase but I did call "tech support" yesterday and he returned my call within a few hours. You do need 3' clearance in the rear for access/cleaning purposes.
  9. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    30% moisture wood will burn but in short time you will be able to guarantee it is not as efficient as lower moisture wood. If you do a burn comparison of 30% vs 20% you will find the 20% delivers more heat in less time. The 20% will tend to produce little or no crosote because of a hotter fire.
  10. Piker

    Piker Minister of Fire

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    Stack size on the EBW100 and EBW150 boilers can generally be reduced to 6" given proper draft. They keep the stack sizes on the boilers the same to increase manufacturing efficiency only.

    cheers
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    That is good to hear, I hope that it is specified in the manual someplace, as I know that the inspectors in MA, and I suspect most other places are going to look for a stack that matches the appliance outlet unless the manual specifically says you can reduce it down... It might also be good to put a footnote to that effect on the website spec page - IMHO flue size can be a significant decision factor for those of us with small existing flues, or even in new builds given the often sizeable cost difference between 6" and 8" Class A pipe... (but I've never heard of a boiler getting rejected for having to small of a stack capacity...)

    As a side note, one of the things I've noticed as a major difference between the boiler makers and the wood stove industries is the online availability of the installation / owners manuals... I can't think of ANY stove makers where I've looked for a manual, and not easily found an online link to a PDF of the manual - and in my efforts to help folks out, I've looked at more than a few of them...

    OTOH, access to the boiler manuals seems to be far less available... Spot checking websites, I've found the following...

    Econoburn - NO
    Wood Gun - NO
    AHONA / Eco-Orlan - YES for PAXO, exerpts only for EKO, no for Biomax
    BioHeat - NO (Tarm, Froling, Scandia)
    ATMOS - No, but lots of installation details on website

    Thus out of about SEVEN different boiler brands, I was only able to quickly find the manuals for ONE... (this isn't to say they weren't available, but if they were it wasn't obvious where they were)

    IMHO it would be an advantage to customers to be able to download manuals for the boilers of interest and see how the details compared... I know I can make a first pass filter on the web page specs, though that has possible issues as you just showed, but it would help to see the manuals to look at what the "gotchas" are that might help narrow the choices down...

    Gooserider
  12. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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  13. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    I have an Econoburn 150, and I have been very pleased with the quality of design, construction, and support from the company.
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for the pointers Stee.. New Horizon does a pretty good job of putting their manuals on line, all three of their gasifier lines have manuals posted, though one could possibly make rude comments about the quality of the english translations of the BioMax and Attack DP manuals, especially the latter. The EKO manual is pretty good in that regard. However my assumption is that the importer doesn't necessarily do the manuals, so I won't count that against them....

    My corrected manual list...

    Econoburn - NO
    Wood Gun - NO
    AHONA / Eco-Orlan - YES for PAXO,(exerpts only for EKO, no for Biomax )
    BioHeat - NO (Tarm, Froling, Scandia)
    ATMOS - No, but lots of installation details on website
    New Horizon - Yes for EKO, BioMax, Attack DP manuals

    Revised score... NINE boiler lines, FOUR manuals readily available on line.

    Gooserider
  15. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    Zenon at New Horizon is a very knowlegeable person to deal with. My thoughts on WG are well known on this site, this is a great boiler & in stainless maybe the last one you ever need to buy. The one issue I have with WG is that they(Patrick) will tell you over the phone that their boiler will power vent right out a basement window. In my experience there is no way you will get this in writing though(it sure isn't in their install manual). Or as GR discovered, no reply here to info. request. Tarm is a great boiler from everything I've read, one of the best boilers you can buy. EKO is very well made & the only real issue I read about is gasket sealing problems. I don't think an Econoburn is in the same league as the WG, carbon steel to carbon steel, this is just my novice opinion. My suggestion is to talk to the dealers, Rich at CGH is also a great guy to deal with. For sheer ruggedness I like the WG for a more high tech better controlled more efficient boiler I like the Tarm, Randy
  16. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I had a carbon steel 140 Wood Gun several years ago. Ran it for 10 years and then sent it to the junkyard. I was glad to see it go after many frustrating experiences with the beast over the years. The final problem that sent it away was the leaky loading chamber. After getting a welder in three or four times to patch several leaks I decided to rid myself of the unit after seeing weeping in several places on the walls of the chamber.

    It ate a set of ceramic center brick nozzles a year which at that time were costing $200.00 a set. I was continually repairing door gaskets throughout the heating season. That baby has several feet of door seals with the number and size of doors it has.

    I don't know if they have changed the controls in recent years. It was run with a pair of aquastats. When it ran out of wood the fan would continue to run, sucking in cold outside air, quickly cooling the unit, then when it got down to where the oil aquastat kicked in the oil would bring the boiler temp back up but the next time the boiler called for heat the wood aquastat would kick in and again draw cold outside air through the unit quickly cooling it until the oil burner kicked in. I overcame this problem by building a controller that locked the system in oil mode until I released it manually. When it was in oil mode it was very inefficient. If I were to do it over (which I wouldn't) I would get the unit without the oil and find some other means of back-up.

    As for using the unit without a chimney, I wonder if that could present some danger. I had about 15 feet of chimney and there was still sparks coming out of it. The asphalt shingles were burned four feet in all directions.
  17. heat4steve

    heat4steve Member

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    Reply to Gooserider:

    I can only insert a 6" (8"OD) double wall vent in my 30' chimney. How would one determine if the draft is sufficient? As an alternative, could the chimney be used as is without fear of cresote buildup or fire?

    Thanks
  18. heat4steve

    heat4steve Member

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    Reply to Pyro:

    Can your econoburn turn completely off or is it necessary to use thermal storage with the boiler? Also how do you vent? I am trying to figure out what I will need to install.

    Thanks
  19. heat4steve

    heat4steve Member

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    I was looking for a unit that qualifies for the $1500 tax rebate. Could provide the link for CGH? I will check with Rich.

    Thanks
  20. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    The oil/wood Wood Gun will go to the oil burner if set in "auto" and it will lock out at that point. You must manually reset the control to "wood" in order to burn wood again. So essentially they have automated your manual process. WG admits they had several design problems in previous models that they state they have overcome...I certainly hope so! I would not have bought the WG if I had not spoken to 2 owners running their product for the last 5 years and they were very positive....one was carbon steel and the other was SS. I was told the center ceramics should last 4+ years if the unit is run as it should be?
  21. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

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    heat4steve,
    I posted my EBW-150 experience in one of your earlier threads, so no need to repeat that. I also a friend who's owned an Wood gun for 20 years, and has nothing but good things to say about it. And there isn't much negative stuff to be found on Hearth about the other boiler makes mentioned in this thread either. But what did catch my attention in this thread is your first sentence - "I have no experience heating with wood". I'm taking "no experience" literally, and wanted to give you a heads-up on this. Heating with wood involves time and work. All of the folks on this forum have varying degrees of this - I'm on one far end of the spectrum, cutting on my property, splitting with a maul, and hauling with a wheelbarrow. At the other end are those that buy seasoned wood, c/s/d/s. But even there, the boiler needs to be regularly loaded and monitored. The reason I'm saying this, is that you need to be fully committed to providing whatever amount of time and work your situation will need, or else you may become resentful of how the big beast has changed your life style (I'm not, btw). The other important thing is this year's wood supply - do you have 4-6 cord of well-seasoned wood set to go ? If not, you may be in for a disappointing first year. Finding good, seasoned wood now, without taking out a second mortgage, is going to be tough. And, if you try to burn green wood, you will be a very unhappy camper. I don't want to sound negative on this, but wood boilers are a huge project, and I think it's important for those of us with experience to let you know what's coming up. In any case, best of luck with it !
  22. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Venting is by way of a run of 8 inch metal smoke pipe to a masonry chimney with 8 inch flue.

    I wouldn't say that you could "turn it completely off"-- you really can't do that very well with any device that burns solid wood-- but on the other hand, storage is not necessarily mandatory.

    I went from January 2009 through the end of the heating season and did not have my storage up and running yet-- it worked well, although in my case, I tended to run hot burns and then simply let it burn out- that maximized efficiency (and with my house having old post and beam and plaster construction, it sort of served as its own thermal mass for heat storage. Storage will make an already good thing even better.
  23. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    Steve; If you do a Google search on Connecticut Green Heat you will find Rich. He is also on Ebay. There are many good boiler dealers & as one Moderator said, he hasn't run into one bad one in the bunch. One important point with the WG is that I believe it is the only boiler that you can self install & have a long warrantee(exception is possibly Garn). Fred had a bad experience with his WG & at that time he wasn't the only one. This was a long time ago. Seals have been improved. The carbon steel WG must go into an airtite idle or it will corrode. I believe the efficiency on my Atmos is going to be down from some of the others however Zenon pointed out that controlling blower speed will keep flue gas temps down. Atmos is still an excellent boiler & one you might want to consider, it doesn't have a firetube exchanger though as I mentioned before, Randy
  24. altheating

    altheating New Member

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    The Econoburn can be self installed, but you will have to have a dealer come out and give you the "start up tour" and sign off on your install to validate the warranty. Most dealers will charge for this but after spending whatever amount on the new boiler it is just a drop in the bucket to get the 25 year warranty.
  25. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    Then this is new. I talked to Econoburn directly about a year ago & they said absolutly no warrantee on a self install. This was the same deal with Froling & Tarm from I think it was Bioheat. Whatever warrantee you have or think you have it sure needs to be in writing. This would be a good deal to be able to just pay the dealer to validate the install, Randy
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