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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. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I wasn't told how log the center bricks would last and I wasn't knoledgable enough to ask, but mine only lasted one year. How can you run the unit "as it should be"? In other words what would an operator do to wear out the center bricks?

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  2. dogwood

    dogwood Minister of Fire

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    Singed Eyebrows, not only will BioHeat not warranty a self install, but I was told last week I had to fly the installer to New Hampshire to go to a installation training session before they could sell me a Froeling boiler. What do you think that would cost, if you lived a long way away at what plumbers charge, on top of a round trip plane ticket. You think it would be difficult enough for them to find customers to pony up the 12-13 thousand dollars the thing costs in the first place. Maybe they don't want to sell the boilers. Never thought I'd have any sort of trouble spending that sort of money.

    The salesman said he'd call me back to see if any exception could be worked out because of the distance, but never called back. Whatever happened to customer service. I think I'll go back to getting a Solo Innova unit. They are less costly and seem to get good reviews. Just venting here. Least I got a bargain on some 140 feet of 1.5 inch black pipe, and have an 86 gallon Amtrol/Extrol expansion coming in next week. And got a 22 ton Huskee log splitter and a new Stihl 361 chainsaw. Life is good. Making progress on this project, but still bumps in the road. The Econoburn dealer inspection of self installs to make the warranty good seems like just the ticket to eliminate plumber labor costs. Might have to rethink which boiler to get entirely. Thanks for that bit of information on dealer inspections of Econoburn self installs Altheating.

    Mike
  3. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Fred, I think they were just referring to burning suitable wood, regular cleaning, etc.
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Just as a point of interest, I believe Wood Gun is the only gasifier on the market that can be used in steam systems. I don't know if they make a separate steamer, of if it's just a modification of the existing design. For that matter I think it's the only wood-fired steamer on the market, gasifier or not. Maybe Patrick can comment on that. I'm sure he's following this thread.

    I have no idea of how well it works. But that's quite an accomplishment, considering that it's really difficult to convert a steam system to hot water. Not worth it, in most heating professionals' opinion.
  5. Piker

    Piker Minister of Fire

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    The Econoburn manual states that a different cross section of flu pipe is viable as long as proper draft is maintained.

    cheers
  6. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    Mike/Dogwood; If the Froling is that finiky that a regular plumber can't be trusted to install it I wonder why they even brought it over. Compare that to a Wood Gun that you just hook up & throw wood in it. Apparently Bioheat feels that some people will pay any amount of money for a high tech Lamda boiler. Good luck with your search & install. I also got a good deal on 1 1/2" used sprinkler black pipe that is like new. I hear a lot of good things about the Solo Inova boiler, Randy
  7. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

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    hi all, just wanted to share a few things:

    The requirement that a Fröling boiler can only be purchased through select, trained dealers has nothing to do with the installation requirements of the boiler. Like any boiler it has to be put together correctly, of course, and the programming on the control panel requires a thorough read of the manual. However, none of this is beyond a competent heating contractor. The trained dealer requirement is one imposed on us by Fröling.

    Their experience, and ours, is that the vast majority of times there is a problem with a boiler not operating correctly or as expected, it comes back to an installation error. We have lots of drawings that are available on our web site and are included with every boiler's manual. These drawings have been worked out over many years and, while we are always interested in improving them, we know they work. Despite this, contractors frequently second guess or misread the drawings:

    "there's something wrong with the boiler you sold me"
    "which drawing did you follow?"
    "Solo 2 from page 61 of the manual"
    "OK, is the ball valve labeled 'I' on the drawing part way closed"
    "ummm...which ball valve is that?"
    "the one just above the Termovar valve"
    "umm...thermo - what?"

    And so it goes.

    Fröling is new to this market and is very concerned about maintaining the value of their brand and their reputation. By requiring dealers to receive training prior to selling and installing the boilers the "something's wrong with your boiler" conversations are kept to a minimum and, more importantly the end user has a positive experience. So, as a sales guy it hurts me to limit our sales this way, but as far as long term benefit to Fröling, BHUSA and the end user, it is surely the right way to go. A more conservative approach than some might take, but a style that's served us well for thirty years.

    Second, Gooserider, you are right that our manuals are not available on line. They are all about 75 pages with lots of photos and images so files are pretty big. At each boilers web page, however, you can download a six page "Boiler Data Sheet" that gives you the most pertinent information regarding specs. As well you can download our plumbing schematics to allow you to choose the most appropriate approach for your particular situation. Lastly, if someone wants a copy of the manual we can email the file or sell them a hard copy for $20.00.

    hope this clarifies some things. Best from Lyme, Chris.
  8. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for the explanation Chris, but IMHO it does seem a bit of a push on things... I understand the concerns Froling has about their product reputation and proper install, but it seems they are a bit over the top in the requirement - perhaps you could talk them into something like requiring the installer to submit a proposed piping diagram beforehand, and getting an approval, followed by a signoff (maybe by the code guy?) that the actual plumbing matches the approved diagram? It does seem like requiring a customer to fly the installer to a training class is excessive (if true) perhaps there can be some happy medium...

    As to the manuals - spec sheets are good, but I like the manuals better, and there is no real substitute... I've found they often have details that can be significant, but which aren't in the specs - things like exactly what one needs to do for maintainance, details on how to operate, or other questions of that sort... I'm sure the files are big, but in these days of low cost bandwidth and cheap storage, file size is hardly a reason to hesitate - I know I recently purchased a 1.5TB drive for my home system for under $200, and that Bluehost will put up an unlimited size / unlimited transfer website for $6.95 / month....

    At any rate, thanks for the explanation and your being willing to participate here on the forums.

    Gooserider
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That's one problem with dealing with foreign suppliers--they are often used to completely different standards and practices in their own countries, and have trouble adjusting to the realities in other places. I know from dealing with European forest machine companies, there's no substitute for establishing an office/shop on this side the the Atlantic, then having one of their people live here, manage the place and help set policy. Because it's going to be different. It has to be. The manager needs the authority to do things differently--to essentially shape the U.S. Division to meet the expectations and needs of the marketplace. If not, your product has trouble competing.

    I'm not sure if it's still the case, but EconoBurn used to have a policy that their boilers could only be installed by certified professionals for the warranty to be honored. A lot of people, including me, bought EKOs instead because we wanted to do the install ourselves. I can see their point and it's a valid one, but this particular market ain't playing the game that way. Ironically (and I can't speak for them), but I think this forum made the professional install requirement kind of a moot point. If you want to install the boiler yourself, join the Boiler Room and you can probably get all the information you need. That's something a marketing director or service manager sitting in an office in Germany wouldn't know--but an in-country manager sure would.

    Chris, I'm curious: What is/was Tarm's policy? I know plenty of people who installed their own Tarms and I've never heard of a legitimate warranty claim being denied. Was that because TarmUSA backed it up?
  10. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    If you read the fine print in the New Horizon EKO warranty you will find this:

    • This warranty shall be void if the boiler is installed by someone other than a professional contractor
    / installer experienced and qualified in hydronic heating systems.
    • This warranty shall be void if the owner fails to have the boiler serviced or inspected at least once
    every two years by a professional contractor / installer experienced and qualified in hydronic heating
    systems.

    I noticed it shortly before placing my order. After reading the experiences on this website I decided to make the purchase in-spite of the warranty basically being thrown out the window...
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Guess I didn't read the warranty. I've had two warranty claims and Zenon took care of each one with no questions asked, even though he knows I did my own installation.
  12. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    That's great to know. That being said....I haven't seen many (if any) threads on this site mentioning warranty repairs on any of the more popular brands. So hopefully for most of us the warranty issue will never be a real concern.

    I'm dealing with Zenon on an an issue with the new EKO draft fans and he seems to be very up-front. It's as much about the people as it is the equipment when you deal with quality companies...
  13. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    My take on it is twofold...

    First off, I would tend to say that the weasel phrases in a lot of warranties are to give the company a clean "out" in cases of equipment abuse, or possibly a plain obnoxious customer... Much easier to say "not installed by pro" than something like "damage due to condensation and improper firing"... OTOH if it really IS a defect, then one just doesn't have to ask...

    Secondly, to sound rather cynical, I suspect that posters on this forum, especially mods and heavy posters that have shown a certain level of knowhow will probably tend to get the "above and beyond" treatment just for public relations sake... Think about how many people show up here asking "What should I buy?" questions - would any company that wanted to sell lots of boilers REALLY want such questions answered "Don't buy brand X, they don't stand behind their product..."

    Gooserider
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Good point, fo sho.
  15. dogwood

    dogwood Minister of Fire

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    Chris from BioHeat, your salesman did not mention anything about trained dealers over the phone. He said I would need to send an installer to you in Lyme for training prior to our purchasing a Froeling unit. There are not any dealers down here in Virginia and you would be shipping the unit direct. I had called to get some questions answered on shipping arrangements when this training issue was broached. I can't fly someone up to Lyme to get a couple hours training. Its going to be hard enough to find someone to do the install as it is. I will have to go with plan B which is to get a Solo Innova. Was the salesman wrong about the required training? He should of at least called back as he said, which is common courtesy, not to mention good business practice. I'm three hours away fron Zenon's place in West Virginia and could easily get an EKO, but local inspectors want a UL listed product which the EKO is not, as far as I know, and for once in my life I wanted to get the best of something, which this site led me to believe the Froeling boiler is. There should be some way to work problems like this out. The people on this site do this for each other all the time for free, and you always seem to be helpful on your posts here.

    I would be happy to share my schematic, which is basically copped from one of yours, for pre-approval, and was planning to consult with your techs on anyway before installing. I have already found and downloaded a six page technical data sheet and would very much like for you to have emailed to me the installation manuals for the Froeling 50 and Solo Innova 50 units, as I will get one of them. Hope you reply, or email me at oneillmj@ntelos.net. Thanks. Maybe the Dealer inspection signoff idea like Econoburn seem to be using would be workable, but I doubt you'd want to fly one of your folks down this way to do that. Come on, lets do some business. Winter is fast approaching.

    Mike
  16. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    Is it just me or is something really wrong here? How many hoops does Mike need to jump through to purchase this Wunder Boiler. Chris states that like any boiler it needs to be assembled correctly, what, it's shipped dissassembled from Germany? My $3000.00 Atmos was shipped assembled from Poland. Proper programming of the controller requires a thourough read of the manual, newsflash for Froling, most Americans can read. Chris needs to do what Froling says & I don't fault him for this. My complaint is of Froling & their idea that most Americans are too stupid to either install or operate their boiler. It could be worse, if this was KWB it would be X 3, they are picky. Froling is worried about it's good reputation(I'm sure it's a great boiler) & I don't know how much they are endearing themselves to other members, the're not doing much for me though, Randy
  17. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    It is a good boiler, elsewhere they have a full dealer network, in the US they do not. Yet.

    I enquired about the Pellet version, lot of change, noody mentioned that I also needed the additional cost of training by the installer.

    Also looking at the KoB, if I can get anyone to tell me how much it costs. I will ask them about installation.
  18. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    Hi Durango; The Brits say a lot of good things about the Froling boiler hopefully Froling can rethink their marketing strategy so we don't lose this high tech boiler. There is a KWB boiler & a Koeb & Schaefer boiler with no USA dealers that I am aware of, haven't heard of a KOB. From what I have read on the UK forums KWB is as good as it gets. Check out the U-Tube videos, Randy/ I just did a Google search & it looks like there is a KWB & KOB both Austrian I believe.
  19. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

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    yikes, this thread has really been hijacked, sorry about that. I am running out of daylight here, so won't get a reply out today. We have dealers in for training tomorrow, but I will try to respond to the issues brought up by the end of the day. Just don't want folks to think I am ignoring them! ;)

    One quick thing - sorry can't help myself - no one would expect a consumer to bear the cost of a dealer receiving training. That is an investment that the dealer makes for his own long term benefit.

    back to you shortly,

    Chris
  20. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Someone has to pay for the cost... and at the end of the day it's almost always the consumer in one form or another. ;)
  21. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I've never run the EB nor the WG. When I was shopping a few years ago, I nearly bought the WG. If I were making the decision today, I wouldn't buy either. Nor would I buy a GreenWood. Oh, that's right, you can't buy a GW anymore.

    A couple of stew Pid observations . . .

    Buy the best unit you can afford that is right for your circumstances. Do NOT buy based on some stupid 1,500 credit. Seriously!! You trust the Govt to make your decision on a boiler???

    Likewise, don't decide against a Fro because of their Europa ways. If the unit is better, last longer, runs more efficiently, how long are you gonna remember the initial hassle??

    Oh, and about those 25 year warrenties. . . . :lol: :zip:

    Jimbo
  22. Paul

    Paul New Member

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    When I was looking into the woodgun the thing that concerned me was the life span of the ceramic tubes that were the key to the units efficiency. I think they said it may need to be changed every 50+ cords of wood. Other than that I liked the unit as it did not have heat exchange tubes that could get coated with creosote if you burn unseasoned wood. Only the Eko had a cleaning system for these HX tubes which was a factor for my choice.
  23. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    FYI, the Econoburns also have a handle on the side that moves the turbulators up and down to scrub the tubes. Sounds as if you already have your EKO, so you're all set- just wanted to point this factor out to others who are still looking.

    As to the WoodGun-Tarm-EKO-Econoburn-Froling discussion-- all seem like well engineered products in their own way, each with their own particular strengths or minor trade-offs. Sort of like the endless pickup debates that some people over Chevy/ Ford/ Dodge/ Toyota- each has a few points that stand out over another, and a few points where something else stands out over them- pick which particular characteristics are most important to you and choose accordingly.
  24. PatrickAHS

    PatrickAHS New Member

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    The proof is only in the pudding, or in the snake oil, just kidding. However, we have hundreds of customers operating with no storage and no problem from it. The same design that allows us to eliminate storage gives us a bit more leniency on moisture requirement. Side vent is 100% do-able, as the Wood Gun is totally forced exhaust with no chimney draw requirements (but local codes could prohibit such an install). Basically all these things come back to us having a true "off-cycle" as opposed to a down-cycle.
  25. PatrickAHS

    PatrickAHS New Member

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    The reality is that the bricks lifespan is going to depend on wood usage. Some customers replace them every two years and some go as much as four. I would suggest changing the bricks every 12-15 cords.
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