3300sqft home with oil heat what are my options

Miran587

New Member
Feb 15, 2020
12
Westport MA
Hi I just bought a big house has 3300sqft . House has oil hot water boiler that feeds my hydro forced air units and it also feeds a 80 gallon holding tank for our hot water. I'm thinking about ditching the 80 gallon holding tank and getting electric hybrid hot water tank to save on oil . But also looking into options to heat my house been here since October 2019 it has 330 gallon tank and already had to fill it 3 times and hasn't even been that cold here in Massachusetts. not much room to add on so wondering what my options are for wood burning boiler I'd like to keep my oil for back up but dont really have room for 2 units . Any good combo units for my size home that good .
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,382
Nova Scotia
Options would also depend on your house layout & what you have room for and where. Along with other factors. Number one is fuel supply. If wood burning, you should already have the next winters wood processed & drying.

Combo units usually have compromises and don't do both as good as separate units. Lots of reading on here on possibilities. But go into it realistically - it won't be easy or cheap to get something in.
 

Miran587

New Member
Feb 15, 2020
12
Westport MA
House has 3 floors of living not counting basement. Bedrooms on 2nd and 3rd . Has 2 forced air units 1 in basement 1 on the 3rd floor. House has oil no other options other than propane.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,816
NE Ohio
HPWH should save you some money for sure...as for the combo boiler, yeah, the combo boilers were not great, if anyody even makes them anymore...none that I know of.
The only decent combo unit that I know of is the Caddy or Max Caddy by PSG, but those are forced air wood furnaces...they use a separate burn chamber for the wood and the oil...but do a decent job of both...not cheap though.
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,997
Eastern Central PA
Hi I just bought a big house has 3300sqft . House has oil hot water boiler that feeds my hydro forced air units and it also feeds a 80 gallon holding tank for our hot water. I'm thinking about ditching the 80 gallon holding tank and getting electric hybrid hot water tank to save on oil .
My place is very similar 3000SF on 3 floors. Only way your going to heat that with a wood stove is a lot of air movement. And a bear of a heat monster wood stove or better yet 2 wood stoves. I used to use 5 to 6 tanks of oil per winter when i moved in here 32 yrs ago. Cut that to less than half with insulating and air sealing so thats every bit as important or more important than your heat choice. And yes get the heat load of your hot water off your main heating system.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,997
Eastern Central PA
The only decent combo unit that I know of is the Caddy or Max Caddy by PSG, but those are forced air wood furnaces...they use a separate burn chamber for the wood and the oil...but do a decent job of both...not cheap though.
I have an indoor combination wood and oil ,but in my opinion they use way too much wood compared to my EPA stoves. Long term it would kill me with the wood consumption. From my experience with it.
 

JohnDolz

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2015
524
Burlington, CT
Depends on how much $ you want to spend, how much work you want to do and how much room you have (i.e. do you have room for storage). I think the key being how much work you want to do and would you enjoy it. From an ideal setup and producing the greatest ROI I would suggest an indoor gasification boiler with storage - a wall hung propane boiler as your back up. Definitely not cheap but if you have read enough posts here you are aware that this is more a lifestyle question rather than how one heats cheaply. Not sure if you ever head towards Connecticut but if you do I would be happy to show you a system as described above. I am baseboard hotwater but the core system is the same for hot air. I should add that my house is 330 sqft plus 1700 sqft basement so basically the same animal - one less floor.
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
878
South Central Minnesota
I know some here have had good results with Biomass wood gasifiers and they make combo units:


No direct experience-
 

Miran587

New Member
Feb 15, 2020
12
Westport MA
My place is very similar 3000SF on 3 floors. Only way your going to heat that with a wood stove is a lot of air movement. And a bear of a heat monster wood stove or better yet 2 wood stoves. I used to use 5 to 6 tanks of oil per winter when i moved in here 32 yrs ago. Cut that to less than half with insulating and air sealing so thats every bit as important or more important than your heat choice. And yes get the heat load of your hot water off your main heating system.
What is air sealing. my house was built in 2006 so I believe 2x6 construction and I would think well insulated as codes here are strict
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,997
Eastern Central PA
What is air sealing. my house was built in 2006 so I believe 2x6 construction and I would think well insulated as codes here are strict
In that case im wondering why your using so much oil. My place is 100 yrs older than yours, plenty leaky with minimum insulation and iv only used about 50 million BTUS so far this heating season to heat to 76-77. If you,ve used 660 Gallons of oil, youve used over 91 million BTUs already .
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,816
NE Ohio
What is air sealing. my house was built in 2006 so I believe 2x6 construction and I would think well insulated as codes here are strict
You can have a house that is insulated well, but still not be air sealed well...which means that air can infiltrate the house envelope...many buildings have hundreds, if not thousands of tiny little air leaks...and its pretty hard to seal them all up on an existing structure, but you can eliminate the worst of them, with some work.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,382
Nova Scotia
House has 3 floors of living not counting basement. Bedrooms on 2nd and 3rd . Has 2 forced air units 1 in basement 1 on the 3rd floor. House has oil no other options other than propane.
OK, but that doesn't tell things like how much room in the basement do you have for another boiler & storage & wood, or how easy or hard it is to get wood into the basement.

Plus there is the supply as mentioned - if you are thinking about burning wood next winter you should already have next winters wood put up & ready to go.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,118
Northern Maine
What is air sealing. my house was built in 2006 so I believe 2x6 construction and I would think well insulated as codes here are strict
I built ours in the same time frame. No corners were cut. I had a blower door test done in September 19. I was shocked at what the test revealed.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,816
NE Ohio
I built ours in the same time frame. No corners were cut. I had a blower door test done in September 19. I was shocked at what the test revealed.
Good, or bad?
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,118
Northern Maine
For me it was a program offered thru the state. Cost was 750 but I only had to pay 250. Check your utility company as well.

In my case I was having huge amounts of heat escaping from my ridge vent. Very noticeable snow melt. I suspected heat escaping from around the chimney chase. Auditor agreed with the thought and I had a plan to insulate the space. We were so very wrong.
My kitchen was always colder having 3 cold walls and 1/3 of the ceiling is roof.

Fired up the blower door and there was zero air leaks around the chimney chase. We went to the basement and looked at the LVL’s that frame the space around the masonry.
My can lights on the other hand were leaking like a sieve on the second floor. The kitchen was so bad it would have easily blew out a match.
About a 1/4 of the second floor cathedral ceilings are tongue and groove #2 pine. Amazingly the t&g was not too bad as he thought it would be but the ends where they meet the plaster walls were horrible. Same with the barrel vaulted ceilings in the closet area at the top of the stairs and the one in the master bath hall.
The outlets in the exterior walls were also very bad.
Service conduits leak.
The recommendations to fix were:
Replace the cans with retrofit LED flush lighting and stuff some Roxul into the frame in kits. Done by me.
Caulk the joint where the t&g meets the plaster. Partially done. His insurance only allows a 6 foot ladder so I need to finish.
Install device gaskets under the covers for the outlets. Done.
Install child safety plugs in the outlets. Not done as I keep forgetting to buy them.
Seal the 3 clean-out doors in the chimney base.
Remove the fg insulation around my double doors leading into my basement garage AKA wood storage area and replace with Roxul then sheet rock or plywood the area closed.

Knowing that we burn wood and always will I need to be a little careful on making the house too tight. We get no smoke roll out from the LR insert and the wood boiler has a good draft @ .08wc.
The auditor was very impressed with my motorized damper for fresh air near the boiler. It opens when the power switch is on. He had never heard of one.
 

E Yoder

Feeling the Heat
Jan 27, 2017
355
Floyd, VA
Another option, I have installed outdoor gasification boilers to houses with very limited indoor space. Tieing into the existing boiler so heat is distributed as before.
Glad you did the air leakage test. Can lights are often a huge problem.
 

Miran587

New Member
Feb 15, 2020
12
Westport MA
What are my options for wood burning insert fireplace on 1st floor wood heat make it's way to 3rd floor. Can I put vents in floors .just looking all options. Definitely think I'm going do air test
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,997
Eastern Central PA
The auditor was very impressed with my motorized damper for fresh air near the boiler. It opens when the power switch is on. He had never heard of one.
I took out my vent for my Rangehood and sealed it up. So many CF of cold air coming in there it condensed water inside the Micro wave and shorted out one after another. Cant seem to find a good vent with a positive air stop ,most are useless.
 

Miran587

New Member
Feb 15, 2020
12
Westport MA
Can I add a wood burning boiler to my current setup. I'm think I can fit it on the right side of my boiler know even If I need move water softener setup. Has anyone done this . What's a good efficient boiler. can it be setup so if wood unit goes off oil kicks on for back up
20200217_161419.jpg
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,118
Northern Maine
Can I add a wood burning boiler to my current setup. I'm think I can fit it on the right side of my boiler know even If I need move water softener setup. Has anyone done this . What's a good efficient boiler. can it be setup so if wood unit goes off oil kicks on for back up View attachment 257189
Do you have a flue not being used?
 
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