Building New Home-Wood Boiler Choices?

CurtisMaine Posted By CurtisMaine, May 2, 2017 at 9:21 PM

  1. CurtisMaine

    CurtisMaine
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    May 2, 2017
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    Good afternoon everyone. I am building a 2,100 SQ.FT. home. I plan on having a Baxi Propane condensing boiler and my main source of heat during the winter to be an indoor wood gasification boiler. I've looked at so many and need some guidance. I want the heating system to have the ability to switch to the propane side if the wood boiler goes out.

    I am building a colonial and the boiler will be placed in the basement. Is there a possibility to run these boilers if power goes out? What indoor wood boiler should I choose?

    I'm new to wood boilers but have operated wood stoves for a while.
     
  2. mike van

    mike van
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    Any gasser with a blower [pretty much all of them i think] will need electricity to operate. If you had a big storage in the basement, you could easily have a bypass and let it gravity feed.
     
  3. maple1

    maple1
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    My indoor gasifier is natural draft. No fans. (Needs a good tall chimney though). So it burns just fine with no power. But when burning you need to be able to keep the water circulating adequately through the boiler & storage. You can optimize the placement of each, & piping to help facilitate that naturally but should still have some backup. In my case, I also have a big (2200va) UPS that I can plug my loading unit into that gets about 4-6 hours of run time. Which with storage, is a days heat. I also have a dump zone with a NO zone valve on it, out of the top of the boiler. Power goes out, valve opens. It's plumbed to my upstairs zones. So if there's a fire going, some heat goes there too. If power goes out when not burning, I can manually open the other zone valves as needed & heat convects from storage - I don't need any power at all for the heat distribution to the house. As long as there is heat in my storage.

    If you have any other gasifier, a UPS won't last too awful long running combustion fans, and the fire won't burn very good at all without the fan going (creosote will be produced in short order). But should get you enough time to get a generator hooked up to it & running.

    You should be able to control wood & propane to work together with ordinary aquastats. Having a fossil burner kick in when the fire goes out is a pretty common setup. I know nothing about your Baxi though.
     
  4. CurtisMaine

    CurtisMaine
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    Thanks Maple that's good info...Do you have any brand of indoor wood boilers I should be looking at. I've read up on Econoburn, Benjamin, Greenwood, and Tarm. Is there any to stay away from? Is there brands that lead the way?
     
  5. maple1

    maple1
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    Of what you mentioned I would avoid Benjamin (they don't make a gasser anyway) & Greenwood.

    Otherwise, just read all you can here & you should be able to get an idea from experiences.

    I would highly recommend my brand, but it's certainly not the only knife in the drawer. I don't know of any other natural draft gasifying model though, if that is a priority.

    Definitely should have storage if at all possible - some gassers actually require it, some can do without. But they all work 10x better with it. Even a non-gasser would benefit from it if it had good heat exchange ability or a high btu rating.
     
  6. Bad LP

    Bad LP
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    After the many hours of reading and talking here and elsewhere I narrowed my choice on Varm or Tarm.

    Ended up with Tarm because a lightly used one at an attractive price became available. In talking with both companies they were both a pleasure to speak with so "the better guy" choice wasn't any easier for me. We start piping next week.
     
  7. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater
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  8. Bad LP

    Bad LP
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    Well it's 99% complete needing the power outage dump zone and then I need to start boxing in the tanks after getting some 3" rigid insulation on the concrete floor with more in the walls and the top yet to be built. With a stand by generator that didn't prevent me from starting it's first (to me) fire today. It's 51 degrees outside and the wind is blowing pretty good. Filled it with a few small batches to test it and all is well so far. Still bringing up the 2 300 gallon vertical tanks I bought new from Tarm up to temp but so far so good.

    To get to this point we had to cut the manifolds off the LP fired System 2000 and relocate that boiler. Manifolds are now attached to the wall. Thankfully no work was needed on the RFH manifolds and they remained untouched with only a simple change to piping at the new manifold.

    When in full use the Tarm Solo Plus will take care of all low temp heating and domestic hot water needs. The System 2000 will be back up or primary depending on mood/weather or if we are here or not. Surprisingly in a test, the System 2000 heated the tanks in 2 hours I was told.

    After I get the invoice paid (this won't be cheap) I'll start converting the 3 baseboard heat zones to panel radiators and then add a zone using some cast iron radiators to what was a 3 season room so that I can get full use out of low temp water heating. Thankfully when I designed and built the house every pipe and wire was home run. What a concept to think that way 11 years ago!! Also because I'm well versed in line voltage wiring all wiring was placed in EMT or BX as required and I didn't have to pay someone else to do it. Everything looks neat and tidy as it should because I'm anal retentive and the boiler tech knows me too well.

    I'd like to say thank you to the tremendous amount of resources and members I found here as well as Chris at Tarm BioMass in New Hampshire and AE Robinson in Maine.
     
    Highbeam likes this.
  9. Highbeam

    Highbeam
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    Pictures please!
     
  10. Bad LP

    Bad LP
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    I'll have to learn how.
     
  11. Dutchie84

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  12. Letsburnwoodnotoil

    Letsburnwoodnotoil
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  13. Letsburnwoodnotoil

    Letsburnwoodnotoil
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    The power consumption of the MeSys boiler is so low it can be run on a good UPS. They are fully automatic pellet fired units. Or you could ask them about the new CHP (combined heat & power) models that generate while heating. Energy can be stored, sent to grid, etc. I have had one for 6 years now and love it.
     
  14. maple1

    maple1
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    But for how long? (On a UPS).

    Exactly what is the consumption - in watts?

    I have a pretty big UPS (2200va), only for backup to my boiler pump (a 15-58 on low). It won't do much more than just getting through a burn (3-4 hours). I'm thinking a pellet boiler would use quite a bit more juice, with fan & feed plus a pump to move the heat away - but don't really know.
     
  15. Letsburnwoodnotoil

    Letsburnwoodnotoil
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    The auger model runs at or below 400 watts at full fire. Vac system is the same UNTIL it re-fills itself then it requires much more power, but for a very short time.
     
  16. maple1

    maple1
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    You would need a huge UPS to run that for very long at all then. My one pump that I use my 2200va UPS for only runs at 60w on speed 1.
     
  17. Letsburnwoodnotoil

    Letsburnwoodnotoil
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    So you already have a 2200 watt UPS. (for a resistive load granted) Great! Size is important. How long it will work for is simply battery size now.
     
  18. maple1

    maple1
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    Right.

    Mine weighs around 160 pounds with batteries. I had to remove them to muscle thing thing up on the shelf it sits on then put the batteries back in after I got it up there.

    And that's how long it lasts running just that one smallish load.

    So - you would need a huge UPS to run a pellet boiler for very long, at all. Or a battery bank. Which goes beyond the typical UPS.
     
  19. Letsburnwoodnotoil

    Letsburnwoodnotoil
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    I would definitely look into where the power is going from your UPS. Something sounds off. Battery life sate? Circulator issue? Not to say the unit is in fact suitable for an entire boiler the way it is, and not to say the boilers requirements are insignificant, but 400 watts is 400 watts. Well within UPS range. I had an older laser printer that was well beyond 400 watts and indeed it made the UPS say "ugg", but it printed all the same. Best of luck with whatever you decide and your gasser.
     
  20. Dutchie84

    Dutchie84
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    400 watts is 400 watts but that doesn't mean that it is 400 VA. I'm curious what the Volt Amp draw is of a circulator. I know the non ecm ones aren't very electrically efficient. But I believe Maple has an Alpha.
     
  21. maple1

    maple1
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    How big of a UPS (or battery capacity) do you think you would need to run a steady 400 watts for 4 hours? How long did your printer print - steady - on your UPS?

    I also have a 700va UPS, with my desktop computer plugged into it. (And LCD monitor). In a power outage, you need to be on top of it to get it shut down properly before the UPS dies. Like maybe 10 minutes. And the computer 'only' has a 200w power supply in it.

    I don't think there is anything off here - I would encourage you to run your pellet boiler on a battery, steadily, and see how long it runs. Then report back.
     

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