Froling S3 Turbo versus Econoburn

Adirondacker 62 Posted By Adirondacker 62, Dec 28, 2017 at 6:51 PM

  1. Adirondacker 62

    Adirondacker 62
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    Dec 27, 2017
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    I am replacing a 40 year old Tarm boiler in my basement. I live in the Adirondacks and was burning 9 or 10 full cords per year in the old Tarm that just gave up the ghost. I am considering the Froling S3 Turbo or the Econoburn. I am initially heating my two story 1,800 foot log home and eventually my detached garage and a swimming pool. I was wondering what other people’s experiences have been with the Froling S3 Turbo and the Econoburn units. I appreciate your your feedback in helping me make a good choice.
     
  2. hiker88

    hiker88
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    Enters discussion on egg shells...

    I'm an incredibly happy Froling owner so I'm biased, but I will give my opinion and answer any owner operating questions you have. I don't talk\discussion efficiency etc., but tend to focus more on convenience.

    I honestly believe the Froling Lambda type boiler is as close to "conventional" heat source convenience as you can get. It is incredibly easy to start, and it manages itself. Other than setting boiler set point when you first set it up, there is not much more to it than that. I'm not argumentative by most means, but I always get a kick out of the "that's just like my boiler" posts that then go on to detail some pretty involved lighting steps in my opinion.

    I am not an expert by any means but I think it safe to say the boilers have a different "approach" so to say. The Froling is obviously electronics heavy with the main computer, variable speed fan, automated primary and secondary dampers etc. The computer will modify each burn to ambient conditions and load. It is also induction based, whereas the Econoburns I remember when I was researching push air I believe? Someone more current can chime in. I find the induction based fan makes cleaning and reloading mid burn cleaner for the surrounding space.

    I have 6018 hours on the boiler and I burn year round (all through the summers yes) for all my heat and dhw. I have had to replace 1, $8 capacitor since I owned the boiler. I may need to replace the refractory in the next 2-3 seasons I would estimate. I burn everything (even pine) except for Oak which doesn't seem to easy to come across - this may attribute to the way my refractory is holding up.

    If I can answer any specific question, please let me know.
     
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  3. Adirondacker 62

    Adirondacker 62
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    Thanks so much for your response. I guess my first question is about the refractory and the wear on it. Is that normal? Are you burning wood with a higher moisture content than recommended? That does concern me if the refractory is wearing after a year or so of constant use. Has Tarm/Froling responded to the refractory wear? I was impressed by the Froling and the tech aspects of the boiler as well as the ease of lighting and no cloud of wood smoke when opening the door. We are looking at the New York State incentives to defray some of the costs and finance the project. I have spoken to the Econoburn folks and they are very responsive. The boiler seems to be very robustly constructed. In regard to the Froling, having the old Tarm last 42 years is very impressive and their technology is kind of jaw dropping. I guess I’m leaning towards the Froling and will continue my saga as the project gets moving. Thanks again for your take on the Froling!
     
  4. hiker88

    hiker88
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    I'm not sure if I was clear. I expect it will be another 2 or 3 years before I might need to replace. I have had the original since 2012.

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
     
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  5. Adirondacker 62

    Adirondacker 62
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    Gotcha, that would put it at the 10 year service life expectation for the refractories.
     
  6. maple1

    maple1
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    Which one is easier to clean? Be sure not to under estimate that aspect, it will be the main issue of living with it after the new car smell thing fades away.

    Do you have storage?
     
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  7. Adirondacker 62

    Adirondacker 62
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    They are both fairly simple and similar with the turbolators. I am planning on getting storage that meets the NYSERDA guidelines. Most likely pressurized.
     
  8. maple1

    maple1
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    Not to try to throw curve balls - but are you open to others?

    After 5 1/2 years with mine, the one main thing that really makes me happy with my choice is ease of service & cleaning. From what I have seen since in other postings, I don't think there is another design that is so easy to clean & maintain - just open a door and brush. Especially driven home when I see others posting about issues with hard to pull turbs or bad door gaskets or smoke leaking or needing tools to get to the tubes. Moreso present in forced draft units. Which I think the Econoburn is & the Froling isn't? Of the two units, I would go Froling on that aspect alone - I think the chances of smoke in the house is much greater with the Econoburn.

    I would consider storage a necessity - so good to hear in the plans.
     
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  9. Adirondacker 62

    Adirondacker 62
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    I’m open to other manufacturers for sure. This program in NYS has approved boilers so that limits the choices. It’s nice to get input from friends north of the border as my ancestors were from Canada and I went to grad school at McGill. I enjoy the whole process of using wood heat from cutting and splitting to ranking. I especially like thumbing my nose at the Petroleum Extortionists.
     
  10. TCaldwell

    TCaldwell
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    Both good pressurized units, both heat water but get there differently, and there are other manufacturers as well. Each manufacturer wants you to buy theirs, so good choice on opinions from this forum from end users. Just as importantly you should visit a few of these in use and get a feel for the ones you tend to gravitate to, for instance the more info laden lambda units or the ones with less technology attached.
     
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  11. Adirondacker 62

    Adirondacker 62
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    It’s an interesting choice between boilers with technology such as the lambda and having more potential issues/benefits versus a more user involved boiler that requires more hands on.
     
  12. airlina

    airlina
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    I have been running my Econoburn 100 since 2009 . Started with it in the basement of my 1700 sq ft log house without storage for the first 4 years, then built a boiler shed and added storage (500 gals.) after that (see photos). All i can tell you is mt experience with this boiler and the folks at Econoburn. First off its built like a tank (I had to move it twice and it was like moving a volkswagen in and out of the basement.) I am about an 1 and 1/2 hours from the factory and have been there to take the tour and see units under various stages of construction which i would recommend. Dale and Mark are the go to guys there, and their customer support was a big part of my decision to go with the Econoburn. the Econoburn is what I would call a basic gasifier without lots of bells and whistles which is why i like it. The more complicated a boiler gets the more stuff can break and the less i understand whats going on. In a nutshell the Econoburn has a temp controller , a fan and lots of 1/4" steel. Simple like me! As an example of their support , a guy on my road went with an Econoburn which was installed this last summer and Dale (the guy that designed the boiler) was there for the first fire to make sure everything was set up correctly. You are already probably aware of Econoburn's work with the NYSERDA which can save you some big bucks if you follow the guidelines. Best of luck in your decision , Bruce
     

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  13. Adirondacker 62

    Adirondacker 62
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    Thanks Bruce. I’ve been impressed with the folks at Econoburn as well as the intuitive design of their boiler. It is a tank for sure. The problem I have in where I live is getting a NYSERDA approved installer to put a boiler in. There is an awesome firm in Troy, New York but that’s 3 hours away. I’ll continue to update my saga and it’s good to hear the awesome testimonial for Econoburn.
     
  14. huffdawg

    huffdawg
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    I’ve been running my new FHG 40/50 for almost a season and a half now. My thoughts mirror Hiker88,s. Some other pros with the Fro. is that you can add more wood during the burning process without smoke egress. Also it doesn’t have a bypass damper to leave open after lighting a fire. (something that happened more than I’d like to admit with the EKO 40 ) that being one of the main reasons for the upgrade and the ease of operation .. my wife and kids operate no problem at all.
     
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  15. Adirondacker 62

    Adirondacker 62
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    All salient points huffdawg and truth be told I’m leaning towards the Froling S3 Turbo. Thanks for your feedback on the Froling.
     
  16. goosegunner

    goosegunner
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    I ran a Econoburn 200 for 7 years. I now have a Froling S3 50. I am working tonight and just spoke with my wife. She just got done telling me how much she likes the new boiler and how easy it start and run.

    I am not going to bash on the Econoburn because it is a decent boiler that is heavily built. Its simplicity in its controls is nice if you ever did have a problem. I will say that while the Econoburn is simple and robust if you are not afraid of the technology the Froling S3 is simply amazing.

    Its control from start to finish is amazing. I am still doing weighed wood burns. Conservative estimates are putting me at about a 20% reduction to heat my home. I believe there are several reasons for this. Here or some I can think of off the top of my head.

    1.Lambda control that controls primary and secondary air
    2.Control of fan speed to control flue temp
    3.Variable pump speed
    4. Pump control logic that stops circulator and restarts if boiler temp rises vs (running for hours until boiler temp drops)
    5. 10 fire tubes vs 6
    6. Refractory tunnel that controls flue gas
     
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  17. goosegunner

    goosegunner
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    I sent you a pm
     
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  18. Adirondacker 62

    Adirondacker 62
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    I Thanks for your input. I like the efficiency of the Froling and truth be told I like the ability to use data/technology to save money.
     
  19. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood
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    Just curious what the driver of that decision was for you. Not trying to be critical in any way, but even a 30% savings in purchased wood doesn't put you in the black until many years from now. So it must have been another factor driving this change?

    I'm also not 'defending' Econoburn, because if I was given a Mulligan, I'd certainly have chosen a Woodgun (the best choice for running with no storage). So I can easily understand choosing a boiler other than Econoburn, but replacing your well-oiled system that includes storage is puzzling to me. But regardless of the reason, best of luck with your new system!

    And to the OP, you are almost definitely not going to chose an Econoburn, so I don't feel the need to give you feedback at this point. However, if I'm wrong and you do want me to write something, just post back and I will do that.
     
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  20. goosegunner

    goosegunner
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    I was tired of shortcomings of design and wanted to try something different. Induced draft, simple to clean, simple to light, absolute smoke free boiler room on lighting or loading, unbelievable control over boiler throughout from start to finish. Seems difficult to put a price on those. Especially if you consider possible effects on health from smoke in boiler shed before the switch.

    It is also difficult for you to predict my payback when you don't know what my cost to upgrade was. I will say it was a much smaller price than you would think for me to make the switch.
     
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  21. goosegunner

    goosegunner
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    We are having the coldest weather we have had for several years. I have complete records for daily wood burns.

    With temperatures that we are currently having the previous boiler would burn 190-210 pounds of would per day.

    I am currently burning 140-150 pounds per day, usually it is 140 by burning 70 in the morning and 70 in the evening. I like to do 2 burns because I have forced air with a coil.
     
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  22. jebatty

    jebatty
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    My experience with the WoodGun is the E500. First operated without storage, works but ... ignition after an idle period was noisy, smelly and sometime near explosive. Then storage added and the WG now operates idle free. In fact, the people who regularly operate it call it the Beast. During below 0F periods it will burn 100lbs of wood per hour continuously, for about a 500,000 btuh output. I recommend storage with the WG as well as with any other gasification boiler.
     
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  23. maple1

    maple1
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    What in your opinion would make the Econoburn a worst choice than a WG?
     
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  24. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood
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    Well, you're absolutely correct that I was presuming a fairly large $$ expense. So I'll stand corrected and remind myself not to make assumptions such as this!

    My opinion is based primarily on the experience of a friend who owned a WG for 26 years (he bought one of the first units). The key difference of the WG versus my EB is it's ability to shut off air almost completely, thereby putting the fire down quickly, and not losing nearly as much up the stack during idle. He was EXTREMELY pleased with his WG for it's entire life, and only gave it up due to no longer being able to process firewood.

    And I also factor in the many prior reports on this forum of multiple happy WG owners (muncybob, ...), who gave very positive reviews of their boiler's performance. Yes, there is also Fred's well-known story, but the overwhelming evidence I have tells me the WG would be a better choice than my EB, IF RUNNING WITHOUT STORAGE.
     
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  25. Adirondacker26

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    Having a Froling s3 turbo installed with solar integration. Going to be a big step forward in getting my heating costs under control. The guys brought the two storage tanks today and piping will be under way tomorrow. After a lot of research I have found that the two most important things in setting up a proper system for your needs are: #1- Getting an experienced, knowledgable installer with a track record, a good reputation, and a love for what he does. #2- Getting an experienced, knowledgable installer with a track record, a good reputation, and a love for what he does. If you can do that, you will save months of research and time that could have been spent doing more productive things, and you will have the right system that fits you and your home. Period. I’ll put some posts up as things progress.
     
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