Froling S3 Turbo versus Econoburn

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

  1. Marshy

    Marshy
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    Congrats on the boiler system. I installed my own Froling this past spring. I only have about 125 operating hours on it and its connected to 800 gallons of unpressurized storage. My boiler is the FHG model and was one of the very last few sold by Tarm. The model tag on the boiler jacket even says S3 Turbo but it has the older generation FHG controls.
    I love mine and how simple it is to use. Mine has the ability to calculate how much wood to load for refueling like yours but my understanding is that the calculation is based on storage tanks configured like your pressurized tanks. Without those tanks the calculation is a gross estimate at best. Even in the short time I've operated mine, you learn to load based on what temps you see in your tanks just like you would learn how to load your woodstove.

    Please tell us a little more about your solar panels (brand?). My goal was to eventually have solar thermal to heat my solartechnics storage tank during the summer for DHW.
     
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  2. Adirondacker26

    Adirondacker26
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    A Minnesota Stove Works boiler. Basically a steel container with a hole in the top to let the smoke out. Water capacity might have been 10 gallons. poured smoke into the house very time I had to put wood in it which was hourly. Awful.
     
  3. Adirondacker26

    Adirondacker26
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    The panels are Sunmaxx Solar made in Germany. More than adequate to heat our water. Only got the system going in September but the panels were making 185 F on sunny days.
     
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  4. Adirondacker26

    Adirondacker26
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    Here’s a video of me gathering wood.............

     
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  5. Marshy

    Marshy
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    Nice little machine and setup. I have a 30hp Deutz Allis 4x4 compact tractor and want to get a winch setup like that. I actually bought a military 7 ton pto winch and plan to make my own. I wont be able to access my land until Jan when the ground will be frozen solid soni have time to design and build the winch. What part of the Dacks you in? I'm down near Pulaski NY.
     
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  6. sardo_67

    sardo_67
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    oh god damn that sounds terrible, i am getting my 1979 MB55 Solo tarm up and running in a few weeks, not the most efficient boiler but for $300 it wasn't a bad start, i am investing most of my money into the system then next year i'll upgrade to a better one.

    do you have a link to your solar build? i am starting to look into doing solar for domestic heating, i was going to use the wood boiler but i think i want to go longer between firings for house heat which would be too low for hot showers.
     
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  7. Bad LP

    Bad LP
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    Smart move on moving DHW off the boiler. I'm moving mine back to the LP boiler.
     
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  8. Patti

    Patti
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    Adirondacker26... HI! I have been following your posts- glad to see you are happy with your system. I am currently in the process (a very lengthy process....ugh...) of trying to decide what boiler to purchase....and it seems like the more I read in these forums, the more confused I get.
    if I may ask...would you be willing to share a breakdown of your costs? (If you don't want to share that, it's perfectly okay!).
    My situation is similar to yours, so I'd like to pick your brain!
    I have a terrible old boiler right now in my shop (its a Benjamin- but it's not really intended to be a boiler- it's designed as more of a 'back-up'heat source. I live in the snowbelt in Ontario, so our weather is pretty similar.There is 110' feet of pex running from the shop to the air handler in my house. I have a 600 gal insulated, stainless steel, non-pressurized storage tank in my shop, (but I'm not using it at the moment- long story). I have an 1857 log cabin with pretty good insulation, but needs new windows. 2500 sq ft., but I close the loft off in the winter so I only heat about 1900 sq. feet. I have infloor heating in a stone floor in the kitchen. The boiler will be used to heat a hot tub, pool and dhw (but I may be installing a condensing propane boiler for summer months...) or, depending on the cost, I would really like to go solar like you, as I have the perfect location for panels and would like to heat the last three things using solar rather than burning wood in the summer.
    That might have to wait though, because money is an issue...which is the main reason I have been shying away from the Froling. As much as I would LIKE to have it...I might need to lower my expectations...(I mean, I would LOVE a Porsche too, but hey, the Pontiac Vibe it is!):)...but then again, as you said, you can't really put a price on what all that wood smoke does to your health. I live in a valley, so all of the wood smoke just drops here and sits (and my neighbour's smoke as well). I have lung issues to begin with, and I don't like the fact that my horses are continually breathing it either, so that is my main reason for wanting a gasifier. Well- that and the fact that I'm really not into cutting, splitting and stacking more than 20 cords of wood a year!!( I'd like to ride the above-mentioned horses some time!!)
    Besides the cost, I have a couple other questions that I'm hoping you can help me with.
    1) I don't really understand the whole solar/wood heated water storage thing. You have two tanks- does the solar heat the water in one and wood heat the other and they mix?
    2)) Are your tanks pressurized, and if so, is that a necessity?
    3) Would my 600 gal non-pressurized tank work the same way with the boiler?
    4) Was there a big price difference between the Econoburn & the Froling? (I know it's a little like comparing oranges to apples, but just so I have a rough idea.)

    One thing I have to consider is my relative location to installers/distributors/parts supply for the gasifiers I am looking at. There doesn't seem to be very many (which I cannot figure out...I don't know why they aren't more popular up here!!). When I have to factor in exchange rates, shipping, duties and taxes, the cost quickly becomes unreasonable (and God forbid our stupid government offer any incentives to offset the costs...that might be too helpful....). So if anyone has suggestions for Canadian buyers, please advise!

    I guess I really want assurance that a gasifier is going to cut down on my wood consumption/workload significantly, because if it is only going to make a difference of 3-5 cords, then I'll just go with a less expensive or different type of heating.

    If anyone would like to chime in with thoughts/opinions about any of this... please feel free!
    The ones I am considering are Froling, Econoburn, Empyre, Effecta Lambda, (and, I thought Kuuma...until I found out it was just a furnace and not a boiler!:(). Price (unfortunately) may end up playing a role, but I'll have to weigh the pros and cons. I don't mind technology...but I also like the 'set it and forget it' mentality because right now, to keep temperature up in the boiler I have, I have to stoke it every 3 hours. Brutal- especially when it's -20C (-4F) and the snow and wind are whipping around.
    I have seriously thought about just putting a bed in my shop, heating that and forgetting about the house (or better yet, trailering my horses, getting the hell out of Dodge and going to Florida for the winter!:cool:...which, I must say, after a week of temperatures in the - teensC and snow- in NOVEMBER- I am more than ready to do!!
    Thanks for any input offered. I have been looking at doing this for awhile, and I decided the other day that i just can't handle this '3 hour feeding schedule' anymore. Looking forward to feedback. Thanks! Patti
     
  9. maple1

    maple1
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    I had a Benjamin for 17 years, until I went gasifier and storage in 2012. That damned thing near killed me, chasing it to keep us warm.
     
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  10. salecker

    salecker
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    Hi Patti
    I have a Econoburn 200 with 1000 gallons of storage.Very tough built boiler and simple.This will be year 9 on mine i believe.I have a log house with cast iron rads,and awesome quad pane windows.At -40C there is no frost on them,and in the summer with the Yukon sun i can lay a chocolate bar on the dark stone window sill an after 8 hours the bar will not be melted.We use 8 cords of spruce a year that heats the house and the boiler building.There is no heat source in the boiler building other that the heat loss from piping.Money was an issue when i built as well.When i wear this boiler out then i may go for the Porsche as i will be a lot older and may need to ease my work load.
    I have had to run my setup temporarily(2 weeks) with the fan plugged into an extension cord when i had a controller issue.Econoburn's employee's are very helpful and will go the extra mile to help if you are in the middle of nowhere.
    So i have had no issues to complain about.Are there better boilers out there?sure,maybe it all depends on your situation.
     
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  11. Bad LP

    Bad LP
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    I bought my Tarm boiler used for a fair price. Piping, pumps tanks and labor cost more than the boiler. When this boiler gives it up I will upgrade to a more advanced model. Gasification is great but I would want something easier to get going.
    I'm happy I spent the money once on the piping and storage side. It will not have to be redone.
     
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  12. Patti

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    LOL...yes...I remember you telling me that you had a Benjamin as well, and how much work it was. It IS killing me!!!!
     
  13. Patti

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    Salecker- THANK YOU so much for that info. That is really helpful. I haven't considered the Econoburn as much as some of the others, but I've been hearing good things lately, so I am going to look into it. I like that- strong AND simple! Exactly what I need! I can't believe that is all the wood you went through...and in the Yukon yet! You said you might look at getting the Porsche when you need to replace it to ease your workload...Can you clarify for me? Does the Econoburn require more frequent stoking? Just wondering why you think the Froling would make your workload easier. I noticed that it says your's is outside. Mine will be inside, and smoke (both inside and out) is a real issue for me. Is there much smoke? One final question- is your storage pressurized or non-pressurized? Your situation is SO similar to mine in so many ways- (even the distance between the shop and the house!), so it is really helpful to be able to compare (and those big ole 4 pane windows sound gorgeous btw!). Is your house an old one, or recently built? Round or square logs? Good to know that Econoburn is supportive too. Thanks again!
     
  14. Patti

    Patti
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    Bad LP- Thanks for that input! Yah- the piping, tanks, etc, sure add up. I was very lucky...I have a friend that is primarily a plumber but has his HVAC ticket, AND he has a backhoe. One of his customers bought a farm and was taking the heating system out, so he told my friend that if he wanted to dig up the pex, he could have it....so I got all that installed for free...which was a huge bonus!! I just want something reliable and easy to run...that doesn't take 20 cords (or more) of wood to keep me warm. Taking into consideration all labour I've put into cutting, splitting, stacking more than 20 cords per year for the last 3 or 4 years, I'm thinking it would probably be just as cheap to go to Florida for the winter- and I could save myself a whole lot of hard work and aggravation! LOL Well...I've give the gasifier a try. I've done the wood pellet boiler (huge hassle), and now the wood-eating Benjamin, so my last attempt at this will be a gasifier...and if that doesn't cut down on my workload drastically, then it will be a condensing propane boiler and that will be it! Thanks again! Patti
     
  15. salecker

    salecker
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    I am not sure what you mean by something easier to get going?If you are talking about starting a fire in a gasifyer then you shouldn't say anything till you have one.
    My Econoburn is the easiest wood burning appliance i have used to start a fire in.8 yrs of burning and neither my wife or i have had a fire not take after it was started.
    If we are in a rush,max 5 minutes from a cold boiler to a fire going and loaded for 2+hr burn.
    Easy Peasy,super simple.
     
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  16. Patti

    Patti
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    Okay....so it will burn for two hours...and if it is say, -15C outside, when would you need to re-stoke it?
     
  17. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin
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    glad you are so pleased with the boiler, Adirondacker!

     
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  18. Bad LP

    Bad LP
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    I have a gasifaction boiler. Cold starting it is kinda on the slow side for me as I'm on the impatient side.
     
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  19. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin
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    Hi Patti,

    check out www.biothermic.ca for your Canadian source for the Fröling wood and pellet boilers. They are based out of Haliburton and do installations too if I am not mistaken. We also know of a contractor in the Barrie area who is very familiar with our boilers if that would be helpful. Effecta boilers (Smart 40 and Smart 55) are available directly from us.

    Chris

     
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  20. salecker

    salecker
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    I have storage with my boiler so a typical day at -20C goes like this...
    somebody starts a fire at 5PM when we get home,load it full.7PM refill fire box,9pm refill firebox with appropriate amount of wood to last till10-11PM depending on storage temps,go shut down boiler at 10-11PM. Repeat process next day.During the burn time the boiler is burning wide open at maximum efficacy.Now if we have -40C day then the process usually starts at lunch.Start a fire near 1PM just before leaving back to work,when we had a kid in school she would be picked up at 3PM,refill boiler,5PM after work refill the boiler and repeat in 2 hr cycles till storage is full around 10-11 PM.That was the routine for the last 8 years.
    This year will be different,a lot of the time i will be by myself,so i will be starting multiple fires a day when i have meetings after work.I will have to start a fire and load the boiler before work,then again at lunch,then again after my meetings for the final top up for the night.
    This will be no big deal because starting a fire in a gasifier is a non event,takes more effort to make your coffee in the morning and drink it.
     
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  21. salecker

    salecker
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    I find starting a fire in regular wood stove slow now.That's were i get impatient waiting for it to make some heat.My boiler i just fill the boiler with some small stuff in the bottom with a rolled newspaper in the nozzle and fill the boiler with wood,close the upper door.Open the lower door and bypass touch off the newspaper with a lighter and away it goes.Leave the lower door open for a couple of miuite till i see the flue temp begin to rise,close bottom door and turn on fan.Come back in a couple of hours and re-stoke the boiler.My wife sayes the hardest thing is getting the lighter to work.
     
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  22. salecker

    salecker
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    I feel that a Porsche boiler would cut my wood use a little with Lamberata ?? controls where it is checking combustion air and controlling the fan.There is a guy on here that went from a Econoburn to a Porsche style boiler and has used less wood.My storage is pressurized,and my complete system is in a separate building.No smoke,dust,ash,carbon monoxide in our house. Wife and daughter have asthma and we have a volunteer fire department.So besides the benefits i mentioned it is our insurance to not have any fire sources in our home.Plus i always have a warm workshop to tinker in all wither without having to start an additional fire in a workshop.
    Our house is new built scribe log.If you are interested in the windows the company up here that designed and builds them is Northerm Windows 867 668 5088. The underground run in my case is 125ft.
     

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  23. Adirondacker26

    Adirondacker26
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    Hi Patti. Things have been really busy here on the farm and I have not checked the forum here in a while and it seems like I'm not getting any notices in my email about any posts. The solar system that I have here is actually a system within a system. There are coils in each pressurized tank in my basement and one of the coils is used to transfer heat from the solar panels to the tanks. This system is filled with glycol so the glycol from the solar panels is pumped into a coil inside the tank where it heats the water. The other coil is used to feed Coldwater to my domestic water heater. So cold water enters the coil from the well and by the time it gets to my domestic hot water tank it is very hot. So hot in fact that a mixing valve was installed by the installer to make sure that the water in the house is not too hot. It is now mid January and the system has been up and running since Labor Day and my domestic hot water heater has not turned on even once. We basically have unlimited hot water. I am not sure about the difference between a pressurized and non-pressurized system. I have heard that a pressurize system is better. I would think that your 600 gallon non-pressurized tank would work the same way that mine does. The difference in price between the Froehling S3 and a comparable Econo burn boiler is not much. A friend of mine came to see the new heating system here back in September and he is now the proud owner of the exact same system that I have here and he is absolutely thrilled! Froling S3 turbo continues to work flawlessly here and is exactly what I wanted. It really is wonderful to just light a fire and walk away from it and never have to think about it during the day or night. If the temperatures are in the 20s Fahrenheit or above I light one fire every 24 hours and if the temperatures are colder I may like one and a half to two fires in a 24 hour period. I keep the house at about 72°F and we also have a wood burning cook stove in the kitchen which makes a big difference and some days we have a fire in there and some days we don’t. The cost for the entire system including the solar the tanks the boiler the piping all of the controls and devices and wiring was $35,000. The solar was $5000 material and labor. Total labor cost for the entire job was about $8900. New York State kicked in $10,000 and that really made the difference for me. I think the boiler was in the neighborhood of $10,000. Tarm biomass in New Hampshire was the supplier that my contractor used and they are very helpful and knowledgeable. I have just started to keep track of how much wood I am burning and it's really not very accurate affair but all indications tell me that I am burning about 40% of what I used to burn. So a savings of 60% is what I'm looking at and this is just an estimate right now. This entire system cost less then a new pick up truck and that is one way to look at it. This new heating system will pay for itself after a number of years and I'm not sure exactly how long that will take but I know that it is money wisely invested. I don't like to spend anymore time cutting splitting stacking and drying firewood than I have to and I certainly don't want to babysit a boiler down in the basement that is noisy and belching smoke into the house. As I have said in one of my previous posts, it makes absolutely no sense to me to get a wood gasification boiler with all of the technology built into it and not have one which monitors and controls the burn from start to finish. If you purchase a boiler which does not have these controls you are basically wasting your money in my opinion. If you look at the other forums you'll see that there are people who are constantly having to fiddle around with the settings on their boilers and once everything is said and done they are only guessing and of course once they get the settings correct those settings are only good for a portion of the burn and are causing the boiler to become inefficient for the rest of the burn.
     
  24. maple1

    maple1
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    If you purchase a boiler which does not have these controls you are basically wasting your money in my opinion. If you look at the other forums you'll see that there are people who are constantly having to fiddle around with the settings on their boilers and once everything is said and done they are only guessing and of course once they get the settings correct those settings are only good for a portion of the burn and are causing the boiler to become inefficient for the rest of the burn.

    Not sure I would agree with that. My gasifier has no controls or settings at all. It simply burns wide open until the fuel is gone. If it were an optimally controlled Lambda unit, it would no doubt squeeze more out of my wood. But the gain would be marginal and would not really be worth it to me. The simplicity of it and ease of operation in a power outage is an advantage. So, it was far from a waste of money - it has been one of the best investments I have made, and should have done it years ago.

    So was your total cost 35k plus the 8.9k labor? That is pretty huge. Even 35k is very significant. Mine was 15k Canadian, all in. (Replaced all the heat generating side, left the existing distribution stuff in place). If I was on the south side of the border, it would have been maybe 2/3 of that. Heat & DHW. Use a simple efficient tank electric tank heater in the summer, costs about $25/mo to operate. Solar for DHW just didn't pencil out for us, at all - I did consider it. I could heat DHW with wood all summer if I wanted, burning once a week or so. But I don't - just not worth it for me. And a break from wood is nice. The picture may be different for someone with heavier DHW use.

    There is no doubt the Froling is a very nice boiler though, that cannot be denied. It would be on my short list if I was doing it all again.
     
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  25. Adirondacker26

    Adirondacker26
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    Actually my cost was 25k total. The contractor received 10k from the NYSERDA program. The contractor received a total of 35k. Keep in mind this included the solar installation as well- computer, pump, controls, panels, and piping. The solar panels are not for DHW only. They heat the same water in the tanks that the boiler heats. This cuts the wood burning season back by a considerable amount both in fall and spring. Same thing with my neighbor. I like the idea of your boiler running full bore. I just wonder what your flue temperature is- that would be worth knowing. I know that when I over fire my maple evaporator, it sends wasted heat right up the flue- the pans and sap can only absorb so much energy. With hardwood the Froling has a flue temperature of around 380 and with softwood its about 330 to 360. With the refractory glowing cherry red-orange, it’s amazing to me to see such low flue temps. So Froling has matched the rate of burn controlled by the computer to the boiler’s ability to extract heat from the gases. They have engineered it so that the boiler’s heat extraction ability is not overcome by flue gasses which are too hot. I brush the tubes on the Froling every 300 hours or so after noticing increasing flue temps after that amount of elapsed time. The manual calls for brushing the tubes every 3000 hours I think, but I know for a fact that this boiler is considerably more efficient with regular cleanings. I have no idea why Froling has a 3000 hour interval- that doesn’t sound right to me. And, of course, if they asked me, I’d tell them they are wrong. I have timed myself doing this and it takes me 12.5 minutes start to finish. No big deal. If I had a higher ceiling in the basement I could do it quicker. We have had a number of power failures here since Labor Day and the Froling is all set up for that. I interrupt what the system is doing by turning our standby emergency power on and it just goes back to what it was doing before the power went out. I hate the idea of sending my hard work up the chimney after dealing with a boiler for decades that probably was 45% efficient at best. I used to look at the firewood all stacked up nice and think- well, I’m throwing at least half of that away, but I still have to process all that wood. We have been seeing minus 25 C this year quite a few times and it’s nice not having to fuss with the boiler. I’m sure you like that with your boiler as well. Stay warm. Spring is coming!
     

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