Help! Selecting a wood boiler

Joncombat

Member
Dec 28, 2018
20
Danbury ct
I live in Danbury, CT. We are not allowed to use outdoor wood boilers. They need to be indoor/epa certified. I was looking at econoburn ebw 200 and Froling S3 turbo 50. My current heating system is a prestige solo 175 and it heats 5500 sq/ft. My house is a combination of forced hot air and hydronic heat (basement/garage slab). My only option is to put the unit in an external garage (165ft away) and run the water lines underground to the house. I plan on adding 800 gallons of hot water storage in my basement and tie it in to my current heating system. I contacted Tarm and Econoburn and I am torn between them. I watched videos of cleaning the econoburn and the Froling and the Froling appeared to be easier. The econoburn had you take the back panel off, cut insulation, and remove a plate that is sealed with silicon to clean the heat exchangers. The process is reversed (apply sealer, tape up insulation...). The Froling looked much easier to maintain with easily removed panels to clean the tubes. Starting the fire also appeared to be easier.
Here are my questions
I plan on heating my external garage that is approximately 1250 sq/ft. I believe the BTU's from the econoburn should be able to handle the garage and the house but I am not sure the Froling is large enough? Total of 6750 sq/ft

Froling is expensive compared to econoburn, is the extra maintainence steps/inconvenience worth the savings?

Does anyone know of local installers in the Danbury CT area? Everyone I spoke to does not have experience with wood boilers.

This will be an expensive investment and I hope it will pay for itself in the short term. Fuel prices will being going up under the new administration.
 

hobbyheater

Minister of Fire
Nov 14, 2011
1,180
Have you considered this company and the Vedolux line of boilers? I live on the other side of the continent and they really took care of me in my recent purchase. Their boilers are easy to clean. They also sell storage units.
 

Woodman1

Burning Hunk
Jan 15, 2018
138
Michigan
Not really addressing your question here, but something else to think about.....I'm not sure the output of either of those boilers, but make sure you are not creating a bottleneck with your underground line and storage in your basement. 165 feet is going to be pretty expensive if you need to go up to 1.5"+ to move all those btu's to keep the boiler from cycling
 

Joncombat

Member
Dec 28, 2018
20
Danbury ct
Not really addressing your question here, but something else to think about.....I'm not sure the output of either of those boilers, but make sure you are not creating a bottleneck with your underground line and storage in your basement. 165 feet is going to be pretty expensive if you need to go up to 1.5"+ to move all those btu's to keep the boiler from cycling
I hear you. I do not have the option to put the furnace inside the house. I know the pipe will cost me 2K+.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,363
Northern Canada
Not really addressing your question here, but something else to think about.....I'm not sure the output of either of those boilers, but make sure you are not creating a bottleneck with your underground line and storage in your basement. 165 feet is going to be pretty expensive if you need to go up to 1.5"+ to move all those btu's to keep the boiler from cycling
I ran twin 1" lines because of the price.
 

cumminstinkerer

Burning Hunk
Feb 2, 2016
162
central iowa
@Joncombat I have a 2008 econburn 100, it was used when I got and has had some issues, things that were jacked up by previous previous (yes two the one i bought it from never fired it) owner, mainly a good boiler, built like a tank, get with @salecker he has the outdoor 200, I like mine a lot more now that I have a danfoss mixing valve instead of their bypass pump setup, and got primary air adjustors installed, I got it tweaked in way better yesterday. They are a solid well built simple boiler. PM me if you have questions or reach to Thomas @salecker
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
991
South Central Minnesota
Keep in mind there is a new 26% federal tax credit for biomass heaters on the EPA approved list that also have a 75% and higher efficiency rating (efficiency ratings also on same list).

Woodstove Database | Burnwise | US EPA
 
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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,730
Nova Scotia
I took a look at the post and the website. The unit is large enough to do the job. There are not many videos online to show the lighting/Maintenance. I saw one the owner used a blowtorch to light it. is that standard?
Vedos are the easiest to clean on the market. Not saying that because I own one, they just are. I use a torch but still also use paper and kindling. So the torch just lights newspaper but easier than a match.
 

Joncombat

Member
Dec 28, 2018
20
Danbury ct
@Joncombat I have a 2008 econburn 100, it was used when I got and has had some issues, things that were jacked up by previous previous (yes two the one i bought it from never fired it) owner, mainly a good boiler, built like a tank, get with @salecker he has the outdoor 200, I like mine a lot more now that I have a danfoss mixing valve instead of their bypass pump setup, and got primary air adjustors installed, I got it tweaked in way better yesterday. They are a solid well built simple boiler. PM me if you have questions or reach to Thomas @salecker
I can only install an indoor EPA certified boiler in my City. The town will not approve outdoor.
 

Joncombat

Member
Dec 28, 2018
20
Danbury ct
The torch is recommended and included with the purchase of the boiler. But is not necessary if you prefer not to use one.
I like how the Froling is easy to light. How would you light the Vedo without the torch? I do not know anyone in my area with a wood furnace or installers that are familiar with them. From the only video I watched of the Vedo the heating tubes are horizontal. Do they need to be cleaned every time you load the unit? Wouldn't the ash buildup just sit in them?
 

HardDrinkin'Lincoln

New Member
Nov 2, 2019
45
WA
I like how the Froling is easy to light. How would you light the Vedo without the torch? I do not know anyone in my area with a wood furnace or installers that are familiar with them. From the only video I watched of the Vedo the heating tubes are horizontal. Do they need to be cleaned every time you load the unit? Wouldn't the ash buildup just sit in them?
Here's what the manual says about lighting:

1611322337584.png


Here you can see how the fire tubes are arranged.

1611322406526.png
 

HardDrinkin'Lincoln

New Member
Nov 2, 2019
45
WA
I like how the Froling is easy to light. How would you light the Vedo without the torch? I do not know anyone in my area with a wood furnace or installers that are familiar with them. From the only video I watched of the Vedo the heating tubes are horizontal. Do they need to be cleaned every time you load the unit? Wouldn't the ash buildup just sit in them?
I'm pleasantly surprised at how little ash buildup occurs in the fire tubes. I'll usually clean the fire tubes after 3 burns, although that may depend on the type of wood you burn. Removing ash and charcoal from the secondary burn chamber is done once a day.
 

Joncombat

Member
Dec 28, 2018
20
Danbury ct
Here's what the manual says about lighting:

View attachment 272490

Here you can see how the fire tubes are arranged.

View attachment 272491
It looks easy enough. I just want to make sure my wife can handle lighting without an issue. My next question is to size the unit I need. I currently use propane 170KBTU max, 7 zones hydronic/forced hot air. My house is 5500 sq/ft heated, and my external garage is 1250 sq/ft (625 sq/ft per floor). The garage is unfinished but I would like to heat it in the future. How can I estimate the unit size (BTU output) for my current needs? I also have questions on the unit operation. If I fire up the unit but my storage is at temperature does the unit shutdown/smolder until the water temp drops?
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,503
Northern Maine
How are you going to handle the difference in the water temperature (BTU's) with the cooler water as your tank temp drops?
 

Joncombat

Member
Dec 28, 2018
20
Danbury ct
How are you going to handle the difference in the water temperature (BTU's) with the cooler water as your tank temp drops?
My HVAC installer who is not familiar with wood boilers indicated a heat exchanger would need to be added to connect the wood system to the current propane system. This would keep the propane system from firing as long as the thermal storage temperature is above the propane furnace setpoint. I believe a bypass would be installed to prevent the propane heater from heating the 800 gallon thermal storage tanks. I currently have a 120 gallon storage tank connected to my existing propane system.
 

HardDrinkin'Lincoln

New Member
Nov 2, 2019
45
WA
My HVAC installer who is not familiar with wood boilers indicated a heat exchanger would need to be added to connect the wood system to the current propane system. This would keep the propane system from firing as long as the thermal storage temperature is above the propane furnace setpoint. I believe a bypass would be installed to prevent the propane heater from heating the 800 gallon thermal storage tanks. I currently have a 120 gallon storage tank connected to my existing propane system.
Your prestige solo 175 system is a closed system with an expansion tank. The Vedolux boilers also require a closed system. So you can connect them together without a heat exchanger. Heat exchangers would only be required when connecting to an open unpressurised outdoor boiler.

You then just need a control system and a variable speed pump to move hot water from the 800 gallon storage to the heating system in the amount necessary to provide the desired target water temperature for heating.
 

Joncombat

Member
Dec 28, 2018
20
Danbury ct
Your prestige solo 175 system is a closed system with an expansion tank. The Vedolux boilers also require a closed system. So you can connect them together without a heat exchanger. Heat exchangers would only be required when connecting to an open unpressurised outdoor boiler.

You then just need a control system and a variable speed pump to move hot water from the 800 gallon storage to the heating system in the amount necessary to provide the desired target water temperature for heating.
if the thermal storage temp drops, would my existing system try and heat the 800 gallons or thermal storage. this would be inefficient. propane is expensive!
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,363
Northern Canada
I can only install an indoor EPA certified boiler in my City. The town will not approve outdoor.
Econoburn has both models,they are the same unit under the skin and extra insulation.
I got the outdoor one and it is indoors>> reason is it was sitting in the Yukon when i decided to go with the Econoburn unit.One of the first gasifyers in the Yukon,and one of the first systems with storage in the Yukon
Cleaning is fairly easy once you have the right tools.I left the roof off mine above the turbulators.The plate that gets removed has flat gaskets,no silicon.I have a rope pulley to pull the turbulators,then a cordless drill and my cleaning tool,have done it in and hour if nobody distracts me.
 
Last edited:

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,363
Northern Canada
if the thermal storage temp drops, would my existing system try and heat the 800 gallons or thermal storage. this would be inefficient. propane is expensive!
The way mine is set up i shut off a valve on my HX if i know i am going away for a while.
Mine may do a little heating of storage when the wood boiler is offline without the HX shut off,but very minor.My backup boiler is on the antifreeze side of my HX and has close spaced tee's on the hot side of the HX.Any water going through the HX on the return from the house has had some BTU's removed.
 

HardDrinkin'Lincoln

New Member
Nov 2, 2019
45
WA
if the thermal storage temp drops, would my existing system try and heat the 800 gallons or thermal storage. this would be inefficient. propane is expensive!
A properly piped and controlled system will put the propane boiler in standby if the tank is sufficiently hot and will not heat the 800 gallons. If you haven't done so yet you can find great information here:

https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/biomass-hydronics-training-pdf.137252/

https://www.caleffi.com/sites/default/files/coll_attach_file/idronics_10_0.pdf
 

HardDrinkin'Lincoln

New Member
Nov 2, 2019
45
WA
I forgot about the boiler being installed 165 feet away in a separate garage. That presents some challenges when preventing freezing during the winter when the boiler is not fired. That may require operating the wood boiler with antifreeze to prevent the boiler from freezing if it is not operating in the winter. That would then require a heat exchanger between the house and the wood boiler system. A clear examination of freezing risks must be a part of the design.
 
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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,730
Nova Scotia
It looks easy enough. I just want to make sure my wife can handle lighting without an issue. My next question is to size the unit I need. I currently use propane 170KBTU max, 7 zones hydronic/forced hot air. My house is 5500 sq/ft heated, and my external garage is 1250 sq/ft (625 sq/ft per floor). The garage is unfinished but I would like to heat it in the future. How can I estimate the unit size (BTU output) for my current needs? I also have questions on the unit operation. If I fire up the unit but my storage is at temperature does the unit shutdown/smolder until the water temp drops?
You should not start a fire until your storage temps are low enough to absorb all the heat from one load of wood.