Indoor boiler advice needed

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,462
Nova Scotia
My power failure boiler protection consists of an 1000W pure sine inverter with built in charger/transfer switch and a group 27 marine battery. It provides seamless transfer from line power to battery power in the event of power failure and back when line power comes up again and then will automatically recharge the battery. More than enough capacity to run the boiler and circulator for a burn cycle or two. Yes not a solution for a several day power outage but great for boiler protection for the power failure that happens during a burn cycle. It is the blue box mounted on the wall to the right of the boiler. Inverter/transfer switch/charger combo at zoro.com - less than $300, battery ~$100

The other boiler protection concern would be the failure of the circulator itself during a burn - my solution is to use the European solution that we seldom use in the US, the boiler overheat connections provided in nearly all European manufactured boilers. That plumbed through a Watts STS20 thermostatic valve and connected to domestic cold water will run cold water through a loop internal to the boiler for protection during an over heat situation. (note I don't have it installed yet in this pic). IMO (Assuming domestic cold water is available) this is much simpler and compact than running a bunch of tube and fin above the boiler somewhere to provide a gravity overheat loop and not to mention powering a Normally open valve all the time to keep the valve closed in normal operation. I found the Watts STS20 valve for ~80 shipped from an ebay seller in Germany, they are available for a bit more from US suppliers. The rest is just cold water piping and a drain to out the back of my boiler building.

Different solution that works for me - I didn't want a bunch of tube and fin blocking the view of the TV :)
View attachment 256912
Yes I thought I had myself covered with the UPS, and it has done its job lots of times the past few years. But this is the first time I couldn't get it to switch on when I needed it. It seems to need hooked to power to switch. If it is plugged into power & switched on, then the power goes out, it is all hunky dorey. But if it is not switched on, and the power goes out, then you try to switch it on - well, yesterday it wouldn't. Not sure yet what I will do when the batteries in it need replacing, that cost will be pretty large. (It's an APC SmartUPS 2200va - oldie but goodie).

I also have those Euro hookups on my boiler, but never hooked them up. I would need to find a drain to run to, and in an outage my water pump would be dead also. So didn't bother. Different solutions fit different situations. And the more you can install/set up, the better in this case - this is the one aspect that redundancy should be standard.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,147
Northern Maine
Auto start gennie can be a big plus.

We had a bad weather day Monday. I suddenly decided in the morning I should do a burn early in case we lost power later. I got it going good and just loaded it up - when the power went out. Plugged the boiler circ into the UPS, but the UPS wouldn't power up without power going into it. First time I experienced that. I have had to hit the power button on it a couple times before, when the power was out, to get it to kick in. But it wouldn't this time. I should have got it up & going before I lit up & still had power, but I was in a hurry to make heat. Opened all my zones but the heat climbed in the boiler real quick - takes a little while for natural flow to get itself going, and storage wasn't cold with an early burn start. By the time I drug the gennie out & got it fired up to only have to plug the UPS into it to get it to send power out, the boiler & piping were starting to make ugly noises. Even after shutting down the air intake. That was my first & hopefully only episode like that. Virtually all other gassing boilers would have the added safety of the combustion fan shutting down when power goes away, but this thing just keeps on chugging full blast until the fuel gets used up. Anytime I have to leave the house with a fire going, or burn with ugly weather outside, I bring the UPS on line. Didn't bother doing that first, this time.
Sounds like a little pucker factor. LOL
 

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
142
Hicksville, Ohio
My power failure boiler protection consists of an 1000W pure sine inverter with built in charger/transfer switch and a group 27 marine battery. It provides seamless transfer from line power to battery power in the event of power failure and back when line power comes up again and then will automatically recharge the battery. More than enough capacity to run the boiler and circulator for a burn cycle or two. Yes not a solution for a several day power outage but great for boiler protection for the power failure that happens during a burn cycle. It is the blue box mounted on the wall to the right of the boiler. Inverter/transfer switch/charger combo at zoro.com - less than $300, battery ~$100

The other boiler protection concern would be the failure of the circulator itself during a burn - my solution is to use the European solution that we seldom use in the US, the boiler overheat connections provided in nearly all European manufactured boilers. That plumbed through a Watts STS20 thermostatic valve and connected to domestic cold water will run cold water through a loop internal to the boiler for protection during an over heat situation. (note I don't have it installed yet in this pic). IMO (Assuming domestic cold water is available) this is much simpler and compact than running a bunch of tube and fin above the boiler somewhere to provide a gravity overheat loop and not to mention powering a Normally open valve all the time to keep the valve closed in normal operation. I found the Watts STS20 valve for ~80 shipped from an ebay seller in Germany, they are available for a bit more from US suppliers. The rest is just cold water piping and a drain to out the back of my boiler building.

Different solution that works for me - I didn't want a bunch of tube and fin blocking the view of the TV :)
View attachment 256912
I saw that option somewhere else for overheat protection, and really liked it. Only real downside is that the heat goes down the drain.
 

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
142
Hicksville, Ohio
You can feel free to look at mine any time, but I live about 3 hours away.

My piping goes up across the ceiling and back down to the tank. Without crawling inside the pipe to be sure, I don't think there is any way air can get trapped in there with 12 GPM flowing through an 1 1/4 pipe. I assume it's like a garden hose, turn the water on and it pushes the air right out.

Just to be clear andym, your house system is a hydronic system with baseboard heaters etc ?

Agree on the lifestyle concept. Wife and I were out splitting firewood for winter of 2024 yesterday. :)
I travel around more in ohio than michigan. Where are you located?

My house wil be heated with the central furnace. I have the option of installing some radiant on the main level, but that's definitely going to wait.
 

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
142
Hicksville, Ohio
Near South Haven
I did a lot of thinking today about how to fit everything in my basement....I've pretty much decided to add a boiler room to my shop. There is a whole list of good reasons for this:
1: shop will be somewhat heated simply from 'waste' heat.
2: I can easily have room for 1,000 gallons of pressurized storage vs 500 max in basement.
3: heavy items can be set in place with tractor! Whew!
4: boiler to storage plumbing will be easier, cheaper, and more redundant in my case.
5: I will save at least 165 Sq ft of usable basement space.
6: no fire hazard in house (low priority, but not unnoticed)
7: much easier access to firewood.
8: new construction layout vs. major retrofit. (Widening doors, adding exterior chimney, cutting wood chute in basement wall.....)
9: With ground level loader tractor access I would perhaps consider a used unit as suggested.
10: it's way cooler!

There are a couple downsides tho:
1:a little more money.
2: no loading the stove in my boxers.
3: a bit harder to monitor.
 

JohnDolz

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2015
536
Burlington, CT
I saw that option somewhere else for overheat protection, and really liked it. Only real downside is that the heat goes down the drain.
When/if you hear the sounds coming out of an overheating boiler the last thing on your mind will be worrying about wasted heat. I think another poster used the term "pucker"................
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,147
Northern Maine
When/if you hear the sounds coming out of an overheating boiler the last thing on your mind will be worrying about wasted heat. I think another poster used the term "pucker"................
LOL.
I'm thankful that I could at least manually open every zone valve located next to the boiler however I'm not sure I want to be that close to it.
On the bright side I know if the electric went out and the genset didn't start there is no fan so that pretty much stops combustion so its just dumping some heat into the fin tube.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,462
Nova Scotia
Sounds like your batteries need replaced now...
I don't know. Maybe? After I got it switched on I just let it go and shut the gennie off again and brought it back inside since it was outside in a storm. UPS ran the circ Ok until the power came back on, maybe 2 hours? And was still showing 2 bars out of 4 for battery charge left. No doubt it doesn't have the battery life it had when new.
 

Mike Fromme

Burning Hunk
Apr 18, 2014
221
Maine
I did a lot of thinking today about how to fit everything in my basement....I've pretty much decided to add a boiler room to my shop. There is a whole list of good reasons for this:
1: shop will be somewhat heated simply from 'waste' heat.
2: I can easily have room for 1,000 gallons of pressurized storage vs 500 max in basement.
3: heavy items can be set in place with tractor! Whew!
4: boiler to storage plumbing will be easier, cheaper, and more redundant in my case.
5: I will save at least 165 Sq ft of usable basement space.
6: no fire hazard in house (low priority, but not unnoticed)
7: much easier access to firewood.
8: new construction layout vs. major retrofit. (Widening doors, adding exterior chimney, cutting wood chute in basement wall.....)
9: With ground level loader tractor access I would perhaps consider a used unit as suggested.
10: it's way cooler!

There are a couple downsides tho:
1:a little more money.
2: no loading the stove in my boxers.
3: a bit harder to monitor.
Make sure you check with you code enforcement regarding what they want... might have some specific fire code requirements (double door/fire rated Sheetrock etc). generally the codes are a little easier if the shop is not considered a garage.

Good choice though I couldn’t imagine having to haul wood down into a basement.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,066
Northern Canada
My system is in it's own building,it will get attached to my garage once the building inspector signs off.
I would not have it any other way,even after 8 years or so the trip to the boiler room isn't a hassle.
 

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
142
Hicksville, Ohio
Still debating the basement vs barn option. Adding up the cost of underground pipe, insulated addition, etc is just more money than I have to spend this year. That along with the fact that ANY underground pipe will lose a lot of btusters time. How much is
 

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
142
Hicksville, Ohio
Sorry, here's the rest: how many btus are lost is debatable, but several people mentioned 1 or more cords of wood?

It's too boring to explain, but building the boiler room would take away from the best location for my bigger wood shed.

I'm back to the drawing board on how much storage is feasible in my basement. Much as I like the idea of adding a boiler room to my shop, I just cannot
fit it in my budget. If money was no issue I would add on to the house!

I'm pretty sure I can get 500 gal of pressurized storage. The qquestion is should I stick with that or go non pressurized to gain more volume? Maybe 750? I would prefer pressurized tho. Seems simpler. Any thoughts?
 

JohnDolz

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2015
536
Burlington, CT
Sorry, here's the rest: how many btus are lost is debatable, but several people mentioned 1 or more cords of wood?

It's too boring to explain, but building the boiler room would take away from the best location for my bigger wood shed.

I'm back to the drawing board on how much storage is feasible in my basement. Much as I like the idea of adding a boiler room to my shop, I just cannot
fit it in my budget. If money was no issue I would add on to the house!

I'm pretty sure I can get 500 gal of pressurized storage. The qquestion is should I stick with that or go non pressurized to gain more volume? Maybe 750? I would prefer pressurized tho. Seems simpler. Any thoughts?
How would you get 500 gallons of pressurized in there? If you can get 1 500 tank horizontally, you can most likely get 2 tanks (I think I made it with 3/4" to spare:)). I also like the fact that any heat loss is lost into my house. I vote for the simplicity of pressurized.
 

Woodman1

Burning Hunk
Jan 15, 2018
124
Michigan
If your going in the house and you originally liked the idea of a modulating setup, have you considered a kuma wood furnace?
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
879
South Central Minnesota
Sorry, here's the rest: how many btus are lost is debatable, but several people mentioned 1 or more cords of wood?

It's too boring to explain, but building the boiler room would take away from the best location for my bigger wood shed.

I'm back to the drawing board on how much storage is feasible in my basement. Much as I like the idea of adding a boiler room to my shop, I just cannot
fit it in my budget. If money was no issue I would add on to the house!

I'm pretty sure I can get 500 gal of pressurized storage. The qquestion is should I stick with that or go non pressurized to gain more volume? Maybe 750? I would prefer pressurized tho. Seems simpler. Any thoughts?

Everything in the house/basement is most efficient no doubt. My 2 x500 g tanks are spray foamed and enclosed 2x4 framing with more sheet foam and fiberglass insulation around them. Even so the 24' x 48' out building they are in stays mid 40f to low 50f's even this morning with -18f outside. That's significant heat loss from the boiler/piping and storage even though everything is insulated.
At least that heat loss is doing me some good as my cats live in there and it's comfy for firing the boiler ;-)

I don't know how much my 110' of underground line is losing, but temp probes on both ends don't show any temp drop but there has to be some loss there as well.

The outbuilding the boiler /storage is in has typical insulation for a garage /shop type building, R11 walls, maybe 6-8" blown cellulose in ceiling and un-insulated floating slab floor. Before the boiler install I heated it before on an occasional basis and it would take a 3.5 cuft wood stove (Englander 30nc) burning full time to keep it low 60's in there in typical Minnesota winter weather.
 
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Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,147
Northern Maine
All I know is if I had to get dressed for a trip to an outbuilding I wouldn't have installed the boiler.
 
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Mike Fromme

Burning Hunk
Apr 18, 2014
221
Maine
Sorry, here's the rest: how many btus are lost is debatable, but several people mentioned 1 or more cords of wood?

It's too boring to explain, but building the boiler room would take away from the best location for my bigger wood shed.

I'm back to the drawing board on how much storage is feasible in my basement. Much as I like the idea of adding a boiler room to my shop, I just cannot
fit it in my budget. If money was no issue I would add on to the house!

I'm pretty sure I can get 500 gal of pressurized storage. The qquestion is should I stick with that or go non pressurized to gain more volume? Maybe 750? I would prefer pressurized tho. Seems simpler. Any thoughts?
Since your still debating what to do...

How about no boiler? Keep the wood stove and instead invest in mini split heat pumps and solar panels.
 

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
142
Hicksville, Ohio
How would you get 500 gallons of pressurized in there? If you can get 1 500 tank horizontally, you can most likely get 2 tanks (I think I made it with 3/4" to spare:)). I also like the fact that any heat loss is lost into my house. I vote for the simplicity of pressurized.
I don't have enough head room to stack horizontal. Ceiling is 85.5". I could possibly do 4 -150s to get me 600.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,147
Northern Maine
I don't have enough head room to stack horizontal. Ceiling is 85.5". I could possibly do 4 -150s to get me 600.
Then look at horizontal layout. Not perfect but it will still work.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,462
Nova Scotia
I was thinking 500's were 36" in diameter. I could be wrong, it has been a while.

But BadLP's comment could have been talking about setting them side by side.
 

JohnDolz

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2015
536
Burlington, CT
85 inches is not enough to stack 500s. Two of the 325 gallon tanks would fit nicely tho.
I am 92" to the bottom of the floor joists and I think that is as tight a squeeze as possible to stack 2 500's.
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
879
South Central Minnesota
I was thinking 500's were 36" in diameter. I could be wrong, it has been a while.

But BadLP's comment could have been talking about setting them side by side.

They are 36" maybe 37". The weld on fittings I used were for a 36" diameter and they fit correctly. When I stacked them horizontally I spaced the support brackets to have ~12" from the top of the bottom tank to the bottom of the top tank to allow for connections between the two. Also the bottom tank is on 4" spacers to make connections on the bottom of that tank. So I agree that 85" would be too tight. Need about 90" unless you did those connections differently.
IMG_1231.jpg


Cross bracing was added to the steel supports and supports between tanks added since this picture was taken (before there are concerns voiced that they might fold over ;-)