Indoor boiler located in shed?

DSSA

New Member
Nov 29, 2017
1
Rockhill Twp. , PA
I've been hashing out this idea since 2017 since I joined this site, and have revisited it every couple of months.

I've lurked here, other forums, and spend some nights just searching Google for info.

We currently own 10 heavily wooded acres (all hardwood) with a 3600 Sq/ft. home (ranch style--3600 sq./ft. top floor with a full, unfinished basement) that was built in 1986, located in SE PA.

The house has a heat pump, with a backup oil furnace that also heats the DHW (summer/winter hookup).

I'm not a huge fan of OWBs as I lived next to one in our last home (in town) and can see why some people hate the acrid smoke, and, from what I've read, IWBs seem to be simpler with a much longer lifespan. From what I've read PA has banned the sale/transfer of pre-2011 EPA compliant OWBs even though I see them for sale on Craigslist all of the time.

My goal from the start of heading down this rabbit hole is to build another shed on the property, near the house and RV garage (2800 sq/ft.) to house an IWB.

My reasoning behind this is to A) not have the boiler in the house for insurance reasons (we already have an oil furnace, fireplace, and wood burning stove in it--the insurance company probably wouldn't like yet another chimney) B) not have the mess of yet more wood being brought into the house C) be able to heat both the garage and home D) not lose more space in either building and E) get around PA's rules about older stoves. I've yet to be able to find anything that disputes "E" but I may be missing something.

My plan was to put up a small-ish shed (10x10 or so) with concrete pad and cinder block construction, and a metal roof. The land is REALLY rocky (I'm talking end spot for a glacier and rocks the size of Caddilacs from time to time) , so I'd like to keep the runs to the house/RV garage (which is not used to house an RV, I use it as a shop) as short as possible. I do have a Case 580c backhoe and a Kubota L2020DT w/ frontloader, but the going is rough even then for obvious reasons.

I've been looking at older Tarm units. I've passed up several for sale in the area since this is still something I can't seem to wrap my head around enough to make the jump.

I guess I'm looking for confirmation that my idea is a valid one. I'd have no problem building the shed, trenching the lines correctly and then having to replace the initial boiler down the line if it fails beyond repair--so long as the install around it is sound. I'd also prefer something older that is a little more forgiving with the wood I feed it.

Plans are for some sort of storage in the basement (prefer pressurized, but am concerned about insuring it) so that I can run it hot for a a spell and then not have to refire it for a day or two (especially in the summer with only having to heat the DHW).

I've found little about people using IWBs in sheds, so if someone knowledgeable can shed some light on the pros and cons, I'd be very thankful.

Josh
 

TCaldwell

Minister of Fire
I’d bet a third of the wood boilers out there are in a auxiliary or non living space for reasons you have mentioned. Sometimes existing basements just won’t accommodate a boiler setup.
My boiler barn is 16x 24, holds a large garn and 4 cord. If I were starting over the size would be large enough for a winters worth of wood for me , 7-10 cord. I think there is or was a used froling in the for sale section.
 

bupalos

Member
Jan 26, 2009
193
ne ohio
I don't know what your heat loads are, but have you considered replacing the oil furnace with the wood boiler? Seems to me you're going to be in for a a lot less capital cost that way, and really, with already two other forms of heat, is it worth maintaining the dirty stinky oil as a backup-backup? The cost, labor, and inherent inefficiency of an extra shed and piping would almost certainly deter me here...except for the advantage of having an additional detached man-cave.

If I was already up for this kind of expense and the trenching work, I'd upgrade that heat pump to a true geothermal unit and do the wood boiler in place of the oil furnace. [disclaimer...this is exactly what I've decided to do in the same situation as you (though I stopped using the oil furnace years ago), so who knows if I'm just trying to make me feel good about me!]
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,342
WI, Leroy
Problem with no conventional heating appliance or, at worst case, electric baseboards is insurance companies. They generally won't go along with wood only no matter what kind it is. A lot of they same units are still being sold using a loop Hole by stating coal fired appliance. Most of these designs eat wood like a 15" Vemeer chipper. At this point I would hold off to see what the fall out is going to be. Any thing that surrounds the burn chamber with a coat of water is not going to meet standards. The ones that will, will all be a type of heater design with heat exchangers instead of a water jacket. European designs have been at this level for quite sometime already ( Tarm for one) and fuel consumption is less. Not unusual to see an 50% or more fuel consumption reduction vs the water jacket types. In my area OWB's are banned as far as getting a permit for new install. Course every farm and likely 1/3 of the homes around me have one- and I am out in the country Miles from any suburbanite type areas.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,727
Northern NH
An indoor wood boiler without storage is fundamentally not going to run any cleaner then and OWB. An indoor wood boiler will most likely want a higher stack than an OWB. If you want to put storage and an indoor boiler out in a shed go for it, just realize that you had better make room for a comfortable chair and a TV screen as a Indoor wood boiler needs to be tended on and off for 2 to 3 hours to charge up the storage. Once its charged up if it sized right than you are good for 24 hours or so.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,392
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
An indoor wood boiler without storage is fundamentally not going to run any cleaner then and OWB. An indoor wood boiler will most likely want a higher stack than an OWB. If you want to put storage and an indoor boiler out in a shed go for it, just realize that you had better make room for a comfortable chair and a TV screen as a Indoor wood boiler needs to be tended on and off for 2 to 3 hours to charge up the storage. Once its charged up if it sized right than you are good for 24 hours or so.
I didn’t realize that you had to sit there ant “tend” an indoor wood boiler other than to load and ignite it. Doesn’t all of that fancy computerization handle the tending after that?
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
815
South Central Minnesota
I didn’t realize that you had to sit there ant “tend” an indoor wood boiler other than to load and ignite it. Doesn’t all of that fancy computerization handle the tending after that?
Only have one firing on my so far but the starting procedure for my Attack boiler is push the start button (starts draft fan and boiler to storage circulator) ignite a small amount of kindling/paper and let that get going with the loading door slightly open (open bypass). The control panel has a bar graph that tells you when the flue temps have reached a point to load the rest of the wood, close the door and off she goes. After the load is burned and a certain flue temp or oxygen content is reached, the draft fan and circulator shut off.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,727
Northern NH
With 500 gallons of storage at 140 F I have raise it to 185F. At roughly 8 pounds per gallon thats 180,000 BTU. Using dry sugar maple at 3800 Btu/lb and optimistically 70% efficiency combustion I need 68 pounds of dry wood. I also need to heat the water in the boiler which eats up a bit more wood. Lets assume 50 gallons of water equivalent mass so that is another 6.8 pounds totaling around 75 pounds.

First visit to the shed would be load the boiler with kindling and light off the newspaper. So put the coat and boats on (#1). Now wait 10 minutes and go load an initial charge, so another coat and bootsrun (#2). Now wait 20 minutes and on go the boots and coat again (#3) < now repeat two more times (#3) and (#4). Plan on 2 to 3 hours for the cycle for my 100KBtu fuel input boiler.

I have seen one automatic loading woodboiler in person years ago that ran on veneer cores. Every other wood boiler I have seen is batch loaded. Its a lot easier for me to walk down a flight of stairs to my wood boiler than it is to get dressed up on cold snowy night and walk out to shed and back again, thus the recomendation of TV and comfortable chair in the shed.
 

Quincy

Member
Sep 26, 2012
30
Ontario
I remember those days of feeding a homemade greenwood boiler or seton type boiler. The constant tending was not fun . I installed a froling to heat my 1000 gallons of storage from 140 to 175'F with 1 load of wood. I find the froling has made all the difference ,making wood burning enjoyable again. The boiler in an outbuilding is a good way to go as it cuts down on the mess and dangers of burning wood. DON'T SKIMP on the underground lines .The log star pipe is expensive but in your case with bedrock so close to the surface might be your best option. The polar gasification woodboiler looks like a good boiler lots of positive reviews. Good luck
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,709
Northern MN
A few pictures of a Froling in a shed with 1630 gal storage and a custom monitoring panel.
 

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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,392
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Ah, so I would purchase a boiler that can do the job on one load of fuel per cycle. Seems like a smart move. Then I would take my coffee cup and pocket computer with me and load the kindling, ignite it, wait for 10 minutes while sipping coffee and surfing the web, load the full 75# (even my little princess wood stove holds 50# of low density wood) and then go inside.

One trip instead of 4 sounds way better.
 
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Quincy

Member
Sep 26, 2012
30
Ontario
The froling starts gasification without kindling . I just use smaller pieces on the bottom and some cardboard or paper . Fill the boiler with a full load open the ignition door put some cardboard or paper in light it . Leave the ignition door cracked open .Wait for the flue gases to rise up to a sustainable temperature . Probably 5 minutes close the doors and your done. The boiler does the rest. Check out biothermic in Ontario for some videos . Vedolux has a similar gasification boiler which I have no experience with so I can't have any input on. But I'm sure it is very good or better Best regards
 
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ktm010

Member
Dec 23, 2012
38
Albany, NY
I have a setup with a Froling located in a 1200sq garage 100' from a 2400sq house built in 1988. System works well 1 load warmer weather 2 when cold. Burn 8-10 cords per winter.
 

Marshy

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2016
820
NY
I've been hashing out this idea since 2017 since I joined this site, and have revisited it every couple of months.

I've lurked here, other forums, and spend some nights just searching Google for info.

We currently own 10 heavily wooded acres (all hardwood) with a 3600 Sq/ft. home (ranch style--3600 sq./ft. top floor with a full, unfinished basement) that was built in 1986, located in SE PA.

The house has a heat pump, with a backup oil furnace that also heats the DHW (summer/winter hookup).

I'm not a huge fan of OWBs as I lived next to one in our last home (in town) and can see why some people hate the acrid smoke, and, from what I've read, IWBs seem to be simpler with a much longer lifespan. From what I've read PA has banned the sale/transfer of pre-2011 EPA compliant OWBs even though I see them for sale on Craigslist all of the time.

My goal from the start of heading down this rabbit hole is to build another shed on the property, near the house and RV garage (2800 sq/ft.) to house an IWB.

My reasoning behind this is to A) not have the boiler in the house for insurance reasons (we already have an oil furnace, fireplace, and wood burning stove in it--the insurance company probably wouldn't like yet another chimney) B) not have the mess of yet more wood being brought into the house C) be able to heat both the garage and home D) not lose more space in either building and E) get around PA's rules about older stoves. I've yet to be able to find anything that disputes "E" but I may be missing something.

My plan was to put up a small-ish shed (10x10 or so) with concrete pad and cinder block construction, and a metal roof. The land is REALLY rocky (I'm talking end spot for a glacier and rocks the size of Caddilacs from time to time) , so I'd like to keep the runs to the house/RV garage (which is not used to house an RV, I use it as a shop) as short as possible. I do have a Case 580c backhoe and a Kubota L2020DT w/ frontloader, but the going is rough even then for obvious reasons.

I've been looking at older Tarm units. I've passed up several for sale in the area since this is still something I can't seem to wrap my head around enough to make the jump.

I guess I'm looking for confirmation that my idea is a valid one. I'd have no problem building the shed, trenching the lines correctly and then having to replace the initial boiler down the line if it fails beyond repair--so long as the install around it is sound. I'd also prefer something older that is a little more forgiving with the wood I feed it.

Plans are for some sort of storage in the basement (prefer pressurized, but am concerned about insuring it) so that I can run it hot for a a spell and then not have to refire it for a day or two (especially in the summer with only having to heat the DHW).

I've found little about people using IWBs in sheds, so if someone knowledgeable can shed some light on the pros and cons, I'd be very thankful.

Josh
Josh, I built a 6x10 room off the corner of my basement (walkout) and installed a new Froling boiler and 800 gal SOLARTECHNICS storage tank. Its integrated into my existing controls thanks to Tarm's BLT controller. I can fit almost a face cord of wood in the room which lasts me one week during ther coldest parts of winter. I love the setup and would di it all over again. I have an install thread somewhere if your interested.
 

Marshy

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2016
820
NY
I didn’t realize that you had to sit there ant “tend” an indoor wood boiler other than to load and ignite it. Doesn’t all of that fancy computerization handle the tending after that?
My Froling does not require any monitoring. It's as "set it and forget it" as it gets. It's a 10 minute job to load and light it then it does everything else. Just like using any other wood burning appliance, you learn to load the amount required for your heating demand. This is based on the storage tank temp and ambient temperatures and wind. Suffice to say, it becomes as easy to judge as a normal stove but easier to operate because of the exhaust fan.
 
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grader

Member
Feb 27, 2013
31
i set up my indoor boiler in an atco trailer 10x40 ft. boiler at one end, 10 cords piled in out of the weather nice and dry. parked trailer 80ft from house and garage. its on wheels so no property tax increase. used to have it in old garage but garage burned down (electrical), but decided it wasent going in new garage with the soot, smoke, wood mess, and space. now its contained and safe and after the wood is cut and piled in it in the spring its out of sight.