Is there a Cheaper more basic boiler?

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,190
NE Ohio
Storage don't solve the root cause.
Sure it does...boiler goes from zero to 100% in a couple minutes...runs at 100% until the fire is over.
 
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Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,530
Northern Maine
My neighbor is the poster child for not using storage with Tarm indoor wood boiler. He had too many chimney fire to count and then melted a stainless steel liner.

I have friend that has heated his house for 25 years using coil on wood stove. He has several safety systems to make sure he does not boil the coil or run it dry. He also has dump zone to dump excess heat. It can be done but requires some knowledge of controls and systems sop that its fool resistant. he has an oil boiler but only one flue os he has baseboards

A closed loop gycol system is best tied to unpressurized hot water storage tank. American Solar Technics, owned by Hearth.com member (Tom in Maine) is the maunfacturer. The tank would be filled with water and would be heated by a coil filled with glycol instead of water. Things would get far trickier with pressurized tank unless you want to buy 500 gallons of glycol
500 gallon$ of crap eating your part$. YIKES!!!
 
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Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,530
Northern Maine
Storage don't solve the root cause.
It most certainly does. If you are getting creosote you have major problems that need to be resolved... yesterday.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,180
Northern NH
Wood is not like natural gas that can be easily turned on and off, when you turn down a wood fire, it will smolder and generate creosote.
Storage don't solve the root cause.
I believe the ultimate solution is a wood burner that can efficiently output any power between 0 and MAX BTU.
Yup its called a pellet boiler ;()
 
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Nickkendall

New Member
Mar 7, 2021
19
North dakota
So your saying I’m best off with just a wood stove not a boiler setup And leave my floor heat to my electic boiler Because I really don’t want a storage system and only need the extra heat for the garage anyways I can heat my house easily with a 9 kw boiler. But got a used 15 kw from a friend but it runs non stop when it’s cold out and still wasn’t sufficient for garage
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,180
Northern NH
What about a chip boiler? Can chip boilers do the same as pellet boiler?
To close this loop. I am unaware of any small household suitable chip boilers. if you want to heat a school or municipal building there are couple of firms that make them but they are not household units.
 
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E Yoder

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2017
533
Floyd, VA
Running efficiently at various loads is definitely difficult. It's interesting seeing the changes coming in the last 5 years or so since "owb" gassers (with only 100-300 gallons storage) have become common. From what I'm seeing I think it has finally gotten debugged.
I've burned several models of G series now for 7 years. It modulates some, which reduces cycles. But I think key to minimizing creosote is shutting down super tight while idling. A small air leak can create lots of creosote.
 
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E Yoder

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2017
533
Floyd, VA
I agree, no small chip boilers out there. Just not feasible.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,180
Northern NH
I agree, no small chip boilers out there. Just not feasible.
The smallest Chip Boiler I have seen is Chiptec boiler that served the campus of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests just north of Concord NH. It was a custom job. It was a two component unit, there was a gasifier that generates wood gas and then a standard boiler that used the wood gas to heat hot water. I searched for more info and found this

Background: In 1996, the Forest Society built a heating plant to provide heat to the Conservation Center. Chip – Tec, from Willingston Vermont, was contracted to install a gasifier as part of the hydronic heating system. The gasifier uses green wood chips as a fuel from Henniker Hardwood Pallets (HHP). In 2016, Chip Tec went out of business, leaving no expertise to maintain the biomass boiler and in a study conducted in 2019 by North East Biomass it was determined the gasifier is beyond its useful service life. In addition, HHP decided to move the supply of green wood chips out from under cover, exposing the chips to the weather, such as rain, snow etc. This led to a significant decrease in efficiency at times and often the boiler losing flame. This caused an overreliance on the back up propane boiler. Proposed: Given the stated circumstances, the Forest Society has decided to replace the Chip-Tec with a new biomass boiler. The proposed replacement is a Froling T4-130/150 biomass boiler with the capability to burn Dried Wood Chip (PDC’S) and/or wood pellets. The new boiler would solve the boiler reliability concerns and using either wood pellets or PDC’S would solve the fuel consistency problem. The only remaining problem to address is onsite fuel storage. Because of the limited storage space, about 4 tons, in the existing heat plant, we receive two to three deliveries per week and the delivery charge for the 30-minute commute is close to 75 % of the cost for the green wood chips. The proposed fuel storage silo will have the capacity to store 20 or 25 tons of fuel. Thus enabling a full truck of 14 tons of PDC’S to be delivered while leaving enough in the silo as a cushion. The estimated amount of deliveries will be 6 to 8 per heating season. Froling Energy will deliver the PDC’s from Keene, thus having the cushion will be important

Note they use Precision Dried Wood Chips (PDC) Precision Dry Wood Chip Fuel Producer & Supplier • Froling Energy

These are not the $30 bucks a ton delivered whole tree chips that has sticks and leave and sawdust mixed into wet chips and snow in the winter. I have not seen them in person but my guess is they are somewhere between a standard wood chip and a pellet. My guess is they are bound to Froling for supply as I am not aware of a large number of suppliers of PDCs (then again its not something I look around for). Even the many schools and municipal chip boilers in VT learned long ago that they needed high quality bole tree chips made from the type of wood we burn for firewood or sawmill residuals. They couldn't handle the low grade chips. At least one of the regional suppliers aggressively marketed to schools as a chip broker and they supply a premium chip special for those small systems.

Back when I worked in the pulp mill in Berlin the plant licensed a Weyerhaeuser design for a chip screening and reslicing system. it was a 4 story building full of vibratory screens with chip reslicers and lots of conveyors. We ran 1600 tons a day of wood through it from our chipper which had a 2500 HP electric drive motor. The chips that came out of that plant may not have been dried but they were clean and uniform. My guess is they could be burned as fuel but we had bark boiler that burned anything and the chips were much more valuable to be made into pulp.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,530
Northern Maine
The smallest Chip Boiler I have seen is Chiptec boiler that served the campus of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests just north of Concord NH. It was a custom job. It was a two component unit, there was a gasifier that generates wood gas and then a standard boiler that used the wood gas to heat hot water. I searched for more info and found this

Background: In 1996, the Forest Society built a heating plant to provide heat to the Conservation Center. Chip – Tec, from Willingston Vermont, was contracted to install a gasifier as part of the hydronic heating system. The gasifier uses green wood chips as a fuel from Henniker Hardwood Pallets (HHP). In 2016, Chip Tec went out of business, leaving no expertise to maintain the biomass boiler and in a study conducted in 2019 by North East Biomass it was determined the gasifier is beyond its useful service life. In addition, HHP decided to move the supply of green wood chips out from under cover, exposing the chips to the weather, such as rain, snow etc. This led to a significant decrease in efficiency at times and often the boiler losing flame. This caused an overreliance on the back up propane boiler. Proposed: Given the stated circumstances, the Forest Society has decided to replace the Chip-Tec with a new biomass boiler. The proposed replacement is a Froling T4-130/150 biomass boiler with the capability to burn Dried Wood Chip (PDC’S) and/or wood pellets. The new boiler would solve the boiler reliability concerns and using either wood pellets or PDC’S would solve the fuel consistency problem. The only remaining problem to address is onsite fuel storage. Because of the limited storage space, about 4 tons, in the existing heat plant, we receive two to three deliveries per week and the delivery charge for the 30-minute commute is close to 75 % of the cost for the green wood chips. The proposed fuel storage silo will have the capacity to store 20 or 25 tons of fuel. Thus enabling a full truck of 14 tons of PDC’S to be delivered while leaving enough in the silo as a cushion. The estimated amount of deliveries will be 6 to 8 per heating season. Froling Energy will deliver the PDC’s from Keene, thus having the cushion will be important

Note they use Precision Dried Wood Chips (PDC) Precision Dry Wood Chip Fuel Producer & Supplier • Froling Energy

These are not the $30 bucks a ton delivered whole tree chips that has sticks and leave and sawdust mixed into wet chips and snow in the winter. I have not seen them in person but my guess is they are somewhere between a standard wood chip and a pellet. My guess is they are bound to Froling for supply as I am not aware of a large number of suppliers of PDCs (then again its not something I look around for). Even the many schools and municipal chip boilers in VT learned long ago that they needed high quality bole tree chips made from the type of wood we burn for firewood or sawmill residuals. They couldn't handle the low grade chips. At least one of the regional suppliers aggressively marketed to schools as a chip broker and they supply a premium chip special for those small systems.

Back when I worked in the pulp mill in Berlin the plant licensed a Weyerhaeuser design for a chip screening and reslicing system. it was a 4 story building full of vibratory screens with chip reslicers and lots of conveyors. We ran 1600 tons a day of wood through it from our chipper which had a 2500 HP electric drive motor. The chips that came out of that plant may not have been dried but they were clean and uniform. My guess is they could be burned as fuel but we had bark boiler that burned anything and the chips were much more valuable to be made into pulp.
That sounds like an awesome operation.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,180
Northern NH
The entire facility is impressive. They have an entire campus of energy efficient buildings built and designed over a 40 year span. The origin al one is very much early 80s green design (way to many windows and a rotten interior layout optimized for heating) to their last project which looks far more conventional. They use local materials and green materials when they can.
 

mark cline

Minister of Fire
Dec 20, 2012
704
Cattaraugus, NY
Here is my 300k boiler , expansion tank and 1500 gallons of storage, plumbed to my 3200 sf log home , all radiant . This is all parts and pieces cobbled together, total rebuild on a 4 yr old boiler and all installation and plumbing done by me , total cost $13000 , if I had somebody install all this and a brand new boiler, $30000 plus . A quality boiler plus storage is not cheap , can’t see the sense of going cheap, it’s not working right or bad design , wet wood , many factors against you. But one big plus is the help, knowledge and expertise from the people on this forum. Can’t thank the individuals enough that helped me take my boiler from good to phenomenal .
 

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salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,397
Northern Canada
I have no problem with a non certified boiler I’m not going to be using it all the time just occasionally when it’s really cold
what are some options?
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After watching the old tarm video makes. E want one of them But I guessing there are few and far between? And I still should have storage Can storage tanks be added on a closed loop glycol filled system?
I have glycol filled closed system on the underground,house and backup boiler,then a big HX and my wood boiler and 1000 gal storage is water.1000+ gallons of glycol was to much money.
And glycol gets damaged when it is used in a boiler,it basicly gets burnt i was told.My oil boiler doesn't see much use and i have a sidestream filter on the glycol side.
 

slowzuki

Minister of Fire
I'm going to be the odd man out. If you have a big slab in your garage and the loops aren't undersized, and you don't care about hitting an exact temp, you don't need water tank storage.

Install a thermostatic mixing valve on the on boiler return to protect it from low temps. Single pump. Keep loading boiler until floor is close to the temp you want. The storage tank is needed if you care about swings in temperature like a living space. If you don't mind your garage being "charged" up to 90-95 F and letting it drop to 50 F over a few days you don't need storage.
 

E Yoder

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2017
533
Floyd, VA
Why are small chip boilers not feasible? Is there a component that cannot be made small, or cannot be efficiently made small?
Lots of parts that have the same labor and time involved, just less material. But a lot of it is low volume of sales. A low volume item that has lots of parts is a tough thing to make money on.
(I'm not a manufacturer, but I've got a few friends who are which is what I'm going by).
 

slowzuki

Minister of Fire
There are residential sized chip boilers made, in PEI for example, down into the 40 kW size. A big problem is fuel variability both for chip size/ shape and moisture content. When the size gets down there, the feeding/metering of individual chips becomes critical. If you have fuel that is high moisture, or variable size, or doesn't flow well, the minimum standby firing rates go up to ensure it doesn't go out from the surges/jams, odd bad chip etc.

The woodmizer bio burner dealt with this by having a propane pilot to keep the low fire condition and ignite but I think it had problems and left the market.

There was also some small batch load chip boilers but I think they have all disappeared too. Required storage and manual loading.

Why are small chip boilers not feasible? Is there a component that cannot be made small, or cannot be efficiently made small?
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,530
Northern Maine
I'm going to be the odd man out. If you have a big slab in your garage and the loops aren't undersized, and you don't care about hitting an exact temp, you don't need water tank storage.

Install a thermostatic mixing valve on the on boiler return to protect it from low temps. Single pump. Keep loading boiler until floor is close to the temp you want. The storage tank is needed if you care about swings in temperature like a living space. If you don't mind your garage being "charged" up to 90-95 F and letting it drop to 50 F over a few days you don't need storage.
Please continue on how this works. What about heat loss in the water as it’s doing it’s job
 
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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,746
Nova Scotia
Please continue on how this works. What about heat loss in the water as it’s doing it’s job
That's likely where not caring about hitting a certain temp comes in.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,530
Northern Maine
That's likely where not caring about hitting a certain temp comes in.
If I don’t care why am I heating it at all?
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,397
Northern Canada
I'm going to be the odd man out. If you have a big slab in your garage and the loops aren't undersized, and you don't care about hitting an exact temp, you don't need water tank storage.

Install a thermostatic mixing valve on the on boiler return to protect it from low temps. Single pump. Keep loading boiler until floor is close to the temp you want. The storage tank is needed if you care about swings in temperature like a living space. If you don't mind your garage being "charged" up to 90-95 F and letting it drop to 50 F over a few days you don't need storage.
that is very inefficient...
Water has been proven as the best medium for storing BTU's
 

monteville

New Member
Nov 23, 2019
67
Dallas
Lots of parts that have the same labor and time involved, just less material. But a lot of it is low volume of sales. A low volume item that has lots of parts is a tough thing to make money on.
(I'm not a manufacturer, but I've got a few friends who are which is what I'm going by).
Pellet stoves have sold very well, so why not small chip boilers? Small chip boilers = pellet stove (replace pellet auger with chip auger) + firebox insulation + boiler coils + circulation pump, right?