Looking for some input from the experts on a owb.

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Jan 15, 2018
Hello, I've been a lurker of the pellet mill for years. Heat my old farm house with a few harman pellet stoves but now that I officially own my farm (long legal battle... ugh lawyers...) I can now make some big changes.

I have hot water baseboard in the house that has an oil boiler. Right now i only use it as backup and for domestic hot water. Its 200,000 btu.
I have a separate shed that is two stories and 900sqft total that i want to heat.
My parents are building a house on the property as well. which will be around 2000sq foot but much better insulated than my old stone moneypit.
I have lots of downed trees I've been splitting since the pipeline went though my woods. I have a pile of trees yet to split almost as large as my big barn. Plus many acres of woods.
I still plan on using my pellet stoves in the old stone house as the hot water base board doesn't quite offset my drafty old windows.

If i site a owb where the old corn crib used to be (has a nice solid stone foundation) it is between the two houses and the shed. 220ft run to stone house 210ft to parents. and 30ft to shed. Level runs. I will be trenching to run electric for a backup diesel generator and some fiber for networking. I want to use oil as a backup for the boiler (dual fuel boiler?) and to run the generator. Both the generator and boiler will sit in the same area where I plan on building a wood shed and cover for the generator and boiler.

TLDR.: What boiler would you recommend for two houses and a shop/shed? Central PA. How many btu boiler am i looking at?


Jan 29, 2019
I don't know much about the dual fuel OWB's, but I do know that I'm also in the market and looking to pull the trigger within the next month or two. I've settled on the Heatmaster G4000 for a few reasons. One being the helpfulness of the local dealer, but also because of their reputation and warranty. I've also looked at Mahonings, Crown Royals, Wood Masters, and a few others.

How many square feet is your house? The G7000 would be Heatmaster's best option for you but there's no dual fuel capability. I have seen Mahoning OWB's that are also oil burned, and FWIW two of the guys down the road from me have been burning them for 20+ years with no issues.

The Heatmasters are gasifiers that will require split/seasoned wood. There is also a 26% tax credit available for any EPA certified stove purchase/install (yes, including OWB's). Something to keep in mind.


Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
Nova Scotia
I think I would try to get the boiler in the shed, being only 30'away. Stand by heat loss might give that all the heat it needs and you're dealing with 2 loops vs 3. Maybe use your crib spot for wood storage and gennie. Those are pretty long runs. Have you priced piping yet? I would use 1-1/4", and it needs to be the good stuff. Like, $20+/- per foot. Would also not consider dual fuel. If 2 fuels are needed I would do 2 separate units.


Minister of Fire
Jan 31, 2014
Just out of curiosity, any clue what one of those units costs on average?

Gary I think is the owner, I received some literature from them once many years ago so I don’t remember, but north of 12K would be my guess..
They are quality units and will run oil and/or wood. The reason I recommended this option is because of continuity...The biggest problem I find with any of these systems is the install, the company can have the best product known to man, but if the installer is not top shelf you will never get the most out of the system. These systems are not standard, every install is specific to site conditions, very few guys have the knowledge. Gary is the designer, builder, and installer...One person being responsible prevents finger pointing..
Jan 15, 2018
The shed is not really a shed any more. Its my home office/ IT lab up top and a bar below. Not really any room for a boiler or storage and i want to keep high heat and dust away from all the servers. Just need a loop to a hotdog heater in the bottom so my pipes dont freeze in the bar since that is where the bathroom is.

That switzer boiler may be what im looking for. Reminds me of the giant boilers at the builtmore.
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Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
Northern Canada
I have an outdoor Econoburn that ended up in it's own building.
I use a seperate oil boiler for backup,it's in the same building,keeping all my flame sources out of the living area.

E Yoder

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2017
Floyd, VA
We've gone the route of keeping the backup heat in each buildings heating system rather than in the boiler. Just for redundancy, all your eggs aren't in one basket.
Definitely look into piping cost and info, those runs aren't impossible but fairly long. And it usually grows once you start digging. :)
Jan 15, 2018
Thanks for all the replies! I have wood or pellet stoves for backup heat in all the buildings won't due dhw but as a fall back so nothing freezes will be fine. The old backup in the boiler is more for if we are all out of town and my house sitter is unreliable or scared of the boiler.

hedge wood

Burning Hunk
Mar 1, 2009
Eastern NE
Another option if you want to install in a shed..
I have been doing some pricing with Gary and he sent me a price sheet a couple weeks ago and for a three pass eight foot 2150 gallon boiler it would be $16,070.00 and a 2600 gallon would be $17,270.00. A Garn 2000 was $17,000 when I priced one of them a month ago both were priced no shipping or anything to hook them up. One would have to check on the tax credit.
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Jan 15, 2018
That's very helpful. I like the idea of a closed loop better due to how hard the water from my spring is.

mark cline

Minister of Fire
Dec 20, 2012
Cattaraugus, NY
Just out of curiosity, any clue what one of those units costs on average?
They sent me their brochure about 2 months ago, so rices are current.


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