New guy questions..

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Dbergeron

New Member
Jan 29, 2024
11
Massachusetts
Hi all I’m planning to start a new build this summer. I’ve built several houses, but finally build a “forever” house for my family and I. I have a beautiful lot on top of a hill at a lake and boy I just can’t wait to be there. I’ve attached my preliminary floor plans for reference. I’m in MA and am planning to spend money over insulating a bit. The goal is to run pex in the basement and garage slab, and build a diy quick track for the 2nd and 3rd floors. I’m not sure I’ll end up actually heating the garage and basement but I figure pex is cheap enough that I can put the tube in the slab and be safe. I’ve been looking at an mbtek uni40 boiler, and 250G pressurized buffer. From what I’ve read that’s not nearly enough storage. In an ideal world if only have to burn 1 fire a day. Any help would be great thanks guys!
 

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Look into Switzer wood fired boilers. They are a pressurized (less than 30psi) wood fired boiler with integrated storage. I have a small one (600ga), and I love it. These are made in New York. They are heavy beasts, so you have to take that into consideration.
I’d think you’d want quite a bit more than 250ga. I run mine 1-2 times per day most of the winter, and we are in USDA cold hardiness zone 6b. The couple days of a year when we get down to -20 to -30 windchill, I’ll run it with 3 loads per day, although they aren’t all full loads. I heat a 3,000 sq ft house, 24x30 garage, and domestic hot water. My house has spray foamed roof deck, and 2x6 fiberglass insulated walls, I’d say average tightness.
Whatever you do get, make sure it’s a gasifier.
http://switzerswoodburning.weebly.com/
 
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Look into Switzer wood fired boilers. They are a pressurized (less than 30psi) wood fired boiler with integrated storage. I have a small one (600ga), and I love it. These are made in New York. They are heavy beasts, so you have to take that into consideration.
I’d think you’d want quite a bit more than 250ga. I run mine 1-2 times per day most of the winter, and we are in USDA cold hardiness zone 6b. The couple days of a year when we get down to -20 to -30 windchill, I’ll run it with 3 loads per day, although they aren’t all full loads. I heat a 3,000 sq ft house, 24x30 garage, and domestic hot water. My house has spray foamed roof deck, and 2x6 fiberglass insulated walls, I’d say average tightness.
Whatever you do get, make sure it’s a gasifier.
http://switzerswoodburning.weebly.com/
Look into Switzer wood fired boilers. They are a pressurized (less than 30psi) wood fired boiler with integrated storage. I have a small one (600ga), and I love it. These are made in New York. They are heavy beasts, so you have to take that into consideration.
I’d think you’d want quite a bit more than 250ga. I run mine 1-2 times per day most of the winter, and we are in USDA cold hardiness zone 6b. The couple days of a year when we get down to -20 to -30 windchill, I’ll run it with 3 loads per day, although they aren’t all full loads. I heat a 3,000 sq ft house, 24x30 garage, and domestic hot water. My house has spray foamed roof deck, and 2x6 fiberglass insulated walls, I’d say average tightness.
Whatever you do get, make sure it’s a gasifier.
http://switzerswoodburning.weebly.com/
The Switzer boilers are definitely very cool. I’m not sure I’d have the space for it unfortunately. What a beast!
 
I've run with Gasification and 1000 gallons storage for over 40 years ! My recommendations are a good quality Gasification Boiler. minimum 1000 gallons storage , Pex in the floors at all levels , and your system accessible to the outside through a garage door .
 
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The Switzer boilers are definitely very cool. I’m not sure I’d have the space for it unfortunately. What a beast!
I believe Gary will custom build to fit your space, within reason of course. Any decent amount of storage is going to take space.
 
I've run with Gasification and 1000 gallons storage for over 40 years ! My recommendations are a good quality Gasification Boiler. minimum 1000 gallons storage , Pex in the floors at all levels , and your system accessible to the outside through a garage door .
Echo this. I have hydronic floor heat on the main level and in the garage, and also a hot water coil in a forced air furnace. If I would have known when I built my house that I could put heat under my second floor subflooring, I would have looked into it.
I put a small (6’x7’) overhead garage door in my boiler room to bring in the wood. One downside is that garage doors, by design, aren’t very efficient. That’s one thing I’d look into would be a better designed door, especially since mine is on the north side of the house.
 
When i built my house having the flame sources in a separate building was part of the plan.
I have a boiler building which houses my gasification boiler, storage, and back up oil boiler.
My reasons at the time was no fire department in town, both my wife and daughter had asthma.
After 13 years i have no regrets about the decision to build the separate building . The mess of using wood and smoke rollout is contained outside of my home. The walk to the boiler building has never bothered me even at -40 C. The bonus is i have a heated workshop 24/7, i work on all my saws in there, and could park a car in there if i wanted to keep one warm.
 
With the issues of bad workman ship I had with Garn I would stay away from them. On a new build I would have floor heat any place I could. I would build a separate building for your boiler and storage. Keep the mess out of the house. I heated with two wood stoves in another house for twenty years I would never go back to wood in the house. I would sure give Switzer a good look. When I bought my Garn it came down to Garn and Switzer I made the wrong choice. A strong poster on here steered me to a Garn. He was a dealer at the time and a installer. When my troubles started a few years back I contacted him and found out it didn't work with Garn any more. Garn was no help in helping with my repairs.
 
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When i built my house having the flame sources in a separate building was part of the plan.
I have a boiler building which houses my gasification boiler, storage, and back up oil boiler.
My reasons at the time was no fire department in town, both my wife and daughter had asthma.
After 13 years i have no regrets about the decision to build the separate building . The mess of using wood and smoke rollout is contained outside of my home. The walk to the boiler building has never bothered me even at -40 C. The bonus is i have a heated workshop 24/7, i work on all my saws in there, and could park a car in there if i wanted to keep one warm.
Love the idea of a boiler shed, but not the extra cost. While there is enough land for a small building it’s not ideal.
 
With the issues of bad workman ship I had with Garn I would stay away from them. On a new build I would have floor heat any place I could. I would build a separate building for your boiler and storage. Keep the mess out of the house. I heated with two wood stoves in another house for twenty years I would never go back to wood in the house. I would sure give Switzer a good look. When I bought my Garn it came down to Garn and Switzer I made the wrong choice. A strong poster on here steered me to a Garn. He was a dealer at the time and an installer. When my troubles started a few years back I contacted him and found out it didn't work with Garn any more. Garn was no help in helping with my repairs.
I don’t have a ton of extra land for a building. Plus between the cost of the building, and increase in taxes it basically washes away any savings. I love the idea of it though, keeping all the wood outside and having extra space in my basement..
 
I don’t have a ton of extra land for a building. Plus between the cost of the building, and increase in taxes it basically washes away any savings. I love the idea of it though, keeping all the wood outside and having extra space in my basement..
Have you done an estimate of the wood you are going to burn? You need to store 3 years worth of wood under cover, gasification with storage needs dry wood.
We had our house rented out for 20 years and got to see the success and failure of different people running our system. The ones who only ran wood to save money were a disaster and had nothing but problems. Those that liked the novelty and wanted to master the system had success!
A boiler like a Garn Junior or a Switzer can give you a small footprint for gasification with storage.
 
Have you done an estimate of the wood you are going to burn? You need to store 3 years worth of wood under cover, gasification with storage needs dry wood.
We had our house rented out for 20 years and got to see the success and failure of different people running our system. The ones who only ran wood to save money were a disaster and had nothing but problems. Those that liked the novelty and wanted to master the system had success!
A boiler like a Garn Junior or a Switzer can give you a small footprint for gasification with storage.
Best guess would be around 3 cords per year. Which I do have space for just not at the house. I have a sizable lot a few towns over that I store my wood under cover. I would probably be able to fit 3 cords in the house between the garage and basement though it wouldn’t be all in the same area. I’m use to splitting wood and have a good seasoning rotation going on so that’s not a problem. I guess my real problem is how much storage I’ll need. Which is pretty difficult to ascertain without doing a heat loss calculation. Ultimately I’ve found a 250gal pressurized tank and a 1000gal unpressurized tank both of which I can make work in my space. I would prefer the 250 as it’s much less space, but it seems insufficient.
 
Best guess would be around 3 cords per year. Which I do have space for just not at the house. I have a sizable lot a few towns over that I store my wood under cover. I would probably be able to fit 3 cords in the house between the garage and basement though it wouldn’t be all in the same area. I’m use to splitting wood and have a good seasoning rotation going on so that’s not a problem. I guess my real problem is how much storage I’ll need. Which is pretty difficult to ascertain without doing a heat loss calculation. Ultimately I’ve found a 250gal pressurized tank and a 1000gal unpressurized tank both of which I can make work in my space. I would prefer the 250 as it’s much less space, but it seems insufficient.
250 gallons storage is like having no storage at all! A Garn Junior or a custom Switzer is going to be your smallest footprint for boiler and storage !
 
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Love the idea of a boiler shed, but not the extra cost. While there is enough land for a small building it’s not ideal.
My boiler shed is almost all recycled materials. 24x28
All i bought was the concrete which i mixed myself, insulation,rafters and an insulated garage door.
In saying that my house is probably close to 75% recycled, or diverted materials as well.
 
I don’t think you will regret it. Let me know if you have questions on install, or are you close enough that he will deliver and install for you?
 
I have reached out to Switzer and garn today. Seems that’s the best way to go I’ll report back when I hear back.
When I read this cold chills went threw my body.
Well I called Switzer today and spoke to Gary for about a half hour. Should fit in my room fine. Seems that’s the way. I’ll be ordering my Switzer in a couple months.
I am glad you decided to go with Switzer. I sure wish I would have.
 
I don’t have a ton of extra land for a building. Plus between the cost of the building, and increase in taxes it basically washes away any savings. I love the idea of it though, keeping all the wood outside and having extra space in my basement..
After fifteen years there's one change I'm still hoping to make: wall-off the boiler into its own room (part of a garage), and have entry from the outside only. Ashes and tracking dirt in with the firewood are two problems I would like to eliminate from elsewhere.
 
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After fifteen years there's one change I'm still hoping to make: wall-off the boiler into its own room (part of a garage), and have entry from the outside only. Ashes and tracking dirt in with the firewood are two problems I would like to eliminate from elsewhere.
That so what how I’ve designed. The boiler is in its own room in the basement but it’s accessed from the garage. I’d like to be able to keep a couple cords in the garage/basement to make sure it’s good and dry, and also so I don’t have to trudge through the snow for a load of wood every day.
 
My wood shed is 8 ft from my boiler building, just enough room for the skid steer to drive through if snow became an issue