Newbie Looking to Install Pellet Wood Boiler

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

matterickson

New Member
Sep 17, 2021
13
Mulberry, TN
Hey all ... thanks in advance. I am starting the project of installing a pellet wood boiler for residential home heating. Some of the my thinking right now ... Looking for ideas, recommendations and information.

Replacing a 120k BTU furnace propane forced air furnace, not for hot water or other uses.
Want to use wood pellet for ease of use.
Want to minimize costs where possible ... so looking at ourdoor models

I am talking to dealers now .. .
  1. Central Boiler - they can't get one this winter unless I find a dealer with something in stock
  2. Crown Royal - Found a dealer with some stock waiting to hear back if he has the wood pellet model
  3. Heatmaster - waiting on a call back
  4. What about MESYS, Froehling, or Windhager ... ??
Questions ...
  1. For sizing can I use the 120k BTU number on the main furnace?
  2. What about thermostat makes/models? What do you all recommend?
  3. Recommendations on ThermoPex makes/models? Seems like a lot of options out there?
  4. I wanted an outdoor model ... but thinking about pellet storage, could I wrap the whole thing in an 8x10 shed?
  5. What am I missing? Starting from scratch here ... so help me out!

Thanks.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,304
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
You’re aware that this could easily be more than a 20k$ project right? Assuming you’re just putting a heat exchanger in your existing ductwork?

What could be easier to use than a gas furnace?
 
  • Like
Reactions: matterickson

Mr._Graybeard

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2012
367
Southeast Wisconsin
A friend has had good luck with a Fahrenheit Endurance 50F pellet furnace up here in Wisconsin. I would expect it to do well in Tennessee. It simply patches into an existing duct system. There are other hot-air pellet burners that can deliver central heating as well.

Going to a boiler would be a lot more expensive, and unnecessarily so.
 
  • Like
Reactions: matterickson

E Yoder

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2017
595
Floyd, VA
The only pellet boiler HeatMaster makes is the B series which is more of a commercial model line. They start out at 250k btu and go up to 1 million k.
I've never heard of Crown Royal having a pellet boiler but I could be wrong.
If you're referring to the thermostat for the propane furnace. I use the Honeywell T series, either T1 or T6 depending on what I want done.
Thermopex is CB's brand of underground pipe, HeatMaster carries Rhinoflex, which is identical. Not sure what questions you have there. 1" should work.
 
  • Like
Reactions: matterickson

matterickson

New Member
Sep 17, 2021
13
Mulberry, TN
You’re aware that this could easily be more than a 20k$ project right? Assuming you’re just putting a heat exchanger in your existing ductwork?

What could be easier to use than a gas furnace?
Yep. this is mostly for cost savings. I am estimating that I will need $7500 in propane this winter ... based on last winter and the large price increase in propane.
 

matterickson

New Member
Sep 17, 2021
13
Mulberry, TN
A friend has had good luck with a Fahrenheit Endurance 50F pellet furnace up here in Wisconsin. I would expect it to do well in Tennessee. It simply patches into an existing duct system. There are other hot-air pellet burners that can deliver central heating as well.

Going to a boiler would be a lot more expensive, and unnecessarily so.
I looked at that on-line ... looks intriguing. It is listed as 50k BTU which might be small and I couldn't tell if it can be installed outdoors. I'll keep researching.
 
Last edited:

matterickson

New Member
Sep 17, 2021
13
Mulberry, TN
The only pellet boiler HeatMaster makes is the B series which is more of a commercial model line. They start out at 250k btu and go up to 1 million k.
I've never heard of Crown Royal having a pellet boiler but I could be wrong.
If you're referring to the thermostat for the propane furnace. I use the Honeywell T series, either T1 or T6 depending on what I want done.
Thermopex is CB's brand of underground pipe, HeatMaster carries Rhinoflex, which is identical. Not sure what questions you have there. 1" should work.
Thanks! I was asking about what Thermostat people use to control both the propane furnace/AC and the new fan for the wood pellet boiler.
 

Mr._Graybeard

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2012
367
Southeast Wisconsin
A lot of home insurers will not write policies on homes with only wood- or pellet-fired heating systems. You may have to keep a gas-fired furnace on line to keep your homeowner's insurance. Check with your agent.
 
  • Like
Reactions: matterickson

Mr._Graybeard

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2012
367
Southeast Wisconsin
Thanks! I was asking about what Thermostat people use to control both the propane furnace/AC and the new fan for the wood pellet boiler.
My pellet boiler regulates its water temperature internally. When the thermostat calls for heat, the water pump sends hot water into the distribution system, which moves cooler water into the boiler. When the water temperature drops sufficiently, the boiler's internal thermostat signals the pellet feed/igniter system to begin heating the water jacket.

I have an aquastat on the return line at the pellet boiler. When the temperature drops to a certain point, it energizes my backup oil boiler. That way, if the pellet unit runs out of pellets or otherwise fails to ignite, the oil burner kicks in. To tell the truth, I usually have the aquastat set at a pretty low temp so the oil burner doesn't short-cycle. Pellet heat is not instant-on heat, even though my boiler has an advanced pressure igniter.

On the upside, you can regulate pellet heat output in a way that no cordwood burner can. You can set a unit like the Fahrenheit to run constantly at a fairly low level without sacrificing efficiency or promoting creosote buildup. My buddy with the Endurance 50F has it running pretty much constantly once the heating season starts getting serious.

Harman used to make a 110k-BTU pellet furnace called the PF100. It was the hot-air counterpart to my PB105. They ended production, unfortunately, but there are some used ones that come up for sale on eBay and elsewhere. That thing is a horse. If you can find one you're golden, but I really think you should take a closer look at the Fahrenheit.

Check out this thread. It'll keep you busy for a while. https://firewoodhoardersclub.com/fo...technologies-endurance-50f-information.16655/
 
  • Like
Reactions: matterickson

matterickson

New Member
Sep 17, 2021
13
Mulberry, TN
My pellet boiler regulates its water temperature internally. When the thermostat calls for heat, the water pump sends hot water into the distribution system, which moves cooler water into the boiler. When the water temperature drops sufficiently, the boiler's internal thermostat signals the pellet feed/igniter system to begin heating the water jacket.

I have an aquastat on the return line at the pellet boiler. When the temperature drops to a certain point, it energizes my backup oil boiler. That way, if the pellet unit runs out of pellets or otherwise fails to ignite, the oil burner kicks in. To tell the truth, I usually have the aquastat set at a pretty low temp so the oil burner doesn't short-cycle. Pellet heat is not instant-on heat, even though my boiler has an advanced pressure igniter.

On the upside, you can regulate pellet heat output in a way that no cordwood burner can. You can set a unit like the Fahrenheit to run constantly at a fairly low level without sacrificing efficiency or promoting creosote buildup. My buddy with the Endurance 50F has it running pretty much constantly once the heating season starts getting serious.

Harman used to make a 110k-BTU pellet furnace called the PF100. It was the hot-air counterpart to my PB105. They ended production, unfortunately, but there are some used ones that come up for sale on eBay and elsewhere. That thing is a horse. If you can find one you're golden, but I really think you should take a closer look at the Fahrenheit.

Check out this thread. It'll keep you busy for a while. https://firewoodhoardersclub.com/fo...technologies-endurance-50f-information.16655/
Thanks for that feedback ... I think I follow the Thermostat info ... what make/model of thermostat do you use?

I don't think the Fahrenheit unit works in my installation ... It doesn't look like it can installed outdoors. My current furnace is outside with the ducts running in the crawl space to heat the first floor.
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
868
Central Ohio
Yep. this is mostly for cost savings. I am estimating that I will need $7500 in propane this winter ... based on last winter and the large price increase in propane.
Have you done any air sealing and added any further insulation since last winter ? You'll only pay for it one time, and it will save you money on AC too.

Before you pull the trigger on a pellet furnace or boiler I'd high recommend doing a fuel cost comparison. Pellet prices are up also from what I'm hearing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: matterickson

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,526
Northern Canada
Cord wood can be the cheapest heat if you are healthy and can cut your own...
 
  • Like
Reactions: matterickson

matterickson

New Member
Sep 17, 2021
13
Mulberry, TN
Hey all ... thanks in advance. I am starting the project of installing a pellet wood boiler for residential home heating. Some of the my thinking right now ... Looking for ideas, recommendations and information.

Replacing a 120k BTU furnace propane forced air furnace, not for hot water or other uses.
Want to use wood pellet for ease of use.
Want to minimize costs where possible ... so looking at ourdoor models

I am talking to dealers now .. .
  1. Central Boiler - they can't get one this winter unless I find a dealer with something in stock
  2. Crown Royal - Found a dealer with some stock waiting to hear back if he has the wood pellet model
  3. Heatmaster - waiting on a call back
  4. What about MESYS, Froehling, or Windhager ... ??
Questions ...
  1. For sizing can I use the 120k BTU number on the main furnace?
  2. What about thermostat makes/models? What do you all recommend?
  3. Recommendations on ThermoPex makes/models? Seems like a lot of options out there?
  4. I wanted an outdoor model ... but thinking about pellet storage, could I wrap the whole thing in an 8x10 shed?
  5. What am I missing? Starting from scratch here ... so help me out!

Thanks.
Update ... Anyone using a HeatmasterSS Biomass Boiler?
 

Tennman

Minister of Fire
Mar 4, 2009
991
Southern Tenn
Hey guys! I kinda vanished after my Windhager install. It’s been amazing. Occasional minor issues, but overall very reliable. What have you guys heard about Froling pellet boilers?

Does Heaterman drop in anymore? There was a guy Velvet something running a Windhager. Is Velvet still around. Dropping in to update what’s current in the pellet world. Cheers all!
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,091
Sand Lake, NY
Greetings again Tennman. That was a post-retirement project. I've heard of other guys taking on these kind of projects when they first retire. Glad I got it out of my system.

For the original poster, I'd go with a pellet or cord wood stove to cut costs. I think it would be the most cost effective, especially in your moderate climate.
 

Mr._Graybeard

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2012
367
Southeast Wisconsin
For the original poster, I'd go with a pellet or cord wood stove to cut costs. I think it would be the most cost effective, especially in your moderate climate.
That's what I was thinking. I've seen outdoor pellet boilers, but a stove would be so much cheaper to install. Many of them can be direct-vented, so you don't even need a chimney.
 

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
365
Manitoba
Hey all ... thanks in advance. I am starting the project of installing a pellet wood boiler for residential home heating. Some of the my thinking right now ... Looking for ideas, recommendations and information.

Replacing a 120k BTU furnace propane forced air furnace, not for hot water or other uses.
Want to use wood pellet for ease of use.
Want to minimize costs where possible ... so looking at ourdoor models

I am talking to dealers now .. .
  1. Central Boiler - they can't get one this winter unless I find a dealer with something in stock
  2. Crown Royal - Found a dealer with some stock waiting to hear back if he has the wood pellet model
  3. Heatmaster - waiting on a call back
  4. What about MESYS, Froehling, or Windhager ... ??
Questions ...
  1. For sizing can I use the 120k BTU number on the main furnace?
  2. What about thermostat makes/models? What do you all recommend?
  3. Recommendations on ThermoPex makes/models? Seems like a lot of options out there?
  4. I wanted an outdoor model ... but thinking about pellet storage, could I wrap the whole thing in an 8x10 shed?
  5. What am I missing? Starting from scratch here ... so help me out!

Thanks.

I'd be looking at the Froling pellet boilers.
 

matterickson

New Member
Sep 17, 2021
13
Mulberry, TN
Greetings again Tennman. That was a post-retirement project. I've heard of other guys taking on these kind of projects when they first retire. Glad I got it out of my system.

For the original poster, I'd go with a pellet or cord wood stove to cut costs. I think it would be the most cost effective, especially in your moderate climate.
Thanks for the reply! I looked at pellet stoves ... but this is an old farmhouse with many separate rooms. I do have chimneys in every room ... let me go back to the drawing board and relook at those.
 

Mr._Graybeard

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2012
367
Southeast Wisconsin
Thanks for the reply! I looked at pellet stoves ... but this is an old farmhouse with many separate rooms. I do have chimneys in every room ... let me go back to the drawing board and relook at those.
You could get two or three stoves for the cost of a boiler. Of course, they would multiply your maintenance needs.

You have an air distribution system in your gas-fired furnace. Put the stove near the ductwork's cold-air return.
 
  • Like
Reactions: matterickson

E Yoder

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2017
595
Floyd, VA
Update ... Anyone using a HeatmasterSS Biomass Boiler?

I saw a B250 start up near here last winter, watched it run several hours, then checked back a week or so later. It was running great. Haven't heard a peep since which usually means no issues.
This was on pellets. Chips are much more finicky.
I don't have long-term experience with pellet boilers. The HeatMaster dealer at Monterey VA has been burning a B250 a year or two, Highland Outdoor Stoves is the name, Mark. They would know more than I do, I have gone the G series route and got way busier than I thought I would.