Opionions Please

bsquash Posted By bsquash, Nov 9, 2017 at 2:50 PM

  1. bsquash

    bsquash
    New Member 2.
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    Nov 9, 2017
    2
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    Loc:
    Ontario
    First some background...

    I'm gutting an existing house in Ontario Canada and adding an addition. Total space will be about 1700 sq ft on main floor plus the same in basement. 2 X 6 construction and pretty well insulated.

    The existing house has an electric forced air furnace. This thing definitely has to go and the undersized ductwork with it. everything will be new.

    I'm very interested in heating with wood and we are on 10 acres, mostly forest. Not great wood. Lots of poplar, willow and cedar and a fair bit of ash which I am expecting to loose in the next few years as the Emerald Ash Borer is just a few miles away and coming fast. There is some maple but not much of it is mature.

    I'm not foolish enough to think that I will be able to supply wood 100% of the time so I am planning a propane furnace as "Primary". No natural gas lines in the area.

    There is an existing wood stove in the basement and we were considering moving it to the main floor for ambience.

    I had pretty much made up my mind to go with a Napoleon or Caddy add-on indoor wood furnace as opposed to an OWB, but I'm now questioning that direction for the following reasons:

    1. Prefer not to be bringing wood into the house all the time (bugs, fungus, etc.).
    2. Less smoke in the house (we have small children).
    3. I should be able to put the OWB close to my woodshed. Prevailing wind seems to be our favor here.
    4. It seems like the OWB will be more forgiving in terms of burning lower quality wood. I understand the wood still needs to be dry but creosote build up in the house chimney is a concern.

    The main attraction I had to the indoor wood furnace was that it seemed better for heating during a power outage but the more I look into it, the more that seems problematic. I think we would be better to keep the wood stove (maybe one on each floor) for that purpose.

    The main reason I was considering the Napoleon is that we are located about 10 minutes form the factory but I have not been able to find many reviews on that unit.

    Up to this point most of my research has been on the indoor units. When I look at the OWB's it seems like most are "oversized" for my application. Eventually I would also like to heat my garage and possibly another shop. It seems like many of the smaller OWB's aren't plumbed for a second water circuit. I understand that having an oversized OWB is a bad deal because it will idle to much. Either way I want to have a gasser. Not sure how to choose the best OWB based on capacity.

    Any feedback or opinions on any of this will be greatly appreciated. I have to set my direction in the next couple of weeks. It seems like the cost difference between the two options is not really too significant.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Mike
     
  2. huffdawg

    huffdawg
    Minister of Fire 2.
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    Oct 3, 2009
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    Loc:
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    I think they make gasifying outdoor boilers now.

    .http://www.crownroyalstoves.com/outdoor-wood-furnace-pristine-gasification-series
    dont know if they are any good though.
     
  3. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu
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    Aug 21, 2013
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    Caddy or Napoleon...go with the Caddy. The very few things that I've seen online about Napoleon furnaces wasn't real flattering.

    Do you have a walkout basement? If so then bugs and dirt in the house can really be almost eliminated. Keep it outside the back door and grab a bucket full when you need it. Doing it this way makes dirt/bugs a non issue for us. (and small kids in the house here too) There should be no smoke in the house if you have a proper chimney setup.

    Not sure how much you have researched this, but if you think it is going to be about the same cost to go furnace vs boiler, you are in for a rude awakening...boiler will run you triple, maybe even quadruple until you get it installed, up and running.

    If you are going with a gasser boiler (the only kind of boiler to consider IMO) then you will need to feed it the same quality of wood as a stove or furnace.

    If you buy a Caddy and feed it dry wood, you will not have creosote to worry about.. proper furnace and chimney setup combined with proper operation will lead to only needing to check your chimney once maybe twice per year...and probably only need to clean it once, if even that.
     
  4. Highbeam

    Highbeam
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    Dec 28, 2006
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    Wood boiler systems from scratch are extremely expensive. Five times the cost of a wood furnace.
     
  5. maple1

    maple1
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    Sep 15, 2011
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    'Possibly another shop'?

    If this other building or part of it could be a boiler building I would consider putting an indoor unit in there along with the entire winters wood. Storage either also there or in the basement.

    If these additional buildings are only a possibility at this point, I would likely put a Caddy in the basement. A very much easier and cheaper install - but also a very much easier thing to un-do later and re-sell if you do get your mind made up for a boiler outside the house and get more uses for one. An OWB would be way more 'problematic' in a power outage than an indoor furnace, I think, as long as the furnace is installed properly. I have a boiler in my basement, and am not bringing wood in 'all the time'. Only once, in the fall, the whole winters worth. No bug & fungus issues after 20 years of doing it that way. No smoke in the house either - proper procedures, dry wood and a good appliance & chimney all help with that.

    I might also consider just a wood stove along with a mini-split ductless heat pump. Depending where you are in Ontario - would a/c for the summer be a consideration? That would likely be my first consideration, actually, since you already have the stove and a split can be put in fairly quickly and, well, it is November already.
     
  6. bsquash

    bsquash
    New Member 2.
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    Nov 9, 2017
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    Loc:
    Ontario
    Thanks for the feedback I appreciate it. It seems like my first idea is still sound.

    Can anyone comment on the usage of "lower quality wood" in an Caddy system? I understand it needs to be dry but would burning poplar, willow and cedar cause me problems or creosote if it is properly seasoned?

    Mike
     
  7. laynes69

    laynes69
    Minister of Fire 2.
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    Oct 2, 2006
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    Loc:
    Ashland OH
    Nope! I burn pine, cottonwood, poplar, etc. It burns hot and clean. Doesn't matter as long as it's seasoned, just expect shorter burn times.
     
    Highbeam likes this.
  8. Woodfarmer1

    Woodfarmer1
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    Nov 10, 2013
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    Loc:
    Bowmanville, On,Can
    I have a Garn jr. which I installed in a new build,( after a failed attempt with an Empyre)with pex and rads. The Garn is in my shop because there was no way I was going to keep carrying wood into the house. Well into $20 K, for the system.

    Portage and main seem to make a good boiler too
    Have you considered a heat exchanger in the electric furnace?
     

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