OWB versus new indoor furnace

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,051
NE Ohio
I didn't realize the warranty on the Kuuma was that long
Yup...my Yukon had a 30 year on it though too...was 1985 model, still had 3 years left on it when I got it in 2012...it made it to 30, but I did have to weld a stainless patch on the HX the last season I ran it...the newer ones had SS HX from new, but I wasn't about to spend $7-800 on it since I knew something major was about to happen... different furnace, or upgrade the Yukon with a 2020 kit (those never materialized)
 
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andym

Feeling the Heat
Feb 6, 2020
371
Hicksville, Ohio
One of the reasons I decided against getting a boiler of any kind was that I knew I would later talk myself into adding radiant floor heat on the main level and panel rads on the second floor, etc. I knew the possibility of spending thousands down the road in those kinds of upgrades would only add to the cost of having 'premium' wood heat. Getting a wood furnace was cheaper initially and (almost) eliminated that temptation.
Indoor gasifier with storage will definitely cost you more upfront but is the ultimate way to go in my opinion.
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,051
NE Ohio
Both. Sometimes a higher MC split gets mixed in. Also if someone else loads it for you while on vacation and they grab from the wrong pile etc.
Sounds like a poor reason to deal with all the other headaches that come with doing the day to day with a smoke dragon...JMHO (but one that comes from experience...as in having owned/used 8 different units in the last 12 years...plus helping feed dads OWB sometimes too)
 

Eureka

Feeling the Heat
Feb 4, 2018
345
NW Wisconsin
IMO, that's not really a rational fear if you burn dry wood and your install was done per manufacturer recommendations/code/best practice...even if you forget to latch the door, if everything was done right, there maybe damage to stove/chimney, but no house fire.
I’m a rational person and don’t live in fear one bit, but all it takes is one misplaced ember, hot coal out of the ash bucket, connecter failure, etc. We all have bad days. Homes are a tinder box and I’ve repaired or rebuilt several on insurance jobs that had everything wood burning related done right, but they burnt for one reason or another; often a simple mistake or equipment failure.
I use my Kozy Heat stove regularly to warm up the living room, but I’m home and very careful.
I really appreciate the ‘set it and forget it’ routine I have where I load the Heatmaster outside (in it’s own little shed) on the way out of the driveway. I sweep up my crumbs on the floor, shut the door, and go to work or whatever for the day.
You’re not wrong, but I think it’s fair to say there’s value in an outdoor, or outbuilding setup. People with tough weekday work schedules, like what I used to have, might like the flexibility of load and go, without so much worry if you were a little sloppy on the way out.
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,051
NE Ohio
There was a fellow on another forum whos dad's house burnt down because the OWB blew sparks onto the massive wood pile...torched everything for a distance...moral of the story, anything can happen, nothing is foolproof...heck, your cell phone battery could blow up and burn the place down, meanwhile the OWB chugs away happily...in the end, I guess everybody has to do the research, and then go with what's best for them and their situation...
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,051
NE Ohio
Indoor gasifier with storage will definitely cost you more upfront but is the ultimate way to go in my opinion.
Agreed. If money is no object, then this is the Cadillac setup IMO...so sweet.
 

Eureka

Feeling the Heat
Feb 4, 2018
345
NW Wisconsin
There was a fellow on another forum whos dad's house burnt down because the OWB blew sparks onto the massive wood pile...torched everything for a distance...moral of the story, anything can happen, nothing is foolproof...heck, your cell phone battery could blow up and burn the place down, meanwhile the OWB chugs away happily...in the end, I guess everybody has to do the research, and then go with what's best for them and their situation...
I think I saw that story with pictures. OWBs are very popular here and several have burned down in the same way. I’ve seen some real fugly looking homemade and patched together OWBs around here, that’s for sure. Same goes for wood stove chimneys.

A coworker told me about how he had the fire department over to put out a fire in the woods behind his house. He dumped his hot OWB ashes in the woods... That same winter, an electrician working for us burnt most of his basement and barely saved the house. He had a brand new EPA stove, chimney, and huge stone hearth area just commissioned. He scooped ashes into his open metal can and dropped a coal off into a boot by the basement door on the way out and went to work. Neighbor saved it with extinguishers and a hose.

I suppose that like anything, idiots gonna idiot.
 
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salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,325
Northern Canada
Agreed. If money is no object, then this is the Cadillac setup IMO...so sweet.
Plus if it's in it;s own building even sweeter...
My building is 125ft from my house. It is my little oasis any time i want to work on a project i have a warm building to work on it.
I have zero carbon-monoxide producing units in my living space,which i consider a plus as well.
Zero issues with smoke roll out,don't care it's in it's own building.
Zero issues with bugs,fly ash,dirt,bark,smell and a bunch of other issues of having a wood burning appliance in your home.
I don't have fire insurance,live remote log house. I figure my system has paid for itself just in the savings of insurance.I would be paying in excess of 10k a year probably closer to 15k to insure my house.
Even when it's -40 and i have to make the walk to the boiler building i have no regrets,
 

E Yoder

Feeling the Heat
Jan 27, 2017
499
Floyd, VA
This is from the job I was on today. Woodshed burned completely flat on top of a old obsolete wood boiler. We replaced it with the unit outside away from the fuel.
I'm a big fan of wood boilers but fire is something to respect. I know you guys know this but you cannot get careless.
 

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Eureka

Feeling the Heat
Feb 4, 2018
345
NW Wisconsin
This is from the job I was on today. Woodshed burned completely flat on top of a old obsolete wood boiler. We replaced it with the unit outside away from the fuel.
I'm a big fan of wood boilers but fire is something to respect. I know you guys know this but you cannot get careless.
Looks like they have nicely seasoned firewood now
 

E Yoder

Feeling the Heat
Jan 27, 2017
499
Floyd, VA
Except the fire dept dumped a truckload of water on it.
 
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spitfire557

Member
Jan 29, 2019
62
PA
Again, I thank everyone for the replies. I’m still scratching my head and deciding what I want to do. Obviously more research is in order.

My gut feeling is still leaning towards an OWB. It’s what I’ve had my mind set on for a few years now, but reading about how far indoor furnaces have come along has made me re-think it. I guess the biggest perk of the OWB for me is having the fire away from the house. We have a newborn in our home now and our current stove is directly below her room in the basement, which has always bothered my wife. I know that it’s a safe setup, but convincing the wife of that is sometimes difficult.

@eyoder do you have any recommendations on brands or models for OWB? I’ve consulted with a local Wood Master dealer and unfortunately they can only sell me the EPA approved Cleanfire model. There’s some loop holes that can be used to get my hands on a 4400 but not sure I’m willing to do that. I’ve also shopped Mahoning stoves, two of the guys down the road run them and have for years, but their warranty is far from appealing.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,453
Downeast Maine
Why don't you want a clean burning appliance? I would think the low level air pollution would be much worse for your child than living above a wood stove if those are the options.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,051
NE Ohio
 
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spitfire557

Member
Jan 29, 2019
62
PA
Why don't you want a clean burning appliance? I would think the low level air pollution would be much worse for your child than living above a wood stove if those are the options.
I am open to that option. I like that they are more efficient but do not like the higher price tag. Although, the more I drive by houses that have traditional stoves, the less I like the idea of having a smoke dragon.

The Wood Master Cleanfire is a re-badged E-Classic, which has proven to be a reliable stove. It has a stainless firebox and a decent 25 year warranty. I hear a lot of people complain about having to send in a water sample annually but I do not think that’s a big deal. I tend to have our tap water tested for bacteria bi-annually anyway for nothing but peace of mind so what’s another yearly water sample.

The quote I received for everything needed (Cleanfire 500, insulated PEX, HX, plate exchanger for hot water, pump, etc) was about $12k.
 

spitfire557

Member
Jan 29, 2019
62
PA
Looks like MSRP on the G4000 is $8,995 compared to $10,170 for the Wood Master. I’ll have to see if there’s any dealers around and see if I can lay eyes on one of these.

The G4000 firebox and water capacity is significantly smaller. Not sure how that’d play out for burn times.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,453
Downeast Maine
If I were interested in an OWB it would have to be a Heatmaster G series gasifier. Elsewise I would be doing an indoor downdraft gasser with storage. I personally don't like forced air, but the new Drolet HC and Kuuma VF100 are both great units.
 
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salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,325
Northern Canada
My Econoburn is an outside unit i put inside a building.
The reason was the unit was in the Yukon already,and at the time i didn't know that i would get my building finished before i needed to start using the boiler.The only diffeance between the indoor and outsoor unit is extra insulation and a metal shed like enclosure. I considered the extra insulation a plus.
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,051
NE Ohio
I personally don't like forced air
Have you ever had a forced air wood furnace? I don't care for forced air fossil fuel furnaces much either...but the constant heat of the wood fire is a game changer, a little warm air blowing all the time...you don't have the hot/cold feel to the house like you do with a furnace that runs only so many minutes per hour...and having the furnace in the basement helps keep the floors from being cold too...which like I said earlier, if I were going hydronic, the only way I would do it would be radiant floor heat, (downside $$) if you are just putting a HX in your fossil fuel furnace you will still have the hot/cold like a fossil fuel furnace (maybe slightly less since the HX stays warm...maybe, depending on your plumbing/control scheme...
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,453
Downeast Maine
Have you ever had a forced air wood furnace? I don't care for forced air fossil fuel furnaces much either...but the constant heat of the wood fire is a game changer, a little warm air blowing all the time...you don't have the hot/cold feel to the house like you do with a furnace that runs only so many minutes per hour...and having the furnace in the basement helps keep the floors from being cold too...which like I said earlier, if I were going hydronic, the only way I would do it would be radiant floor heat, (downside $$) if you are just putting a HX in your fossil fuel furnace you will still have the hot/cold like a fossil fuel furnace (maybe slightly less since the HX stays warm...maybe, depending on your plumbing/control scheme...
I would personally go for HE panel rads and baseboard heating units for our house, but if building from scratch definitely radiant floor. My wife and I just don't like dry hot air blowing around the house and prefer the gentle thermal loop caused by the radiant woodstove. Even using the heavily shielded cookstove for heat is dubious at times, the house could read 75 df+ but my wife will still be cold. Yet she is warm when the house is 66 df and running the cast iron Morso.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,051
NE Ohio
My wife and I just don't like dry hot air blowing around the house and prefer the gentle thermal loop caused by the radiant woodstove
I get that, but most wood furnaces that are designed to have the blower running almost all the time (the better 2 that are currently available) move low CFM and you really don't notice any air movement...and as with any type of heat, you need to control your humidity in the house...
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
776
Central Ohio
I think a lot of it has to do with the climate that you live in. I've only been in one or two houses in Ohio that do not use forced air as their primary heat source. Both of those houses were pole barns that people live in and use radiant floor heat in the concrete. Our summers are too humid in this part of the country to not have A/C ( forced air ) in the summer. I have a relatives in the northeast and they all have boilers for heat and then have a separate furnace for A/C. When I was in Germany as a kid, none of the houses had A/C and they used radiators hooked to a boiler for heat. My dad said that is changing too because their summers are getting much warmer.

In an ideal world I think we'd all love to have a high efficiency gasser with 1k gallons of storage and radiant floor heating. Unfortunately, not many of use get to live in that ideal world.
 
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spitfire557

Member
Jan 29, 2019
62
PA
Just spoke to the local Heatmaster dealer and he says that for my situation (1,800sq ft moderately insulated rancher), the G4000 would be more than sufficient. He is currently running that stove at his house (4,100sq ft worth) and has gotten 14hr burns during some recent cold spells of 15-20*F. Crazy to think considering the 8.5sq ft firebox and 116 gallon capacity. Either way, price on the G4000 is $8,995.
 

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
336
Manitoba
Just spoke to the local Heatmaster dealer and he says that for my situation (1,800sq ft moderately insulated rancher), the G4000 would be more than sufficient. He is currently running that stove at his house (4,100sq ft worth) and has gotten 14hr burns during some recent cold spells of 15-20*F. Crazy to think considering the 8.5sq ft firebox and 116 gallon capacity. Either way, price on the G4000 is $8,995.
Do you have a local Polar, Portage & Main dealer? Wouldn't hurt to keep your options open. Ask questions, look at specs, power vent motors (ecm vs regular) also build quality, weight metal used.