Water or Waterless wood furnace?

Cold Mo Posted By Cold Mo, Dec 21, 2008 at 6:52 PM

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  1. Cold Mo

    Cold Mo
    Member 2.

    Dec 21, 2008
    SW MO
    I'm considering a wood furnace (I have central LP heating, and 2 wood inserts but I don't like the mess or lack of central heat using the inserts), but not sure what type is best. I know some furnaces have water jackets (central boiler, Hardy, etc) and a few do not (Fire Chief, etc), but I don't know the advantages one has over the other. Either type would have to be set outside or possibly in the garage as I don't have space in the house. It would seem the waterless furnace would have fewer maintenance problems than the water boiler type as there are no water-related issues to contend with--leaking tanks or radiator-type apparatus needed (I assume) in the existing LP furnace, cleaning, etc. Not sure about heating efficiencies, installation issues, or wood consumption.

    One question I don't see discussed is how much electricity is typically used in operating blowers/pumps that I assume is necessary to circulate the heat and/or hot water, particularly with the water boiler type which I assume requires both a blower and a pump?

    I also don't know if it makes sense to have either furnace in SW MO where the winter temps fluctuate, might be in the single digits a few days/nights and in the 30s-50s the next few days. Temps get below 0 maybe one season out of 4 or 5. I use about 800 gallons of propane a year, but keep the house colder than I would like.

    I live in the country with an abundance of free wood.
  2. Nofossil

    Moderator Emeritus 2.

    Oct 4, 2007
    Addison County, Vermont
    Hot air is much harder to move around than hot water. Ductwork from a remote location would be large and complicated. You'd need a return duct as well.......

    Many people use a boiler in an outdoor building and put a heat exchanger in the house ductwork if you already have a hot air system in the house.

    Electricity consumption depends on the size of the boiler. Mine is relatively small and uses a bit less than 150 watts when operating between the fan and circulator.
  3. cped

    New Member 2.

    Jan 17, 2009
    Southwest Missouri
    Cold Mo,

    I live outside of Springfield, MO and I switched from LP to a taylor waterstove in 2005. I keep the house ~75 in the winters regardless of the weather fluctuations we experience here. The only thing I can say is that if it warms up outside, I simply use less wood.

    My house is small at 1200 sq' and I'm only using one of the two available "zones" heating the house only. I plan to use the 2nd zone to heat a barn in the future. After installing the taylor stove my electric bill went down ~$20 / month.

    Hopefully this gives you more insight to the electicity usage question you posted above.
  4. Duetech

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Sep 15, 2008
    S/W MI
    Welcome to the forum Cold Mo,
    After putting in an EKO40 in '06 we experienced a $10 per month increase in the electric bill, via increased usage, but because we also included a dhw (domestic hot water) sidearm exchanger we experienced about a $900 per year drop in propane usage and totally dropped the oil usage for our forced draft oil furnace (still on line as "back up system) which was about 150 gallons per month average for 4.5 months time frame. Wood was purchased in a "bulk" deal and has not exceeded $300 per year for the last two years and hopefully that won't change much.
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