Where to start

gac17 Posted By gac17, Oct 4, 2017 at 9:17 PM

  1. gac17

    gac17
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 23, 2013
    29
    15
    Loc:
    Ct
    Looking for some advice on which direction to go for a wood boiler at my new home.

    I heated my 1150 sqft cape for 5 years with a fireplace insert and want to step up to a boiler at the new place.

    It is a 2430 sq ft colonial built in 2008. 17 wooded acres to pull from so wood supply isn't to much of an issue (though time spent processing is to an extent). The house is currently heated with baseboard and a Buderus oil boiler. Hot water also come from this unit and there is a 53 gallon storage tank. It is supposed to be super efficient and has some high tech computer computer on it so I am ok running it during the summer for hot water

    I'm open to any options and have been reading this forum for yearrs for ideas.

    It seems like a gasification unit is the way to go. I'd love to have an outdoor setup to keep the mess from wood outside and maintain basement space, but it seems like indoor with storage is more efficient nd the preferred setup. Will the difference be huge? Can you get away with one hot fire a day like you can with some of the indoor setupd with storage?

    Budget is not the biggest concern but I'm probably not looking to blow the bank on something super high end like a garn or a froling. Is one option generally cheaper than the other?

    Is there an outdoor setup worth considering or should I focus on an indoor setup with storage? Is there a combination to consider? An outdoor unit with indoor storage? and indoor unit in an outbuildng?

    Also any recommendations for an installer/plumber in the Connecticut/ Rhode Island/ Massachusetts areas?

    Thanks guys, looking forward to the discussion.
     
  2. JohnDolz

    JohnDolz
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 29, 2015
    365
    41
    Loc:
    Burlington, CT
    Lots of options and I think the correct answer is different for each person/situation. I run an indoor boiler with storage that leverages an Outdoor Reset and love it. I have a buddy on 200 acres that runs an old school OWB and loves that. My suggestion is to talk to folks that run various systems, get the pluses and minuses to see what you think fits you the best. I understand that your post here is the beginning of that process. I am in Burlington, CT, happy to let you stop by to take a look and pick what little brain I have.
     
  3. duramaxman05

    duramaxman05
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Aug 17, 2014
    256
    46
    Loc:
    Perryville, Mo
    I have a portage and main bl28-40 and couldnt be happier. We heat 1300sqft house and are in the process of finishing out our shop with radiant slab heat. We live in missouri and we average a 1/2 cord of wood per month heating just our house and domestic hot water. When its cold we birn a tad more and when its warm we burn less. So that is an average of a 7 to 8 month span
     
  4. maple1

    maple1
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Sep 15, 2011
    7,490
    1,307
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Most of your questions & concerns come down to personal preferences/priorities, and your existing layout (system, house, yard, outbuildings...).

    A cost evaluation might come down to something like what you can find locally for used LP tanks.

    But 17 acres is not really a whole lot - so I would likely want something quite efficient.

    No right/wrong simple answers...
     
  5. salecker

    salecker
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Aug 22, 2010
    497
    104
    Loc:
    Northern Canada
    Hi
    I have an Econoburn 200 with 1000 gal storage in a separate building about 100 ft from the house.
    We are in a cold climate,and our average 24hr heat cycle at -20C goes like this...
    Get home from work and start fire around 5 PM,as the fire is starting load the wood cart and bring inside.Bringing in wood the day before insures that it is dry and up to the temp inside the boiler building.We have about 2 days wood in the wood rack and 1 day in the wood cart.
    Reload the firebox around 7 pm,9 pm and final shut down of the boiler around 11 pm.
    After seeing the amount of ash,dust,and derbies that accumulate around the boiler and building.And the smoke that will escape i have am very happy to have the boiler separate from our home.
    Our backup oil boiler is in the same building as the wood boiler.
    So we also have no flame source in our home,so no chance of carbon monoxide poisoning,and the chance of a fire in our home is very minimal.
    I did all the work on our system,from building the building, plumbing the boilers,building the storage system.I had to get a licensed electrician be cause our land is zoned industrial.And i had a company foam my tanks.
    I have no real complaints about our system,and my wife enjoys looking after the boiler as well.She does not find any part of our heat cycle a pain other than the final shutoff at 11pm or so.Someday i will figure out something to shut off the boiler after it has burnt it's final load.
     
  6. stee6043

    stee6043
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Aug 22, 2008
    2,565
    244
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    You seem to suggest time processing firewood might be an issue while budget is not. My two cents - go pellet. Get yourself a slick pellet stove for high convenience, cheaper than oil, almost zero time spent processing your fuel.

    I ultimately removed myself from the boiler world because of the wood processing issue. I miss the heat, I miss having a reason to be outside during the colder months, I miss dropping trees. But I do not miss hauling wood. I don't miss splitting wood either.

    I think I'll always have a stove/fireplace of some sort. But if I ever get back into "alternative heating" proper I think I'll go pellets.
     
  7. gac17

    gac17
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 23, 2013
    29
    15
    Loc:
    Ct
    The one thing I do know is I want to stick with wood. I love being out in the woods and managing my small plot of forest. As a forester and arborist I have found that my work has become more office/administrative type and I don't get to be as hand on as I'd like to. I would just hate to be processing and burning 12 cords a year when there is a setup that will do what i need it to in 6. I have 17 acres in my back yard but my work does give me access to almost unlimited wood at no cost.

    One of my biggest concerns is the actual setup of whatever I decided to go with. I haven't been able to find much locally for dealers besides 1 place that carrries central boiler and froling products.I am pretty hand, but I am no plumber or electrician.

    If I understand correctly a properly sized gasifier with storage will burn 1 or 2 big hot fires a day and anything else without storage burns pretty much at a constant smolder.

    Does it make sense to have an outdoor boiler with storage in the basement? A little of the best of both worlds?
     
  8. stee6043

    stee6043
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Aug 22, 2008
    2,565
    244
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Most of the folks on this site ended up with DIY installs. This happens for a couple reasons outside of general enjoyment of building stuff - 1.) A limited supply of dealers that deal in this still "niche" market of high efficiency boilers and 2.) Local code/permit requirements can be very difficult/expensive to satisfy (you can read this as many/most installs you'll read about on this site are not permitted nor inspected).

    In CT I'm going to assume you're on the tighter end of building permits. This means an indoor install will need ASME tanks still tagged, UL listed boilers, licensed boiler installers, etc and so on. That makes a permitted indoor installation quite expensive, generally.

    Outdoor boilers with indoor storage have their own sets of challenges. A boiler needs to do a certain amount of work to heat itself before you get useable heat. This is compounded outdoors because the difference between ambient and useable is going to quite a bit greater.

    My last thought....wood processing. If we gasser guys are honest with ourselves I'm not sure we actually spend less time splitting 4-5 cord than our outdoor boiler brethren spend splitting 8-10. We split down to 4" splits when the outdoor guys put 12" monsters in their boilers, happily.

    I'm not trying to steer you away! I'm just sharing what I learned...
     
  9. jwfirebird

    jwfirebird
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Sep 18, 2017
    26
    5
    Loc:
    western ny
    owb always seems like too much of a pain, i live in a rural area, no one is going to care either way but you have to move wood all the time start fires all the time, all outside in the worst snow and wind because thats when you need it most. i have a forced air furnace downstairs, its no more smoke than any other appliance if its working and maintained properly. i only have to find one day i a couple months thats decent to fill the racks instead of bunch of times a day.
    the new ones are very efficient, i dont have one but the gasification one is what i would buy if i was going to buy something new, even if you wanted to save some money the make an englander one that works like the stoves and goes all day on one load, still can hook up to ducts.

    plus having heat in the basement your pipes freeze and just have to worry about one fan if the power goes out
     
  10. JohnDolz

    JohnDolz
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 29, 2015
    365
    41
    Loc:
    Burlington, CT
    For what it is worth I heat 5,000 sq ft (much of it to 72 degrees almost 24x7) plus DHW with about 7 - 8 cord.
     
  11. maple1

    maple1
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Sep 15, 2011
    7,490
    1,307
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    I had no local dealers for anything efficient. The dealer I ended up with was something like 20 hours away in another country. No regrets. I did have to do a crap load of figuring things out on my own though.

    I burn once a day, averages about 6 hours. That amounts to getting it going & loaded, then a quick re-load maybe 3 hours later.

    Different things make more sense to some people than others.

    If I was going to do a boiler, and didn't want the boiler in the house, it would be an indoor boiler in an outbuilding. A shop of some kind, that would then also be kept warm (how warm is up to you) all winter for using however. I would also have my whole winters wood in there with it - so if that building didn't get used for anything else it would at least keep the wood warm & dry. And 1000 gallons of storage either also in there, or in my basement. There will be some stand by heat losses from everything - so the more of everything you can put in a place where it will be some benefit, the better, overall. Most benefit would be the house, but there may also be benefit in an outbuilding.
     
  12. Bad LP

    Bad LP
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 28, 2014
    394
    126
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    My .02.

    I went with an indoor unit because I was not willing to get dressed up for the cold to load wood. My house was designed with an indoor wood storage area that can hold 8 cords with room to spare so getting a fire going is done wearing what I have on. No boots, jacket or gloves needed.
    I went with ASME storage tanks for insurance reasons and also had it installed by a local boiler tech. It wasn't cheap at over 15K total and that buys a lot of LP but I could not risk an insurance company bailing out on me if something went wrong down the road.
    The room I built around the tanks is very tight but any heat loss from the boiler or tank area is contained in the building envelope.

    My basement is also my workshop with a few saws, jointer, planner and tool cabinets plus a Bridgeport milling machine so having it showroom clean is not an issue.
     
  13. StihlKicking

    StihlKicking
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 12, 2016
    383
    176
    Loc:
    Hatchie Bottom, MS
    I heat 2600 sqft plus DHW with an old school Hardy H2 using 6-8 cords a year. About 1 cord of that is to heat DHW in the summer months. I don't have any storage and my unit is arguably one of the least efficient ever built. However my home and underground pipes are very well insulated.

    With good insulation and a modern boiler wood consumption shouldn't be a big issue for your home size.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     

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