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Posted By derbygreg,
Nov 26, 2007 at 11:59 PM
Title says it
Favorite response...............It depends
Using a normal OWB, the answer has to be No Way. There are however OWB's arriving on the market that utilize a gasification burn system. That would at least cause me to consider one.
Indoor units have the disadvantage of having to haul your wood into your living quarters in a lot of instances. The dust, mold and bugs can wreak havoc on the health of a family, especially the wee ones. I remember the ear, nose and throat infections we had with the first 2 kids were virtually non existent with the second two after we quit burning wood.
Wood burning forced air furnaces air the most inefficient of all wood burners due to the constant cycling of the fire and no where to store any BTU's. Overheating one of these can happen very rapidly and easily. I was assistant chief of our township fire dept for 12 years, and saw first hand the inherent danger of one of these. Double that if the installer has limited knowledge of control and safety wiring.
My personal choice of "best system" is an indoor gasification boiler with adequate storage, installed in an outbuilding and piped into the inhabited space or other buildings. The outbuilding should have sufficient wood storage for at least 1/2 the burn season.
I have to agree hands down , and that comes from first hand experence as I have had all three.
I would have to agree..... I went thru all the different configurations and decided on the gasification unit in an out building is the best for my application. I only missed on the size of building and storing wood for 1/2 the season, the shed will only hold a couple of weeks of wood.
I would have to disagree on the indoor wood furnaces. I have one and it heats the home well in the wintertime. Large home 2400 square feet. 150+ year old victorian, 10 foot ceilings, 40+ windows. My pipes wont freeze cause its in the basement. My downstairs, and upstairs stay within 2 degrees of eachother. Constant even heat, and very little smoke. True you can't store the heat, but my wood furnace does well. I average around 5 cords a year. I love my setup. Another thing is if you don't want all the problems of dust and mold, Do not take air from the room which houses the wood. We have no returns in the basement, also due to the furnace being down there. Never had any problems with mold or dust through the house. Every ounce of air that does through the home is filtered. There are ways to have it and keep things clean.
Unless you're starting from scratch by building a new house, the only valid part of the question is whether to go with an OWB or remote gasifier, or an indoor boiler. If your house is set up for forced air, there's not much incentive to put in a boiler, and vice versa. You can do it and use a heat exchanger, but why pay two to three times as much for a boiler as a furnace for no real benefit?
So that gets down to the difference between indoor and outdoor. Indoor is more efficient because you get some radiant heat off the boiler and the chimney. Outside it's wasted. Indoor is more convenient, at least keeping it going is more convenient. And indoor is probably cheaper, both from a wood usage point of view and the cost of buying and setting the boiler up.
There are insurance implications that make outdoor a good choice. Wood handling is usually easier, and there's no smoke or dust in the house. I could go on and on with the pros and cons.
Few thoughts to the topic:
1. I like the idea of indoor wood boiler to heat the water (home heating and DHW), but these boilers don't seem to be much in my area: Ottawa, Canada (please correct me if I am wrong). The service costs may be high for my location, in addition to high purchase and installation costs. Also, less skilled people to service the unit.
2. We will have no basement, so space is an issue. They are big, heavy units, with heavy storage water tanks. So I might need additional structural support.
3. Back to the wood furnace. I plan to buy a Caddy EPA wood furnace with oil/electric backup. Plenty of dealers in my area. Regarding the overheating issue on power outage, I can see a couple of solutions:
a) A battery backup/generator.
b) Concrete floors. Slab on grade for the first floor and Hambro for the second.
4. I also consider to install the PEX tubes in the concrete floor(s), for future install of an EPA wood boiler.
5. I'd like a heating system that is simple and maintanance free. Someone told me that gasification boilers are complex and after few years problems start to appear. Is this correct?