wood stove or gasifier?

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.
Not open for further replies.
In doing cost / benefit analysis, everyone has their own method. Here's how I look at it:

Anything that reduces my future 'fixed' expenses is automatically a good idea.

If I have to borrow money it's a good idea as long as the monthly savings are more than the monthly payments. If I don't have to borrow money, I'll look at what the payments would be if I had, and see if it makes sense.

As long as I don't have to borrow money, anything that increases self-sufficiency is a good idea.

There has to be some rational potential savings that aren't way out of whack with the cost, but I'll spend to make sure that I won't be dependent on some unreliable resource at some unknown future cost. Over the years, I've gotten the tools and equipment to do all of my own plumbing. electrical, carpentry, landscaping, forestry, machine shop, woodworking, and automotive work with the exception of front-end alignment and tire changes. Not all of these have paid off in a purely financial sense, but I have the security of knowing that if things turn bad, I can take care of myself in all these areas. When I have a problem, I don't have to call anyone.

Both of these rationales can apply to wood heating systems. I'd take a hard look at the first, and it's probably fair to assume that oil prices are going up in the future. Looking at the second, I think there's some justification in having an alternative so that you won't be dependent on an unreliable supply of oil. Oil shortages in the future are not unlikely.

Just my perspective.....
I think you can pay for them on the installment plan. But if you miss too many payments, they Garnish your wages.
Eric Johnson said:
I think you can pay for them on the installment plan. But if you miss too many payments, they Garnish your wages.

You're Harmon the atmosphere on this thread, Eric. I wooden go too far in this direction if I were you.
Adobe such a stiff, nofo! From where I'm Seton, there's no Tarm in a few bad puns.
jklingel said:
I've been thinking, which can be dangerous. I am really interested in having a wood gasifier in my new house (5200 sqr ft), but I am a little concerned about the time it will take to pay for one. Here is the skinny. We WILL have an oil boiler in the house, as per The Boss. Period. End of story. That will run $6-7K. So, if I add a gasifier and water storage, I'm probably looking at another $7K, or more. Sheez. Is it therefor not a viable consideration to put in a good quality but much cheaper wood STOVE and just get what heat out if it that I can? (Wood will be pretty cheap, btw.) I cringe a little at the maintenance a stove will be (cleaning chimney, dumping a lot more ash, doing gymnastics to get heat upstairs...) but they are pretty robust, simple machines. ANY AND ALL boilers/heaters will be in my basement, and I have been reading things like "don't put a wood stove in the basement; a stove needs to be on the level it will heat", etc. Oh, sigh. What is a guy to do? I don't think I want to go w/ a compromise of having an OWB, as it looks like that will not save that much $$. It looks like one extreme or the other will be the way to go (stove or gasifier). An HS Tarm oil/wood boiler sure sounds simple to do, but the boiler itself is $12.8K, plus shipping, and I have not heard back from them on the cost of their water storage tanks (versus building my own). So, is a stove even worth considering? For info, our design temp here is -51 F, and our degree-days number is 14,260.... if that helps form an opinion. A Greenwood, FOB here, will be about $7500, and a Blue Forge will be about $11.2K FOB here (and 250K btu rating). Hmmmm. Opinions/suggestions? Thanks. j

Your average lows in Fairbanks are nowhere near -51F, in fact, not even close. Your coldest month is Jan where the normal min low is -18F. I assume you're planning for worst case because you have no back-up heat source??

Well, many responses are in order today. Thanks for the input. ISeeDEad: no casino on the boat; taking it hunting is enough of a gamble. Castiron: " Your average lows in Fairbanks are nowhere near -51F, in fact, not even close." At the risk of appearing to be an ingrate, "NS, Sherlock". I've lived here since 1973 and XC ski a lot. But, my understanding of degree days is that it is a temp which is below 99% of your annual temps; I got the figure from The Insulation Manual, by NAHB Foundations. Having used that number in the 80's to calc my heat loss in my present house, it worked out pretty well and seems in line with the predicted for the new house (based on size compared to present house). I know no more than that, but will verify that number/method, and wood knot be surprised if it has risen since that book was published. Nofo (as opposed to MoFo): Your reasoning on cost/analysis is on par w/ sound logic and rational financial reasoning: any investment with a high probability of a positive return is good schtoock. I.e, if the expected value of an event is positive, go for it! You and Eric are kiln me w/ these puns, knot to mention how you go out on a limb w/ your opinions.... Wooden it make cents to leaf this alone for now, and get back to the root of the thread before we totally embark on a divergent path?
I'm also a backcountry ski nut (as in XC skis with metal edges and BC bindings--not the AT/downhill stuff), so that's another thing we have in common. Now don't go off piste, jk, but maybe we could do a ski pole and see if anyone else wants to wax eloquent about the joys of breaking trail (and freezing tail) in sub-zero weather.

On the puns: As the moderator, I want to make a new rule that all puns used in the Boiler Room relate strictly to central heating situations and equipment--like mine did. It's not that hard. You guys with those lame wood-based puns should be posting them in the Hearth Room, not here. I hate to say it, but that's some tired stuff you guys are hauling out. I want fresh, original, groaners here.
Roger all that, and sorry about the recirculated puns. I don't get piste or heated about anything on any forums, as I've learned to take it all in stride. Tanks again for your input. Good luck on the trails. We have 30 freaking degrees today and have not been below zero yet. I'm damn glad Al Gore invented the Internet AND global warming.
Not open for further replies.