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Hydro/Wind/Wood/Geothermal And other types of alternative energy

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  #1  
Old 09-02-2013, 02:28 PM
King Hugh King Hugh is offline
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Default Wood Boiler Questions

Hi Everybody;

I've finally gotten to the point cash wise where I can have my indoor wood burning boiler installed. These are not as easy to find as I would have thought (outdoor boilers abound, but indoor not so much, at least not in my area) so I'm feeling a little limited in my choices. I've spoken to a few "boiler guys" but they normally work in oil burners and seem reluctant to discuss installation of a wood unit. My regular company (that supplies my oil) practically hung up on me when I suggested that I'd like to burn less oil.

Anyhow, FF to the county fair last night and I found a company, local, that sells and installs what I want. Problem is that with the limited supply locally I'm not able to compare. It's pretty much him or nobody. Nice enough guy, but well you know...he's a salesman.

So, quickly my scenario is thus: I have baseboard hot water currently supplied by a 40+ year old fuel oil boiler. Heating my approx 2000 sqft home in upstate NY with only oil I burned about 1000 gallons of fuel oil. The last several years I've supplemented with pellet stove, which has saved me quite a bit of money, but it's loud & messy, and pretty high maintenance.

He wants to sell me a wood boiler that will "pre-heat" the water that comes back to the boiler so it won't normally fire (saving me oil) unless the wood fire has gone out and then it will pick up like normal. Fail safe in case I'm out of town or run out of wood, etc...etc... This is exactly the set up I wanted.

Unit he is selling is a Thermocontrol Model #2000 which is a water jacketed 125,000 btu burner, total installed price is projected to be in the $7500 range along with the optional "insulated jacket" (added $660) that he says we need since the unit will be in the attached garage (that's where the flu is).

Issue is that they also have a lesser unit without the water jacket and additional "insulated jacket" The Model 500 that sells for quite a bit less.

I'm all about doing this right, and don't mind paying the extra 2 grand if it's justified, but also am not comfortable blindly trusting the salesman to tell me what I "need". It guess the extra insulation makes sense since it's in the garage and opening and closing the doors to get cars in and out and all...but does it justify 2 grand extra?

So, does anybody have any experience with this brand of boiler or just wood boilers in general?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2013, 01:27 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
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Does this pre-heater come as a pellet fired unit... ???

Seems that would be the ideal set up.... Less time to re-stoke etc.... More efficient control.... ?

Good luck....
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  #3  
Old 09-03-2013, 03:09 PM
King Hugh King Hugh is offline
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Not to my knowledge. Trying to get away from pellets anyhow. Blowers run 24/7 and are expensive and noisy.
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:47 AM
CrossRoads Female CrossRoads is offline
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We have a outside wood boiler. Ranks in the top 3 things we have done for our property. Without looking, I want to say this will be our 5th winter using it. We done some comparison shopping and went with the Central Boiler. It gets filled like once a day in the winter. It is our only heat source. We had propane and I was tired of being held hostage by their continuous price hikes.
We both like the idea that the fire is OUTSIDE. And not in our house or garage. We only have a 26 ft run from boiler to where it comes into the house via pex pipe. First it goes to our hot water heater through a heat exchanger, then to the heat exchanger in the bottom of our propane furnace, then the blower kicks on as needed and the heat flows through the ductwork under the doublewide. The water then flows back to the outside furnace and gets reheated. It is like 75 degrees in here during the winter. Farthest room from furnace, our added on room with no ductwork, never gets below 60 even on a bitter cold day with the wind howling from that direction of the house.
Our hot water heater uses the electric during late spring through early fall. When the boiler is on, the electric is shut off to it, and the boiler does all the heating the domestic hot water.
We bought 2 one hundred pound propane tanks and we can get them filled ouselves. We only use propane for the kitchen stove. A tank last us 7 to 9 months. If we catch the sales at the propane company, then it is only about $ 50 or less to get a tank filled.

You might want to check with your insurance company about having the kind of set up that you want in your garage. Is it attached to the house ?

We bought our boiler with the option in place, that anytime we want to add a second run to it, we can. We thought about heating our detached garage but so far have not done that.

The hubby was able to do most of the work himself so our costs were minimal in getting ours set up. We did need to bring in our neighbor to help us with the plumbing part for the hot water heater and then the thermostat. That was a kind of barter deal to get that part done.

So with the boiler outside, there is NO smell of wood smoke in our house.
We used to heat with a wood furnace in the cellar in the old farm house.
Never want to do that again.

The propane is shut off year round to the propane furnace. We use it's blower and the ductwork for the boiler system.

We bought a tractor trailer load of logs this spring and figure we have enough now for 3 winters.
Hubby likes to cut the wood the length he wants it.

Good luck to you

Last edited by CrossRoads; 09-05-2013 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:20 PM
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$7500 ??!!?? Doesn't any one else here smell rip-off? It's just a fire box and a water tank.

http://www.ehow.com/how_7953035_do-b...d-boilers.html

Also, once we get the current socialist-in-chief out of the way and the upper mid-west energy source fully on-line, NG prices may plummet, so maybe a big capital outlay like this should be delayed to see what happens?
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  #6  
Old 09-08-2013, 10:56 PM
King Hugh King Hugh is offline
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Thanks for the input everybody...Guy came and I'm waiting on the proposal. He did a lot of hemming and hawing while he was looking so I think he was setting me up for a bit higher install price...I may cut him off at the pass and cut the holes in the foundation myself for the pipe run...We'll see what happens.

Doc....I'm afraid I'm not able to build my own....great idea and thanks for the link but as much as I'd like to think I'm that crafty...I'm really not.

By doing the drilling myself and omitting the extra almost a grand for the extra insulation I think the price will come in at way less than $7500...that was just my "back of the envelope" numbers from his flyer and what little discussion we had in his booth at the fair.
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Old 09-12-2013, 03:47 AM
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ktm rider Male ktm rider is offline
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I have a 250,000 Btu Coal/wood boiler with an oil backup. I Had an outdoor unit previously and you couldn't pay me to put up with that nightmare again.

My indoor boiler is ASME stamped, WAY,WAY more efficicent and less than half the price.

You didn't say what part of the country you live but you might want to check out www.alternateheatingsystems.com
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  #8  
Old 09-15-2013, 02:32 PM
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MissouriFree MissouriFree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrossRoads View Post
We have a outside wood boiler. Ranks in the top 3 things we have done for our property. Without looking, I want to say this will be our 5th winter using it. We done some comparison shopping and went with the Central Boiler. It gets filled like once a day in the winter. It is our only heat source. We had propane and I was tired of being held hostage by their continuous price hikes.
We both like the idea that the fire is OUTSIDE. And not in our house or garage. We only have a 26 ft run from boiler to where it comes into the house via pex pipe. First it goes to our hot water heater through a heat exchanger, then to the heat exchanger in the bottom of our propane furnace, then the blower kicks on as needed and the heat flows through the ductwork under the doublewide. The water then flows back to the outside furnace and gets reheated. It is like 75 degrees in here during the winter. Farthest room from furnace, our added on room with no ductwork, never gets below 60 even on a bitter cold day with the wind howling from that direction of the house.
Our hot water heater uses the electric during late spring through early fall. When the boiler is on, the electric is shut off to it, and the boiler does all the heating the domestic hot water.
We bought 2 one hundred pound propane tanks and we can get them filled ouselves. We only use propane for the kitchen stove. A tank last us 7 to 9 months. If we catch the sales at the propane company, then it is only about $ 50 or less to get a tank filled.

You might want to check with your insurance company about having the kind of set up that you want in your garage. Is it attached to the house ?

We bought our boiler with the option in place, that anytime we want to add a second run to it, we can. We thought about heating our detached garage but so far have not done that.

The hubby was able to do most of the work himself so our costs we're minimal in getting ours set up. We did need to bring in our neighbor to help us with the plumbing part for the hot water heater and then the thermostat. That was a kind of barter deal to get that part done.

So with the boiler outside, there is NO smell of wood smoke in our house.
We used to heat with a wood furnace in the cellar in the old farm house.
Never want to do that again.

The propane is shut off year round to the propane furnace. We use it's blower and the ductwork for the boiler system.

We bought a tractor trailer load of logs this spring and figure we have enough now for 3 winters.
Hubby likes to cut the wood the length he wants it.

Good luck to you


We have a Taylor. It came with house and love it.Our system circulates hot water through in floor heat. Best. Wood is green hickory . It's great for all the same reasons.
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Old 10-22-2014, 03:14 PM
farmereddie Male farmereddie is offline
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I seached the interweb for some helpful reasons why is it that our lines in the floor heat have turned greyish. Itn the begining they were clear lines and then as time would go on. They started too get a tint of orange too them due too the iron in the water. They stayed that way for about 13 years until this year they turned greyish. I'm going too do a PH test and see where that is. And I might add we have not added the treatment too the water ( rust inhibutor). We were always having boil overs and adding water too it until 2 years ago when I disassembled thethe dampner and made some wittness marks of the dampner tube. Then flatened it as needeed with a hammer and the end of a log. I was wondering if someone has seen this before. Our system was installed back in 1997 , so far we have lost one zone ( out of 9 )and I an waiting for someone to come up something too locate the leak in it. I had thoughts of using a thermal device such as a firefighter would use too see the temp change in the floor and start digging there. Are stove is a central boiler and has been flawless for us. We burm only oak wood and have now went too a ceramic lined chimney and that is awesome , it is removed in the spring and put back on inthe fall....... thanks.
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:10 PM
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MissouriFree MissouriFree is offline
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I wonder what the tubes were made of. The ones in our house are 6 years old all of PEX.
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Old 11-12-2014, 08:40 PM
Plowpoint Male Plowpoint is offline
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I am in the same situation as you King Hugh and could not justify the cost of a new indoor boiler at 7 grand. The return on investment just was not worth it. I contemplated building my own as I am a welder by trade, but considering the safety aspect of things, I did not feel that was a prudent path to go down either.

Ultimately I went with a used boiler I found in a swap/sell it magazine and bought a New Yorker 90,000 btu for $700...10% of what a new boiler would cost! This puts its return on investment at only a year instead of decades:-) It had little use, but I started by cleaning it out from top to bottom and doing an air pressure test first to make sure it had no pin holes. Total install cost was 1856 dollars using copper pipe instead of pex to go to my existing propane boiler.

All things considered, I think this was the best thing for us since it saved a lot of money, allowed us to use wood/coal to heat water instead of air to warm our home, and does so without breaking the bank. It sounds like a used boiler might work well for you too.
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