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Wood Boilers

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Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson Member Posts: 174
Obviously, no manufacturer is going to make any enemies on this site requiring the services of a licensed heating contractor. And the point about bungled installs is a valid one.

However, in my experience they like to know who they're dealing with, competence-wise, and provide good installation advice and literature. I suspect if you appeared to be putting the cart in front of the horse as far as your understanding of the process or installation knowledge, they would strongly suggest getting professional help with the install. Botched installations resulting in property damage or unsatisfactory performance don't help sales down the line, especially in the Internet Age.

In the final analysis, they can't screen "pros" halfway across the country (or world) any better than they can screen DIYers. I guess it's a case of seller beware.

Comments

  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    what is good?

    I have a customer wanting an indoor wood boiler installed. I almost don't want to do it because of all the stories I've heard about the topic.

    Is there any brand that seems to have a good track record?

    thanks for the help.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
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    Check with their insurance carrier first

    some homwowner policies flat out refuse to insure solid fuel burners inside. Others add a wood burner rider. And yet still some allow them without question???

    www.econo-burn.com, Tarm, www.newhorizioncorp.com are some of the gasification wood burners I have used.

    If they are required to have UL or ASME choices become more limited. Royall has both listings but is not a cleaner burning gasification booler.

    Also consider a pellet boiler. These are much more operator friendly.

    Screen prospective wood burning customers carefully. It's a fuel that takes a lot of care and maintenance.

    And price the job carefully. Remember combustion air, rather expensive all fuel venting may be required. a back up heat source is a good idea. And make sure your liability policy covers wood burning appliance installation :)

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Joe Billow_6
    Joe Billow_6 Member Posts: 69
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    You may look into Greenwood too. Hot Rods advice as always is solid. I usually question them and explain the need for dry fuel. I have installed some non-gasification units in the past and regretted it ever since. I also think that sizing the boiler is one of the most important issues. I have found that sizing them so that a back up heat source makes up a small difference(DHW) on the design days will give you a cleaner burn most of the season. Making them responsible for all the DHW in spring and fall helps too.
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
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    With the help of fellow Wallies

    I've been researching this myself, and I will probably go with the Econoburn...wish I could do radiant, but will be using BB when I do it. If this comes off, I'm going to keep a journal, share the mistakes, so others can learn too.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
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    The EconoBurn folks are anxious

    to help. Contact Mark Odell, VP. He knows his stuff a former Dunkirk boiler star.

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
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    Thanks, HR

    Just got a price on an EBW-100....sticker shock!
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
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    Sticker Shock?

    I'm curious. What were you expecting to pay? Not trying to be rude or pick a fight, just wondering what people's perceptions are when it comes to high tech wood burning. You can e-mail me privately if you wish. Thanks

    The Econoburn is an excellent looking piece of equipment BTW. Simple and built for the long run much the same as some of the Euro wood boilers. Built in New York just outside Buffalo. GO USA! They are also going for ASME certification in the near future.
  • Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson Member Posts: 174
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    A little more than the competition

    When I was pricing them about 8 months ago, a comparable EconoBurn was about 33 percent more than a comparable Orlan EKO, which was a little less than a comparable Tarm. But the deal killer for me was that they wouldn't honor the warranty for a homeowner install, which was half the reason I wanted one in the first place.

    You want sticker shock, check out the Wood Gun.

    That price differential may well have changed with the exchange rate. I notice that the prices on the Orlans have gone up significantly in the past few months.
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
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    No fight was picked, Steve

    Guess I have been comparing apples to oranges when it comes to gasification/non-gasification boilers (even tho they are both fruit!). I indicated to the Econoburn folks that I was a licensed contractor, said nothing about voided warranties for homeowner installs.
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
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    I feel the pendulum swinging............

    The sales and marketing pendulum that is.

    Interesting point that you bring up regarding warranty issues if not installed by a contractor. There are more than a few companies that are taking that approach in their marketing..........Goodman's recent declaration comes to mind.

    The internet brought manufacturers face to face with the choice to market through the old multi step model of distributor to contractor/retailer to final consumer or going directly to the consumer. Most that went direct have seen their warranty claim rate spike from what I hear and it is mainly attributable to installation related failures. Goodman/Janitrol again come to mind as they are footballed all over the place.

    The swing that I see happening is that manufacturers are realizing that they can't assume total responsibility for product failure and need an experienced "hand" out where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Hence the disclaimers now arising that warranty is null if not installed by a contractor. The negative side for consumers is that some are indeed capable, have the knowledge and possess the tools and equipment to to an outstanding job. But how does a manufacturer who may be 2,000 miles away from the job site determine if that's the case? There's the rub and it makes it bad for those folks who want to and can do the job themselves. I have to say that from my experience in "reconditioning" homeowner installs, there are not a lot who fall into the category of being able to do a good job.

    PS: I am not inferring in any way that all contractors do perfect work. Lord knows that's not the case.
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
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    Seller beware

    Screening is tough no matter which side you're standing on. I would hazard a guess though that the manufacturers feel their odds of a decent installation are better with a contractor at least supervising the process. Sad to say though that's not always the case either. So that would make it buyer beware also. I read some other heating forums and there are more than a few homeowners who have nothing good to say about contractors in general.

    That being said, I'll give you an example of why some manufacturers are getting cold feet toward direct sales to any type of person with unknown capability. On one of the alternate heating forums, a guy mentioned that he had cranked the air shutter all the way closed on his freestanding Jotul gas stove.......so he could get a nice looking yellow "natural" flame at low burn..........
    draw your own conclusions.



    PS: Gary sorry to hijack your thread.
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
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    Depending on the application

    The Greenwood may be too large to install in a typical indoor/basement location. The smallest model weighs 2,400 pounds. In on out building..... yes, in a basement......no.
  • Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson Member Posts: 174
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    The problem with idiot-proof....

    ...is that they keep making better idiots.

    I don't know where I read that--maybe here.

    In your example, a professionally installed Jotul that meets code and is has been inspected/permitted, is still being operated in a dangerous manner. Not much the mfg can do about that, other than modify the design.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
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    Idiot resistant or idiot proof?

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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  • Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson Member Posts: 174
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    www.econoburn.com

    Nice looking boilers. You have to call for pricing. I see they're coming out with an outdoor gasifier. Bout time.
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
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    Check your e-mail Gary

    I sent you his phone and e-mail address.
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
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    Calling Hot Rod back...

    Seems as if you have a lot of experience with wood boilers...Any recommendations as far as piping methods,control strategies, etc? I'm going to feed both the house (1200 s.f.) plus my shop,(900 s.f.) BB in the house, unit heaters in the shop, probably no DHW.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
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    run 'em hot

    and pipe them in such a way that they can run hot. Actually my EKO has a loop from top to bottom. A circ in the loop. Then I feed from that boiler loop to the primary "ring" loop. The EKO and most gasification units have a means built into their control to run that boiler circ and provide return temperature protection as well as keeping them running at least 140. i believe the newer models can actually vary the speed of the circ. Mine does have variable speed on the air inducer blower.

    really P/s is the way to go. i'd like to try a hydro separator on my next install to offer air elimination and a few other features.

    Depending on your loads and climate a buffer is almost a must on the gasification units. most hold a small water capacity and it is very hard to stoke them to the exact, ever-changing load. the buffer tank buys you flexibility and a place to generate and or pre-heat DHW if a coil is added.

    If I could have any wish.... i'd love to get a large solar/ wood tank like I saw at ISH. Something in the 350- 500 gallon range with multiple coile. Well insulated buffer, DHW, solar, and possibly a radiant component.Oci
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
    Options
    run 'em hot

    and pipe them in such a way that they can run hot. Actually my EKO has a loop from top to bottom. A circ in the loop. Then I feed from that boiler loop to the primary "ring" loop. The EKO and most gasification units have a means built into their control to run that boiler circ and provide return temperature protection as well as keeping them running at least 140. i believe the newer models can actually vary the speed of the circ. Mine does have variable speed on the air inducer blower.

    Really P/S is the way to go. i'd like to try a hydro separator on my next install to offer air elimination and a few other features.

    Depending on your loads and climate a buffer is almost a must on the gasification units. most hold a small water capacity and it is very hard to stoke them to the exact, ever-changing load. the buffer tank buys you flexibility and a place to generate and or pre-heat DHW if a coil is added.

    If I could have any wish.... I'd love to get a large solar/ wood tank like I saw at ISH. Something in the 350- 500 gallon range with multiple coils. Well insulated buffer, DHW, solar, and possibly a radiant component.

    This could also serve as a hydro separaor if needed, providing air elimination ad a place for all the circs to meet and get along.

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
    Options
    run 'em hot

    and pipe them in such a way that they can run hot. Actually my EKO has a loop from top to bottom. A circ in the loop. Then I feed from that boiler loop to the primary "ring" loop. The EKO and most gasification units have a means built into their control to run that boiler circ and provide return temperature protection as well as keeping them running at least 140. i believe the newer models can actually vary the speed of the circ. Mine does have variable speed on the air inducer blower.

    Really P/S is the way to go. i'd like to try a hydro separator on my next install to offer air elimination and a few other features.

    Depending on your loads and climate a buffer is almost a must on the gasification units. most hold a small water capacity and it is very hard to stoke them to the exact, ever-changing load. the buffer tank buys you flexibility and a place to generate and or pre-heat DHW if a coil is added.

    If I could have any wish.... I'd love to get a large solar/ wood tank like I saw at ISH. Something in the 350- 500 gallon range with multiple coils. Well insulated buffer, DHW, solar, and possibly a radiant component.

    This could also serve as a hydro separaor if needed, providing air elimination ad a place for all the circs to meet and get along.

    I can't get a pic to stick right now, I'll try later

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
    Options
    run 'em hot

    and pipe them in such a way that they can run hot. Actually my EKO has a loop from top to bottom. A circ in the loop. Then I feed from that boiler loop to the primary "ring" loop.

    The EKO and most gasification units have a means built into their control to run that boiler circ and provide return temperature protection as well as keeping them running at least 140. I believe the newer models can actually vary the speed of the circ, mine is just bang/ bang. A Grundfos Miximiser would be a nice addition. Better yet a Wilo ECM with delta T function! Mine does have variable speed on the air inducer blower.

    Really P/S is the way to go. I'd like to try a hydro separator on my next install to offer air elimination and a few other features.

    Depending on your loads and climate a buffer is almost a must on the gasification units. most hold a small water capacity and it is very hard to stoke them to the exact, ever-changing load. The buffer tank buys you flexibility and a place to generate and or pre-heat DHW if a coil is added.

    If I could have any wish.... I'd love to get a large solar/ wood tank like I saw at ISH. Something in the 350- 500 gallon range with multiple coils. Well insulated buffer, DHW, solar, and possibly a radiant component.

    This could also serve as a hydro separaor if needed, providing air elimination ad a place for all the circs to meet and get along.

    I can't get a pic to stick right now, I'll try later

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
    Options
    run 'em hot

    and pipe them in such a way that they can run hot. Actually my EKO has a loop from top to bottom. A circ in the loop. Then I feed from that boiler loop to the primary "ring" loop.

    The EKO and most gasification units have a means built into their control to run that boiler circ and provide return temperature protection as well as keeping them running at least 140. I believe the newer models can actually vary the speed of the circ, mine is just bang/ bang. A Grundfos Miximiser would be a nice addition. Better yet a Wilo ECM with delta T function! Mine does have variable speed on the air inducer blower.

    Really P/S is the way to go. I'd like to try a hydro separator on my next install to offer air elimination and a few other features.

    Depending on your loads and climate a buffer is almost a must on the gasification units. most hold a small water capacity and it is very hard to stoke them to the exact, ever-changing load. The buffer tank buys you flexibility and a place to generate and or pre-heat DHW if a coil is added.

    If I could have any wish.... I'd love to get a large solar/ wood tank like I saw at ISH. Something in the 350- 500 gallon range with multiple coils. Well insulated buffer, DHW, solar, and possibly a radiant component.

    This could also serve as a hydro separaor if needed, providing air elimination ad a place for all the circs to meet and get along.

    As you can see this gets to be an expensive install to do it the best way. Adding the components and labor hours turns out a big $$ number. probably why most turn to the tin drum OWF option :)

    I can't get a pic to stick right now, I'll try later

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
    Options
    run 'em hot

    and pipe them in such a way that they can run hot. Actually my EKO has a loop from top to bottom. A circ in the loop. Then I feed from that boiler loop to the primary "ring" loop.

    The EKO and most gasification units have a means built into their control to run that boiler circ and provide return temperature protection as well as keeping them running at least 140. I believe the newer models can actually vary the speed of the circ, mine is just bang/ bang. A Grundfos Miximiser would be a nice addition. Better yet a Wilo ECM with delta T function! Mine does have variable speed on the air inducer blower.

    Really P/S is the way to go. I'd like to try a hydro separator on my next install to offer air elimination and a few other features.

    Depending on your loads and climate a buffer is almost a must on the gasification units. most hold a small water capacity and it is very hard to stoke them to the exact, ever-changing load. The buffer tank buys you flexibility and a place to generate and or pre-heat DHW if a coil is added.

    If I could have any wish.... I'd love to get a large solar/ wood tank like I saw at ISH. Something in the 350- 500 gallon range with multiple coils. Well insulated buffer, DHW, solar, and possibly a radiant component.

    This could also serve as a hydro separaor if needed, providing air elimination ad a place for all the circs to meet and get along.

    As you can see this gets to be an expensive install to do it the best way. Adding the components and labor hours turns out a big $$ number. probably why most turn to the tin drum OWF option :)

    I can't get a pic to stick right now, I'll try later

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
This discussion has been closed.