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DH picked up a brochure at a builder's show and was intrigued by the process. They are expensive ($6500) but are 91% efficient (according to the literature). Seems like all the benefits of wood burning, without the controversies of outdoor boilers. We are going to have to replace our oil burner sometime in the near future (we have radiators in this old farmhouse and LOVE them). We have a Fisher woodstove to supplement the heat too.

Anyone use these gasification boilers to heat their house or know anything about them?
 

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Havn't heard anything bad about them. I can tell you that part of the over-all efficiency of any system is the heat distribution produced by the boiler. Oil fired boilers can be very efficient when set up right so if yours is not you may have a problem with the sizing or number of rads. Also if you have an old boiler it'd be interesting to know that modern low mass boilers are even more efficient than before. Could be the old oil fired boiler is too big too.
 

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I would recommend looking into geothermal if you are talking about that much money. I used to think a wood boiler/furnace would be great until I heard about geo. HSOuld hook right up to your radiators, but I am not an HVAC expert so you would need to check with someone for sure. Even if it did cost more initally, the time savings in not having to cut & split wood, as well as storign ti somewhere would more than make up for it in the long run. Had a friend who installed one a couple years a go to replace a forced air oil furnace, cost him $7,000 installed, ran off existing well, and said he has seen his electric bills go up about $10 a month since then.
Read up more about them at www.waterfurnace.com, that is the company my friend has and who I am planning on going with when we remodel.
 

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DH and I looked at EKO and were very impressed with what we saw. It is actually one of the burners he would consider buying - if, of course, anyone could make one better than he can. :rolleyes:
Since you are in PA, you might also want to check out Alternate Heating. http://www.alternateheatingsystems.com/ They are in western PA and manufacture all of their own burners. We went out to visit and really liked what we saw. Again, one that we would buy if DH didn't get it in his head to build one himself.

Regarding the geothermal, we have gotten conflicting information as whether you can effectively use that type of heating with a hydronic system. We didn't get too far into researching is mainly because of the costs. It was just too much for us. But it is supposed to be extremely effiecient so it might be something looking into.
 

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My MIL has geothermal heating (doesn't use boiler rads though) and her house is always warmer than outside and it is affordable to run. Danged place is never what you'd call warm though.
 

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I don't know the EKO line. So far they have not been approved by states like Vermont and such, so I'm a little skeptical of their claims of wonderfullness.

That said, overall gasification units are wonderfullness compared to the conventional cold jacket wood boiler (ok, hydronic water heater). Even a poorly designed gasification unit is light years ahead of an old fashioned wood boiler, so you will be pleased with the results. They are *much* cleaner in operation. They also tend to use a good bit less wood during the heating season.

They are typically far more demanding of you with burn practices. If you are interested in burning trash and other junk in the boiler, do not buy a gasification unit. If you can live with their fuel requirements (usually just clean dry cordwood), you're fine.

As others have mentioned, you might want to be considering some other things like sub-teranian heat pumps (they are not geothermal heat, no matter what the vendor claims), and solar heating panels. But if you've got a ready supply of wood, a gasification wood boiler is a very viable consideration.
 

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I'm in the process of installing a Tarm gasification boiler. You can get even better efficiency out of these boilers if you add a heat storage tank, 500 - 1000 gallons depending on boiler size, heat load, etc. When the boiler is heating the storage tank, the boiler can run flat out and not sit and idle. Idling is where you lose efficiency (and when the outside woodboilers are generating all the smoke).

There is a subforum over on the Hearth Forum called the boiler room. There are several people there that are running the gasification boilers, with and without storage. They all seem pretty happy.
 

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Germans were using wood gasification process to power vehicles during the WW2 to alleviate shortages of gas and diesel. I wish I could get my hands on one of the Kubelwagen Holzgaz small trucks to drive around for free ;)
 
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