Outdoor wood Boiler

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by tanman96, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. tanman96

    tanman96 New Member

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    I have been researching outdoor boilers. I was wondering if anyone had any experiences with these? Any tips or tricks to find the right one? Thanks
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Here's the things that impressed us with the Empyre. Functionality a friend has one and it proved what his model can heat and what quality of wood it needed. It has a power draft, essential and I'd think most brands would have one, I'd skip one that didn't. Simply stated it will bring a pile of embers back to useable heat when needed. Construction, the Empyre uses a higher grade of stainless steel, others may now, the competion may be right that it is somewhat more brittle but in practice it holds together without cracking and won't/can't rust for all practical purposes. I'd expect either stainless steel construction, OR a SEALED system made out of boiler plate for a good long term furnace. A sealed system only rusts to the point where it runs out of oxygenm the water turns black but stops corroding the steel. Design, the Empyre is very similar in design to the Central boiler for its fire box, but has a superior ash removal design (tube grate into a drawer ) a bigger door, and uses real insulated chimney which allows you to duct the smoke up higher without risking a windchilled pipe dampening the draft. The water distribution manifold is easiliy accessed for service too.
    I don't think I've met anyone who hates their outdoor boiler no matter who made it, I do know of one Central that needed serious repair but it was seriously abused (burning tires!!!)
     

  3. rutter

    rutter Member

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    This last November we installed a Unit from Central Boiler. I looked at as many Manufactureres as I could in the Central Wisconsin Area. Chose the Central over others. I did not purchase the stainless steel unit. I believe if one cares for the unit this expense id not required. Many burn garbage, tires etc and then have problems and wonder why.

    The unit preforms very well, and had burn times of approx 7 hours on the coldest spells we had with high temps at 1 degree in daytime. What suprised me the most was that the amount of ash is not as much as I thought it would be, which indicates that complete burns of availible fuels are occurring.
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I have one. I like a very large storage capacity for the water. Most of these units do smoke and are disliked if the neighborhood is close. Otherwise they are terrific. I do not like the design but I understand why they are manufactured as they are, one with a separate bulk water storage would have major advatanges IMO. Having a storage separate would permit servicing the main heatbox and addressing the problems their without having the expense of working with the storage tank which should last indefinitely. My unit is going on 15 years old and I do have a crack in the firebox to chimney weld.
     
  5. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    If you build a HAHSA instead of buying a factory built unit, you'll never have problems with the firebox rotting out even if you burn tires. I think Mother Earth News now sells the plans
     
  6. TheBlueOne

    TheBlueOne Well-Known Member

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    Most people around here that have them love them. The ones that don't love them are the ones that went from an indoor wood furnace to the outdoor variety. They miss their inddor furnace and wished they hadn't have sunk so much money into such an inefficient appliance. (The efficiency averages 20%)
    The ones that most prefer are made by Central Boiler with stainless constuction.
    An increasing issue in some areas is the of zoning these smoky beasts. When there weren't very many of them around it was no big deal. Now that a lot of people have them there are various proposals for setback requirements in an attempt to curb the smoking problem, requirements that are as drastic as 500 feet from the property line regardless of how far that puts the smoker from the house to be heated.
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    That's a good point, I have a PSG 4000 indoor wood furnace and like it very much; it even heated the house by convection through the 98 icestorm. There are advantages to indoor furnace, outdoor wood storage.
     
  8. mink

    mink Well-Known Member

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    how amny cords of wood are you using? and what length seems to work best?
     
  9. mink

    mink Well-Known Member

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    i been looking at those outside furnaces,i'd imagine people use like 2 foot wood instead of 4 foot stufffor ease of handling.lots of cold days here in ny and when i had a wood stove in the house i used to use 20 face cords of 16 inch wood.....anyone know how and outside one compares?
     
  10. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    The HAHSA was designed to take entire pallets if desired. So throwing in a four foot "stick" wouldn't be a problem.
     
  11. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    The major problem is you have to keep the sand wet for better heat transfer.

    mikell
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Seems like you would be using 20 full cords instead. With possibly increased smoke issues.

    Need to dress up 2 times a day to feed the furnace.

    In exchange, you can use bigger chunks of wood, and some of the dirt stays outside.

    Those are the tradeoffs.

    Personally, you couldn't pry the in-basement wood boiler away from me - I pick one with a big firebox so I don't need to make kindling. :) Much handier, basement has a wood room to store over a month of wood. Much more efficient.

    The outdoor boiler would interest me if I need to heat 2-3 buildings in the yard. Then it's size & location would be pluses, and using that much heat would atually raise it's efficiency/ improve the smoke issues.

    --->Paul

    --->Paul
     
  13. tallpaul

    tallpaul Well-Known Member

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    Had my taylor for over three years... I have friends that have had theres for over 13.... I don't always dress to go out to fill it ;^) I like that the mess stays outside. Smoking is worse when I burn "junk" or wet wood. I get alot of junk wood from tree guys for free and take all they want to bring even if I have to haul it away to friends for thier boilers. I like that I can split and pile close to the stove with the bobcat- saves manual labor. I do cut smaller pieces just to help drying and loading. I really like mine and need to hook the garage back up to heat it along with the house. I would not get one if neighbors were close. I really like the safety of it- it can't burn my house down. I was new to wood heat and a regular woodstove had me paranoid about leaving it un attended. If my house was small I might just go with a regular woodstove though. Well if it was well insulated- my house isn't large but it is poorly insulated and with the room sizes I don't want to loose 6 inches in each room to redo.
     
  14. CarlaWVgal

    CarlaWVgal Well-Known Member

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    We have a Woodmaster, and this is our first season using it. The initial cost was high, but we can get free or cheap wood, sure beats buying oil! Also we installed it ourselves, and it was rather simple.

    DH likes that he doesn't have to split everything, and can put longer logs, he still splits wood for me, or else I feel like I'll tumble into the stove. Our neighbor gives us his "junk" wood, and it burns fine. The mess is outside and we store wood in the garage. We have probably burned less than 5 cords, and our house is very drafty.

    The biggest problem we had was finding someone who had the stoves in stock. We did not want to buy without seeing one in person first and everyone had to order them. We went with Woodmaster because it was the only dealer who had them in stock, and the guy owned one himself, so he was helpful.

    Carla
     
  15. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are also considering a new furnace or boiler, wood burning of course, to replace our aging forced-air wood-burning furnace that is in our house basement. Whenever we have been able to, we have put coils for radiant floor heat in our floors (when doing remodeling or additions), so a boiler sounds good. However, everything that I have ever seen regarding outdoor boilers makes them seem rather inefficient in regards to the amount of wood used, and I don't want to cut and handle more wood than I need to. I personally like the idea of a quality efficient boiler such as an HS Tarm, in the basement, or perhaps a room added to the garage, instead of some huge metal yard-shed-sized smoking monstrosity in the yard.

    Has anyone kept careful track of the amount of wood used in an outdoor furnace/boiler, along with details of their heating season weather and the size and insulation of their house?

    Thanks.

    Jim
     
  16. jgbndaudio

    jgbndaudio Well-Known Member

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    One question.

    Do you really want to go outside every time you need to feed the stove?

    Scotty
     
  17. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Mine is a 400 gal. Central Boiler. Didn't use it this year, but that's another story :rolleyes:

    Being in zone 2/3 it gets to down to -40 with a sustained night January average temp of -25 to -30. The boiler is fed from November to March. Once it's in the above freezing daytime temps. the house just gets too hot to use this and the backup fuel oil funace kicks in occasionally. The house is well insulated with styrofoam. The furnace heats the hot water and a portion of the basement is coiled under the floor to make radiant heat. That helps from having the furnace kick in as much. The pump in the basement of the house and there is about a 3' rise to the furnace about 100 ft. away. It's good to keep the funace away so prevalent breezes dont' bring smoke to your dwelling.
    No need to split wood, and the firebox holds 4ft. lengths. Last year it burned about 12 cords for the winter. Some winters burned up to 15 when it was really cold and using poplar. Ash is denser and uses less wood. The outside wood furnace burns ideally in cold weather with mixed dry ash and some green poplar logs. I have to feed it twice a day usually. Yes, you have to go outside to do that, but it's better than having the mess that an inside wood furnace would have....and it's safer to be outside....no creosote worries.
     
  18. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have a Central Boiler. It's over ten years old.

    The neighbors tease us that we started a trend because we see them pop up around the community all the time.

    Wood is cheap where we are in North Cental WI.
     
  19. TheBlueOne

    TheBlueOne Well-Known Member

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    I don't heat with wood full time, about 1/2 the time due to work, etc. but with that schedule I use about 1 to 1 1/2 face cords a month. My firebox is about 25 inches long so I cut the wood at 22 inches to spread the burn for the full length.

    Most of the published data and talking to the guys around me that have them seem to agree that 20% is about the efficiency from an outdoor boiler. That is, you'll cut, stack, and burn 5 cords of wood to get 1 cord's worth of heat.
     
  20. tallpaul

    tallpaul Well-Known Member

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    I would not be surprised if that was true IF everyone burned wood that they would not normally burn in an in house unit. I find that the better/drier the wood the more efficient my stove is. Most of this year burning pine and Junk wood I could feed the stove twice and a little in the middle of the day. I just got a load of old dry hardwood and am getting almost a full 24 hours on one loading. There is a big difference and it was 19 degrees as a low today and 28 as a high... My house is a whole lot more comfortable through out than if I had a stove with its hot and cold spots. I don't mind the junk wood but then again I don't split by hand and only split to aid drying and handling and even then I cheat...
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