Pallet-Burning Outdoor Furnace?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by fin29, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Would any of those outdoor wood furnaces take a whole pallet without cutting it up? With all the pallets that people drop at the dump here, I figure I could heat my house for a year for free. They're almost all hardwood, nice and dry. It would be a bummer to have to dismantle the pallets to use the wood, though less time would be spent doing that than chopping wood. I figure if the furnace can take the whole thing, burn it, and I clean the ashes and nails out of the ash pan regularly, I can save a lot of time and money.
    Another question-can you interface one of those furnaces with an existing oil-burning HWBB system? So basically, I have the option of using one or the other as my mood/resources/energy level dictates? How does that work?
     
  2. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Well, I guess I just partially answered my own question, but if this unit is rated to heat 15,000sq. feet, and my house is only 2,000, would that make that particular unit inefficient? It also says the unit holds 487 gallons of water. Is that how the heat is stored? I know, I know, get the literature. :eek:

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  3. JWH123

    JWH123 Well-Known Member

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    Fin29-

    consider the amount of air space involved in a pallet. How much wood is really in one? Maybe one pallet would be the equivalent of three 6" logs about 24" long? I'd figure you'd need a pickup truck load of pallets every day to feed that thing.

    It's great that they're free, but consider the bulk of how many pallets you'd have to burn to get the amount of heat you need.

    I'm no expert, but I think interfacing with a hot water baseboard system is exactly what you'd want to do. Use your oil boiler when you're out of town, and make sure it circulates the warm water out to this boiler to keep it from freezing!

    Good luck.
    John
     
  4. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our hay-man in Winslow has an outdoor boiler that he brags up. Not big enough for pallets but I'm pretty sure his is hooked into domestic hot water/oil burner. My hubby is a burner man over to Winslow Supply (MAINE) and they do have a website and 800 number and might be able to answer ??? but they do not sell outdoor boilers. Bet that one you show is big bucks but if the pallets are free....
    Its been a long cold winter huh?

    My folks just bought a home with wood boiler and reg. furnace set up so that wood boiler is primary and oil backup so it is possible!
     
  5. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Oh-the one in that picture is about $11,000. I would love to say that it would take years to make it pay vs. oil, but here in Maine, it would pay for itself before the warranty was up if the fuel were free. My boiler is older than I am, so I'm trying to educate myself before "you-know-what." I'm paying $182 for 12 months a year to buy my oil. (Insert puking smilie here...)

    There's a plant up on 201 toward Lewiston that has a bunch of piles of free pallets that are about 30' high.

    I have lots of ice storm damage here from '98, so I have a ton of junk wood to burn. That's another reason I think this might be a good way to go.
     
  6. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ouch! thats alot of oil! you must have a big old house! We use less than 300 gal a year and about 5 cord of wood but house is one level. We get some oak 2x4 from work free. I think that oil and gas are going to stay high so wood is also going up. Getting $150 cord cut split delivered and green. We bought tree length at $85....we are youngish and its good exercise! Plus the kids are big enough to help now!

    Thanx for chick info. BTW ...think I'll get chicks after my girls kid (next two weeks) Hopefully it'll warm up around here before they pop!
     
  7. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it's an old colonial, built before insulation was fashionable, I guess. Having two toddlers convinces me to keep it a little warmer in here that I ordinarily would.

    If you're getting broiler chicks, you should consider Greaney's Turkey Farm up in Mercer-toward Farmington. It's probably 40 minutes from the State House. He'll have about 6,000 crosses in on April 13, then another order on June 9 and August 25. It's the only inspected slaughterhouse in the state, and he does an immaculate job. Scott takes good care of us, and he's a great guy to boot. His crosses are $0.70 each for the April run, then $0.85. Slaughter prices are $2.50 for chix and $6 for turkeys and it's worth every penny. If you need to talk more chicken services here in Maine, you can pm me. We've been around the block on that count...
     
  8. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    People either love or hate the outdoor wood stoves. Some tend to be smokey. They are inefficient compared to an indoor wood boiler, as they are not built & tested to the same safety standards. Some folks prefer the dirt & dust outside, while others prefer staying indoors to feed the fire.

    Indoor water heating systems tend to be lightly pressurized (15psi) while outdoor furnaces are open systems, so you need a heat exchanger between the 2. You aren't supposed to use antifreeze, so to prevent freezeup you best plan to keep it fired nearly all the time, as the house furnace heating the big outdoor unit really uses oil.

    As you can tell, I'm an indoor wood boiler person. ;) But the outdoor units work, and can fit your needs. You will need a much larger unit to accomidate whole pallets, so it will cost more & be less efficient than normal. Pallets burn up amazingly fast, with all that open space.

    --->Paul
     
  9. scorpian5

    scorpian5 Well-Known Member

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    pallet furnaces from what i have seen are used with one pallet that is stacked full of firewood on top of it. Depending on what you are heating the can last i think two days or more between filling. I saw a pic somwhere where sombody made on big enough to drive a forklift insid it and held four pallet loads