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Thread: wood fired boilers?

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    Default wood fired boilers?

    Looking for opinions on these wood boilers. They seem like a good idea, but i'm there seems to be mixed opinions on them. I really like the feature of a lot of hot water which is important because it is a trek for the fam to trek into town for washing and laundry. any info would be great.

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    Member Unalakleet yooper's Avatar
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    I used one for a number of years when I lived back in Michigan. There are pros and cons to the stoves. They can provide all the hot water you will ever need and you can burn wood that you would not burn in a indoor stove as far as green or wood products (twigs, small branches, grass trimmings, ect). Also most outdoor stoves can take a bigger and longer block of wood.

    On the downside, your wood usage will increase as at least the stoves 8 years ago were not very efficient. The stoves also are not cheap along with the related plumbing required and depending on your setup, combining it with your existing heating/hot water system.

    I had 65 acres of woods plus I would clean up other peoples trees for my stove so the wood cost was not an issue and for me the savings outweighed the cost of the stove over a few years. If you have to buy wood, I doubt if you will come out ahead. You don't say where you are so my first question would be to determine your wood source/s.

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    Default Wood gasification boilers

    CDV

    I would stay away from an inefficient outdoor type wood boiler. I would suggest a wood gasification process type boiler. Wood gasification boilers are getting into high efficiency range of 90% . To be more specific I would buy a down drafting type wood gasification boiler. If you do a little research I'm sure you'll start to lean more into this direction. They are more popular in Europe but slow to catch on in the states.

    Kevin
    Last edited by AkKevin; 03-31-2012 at 07:19. Reason: errors
    Are we talking about goals or are we talking about dreams? AkKevin The one and only

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums CDV. I put in a coal fired boiler. Not sure if you can get coal to you. The coal is cheap, takes no work, and burns hot. Also, the added advantage is if you buy one for coal usage, you can burn anything else you want in the boiler. The one made for coal are much thicker steel to handle the extra heat that coal puts off. But, if you want to burn wood, or anything else, it'll handle that. We tied our boiler, which is primarily for heat, into the hot water tank, so in the winter we don't burn much propane to keep hot water. We fire our boiler up around Nov 1st and shut it down around April 1st, as it's just to hot in the lodge to keep it going.

    Good luck!
    Claude
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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    thanks for the reply. so you said you shut your boiler down april 1st. what do you do for heat during the rest of the summer? here in cordova there a few to many weeks where it rains and we want need enough heat to keep the damp out. i suspect a wood fired boiler would be a hassle and waste of wood to fire up just for a chilly evening. my thought would to have a small wood stove for the summer but then again two wood stoves sounds weird and expensive.

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    We shut it down and just use the barrel stove to heat. It's plenty enough. Our humidity and dampness is not as bad as it is in your area. I can see where you would need more heat just to keep things dry. If we kept it on it would heat us right out of the lodge. As for 2 wood stoves, I can see doing that if needed, on each end, but we have found even down to -10 we can decently heat the entire lodge, which is 6300 sq ft, good enough. You have to keep it going 24/7 to be able to do that, but it can be done.
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by denalihunter View Post
    Welcome to the forums CDV. I put in a coal fired boiler. Not sure if you can get coal to you. The coal is cheap, takes no work, and burns hot. Also, the added advantage is if you buy one for coal usage, you can burn anything else you want in the boiler. The one made for coal are much thicker steel to handle the extra heat that coal puts off. But, if you want to burn wood, or anything else, it'll handle that. We tied our boiler, which is primarily for heat, into the hot water tank, so in the winter we don't burn much propane to keep hot water. We fire our boiler up around Nov 1st and shut it down around April 1st, as it's just to hot in the lodge to keep it going.

    Good luck!
    Claude
    You forgot to mention that with coal, when the flue gets a little clogged flames shoot out from under the walls of the outbuilding, providing extra entertainment for your guests!

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    And Rick, we don't even charge extra for the insta bon-fire! I'm happy to say the boiler ran it's last day 5 days ago! It's so warm in here with the spring sun and long days it's shut down until November!
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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    Member logman 49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denalihunter View Post
    Welcome to the forums CDV. I put in a coal fired boiler. Not sure if you can get coal to you. The coal is cheap, takes no work, and burns hot. Also, the added advantage is if you buy one for coal usage, you can burn anything else you want in the boiler. The one made for coal are much thicker steel to handle the extra heat that coal puts off. But, if you want to burn wood, or anything else, it'll handle that. We tied our boiler, which is primarily for heat, into the hot water tank, so in the winter we don't burn much propane to keep hot water. We fire our boiler up around Nov 1st and shut it down around April 1st, as it's just to hot in the lodge to keep it going.

    Good luck!
    Claude
    Hey Claude, I'm thinking about a coal boiler install at my home this year, what brand boiler did you buy? And what kind of a review would you give it?

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    Something you might consider, if you just want hot water, would be to either put a water tank on the top/side of your wood stove, or add some coils inside the stove that circulate to an insulated holding tank (i.e. convert an old water heater). Don't worry about a pump, because the heat naturally circulates the water, as long as the coils have the cold water in at the bottom and the hot water out at the top. Hot water rises, cold sinks. Just make sure you have a pop off valve just in case it gets to hot or the coils go dry. I grew up with this kind of system plumbed inline with a propane hot water heater as a "pre-heater". During the winter, we hardly used any propane.

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    I purchased the Royal boiler made to heat 10,000 sq ft. Was $8500 plus $1500 shipping. I purcahsed it from North Pole Coal, Inc. This is the third winter on it and it has been a dream. Coal is nice because you don't need to split it, stack it or any of that. It comes ready to burn and you just toss it into the boiler. The regret is that I didn't buy the auto feeder and auto ash remover. That adds a lot of work. Coal up here is cheap. $65 a ton. I think they charge a lot more that that down in your area, even over $100 a ton down there. Since we are close to Healy it's not bad.
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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    Member logman 49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denalihunter View Post
    I purchased the Royal boiler made to heat 10,000 sq ft. Was $8500 plus $1500 shipping. I purcahsed it from North Pole Coal, Inc. This is the third winter on it and it has been a dream. Coal is nice because you don't need to split it, stack it or any of that. It comes ready to burn and you just toss it into the boiler. The regret is that I didn't buy the auto feeder and auto ash remover. That adds a lot of work. Coal up here is cheap. $65 a ton. I think they charge a lot more that that down in your area, even over $100 a ton down there. Since we are close to Healy it's not bad.
    I'll check out the Royal. I was told you can buy it for $80 ton at the terminal in Seward, and I'm in town every day anyway. Not as cheap as up there but reasonable I think. How would you compare a ton of coal to a cord of wood as far days of heat or BTU's from each? I think I would come up with some sort of stoker that I could put a ton of coal in.

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    Logman, yep, forgot you can get coal for a decent price in Seward! Attached is a BTU for several types of heating. Just change the prices to get your local cost per unit. http://nepacrossroads.com/fuel-compa...calculator.php

    Good idea on a 1 ton stoker! Jennifer really wishes we had that!
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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    If you use that calculator be sure you put in the right BTUs per cord for the wood you would burn. A good place to find that is here:

    http://www.alaskawoodheating.com/energy_content.php

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