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Indoor wood furnace vs. Outdoor Boiler - The differences?

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Shootemup, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. Shootemup

    Shootemup ArboristSite Lurker

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    Hi guys....first post, and what a great site!!


    The wife and I are looking at a house in central New Hampshire on ~75 acres, and it's currently on propane with hot water baseboards.

    I'm just in my preliminary stages of researching but would like to know the pros/cons of both indoor furnaces and outdoor boilers. I've read, through some quick searches, that the indoor furnaces are more efficient; is that true?

    It seems as if OWB are more popular here, and figured I'd ask what the story is between the two.


    Thanks!!!


    Shoot
     
  2. reaperman

    reaperman AboristSite Guru

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    I guess its the ford/chevy debate. Without going into too much detail, since I have never owned a owb. The people I know with owb's seem to burn quite a bit of wood each season, but remember some of these guys are also meeting all of their domestic hot water needs. Some of these owb installs are quite impressive and complicated looking at the same time. Pumps, zones, plate exchangers, etc. The systems do work, but the upfront costs will surpass most any wood furnace installs to say the least. Wood furnaces do eat their share of wood, but also do the job if installed correctly. As a rule of thumb, the wood furnace would probably make your home hotter, just a like a regular wood stove would. Because once the beast is up and running, your going to get all of the heat it is putting out, whether you want it or not. The difference is the heat will be distrubuted evenly throughout the home. Unlike the wood stove which is notorious for overheating the room it is in.

    If you only have baseboards and no ducting for a forced air furance you may want to consider a indoor boiler, much like a indoor wood furnace, only it heats water to circulate throughout the baseboards. Hope you find the correct solution.
     
  3. Sledge

    Sledge ArboristSite Lurker

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    The OWB stoves are great. Set the temp wherever you like, plenty of hot water for long showers and no mess inside the house. The drawback is the ones around here burn a lot of wood. You hear people say they only burn 3 sticks in the morning and three at night, they fail to mention that those sticks are 30" long and12" across. :D
     
  4. Keevan

    Keevan ArboristSite Operative

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    Are you interested in furnace or or inside wood boiler?
     
  5. ktm rider

    ktm rider AboristSite Guru

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    Are you talking about an INDOOR boiler ( heating water ) or an indoor furnace ( heating air) ????
     
  6. Techstuf

    Techstuf ArboristSite Operative

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    I burn less wood than a central boiler, and can supply all domestic hot water needs during burning season. All for 30 times less cost than a central boiler. Of course mine lacks the aesthetics of a furnace/boiler.


    TS
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  7. modn

    modn ArboristSite Operative

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    I will burn about 20 face cord, 7ish full cord this year. I cut wood on my own land. I could probably be more efficient with an indoor woodstove/wood furnace. This is the catch....I have no fear of a chimney fire or any wood related fire that will harm my family. I also have no wood smell,ticks, ants, or critters in my house by bringing wood in. This is all due to the wood boiler being outside and away from the house. I had it the other way around most of my life until 30. I sure wouldn't go any other way now that I have it this way. Viewpoints will differ, but for me I will keep burning the extra 2 or so cord.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  8. AIM

    AIM Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If your already on hot water baseboard it seems that an OWB plumbed into the system would be the easiest. I can't speak for everyone but from what I've seen the OWB burn quite a bit more wood than a forced air wood furnace.
    My son in law has a furnace that works great but when it gets to 10° or lower his oil furnace will run to help out.
    My OWB on the other hand will always keep up as long as I have a fire.
    I would estimate that he goes through a 1/3 less than I do and he has a larger home and WAYYY older and draftier.
    Having your wood and mess outside is priceless but I'll admit those occasional 1:00 AM loadings during frigid windy times really suck bad.
    I went to a wedding this winter and left the house about 2:30. Arrived back home about 1 AM. Loading an OWB after drinking a pile of beer while wearing a suit and tie is no fun at all. Where as standing in a nice warm enviroment doing the same wouldn't have been that bad.
    Pro's and con's to both but if your already runnin hot water heat then plumbing into that might be the best way.
     
  9. Shootemup

    Shootemup ArboristSite Lurker

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    Sorry for the ignorance, but like another poster mentione, that since I have baseboard heat, I guess we're talking boilers.

    The fact that with an indoor unit, the chances for fires in the chimney, and bugs being introduced to the house is greater.

    Do you guys have a tacked thread with the manufacturers of all the say top 5 or 10 indoor/outdoor boilers? I'd like to start comparing them.


    Thanks for the help so far, this is a must living in New Hampshire, but then again, I have 75 acres of "fuel.:D
     
  10. Butch(OH)

    Butch(OH) Addicted to ArboristSite

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    When choosing between a stove and a outdoor boiler there are questions you need to ask of yourself and honestly answer. The primary one being how dedicated do you want to be to burning wood? Everyone is interested in saving on energy bills but experience shows me that few are willing to make the commitments of time and effort needed to heat full time with wood. The stove that occupies my shop is a freebie generated by the energy crisis of the 70s and resultant surge in wood burning. When people got used to $1 oil they found it easier to write a check on Saturday morning and watch football on Saturday afternoon in October than to cut wood. When they got tired of even sweeping around the wood stoves, out to the curb they went.

    A stove is a good way to get into wood burning for several reasons.
    1. You can "test the waters" for less investment than an OWB
    2. They burn less wood, (primarily because they heat less of the house nor the domestic water but that is another argument)
    3. Should you decide that part time wood burning is for you that is possible.

    An OWB could be a poor choice for the same reasons.
    1. They are an expensive yard ornament if not used for heating
    2 They burn more wood. 8-10 cords of wood cutting is a LOT of work
    3. They need to be started up in he fall and operated all winter until late spring.

    I own an OWB and love it, but I do not recommend one to a person who has never heated with wood. Test the waters with a stove for at least two years. If you still enjoy the days in the woods and want to cut your heating bills to zero (and your domestic water heating) then check out a boiler, indoor or out, there are advantages and disadvantages to either.
     
  11. Bammer

    Bammer ArboristSite Lurker

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    They are busting major cahonies around here about OWB,darn near impossible to install and keep one! Too many yuppies beeotching!
     
  12. Shootemup

    Shootemup ArboristSite Lurker

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    CT - Doesn't surprise me.

    Hopefully it's different in New Hampshire. Live Free (from foreign oil) or Die.
     
  13. jburlingham

    jburlingham Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Seeing that it's your property tell them to "bite pipe".
    Of course your close to the Evils of NYC and the freaky libs that work there. There may exist an ordinance regarding them, if there is I feel bad for you.
     
  14. Bammer

    Bammer ArboristSite Lurker

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    My neighbor (actually behind me some 1000ft) called EPA on me in Jan of 07. They sent a guy out to check my smoke,wife had just loaded the furnace when he arrived,said my smoke was at +40% opacity ! I recieved a registered letter a week later saying if I didn't remedy the situation that I could be fined 25k a day for each day the violation occured!!! WTF?

    I did some things and responded to CT EPA and have not heard a word. Until this lady gets a hair across her _ _ _ again???? She's a greenie that doesn't work and just looks for things to ##### at. Her hubby owns a well known chain around here,I'll pass it along via PM just in case she is lurking!!!:censored: :censored: :censored:
     
  15. Ductape

    Ductape Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Unfortunately, NH just passed OWB regs effective Jan. 1st 2009. I haven't read all the fine print, but the state has made it considerably difficult to install one now. Foolish regs like having the stack be taller than the tallest peak on your house. Prior installs are grandfathered to some extent, but can be shut down by the state if there are complaints from neighbors. Someone will correct me if i'm mistaken on these matters.

    So much for "Live Free or Die"...............:cry:
     
  16. Shootemup

    Shootemup ArboristSite Lurker

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    Screw that noise.

    What do these environmentalists do when a volcano erupts, and spews enough pollutants into the sky to offset everything man made for 10+ years in one eruption?

    Luckily, this house we're buying is on 75 acres, and the closest neighbor is 1/2 mile away.
     
  17. Bammer

    Bammer ArboristSite Lurker

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    EPA e-mail to me

    I do NOT have a OWB,mistaken device but still threatened!


    Hello Mr. XXXXX-

    I asked the Compliance Division clerical to pull up their assignment database. The database shows our inspector, XXXX XXXXX, assigned to investigate a complaint by "GREENIE" (no address) regarding smoke at XXXXXXXXXXXX.

    XXXX will do an inspection (take opacity reading of smoke thickness, measure stack height, measure distance to property line of the stack, record what kind of materials being burned...and so on). He would then come back to the DEP office and type up an inspection report and recommendations (anything that might be considered in violation or no needed action/no violations etc). It goes through a signature process but they do send you a letter letting you know if anything is wrong. There are requirements for stack height, distance from property line etc.-- see the inserted State Statutes...
    Sec. 22a-174k. Outdoor wood-burning furnaces. (a) For purposes of this section, "outdoor wood-burning furnace" means an accessory structure or appliance designed to be located outside living space ordinarily used for human habitation and designed to transfer or provide heat, via liquid or other means, through the burning of wood or solid waste, for heating spaces other than where such structure or appliance is located, any other structure or appliance on the premises, or for heating domestic, swimming pool, hot tub or jacuzzi water. "Outdoor wood-burning furnace" does not include a fire pit, wood-fired barbecue or chiminea.

    (b) No person shall, from July 8, 2005, to the effective date of regulations promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to regulate outdoor wood-burning furnaces, construct, install, establish, modify, operate or use an outdoor wood-burning furnace, unless (1) the outdoor wood-burning furnace was constructed, installed, established, modified, operated or in use prior to July 8, 2005, or (2) the outdoor wood-burning furnace complies with the following:

    (A) Installation of the outdoor wood-burning furnace is not less than two hundred feet from the nearest residence not serviced by the outdoor wood-burning furnace;



    (B) Installation of the chimney of the outdoor wood-burning furnace is at a height that is more than the height of the roof peaks of the residences that are located within five hundred feet of the outdoor wood-burning furnace, which residences are not serviced by the outdoor wood-burning furnace, provided the chimney height is not more than fifty-five feet;



    (C) No other materials are burned in the outdoor wood-burning furnace other than wood that has not been chemically treated; and



    (D) Installation and operation of the outdoor wood-burning furnace is in accordance with the manufacturer's written instructions, provided such instructions do not conflict with the provisions of this section.



    (c) The provisions of this section shall be enforced by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and may be enforced by the municipality affected by the operation or potential operation of an outdoor wood-burning furnace.



    (d) Any person who operates an outdoor wood-burning furnace in violation of this section shall be deemed to have committed an infraction and shall be fined not more than ninety dollars. Each day of operation of such outdoor wood-burning furnace in violation of this section shall be a separate violation.
     
  18. kevin85

    kevin85 ArboristSite Lurker

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    I love my Tarm indoor wood boiler. It provides a good deal of radiant heat so my basement stays at 67 degrees all winter. It handles heating my 3000 sq. ft. house and hot water(no storage).But as everyone says, you have to bring the wood in/bugs/ smaller pieces of wood, etc. Personally, I wouldn't trade mine for an OWB furnace.
     
  19. Ductape

    Ductape Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I agree !

    There are plenty of other specs in the law regarding setbacks from structures and property lines, but obviously those wouldn't concern you with 75 acres.

    Out of curiousity, may I ask what part of the state you are looking in?
     
  20. CrappieKeith

    CrappieKeith Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Another consideration.
    For the cost of a boiler you can have A/C added and air filtration with a warm air furnace and you can use them on gravity if the ducting does not make a downward turn..
    Water run through pipes does not allow for any air quality.
     

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