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What's The Best OWB?

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by RiverRocket, May 10, 2013.

  1. RiverRocket

    RiverRocket AboristSite Guru

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    I'm sure this has been debated allot in the past, I didn't see any threads on the suject.
    I Am gonna finally put in an outside stove in this summer and would at least like to know what to look for and what to avoid. I Have Hot water heat with an indoor wood burner now. I'm tired of the mess in the house
    I want to heat my inground pool with this stove in the summer/house in the winter, If that's possible?
    Thanks for any advice on what unit to go with.
     
  2. memory

    memory AboristSite Guru

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    All of them have there pros and cons. I am kind of partial to Central Boiler since that is what we use and we have had no major trouble with them. I know someone that has a Hardy and it seems to smoke alot more than ours. One thing I have heard is to stay away from stainless steel since it is prone to warping and cracking. Again, I don't know if there is any truth to that but something to consider.

    Get the biggest one you can afford, you will be glad you did years down the road. We just upgraded to a CB6048 since the old stove was not big enough to handle 2 water heaters and heating the house.

    One area you do not want to skimp on is the underground pipe. When we installed our first OWB, we used the cheaper insulated pipe running to the house and it shows. Whenever it snows, it melts a path about 2 feet wide because of the heat loss. Makes me sick every time I see that. For the second run of pipe, we used the Central Boiler stuff and have not had a problem.
     
  3. confused8122

    confused8122 ArboristSite Operative

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    Every body has an opinion. When shopping for mine, the general consensus was that 'the other brand is bad'. But most people are happy with the one that they have.

    I will only say I have a central boiler, just finishing 2nd season, and I couldn't be happier.
     
  4. RiverRocket

    RiverRocket AboristSite Guru

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    Thanks for the info, I've heard that the new ones are allot more efficient than the older models.
    I've been reading some threads on how important it is to install the underground lines properly, making sure the're insulated properly
    Didn't think about the size,I'll defiantly buy the biggest I can Afford
    seams that allot of people in my area put the stoves in a metal carport type structure? Is that something i should consider ?
     
  5. Cheesecutter

    Cheesecutter Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yup, you probably did open a can of worms because the OWB a guy owns is obviously the best one. I have a Portage and Main. I like it, it's a high quality stove, but dealers are scarce. 4 years, no issues, and almost any part that could fail is readily available at other stores. Central Boiler seems to have a very good stove and the best dealer network at least around here. I would have bought one but I prefer a round firebox. There are other less expensive ones out there, no doubt. But I would reccommend anyone take serious look at these 2.
     
  6. huskyhouse

    huskyhouse ArboristSite Lurker

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    wood boiler

    I purchased a greenwood 100 {100,000 btu] 2 years ago knowing they were in financial trouble but restarting as another company. I bought it used for 2400.00, and installed it in my cellar. 3 years ago it cost me about 4000.00 to heat but last year it was about 280.00 and 5 cords of wood, although last year was very warm.
    This past winter I burned about the same amount of wood and it cost me about 500.00 with the 3 of us. [ I ran my on demand system when it got into the high 40'sThere are some things to learn about it but the claim it is about 85% efficient.
     
  7. whitepine2

    whitepine2 ArboristSite Lurker

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    I too have a P&M for 3 years now and no trouble.It takes a little time to keep clean but if done every 2 weeks not a big problem. Had a Mohonan only lasted 5 years but might have been my problem as new to OWB's not knowing all
    in and outs,water test etc.Cuz just down road got the same and is going on 9 yrs not a bit of trouble. Like has been said spend on underground piping again I didn't know any better and went for do it yourself piping works fine but could have been better.
    P&M is quality unit little pricy but saved 2/3 on wood which has to be dry.Even after 10 yrs. of playing with OWBs
    still learning,like put cirt. in house so your not working outside in weather,two days ago building inspector next town over told me to have HX which I have an only have cirt.come online when called for,he said I would burn even less wood as heat is not lost to ground. Yes you would get one charge of cold water then hot is there after line is charged with hot. This is something I'm looking into in cold of winter cirt. will be running full time anyway.Sounds
    good to me but will check into it more ounce bitten twice shy. Hope this helps you out.

    W.C.W.
     
  8. Cheesecutter

    Cheesecutter Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Not that I agree or disagree with these, but here are a few random things I was told while shopping for mine. I was told to avoid any stove with the chimney directly through the roof, because water will eventually leak in. Check the weight of the unit, the heavier they are the more steel is in them. Stainless steel fatigues and is harder to repair than steel. The higher the water capacity the more reserve heat is available, but at added wood usage. I like forced air draft(fan) while others like a natural draft like CB has. I've heard ash augers are a pain in the ash. Stay away from the stoves built on legs. Boiler plate steel, round firebox vs square, water cooled doors, spray in insulation, etc........ Look for companies that have been around for awhile and have "gasser" models out, they are most likely to stay in business despite the EPA.
    Just because you can burn unseasoned or even green wood in a OWB doesn't mean you should. "Gassers" need almost premium firewood. OWBs will eat more wood than an indoor stove, but the pieces can be left larger so you spend more trigger time and less splitter time. I'm sure there are guys that put them in and don't like them, but I've never met one. They really are hard to beat.
     
    cowroy likes this.
  9. RiverRocket

    RiverRocket AboristSite Guru

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    Thanks Again..I'm Taking Lots of notes..
    What about the idea if putting it in a structure like a metal Carport ?
     
  10. TermiteBuffet

    TermiteBuffet ArboristSite Operative

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    For me the shelter is great so do don't get soaked while loading in the rain, plus you can keep plenty of wood dry. :rock: Termite
     
  11. John R

    John R Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I just finished my 7th heating season with my Hawken.
    They get a bad rap on here, but two of my neighbors also just finished their 7th year with Hawken too.

    No problems with any of them.
     
  12. Fifelaker

    Fifelaker Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Coming up on 10 years with a Central Boiler. They are hungry so cut a lot of wood.
     
  13. Mike from Maine

    Mike from Maine Read that the ms362 is awesome!!!

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    What's the best OWB

    The one that has been dragged off to the scrap yard. :msp_razz:
     
  14. ptjeep

    ptjeep AboristSite Guru

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    Glad to see all the good reviews on Central Boilers. I ordered a 6048 last week, should be here soon!
     
  15. bowtechmadman

    bowtechmadman Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I have a woodmaster and absolutely love it after 8 yrs of burning. I agree with cheesecutter those items he mentions are more important than the brand.
     
  16. russhd1997

    russhd1997 Innocent By Stander

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    I have a Central Classic 6048 OWB. I bought it in 2007 and haven't had any problems with it. I run it year round for hot water and heat for 2 houses. Before I bought it I looked at several brands and asked a lot of questions. The Central brand is what was recommended the most so that is what I bought. When I look in the back yards around here I see more Centrals than any other brand.
     
  17. chaikwa

    chaikwa ArboristSite Operative

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    Not pickin' on ya Cheese, but I've looked at every manufacturer of OWB over the last 6 months and I'd have to say that at least 2/3rds of them have the chimney thru the roof. I agree that out the back is probably better, but I also don't see or hear a lot of boilers having failures because of this feature. As far as the 'built on legs' issue... they're ALL built on legs of some sort, some just enclose them in the metal sheathing.

    I don't think Hawken is anything special but they make a decent unit for the money. Of ALL the manufacturers I've dealt with over the last 6 months, they have been the most responsive and accommodating. I would love to have a Portage and Main, but it took 8 calls to their local rep and one to their factory to get someone to come to my property and give me a quote. I can't imagine what a goat rodeo it would be if I had an actual problem.

    Central Boiler makes a great unit. 3 of my friends have them, one has had his going on 17 years. No problems with any of them. With that being said, I will never own one. I am a welder fabricator by trade and in 33 years of making my living in the metals trades, I just cannot get past the square firebox. Every weld and every bend in ANY fabrication is a potential weak spot, and when it is heated a cooled repeatedly, it makes the weak spot even more vulnerable. Same thing with stainless, it's brittle to begin with and when it's repeatedly heated and cooled it gets more so, depending on its' grade. Some grades of stainless actually lose their stainless properties after heating only a few times.

    I still haven't bought my boiler yet, but it is a toss up between woodmaster, brute force and hawken.
     
  18. Cheesecutter

    Cheesecutter Addicted to ArboristSite

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    No offense taken, as I said I neither agree or disagree, but these were things pointed out to me by others. The chimney through the roof comment was from both C.B. and P&M. The leg issue was because of potential heat loss, enclosed is supposed to be better. I'm not stove bashing but I have seen a Heat Source 1(now out of business) with an almost completely caved in square/rectangle firebox. I suspect it was operator negligence... IDK.
    I went with P&M due to reduced wood burned claims, warrantee, round firebox, and most importantly a good respected dealer. He personally drove me to see 4 units in operation newer, older, well, and not so well taken care of.
     
  19. cantoo

    cantoo Addicted to ArboristSite

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    chaikwa, I've heard before that stainless doesn't handle the heating and cooling cycles very well, what exactly does that mean? I would have thought that the temperature would remain fairly constant on the unit itself. I bought a used Western Pacific last year (haven't installed it yet) that is stainless. I also bought a used Hatz (1994) last year too but it's a steel one. Haven't decided yet which one I'm going to install. The Western is a huge unit and would easily heat the spaces I want. Doesn't really matter which one I install because I plan to change them back and forth each heating season to check wood useage. I was also planning on running the smaller one for the summer months because demand is low, just hot tub, pressure washer and 2 houses for domestic hot water.
     
  20. chaikwa

    chaikwa ArboristSite Operative

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    The water temperature will remain fairly constant within 20-30 degrees I'd say, but the temperature of the firebox will vary greatly. When the fire is just maintaining itself the firebox will be a cooler temperature than when the boiler is calling for heat. And the temperature from top to bottom will vary as well, maybe as much as 1 or 2 hundred degrees. When the boiler is firing everything in the firebox will heat up dramatically, and again, there will be spots that are hotter than others depending on where the fire is impinging on the metal. Mild steel will tolerate this well and expands and contracts easily as long as it isn't a hardened variety of steel. Stainless is brittle by nature and doesn't take to expansion and contraction as well. It tends to crack as it tries to expand or contract, depending on the grade of stainless, and there are many. It doesn't take a lot of heat to change the characteristics of ANY type of steel. Some varieties of hardened steel for example, only needs to be heated by 100 degrees to make it malleable enough to weld. If you try to weld without pre-heating, the weld will fall off, (literally!), as it cools. I can see a good use of stainless as a water jacket, but as a firebox I just don't buy it.
     

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