ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


OWB Payback

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by jthornton, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. jthornton

    jthornton ArboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    Swamp East Missouri
    I heat my garage and machine shop with a couple of inside wood burners. I rarely start up the one in the garage and usually just open the door between them and put a fan blowing from the garage to the shop to circulate air. This works ok but is not ideal as the machine shop is hot and the garage is cool. I burn about 2 cords a year to heat 2000 sq ft between the garage and the machine shop. I heat my house with propane and it takes about 400 gallons a year to heat my 2500 sq ft (including the walk out basement) house.

    So I spend $600-$800 a year on propane and my labor to cut and split the wood. What I'm wondering is where is the payback for going all wood? Does the OWB die before you reach that point. Just saying $750 a year in propane savings would take 10 years to get even if the OWB cost $7500 installed. Do the OWB's last that long? Can you install one for that price?

    My other thought is to build a smaller OWB and just use it to heat the garage and machine shop for now to get some experience with an OWB. Can you just put a radiator with a fan behind it in each area and run some tubing to each one?

    The other factor is I will have a wood splitter in the near future...

    Thanks
    John
     
  2. Cheesecutter

    Cheesecutter Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    May 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    1,546
    Location:
    Northern Ill.
    I doubt if you could install an OWB for $7500. Mine was $10,000 four years ago to do two houses. Its hard to compare apples to apples here but the savings also come from heating your water, save on annual furnace checks, save time splitting because you can burn bigger pieces but you use more wood but you heat all three building to a desired temp and so on.
    Do they last 10 years.. .I'm sure it depends how well its cared for but I've heard 15-25 on the better quality ones. I suppose you could use a radiator with a fan setup but not sure how well it would work.
     
  3. jthornton

    jthornton ArboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    Swamp East Missouri
    What would work for space heating a well insulated 1000 sq ft building? My garage and machine shop are about 1000 sq ft each with a common wall.

    Thanks
    John
     
  4. AIM

    AIM Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,353
    Likes Received:
    462
    Location:
    Montpelier, Ohio
    If you build your own you can heat all 3 for way less than $7500

    I had $2600 in mine I think the year I built it and installed it but to do it RIGHT the first time I would bump that to $4000
     
  5. beerman6

    beerman6 Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,014
    Likes Received:
    263
    Location:
    BANCROFT,MI
    I spent just under 5g for my OWB back in 05.
    We were spending an average of $450 per month(during heating season) on propane with the stat set at 62.

    So about 11 heat months it was paid off

    Usually burn 6 months per winter.
     
  6. Dogsout

    Dogsout Can't Fix Stupid!!

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    408
    Location:
    Iowa
    400 gallons a year is impressive for 2500 SF. I am assuming that you do not run 5 ELECTRIC heaters to supplement your heat and you have an electric water heater. I have an older 2000 SF house that in the coldest 3 months will burn 400 gallon a month. Usually I come in around 1500 to 1700 gallons of LP a year. (Stove and water heater also LP) At a $1.52 a gallon booked price this year It did not take me long to see a positive payback for my house. I purchased my OWB at an auction new for $3,300 and my Speeco 35 ton splitter for $2000 so my number for payback is not quite as high as most. (NOTE already had everything else in place to run this from the pellet stove I purchased some years ago.) My LP furnace has not kicked on one time in the 2 years that I have owed the OWB except to test it. I guess what I am trying to say and taking so long to get there is if you are truly only using 400 gallon of LP a YEAR I am not going to mess with wood heat and just pay the gas man. If indeed you go to a top level OWB and spend $8000 to $10,000 I don't see a pay back just in the dollars let a lone your labor.

    PS Did I really just say "Pay the GAS man" above? I hope I can hold on to my man card!
     
  7. beerman6

    beerman6 Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,014
    Likes Received:
    263
    Location:
    BANCROFT,MI
    If they take yours,I'll have to give up mine also.

    400 gallons at your $1.52 is just over $600 or $100 per month for me.

    at that rate I would...Pay the gas man. :msp_mellow:
     
  8. AIM

    AIM Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,353
    Likes Received:
    462
    Location:
    Montpelier, Ohio
    400 gallons a year. I didn't catch that. I went through 2-3 times that amount when I was burning propane. I remember the last year on propane cost me approx $1600.

    Another reason that I went with an OWB was because like the OP I was also burning wood in my shop. I just figured what the hell. If I'm cutting wood for the shop I may as well cut a little more and heat everything.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
  9. 2rod511

    2rod511 ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    God's Country
    I was in at just under $5500 with my wood boiler and parts and hardware necessary to install. There is nothing to the darn thing after it arrived and I started looking at it I wished I would of built one myself. I believe mine will last a lifetime because there is nothing on it that can't be fixed rather easily. My dad bought one at the same time I did and heats his house and shop.
     
  10. Encore

    Encore ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    60
    Location:
    Ohio
    Most places you can get a Hardy H4 new and installed for right around 7500. Aren't they made in MO anyways?

    They have a 25yr warranty on them. Ours I purchased used and will pay for itself in fuel savings by the middle of next winter (1.5 winters to payback)
     
  11. Dogsout

    Dogsout Can't Fix Stupid!!

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    408
    Location:
    Iowa
    OK folks lets focus here. I know you can get a really good payback on an OWB as most of you have stated above. Lets not lose sight of the fact that the OP is questioning the payback for HIS circumstance. It is not fair to reply heck ya get one it paid for itself in 2 years in my case. He has stated that he only burns 400 GALLON OF LP A YEAR for his house. I understand that he already cuts wood for his shop but assuming that all of his wood gathering, cutting and time are free he still has to BUY and INSTALL a new burner. Even at $8000 with LP at say $2.00 a gallon @ 400 gallon a year that is a 10 year payback assuming no other money is invested. Breakdowns, chemicals and other misc expenses would only add to this time frame. Again I come down on the side that it would not be a good investment. As someone stated above using the book price of LP in MY area it only figures out he is paying $100 a month for 6 months to heat his house. I would happily pay that at my house and even smile when the gas man pulled into my lane. (Which he would only do 1 time a year at that rate of consumption.)
     
  12. projectsho89

    projectsho89 ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    In the woods near St Louis
    If I could heat my 2500 sq ft house with 400 gallons of propane, I wouldn't bother with wood. Heck, I burn 250-300 gallons just as backup heat throughout the 6 month heating season.

    When calculating the cost of payback, don't forget the cost of a truck, trailer, splitter, chainsaws, gas, oil, travel time and expense, a dog to keep you company, beer, knee surgery, and, if you aren't careful, a divorce....
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
  13. jthornton

    jthornton ArboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    Swamp East Missouri
    When I built the house I insulated it like crazy after a couple of years of 600-700 gallons of propane per winter season I added 12" thick bats to the attic for a total of 15.5". What a difference that makes. I've not filled up the 500 gallon tank in the middle of winter again. No supplemental heat except for 600 watt in the bathroom on really cold mornings and that is only on for a couple of hours. Programmable thermostat with it set to 60 at night and reasonable settings for awake and away periods. Water heater is electric and stove top is propane.

    Another issue is my age, I'm 59 so at best 15 years of wood burning and I'm shot.

    John
     
  14. jthornton

    jthornton ArboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    Swamp East Missouri
    I have enough info to build a Hardy clone and would like to build a scaled down one for the shop for three reasons, get the mess out of the shop and garage, free up floor space and more even heat between the machine shop and the garage.

    The main reason I was wondering about the house is my stingy use of propane. I actually use less than 400 gallons as that is all the 500 will hold and I always have some left by spring time.

    I really appreciate the comments guys...

    Thanks
    John
     
  15. jthornton

    jthornton ArboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    Swamp East Missouri
    Correct, my propane bill is about $600 or so a year. The investment side is what had me wondering along with my age I could only use it for about 15 years I assume health holding as is now.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    John
     
  16. Arbonaut

    Arbonaut Go Climb It

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Messages:
    2,411
    Likes Received:
    246
    Location:
    Pike County, Illinois
    200,000 BTU unit would heat those structures and the house and payback in around five years. Always calculate what fuel will be in 5-6 years and you have the advantage many of us had having a way to cut and haul wood established. Get the OWB.


    Mine paid off in Five.
    [​IMG]

    It has been paying me to cut wood for the last five. Don't hesitate. Steel isn't goiung to get any cheaper. I like stainless as it reduces problems. Look for a water-cooled door.
     
  17. Arbonaut

    Arbonaut Go Climb It

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Messages:
    2,411
    Likes Received:
    246
    Location:
    Pike County, Illinois
    If ya got to justify it with her, ask her how she likes extremely hot showers. Kepps you young just a little longer when that hot water soothes the tired bones. I'm a 100% proponent of wood fired heat. I like the dual fuel ones Heatmor and probably some others have out that can also heat with waste oil. Now that would be nice for back up.

    Hey wilkommen back to wood cutting and to ArboristSite!
     
  18. 2rod511

    2rod511 ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    God's Country
    Stainless may reduce problems, but it makes the problems a hell of a lot harder to fix when they arrive. And stainless doesn't transfer heat as good as carbon steel.
     
  19. Arbonaut

    Arbonaut Go Climb It

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Messages:
    2,411
    Likes Received:
    246
    Location:
    Pike County, Illinois
    ok
     
  20. Arbonaut

    Arbonaut Go Climb It

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Messages:
    2,411
    Likes Received:
    246
    Location:
    Pike County, Illinois
    Welcome to AS and he was here since 2010. Hahaha. Just noticed. I meant to say that to the firewood newby. Logging out now. Hope ya get your boiler, jthorton.
     

Share This Page