Wood pellet boiler w/o backup?


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Old 02-11-12, 06:48 PM
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Wood pellet boiler w/o backup?

Hello! New guy here. I took a look through the forums but didn't see this previously discussed so...

My home has an oil boiler (sized right? don't know, will look into that). I know it won't last too many more years, so I'm trying to figure out what to replace it with. I'm interested in using a wood pellet boiler but in my web searches so far they always seem to be used with a fossil fuel backup boiler. Having to maintain two separate boilers & fuel sources is not appealing from both a cost & space used perspective.

The only reason I've found given for the backup is going on extended vacations and running out of pellets since the storage bins & auto-feeders one can get can't hold enough pellets for very extended periods of time.

Are there any others? Because that one isn't enough to discourage me and make me get gas to the house instead.

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-12-12, 04:04 AM
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Check these out.
They can be conected to a suply auger and run for a long time.
Harman Stoves | HydroFlex 60 Pellet Boiler

Peter
 
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Old 02-12-12, 06:11 AM
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Thumbs up Welcome to our forums!

Welcome to our forums!

Where I am pellet fuel is viewed as a novelty heating source.
Forced air is more common heating method and I have not come across a pellet boiler but there seems to be a common problem with older pellet stoves in requiring more maintenance than common fuel heating types.
I have seen supply problems, pellet price fluctuations because pellet prices are not regulated and a couple of years ago a supplier's pellets somehow was too wet and caused burning problems.

If you were set on installing pellet fueled heat an option is to install a small electric boiler connected in series as a back up to the pellet boiler.
 
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Old 02-12-12, 06:44 AM
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Almost forgot, there is also the Pellergy.
I believe these work quite well.
Pellergy - Manufacturer of wood pellet central heating system | Products

Peter
 
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Old 02-12-12, 08:22 AM
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I wouldn't consider a pellet stove unless I lived in a part of the country that had truckload delivery available, and room to place a storage silo for the bulk delivery.

Running out to a store every week or two to pick up a trunk or truck load of 40-50 pound bags of pellets, hoping they had enough on the shelf, hauling them into the house, etc, etc, would get old for me VERY quickly.

But that's just me... your mileage may differ.
 
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Old 02-12-12, 09:37 AM
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Hello,

I lived on an island up in northern Canada for about a decade. Over the years I have used most every type of heating. I also should let you know that I once serviced boiler systems for a career.

The best advice I could offer for both affordability and user friendliness is to use a modern wood stove that uses both real fire wood as well as pellets plus has the after-burner built for burning off any residue in the smoke.

Wood stoves provide heat even without any electrical supply and that is what I found to be a major concern as well.

I hope I have helped somehow.

Good luck.
 
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Old 02-12-12, 10:20 AM
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You can buy bagged pellets in bulk on a pallet. My sister-in-law does this. They get one delivery per year. They do have to haul it upstairs to the stove though.

I've seen combination boilers that use wood and have a fossil fuel back up all in one package. I'll see if I can dig that up on the net.
 
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Old 02-12-12, 10:27 AM
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This one doesn't burn pellets by regular wood.: Multi fuel furnace from TARM Biomass offers flexibility in heating

Search for dual fuel boilers. Even multi-fuel. I'm sure there is something out there.

In any event, switching to gas will save a chunk of change over oil. If you take the cost per therm of gas in your area and multiply it by 1.38, that will give you a per btu cost comparison with oil. For example, I pay about $1.25 per therm for natural gas. For the same amount of btu's I get in one gallon of fuel oil, it would cost me $1.73 for gas.
 
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Old 02-12-12, 11:17 AM
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It may pay when you buy bulk. I buy normally 12 bags a year to use just for kicks. I paid $3.95 a bag. When in use I burn 2 bags in 24 hours of operation. I cannot break out my heat pump from the electric bill. The electric bill for the home is less than $8 a day. If I wanted to heat totally from pellets my heating cost would be higher than I pay for the heat pump plus cleaning after every ton of pellets.
 
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Old 02-12-12, 04:44 PM
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I've seen a few different systems out there. You can get a storage tank with auto-feed augur that holds 1000 lbs. so you aren't filling it every day. The company that sells that said in very cold weather it would last about a week for my size home.

You can also buy pellets by the pallet in my area. I have friends with pellet stoves that do so. (I'm thinking of a pellet *boiler* since my house has hot water baseboard. Not adding forced air without major expense.)

So it seems like there isn't any "magic" reason that one needs a fossil fuel back up. I'll move on to looking into actual systems that one can buy now. Thanks!
 
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Old 02-12-12, 05:11 PM
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So let's see... if the bags are 50 lb each, then it would take 20 bags to fill the hopper... for a week? I think I would quickly regret my decision to switch to pellets. But then, I'm a lazy sot.

Do investigate the Pellergy systems.
 
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Old 02-12-12, 07:00 PM
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These guys deliiver bulk pellets to silo's.
They are not ijn my area...yet
The technology exists.
Just not a huge market so far.

Bulk wood pellet fuel home delivery : Maine Energy Systems
No lifin no luggin no nothin
except ash clean out.



Peter
 
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Old 02-12-12, 07:05 PM
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Oh ya.
If you have access to naturlal gas.
IMO it is probably less expensive to heat with.
 
 

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