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Thread: Experience with, and opinions of, outdoor wood boilers.

  1. #51
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    I helped a guy I used to work for (also a good friend) build and operate a waste oil heater that also burned wood, to heat our shop. Waste oil is easy to come by, you just need storage and a way to transfer from containers. Mixed gas can be a concern. Our setup would get hot enough to melt the stove. I'll see if I can find a pic. A more efficient version of what we had would be "cool"... far away from the house.

    I also assembled a manufactured waste oil heater for another employer. It was a complicated mess to put together. Needed fine tuning sometimes but was awesome when it was running right. I'll try to remember who made it.

    I'd guess the manufactured heater was less efficient (more costly) than what we made due to the electrical cost. The one we made from scrap was gravity fed and no electricity other than a blower.
    Last edited by allen84; 02-21-2017 at 09:33 PM.

  2. #52
    LHBA Member Opie21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allen84 View Post
    I helped a guy I used to work for (also a good friend) build and operate a waste oil heater that also burned wood, to heat our shop. Waste oil is easy to come by, you just need storage and a way to transfer from containers. Mixed gas can be a concern. Our setup would get hot enough to melt the stove. I'll see if I can find a pic. A more efficient version of what we had would be "cool"... far away from the house.

    I also assembled a manufactured waste oil heater for another employer. It was a complicated mess to put together. Needed fine tuning sometimes but was awesome when it was running right. I'll try to remember who made it.

    I'd guess the manufactured heater was less efficient (more costly) than what we made due to the electrical cost. The one we made from scrap was gravity fed and no electricity other than a blower.
    I would love to see what you had for waste oil heaters. I've been stockpiling oil and looking at options. Thanks.

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  3. #53
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    Not the best pictures but you get the idea.... There was a 55 gallon drum of fuel off to the right that laid on it's side elevated off the ground. It had black iron pipe, with a valve to control the flow (maybe 2 valves), running very slightly downhill to the heater. The heater was an old sandblast pot with the bottom cut off to connect the stack going thru the roof. The blast pot sat inside an old steel job box. Inside the door of the pot, in the middle was an elevated shallow tray (smaller than a sheet of paper, maybe an inch or so deep). The black iron pipe fed fluid to the tray. To get it started we usually filled the tray with about a quart of paint thinner and threw in a lit rag before opening the valve for oil, atf and/or diesel to flow in. The shop had no insulation and no matter how cold it was, we could get it up to temps that you would sweat in t-shirt and shorts. Probably not the safest setup but it sure did work! I wish I could find the picture of the outside of the building. There would be a flame coming out the very top of the pipe outside when it really got going, about 20 feet or so above the heater. You can see the wrinkles on the side where it got so hot it slumped down a little. Once it got burning there was a big fan behind it that would get turned on.



    Last edited by allen84; 02-22-2017 at 06:13 PM.

  4. #54
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    I can't remember which model but it was one of these that I assembled at the sign shop. http://www.energylogic.com/waste-oil-heaters/
    LOT'S of assembly required, had to be dialed in just right or it would burn out, required regular cleaning/maintenance and seems like it wasn't nearly as efficient as claimed (burned a lot of oil, also may have been undersized for our situation).

    I watched the video on their website, I think that may be the auto shop down the street from the shop I worked at. I don't believe for a second they had that thing up and running in "about half a day" or they're working some long days.
    Last edited by allen84; 02-22-2017 at 06:43 PM.

  5. #55
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    Cleaning out the homemade thing didn't need to happen often and the buildup didn't hurt the performance. Cleanup was simple but dirty. Used a needle scaler to loosen all the sludge and then shovel it out. I think I may be confused about feeding the thing wood too because we had a massive homemade wood stove in that corner before the oil burner.
    Cleaning out the manufactured rig meant having to get everything dialed back in after. It was messy to clean and had to happen often or it flat out wouldn't run.

  6. #56
    LHBA Member smithme2's Avatar
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    I have an indoor 1980 era HS Tarm boiler that is in an adjacent building (no mess in cabin). It heats 1800 ft in cabin via underfloor radiant in first floor and radiator in second. Also heats adjacent 1100 ft house where it is located plus DHW. It is plumbed in series with propane boiler. I have 500 gallon hot water storage(old propane tank). I was going to put in wood stove but chose instead a harman propane stove and am so glad i did. Just a little while and it's too hot so we turn it off. Tough to do that with wood. I prefer the old style stoves. My Tarm is very easy on wood, burns through the night and cost me $300. I can't tell it's running except when first started or loaded- normally don't see smoke.
    Enjoying the journey.....

  7. #57
    LHBA Member smithme2's Avatar
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    Also, with the Tarm below grade, i could heat cabin even if no power since i have steady upward slope. Thermosiphon. Luckily I haven't lost power very long. It also serves as a big overheat loop.
    Enjoying the journey.....

  8. #58
    LHBA Member loghousenut's Avatar
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    I love that setup. The Boss says I am getting too old for firewood and She is adamant about no wood stove in the log home (dust). Maybe in a few years She will reconsider if I bring home a used remote heater like yours.
    Every time I have strayed from the teachings of Skip Ellsworth it has cost me money.

  9. #59
    LHBA Member rreidnauer's Avatar
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    I'll admit, if I could install a wood boiler that requires no power (or generates it's own i.e. Peltier modules) and can effectively heat my home, without massive energy loss/wood consumption, I think I'd take that over dragging wood into the house, and all the dirt and dust it brings from that and ash cleanouts.

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  10. #60
    I love the idea, obviously, I started this thread. I'd be curious to know how much propane people go through in a world ter, and what size cabin you have and where your cabin is located. Then we would know if it's "worth it"

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