Outdoor Wood Boiler I

I purchased and helped install an outdoor wood boiler to heat our house.  I purchased the 250 gallon model from Nature’s Comfort, mainly due to the sales and service of Mel Flogel.  It wasn’t cheap.  The basic unit was $6500, but including everything pushes the cost close to $10,000.  It will take a few years to pay back over the heating oil I used before, but I’ll feel better, keeping the house warmer for my family.

First I had to pour a pad of concrete.

Then I had to dig a four foot deep trench for the water lines.  I rented a bobcat with a trencher attatchment from K&L Bobcat.

Citygirlfriend said, “Why didn’t you ask for a person to run it?  They have to deliver it right?  It probably wouldn’t have been much more expensive.”

“Because I want to run it.”

I figure if they are willing to turn me loose on a $50,000+ machine with very little instruction, I better take advantage.  When will I get another opportunity to run this bad boy?

It was tough-going by the house.  I think they backfilled with rock along the foundation.  After I got farther away from the house, though, it was easy.  Rich, black dirt, all the way down.

The one thing the trencher doesn’t do well, is turn.  So I had to lift the trencher, and manuever the bobcat on the curves.  Unfortunately, I found the trench on one of my manuevers and got the bobcat stuck.  No worries, Dad got a tractor and pulled me out.

I’ll have a couple more posts on this subject.

7 Responses to Outdoor Wood Boiler I

  1. Sean says:

    I’m a little naive about the wood boiler, does it just boil up water and run it through the radiators in your house? What happens if the fire goes out?

  2. wsb says:

    my spouse keeps a :life list” of all the equipment he’s had a chance to run, usually by renting. He’d love this!

  3. chainey says:

    I also fail to understand the point of this machine. I’ve never seen or heard of one before. Why is it so far from the house? Do you have to go out and feed it wood in the sleet and pouring rain? Why not just get an efficient wood-burner with a wetback inside the house?

  4. curiousfarmer says:

    Glad you’re interested. My next two posts should explain more.
    I guess the biggest reason to have the fire outside is safety.
    If the fire goes out, my old furnace is still hooked up to fuel oil, so would kick in if the temp. got low enough.

  5. amy and ron says:

    HI… we are getting really cold here in Minnesota… we can’t get a hold of the old owners and we have an outside wood burning boiler… how do we start it… I know we have to make sure we stoke it daily so the water doesn’t freeze… it’s says the name is “Central Boiler Inc.”…. any ideas?
    Thanks

    Amy and Ron and the dogs and cats…

  6. curiousfarmer says:

    Hi Amy and Ron,
    The water in my wood boiler is not supposed to freeze, as long as I keep the pump on, circulating the water.
    I started my fire with paper and kindling, the same way you would start a fire in a fireplace.
    Email if you want more help. There should be someone with a boiler in your area, if you look around, maybe you could stop in and get ideas from them. There are several in my area.

  7. VincentBaxter says:

    I’m interested in reading the rest of the article, Curiousfarmer. My family has been using a line of outdoor wood furnaces for years now and they are well worth the investment. As of next year, we will officially be saving money over the initial installation and purchase costs.

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