Thursday, November 6, 2008

Installation Of An Outdoor Wood Boiler (By The Hubby)

This is about installing our OWB (Outdoor Wood Boiler).

I know the wife already talked about this 9-4-08(nice pics). I just wanted to share what I had to go through to install this bad boy. First I had to order one (because everyone is putting these in). We chose a Heatmor because of their dedication to Quality and their Customers which is reflected in their lifetime warranty. The next step was to dig the trench for the supply and return pipes and the power (110 volts). The basement wall needed to have a 6 inch hole 18 inches below ground. This is a challenge, lucky for me I know some peps. My neighbor has a backhoe and my friend works for a concrete cutting company, nothing a couple of dead presidents can't fix(isn't it amazing). Next we had to pour a concrete pad for the boiler. I am NOT a cement finisher at ALL!! It calls for a min. of 4 inches but I would put 6 or 8. I put 4 inches with mesh and it cracked. The owb weighs 1900 lbs plus 155 gal of water. The outside and inside of the owb had to be chalked to the pad and the firebox filled with sand and packed to the top of the ash grate. Yes I got in this thing and put the sand in after work every night for 3 nights (it was dark and I was scared!! I was where the fire was going to be and I have a, shall we say over active imagination ;). The pump hookup was easy, wire it and put it on the supply hookup then I had to attach the return line all of this is in the "back door" of the obw. Now on to the inside of the house.
The following pics are of the water heater and furnace.

I used great stuff foam on the inside to seal the hole for the pipes and cement on the outside.

I piped the water heater first this required re piping the safety and the drain valves. The boiler water enters the top of the "water to water" heat exchanger and exits the bottom. The heat exchanger is so that the domestic and boiler don't mix.

This is the "water to air" heat exchanger. I had to get a little crafty with this one. The duct needed to be sized to fit this. Not a problem for this tin knocker (thanks to dad for all those years of working me when I could have been fishing for summer break like my friends). I also added a bypass so I can just heat the hot water.

One of the final steps was to wire in a second thermostat. The "new" thermostat is to run just the fan on the furnace (cause we just LOVE paying for propane!). The "old" thermostat is to run the furnace normally. Let me explain that, new one set at 71 so the fan blows air through the hot coil and heats the house with out gas. The old one set at 65 so if the owb runs out of wood the gas will heat the house.

All that being said we get at least 3 days on one loading of wood in the owb. The air from our heat vents is warmer than it was from the gas and we have very hot water. The only propane we burn is for the pilots on the gas fireplace and hot water heater. The owb smokes very little while idle or at full burn, but after you load it, when it starts the blowers and at shutdown it sometimes looks like a steam engine. We also have no more wood mess in the house, no ash, bugs or that smoky smell. To say the least I just love it and wish we'd bought one sooner. I love to cut wood!! Don't get me wrong it takes electricity but the pump only draws 85 watts 24/7 and the blowers only run for 10 minutes every 1-3 hours, depending on the temp outside. With heating costs what they are this unit should pay for itself in 4 years or less!! That more than makes me happy!! :) Go green, burn wood! It has less impact on our environment than burning fossil fuels such as coal, fuel oil, gasoline just to name a few and the ashes go right back to mother earth. I never said it was a clean alternative, just more natural and less impact. Look in to it, after all I like peps that can think for themselves :) !! link 1 link 2 link 3 Please check them out.
Thanks to Heatmor for the pic at the top .

Later all

The Hubby


  1. This is great information. I know furnace installation and humidifiers are a couple of things that people usually don't know much about. Thanks for sharing, I'm glad I read this while in in the process of getting a new furnace!

    furnace installation

  2. Thanks so much for sharing these useful instructions. This past winter I bought an outdoor wood boiler to use and we were surprised how much money it was saving us almost right away. It did a great job at keeping us warm during a pretty harsh winter.


I lovvvvvve comments. So feel free to comment as often as you like. As always I will return the favor.