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Learn More about Outdoor Wood Burners with this Guide

Outdoor wood furnaces can significantly reduce heating costs and efficiently keep your home comfortable during the coldest months of the year. A small unit can cost you around $6, 000, including installation while a big system that also supplies usable hot water for your home can cost you more than $12, 000. The actual cost will depend on the features of your chosen model.

In some locations, homeowners can easily collect their own firewood. They may need to invest in a chainsaw and safety gear and have a trailer or pickup truck to haul the wood. But, even if they have to purchase firewood, their fuel costs will still be very low when they use outdoor wood burners.

Different Ways Outdoor Wood Burners Work

The following are two ways an outdoor wood burner can work to produce heat for homes. First it can do it through water to water transfer. This involves installing a plate exchanger in most systems. In this method, heat in water in water from the outdoor boiler is transferred to water from the indoor broilers. Then, the heated indoor water is circulated to radiators or through in-floor hydronic tubing.

Another way is from water to air. This can be achieved when a home has a forced-air system. It involves installing a heat exchanger in the plenum that connects the furnace or air handler to the ducts. As the hot water from the wood burning boiler circulates through the heat exchanger, the furnace’s blower passes air over it to heat the air and distribute it through the ducts.

Features and Options for Wood Broilers

The cost of wood-burning broilers varies depending on the available features and options.

  • Firebox capacity. Users can choose from a firebox with capacity ranging from around 10 cubic feet to 24 cubic feet or more. The bigger capacity the more BTUs produced by the unit. Broilers from leading manufacturers can range from around 150, 000 BTU to 240, 000 BTU for residential use. But, some units have more than 400, 000 BTU capacities.
  • Water capacity. For residential wood broilers, the capacity range is around 100 to 325 gallons of water. This feature impacts how much of a home the broiler can serve and the number of BTU it can produce.
  • Technology integration. Homeowners can use extra piping and a plate exchanger to allow their outdoor wood burner to supply enough hot water to heat the water in their water heater. With this integration, the broiler can also be used for heating a pool, hot tub, sauna, and other purposes.
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