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Best Outdoor Boiler For Your Home & Farm In 2023
Choosing a Boiler for Your Home and Farm This Winter
Winter is fast approaching, making now a perfect time to start thinking about how you want to heat your home and water for those cool days. There are a dozen different ways you might accomplish the task, but if you’re looking to keep your long-term costs low and live as sustainable as possible, then an outdoor boiler is one of the best options.
Set just outside the home, the outdoor boiler works by heating up a special jacket of water surrounding the upper portion of the firebox where wood is placed and burned. Once heated, the water gets pushed on through insulated piping to a home or outbuilding where heat is distributed into the air via an integrated system like radiant heating pipes or a water-to-air heat exchanger. So, while a home’s boiler may be located just outside its walls, this is a wonderful piece of machinery that serves as the beating heart of a home, providing heat to all of your property’s buildings.
So, why choose the Portage & Main Ultimizer Wood Series outdoor boiler?
Let’s look at the reasons why Portage and Main is the very best outdoor boiler available today.
Why I Chose the Portage & Main Ultimizer Wood Series
First off, I like the wood series product by Portage & Main because I enjoy using wood as a natural resource – I can harvest the fuel myself! It is quite arguably the best natural, renewable resource we have. Not only are we readily, sustainably growing it throughout the country (when you’re not doing so on your own property), but often healthy forests require sustainable thinning–such as Idaho which estimates about 8 million of the state’s forestlands need thinning (“What Makes Wood Products So Green?” Idaho Forests, n.d.).
Forests are essential to our lives. Forests provide us materials to build and heat our homes and forests clean our air. The forest industry also employs many people to provide for their families.
Burning wood also harkens back to a favorite activity, camping. At the campsite, that fire pit is the centerpiece of the campsite. As evening temperatures drop, we gather around for the warmth and comfort a campfire provides. Gathering, cutting and layering the wood makes for something of a social activity and that fire we build up offers other benefits like the ideal setting for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows.
In fact, the Portage & Main Ultimizer operates a lot like that campfire that is surrounded by brick which absorbs the heat and gives it back to the fire resulting in less smoke and more efficiency. What makes the Ultimizer the best outdoor boiler on the market today is how fast and efficiently it gets those energy-packed coals going so that owners enjoy wonderful hot water and heated air throughout their home and any additional property buildings they might have connected. As we will soon see, all boilers, stoves and fireplaces will greatly benefit the cleaner burning with the use of fire brick of sufficient quantity the hold and give back heat to the fire.
Making the Portage & Main Ultimizer Your Home Boiler
Let’s talk specifics. Consider these features behind why so many are adding this unit to their property:
- Refractory Brick Lining
This boiler features a robust refractory brick lining that effectively contains and maintains the inner chamber’s burning heat. The design of this lining enables this specific unit to build up heat and start operating at desired temperatures much more quickly than competitor units.
A hotter burn chamber is essential to complete and efficient combustion. Not only does the brick give heat back to the fire, it also retains heat when the fire shuts down to evaporate any condensation that could accumulate in the ash. This results in a completely dry firebox which means no worry of ash-line corrosion
The shaker grates are easy to operate and the ash can easily work down into the cleanout chamber. Clean-up here requires simply taking the included shovel scoop and dispose that ash as it accumulates.
- Optimized air supply
The Ultimizer Wood Boiler design enables air to be blown both from below and from directly above the coal or wood within. This optimized air distribution works to create turbulence which will expedite combustion and the boiler reaching higher temperatures, faster. Once the most optimized, efficient burn is achieved with help from the brick, less air is required. There is no need to compensate with more air or fuel once your fire is burning it’s hottest and most efficient.
- Efficient heat exchange design
The heat exchanger in the Portage & Main Ultimizer BL series sits fully submerged and features a special water-cooled partition that directs air from the back to the front and around again until it finally exits out the back chimney. This design consists of 2 – 180⁰ reverse turns and 2 – 90⁰ turns which results in a better absorption of heat with absolute minimum heat loss. This means every piece of wood you’re burning is heating your home to its maximum potential, leading to lower costs overall. In fact, most customers report burning 30-50% less wood as they did with a competitor’s unit. That’s less work, less money, and more heat.
Our heat exchanger runs the full length of the unit utilizing the most surface area to transfer heat; some other companies’ heat exchangers are shorter with the chimney exiting out the ceiling of the unit – thereby decreasing the area to transfer heat
- Dual door design for heightened efficiency
The Portage & Main Ultimizer Wood Boiler features two hefty doors. The outer door acts as a buffer against the cold and outdoor elements, thereby enhancing the overall unit’s efficiency and preventing possible condensation issues by shielding that inner area and the inner door.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. My current outdoor boiler had constant issues with the water jacket, how expensive is it to repair this unit?
The water jacket comes up a lot with customers who’ve used a water boiler before as this is the most frequent point of failure on boilers. Water jackets frequently fail because of ash-line corrosion – our dry-base design has eliminated this. Further to this, ¼” thick cold-rolled steel is used to make the firebox; 2x as heavy as what some competitors use.
Most outdoor boilers are built around this water jacket in such a way that repairing is usually not offered as a warranty solution. Issues requires full dismantling of the boiler and shipping out, or waiting for someone experienced in welding and water jacket repairs to get to you. Both “solutions” often result in days of lost heating. Most warranties will mean a complete replacement of the whole unit.
At Portage & Main, our equipment is built to last, not to be tossed in the junkyard. Should problems with the water jacket arise, it has been built as a separate component within the unit’s sectional design. Simply unbolt and replace or repair on-site within just a few hours. This repair would be 1/3 – ¼ of the cost of competitors.
Furthermore, as EPA standards and levels change, it is nice to know you have rebuildable unit that you can keep, repair and next generations can use far into their futures.
Q. Is the cost of an outdoor wood boiler of this size and style really worth it?
Trying to determine whether the upfront cost of a wood boiler of the size and quality of the Portage & Main Wood Series Ultimizer is worth it will depend a lot upon the household itself and lifestyle factors. We believe the biggest point of worth is that this system offers a reliable degree of energy independence and sustainability for both residential and commercial use. For those living on farms, acreages, or off-grid locations and businesses, a wood boiler is a reliable heating solution. Even when one has access to utilities, having your own outdoor wood boiler means you don’t have to worry about the rising costs of utilities or potential disruptions from storms or other events. Rather, you get to enjoy reliable, sustainable heating by your own design and that’s a long-term benefit that many find well worth the upfront purchase and installation cost. This gives peace of mind, knowing you can run off the smallest most fuel-efficient generator.
And we do mean sustainable. In a recent interview regarding how to be greener at home, executive director of the Massachusetts Forest Alliance Chris Egan explained that while oil and gas boilers have gotten cheaper, the big benefits remain with wood boilers, stating, “you’re reducing your carbon impact and you’re saving money with a wood system.” It’s the only fuel you can harvest yourself, from your own land in many cases. It’s carbon neutral: the sun and carbon grew the tree, the carbon is released when burned, giving back to future forest growth.
Q. This is my first outdoor wood boiler, how hard is it to care for ?
The Portage & Main Ultimizer Wood Series was built to be exceptionally easy to use and maintain.
- The control panel at the back is easy to navigate with quality components that, should they ever need to be replaced, can be readily bought around town.
- The clean-out chamber is designed for easy disposal of ash that’s dropped through the grating.
- The heat exchanger is easy to clean as build-up is minuscule due to the smoke burn in the upper chamber of the firebox. You pull the small amount of soot forward, then push it back into the firebox – keeping all the mess inside the unit.
- The water float system readily and quickly identifies your water levels.
The whole unit has been thoughtfully designed to be approachable and easy to use and maintain, while likewise ensuring durability throughout all the winters it’s in use.
Transform Your Heating with the Portage & Main Ultimizer Wood Series. Are you ready to see the difference our product can offer? Contact the team at Heat Smart Plus today to learn more about the best outdoor boiler for heating homes and farms and how you can get one installed on your property!
Idaho Forest Products Commission. (n.d.). What Makes Wood Products So Green? Idaho Forests. https://www.idahoforests.org/content-item/what-makes-wood-products-so-green