Thursday, November 5, 2009

FHG Story (What Does that FHG Stand For?)

I’m about to fill my oil tank again. This will be the fourth filling in 11 years. The idea of calling the oil company fills me with dread. At the rate I’ve been using fuel, about 1/10th of a gallon per day, that new 200 gallons of oil will only last until about 2014 and then I’ll have to call the oil company again. Adding insult to injury, I’ll crawl out on a limb and guess that oil will be more expensive in 2014. I just can’t win!

Dad taught me that wood is good so last November we installed the new Froling FHG wood boiler in our house. We’ve been using gasifying wood boilers in our home basically since it was built in 1997, but in an effort to take our wood burning to the next level, the Froling was the only way to step up. We are using the boiler in conjunction with thermal storage. It provides heat to the home through the same baseboard convectors and radiant floor heat that the oil boiler uses. The FHG also heats our domestic hot water during all seasons. By now you are probably wondering what FHG stands for, right? Beats me too, but so far there isn’t another residential boiler on the market with any sort of name that can match the FHG.

I’m not the most experienced wood burner as I wasn’t born with a match in my hand like all those folks I speak to that have been burning wood their whole lives, but I’ve run a few wood boilers. To me the FHG represents a sea change in wood boiler technology available in the US. More importantly, talk about a sea change, my wife doesn’t mind filling and lighting this boiler. Now, my wife is no prissy, but she’s a busy woman and frankly, she was intimidated by the steps required for lighting the other boilers we’d used in the past. You see, the FHG has a unique fire ignition port that allows us to fill the boiler with all of the wood we need, no kindling required, and by using paper only, with zero smoke roll out, light the boiler, and walk away in a couple minutes. The result is that this whole new lighting process is going to save me another few gallons of oil because the wood boiler is running even when I’m away. I haven’t had the guts to ask my mother in law to light the boiler when we’re all away yet, but…awe, never mind that idea.

Hang on, you won’t believe this: The FHG splits your wood for you too! That’s actually a lie, but it does have a smoke extraction passage to keep smoke in the boiler during loading. It also has a handy external heat exchange tube cleaning lever. Unlike most other wood boilers, this boiler only needs tube brushing once a year! For the air quality regulator in your life, the FHG offers the most precise combustion technology of any residential wood burning boiler in the US. It uses an oxygen sensor and thermometer to measure the exhaust and adjust the combustion air mixture automatically. Sound complicated? To you and me it is, but not to the engineers who built it. It works flawlessly and requires no intervention at all. With this boiler it doesn’t matter if you’re burning your kid’s broken balsa wood glider or an 8” round piece of oak, the FHG will burn with virtually laboratory accurate combustion. That doesn’t mean you can start burning old tires. The boiler still burns best with relatively dry split wood. However, it does mean that given any sort of reasonable wood for fuel, this boiler does a great job keeping the air clean and wringing every last British Thermal Unit out of the fuel.

With the Froling FHG I’m feeling good about wood!

Scott Nichols

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Which would you choose?