Rhoda Family Pellet Boiler
The Tarm Multi-Heat Boiler

Today we continue the narrative of the Rhoda Family, one of the first ReVision customers to install three renewable energy systems: solar hot water, a wood pellet boiler, and solar electric system.

Yesterday we saw how installing a solar hot water system provided nearly immediate payback due to financial incentives and reduced energy costs.

Chris Rhoda today explains how adding an efficient pellet boilet reduced their oil usage dramatically:

It was suggested that installing an outside temperature sensor on our oil boiler would increase our oil savings by 5 to 10% each year. The price for this additional component was relatively inexpensive, making the payback short so we decided to do this along with the solar thermal system. John Luft also suggested at the time a wood boiler to offset the bulk of our oil usage. I’m not able to continually feed cordwood with my full-time job(s), so John suggested we consider a wood pellet boiler.

After much research I found out what the European’s had already discovered, that a lot of money can be saved each year for a relatively small amount of work. For our home’s heating needs we calculated that 8 tons of pellets per year would reduce the 1,300 gallons of oil used to less than 300 gallons a year and cost half the amount. I asked Revision to quote us a pellet boiler and also asked one other company.

It seemed only a few businesses were installing these boilers at the time. As my wife and I were refinancing our home we decided financially it made sense to add the wood pellet boiler at this time. Now the outdoor temperature sensor is saving us 5 to 10% of 300 gallons of oil, the amount we are averaging on an annual basis. The rest of our home’s heating and hot water needs are covered by wood pellets or by the sun. The systems run seamlessly with little maintenance.

The only item that requires regular maintenance so far is the daily ‘scoop of ash and pour of pellets’ for the furnace, a 5 minute job each day, as well as cleaning the boiler every few weeks with a brush/vacuum. (Editor’s Note: today you can install a fully automated pellet boiler that mirrors the convenience of oil, eliminating even this minimal maintenance. See our sister site, ReVision Heat, for more information).

Solar thermal was our first path because of the payback and rebates. Wood was our second; the payback is almost as quick however there are no rebates or tax credits to take advantage of.

This narrative is continued to tomorrow, when we’ll learn how the Rhoda’s completed the “Hat Trick” with a clean solar power system that locks in their energy prices for 20+ years.

UPDATE: Link to Part 1 – Rhoda Family Introduction, Part 2 – solar hot water provides immediate ROI, and Part 4 – installing a solar electric (PV) system