Sequoyah Paradise: E3400 Stay Away From This Furnace!!!!
Jan 7, 2008 (Updated Jan 20, 2011)
Review by shoehorny
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Many! Virtually free heat, works well, attractive looking, built to last, saves money....
Cons:I'm still trying to figure out what E3400 stands for?
The Bottom Line: Great for those who live in remote areas and have an abundance of free wood!
Please read far below for the latest updates on this item!
Recommend this product?
Review of the Sequoyah Paradise E3400 (January 7, 2008)
Some of you may recall my review in August 2006 of the Sequoyah Paradise’s Big Albert outdoor wood burning furnace. I had used this furnace for over a year and enjoyed virtually free heat from burning wood from dead trees and pallets. Unfortunately, that outdoor wood burning furnace developed leaks in the water tanks and it also had a problem with the chimney. I explained the problems to Rick, owner of Sequoyah Paradise. He was very apologetic about it and offered to replace the furnace at no extra cost to me. In speaking with him a little more about new developments in the wood burning furnace industry, of how some states are now banning the wood burning stove due to excessive smoke, he explained that Sequoyah Paradise volunteered to work with the EPA to design a more efficient wood burner that gives off far less smoke than any other outdoor wood burner on the market. He went on to further explain that they were working on the prototype now and it far exceeds the EPA required specifications for reduced emissions and better efficiency. Wow!
“I want one!” I recall telling Rick. He told me there will be a wait, since the furnace had to first be sent to an independent testing facility to be tested under specific burning guidelines set by the EPA. It would take several months. However, he agreed to the swap provided I was willing to wait out the summer months. “Who needs heat in the summer?” Summer came and went. After numerous delays, the furnace was tested by the lab and it passed with flying colors. It far passed the EPA’s requirements and did markedly better than any stove currently on the market. The new outdoor wood burning stove was simply being called “E3400”.
Rick lived up to his promise. The new stove came at the end of November, 2007. I had to have my buddy come by with his big tractor with back hoe to help pull the machine off of the flatbed truck and slide it into place. Then Brian, chief installer of Sequoyah Paradise did his stuff and got the furnace hooked up very quickly. When he was finished, I lit a fire in the furnace section, adding bigger and bigger chunks of wood until the fire became an inferno. At first, a little smoke came out of the chimney. However, the water temperature quickly rose to 180 degrees F and the furnace shut down to smolder and only a wisp of smoke came out of the chimney. Fantastic!
An outdoor boiler is a simple outdoor furnace that is fueled by wood that burns to heat water contained in tanks. The water in the tanks is circulated via a pump to the existing oil fueled furnace (in my case) via insulated pipes. Heat is transferred to the existing network of pipes in my house via a heat exchanger. Although this may seem complicated, it really is not and the whole setup can be put together in a few days by someone with a little plumbing and electrical knowledge.
The manufacturer mentioned that I would need to fill the furnace with wood twice each day, however, I have been getting by only loading it once in the morning. This usually takes me about 15 minutes to do. I simply open the furnace doors and throw in about 7 or 8 big logs and I am done. It is great exercise! Only on very cold days, when temperatures drop below 20 degrees F, do I ever need to feed the fire more than once in a day. The furnace is designed to only burn wood (any wood will do!) or eared corn.
Owning an outdoor wood burning furnace seems like a great idea with all of the big concern about oil prices going up, the country running short on energy, and my having a seemingly endless supply of wood available for me for free (I made friends with the owners of a local pallet company that has to pay to get rid of old wood and I made friends with someone who removes big trees and has to pay to get rid of the wood). I also live on a remote piece of farm property one half mile away from my closest neighbor, so there should never be a concern about smoke.
Is this furnace a great idea for everyone? Absolutely not! You would not want to get one of these if you lived in a neighborhood where houses are very close to each other. You would also need to have access to FREE wood (wood is very expensive to buy, and you would also have to be able to fill the furnace each day). If you have health problems where you can’t lift heavy wood, or if you are allergic to smoke, you might also want to opt for another heating source.
However, if you do live on a remote piece of land with lots of wood, the Sequoyah Paradise line of furnaces are second to none. This is indeed the Cadillac of outdoor wood burning furnaces. It is well put together using heavy gauge steel for the tanks and lots of fire brick. The furnace use a sophisticated design for the smoke to exit through heated chambers, thus re-burning the smoke’s previously unburned fuel. This process is called wood gasification and is used on some leading indoor wood burning furnaces. I was told that Sequoyah Paradise has a patent pending for the design. No other outdoor wood burning furnace manufacturer has a design similar to this.
As mentioned earlier, many states are banning use of outdoor wood burning furnaces due to complaints from people that live in the vicinity of one getting smoke on their property. This is a major concern of reputable furnace manufacturers, such as Sequoyah Paradise, and several other leading companies. They are against people misusing furnaces to burn junk (tires, diapers, painted wood, plastic, etc.). They are also against poorly designed in-efficient outdoor wood burning furnaces that give the industry a bad name. The E3400 DOES NOT make a lot of smoke. It only smokes up when the fire starts up when the thermostat is calling for heat. If you use wet wood or unseasoned wood, the furnace may emit water vapor into the air via the chimney, but it does not smell bad like black smoke. Most people that visit my home do not realize that the furnace is even on during the winter!
I have lit my furnace once since I’ve owned it – the initial time. I only need to clean out ashes about once every three weeks or so. Not many ashes fall into the ash chamber at all – only nails from the pallets and very fine ash that gets pushed into the ash chamber by the blower. Whatever ashes come out, I place into a large metal drum I keep for the purpose. After several months, I put the ashes into my compost pile in my garden, as the ashes are good to counter the acidic soil. So far this season I have burned about two full cords of wood to heat a 3000 sq foot house (temperature kept in the low 70’s), and our hot water. I have another pump installed to heat my outdoor hot tub. The manufacturer states I can heat up to 10,000 sq feet with this single furnace, but I believe it would be at the cost of a lot more wood.
The E3400 lists for $11,495 but seems to have been constantly on sale for $9,950 for the last several months. Additionally, you will need to purchase pumps, insulated pumping, heat exchangers, fittings, boiler tank conditioner, and water to fill the tanks. For me, this added up to about another $1,000. Installation might cost a bit too, however I did most of this on my own (digging a trench of the power line and piping, connecting to the indoor furnace, filling tanks, etc.). Sequoyah Paradise sells everything you may need to hook up the furnace, and they often have sales on their web page. There is also a relatively inexpensive delivery fee ($400?). Not bad comparing to other dealers that charged that much to deliver the furnace from only a few miles away.
Regarding pollution, a few friends and other ecology nuts have argued to me that wood burning furnaces create smog. I do not deny this, but I explain to them that the unit I have is very efficient for an outdoor wood burner. According to the manufacturer: “Tested by Intertec laboratories using the EPA owhh test procedure and results shown to be .32 lbs per MBTU of wood burned. This compares to old style furnaces that average 1.8 lbs per MBTU of wood burned.” Also, as wood decays, it gives off the same amount of carbon dioxide, so the carbon footprint of burning wood vs. decay is the same. Plus, some of the wood would have been wasted in an incinerator or dump. Furthermore, I am burning wood in place of burning oil, which also produces emissions. The trees are a renewable resource, that can be replanted to replace those burned in the furnace. Currently, this furnace is awaiting EPA certification. It has passed the laboratory tests, however the EPA must certify the stove. Here is a link to the EPA’s website that provides a list of outdoor wood burning furnaces deemed to be less polluting: http://www.epa.gov/woodheaters/models.htm.
I am very satisfied with my E3400 outdoor wood burning boiler. If I were in the market for a new one, I would not consider any other brand – this is the best one out there for sure. Call Rick at Sequoyah Paradise and he will tell you lots of stories about how inspectors came to his location to look over the boilers, only to end up buying units for their own homes. You may call Sequoyah Paradise at this phone number: 800-571-7002. More details about the furnace plus pictures may be found at this web link: http://www.wdheat.com/Gasification%20Outdoor%20Wood%20Furnaces.htm.
Thanks for reading my review and best wishes for a nice day!
**Update! December 21, 2008**
It has now been over a year since I've owned this outdoor wood burning furnace. I have been getting LOTS of email messages from friends, neighbors, and people interested in heating with wood and considering one of these.
Right now, I am sitting in my shorts and a T-shirt in my home office typing at my computer. It is 10:47PM and the children are sleeping. Inside the temperature is set at 75 degrees F (too hot for me!) and outside it is 22 degrees F. I loaded the furnace at 11:30AM with LOTS of wood, and I topped it off at 9PM with a few more logs.
I have not taken a close tally of wood consumption this year as I did last year. So far I estimate I used about 3 cords (from Oct - Dec). Not bad at all! We have a rather large area to heat, but all of the rooms have their own zones, so we turn off the heat in rooms we do not use.
The furnace has performed very well! There were a few minor problems (primarily with the solenoid that pulls the draft door open). The manufacturer took care of the problems quickly by supplying improved parts. Also, there has been a lot of creosote building up, but mostly inside of the firebox, so it does not effect the operation of the unit that much.
I have never owned a Central Boiler unit, so I can't really comment on their product. I visit many bulletin boards related to alternate energy and many people are satisfied with their CB units too. I have read some news that CB'snew high efficiency units have developed a major problem and the company is working on fixing it. Maybe someone else can comment on it? I have not followed the problem too closely. My Sequoyah Paradise E3400 unit has not had ANY major problems and works like a champ! I am VERY happy with it! I am even more happy with the company's great customer service and technical support.
A few people have emailed me complaining that the OWBs cause a lot of pollution and that they should be banned. While it is true that OWBs do give off lots of smoke, the Sequoyah Paradise E3400 has been designed to reduce smoke levels. The process is called "gasification". Basically, smoke is un-burnt fuel. This smoke builds up in the firebox and becomes super heated. When the draft inducing fan starts up (as the thermoter calls for heat), the smoke is pushed through smoke chambers lined with fire brick on the bottom of the furnace. The firebrick becomes super heated as the smoke passes through it and essentially burns up the smoke. Reduced smoke levels exit the chimney along with water vapor that escapes from the burnt wood.
As for ecology, I am a self-proclaimed ecology nut! Based on my research, I believe my OWB is better for the environment then heating with oil (my back-up heat source). This is because of several reasons. First, the wood I burn is a renewable resource - trees will grow in place of those I burn. I NEVER cut down live trees for firewood. I only use fallen timber or wood given to me by landscapers. The wood given to me by the landscapers would have alternately gone to a dump to become landfill. The trees I pull out of my wood lands allows new trees to grow in the place once occupied by the tree. Dead trees give off CO2 as they decay - the same amount as given off when burnt in my OWB. So the net pollution output is really zero. Heating oil has to go through a LOT of processing before it becomes heating oil. Energy consuming pumps must pump the oil. Big trucks must burn fuel to tote the oil around. A lot of the oil is spilled, polluting ground water and contaminating soil. The oil used to heat is not a renewable resource and once burnt it emits carbon monoxide gas - a major pollutant. The ash produced by my OWB gets mixed into soil to produce free fertilizer for my lawn and apple orchard. This neutralizes the acid content in the soil.
**Update! January 20, 2011**
After three years of pretty much great service with this outdoor wood burning furnace, I am said to say the fairy-tale story has come to an end (at least for me).
As stated in my initial review and follow, I bought the OWB in November 2007. I was the first customer for this OWB! It worked pretty good and pretty much as advertised, barring wood consumption estimates (I used over 16 cords of wood to heat a 3200 square feet home plus hot water for domestic use). There were several problems that I experienced during this time:
1. The solenoid that opened the blower trap door in the back would get gummed up with creosote and eventually fail. At first, the company sent replacement solenoids for me to install - easy to do. Then, they sent me a retro-fit newly designed blower trap door to replace the old style. I had to fashion the unit to fit onto my existing boiler, since the new design had a different sized opening. No big deal. The new design fixed the solenoid problem once and for all!
2. The blower fan burnt out due to a flash fire. The company sent a replacement fan right away. The flash fire problem happened while the old blower door was installed. The new retro-fit resolved this problem as well.
3. The float fell off of the water level on the stove and into the stove. The company sent a replacement.
4. Some fire brick on the furnace bottom broke (cracked in half). The company sent replacements.
5. While feeding the furnace with wood, I left the furnace door open. Fire came out and burned the GFI outlet and the temperature control unit. The company sent replacements for both.
Basically, any time there was a problem with the furnace, the company would send replacements at no cost to me. They were honoring their warrantee of free replacements for the first 25 years. This was incredible! I could not expect them to stay in business this way!
However, in the past summer, Rick Davies sold the company to Matt Cobra of Royall Furnace. The new company will answer questions ok, but they will no longer send parts under the old warranty! They offered to sell me the parts at a discount, although their discounted parts cost more than what I would pay if I went to an independent vendor.
Well, nothing lasts forever. I now have to lower my rating from 5 stars to 2 stars. The furnace does work pretty good, but if I have to pay for the parts now it is going to be expensive to operate! Also, watch out for sparks when loading firewood! I already had a major fire due to sparks leaving the furnace door, and it was not pretty!
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