We live in a 3000 square foot old house that has all new high efficiency windows and has been reinsulated. For the past several years we have used about 1200 gallons of oil for our boiler. (The house is occupied 24 hours a day.)
Our house is heated with old-fashioned cast iron hot water radiators. They are all functional. We do have two rooms in one end of the house that are on a different zone and are heated with baseboard heat.
Natural gas is not an option here and we do not yet have a local source of low-sulphur fuel oil.
We are looking to replace our 40+ year old boiler. In addition to the cost of a new boiler, I assume we would be required to line our chimney, which is currently unlined.
I am wondering whether it might be a good idea to get an outdoor wood pellet burner. No need to line the chimney is one consideration. Carbon neutral is another. The cost of pellets versus oil is another. We're in Maine, where there is obviously a lot of wood. Pellet facilities are increasing and are being facilitated by the state. Oil prices are certainly better this year than last, at least so far, but that situation is likely to get worse, not better. Efficiency of the pellet boiler is 90% and it meets state and federal clean air requirements. You can add a large pellet storage container to the boiler so that you don't have to refill pellets for months. (An auger system moves the pellets to the boiler.) However, the all-in cost is around $15,000, including installation.
Does anybody have any thoughts about outdoor pellet boilers? In particular, does anybody have any thoughts on replacing our oil boiler with an outdoor pellet boiler versus getting a new oil boiler?