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Old 06-08-2009, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Seward, Alaska
2,742 posts, read 5,230,401 times
Reputation: 1845
Default Oil Heaters in Alaska?

Many locations in Alaska do not have natural gas service, therefore the only options left for heating a home are wood stoves or oil stoves.

Question for those who own, or who have owned, vented oil heaters such as the Toyo and Monitor. These are toted as being high efficiency. But, are they dependable? What model do you own? Have you had to have it repaired? Would you buy one again? If you had it to decide all over again, which would you buy?

Here's my experience:

I've owned three: a Monitor, a Toyo Laser 73, and a Toyo OM-22. The Monitor (I forget which model it was, but it was the biggest one at the time, some 12 yrs ago) (2200?) was good and dependable for about 3 yrs, then all of a sudden quit working. I gave it away without attempting repair. (Got it used, so I'm not complaining)
Then I bought a new Toyo Laser 73, because somebody said they were "good". (bull-pucky) This one was dependable for about 8 months, then thereafter I had to have the firepot rebuilt at least once, sometimes twice, a year (for 6 yrs) just to keep it going. I will NEVER buy another Laser 73...the parts are EXPENSIVE! Then I bought a new Toyo OM-22 (smallest heater they make) about 4 yrs ago. This one has been very dependable...no repairs required at all. I would buy this one again, if needed.

So my rating would be:

Monitor: "OK, average"
Laser 73: "PITA", high maintenance: not reccommended
OM-22: Great, no problems

So...what's your experience with these vented heaters?


Bud
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Homer Ak.
243 posts, read 281,388 times
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No opinion as i havent used any yet but greatly appreciate the info prior to homeshopping! Thanks
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Interior alaska
6,272 posts, read 7,375,871 times
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Well have two Monitors and have zero problems. One has three years on one and the other has one. Both are 44,000 Btu models.

At three years, they are suppost to have the firebox and igniters replaced. So will get the one changed on the next month or so.

As for effency, they replaced a forced air furnance and use about 2/3's the fuel. But mostly now heat with coal, one ton lasts about what two to three cords of wood would do and only have to stoke the stove about three times a day verses every four to five hours with wood.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
3,936 posts, read 2,806,846 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starlite9 View Post
Well have two Monitors and have zero problems. One has three years on one and the other has one. Both are 44,000 Btu models.

At three years, they are suppost to have the firebox and igniters replaced. So will get the one changed on the next month or so.

As for effency, they replaced a forced air furnance and use about 2/3's the fuel. But mostly now heat with coal, one ton lasts about what two to three cords of wood would do and only have to stoke the stove about three times a day verses every four to five hours with wood.
I tried heating with coal but could never get the draft right. Many a time I managed to fill the downstairs with coal dust. My stove was designed to burn wood or coal.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Haines, AK
1,123 posts, read 2,905,929 times
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Default primary heat

Our last house down here in SE had a Monitor 2400 as it's primary heat. Running on #1 stove oil, it was VERY fuel efficient, we went almost all year on one tank of fuel (about 300 gallons). That said, it IS computerized and a bit picky about some things. It did not respond well to brownouts or power outages, it never would re-start itself after a power failure, despite what the manual said.

It was very sensitive about being dirty, it would throw an overheat code (E-15?) if the fan got too dirty or the heat enchanger was too dirty. We cleaned it twice a season, taking the cabinet apart, the fan off the back, and getting a vacuum cleaner and a swiffer duster inside all the nooks and crannies. The manual is very poorly written about error codes, you can only find a good list of them on their website.

I would not leave an un-winterized house unattended in freezing weather for very long with a Monitor 2400. Most of the time when it hiccups, all you need to do is to turn it off, wait a minute, and turn it back on. BUT...if nobody is there to push the button your house is going to freeze up.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:24 AM
 
Location: Seward, Alaska
2,742 posts, read 5,230,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rotorhead View Post
Our last house down here in SE had a Monitor 2400 as it's primary heat. Running on #1 stove oil, it was VERY fuel efficient, we went almost all year on one tank of fuel (about 300 gallons). That said, it IS computerized and a bit picky about some things. It did not respond well to brownouts or power outages, it never would re-start itself after a power failure, despite what the manual said.

It was very sensitive about being dirty, it would throw an overheat code (E-15?) if the fan got too dirty or the heat enchanger was too dirty. We cleaned it twice a season, taking the cabinet apart, the fan off the back, and getting a vacuum cleaner and a swiffer duster inside all the nooks and crannies. The manual is very poorly written about error codes, you can only find a good list of them on their website.

I would not leave an un-winterized house unattended in freezing weather for very long with a Monitor 2400. Most of the time when it hiccups, all you need to do is to turn it off, wait a minute, and turn it back on. BUT...if nobody is there to push the button your house is going to freeze up.
Rotorhead raises a very good point. IE: the effect of "brownouts" and power outages. I don't remember how my Monitor heater responded to outages, but both my Toyos will reboot themselves to a "default" setting of 50 degrees. I have no idea why the Toyo design engineers thought 50 degrees would be a "good" room temperature. (???) Even from a momentary power "bump" of a second or two is enough to cause this. Needless to say, if this happens in the winter while you are gone at work, you will return home to a fairly cold house. Our local power company seems to enjoy switching power at night, so quite often we would awake in the morning to a very cool house...

A very high proportion of these brown-outs and outages were very short duration, like just a few seconds. (power company adjusting loads?) So what did I do about it? In desperation, I decided to try plugging the heater into a large computer un-interruptable battery backup supply. IT WORKS! It works just great. On my little OM-22 the heater will run for quite some time during a power outage, all on that computer battery backup supply. How long a heater will run depends entirely on how large of a backup supply you use. Mine is a "APC 750" and I know the heater will run happily at least a half-hour, maybe more. (this is if the heater is already lit and running, not in the startup mode while the ignitor is turned on...that ignitor draws quite a bit of current...) The various heaters on the market all draw different current, so your experience may vary. It's worth a try though...

Bud
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:29 AM
 
Location: Interior alaska
6,272 posts, read 7,375,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Mutt View Post
I tried heating with coal but could never get the draft right. Many a time I managed to fill the downstairs with coal dust. My stove was designed to burn wood or coal.

Well to burn coal, the air for burning has to come from under the coal up through the bed, other wise it won't burn well at all and will give off the sulfur smell most hate about coal.

You also can't make the coal bed much thicker than 6 to 8 inches or it won't burn well either. Needs good air flow.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:36 AM
 
Location: Interior alaska
6,272 posts, read 7,375,871 times
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Both of my monitors have a battery backup surge protector, if there is a brown out or power failure, they switch to battery and never blink. The backup will run the system for about one hour with the size APC I bought at Sam's Club.
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Alaska
1 posts, read 1,384 times
Reputation: 10
Default Monitor Heaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by starlite9 View Post
Well have two Monitors and have zero problems. One has three years on one and the other has one. Both are 44,000 Btu models.

At three years, they are suppost to have the firebox and igniters replaced. So will get the one changed on the next month or so.

As for effency, they replaced a forced air furnance and use about 2/3's the fuel. But mostly now heat with coal, one ton lasts about what two to three cords of wood would do and only have to stoke the stove about three times a day verses every four to five hours with wood.

You do not need to replace the igniter after 3 years. Some last for a very long time, while others could go out for a variety of reasons, such as water in the fuel or something like a combustion ring laying on them. Just have a spare, so you can do a very simple repair yourself. If it fails to run after the second attempt, check the igniter with a Ohm Meter. It should read 14 - 18 Ohms. Listen for a knocking sound on the right hand side of the heater. That indicates air in the fuel line, so no fuel is being delivered to the fuel pump. This applies to Toyotomi's as well.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:56 AM
 
Location: NP
367 posts, read 341,766 times
Reputation: 323
I am using a Toyo OM-180 (water heater) to run my baseboard heat without a problem. I supplement with a woodstove, but the Toyo has no problem keeping things warm on its own if need be. I've been told that the Toyo's electronics can be a bit finicky, but have experienced no issues. From November 1st of 2012 to mid-April 2013 I used a total of 195 gallons of fuel...about a third of what my old boiler would have used.
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