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Outdoor Wood Boiler Cost

Outdoor Wood Boiler Cost

National average
$12,000
(150,000 BTU gasification boiler with a heat exchange and pipes)
Low: $6,000

(95,000 BTU standard boiler with direct connect to a hydronic heat system)

High: $20,000

(300,000 BTU gasification heater for multiple buildings with heat exchangers and furnaces)

Cost to install a wood boiler varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from air-conditioning and heating contractors in your city.

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Outdoor Wood Boiler Cost

National average
$12,000
(150,000 BTU gasification boiler with a heat exchange and pipes)
Low: $6,000

(95,000 BTU standard boiler with direct connect to a hydronic heat system)

High: $20,000

(300,000 BTU gasification heater for multiple buildings with heat exchangers and furnaces)

Cost to install a wood boiler varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from air-conditioning and heating contractors in your city.

The average cost to install a wood boiler is $12,000​.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Wood Boiler?

If you are trying to reduce your heating bill, heat a large property or several buildings at once, or reduce fossil fuel dependency, installing an outdoor wood boiler may be a solution. Outdoor wood boilers heat water by burning wood inside a firebox 1. The heated water is transferred to your home, where it heats your house through hydronic systems or a forced hot air system. Depending on the size of the system, it may also heat your hot water. There are several types and sizes of outdoor wood boilers leading to a range of costs.

The national average cost for installing an outdoor wood boiler is between $8,000 and $15,000. Most people pay around $12,000 for a boiler large enough to heat a 2,000sq.ft. home along with a garage and the water for in-home use.

Wood Boiler Cost

Wood Boiler Installation Cost
National average cost$12,000
Average range$8,000-$15,000
Minimum cost$6,000
Maximum cost$20,000


Wood Boiler Cost by Type

There are two basic wood boilers - standard boilers and more efficient gasification boilers.

Standard boilers burn wood, heating the water used to heat your home. Like any wood-burning appliance, they generate lots of smoke-containing particulates causing some of the heat and energy used to be lost. Gasification boilers operate like standard boilers but also burn the particulates in the smoke, meaning the wood burns more efficiently. It also means that you have less smoke and less of a smokey smell.

Wood Boiler Costs


Wood Boiler TypeAverage Cost Range
Standard$5,000 - $12,000
Gasification$6,000 - $14,000


Standard Wood Boilers Cost

Standard boilers are slightly less expensive than gasification boilers but require more wood to produce the same amount of heat. They also produce a lot of smoke, so if you live in a neighborhood, you may have complaints from those who live near you. This is particularly noticed in the summer, when the wood may smolder due to the lower heating needs. They cost between $5,000 and $12,000, depending on the size.

Gasification Wood Boilers Cost

Gasification boilers use two stages 2 and reach interior temperatures much hotter than standard boilers. They cost more upfront but use less wood, so they pay for themselves over time. They produce less smoke and, therefore, can be installed outdoors or indoors and are often efficient enough to additionally heat a hot water tank for storage. To use this type of boiler, make sure your wood is well-seasoned for a minimum of two years. The dryer the wood, the better it performs. These boilers cost between $6,000 and $14,000, depending on the size.

Wood Boiler Costs by Brand

Like any other appliance, wood boilers vary in efficiency, quality, and cost between brands. Below are some of the more popular brands for producing wood boilers and their average costs.

Wood Boiler Prices

Wood Boiler Prices


BrandAverage Cost Range
Nature’s Comfort$3,000 - $8,000
Heat Master$5,000 - $10,000
Hawken Energy$6,000 - $9,000
Crown Royal$7,000 - $10,000
Central Boiler$8,000 - $12,000


How Efficient Are Outdoor Wood Boilers?

Like any boiler or furnace, wood boilers vary in efficiency depending on the type you purchase. A standard wood boiler usually has an energy efficiency of around 75%, meaning that it converts roughly 75% of the energy used to burn the wood into heat. The other 25% is usually wasted through smoke.

Gasification wood boilers, which use two stages to burn the particulates in the smoke, achieve efficiency ratings of higher than 90%, so they use less wood to produce the same amount of heat.

What Size Wood Boiler Do I Need?

Like other boilers, wood boilers are sized depending on the amount of heat output they produce measured in BTUs. Unlike gas, propane 3, oil, and electric boilers, wood boilers have starting BTUs of around 95,000 to 100,000 - more than many homes need, particularly if you live in a moderate climate.

On the other end of the spectrum, it is possible to find wood boilers that reach sizes up to 400,000 BTUs or even larger. For this reason, many people often choose a boiler that heats not only their home but also their garage, shed, barn, and other outbuildings. They may also use the wood boiler to heat their hot water storage tank because the system easily produces ample BTUs, so many people choose to size up.

If you live in a home under 2,000 sq.ft. in a moderate to moderate-cold climate, a 100,000 BTU wood boiler provides for all your needs with room to spare. If you live in a larger home, want to heat multiple buildings on your property, or if you live in a colder climate, determine the number of BTUs based on the total square footage and your climate.

Measure each of the areas you intend to heat in both length and width and multiply these numbers together to get the total square footage. Next, determine the zone you live in by consulting this map by the U.S. Department of Energy. If you live in zones 4 or above, a 100,000 BTU wood boiler will likely meet your needs, unless you have a very large home. Zones 5 - 7, however, may require larger boilers. Multiply the square footage you want to heat by the number of BTUs necessary for each zone to determine the size boiler you need. If you intend to also heat your hot water, you may want to size up.

What Size Wood Burning Boiler Do I Need


ZoneBTUs (per square foot)
1 & 218 - 30
325 - 35
428 - 40
540 - 50
6 & 750 - 60


Below are the average BTUs needed for most homes located in zone 6 based on their square footage.

What Size Wood Boiler Do I Need?

Wood Boiler Sizes


Square FeetBTUs Needed
2,000100,000 - 120,000
2,500125,000 - 150,000
2,750137,000 - 165,000
3,000150,000 - 180,000
3,500175,000 - 210,000


Cost to Install a Wood Boiler

Wood boiler installations are expensive. In addition to the boiler, you also need roughly $300 - $700 in materials and supplies to run the boiler to your home and hook it up to your heating system. The boiler is capable of directly connecting to hydronic radiator systems, but most installers want to use a heat exchanger to regulate air pressure. Otherwise, they connect the boiler to an exchanger to have it run a forced hot air furnace. The pipes, exhaust, and connectors necessary to have the boiler heat your home vary from system to system and therefore increase your costs.

In addition, you also have installation costs of around $2,500 to $4,500 for the labor since installing these systems is a time and labor-intensive job. Costs vary depending on the type of heating system you have - hydronic or forced hot air - and what type of connection system you need to make, as well as how far away from the home you install the boiler. In addition to the cost of the boiler, you pay between $2,800 and $5,200 to have it installed.

Cost to Run a Wood Boiler

The cost to run a wood boiler depends on the size of the property you heat and whether you have a standard or gasification boiler. It also depends on your location and whether you have your own wood or purchase it.

If you live in an area where you gather your own wood, there are next to no running costs. You may need to purchase a permit depending on the area, and there are many labor costs involved in trucking and cutting the wood, but no real monetary costs.

If you purchase the wood, you need to pay for roughly 3 - 5 cords of wood a year, depending on your needs. A cord of wood ranges in cost depending on your location, with most people paying around $150 - $200 a cord. This means a cost of $450 - $1,000 per year for the wood to heat your home.

Outdoor Forced Air Wood Furnace vs Boiler

You may use an outdoor wood boiler to heat your home through hydronic heat or forced hot air. Sometimes, you might hear the words outdoor forced air wood furnace, but this is still an outdoor wood boiler. The difference is that you have an indoor forced hot air furnace designed to be powered by your wood boiler.

The boiler heats water and runs it into your home via pipes. These pipes run to a heat exchanger in your ducts. Your furnace blows air through the ducts, where it warms in the heat exchanger. Your furnace needs electricity to run, so it cannot be completely off-grid without solar power or a generator.

Adding a furnace increases the cost of your system by another $2,000 - $3,000 on top of the boiler, installation, and connection fees.

Otherwise, use your outdoor wood boiler with a heat exchanger to power a radiator system or a radiant heat floor system. This is the same as an indoor boiler, but with an added heat exchanger to even out the air pressure.

Wood Pellet Boiler vs Wood Boiler

Another option for outdoor boilers is a pellet boiler, which uses either compressed sawdust pellets or corn in some cases. These boilers are often more efficient and use less fuel than wood. Wood pellet boilers are smaller, take up less space, and produce less smoke because the sawdust is drier and burns more completely.

Wood pellets are more expensive than wood, and you pay about ⅓ -½ as much again for pellets than for wood. Wood does not burn in the hopper, so it is not possible to gather your own wood to burn in a pellet boiler.

Pellet boilers do not produce as many BTUs, so be more careful about sizing them to your home. They also have higher costs, with most boilers starting at around $11,000 before installation.

Indoor Wood-burning Stove vs Outdoor Wood Boiler

If you want to heat your home with wood, you can use an indoor wood-burning stove. Indoor stoves produce heat directly, warming the room they are in from the heat produced. If installed in a lower level, they heat the rooms above them, but they work best if you install vents and fans to move the heat. Because they are indoors, they have a greater risk of fire, need to be vented for smoke, and the appliance gets very hot, potentially being a burn or injury risk for young children. You need to install a fireproof floor below it and possibly fireproof the wall behind it as well.

Outdoor wood boilers heat your entire home either through forced hot water or forced hot air. Because they are outside, there is less smoke indoors and less smoke overall with gasification boilers. They are more efficient at heating and heat much larger properties than a wood stove.

Wood Boiler Maintenance

Wood boilers require a lot of maintenance to keep them running properly. They need to be cleaned out at least once weekly, although newer and more efficient versions have taken this process down to just a few minutes. They need to be serviced yearly, with service costs between $50 and $200 each year. During this service, the door gasket 4, pump 5, solenoid, and temperature probes should be inspected and replaced if necessary because these components are required for the boiler to run.

Wood Boiler Winterization

If you leave your home unattended for any length of time during the winter, winterize the boiler to prevent it from freezing. This includes making sure the fire is completely out and adding antifreeze to the tank. Some models have additional steps, so always speak to your HVAC technician about how best to winterize.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Solar Heat Storage

You may offset some of your wood needs by using a solar hot water storage tank. These tanks rely on the sun’s energy to heat the stored water until it is needed. They have a wide range of costs depending on the size, with most starting at around $2,000.

Dual Fuel Systems with Gas Heat

Wood boilers need to be fed wood every 10 to 48 hours. If you leave your home for longer than that, you may want to have a dual fuel system. These systems monitor the burner and switch to another heat source like gas to keep the heat running. Upgrading to dual fuel increases the cost of the project by another $1,000.

Programmable Thermostat

Like all systems, wood boilers are controlled with a thermostat 6. Using a programmable thermostat controls the heat in your home precisely for the times when you are not there. They cost $145 - $230.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • In some areas, you may be able to gather your own firewood. If you do so on public land, you need a permit. Contact your local government for more information, or consult the USDA if you intend to gather wood in a national forest. If you buy wood, it is still less expensive than other forms of heating fuel.
  • If you install a wood-burning stove inside, your home will smell like smoke. Outdoor wood boilers do not produce as strong a smell because they are outdoors.
  • If you live near other people, keep in mind that standard boilers have a strong smoke smell, which is off-putting. You may want to invest in a higher chimney or a more efficient gasification boiler to avoid this.
  • Look for units that have internal chimneys to reduce the maintenance and avoid potential fires.
  • It is important to follow the guidelines put out by the EPA on wood-burning appliances. This includes seasoning your wood for at least two years, keeping it dry, avoiding breathing in the smoke, and paying attention to good burning practices.

FAQs

  • How do you use a wood boiler?

Wood boilers are simple to use. Fill the interior with wood that heats the water. The water travels to your home via underground pipes where it is used for hydronic heat or to power a forced hot air furnace.

  • How efficient is a wood boiler?

Depending on the type you purchase, they achieve between 75% and 90% efficiency.

  • How long do outdoor wood boilers last?

This depends largely on maintenance, but many last 20 years or more.

  • How far does an outdoor wood boiler need to be from the house?

This depends on the type of boiler. Gasification boilers may be located very near the home.

  • Do wood boilers need electricity?

No, but if you want to use them to power a forced hot air furnace, the blower 7 requires electricity.

  • How often do you have to fill a wood boiler?

This depends on the boiler and rabges anywhere from every 10 to 48 hours.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Firebox: The chamber in a fireplace that contains the fire. It is usually lined with firebrick so it can withstand the extreme heat that it is exposed to. Manufactured fireplaces have fireboxes made of sheet metal
glossary term picture Scaffolding 2 Stages: A temporary structure used during construction/maintenance/painting projects to raise and support workers (or one worker), required materials, and equipment
glossary term picture Propane 3 Propane: A hydrocarbon gas used as a common fuel source
4 Gasket: A seal that fills the space between two or more surfaces that are joined together, allowing a tight seal even when the surfaces do not fit against each other perfectly
glossary term picture Pump 5 Pump: A device used to move air, liquid, or gas by mechanical means
glossary term picture Thermostat 6 Thermostat: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off
glossary term picture Blower 7 Blower: An accessory that makes a fireplace more efficient by circulating the warm air in the fireplace to other areas of the home

Cost to install a wood boiler varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Outdoor Wood Boiler Next to a Pile of Wood

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Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Anchorage, AK
+35%
Ashland, NH
+22%
Athens, GA
-9%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Black Hawk, CO
-29%
Bradford, ME
-25%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Coldwater, MI
-21%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Hampden, ME
-38%
Hartford, CT
+23%
Houston, TX
+24%
Huntington Beach, CA
+24%
Huntsville, AL
-17%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Irvine, CA
+23%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Laurel, MT
-12%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
New York, NY
+77%
Pensacola, FL
-19%
Perkasie, PA
+44%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Reno, NV
0%
Rockport, ME
-23%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Louis, MO
+16%
Saint Petersburg, FL
-11%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Seattle, WA
+9%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   
Methodology and sources