hophead wrote: Having been in the repair of boilers and furnaces for over 30 yrs I would not plunk down 3 or 4 thousand for a used unit, period. Too chancy. Anyone wants wants to argue that point, bring it on.
I've heated my last 2 houses with used EFM coal stoker equipment. The one we moved from is heated with a refurbed EFM 900 originally from 1962. I would certainly agree if you were saying that most of the home heating equipment made today - or even in recent decades - probably won't last 49+ years. However, that's different from saying that older equipment, even if properly maintained, is unreliable.
The basic design of EFM stokers hasn't changed a lot over a period of many decades, and they don't have that many moving parts, so to me it seems reasonable to believe that a properly refurbed stoker is likely to be pretty reliable. I'd even go further, and say it's pretty far-fetched to believe, for example, that a properly refurbed older S-20 functions much differently from a new one. I've had no problems running a refurbed 700 stoker, the refurbed 900 or a refurbed 85-R. From my own experience, as well as the experiences many others have shared on this forum, I'm not aware of any reliability issues associated with refurbed EFM equipment.
Your position also seems to make a couple of value judgments with which I am uncomfortable. To get a new unit comparable to the used unit that would cost "3 to 4 thousand" you might spend 2.5-3 times that amount. Maybe having something be "new" is worth that to you, but for a lot of people refurbed used equipment is an affordable and cost-effective alternative to new equipment. You also are implicitly assuming that people who sell used equipment will leave you high and dry in the hypothetical event of a problem. I can't give a blanket endorsement of all used equipment suppliers, but I personally know of at least 4 people who have refurbed used EFM equipment over a period of decades and relied primarily or entirely on the word-of-mouth of their customers to stay in business. I don't think that would happen if this was as "chancy" as you assert.