coalkirk wrote:Sell the "free wood", buy coal boiler and never look back. Your back and wallet will thank you.
The indoor boilers you mentioned have relatively small fireboxes for burning wood. It is very difficult to achieve an overnight burn in cold weather. Some people oversize the boiler to try and get around this, but then you just end up with a boiler that idles and "smudges" all the time = lots of creosote and chimney fires if you don't clean the chimney often enough.
Outdoor wood boilers are about 40% efficient most of the time, and as you have discovered...are quite pricey to install. If you don't manage the water chemistry very carefully they tend to rot out after 5-7 years. I know a few people that switched from outdoor wood boilers to stoker boiler and are very happy they made the switch. No more smoke, no more 2 am reloads.
Here is my suggestion: Install a stoker boiler in your basement. You will have a warm basement, and a very efficient heating plant. Unhook the oil boiler from the chimney, or put it on a powervent if you want. Use your existing chimney for the stoker boiler. If you do the install yourself you can pull this off for less than $5,000.
If you are determined to burn wood, consider an EPA-certified wood stove for the living area. They burn very clean and are much more efficient than older stoves. If you must have wood-fired central heat...a gassification boiler is the only way to do it without lots of smoke and creosote...but those start at 8k or so.