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Author Topic: Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?  (Read 18612 times)

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Offline Bart May

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Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?
« on: February 12, 2011, 08:53:19 AM »
Iíve burned a CL6048 for 3 years and other than burning a lot of wood its been a great stove. Iím not going to replace my cl6048 until it breaks or until the Fedís save me from myself.  As I look at gasifiers, the Portage and Main Optimizer 450 and that scotch marine exchanger look to be the best pick. I would love to hear from people who own the Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450. Thanks, Bart/ VA

Offline worldwidetaz

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Re: Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 08:02:41 AM »
  8)  Well Its taken a week for me to respond to you because I was not a member before, here is what I have the Optimizer 450 is a new unit.  
Size is 55"x85"x100"
Weight is 5000 lb
Door is 18"x20"
Fire pot 38"x31"x49" (note firepot is rounded at top and measurement is as close as they could come)
Water 700 gal
needs 120 v
Price (sit down now) 18,500 US


Also they are coming out with and Optimizer 350 here is what I have on that from my dealer
  Wood Gasification Units
P&M Optimizer 350
Max Furnace Output BTU/Hr.
Up to 400,000
Heating Area (sq. ft.)
7,000 to 15,000
Total Size W X L X H
50Ē x 72Ē X 95Ē
Shipping Weight
4,000 lbs
Chimney size

Door size W x H
18 x 20
Firepot W x H x L/ Cubic Feet
32Ē x 44Ē x 34.5Ē/27
Water Capacity ( US gallons)
350
Horizontal Fire Tubes
20 2Ē
Vertical Fire Tubes
8 2Ē
Maximum Log Length
34Ē
Split or Suggested Log Dial.*
4Ē and up
Electrical Requirement
120 volt
Power Draft Motor
Positive Pressure
Suction Motor
Suction Motor
Heat Exchanger
Triple
Limited Warranty
10 Years
Price on this is 15,300

They have built 4 of the 350 at this point 3 are spoken for 1 for is mine. The thing I like about this is they are not mass produced like others so they tend to pay attention to detail. If you call their 800 number don't be surprised to talk to the owner direct not some answering service. They ( the owner ) tends to follow up to see how you are making out. When  I called there to find a local dealer he was more then helpful and from others I have talk to he dose keep track when you 1st start up to see if there are any problems.  
Hope this information helps you
PA/Mark

Offline Ludo

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Re: Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2011, 05:49:54 PM »
Hello- I ran two "Classic" wood boilers from central boiler, one on the house and a second one for greenhouses.  Got "burned" on warranty work so when I saw that New York was going to outlaw stoves that do not meet the new EPA standards, I sold one out of state and went with Portage and Main 250 for my home.  At the time (last year) it was the only choice of size.  I have to say there are pros and cons to them. The good- I cut my wood consumption be at least 60%, no BS.  I was going through a modest 20 cords a year.  This year, which was brutally cold and long here, I used at most 9. 
  Ok, the bad- maintenance. You have to empty the bottom ash pan daily and clean the tubes and blow them out with a shop vac at least 2x a month.  In weather above 40 degrees, you will produce cresol even with bone dry wood. You learn to set the high and low temps far apart so the burn time is long enough to heat the thing up- and only put in just enough wood, don't fill it in warm weather! There are a bunch of tricks so another thing is a big learning curve from the old wood boiler.  Another thing to consider with all gassification units, small firewood pieces. No more big chunks like before. My house with the finished basement is 5000sqft, reasonably energy efficient, and I could not get more than 8hrs of burn time from a full load in cold weather (sub 20 degrees F).  Most cold days I loaded it at 5:30am, 3:00pm (out of wood), and then at 10:00 before bed.  All of these "cons" are products of high efficiency. 

Offline Ludo

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Re: Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2011, 06:03:16 PM »
Sorry, I hit submit by accident. so here is part two...

   One thing that bothered me was my cast concrete floor at the bottom of the stove gave way, looks like it just eroded from the heat. The opening where the gases enter the second chamber grew to 3x's its original size so chunks of charcoal fell through, clogging most of the pipes in a day or two.  Once I realized the problem I put a couple of fire bricks on top to close up the gap but it never worked completely.  I am currently waiting for replacements. 

My advice... what every you buy, make sure there is a very experienced local dealer.  They are worth it when you need advice or parts.  Visit the "farm days" in your area during the summer.  I got a big discount when I ordered it then, yes it was a real discount- not hype.  For me the old stove produced too much smoke, the house was always covered with soot in the spring and it consumed way too much wood.
Hope this helps and if you do get feel free to ask for help.

Offline worldwidetaz

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Re: Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2011, 07:51:50 PM »
Just shot a vidio of the 350 for anyone who wants to see it here is the link

Please note I do not do this a lot but tryed to show some of the changes from the 250 as there is not much posted yet

Offline Bart May

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Re: Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 12:30:18 PM »
Great information and video fellows, thank you very much! $18k is BIG investment. Iím interested in any updates now that youíve had the stove for a while. Any idea what a Optimizer 450 cost? In time I know Uncle Sam will make us go to downdraft gasification. Iím impressed with Portage and Main's Scotch Mainline Heat Exchanger. Thanks again I would luv to hear updates from you guy, bart.may@gmail.com 

Offline worldwidetaz

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Re: Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 08:13:44 PM »
 8) The 450 is $18500.... the 350 was $15300 Unit runs great heating my home and another 5000 sq ft building only problem I am having is one neighbor who has had the EPA and the township to my home but all is well as soon as the EPA had the white tag info they said good day to me the township is the same. This unit runs great and was well worth the money. yes it sounds like a lot but when I was 5 to $7000 a year for oil this will pay for itself in 3 years. The front gasket dose leak a bit but its outside do not really care, have to clean it once a week just to keep the chambers clear mainly dust in the pipes and some charcoal in the main burn chamber takes about 15 to 20 min for a clean easy to do.     

Offline martyinmi

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Re: Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 10:10:53 PM »
3 of us in this area bought 250's back in July of '11. They are awesome units. We clean the tubes and secondary burn chamber once weekly, and it's only a ten minute job. The beauty of the P&M's is their simplicity. There are only 3 electrical components- 1) Johnson controller 2) Blower Fan 3) Actuator. We are heating 2400 sq.ft., 3000 sq.ft., and 3800 sq.ft. respectively. We are able to throw any shape wood in in any direction with no bridging. We all highly recommend the P&M.
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Offline Kansas

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Re: Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2012, 03:25:28 AM »
We got ours and are using it this winter. We got a 350. There is definitely a learning curve. I do feel its a well built unit.  BTW, anyone know where the smaller of the two brushes is used?

Offline mattNH

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Re: Portage and Main Optimizer 250 or 450?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 03:53:27 PM »
I've had my 250 running for several weeks...small brush is for the horizontal heat exchange tubes.  The larger is for the vertical heat exchange tubes that come up from the gassification chamber.

Same experience with the learning curve...love the unit and the house has never been warmer! 


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