Cody and Koliss Carr have built a thriving business in the rugged landscape of Sanders County, Montana. Hunting Adventures is primarily a big game hunting outfit but also entertains hikers, fishermen and others escaping the daily grind of urban life.
The company recently expanded, so in early 2013 the Carrs decided to put an end to the organization challenges by building a central shop with garage bays, a tack room, office space, a bathroom and storage. The challenge was to determine the best way to heat the new shop space in addition to the Carr home and guest lodge.
“There’s no shortage of dead, standing wood here since the mountain pine beetle has been attacking large tracts of forest,” Carr explains. “We needed a shop and I’ve always wanted a wood-fired heating system.”
He hired Stevensville, Mont.-based Ambrose Geo Heating & Cooling, which focuses on geothermal HVAC work. However, Carr was interested in the company’s experience with intricate hydronic systems. Owner D’Aron Johnson and Project Manager Bill Smith were involved from the job’s design phase.
“Gone are the days of smoke-billowing wood stoves that need to be stocked hourly,” Johnson says. “Welcome to the age of thermal mass, re-burn boilers and variable-speed pumping.”
Johnson’s 30 years in the heating industry have given him a grasp on what’s possible when using nonconventional heat sources. He and Smith designed a system to heat four different zones in the 2,700 sq.-ft. shop, both levels of the home, the entire guest lodge and domestic hot water throughout — despite the tight space constraints in the existing buildings.
Although mechanical components are found in different locations on the property, the shop’s mechanical room needed to accommodate the blue 200 MBH Econoburn wood-fueled boiler, an 800-gal. buffer tank, expansion tanks, manifolds and circulators.