About this course

This course examines best practices for combining modern, high efficiency wood-fired boilers with hydronic distribution systems. It will cover the operating characteristics of wood-gasification boilers, pellet-fired boilers, and the latest hydronic heating technology that can complement these high efficiency heat sources. If you plan to be involved in designing or installing wood-based biomass heating systems, this workshop will present a wide range of design details that will help optimize the performance your systems deliver.

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Course outline

8 modules • 19 assignments • 7:23 hours of video lectures

Welcome • 0 assignments
Orientation Materials

This is a free course. We take pride in our free courses, but keep in mind that this is only a taste of what we do in a full HeatSpring course. You can get started immediately after you enroll.

Module 1 • 2 assignments
Introduction & Wood Energy Basics

Why hydronics? In this opening module, we'll discuss the importance of hydronics to renewable energy, wood as a heating fuel, and 1-stage versus 2-stage combustion of wood.

  • Introduction & Wood Energy Basics (01:10:08 hours)
  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
Module 2 • 2 assignments
Wood-Based Biomass Boilers

In this module we'll cover: Wood gasification boilers, Pellet-fired boilers, Boiler venting considerations, and Particulate & CO2 emissions.

  • Wood-Based Biomass Boilers (48:18 minutes)
  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
Module 3 • 2 assignments
Thermal Storage Options

In this module we'll cover: Unpressurized tanks, Pressurized tanks, Stratification considerations, Multiple storage tank arrays, Temperature stacking in storage tanks, and Sizing thermal storage.

  • Thermal Storage Options (01:22:00 hours)
  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
Module 4 • 2 assignments
Boiler sizing & protection

In this module you will learn: Sizing for wood gasification boilers, sizing for pellet-fuel boilers, and boiler protection options.

  • Boiler Sizing & Protection (01:05:07 hours)
  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
Module 5 • 2 assignments
Heat Emitters, High-Efficiency Circulators, and Distribution

In this module we will discuss: Low-temperature hydronic heat emitters, high-efficiency circulators, and homerun distribution systems.

  • Heat Emitters, High-Efficiency Circulators, and Distribution (01:15:27 hours)
  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
Module 6 • 2 assignments
Hydronic-Based On-Demand Domestic Water Heating

In this module you will learn about: Overall assembly and concept, thermostatically-controlled electric tankless water heaters, brazed plate heat exchangers, flow detection options, and temperature limiting options.

  • Hydronic-Based On-Demand Domestic Water Heating (26:26 minutes)
  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
Module 7 • 2 assignments
Combisystem Examples

In this module we will cover: Wood gasification boilers with unpressurized thermal storage, wood gasification boilers with multiple pressurized thermal storage tanks, pellet-fired boilers with mod/con auxiliary boilers, pellet-fired boilers retrofit to systems with oil fired boilers, multiple pellet-fired boilers, and wood gasification boilers supplying forced air distribution systems.

  • Combisystem Examples (51:48 minutes)
  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
Module 8 • 3 assignments
What’s Wrong With This System?

In this module we will look at several examples of poorly designed systems. You will learn how to correct these problems and avoid them on future projects.

  • What's Wrong With This System? (24:19 minutes)
  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
  • Final 25-Question Quiz
Conclusion • 2 assignments
Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate

Continuing Education Units

Approved for the following CEUs

  • 7 Professional Development Contact Hours
  • 3.5 BPI CEUs


  • John Siegenthaler

    P.E., Appropriate Designs
    View profile

    John Siegenthaler, P.E., is a mechanical engineering graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a licensed professional engineer, and Professor Emeritus of Engineering Technology at Mohawk Valley Community College. “Siggy” has over 40 years of experience in designing modern hydronic systems. He is a hall-of-fame member of the Radiant Panel Association, and a... Learn more

Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?
This is a free course. Enroll today and get access to all of the materials instantly. This is a self-study, self-paced course and you can set your own schedule to complete the materials. You can begin the lecture videos and other course materials as soon as you enroll. After successfully completing the course, you will be able to generate a certificate of completion.
How long do I have access to the materials?
For free courses there is no guarantee for how long the course materials will be available.
Is there a certificate of completion?
Yes, when you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.
Can I register multiple people?
Yes, this is a free course so you can share this page with other people from your team.


Based on 46 reviews
students have taken this course

This concise course is very useful to anyone who intends to tie modern hot water distribution systems with highly efficient biomass boilers and avoid making mistakes in the process. Well delivered with all the preliminaries needed to match any given design criteria to a satisfactory distribution output.

Fedor Butochnikow

As a "factory guy" and wood boiler enthusiast, to have the opportunity to learn from John Seigenthaler is a real treat. He is knowledgeable and experienced, not just in biomass boilers , but in all things hydronic heating related as well.


This is worth taking the time to learn.

Matthew Briggs

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