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A pair of Windhagers 99% complete

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by heaterman, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    Heaterman, you are ahead of me!

    What do you mean before and after cleaning?
    Do you disassemble the HX cleaning mechanism and get in there with a brush?;em

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  2. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    No need to disassemble the flue scrapers, or much of anything else for that matter.The flues will be clean and all you do with the brush is knock the dust off the scrapers themselves.

    Steps are as follows. ....you basically work from the top down.

    1. Remove the 4 wing nuts holding the draft inducer plate and lift it off then lift out the plate under that, exposing the flues.
    2. Use a soft bristle brush, 2" in diameter to run through the scraper openings. No need to remove the scrapers,there is just dust in there.
    3. Open the burner door and use the soft bristle brush provided to wipe the dust off the interior surfaces of the boiler and the door.
    4. Use a vacuum to remove ash from the burn pot
    5. Remove the primary air "ball" and carefully clean any baked on ash with the scraper/putty knife provided. (It's ceramic)
    6. Use the tool provided to lift out the cast iron burner ring and vacuum under that.
    7.Clean the secondary air holes in the burnpot if needed.
    8.Clean out the front and rear ash collection areas at the bottom of the boiler with a vacuum.
    9.Remove the on board ash container and dispose of the ashes in there.

    Reassemble and push the start button to light the boiler back up......see you again in 6-800 hours.

    Takes about 15-20 minutes. It truly is that easy.
  3. DZL_Damon

    DZL_Damon Member

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    15lbs of ash is good for how much wood you've burned! I'm wondering if others that run their boilers at lower firing rates experience the same accumulation or more? I'm sure those BioWINS are most efficient at high fire like your units get to experience, plus higher fan rates for pushing fly ash out better vs settling.

    I just cleaned mine yesterday after only a ton and was amazed. The ash bin was 3/4 - 7/8 full and probably weighed 15-20lbs, the burn pot did not need any scrapping as the self cleaning soot blower works well. The "tubes" had about 1/32-1/16" of perpetual ash on them that the moving turbulators can not scrape off (similar action to the BioWIN's). It's light/fluffy and wipes off with a broom if wanted, no scrapping needed. The whole unit was disassembled, cleaned, and back online in 10 minutes. I'd say there was about 1 cup of ash was knocked out of the unit that was not in the ash pan.





    You're right, additional costs are variable but I did not think my quote was too outlandish or too general. I stated it's hard to justify a new wood boiler vs a new pellet boiler unless you have your own wood yard nearby. That's my opinion and I stand by it as I did extensive research and cost analysis on my own project. If I want to get the efficiency I would get from a pellet boiler I would need a gassifier that costs at least $2000 more than my boiler did, plus I need to source a 1000 gallon tank to run it proper, insulate it, and have a place to put it all. The biggest thing I would need would be ample amounts of time for playing with wood, timing my fires to charge my tanks, and convincing my wife that this was all easier.

    I burned wood for years cutting my own wood and really did enjoy it. However, at the time I was still sailing and had 6 month of vacation a year to blow. Driving to cut wood at my camp 20 miles each way (at 20mpg x $4.00/gal of diesel) to get 3/4 to a cord of wood in my truck. Maybe 1/2 gallon of gas/oil in the saw another $2. Another gallon of diesel in the tractor to run the splitter for $4, 1.5 hours of seat time in the truck, 2 hours cutting, splitting, and throwing in the truck, another 2 hours unloading, splitting, stacking in the crib with a beer. That's pretty much a day shot to get 3/4-a cord of wood and 10,000 blackfly bites in the Maine woods. Now, aside from my jestful sarcasm I really did like it and love being outdoors and heating my home with something I gathered with my own two hands (and truck, tractor, saw, splitter... all were not free either). The wood took up a large chunk of my dooryard as well as my downstairs garage where I would stage 2 cords. It brought in an unbelievable amount of dirt into the house along with an insane amount of bugs and SPIDERS (I HATE spiders)!

    Since coming ashore, I learned quickly I have to work 50-65 hrs a week to make anywhere near the same income as sailing. Plus when I'm not in the plant, the pager/phone can go off at any minute and back to the plant I go. Purchasing wood the last 2 years, since I have no time to harvest my own, has been robbery! Do I think I should pay $185/cord of wood like you luckily can? Yes!!! $250 is a rip for "Seasoned" wood that was most likely dried in a damn swamp. My seasoned wood was most likely cut in January and split onto the truck before they delivered it judging how I couldn't find one check line in any stick. So the 22.5MMbtu of usable heat in a cord of Red Oak just got cut to 16-18MMBTU of usable heat. Or, i can get 16.5MMbtu/ton of usable heat from my pellets that I paid $177/ton for (Useable heat from Maine Wood Pellets and Maine Wood Fuels is averaged at 8250 btu/lb over the past 8 analysis from the samples I send to the lab every quarter). To boot, I can stack 4 tons of pellets in my 2 cord crib downstairs with NO SPIDERS!

    Generally, I save a TON of time and space while paying less per recieved btu's of heat. The additional energy/CO2 used to produce the pellets is marginable since they use sawdust waste to run the kilns at MWP. I found an article that showed about 3-4% of the pellets energy is used to make/transport it... from Canada to Sweden!

    Even if I pay more/btu out of pocket, my time saved to do such while still burning a (nearly) carbon neutral product and supporting local business's vs foreign oil/gas companies is very worth it... Just like the farmer that put in the x2 BioWINS this thread is originally about. And as I stated, I would have bought the gassifier I set out to initially purchase if I had my own wood lot and been oblivious to how easy cheap wood heat CAN be.
    Frozen Canuck likes this.
  4. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Well said. Add to that the fact that most members could at the very least earn burger flipping money (currently $16/hr here with the help wanted sign always up) & all that cheap wood really isn't.

    If I had all those hours back to bill out I could likely afford an additional 2 week vacation for every year I cut & stacked. Hard to justify cordwood on an economic basis. Too much time.
  5. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I can justify it pretty easily here.

    Strictly on a dollar/time basis, if I take X hours of spare time to make Y cords of fuel, that displaces Z amount of fossil fuels (or pellets) I would have to buy.

    If I didn't take that spare time & do that, the Z amount would have to come from somewhere out of our existing income - and we only have so much coming in. So using that spare time like that is pretty equivalent to earning decent wages at a second job. I don't think I'd take a burger-flipping second job [nowhere near $16/hr here] if I had to turn around & hand all the money I earned from that over to a fuel oil company.

    Aside from that, I am getting much needed exercise (spend way too much time in front of a computer during the week), in a way that I really enjoy (I spend my resting moments during the week thinking only of which spot I'll hit next), and improving our property in cleaning up the rubbish & trail-making.

    Plus it's a hoot winding the Stihls out & making sawdust fly - on my own time & when I feel like it.

    To each their own in their own different circumstances though - I have no doubt that eventually my circumstances will change and I won't be in the woods like I am now. But right now I'm making the most of it and wouldn't trade it for anything. Well, except maybe for a winning loto ticket.
    sinnian likes this.
  6. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    The boys went to the farm and cleaned these for the 3rd time since fire up. Both boilers now have over 2100 hours of run time on them since installation and a large share of that is at 100% output. We rarely see them modulated down as the load is pretty near constant.
    They have used almost 19 tons of pellets between them.

    Yes I said 19 tons. In a little over 3 months of run time. Looks like my original estimate of 35 tons per year is going to be out the window. _g;ex
    Do the math and you see that they have quite literally not quit firing since we started them up.

    They are working very hard with a huge load but have shown no signs of stress. There have been no failures of any kind. They just sit there and work and THAT is how a piece of heating equipment should function. :)
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
    Frozen Canuck, stayfitz and flyingcow like this.
  7. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    The owner is tickled to death with the way they are working Karl. He is putting up a new maintenance building this spring and wants one of these moved there to heat the floor. He will probably put one of the XL series Windhagers in its place in this building. He's also going to install one in his house at some point in 2014.

    As far as moving pellets is concerned, augers are not the way to go. They grind up the pellets far too much and create a lot of fine pieces. Pellets are best moved or transported with air.
    flyingcow likes this.
  8. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Best way to for heating equipment to run is WFO....
  9. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I love the passion in this forum. Nothing better than a satisfied wood or pellet burner with high efficiency and quality equipment. Options are great. No one choice or solution for every need.
    maple1 likes this.
  10. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    One can only wish Jim, that the general population shared that same passion about renewable resources as the crew here.
    I get a bang out of this place.
  11. Medman

    Medman Feeling the Heat

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    This is a great thread! Here in Northern Ontario a pellet mill is set to open soon (in Wawa). I am waiting to see what prices will be like for pellets, but I am considering switching to pellets if it is in line with cordwood. The big issue here (for me) is the availability of log length hardwood, since most commercial operators get more money chipping hardwood into hogfuel than selling it in log length.

    Thanks for all the info, Heaterman. Much appreciated!
  12. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    You can't blame the loggers. They sell what's best. Seems to be a lot less waste chipping whole trees in the woods. Limbs become money in the bank instead of something to get rid of.

    Don't they take chips, then grind them to make pellets? Seems to be that the 'system' is much more efficient then producing firewood. The handling aspects alone of pellets is way better. I guess the pellets need to be protected more, they can't get wet like cord wood can.

    I hope that large physical plants keep getting built with chip boilers. Homes can use pellets. Doing this, and with the abundance of natural gas in this country… we really could be energy independent.

    JP
    flyingcow likes this.
  13. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Update.

    Cleaned again 2/13/14

    One boiler has 3281 hours and 15.54 tons through it, the other is at 3210 hours and 14.73 tons.
    No issues or failures of any kind so far.
    Just a routine cleaning about every 800 hours. This is the 4th one since start up about the end of September.

    These boilers both have about 2 years of what I would consider pretty normal fuel consumption through them and have logged as much run time in a little over 4 months as the one in my house has in a full year.

    I should say we had one "issue" with the last cleaning........;em
    My boys started the vac on fire due to not letting the boilers complete the burnout cycle. They had places to go and things to do and found out there are some things you can't rush..;lol
  14. Downeast Farmer

    Downeast Farmer New Member

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    This piece in The Economist: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21575771-environmental-lunacy-europe-fuel-future argues that pellets may be very far from a carbon-neutral fuel, although cord wood isn't either, as I reflect on whenever I fuel up the chain saw or tractor. They're both greener than fossil fuels, especially when burned in efficient appliances.
    Spartan and flyingcow like this.
  15. Chicken Farmer

    Chicken Farmer Member

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    So, what happened to the Garns that were removed?
  16. Buzz Saw

    Buzz Saw New Member

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    Heaterman, I thought each appliance had to have it's own flue. How are you able to hook to two burners up to one chimney,without breaking code, like in the picture? Did I miss something?
  17. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    So far we rebuilt one and it wound up here ... www.reefsystems.com ... The purchaser had actually made a deal for it back in November but was going to wait for delivery until he got a new shop building constructed.

    He called me Saturday morning the 25th of January and before we spoke for 15 seconds I could hear panic in his voice. He has to keep his business at about 78* and it's basically a glass greenhouse type structure. Scads of heat loss.
    He had ordered propane on the 21st and his gas company said OK no problem. Well by Friday, he had no delivery nor had he heard from them so he called.
    This time they told him they would not be able to deliver any fuel until the 4th of February and it would only be 200 gallons maximum. He figured he had enough fuel to last until maybe February 1 at the latest.

    So he called and asked if there was any way we could get the Garn to him or if he could come and pick it up. After talking for a few minutes and getting a grasp of his situation, I told him I would call in my boys, finish the overhaul on his Garn and haul it down to him. It was obvious that he had a lot of prep to do in order to be ready to even be able to use the Garn if it was there.
    Andy and Matt came in about 10AM and we finished up the refurb in our shop, loaded it on the trailer and it was ready to go by about 9:30PM Saturday evening. I got a few hours of sleep and took off at 4AM Sunday morning. Made it to his place about 2PM. (rotten travel conditions) We got it off the trailer and slid into a temporary structure he and some friends threw together and I did a quick and dirty piping job on it Monday morning.
    It is heating his place as we speak.

    I have to put in a plug for the guy here.....If any of you are into salt water aquariums Todd is and absolute fountain of knowledge about them. He grows and propagates all kinds of coral, starfish, clams, and other marine animals and fish. If you EVER get in the Columbus Ohio area, it would be worth your time just to stop in a see his facility there in New Albany. The first thing you see when you walk into his place is a salt water tank containing enough gallons of water that you could use it for backup heat storage for the Garn. ITS HUGE! and it's beautiful.


    The second on is also sold but won't go out until this spring after we do a complete refit on that one also.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  18. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Nope. Appliances that utilize the same fuel type can be vented in a common flue. The codes have "issues" about mixing different fuels in the same flue for a few reasons.
  19. Spartan

    Spartan Member

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    Carbon neutral....my butt.

    I borrowed a pellet mill I'm playing around with it. I barely can get out 350 pounds an hour out of 20hp motor. That's not including grinding and ancillary losses. All told, I'm probably using up about 25 kw per per 350 pounds or about 14 pounds per kw. There is no transportation on this either since it's in-house waste. None of that would apply to a gasifier.

    Okay...I just looked it up and fell off my chair......


    Survey results indicated that pellet producers who harvest their own timber for feedstock used a weighted average of 1.06 m3 of hardwood and 0.62 m3 of softwood as raw material to produce one short ton of wood pellets. The CORRIM Phase II average density values for hardwood and
    softwood timber in the (Northeast/North Central) United States were 580 and 380 kg/m3, respectively.

    In order to dry the wet coproduct feedstock prior to pelletization, 149.78 kg of additional wood was combusted, resulting in a total wood consumption of 1,000.18 kg to produce one short ton of
    wood pellets. Pellet producers who used wet coproduct feedstock used a weighted average of 477.00 kg of hardwood and 371.66 kg of softwood as raw material to produce one short ton of wood pellets. An additional 136.21 kg of wood was required to dry the wet coproduct feedstock
    before pelletization, resulting in a total wood consumption of 984.87 kg to produce one short ton of wood pellets. Pellet producers who used source-dried feedstock used a weighted
    average of 849.28 kg of dry hardwood as raw material for one short ton of wood pellets. An additional 160.50 kg of wood was consumed along the life cycle to dry the raw materials, resulting in a total wood consumption of 1,009.78 kg to produce one short ton of wood pellets. The average wood in–to–wood out ratio for producing wood pellets was
    found to be 1.18:1.

    Here is the link.....

    http://www.corrim.org/pubs/articles/2012/FPJ_vol62_num04/06_FPJ-vol62-num04-2012.pdf


    18% of it's energy is wasted to dry it and probably another 4% to make it and probably another 3% to transport it around. I have no problem with it but it certainly doesn't sound "green" to me.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  20. hyfire

    hyfire Feeling the Heat

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    Very nice install..
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  21. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Nothing is carbon neutral except everyone living in someplace like Costa Rica. Nuclear comes the closest and we all know how popular that is.

    There is one company up here (Kirtland Pellets) that has a unique approach to "feedstock". From what I understand, they mix hardwood, oak mainly, with leftovers from logging operation and have machinery that goes out to landing yards and grinds the tops and scrap wood on site then they haul it back to their mill for processing.
    They specialize in harvesting the leftovers from all the stands of red pine here in Northern Michigan and grind up the branches, needles and all. Their pellet is a little lighter per cubic foot but they burn very clean and hot from what I have seen in my own boiler. You can smell the pine in it when you open a bag. A large portion of their product comes from waste that would normally just lay in the woods and rot.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  22. DZL_Damon

    DZL_Damon Member

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    Define "Green".
  23. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    What's a 'short ton'?

    Is that like a bush rick?
  24. DZL_Damon

    DZL_Damon Member

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    I was confused why they did this as well.... they had everything in SI units, but a short ton is a traditional 2,000lbs. Called a short ton to differentiate from the (mostly) maritime term of a long ton (2200 lbs). A metric ton is 2204lbs which is very close.
  25. Spartan

    Spartan Member

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    That is a great way to use something that was going to be forest waste.

    I have absolutely NO problem with what you did and using wood for it's energy. NONE. ZERO. NADA. What irks me is the head snapping hypocrisy of what is going on here in Canada. Companies are cutting down huge swaths of forests to make pellets and then ship them to Europe as "green" fuel These European uber hypocrites are the same people whose scream at poor natives for cutting down the rain forest.......while feeding their stoves with swaths of Canadian forests.

    Anywho.....sorry, I diverted this thread a bit. I love what you did with your install. Unless I missed it somewhere, the next step would be to install a a silo and buy pellets in bulk. There is a cost of bagging and storage for "bags" versus making a deal with a pellet mill and getting delivery in bulk by a dump truck. Since your sons are with you and it's generational maybe there is some logic in vertically integrating by investing in a large silo and buying pellets in bulk. Better yet, off season.

    BTW....looking at silos here.....

    http://www.moylangrainsilos.com/main.php?pg=price_list

    A C UM 74 would hold 65 tons (pellets are 41 pounds per ft3). I'm totally guessing but if the total cost was $15k (pad included) then a $50 per ton (or more) spread off season maybe worth it.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014

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