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Any suggestions? Installation challenge

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by acavanagh, Dec 16, 2008.

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  1. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    Hi,

    We bought an EKO 60 wood gassification unit, and have been having trouble finding someone qualified to install it.

    In fact, we have had a few people turn the project down because they think it is beyond their scope. It is a large heating unti (205,000 BTUs) and we plan to also connect pressurized heat storage using some propane tanks that have been intentionally refurbished for this project.

    We are in Southern Maine- between Portland and Lewsiton. Does anyone have any suggestions on an installer or how to find one?

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  2. dswineford

    dswineford New Member

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    Hi- What in the world is a " EKP 60 wood gassification unit" I burn wood in a wood stove. Sounds like you need a nuclear eng.
  3. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    Sorry, I misspelled "EKO". I have since corrected it. Its a more efficient wood boiler. Has two burn chambers to burn wood more efficiently. Your wood stove is probably getting about 50% of the heat out of the wood. This unit should get about 90% of the heat out of the wood, which means less cutting/splitting/stacking/loading/buying. The only problem is getting someone to install it.
  4. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    Try contacting some of the commercial hVAC shops that work on regular boilers they should be able to do the installation. You may need to provide them with some help in the form of a system diagram of how you want it set up.
    Another idea would be do it yourself most of the folks here installed some or all parts of the systems themselves.
    Contact Dave from Cozyheat (banner ad) and see if he knows of an installer in your area.
  5. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    I've tried a lot of people. Most don't want the liability or the possibility of losing their license. If I had a step by step instruction manual with pictures, then I might attempt the install myself. I honestly know most could install it quite easily, but I think they are intimidated by the project.
  6. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

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    Depending on handy you are, it certainly can be a do it yourself installation. The money you save could then be put back into the house in the form of insulation or even fancier controls for the whole heating system and it would pay you back in the future. Piping is not hard - its the design that can be intimidating but this is the place to start. If you don't do it yourself, you could point out this forum to a contractor and they should be able to find any answers they need. It looks complicated, but when you break it down, is just like any other install.
  7. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    I think these kinds of projects may be difficult to quote a price on. It can take alot of on site problem solving and the learning curve can be steep. Perhaps doing the project yourself in stages with possibly some outside help may be the way to go. Myself? I would do it for the fun of it if it was closer.

    Mike
  8. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    Steam Man where abouts are you?

    You sound like the man for the job. Free :) I wish you were closer too.
  9. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    get to it mike!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    I just crawled out of a ship's large fuel tank. The picture above is me crawling into a large oil/gas marine boiler. I am leaving San Juan, PR tonight. I live about 3 hours north of you in Millinocket.

    Do you have a real detailed plan for your set up? That may help in getting things moving.

    Mike
  11. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    hate to sound conceited, but this is a technology, at least in this country, that is largely a territory explored and mastered by "amateurs"- in the true literal sense of the word from latin- amo, amas, amat.. ( my old latin teacher would probably bash me for botching the grammar ) - "love" (amateur being someone who does something for the love of the undertaking, not gain). Love over gold, to borrow Dire Straits' album name.

    even the pros on here in the boiler room are people who are pursuing these efforts because they enjoy and/ or care about the stuff this implicates- energy, sustainability, invention

    if you are handy, you can do this

    it will take longer than you expect (ask me how I know!) unless you are a single person without kids who has no need for a day job

    one of the biggest breakthroughs that I think someone could make is to come up with some "chevy small block" core of a system's controls, pumps and valves, all in a compact unit. that people could buy, connect the ancillary boiler, storage, and heat loads, connect a thermostat, AC power, and turn on the main "ON" compact is key, as that is how it can work in many places. that is part of why I find the Taco Twin Tees, and their flexibility and compactness, really interesting.

    If I had the design and fab skills, I would love to make my "Uber Loop" with radially-arranged twin tees and a caleffi air sep on top and dirt sep on bottom into a miniaturized modular version. maybe one casting, with the pump housing created as part of a single investment cast and machined unit.

    we should get Joe Brown- Brownian Heating, and NoFo together on that. Joe brings the mech engineering and pro bolting-up experience horsepower. Nofo brings the programming and interface. Convene a "Summit" at BadAsset Acres, which is roughly centrally located between the two, soon? Others are welcome, too
  12. rickh1001

    rickh1001 New Member

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    Andrew,

    The only thing unusual about installing a wood gasifier is the furnace itself - all the rest is straightforward hot water boiler technology. Have you tried to contact your local oil company? Most medium sized companies already install and service oil fired hot water boilers. The only thing different here is the heat source itself. It is in the end just like any other wood burning furnace, except more efficient, and with its own design details. I would think your local HVAC or oil company, would (or should) leap at the chance to learn this future technology, to take up the slack in their dying oil business. A heat storage buffer is critical to making the system perform at top efficiency, although many on this list are using these boilers without storage, until they can get it installed, so it is not absolutely necessary to build that in right at the start. Without that, it really is nothing more than regular hot water boiler installation. So don't let them get intimidated, and they should jump on the chance to get ahead of the curve in terms of future installations and servicing. Although in the end I did the entire installation myself, I talked to our local oil company, and they were very interested in doing the job, and learning as they go. Heck, after doing my boiler, I am tempted to quit my day job and do another one. The first one is the hardest, like everything. If you don't mind the work and learning curve, you can also do it yourself, but be prepared for a bunch of grunt work in terms of cutting and threading, and soldering pipes. Nothing a regular handyman can't do, but if you just want to cut a check and get the job done, keep bugging your normal furnace people, and give them a challenge to move on to the future. They can use the same hearth.com resource, and sort out the details of the installation. This isn't rocket science - it is much more fun!
  13. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    I'm having my innova 30 with storage installed by a heating company out of waterboro maine. Knows his stuff, I'll be talking to him before noon and if he's interested in your project, I'll pm you his contact #'s. As mentioned above, you might want to get the system up and burning and then work on your storage, once you learn the correct fire for the correct weather it should burn pretty clean. This heating contractor would do it in stages also.
  14. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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    I would suggest working out your piping diagram here first as there is a wealth of trial and error knowledge here. Then you could have a pro do at least some of the work for you leaving connections in place for where you want to add the EKO and the storage. Then you can tackle this yourself or with the help of someone else. For instance have the pro put in the primary loop in a P/S setup with the connections in place for the secondary loops for the EKO and storage. Or installing a hydraulic separator and leaving connections. Out of first hand experience I would greatly suggest avoiding using a series installation. Tell the pro you want to hire them as a sub-contractor to do part of the work. That would ease their mind about liability and responsibility for the design working. Good luck.
  15. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    something else to consider, EKO was not UL listed(or the = to UL), it might be by now. If not UL a heating guy can't (by law , in maine) install it. You can on your own, but when I talked to my ins co, they would have a problem of it not being UL listed also.
  16. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    Millinocket, no kidding. My wife is from Lincoln, stinkin Lincoln.

    You are up there though, right near the county.
  17. Grover59

    Grover59 Member

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    Hey I have a store in Lincoln, I live in East Millinocket and my sister lives in Bridgeton probably close to you , Long Lake .

    Steve
  18. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I think that "soon" probably can't happen, given the season. Sometime in the spring/summer might work well, through.

    Joe
  19. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    Steam man,
    detailed in the sense we know where it will vent out to and that it will be hooked up in parallel with the oil boiler and hopefully have two 500 gallon propane storage tanks for heat storage, with probably an 80 gallon expansion tank. Other than that, no.

    Flying crow,
    I would greatly appreciate it if you mentioned the possibility of your installer working on my project. I do appreciate that.

    I talked to the solid fuels licensing board, one of the inspectors, Paul Moody, told me that license holders can install anything they have a manual on. Apparently they have EKO materials, so it should be OK to install. My insurance company, USAA, said that they needed nothing from me in regards to installing the boiler. They said that if the house burns down, they will cover it. The woman I spoke with said that homes that burned down with candles, cigarettes, overloaded circuits, etc... they cover. I know they are a good insurance company, so I am not worried there. I really don't want to burn the house down for other reasons though, loss of belongings, premiums going up, family members including myself dying...that sort of thing. :)

    Boilerman,
    I agree that the basic plumbing is definately the same except for the 4 way mixing valve and the fact that it would need aquastats since it will be hooked up in parallel and with heat storage. Seriously, if these plumbing/heating guys weren't so damned scared of this beast, it is quite intimidating to look at, I am sure they would be fine.

    WoodnotOil,
    I would love to start here on the plans. Does anyone here have a schematic of how an EKO should be hooked up with an existing oil boiler with heat storage and a vertical dump zone (by code)?

    pybyr,
    I appreciate the vote of confidence. I am sure if I had a lot of time and extra piping I could do it. I do have a wife and kid soon to be kids in January, so time is going to be getting less soon, sleep as well.
  20. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    My wife was born in Millinocket, but grew up in Lincoln. What is the name of the store? Her maiden name is Leavitt. There are a lot of them in that area.
  21. Grover59

    Grover59 Member

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    I am a Unicel Wireless agent, I also had a store in East Millinocket, and yes there are a lot of Leavitts in the area.
    Steve
  22. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    They spread like wildfire. My wife is the 12th of 12. What a small world.
  23. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    I married a girl from sherman, she was 3 of 8 . Sounds like a typical catholic area. :lol: I sent you a pm with the #'s of the installer. He's also from this area.
  24. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    OK, you're right. I am in a different version of a similar boat. but we must do it. the sumit and the potential end product. an investment cast physically compact P/S loop with integrated air and dirt separators, and integrated primary pump housing built in, with a Mac Intel Mini running Ubuntu GUI linux running it all via USB and a terminal/ interface that even I can use. I am aiming for a version of Yankee-style, PG-rated version of "Burning Man," in my meadow, post-thaw 2009, which need not necessarily coincide in time with a meeting of the Directors of the Bad Asset Research Foundation (B.A.R.F.) - but maybe it might. I have already invited a family-friendly bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts, from all over the USA, who ride Russian motorcycles with sidecars.
  25. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    The small block Chevy is a good analogy but the difference is that GM designed and manufactured their vehicles around that engine whereas in regards to boilers, there are as many existing system designs as there are installers. I've often thought about doing something like that and marketing it but when I think back on all the boiler installations I've done, no two are the same. Difficult to make a "one size fits all" traditional/alternative interface. That's the main issue........probably one that could be solved if a person could devote about a years worth of time to studying existing hydronic and forced air systems and engineering a package.

    There are a couple companies that do supply ready made hydronic pumping and control packages but from what I see they are very pricey.
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