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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. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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    The problem you will see is that there is not just one way to do it. Take a look at the stickies to start with.

    Isn't that what a hydraulic separator does? Simplifies the P/S concept by avoiding a loop with circ, allowing you to easily expand the system, and giving all zones the same water temp.

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  2. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    my point with the small block Chevy was not what GM did with it

    - look where they got themselves with what they did :)

    it is what the rest of the world did with a really good core building block

    people adopted it as a standard, and innovated to meet its basic specs, because it was such a good, solid, simple platform to do that

    you can buy any conceivable aftermarket mind boggling innovation to bolt right up to a bone stock version of that core except maybe a camshaft driven eggbeater

    if you build a good core platform, minds and markets will follow
  3. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Not to mention the number of cars which have had SBC's transplanted into them, regardless of what was originally there.

    I think this is very do-able, and it's something that's been on the backburner here for a while. Mostly because of the control system needs (heck, I've been reading primers on industrial control logic when I have free time). I could probably finalize the mechanical design within a couple weeks, if I had a couple weeks to spare right now.

    Joe
  4. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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    I'll repeat my question from above in case you didn't catch:

    What is the difference between what a hydraulic separator accomplishes and what you are proposing? Would it be a necessary and superior to a hydraulic separator.
  5. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Missed that one (Trevor's "Russian motorcycle with sidecar gang" had me laughing).

    There's nothing in this that can't be done with individual parts, if you want to build everything by hand. The idea here is to have a pre-assembled contraption that you just pipe to the boilers (wood and backup), storage system, and the zones. Return temperature protection, transfer between wood and backup boiler, charging and discharging of the zones, etc. is all pre-piped and pre-wired, inside the box.

    The goal is to allow skilled do-it-yourselfers as well as contractors who are used to oil/gas (not wood) to be able to install these systems quickly and with minimal fuss. Wood heat is pretty specialized, and it's been becoming more and more obvious that one of the biggest things keeping it from gaining ground is the lack of skilled installers in many areas. This sort of system reduces that effect by making installation of the wood system nearly as simple as installation of an oil or gas system typically is.

    For example, a skilled installation crew can replace a typical residential oil or gas boiler with about 30 man-hours of labor, complete. That includes the time to design the system (pump selection, boiler selection, etc.), the time to order parts, load them onto a truck, remove the existing boiler (completely - back to zone piping), install the new boiler and build a heating system (headers, pumps, valves, etc.), wire it up and fire it up. Some systems will take more, and some will take less, but that's pretty typical of the direct labor investment in a full boiler replacement.

    How long do most folks spend installing a wood system? Even professional installers have a large investment of man-hours, and how long have many do-it-yourselfers spent on theirs? There are systems which have used well over a hundred man-hours of labor, and are still not running optimally. If 90% of residential wood-fired systems could be installed using a standardized control/pump panel, the price would come down, and so would the aggravation level, leading to wood heat becoming more common. Support would also be simpler, since certain symptoms result from certain problems, and we wouldn't have to figure out how the particular system was piped, before being able to sort out why it is doing something improperly...

    Joe
  6. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    gang- I am about to lose my job, probably quite literally, for telling a bureaucrat on a corrupt power trip, in writing, to go give himself "auto-erotic pleasure by penetration" yeah, those are the words that I chose, and said. my sOOpervis-ores really are PO'd at my willingness to take the Bullsh*t of controversy by the horns and not just fade into the shadows, where my sOOpervis-ores seem to prefer to dewll.

    losing my job will really suck. In the extreme

    but being unable to look myself in the eye when I look in the mirror would suck a lot worse

    so I will become a hired gun for hire (as a licensed lawyer who wishes he'd been an engineer) ( and did you hear the one about the lawyer who had unintended side effects from Viagra -- He encountered no results after taking the prescription, except that he got taller :) )

    I need to get taller :)

    so, here is my suggested plan

    a modular core, maybe it will be P/S, maybe a separator

    Get Sturm/Ruger in NH/CT to cast it- they do a lot of contract investment casting

    a Mac mini intel, running whatever, to run the thing,a and the interfaces to the boiler, storage, pumps, valves, web, GUI, etc.

    USB controls on / to pumps and valves on the boiler and storage and heat loads

    Burning Man East, dudes (and babes- especially babes!!!) ! 07/04/09. 7 miles north of Montpeculiar VT. I have already invited the Russian Moto crew, along with some hippies and engineers and families with kids. It's gonna rock, as long as I don't lose my job and house first. To quote Geo Bush II, which I rarely do, "Make the Pie higher!"
  7. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    By thee way, one of you Maine-iacs with the wives with countless siseters (intentional typos) from big catholic families

    send a single childless female sibling of your SO my way,

    especially if she likes the outdoors, is willing to help cut and stack wood, has a fun and smart mind, is a dynamo in bed, and, does not have unresolved issues with her father figure that she needs to work out by treating a man that she cohabits with like crap

    heck, she need not come from Maine

    brains and buxumness are each welcome points, as long as there is a relative abundance of one or the other. bonus for combo!

    hec,k if I can meet a woman with a smart mind who does not treat men like crud, and meets most of the rest of the above, she can be skinny as a rail, and I will adore and cherish her, beyond her wildest imaginings. brains and kindness are harder to find than other aspects of anatomy
  8. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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    Have you been drinking? Just in a rough patch in life? Both?

    I feel for you man! :down:

    But damn your funny! :lol:
  9. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    He's funny, for a lawyer. :) Sorry , the siseters' are all married off in this clan.
  10. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    I agree that the major impediment to these wood gasifiers taking off is lack of qualified installers. Also cost, but long term thinkers can get past that knowing that they will be cutting/splitting/stacking/buying and loading less. We have found a business out of Portland that has sells and has installed a couple hundred of these gasifiers, though just Tarms and Greenwoods. They like the specs of the EKO but haven't touched it due to it not having the UL safety code. The EKO has about every safety code known to the European Union though as well as a TUV code which apparently is a worldwide code and is accepted nationally in the US. Maine recognizes this TUV code, in fact the state of Maine solid fuel licensing board has approved EKO's for the state for all licensed installers. The problem is the few installers there are install what they are comfortable with, and that seems to be the Tarms and outdoor wood boilers. This installer we found might take the install project on with the idea of carrying the EKO for future sales and installs since he just found out it is legal to install in Maine. These gasifiers I think scare the cr@p out of installers. We've had 3 installers with wood boiler experience take one look at the EKO60 ("The Beast") and become scared of the project almost immediately.
  11. trehugr

    trehugr New Member

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    I read this whole thread, and I can't even believe I did that. Man, someones gotta take the bull by the horns and just install this ... beast. Its a simple thing... heat the water... send it where it's gotta go, and make sure it gets back to the boiler in a reasonable amount of time. Need help ? I live in Greenwood, I can be there in less than an hour....
  12. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    good going treehugger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!like your style
  13. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    rough patch- yes, I may get fired for blowing the whistle on a deliberate attempt to divert federal funds for something other than the originally intended purpose

    humor is the main thing, other than retaining my honor by not playing along with such shenanigans, keeping me going. I should also mention good friends, including some the good folks that a I have met here, even though I have not met any of you in person yet

    I may suddenly have the free time I've lacked to complete my boiler install!

    regarding "spirits," I refer you to Tom Waits and the Piano:

    http://www.ripcat.free-online.co.uk/waitshtml/thepianohasbeendrinkingbclyrics.htm
  14. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    Keep your head up Pypyr. You got to be able to live with yourself and know that you made the right choice.

    Treehugger, I do appreciate the offer. I may take you up on it if the installers we have contacted so far, 3, cross your fingers, don't turn down the project. Seriously though, I am no plumber/heating professional, but these aren't much different than an oil boiler except for the fuel source. I think many of the installers, could take on this project and be fine. Like I said, I think they look the "beast" in the eye and poop their pants. The EKO 60 is over 5 feet tall, almost 5 feet deep and about 3 feet wide. These units are bigger and more intimidating than anything a lot of these installers have installed. The manual isn't much help either, the broken English I think scares them even more. I have a good feeling about the few installers we have contacted, especially one, Reliant Energy out of Portland. I am sure he wouldn't mind the advertising. He has avoided the EKO's because he didn't think they could be installed legally in Maine. Since they can, after talking with a licensing board inspector, he seems interested in the project as a test for possibly carrying the EKO units to sell and install in the future. He has apparently installed over 200 of the Tarms and Greenwoods, so he has plenty of experience. But, but if these installers don't pan out, I may take you up on that offer Treehugger.

    I don't know if anyone here has watched the show Mythbusters, but they had an episode recently where they took the safety measures off a 60 gallon hot water tank (pressure release valve and cut off switch) and heated it up. The thing blasted clean through a roof, and proceeded to go up another few hundred feet into the air. The sudden release of pressure removed (for lack of a better word) the walls of the structure they had it in. I guess what I am saying is I would like to avoid a similar situation from happening in my house. :)
  15. rickh1001

    rickh1001 New Member

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    Andrew04039,

    Put in a second, redundant pressure relief valve. That should reduce the chance of such an explosion to near negligible levels. After that, except for perhaps the chimney, you have a conventional hot water installation - except again of course for the storage. Not a huge deal, and certainly nothing that any HVAC professional should be shy about, once they understand the concepts.
  16. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    Probably a good idea to put another pressure release valve in just to be safe.

    The installer that is really interested and who has installed over 200 of these gasifiers, only installs unpressurized heat storage. The cost is obviously more. He claims that you have to keep the water hotter for domestic hot water with the pressurized heat storage tanks, but I don't quite understand the reasoning. Everything I have heard states that pressurized heat storage is more efficient (faster) at heating up the water to temp. My thinking is that if the average temp in the tank is say 130 degrees, and you have 500 gallons, how is that any worse than an unpressurized tank at the same temp? To me, in order to quickly get hot water from the unpressurized tank, you would need hotter water since it seems to me to be less efficient at getting the heat out of the tank. What is more efficient than using he heated water directly. I can understand a few benefits of the unpressurized tanks. Some of the benefits I noticed are that it can be used in conjunction with solar hot water heat, is easier to move, and it would seem like less air (oxygen) would be in the system. But, the problems I have heard about the unpressurized tanks is that the liners are not designed to hold highly heated water for extended periods of time and that they will corrode over time. They are usually more money as well due to all the copper piping you need to distribute the heat. I would think that the pressurized tanks would be more straightforward.
  17. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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    I don't think you are going to see much of a different in efficiency with DHW between pressurized and non. People do this various ways with either coils in the tank or by pumping the storage water through a coil hx in a DHW tank or a side arm or even a flat plate hx. I like coils in the tank because the tank water doesn't have to move and maintains stratification better and there is no heat loss as it is piped through the basement. So long as cold water enters the coil near the bottom stratification should be maintained.
  18. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    Would it be ok if I drop her off on my Russian motorcycle with sidecar.
  19. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    " rough patch- yes, I may get fired for blowing the whistle on a deliberate attempt to divert federal funds for something other than the originally intended purpose "

    Wait just one second you say you're a lawyer yet the above quote sounds like it comes from a decent law abiding citizen ! How can this be. We could use someone like you to oversee the billions going to the bank robbers industry. Now lets throw a big party to celebrate and lets invite thosa nice folks at AIG.
  20. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    So...would there be any problems with piping a propane tank with the pipes on different ends of the tank to aid in stratification. The tank will only be about 3 feet in diameter. I don't foresee a problem with "dead spots" since it won't be that large. I am sure there will be variations in temperature throughout the tank, hopefully not too much, but the idea is to get the heat stored in the tank as much as possible to be retrieved later. Would this be a problem by simply piping the intake and outtake pipes on opposite ends of the tank forcing the water to travel from one end to the other?

    I know people do this. :)

    We are kind of getting off topic (getting installer). I am hoping to convince this guy to install the pressurized tanks when we get them. I need some good pro pressurized arguments.
  21. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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  22. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    Your the man. I appreciate it.
  23. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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    :red: ... nothing like a compliment to boost the old ego! No problem! Good luck!
  24. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    The difference is the type of heat exchanger used.

    In an atmospheric storage tank (we'll use STSS for example numbers), there is usually a 180-foot coil of 3/4" copper for DHW heating. That's about 35 square feet of heat exchange surface area, which can pick up a lot of energy even at a small temperature difference.

    In an indirect water heater, as used with a pressurized tank, the heat exchanger surface area is generally in the 5 to 15 square feet range. So there is a significant difference in DHW performance.

    To do that with a plate heat exchanger, you get into very large units. For example, to match 35 square feet in a typical 5x12" plate heat exchanger, you'd need around 100 plates. Of course, stainless doesn't transfer heat as effectively as copper, so you would actually need more plates than that. So you're talking a multi-thousand-dollar heat exchanger.

    Of course, those big copper coils aren't exactly cheap, either, so when you delete that cost from the tally, you wouldn't pay much extra to go pressurized, even if you were trying to get the same DHW performance.

    Joe
  25. acavanagh

    acavanagh Member

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    Brownian, I thought that the pressurized storage required no heat exchange since you were using the heated water directly. So your saying that with a pressurized heat storage tank, you still need a heat exchanger for the DHW? Right now we have a Burnham 40 gallon water tank in use with the oil boiler. Is this tank acting like a heat exchanger right now with a coil in it. I guess I assumed it was just a storage tank, but it sounds like you are saying you can't use the boiler heated water directly for DHW, is that right?

    Then if that is the case, and there is a heat exchange coil inside the current 40 gallon tank, and the domestic hot water is actually cold water that has been heated through a heat exchange coil within the 40 gallon Burnham storage tank, then I can understand how temps as low as 140 degrees might have a problem getting adequately heated water using the smaller coil to transfer the heat. Am I correct in this line of thought? If that is the case, then my whole heat storage world has been turned upside down. :)
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