1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

biomass 60 review

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by woodsmaster, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,426
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio
    Well I've been burning the biomass for a week or so now and thought I would share my experiance with it. At first I was burning at factory settings and it worked pretty good. I had a
    loose conection on my controller and it shut off a couple of times in mid burn. I had to take the cover off and move it around to get it to come on. Got that fixed now!
    I raised the temp the cirrculater comes on at from 145 to 165 and it made a world of difference. before I did that I was getting a mostly yellow orange flame, now lots of blue and glowing refractory.
    I've found the addvise to split to the size of a card to be good. At first I was trying to get away with a few larger splits, like 2 cards and It didn't burn as well and had more bridging.
    At first I was wondering If I made a good decision to get a gasser, but now I'm pretty sure I made a wise decision.

    Thank you eveyone on Hearth for all the help along the way. J.T.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    60
    Loc:
    VT
    What did you set your primary and secondary air at?

    FWIW- I have also reduced fan speed and found it reduces wood consumption while maintaining temperature.
  3. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,426
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio
    I haven't tuched the prmary or secondary air. The fan shutter is Just slightly open matbe 3/4 " and fan power at 100 but I'm burning to storage.
  4. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    616
    Loc:
    Southern Tenn
    I wish there was some way to create a BioMass Users Group. The EKO users here are far more numerous and I'm often jealous I can't directly draw from their experience.... 3 turns on primary... 4 turns out on secondary, etc. BUT, somehow we BioMass owners need to communicate like they did on the "Fine Tuning EKO" sticky. Yesterday I started re-reading that Fine Tuning sticky and got about half way thru before the BCS game......... WAR EAGLE!! (only because I'll probably be sending tuition money there soon.

    Yesterday it smacked me in the face why I needed to stir and baby sit my boiler at least every hour. I had come to the conclusion that higher fan speeds = more air meant more heat. What dawned on me yesterday because I was constantly blowing holes thru my hot coals was that there is such a thing as too much pressure in the upper chamber! DUH.... So this high velocity, energetic air flow very quickly was creating burn paths to the nozzle, hence bridging, hence me continuously didling/stirring to re-cover the nozzle to get gassification going again. This all dawned on me about 0500 yesterday before the game. I had been running 70% blower speeds and on COLD days recently going to 80 or 90% to keep up or speed up recovery!! Well yeah it did seem that I created more ENERGY and I had a very nice glowing ORANGE flame, but it took a lot more of MY energy to keep the boiler happy. This morning it did have a shut down (FUEL lite) but instead of just seeing ashes, I saw coked wood which after I stirred it immediately started a blue flame.

    Since the controller only has 50-100% fan settings in 10% increments, I closed my fan inlet maybe 1/8" more so now maybe my 60% or 70% setting is equivalent to what my 50% setting was before. Does that make sense? I shifted my available band of pressure (or airflow) down to give me more low end control. Surprisingly rate of recovery (time that it takes for the system to return to idle temps) was about the same as when I was blowing at 80%!!! The rate of increase of exit water temp is a direct correllation to how well wood is being converted into energy. I have not touched my Primary or Secondary "thingies", at this point I don't even know if the BioMass has flaps equivalent to what the EKO guys talk about. I presume they do. BUT, there is much we can glean from that Tuning sticky. Let's see if there's a way for us to more directly share our "tuning lessons learned".

    If you've read my text in the underground sticky, my situation last year is pretty much exactly like the current thread " I hate my !!!!! EKO". Just like Deer is presently heating his dirt under his slab, I was heating the dirt to my house AND learning the system with bad wood trying to keep the house at 62F!! This year is night and day difference but still so much to learn!

    I have much more to share that I've learned about the BioMass 60 last and this season and really want to hear what other users are learning. Not sure how to communicate with each other like the EKO folks do. It might be a simple as a BioMass email distribution list or maybe there's something possible here in the Boiler Room. Some type of Brand User's Group within Hearth would really be great but may get out of control with too many brands. Let's stay in touch... somehow.
  5. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    60
    Loc:
    VT
    Hey TENN!

    I have been adjusting the fan speed down by 10% increments every week over the past three weeks. Going to 60% soon to see how that works. I did notice the recovery time is better than when the fan setting was higher.

    In conjuction with that, I did adjust the primary openings to be smaller and the secondary a tiny bit smaller. While I don't see a blue flame all the time, I do see one consistently. The flame color varies from bright orange to white also. The secondary opening is what really adjusted the gassification color.

    If you remember the old thread we had on fine tuning the Biomax last year, I wrote how Zenon said to adjust the primary and secondary openings for OK wood. I have better wood this year, and adjusted the primary smaller to account for that after the first two months. Wood use is less, temperatures are steadier, and when it goes into fuel mode and I am not home it is rare when I jsut can't put kindling on top and have it flame up without a match.

    One thing I did notice is the flapper worked its way a bit loose and allowed the upper chamber to partially exhaust without going into the lower chamber. A 15 minute fix took care of that.
  6. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    616
    Loc:
    Southern Tenn
    Hey Mike, No I don't remember a BioMass thread from last year. I was fighting so many alligators last year I was just delighted to see 150-160F water temps once in a while in the 09 season. So most of my memories from last season are from survival mode. I'll do a search and try to find that thread.

    So, like I said, I got about half way thru the Fine Tuning sticky and read how the secondary opening is key to the right mixture in the lower chamber. I was running at 60% and it was pretty good, but we've had a spate of cold weather and I upped the blower thinking I'd get more energy not even thinking about going the OTHER way!

    So I'm guessing the primary and secondary opening adjustments are behind the blower door with the two cap screws, correct? Been a long time since I opened that door. I'll open and measure so we can get on the same page when we talk about dimensions.

    Something I've been wondering, how do you check or clean those primary and secondary passages from the blower side. I need to open that blower door and see what's behind. You say reducing the secondary works better?? My wood this year is much better than last but still only about 1 year of seasoning. Getting and staying 2 years ahead creates a challenging storage/stacking problem.

    Either tonight or the next few days I'll measure blower, primary and secondary openings and see if we can learn something together. Looking forward to seeing a blue flame more often. The only time I see it now is at the end of a burn with very coked wood. Good hearing from you.
  7. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,426
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio

    In the manual they suggest cleaning any creosote from the air holes. If you haven't did it yet they may be partially plugged.
  8. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    616
    Loc:
    Southern Tenn
    JT, yeah I clean the inlets for the upper chamber every day with a poker tool. I only have clogging problems with the exits at the ends of the chamber. But I don't think I've ever cleaned air exits for the lower chamber. I need to check into where and how that's done.
  9. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    60
    Loc:
    VT
    As far as I know, the lower chamber takes in outside air to mix with the gassificatio, so it relaly shouldn't be getting anything in it.
    I tried going down to 60% on the fan last night and did not like the results.
    It maintained at a low level, but the temperature did not rise either. Went back to 70 and the results were good.

    Remember this thread Tennman? It shows how to adjust the air.
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/52825/

    FWIW- my openings, with better wood, are half of what is listed in the older post
  10. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    518
    Loc:
    Nebraska
    I have no idea why the default setting is 144 degrees for the pump start with hysterisis of 4. Since I changed my EKO 40 to 165 with band of 5 (ie. on at 165 off at 160) it has made a world of difference as well. No reason at all to set it to run that cold.
  11. hogger

    hogger New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    northern NY
    You guys are on the right track with lowering the pressure of the blowers as it should stop the bridging. As far as the primary and secondary openings: take the top ones (primary openings) and close them down so that they measure about 1/4" open per side, close the bottom (secondary air supply) to about 1/8" open across the bottom of it, then have the pie shaped draft opening in the front open only about 3/4" if you have a 40 and an opening in the blowers of no more than 1/2" each, you will see the performance and burn time will go up as well as see a better flame in the gasification chamber. I know it sounds small, but it's where they work best also, that's where they should have been set at the factory. Once you do that, it will seem like another boiler all together.
    Stay warm! -20* here tonight. With my 40 running, my house is 75* and the shop is 62* and I'm in shorts ;-P

    Attached Files:

  12. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,426
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio
    Thats how mine came and I've left it alone. It works great.
  13. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    616
    Loc:
    Southern Tenn
    Guys, How about starting a thread called "Fine Tuning BioMass". This would serve as a single thread to discuss BioMass specific tuning and issues. I don't think we have enough BioMass users yet for it to become a sticky. But it could grow like the "Fine tuning EKO" thread did. This thread is begining to collect tuning data specific to our systems, but if we start one it will serve much like a BioMass users group. One place for BioMass owners to discuss and tune our systems.

    When I get a break I want to open the middle door and look at my openings. Bought a new draft fan from Zenon. He told me early draft fan blades were too aggressive which limited the bottom end fan settings. When I get the time I'll remove the motor and replace the fan blade. Still running at 50% and much better than ever. But think there's more to be gained.

    Ya'll comment on the "Fine Tuning BioMass" idea. I may just do it and if it doesn't catch on it will die. Thots?
  14. yellowhead

    yellowhead Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    British Columbia
    Anyone out there with a BioMass 25/40 know what certification these units come with? The importer's website states "UL/CSA Approved by Guardian" but I'm having a hard time figuring out which lab this is. I want to make sure I'm onside insurance wise before buying. If someone would be willing to snap a picture of the certification label on their unit it would be very helpful.

    Also, anyone have any experience with the oil/wood combo version of this boiler? Might be interesting as I don't have an existing fossil fuel fired unit for backup heat while away ...

    Thanks.
  15. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,426
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio

    Sounds good, but I don't have much input because I haven't messed with any thing other than the controller and it burns great.
  16. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,426
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio

    Don't Know I'll take a look tomarow and post.
  17. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    616
    Loc:
    Southern Tenn
    J.T, It's not important how much we have to contribute. It's just that as the knowledge accumulates its all in one thread. Some of that has begun in this thread and others. I'll start it after I get the chance to measure where my opening settings are to start the discussion including inputs from Zenon.
  18. hogger

    hogger New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    northern NY
    A UL certification is a UL certification. Your insurance company will/should recognize it as such... anyways, after googling it, I come up with 2 locations:
    Guardian Fire Testing Laboratories
    474 Hinman Ave.
    Buffalo, NY 14216
    Tel: 716-877-2760
    Fax: 716-835-5682
    R. Joseph Pearson
    gftli@earthlink.net
    http://www.firetesting.com

    and:
    GUARDIAN FIRE TESTING LABORATORIES
    15 Wenonah Ter.
    Tonawanda , NY 14150
    I'll include a copy of the UL certification for you here.

    The combo units are great running units with a completely seperate chamber for the fuel and for the wood.
    When ordering the gas model, just specify either LP or Natural. All the wood settings are the same as any normal Biomass boiler in that respect. The nicest part is being able to use one chimney and the fossil fuel automatically taking over when the wood has been exhausted.
    Also, for those trying to figure out how to adjust the openings for the primary and secondaries... just use a popsicle stick. Two sticks thick for the primaries and one stick thick for the secondaries.
    Each system needs to be fine tuned for each application. Weed dryness makes a great deal of difference when trying to set the initial air setting on the blower of the pie opening. The higher the moisture content the larger the opening. You will find yourself changing the air opening during the winter months as your wood continues to dry. You'll also fing that wood that sets next to the boiler is dryer than it was when you brought it in. I read on another thread where a gentleman was ready to toss his boiler out because he couldn't get it to burn worth a darn. He spent probably upwards of $15,000 on his system with storage and couldn't figure out how to get ahead on his wood supply to burn anything other than green wood that he cut last week. Willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater I guess. Perhaps a couple of thousand saved from someplece else and he would be able to plan ahead and get a year of two ahead on his wood supply. Dry wood is the key, dry wood is the key, dry wood is the key!!.... Can't stress it enough!
    On another note, if you're changing the temps that the pump comes on, remember to change the temp setting where the pump shuts off when the wood runs out. The factory setting is for the pump to start up @ 144* and for it to shut off at 4* lower. The factory intends for this to be @ 140*. If you don't change this setback and change the pump start up temp setting to 165*.... and the pump will be shutting off @ 161*. You probably don't want that. You can change the temp setting for pump shut down easily. I would suggest shutting the pump down @ 140*, although the nature of the central heating system you have, along with it's temperature requirements for heating is going to vary greatly depending on whether you have a radiator, baseboard fin tube system, heat exchanger in a hot air system, or a radiant system (not to mention a storage system which changes the nature of the beast entirely!) all serve to delegate the temps best for any particular system. Just change the parameter from the factory set "Ph 4" to the degree of setback you want. If you have a set point pump launch of 165* and desire pump to shut off at 140* you need to change it to "Ph 25" which is 25* less than the launch temp of 165*.
    At least the temps broke for now and it's a balmy 26*! I can wear shorts outside now! Ah.... good camping weather anyways..... ;-)

    Attached Files:

  19. yellowhead

    yellowhead Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    British Columbia
    Thanks for the ceritification information. Presumably the combo units have been certified too; I'll check with Guardian but since they are basically the same as the equivalently sized wood only unit it would make sense.
  20. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    60
    Loc:
    VT
    I disagree with your settings. I would try to keep the return temperature well above 140 to avoid thermal shock issues, and with the cold water coming in on startup or with a sudden heavy heat load, the boiler can get below 140. I would suggest having the pump shut off temperature up near 150.

    I like the popsicle stick idea!
  21. looker7700

    looker7700 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    West Central Ohio
    I am considering a Biomass boiler for a 2900 ft home in west ohio - can you give me some advise on what brand or size
    I have looked at EKO Econoburn and Attack and Biomass
    Have a hot water propane furnace now
    Any help would be a blessing - phone number for advise ?

    Thanks

    Tom
  22. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,426
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio
    The first place to start is with a heat loss calculation. You can find free software by googleing it or there's some links on this sight on other threads. Then figure about 80% output of
    boiler rating. you may want to slightly under size and use some supplemental heat on the coldest days to avoid idling or if adding storage over size a little bit. I'm not a pro
    but if you want to private message me I'll give you my number and I'll try to help.
  23. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    616
    Loc:
    Southern Tenn
    Our boiler uses the ductwork of the first floor propane furnace. We have a heat pump for the upstairs which we've not used for heat for two years now. Our downstairs is roughly 3,000 sf that we keep at 68F and then the upstairs is what it is from the heat rising (probably about 64-66F). I seriously doubt your home is as inefficient as ours. Just a datapoint that the 60 class is working for us. Because I find starting a new fire the least enjoyable part of the process we keep it going with a decent coal bed essentially all the time. So my mind is not made up regarding storage for our application and where we live. A 40 class boiler would be too small for our home and since we don't have storage the large primary chamber of the 60 is about perfect. I can highly recommend the BioMass. WM is right. Heat loss is a great place to start. I used the output of my existing propane furnace as the starting point for the boiler selection then basically doubled that taking into account a 60-80% reduced boiler output as advertised due to crappy wood and other factors. It worked. Enjoy.
  24. Trex83

    Trex83 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    45
    Loc:
    Far Eastern Ontario, Canada
    edit - move the post to Fine Tuning BioMass

Share This Page