Boiler efficiency and wood use

Downeast Farmer Posted By Downeast Farmer, Jan 20, 2013 at 11:33 AM

  1. flyingcow

    flyingcow
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    Jun 4, 2008
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    getting off topic, but as a rule you won't see many sleds up here until February, actually closer to school vaca time. Too early, too cold. I've spent quite a few yrs grooming sled trails. Save your time and hours for feb/march, was the general plan.
     
  2. kopeck

    kopeck
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    Mar 24, 2011
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    Did your Solo Innova warm you up when you got in from grooming? See, we're back on topic!

    I usually head up in February and you are right, a bit warmer and usually more snow. Back when I had more time and more funds I would try to get up a couple of times a season, it could be quite cold riding in January. Still, I think such a poor winter last year and a slow start to this year might be keeping some folks at home. I hope it pickup up for you folks up there.

    K
     
  3. heaterman

    heaterman
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    Oct 16, 2007
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    Here's a little real world data.

    4 years ago we did a system overhaul for a customer who had been heating his 3800 sq ft house and DHW with a typical outdoor wood burner. He was having a 4800 sq ft pole barn built (16 foot ceiling) for machinery repair on his farm and wanted a radiant slab to heat it. I had installed the OWB for him in 1995 and it was not going to do the job for both the house and the new construction so I suggested a Garn 2000.
    He typically used between 20-24 face cords of wood per year with the OWB serving the house. (Drafty old farm house) They keep the shop at 60* all winter plus heat the house and DHW with the Garn. His wood consumption actually runs about 18-20 per year now with the Garn even though the load is substantially increased. I would say that if he was just heating the house alone as he did before his wood consumption would be nearly half of what it was with the OWB.
     
  4. Downeast Farmer

    Downeast Farmer
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    Jan 20, 2013
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    So, heaterman, that's 18-20 face cords, or 9 to 10 standard cords for all that load after the Garn, yes?
     
  5. maple1

    maple1
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    18 face cords = 6 real cords.

    Most places, anyway.
     
  6. kopeck

    kopeck
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    Mar 24, 2011
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    A cord (as you probably know) is 4'x4'x8'.

    A face cord is just the face side, so if the pieces are 16" it 16" wide by 4' high by 8 foot long.

    So like maple1 said, just 1/3 of a full cord, in most places.

    K
     
  7. James Reimer

    James Reimer
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    Sep 13, 2012
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    I switched from a conventional OWB smoke dragon to a Portage and Main Optimizer 250 this winter. I would say a 50% wood savings would be a gross exaggeration. I would say I have seen approximately 25% wood savings over previous years so far. I used to burn 15-18 full cords a year so we'll see what the end result is at the end of this burning season.
     
  8. kopeck

    kopeck
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    I don't think you can expect quite a big a gain when your still talking an OWB that gasses, everything I've read about them they use the gassification process more for smoke control then efficiency.

    That being said 25% is still a nice gain, one I wouldn't scoff at!

    K
     
  9. jebatty

    jebatty
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    This does not result from actual measurements of efficiency. My old shop was heated by an OWB, and then I replaced it with the Tarm. My estimate was that the Tarm used about 1/3-1/2 the wood of the OWB based on "look and feel" of the operation. I didn't pay much attention to dry wood with the OWB, although it was not first year green wood. I remember well loading wheel barrows full of wood into the OWB, twice a day, and then struggling to keep the shop semi-comfortable, plus huge amounts of smoke, so much so that on one occasion someone stopped by thinking the place was on fire. Much, much easier with the Tarm and initially open storage with 3 old 175 gallon oil tanks for storage.
     
  10. NHFarmer

    NHFarmer
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    Feb 17, 2008
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    I haven't posted in a while but I couldn't resist. I too live in an old drafty farmhouse and I used a ton of oil and still froze. Tonight it is 8* outside and a comfy 70* as I type this. I do not have much in the way of data but I can tell you I burn about 10 cords per year to heat the house plus hot water all summer. I have a Tarm and has been very easy to run and maintain. My wife starts most of the fires and runs it during the day with no trouble. They really are no more complex than any other wood boiler. The other thing with a gasser is no creosote or smoke from the chimney. That gives me good peace of mind. I wouldn't hesitate to go with a gasser.
     
  11. heaterman

    heaterman
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    Oct 16, 2007
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    That would be correct. He and his boys cut their wood about 24" in length so two "ricks" from a full 4x4x8.
     

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