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Boiler "kits" or plans for an indoor gasifier

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Rick B, Mar 17, 2008.

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  1. Rick B

    Rick B New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
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    Loc:
    Wisconsin
    Hello,

    Due to city code, house design issues, and just a large house on a small lot - I need to place my boiler in the basement of my house. Access to the "boiler room" is limited and the thought of getting a quality 1000 lb or better gasifier down there is daunting. Wood storage on the other hand is good as there are two large coal bins to toss into!

    What suggestions would you share for Kits or plans - or chunk wood gasifiers that I can dismantle and replace or build the refractory.

    I have looked at the Seton kit but I would prefer a multi pass horizontal fire tube boiler. Hoping that doesn't sound silly!

    Last season I burned 2100 therms of NG and the house was cold - I plan on pressurized storage (size yet to be determined) so I can burn the boiler twice a day and I already have primary secondary piping. Most likely that storage will also have to be built in place.

    I plan on replacing the NG boiler with a closed combustion appliance and that frees up the 40 foot tall 6 inch SS lined chimney

    Anything I missed to help?

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Welcome to the Boiler Room, Rick.

    A horizontal multi-pass firetube boiler would be the Garn, but that's way too big for what you are describing. One of our members built one from scratch, but he's a pretty skilled craftsman and fabricator, from what I can see. He's in Wisconsin, too. I'm from Coloma originally.

    As far as a some-assembly-required arrangement, I think you're pretty much limited in selection to a Seton or one of the many other refractory-type boilers based on the Seton design (Greenwood, Greenfire, etc.).

    On the other hand, you probably wouldn't need a huge boiler, so you should look into some of the Euro-style downdraft gasifier alternatives like Tarm, EKO, Econoburn, Biomax, etc. They're not that big and they work very well.

    I guess my bottom line is that no matter what kind you choose, it's going to take some work to get it into your basement, so you might want to plan on getting some professional rigging help if you're concerned about the logistics. The Euro-type units have lots of refractory in them--most of which can be relatively easily removed to cut the weight down. Other than that, they're basically just boiler plate pressure vessels, similar to most other boilers.

    You're also limited by your chimney diameter. Be sure you get a boiler with a 6" exhaust opening. Some 8" models can be reduced, but you want to be sure of that in advance.
  3. Rick B

    Rick B New Member

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    Mar 17, 2008
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    Loc:
    Wisconsin
    Well your right - I cannot get a Garn in the basement. The appear to be atmospheric pressure boilers and substantial in size. Installing as I am - I desire a pressurized vessel. Is a Switzer also that large or more comparable to your EKO? Are the Switzer boilers pressurized? I assume you picked your EKO because you could get it in but once you add cost of storage and extra piping of that - ????

    I haven't found specs on the Switzer - but if I haven't missed the mark they are also horizontal fire tube gasifier design - How big are those???? I read the EKO down fire refractory needs regular replacement? Is that true? if yes is the replacement refractory a large semi annual expense?

    one more please??: 2100 to 2400 therms of seasonal NG use --- would that be replaced by 10 cord of seasoned wood in a gasifier once out of the learning curve?
    - trying to figure a pay back vs how long I will be in this large house based on 1000.00 - 10 cord truck loads. I read Eric you store off site - I have a barn out of town to store in also.
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Switzer, as I understand it, basically makes custom-made boilers in his shop, so it's not the same deal as a regular manufacturer like EKO or Tarm or Garn. But from what I've heard, he can probably build something to meet your needs. You need to call Gary. I think TCaldwell has his number.

    Nothing the size of a Garn (with 1,500+ gallons of storage) is going to be pressurized. At least not at prices comparable to what we're talking about.

    I'm not a numbers guy, but we have plenty around here. You need to figure the potential btu content of the wood, the efficiency of the boiler (probably less than advertised), and then work those numbers around and compare them to the btu content of nat. gas and the efficiency of a gas boiler (probably around 85%). Bear in mind that with wood, you're probably going to have a warmer house, and "free" domestic hot water as part of the deal.

    We have a couple of threads around talking about wood boiler efficiency (specifically gasifiers), and conventional fuels energy conversions.
  5. EForest

    EForest Member

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    Loc:
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    RickB,
    I have the Switzer brochure here and the boilers are all pressurized.
    the sizes listed start at 432gal 114" long 48" tall 30" wide with a 7 cu ft firebox.
    the largest is 1450 gal. You'll need a walk out basement to get one of these in your home.
    All his boiler are fabricated in his shop and pressure tested before delivery.
    The cannot be built on site but if you have a large and long hatch to basement maybe the 432 will fit.
    Gary Switzer 607-243-8689
  6. Rick B

    Rick B New Member

    Joined:
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    Thank you Eric and Ed,

    I feel a lot more comfortable about calling the Switzer folks armed with enough knowledge to not sound "dumb".

    I lurked a lot last night -- Eric ??? How did you cistern storage turn out? Was two inches of insulation enough?
  7. TRACTORMAN

    TRACTORMAN New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
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    Loc:
    NW WI
    Before you go to far you might want to check out codes, i believe Wisconsin requires A.S.M.E. TAG that some boilers don't have.
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