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choosing a wood boiler, advice please, multi building and hot water 10 people.

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by forestdh, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. forestdh

    forestdh New Member

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    We are currently building a monastery in the Virginia mountains. The property is around 200 acres and needless to say contains a lot of standing dead and dead trees. The endless supply of wood for fuel makes heating with wood our preferred method. smaller buildings are/will be equipped with wood stoves but for a bath house and main meeting hall we are proposing radiant heat using a wood boiler. manual J heat loss calculations for the meeting hall2300sf (possible full basement) hover around 30 btu/sf based off of preliminary plans and increasing air infiltration for the volume of traffic. The bath house calculates at 20 BTU/SF and is 1000sf. As well as heat we would like to provide hot water to 5 bathrooms and a general washing area (clothes, dishes, ect.) use should be based on 10 people.

    the type of wood boiler that would suite us is my biggest question.

    qualities we are looking for in a wood burning boiler:

    Burn almost any type of wood. Soft, hard, even some green if possible.

    Ease of use. Many different people over the years will be using the boiler and it would be nice to have few or no controls and an all around simplicity.

    load three times a day or less.

    Low smoke would be nice when not burning green wood.

    I have been looking at all types of boilers from outdoor stokers, gasification, and garn.

    From what I understand:

    Stoker will burn any type of wood inefficiently and smoke a lot other then that it will get the job done.

    Gasification boilers for our BTU load would require a good bit of storage (how much aprox?) And should only use dry seasoned wood.

    other then the price tag the garn seems to be at the top of my list and i have trouble finding fault with it. Can it burn greenwood? do other company's manufacture a garn type boiler?

    We will be building a room to house the unit based on its needs.

    Thanks for any advice this forum seems to be the place for reliable wood boiler info and i appreciate the wealth of knowledge.

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  2. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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  3. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    A few things to consider with the Garn,

    1. Proven durability over 30 year period.

    2. Completely protected by huge volume of water, which again should greatly increase durability.

    Hopefully Jebatty will chime in also. He has done a lot of work where they have 3 different systems, Garn, woodgun and Froling.

    You could search Deep Portage and get started reading until then.


    gg


    gg
  4. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    It's nearly always an advantage to be building new when planning a heating system. At about 3300 sq feet you essentially have a somewhat above average new home in building structure, like for a large family. Research on this forum will provide you with lots of info and answers. Your info so far does not reveal anything new. Greater detail on your physical design, layout, what you mean by radiant, etc. is important to deal better with your questions. Also, what is you planning for solar electric, solar hot air and/or water, and wind power? What about emergency backup plans? A comprehensive plan up-front will be a great advantage in planning any heating system.

    Traditional monasteries taught an ascetic lifestyle as an important way to bring the heart and soul in closer contact with the Creator, and to help keep the mind and brain from being distracted towards worldly things. As a monastery, it would seem to me that environmental integrity would be at the top of your list, which includes model stewardship of natural resources, a conservation focused lifestyle with minimum use of resources, and great respect for all of Creation. This also would include training staff/residents in proper use of the heating and other systems to achieve these goals. I would not be able to recommend any system that uses green wood, and given the depth and breadth of discussion on this forum it appears to me to be anachronistic to even consider use of green wood.
  5. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Yes - and including the 'ability' to 'burn' green wood will not leave you with many suitable choices. And none that are very efficient.
  6. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

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    And insulate the livin cr@p out of it.
  7. fuelfarmer

    fuelfarmer Burning Hunk

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    Take a good look at a wood chip burner. The burner I have will burn a wide range of chips from wet to dry without smoking. Auto ignition with a gas burner reduces the smoke on start up to almost nothing, and the gas burner can run as a back up burner.

    I now buy chips, but a small chipper could be used to make your own chips.

    I am near the mountains of Va. I would be happy to show you the chip burner.
  8. EffectaBoilerUser (USA)

    EffectaBoilerUser (USA) Member

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    From reading you detailed requirements it sounds like a Lambda controlled boiler would do a very good job.

    The Lambda control allows users to select a target CO2% out the chimney and thus will burn all types of seasoned hard and soft wood at the max. efficiency and min. emissions. Based on detailed testing of lambda vs. non lambda controlled boilers, the Lambda control reduces emissions by 400% and efficiency by 6-8%.

    The Lambda control also simplifies the wood burning procedures by eliminating the normal "by pass" lever found in many of the gasifiers available today.

    When used with the properly sized storage the Lambda boiler system will require less than 3 fillings per day!

    Since you are looking to have hot water for showers and general use it sounds like a solar thermal system tied into the storage would also make sense.

    Attached is an image of a rough system design of this type.

    Brian

    Attached Files:

  9. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Does your Lambda burn green wood well?
    mikefrommaine likes this.
  10. This forum needs a dislike button.
    Fred61 likes this.
  11. EffectaBoilerUser (USA)

    EffectaBoilerUser (USA) Member

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    I am not aware on any wood boiler (lambda or non Lambda) that burns green wood well.

    Its pretty tough to burn green wood well when its full of water as any seasoned wood burning user knows.

    Please look at the attachment that our Government has published in Michigan. Sometimes the government can do things right!

    Attached Files:

  12. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Reduces emissions by 400%. Wow. :confused:
    mikefrommaine and ewdudley like this.
  13. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    Pretty cool! First they get rid of all the emissions for the first 100%, then they really up the ante by going 300% past that, or in other words 290% past eleven. But efficiency is reduced by 6%-8%, no free lunch, I suppose.
  14. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    It is great to have you back ewdudley! Your wit and eye for details is something we need around here to keep this place grounded in reality.

    gg
    Taylor Sutherland likes this.
  15. Just clicked on his first link. Apparently the effecta is north America's only condensing wood boiler at 92% efficency. Me i'd rather give up that last bit of heat in exchange for a boiler that won't rot as a result of water pouring down the flue.

    But thats just me.

    Or maybe some of those numbers are exaggerated?
  16. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    The Effecta may very well be a great boiler, and there are some users on here. But this type of bantering and efficiency numbers are rediculous! Seriously, 92% as has been said, is in the condensing range, which is not where we want to be with any wood apliance. I think we all can agree that 80-85% is the ceiling with wood efficiency in the real world. Those who do weighted burns confirm this with many different boiler brands/ designs. When push comes to shove we are all in pretty much the top of the market with gassers. There is no specific boiler that is WORLDS and huge % better than another. Thanks to the guys who keep it real ^^^^^

    TS
  17. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm not aware of any either - but you did say a lambda boiler would do a very good job for his detailed requirements, and one of his requirements was that it would burn some green wood.
  18. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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  19. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    The lambda has nothing to do with bybass? Some boilers use a bypass some do not.
  20. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    The Jetstream will burn green wood . But burning wood with a moisture content of 40% you will burn 70 to 80% more wood to achieve the same amount of heat !
  21. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I think we boiler room regulars would be remiss to poke fun at ANY advertised efficiency numbers from almost all brands.

    I'd wager a guess that the marketing literature for most of our most popular brands (EKO, Tarm, Econoburn, Attack, etc) are advertising mid 90% efficiency numbers in spite of the condensing/non-condensing issues known by most. They aren't dummies - efficiency alone means nothing. Is it combustion efficiency? System efficiency? Heat transfer efficiency? My EKO is probably 99% efficient.....at getting the heat from my boiler to my storage tank.

    Shoot, I think the grand daddy of them all may be Central Boiler:

    http://www.centralboiler.com/e-classic.html

    "Approaches 100% efficiency". Even Effecta Lambda guy isn't as bad as Central Boiler...
  22. wardk

    wardk Member

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    Google Log Boiler I think they burn anything. Burns for days without reloading.
  23. OWB on steroids. I don't know who could think that thing is a good idea.

    But I bet Brian could strap on a couple lambda probes and reduce emissions by 800%
  24. wardk

    wardk Member

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    Didn't think they were that concerned with emissions if they were looking for something to burn green wood.
  25. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    My interest and use of boilers go back to early 80s. The Jetstream and storage has been in use for 30 of those years. For seventeen of those thirty years, work required that we live in another community, so over that period, the house was rented and we got to see seven other familys run the system. In spite of the boiler and storage being very simple to operate, two familys could not operate the system safely.
    Your boiler will likely see many different operators, so I feel a Garn would be better suited to a variety of operators in that it is conventional in lighting and loading.
    The Garn's firebox and storage are all in one, again very simple, and you will never regret having 1,500 or 2,000 gallons of storage.
    On the subject of burning green wood, be committed to burning dry wood as there is nothing to be gained by burning green wood other than a lot of extra work. Four cords of dry wood will produce as much delivered heat as ten cords of wet.

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