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Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by woodywoodchucker, Jan 14, 2012.
Is the biomass 60 an inside or outside blr.?
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It's an inside boiler, but I have it in a shed.
And I guess thats the piont Im trying to make. Im fially clossing in on the loose ends on my house and will have time to get a year ahead on my wood collecting.I have had to split some wood this season and it burn so much better.This coming year Ill have it all split if over 6'' and in a wood shed.Then Ill know the difference.[/quote]
Woody, that's my splitting rules as well with my gasser (Wood Gun). I cut it all at 26" and split in half at about 5-6 inch, quarter them up above that up to about 12". I just now cleaned (weekly) it and it takes 10 min. and I do it when it is in between cycles (hot, powere off) and now I just heard it fire back up. I don't have storage and it prolly functions similar to yours. One of the advantages that I like is that I just did that cleaning in my underware and slip on crocks. (I had just come in from being outside all day with all my layers) and tonight I'll load it in the same outfit! Try out that dry wood thing, it seems to have caught on here!
And if you don't mind burning some "junk" look me up and I'll give you all the Basswood that you want!
I think were on the same page as far is wood prep goes. I do like going out in my Skivies and boots to fuel my owb. Let you know your alive. My wife get a kick out of it. Being in my 50s you got to get them looking some how. And please, loose the crocks.
While it's true that storage might help out the efficiency a tad for any boiler, there are a lot more things that enter the equation than merely not idling your burner. It's difficult to achieve any decent numbers when the stack temps from the boiler are running 600-800*+ like they do on a typical OWB of any kind.
I did install a restrictor baffle in the stack that CB recommends for these boilers in high atl. It just makes sence that the 5036 boiler could and should flow less air than the the 6048. That thing holds 400 gals compared to 200. Of course I called CB for some imfo and left many messages and never heard back.
In different forums its been rumered that CB is behind the seens fueling the fire for alot of the epa regulations. Wanting to force all to go gasser. I have been told that the classic is all done this year.
i know this answer wont be to popular on this site, but i went with and empyer pro200 gasser...my neighbor has a reg. empyer that he runs and we burn the same amount of wood, only thing is my house is 1100sq more than his. I looked heavly at whether to put in an indoor model with storage or to run with an outdoor unit...boy am i glad i went with an outdoor unit. as for splittin ya i might burn 4 to 5 more cord than and indoor model but processing time is bout that same...lol 4 cord of wood split down to toothpick size or my 8 cord in 24" length and as heavy and i can throw in there...processing time is close to the same. plus your not movin the splits 2 or 3 times like some do when there taking it down into there basement. as for install, not sure what a typical install costs with storage and all that but mine was easy one weekend and i was done and up and running. but whether indoor or outdoor model i think everyones in agreence gasser is the way to go...specially with regulations on stack height and them cracking down on tradional owb units....just throwin my 2 cents worth in.....Hoogie...
I voted yes, and think there is not much doubt a gasser is better in or out. I have nothing against OWBs, just don't like the old dirty ones. My neighbour has one, it doesn't bug me a lot (we live in the middle of nowhere anyway, and my smoke blows his way sometimes too), but driving by ones in urban setting that are blanketing their neighbourhoods with haze is another story. I don't see much difference between using a gassing OWB, and an Indoor one in a shed/garage - no doubt they each have their appeals, as we have read here.
Forget the stars . . . stick with the basics.
Get the best quality wood you can.
Split it small and leave it in the wind/sun as long as you can.
If you normally burn 10 cord a year, go get your ten cord. Let the CB go cold it's an easy winter anyway. Next season you'll have two years worth of wood waiting. Each succesive year get 5 cord of wood.
You decide how to spend the extra time.
split it small spend 3x longer runnin the splitter and waistin gas at 3.60 a gallon, then stack it and then in cold or rainy weather lug it down stairs sweep up what mess ya made, miz well lug your ashes up the stairs while your down there to make it worth your while sweep again because there was no forthought on taking the ashes up...lol and make dang sure your stars are aligned so ya might have all your tweeking right on the inside model to maker run good. from what i see a lot less time involed in the out side gasser....but there again just my 2 cents worth...i'm not sure BTUs has ever said a good thing about anything thats outdoors burnin wood...course there again if i had to pay for wood or even have to go find it...it might be a different story...i just wake up and its in the yard drop off...lol
After all the fuss and screaming about the smoke issue, I was amused/amazed with the amount of smoke that we got after insalling a CB Classic 4036 at my ex's place. Hardly any. It was a complete non-issue. Less smoke than my indoor stove here does, really. Efficiency was not that big an issue for use either, as she has 100+ acres of huge trees there, and we had an unlimited amount of wood. The unit paid for itself in 4 years. The placement allowed for what little smoke there was to drift from the OWB down a ravine and into a non-populated wooded area. The real saver for us was the fact that it burned green wood, wet wood, pithy wood, bug-riddled rotten wood, and nicely seasoned wood. The second year we got hit with a cold winter and we came up short on wood in February, so I started cutting standing snags and driftwood that came down stream that was deposited on the property by floods. That area is in a rain forest, and some summers (like the last one here in the PWN) there was no summer at all and wood did not season well. So having a furnace that burned anything was a saver for us. We had all th hot water and house heat that we needed, and then some. It was the smallest unit that they had at the time, and it was oversized by 2x in design by me. Larger newer house with a lot of glass... and skylights. Hydronic floor radiant heating, and hot water. All the hot water we wanted, all seaseon long. We had a solar water heater in summer months.
These classic OWB units are no longer allowed to be sold with houses here in Oregon, like pre-EPA wood stoves. They can be used until the houses are sold though. CB has newer EPA Phase II stoves now, and were they available then, we would likely have gotten one. But the fact is that the old smokers were and are not all smokers. We burned mainly seasoned oak, maple, doug fir and madrone. But we also burned a lot of wet, pithy/buggy, green and not so great wood that otherwise would not be burnable in a newer EPA unit. I do not know how someone managed to burn up an OWB like this one. I had that thing shooting flames 10 feet out of the top in an overfire situation when the damper controller failed. It boiled over and that was it. The steam took the heat away and she settled right down again. Another non-issue for us. It burned huge unsplit logs, which I loved. No need for a splitter or cutting puny 16 inch length logs.
In the end I much preferred heating the house burning in an OWB, even a classic smoke dragon OWB. The wood, smoke, and fire are all outside. Burning inside is a PITA. Smokes and dusts up the house, have to cut wood into small sizes, have to drag all the wood inside the house and the ashes out all the time, yadda yadda. EPA OWBs are too expensive for me to consider here though, so I have to replace my old pre-EPA Earth Stove 'Smoke Dragon' with an EPA model like an Englander 30 or something similar. Even though I live in a very rural non-DEQ air zone, I am subject to urban dominated laws passed in a valley to the west, and states like WA to the north that are forcing changes.
Why would you type a statement like this without putting any thought or research into it first hand? Are you trying to convince people that ALL OWB's are close to 0% efficiency?
An 800* burn chamber with a 800* stack temperature would translate into close to 0%, right? Please enlighten us, Great One!
I have a hard time believing that a fellow Michigander could make such an absurd remark.
So what is a typical OWB stack temp?
With all due respect, Heaterman knows exceedingly more than most here or anywhere else regarding the subject.
The data is out there regarding efficiencies(by ind labs, not bought by the tester), but basic Laws of Thermodynamics and pyrolysis are the factoring element.
Regarding OWB stack temps...there is a HUGE difference in PM Opt250 stack temps and average OWBS, but I can tell you I have seen "fried" flue pipe on OWBs(namely my brother in law's) and that needs some serious stack temps and the occasional fire.
ON the OP's subject, I think in the end everyone's situation is varying on personal criteria/preferences and individual parameters of install.
a) the Portage and Main Opt250 (IMHO) stands heads and shoulders above all OWBs( stand alone, no storage)gassers. I extensively researched it and was thoroughly impressed and was seriously, very seriously considering it.
b)The Garn is a beast all in it's own class, but it is not an outdoor unit in the true sense of the word and was sold on it.
In my case, in the end I could not run Underground lines for a couple of serious reasons and the expense of a Shed was also prohibitive.
So both these options were factually eliminated, much to my dismay.
c) Indoor Gassers, need some more "diplomacy" in handling, no doubt, but I have thus far found my selection to be VERY EASY to operate with significantly less wood than anticipated and the way I have set up my wood supply(still altering my supply line), is no problem. Cleaning wise...very easy thus far and every 3 weeks or so.
I was never going to throw "bull chunks" of logs in there, even with the P&M, since there it is not recommended as well.
My splits vary for 18"-20" iin length and from 4"-7" width at bark and MC 10-20%.
My brother in law runs an OWB(not a cheap brand) and burns same year splits(12" width) and goes through 11-13 cords a year, with 3-5 times a day feeds(he heats 2,800sq ft with average glass, HW baseboard & DHW.
I heat 2,950 sq ft with lots of tall glass(All radiant & DHW) and looks like 5-6 cords for the year(10-1-11 to date 2.75 cords).
I fire:15f and below twice a day(70% firebox full- 6.5 cb ft) and above 15f once a day or above 25f every 36 hours or so.
His system cost was 13,000, 4 years ago(he has replaced the flue pipe, gaskets and grate once already at an additional cost) and the door is going now.
My system cost me 20,000 this summer(thank God for HELOC). We will see what the future expense will be, but I expect a much longer life based on others' documented experiences form indoor boilers..
So like I said earlier, it is a personal choice based on individual criteria , so "better than" is not always equivalent across the board.
What is key though is the efficiency and scientific principles inherent in the unit of choice. Shorts cuts and assumption in that facet of selection are not wise in my estimate. Ie, for me at least, a boiler that sits outside rusting and rotting and returns a life span of 6-8 years on the investment is far outperformed financially by a unit that will last upwards of 10-12 years. Prorating the Oil/LP future increases in original purchase price only exacerbates said point.
To each his own, but in closing and to come full circle, I think Heatermans' statements are consistently in the upper echelon of "factuality".
My Testo doesn't lie and it's not rocket science I just call 'em as the readout indicates.
Not picking a fight just stating facts.
And the facts are these. I have been in the heating/boiler business for the better part of the last three decades working on (and in) boilers of all sizes, types and fuels so as far as thought and research go, I think I have "paid my dues". The statement I made is not an off the cuff remark but rather, it is based on observation and testing of literally dozens of makes and models of wood boilers, both indoor and outdoor type. I have yet to see ANY outdoor wood burner crack 60% on my combustion analyzer and most are 40% or less. Some have actually tested in the high 20's.
You have to realize that there are two things that go into an efficient heating unit. Combustion efficiency and then thermal efficiency. Lot's of OWB's do halfway decent on the combustion side once they get rocking but the thermal or heat transfer side is woeful on most. This is the nature of the beast because you cannot idle a fire in a unit which has good heat transfer capability and not expect it to turn into a solid mass of creosote and tar.
With all the respect that's due to you,Scott,"the upper echelon of factuality"? Really? 600-800* stack temperatures "on a typical OWB of any kind"? I will throw the proverbial ball back in your court. You need to provide information from an accredited independent test lab that details average stack temperatures from any major OWB manufacturer in the "600-800*" degree range for an 8(eight) hour burn. Good luck with that one!
I'm sure that you will be able to provide accurate statistics from an accredited agency that quantify the average lifespan of the typical OWB that "sits outside rusting and rotting and returns a lifespan of 6-8 years" is actually 6-8 years.
You, Heaterman, and myself are on the same page where our intentions are concerned. The way we relay our message to others needs not be offensive. We will never convince persons who are considering heating their homes with a renewable resource that our way is better if we belittle their monetarily based decisions. You appear to be an intelligent individual, and I'm sure you can comprehend the logistics involved with my reply's to some posts here.
We are all in this together-so let's all keep that in mind.
Hmm... I'll expound on the OP's original post by asking "Is there a way I can make a standard OWB perform better". Even though I don't have one nor ever did, I would be interested to see the hows, why's, and if's of what could possibly done to improve upon the system I had.
1.) Would smaller more frequent loads be an improvement?
2.) Dryer wood seems to make sense, will I save 1.5 times the amount of wood I burn if I do season it? More or less?
3.) Could adding storage improve upon the idling aspect (smouldering) to improve the overall efficiency of the system, or is it not worth it?
4.) How can I make what I have better?
That's just me though, that's how I tick.
I have two neighbors. One has a sauna stove. One has a standard OWB. I wish that I lived closer to the OWB neighbor as he burns responsibly, the other nut with the sauna stove...well lets just say I wish he would come on here and ask some advice.
Another interesting thread. Classic vs any gasser. The poll #s are an indicator to the answer, at the very least. With some of the discussion in this thread, I guess another relavent poll would be this. Dry wood vs wet wood? If someone started that poll, it would be interesting to see the numbers on that as well. Would some argue that because it is a little less work, burning wet or less seasoned wood is the way to go. Like I said in my other reply. Not bashing OWBs. I can burn wet wood in my indoor Gasser as well. But I don't. Just like I didn't in my wood stove when I heated with that. Even years when I could not get ahead, if you get your wood split and stacked in the spring you will be much better off burning in any unit. (Depending on type of wood of course.) I have read here that some folks like OWBs because they can put anything in them. With just a little preperation, there is no need to burn wet wood. I am surprised that so many people justify burning wet, or poorly seasoned wood because ....... (You come up with reason and insert here.) They put fires out with water. Don't they? No, wait, maybe I just imagined that. :lol: Silly old me. Just because you can, does not mean you should. Hey, who's going to get that poll going. ;-)
The Garn I went to see was burning freshly felled wood, they wondered why they were using much more than they expected.
The only CB I really have knowledge of is a 2300, admittedly that burns pretty much 24/7. There wood comes in trunk lengths and is blocked and fed within a few weeks. it does produce a lot less smoke than the nearby smokies.
From my investigation you can burn wet wood efficiently, but it needs to be chipped. Which is impractical for me.
If you have no neighbours and plenty of wood, well I guess it does not matter. For my situation I do not have that many neighbours, but I do not want to smoke out my building or process 100 cords plus.
FWIW: Martyinmi. I own an standard OWB (smoke dragon) anytime I care to I can light a piece of wood simply but putting it on a pike pole & holding it over the stack while the unit is running.
I know it's a real kick in the pants coming face to face with reality AFTER one has believed all the salesman snake oil stuff & plunked down the cash for an OWB. Kinda like someone telling you your new baby is ugly.
That's why I am here, needed to learn so I don't get burned twice.
FYI flashpoint on spruce dried to 19% is 500*F. What I take from my woodpile is quite likely way more MC than that, probably close to double. So at best my stack temp is north of 500*F probably a long way north.
Bottom line the folks here have been a tremendous help, they have taught me alot about how to burn with a high level of eff in a very short time. Something the OWB sellers don't do for obvious reasons.
Another bottom line, there is no getting around the laws of physics or thermodynamics. No matter how much we may not like it they do apply.
That reminds me when I talked to the local OWB Guy, now I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination but I like to have a little bit of knowledge to check whether the person I am talking to knows their onions.
I got the glazed Rabbit eyes in the headlights look.
I have been heating with wood for 8 yrs now using a "the furnace works" boiler. Efficiency well with a water temp of 190 leaving the unit the exhaust before the chimney is about 120 deg. F. I have noticed a big difference between green and seasoned wood, even if the wood is seasoned and damp I get heat much faster than green wood, but dry one year seasoned seems to be optimal.Once wood has dry rotted it seems to give less heat. I just bought a clean older Harman 160 I will be able to get domestic hot water with out making a contraption. My TFW boiler will heat my shop. T Hinman
Well, from a degreed engineer who knows what the term thermodynamics means (in industry it refers to 'marketing hot air', but that is a reply to another post here)... and someone that designed an OWB system to replace a VERY spendy all electric hydronic floor heating system (and had few choices as the house was already built)... and actually used that system for 3 years before getting divorced (long sad tale)...
1) Smaller loads are more efficient, yes. One issue with OWBs is that they cook wood when they are in idle mode. The wood gasses escape during that time, leaving charcoal. You make a lot of charcoal fully loading OWBs. The more wood that is in there, the more wood gasses escape unburned. Smaller loads burn more wood gasses and cook less, but of course they require more attention and a steady supply of fresh wood. I filled the OWB about 1/3 full at a time, 3-4 times a day. The ex would complain if I did not fill it enough at night because she would have to load it in the morning and re-start the fire. I wanted more efficiency, she wanted more convenience.
2) Drier wood is always better as far as heating efficiency goes, in an OWB, stove or gassifier. Any water takes up a lot of heat energy when the water turns to steam. While some steam energy is transfered to the metal sides and into the water in the boiler, and later into whatever you are heating, most of the steam energy escapes up the flue. Also when you burn wet wood you tend to create more creosote that sticks to the sides of the boiler, and that gets in the way of the heat transfer from the firebox into the metal and water in the boiler. The fraction of wood saved burning dry wood over green would depend on how green it is. If you cut and burn live tree green wood, you are likely going to burn 3x the amount of wood than if it were fully dried. Maybe more, it would depend on the species and age of the tree. That is if you can keep it burning. The one winter we burned a ton of wet and not so dry wood we tried to get as much dry wood as possible... and dry it as much as possible before burning it. Burning green live grand fir was a waste of time. That stuff has a lot of water and not a lot of heat value (it is rather light when dry).
3) Not sure what you mean by adding storage. If you mean a larger firebox, that would just make them more inefficient charcoal makers. Smolder mode is when OWBs lose the most efficiency. When they are burning (damper open) they are the most efficient. If you mean adding water storage then you are making more of a typical gassifier out of them, but you would smolder more between burns. Hard to say, but either design does not sound that great. In my view, the smallest OWB that sufficiently does the job would likely be the most efficient. Meaning the smallest firebox and smallest storage tank that can deal with the demand. In an OWB... classic system. If you want a system that burns hot and fast and stores the heat in a boiler, get a gassifier that will likely be way more efficient. The same with a Russian Fireplace, where you build a small fast burning hot fire and store the heat in bricks. The key to those systems are smaller hot and complete wood burns.
4) All you can do is get the most out of the system that was designed. Burn dry hardwood. Do not fill the OWB if possible. Bury the PEX lines deep and insulate them well. I also kept the water temp at the lowest level recommended by CB. That is debatable though. Do not waste hot water and insulate your house well, calk drafts, and use common sense.
Jerk neighbors? I will trade you for mine. The tree farm next door here burns wet live trees in May.... all May. We are at war now. He comes by the tree farm and I toss cottonwood into my stove.
Stihlhead I love the avatar. I haven't thought of spy vs spy for ages. !!
As for your opening statement alluding to the industry use of "thermodynamics", I could not agree more. I shake my head in amazement when I hear some of the claims made be the "experts" at trade shows and fairs. I tour all the booths and talk to the factory or dealer guys just for the sheer entertainment value. I think the best line I ever heard was when a prospect asked the factory guy about heat loss from the exposed supports under their OWB and he replied that they used non-conductive steel so there was no heat loss.
Your assessment hits the nail on the head but unfortunately many people want to believe that they are purchasing a minor miracle to place in their back yard.
After all the talk on flue temps...I checked the manual, on my empyer pro200 gasser exhaust temps are right aroud 350 degrees...now that's a gasser mind you so nowhere near the 5-600 dregees previously stated...not sure if they were talkin bout tradional owb temps or not...but it got me courious none the less