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Ecoburn gasification boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by eco5280, Feb 22, 2008.

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  1. eco5280

    eco5280 New Member

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    I don't know if this information exists on the forum, but I'm trying to find information for my friend that has a Ecoburn gasification boiler. He just installed it this fall, the only fault with the system is that he will stoke the chamber full of wood and it won't get him through seven hours of being away from the house. He has to continuously keep starting new fires every time he comes home, another problem that is present is he is getting big fluctuations in temp. either to hot or to cold cause the fire went out. He does have in a parallel with his oil boiler but has the burner shut off. If I could just get some ideas of what we should be looking at to try correct the problem would be great. Thanks guys

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  2. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    What size boiler does he have? What is the heat loss of his house?

    Joe
  3. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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    Loc:
    Lafayette IN -BoilerMakerCountry
    I thought one relatively low tech ways of "rarely" relighting was done by a member named sled mack. He put his boiler on an electric timer. I think he said he would kill the boilers power after 4 hrs. By this time all of the primary burn would have accomplished and only coals would remain. The fans would still work try to extract heat from the coals whereby the combusion wouldn't last as long. 4 hrs can be dangerous if you kill the power too early. 4 hrs works for sled. It may not for your friend.

    Sled is a seasoned burner, if your friend wants to keep his boiler, A55, and family in one piece he will approach this method with caution.
  4. eco5280

    eco5280 New Member

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    Loc:
    upstate NY
    The boiler size is a 150,000 BTU quite big in my eyes for a 2100 sq ft house although he does live on top of a mountain and it can be pretty windy throughout the winter. The oil burner that he has now I would say is about 100,000 BTU's and would heat the house very nicely. The electric timer seems like a good idea, and if the boiler is over sized would a storage tank help solve this problem. Thanks for your ideas
  5. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Why did he get such a large wood boiler?
  6. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
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    Loc:
    eastern ct
    I also have an econoburn boiler 200k btu having the same problems got some good advice from this site go back threw some old threads and you will see some info . Didn't get any ware with the salesmen that I bought the boiler from right from the factory.
    Dont think he's a wood burner but he would make a good used car salesman He sold me . If you ask them about water storage they will say it's not necessary but that is #1 on the to-do list for me Please contact me Im glad to here someone else out there has
    bought an econoburn we can share our miss hap's together
  7. Joe W

    Joe W New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
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    Loc:
    Eastern Ma
    I am new to this forum and recently made one inquiry regarding Econoburn and received 2 responses, spent the last week reviewing all of the post and just returned from the factory in order to do due diligence for my company, which has been in business for 38 years and in the solid fuel business since 1978. I am more than willing to visit the party in Eastern Ct to help him solve his problem on no charge basis.
    You might ask why? The answer quite simply is because I believe in the product, trust the manufacturer and met the sales force, They are not used car salesman. I recently had an issue with a boiler and the sales force passed the ultimate test at 6 pm on a friday evening. They answered the phone , listened to my dilemma and called me back with answers, not lip service, and followed up with the customer on the weekend. The customer is ecstatic with the product and the install. Our commitment is to the customer and we are the distributor in the area. I have purchased 2 EBW 1 mill units and 10 other units of various sizes. If I can be of assistance to anyone in Eastern Mass, Connecticut or Rhode Island, please do not hesitate to email me radiantwizard@yahoo.com thank you
  8. ebbci05

    ebbci05 New Member

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    Loc:
    Northern Mi.
    I bought an econoburn 100,000 btu gasification boiler this winter too. I am having exactly the same problems as you mentioned above. I have a 1500-1800 sq/ft house that the boiler will barely keep up. We are in the process of trying to negotiate a 200,000 btu unit so that I can alleviate the problems. But from reading this it doesn't sound like that might be the best thing. Very Puzzled. I have 512gallon STSS water storage that I can barely use because it has all it can do to heat the house. My fahter-in-law checked the temperature at the boiler and at the house and there was not heat loss. So I don't know where all the heat is going because I have to fill it every 3-4 hours and run it all day and night. I can't hardly believe some of the things I read about how much wood people use and the storage they are heating with only 80,000 btu boilers. I have gone thru 8-10 cord of wood in a month and a half. My boiler is outside in my shop. The company said to insulate the bottom of the boiler which I did and it helped a little. Yesterday was the first day that I got my water storage up to temperature. It was 34 degrees, sunny, and no wind. Today it is blowing and 15 degrees and my water storage is shut off and the boiler is struggling to get up to 175. I would like to talk to anybody about this if they would like.
  9. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    I don't have first-hand experience with the Econoburn, but I think it's safe to say that something is seriously wrong. On the EKO, some of them were shipped with the secondary air inlet closed. No gasification - terrible performance.

    Some folks have tried to burn wood that's too green - also suppresses gasification.

    I don't know if the Econoburn gives you a good way to check secondary combustion. On the EKO, you can open the lower door and see the blowtorch flame coming out of the nozzle.

    I'd try to get a boiler load of really dry wood and see if you're getting strong and steady secondary combustion. If so, see if the dry wood gives you significantly better performance.

    Keep investigating. They should work far better than what you're experiencing.
  10. ebbci05

    ebbci05 New Member

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    Loc:
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    nofossil, I know that something is wrong. I am getting good secondary burn out of it but it don't seem to be transferring it to the water. I too can open the bottom chamber and see the gasification. Once it gets going, it really throws a big torch like flame so I know that it is gasifying OK. The turbulator handle broke and so I can't clean out the chambers in the back. It seems to vent alright, so I don't think that it is plugged but if acts as if the heat just goes past the heat exchanger tubes. I have been burning some oak that wasn't quite as dry as I would like but don't have much of a choice. I had only about 2 cords dry and wasn't really planning on putting a boiler in. But with the prices of fuel oil @ $3 plus I thought it would be a no brainer. Right now I am regreting my decision because of all the trouble I have had. I don't have enough time and can't afford to run home at lunch to fill it all the time. Spent 480-500 on wood for Jan-Feb14. I can just about heat my house with my oil burner for that, and not have to run outside every couple of hours. Should have bought a Garn. My father-in-law has installed some and I have built surrounds for him and have seen how they work. Awesome!! When I bought the boiler I didn't think I would need so much water storage. So with the storage and the boiler could have bought a garn and been a wash. Anyway, don't know what to do. I think a tarm or garn would have been a better choice, especially if there are other people experiencing the same things.
  11. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    The turbulators could be part of your problem. With my eko I exersize them every time I load wood. My wood also isn't the driest so I do build up a small amount of creasote on them that if I didn't exersize them I'm sure would cut down efficency. Also you may be pushing to much air through. On my eko 80 I have the fans adjusted to only about 1/2in to 3/4in on both of them. If I open it up the stack temp goes up and it tends to take longer to raise the water temp.
    Buy a grill thermometer and check your stack temp. It need to be over 200* but should run 300* to 450* durring the burn. If your turbulators are dirty the temp will be higher as also will the temp be higher if you are pushing to much air.
    Hope this helps
    leaddog
  12. ebbci05

    ebbci05 New Member

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    Loc:
    Northern Mi.
    probably a week or two after it was installed, we checked the flue temps with a meter that my dad has(boiler man). We had temps around 380 to about 400 at the most. We also checked the efficiency of it and it was burning around 88% at full burn. I haven't checked the flue temps lately since the turbulators broke so I am not sure what it is running now. I should check it. Also, I was wondering about the water storage. Does it matter if you have the boiler running into the tank first? I have it so it runs thru my manifold that feeds my infloor and two panel rads.(which I love) They have there own thermostat on them and they can crank out the heat if needed:) Anyway, after the water runs thru the manifold it then runs into my water tank and then back to the boiler. I have a loop in the tank for domestic but it isn't hooked up yet. Partly due to the fact that it is busy season for Dad and the boiler isn't keeping up right now. It would seem to me that whether or not you pipe it into the tank first or second that it is still going to require the same amount of heat. Maybe not, but I could use any feedback that you can offer. This site is really useful and helpful, glad that I joined
    I forgot about the fans. I only have one and it is behind a metal protector that is screwed to the boiler in the front between the firebox and the secondary chamber. See picture on this website. Anyway it is adjusted about 1-1 1/2" from the factory. We messed around with that also and found that if it is open too much you loose you efficiency like you said. If I turn it down lower, it doesn't seem to gasify as good and the CO went way up. So I think that we got that set pretty good.
  13. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    Another problem area is you need to keep the boiler water temp up. Gasification works better if the water temp is 160+. Do you have provisision to protect the boiler from cold water return? You WILL have problems if you are returning cold water back to the boiler with bad burns and corrosion from cold water condensation.
    If you are getting clean burns, low stack temp then the btu's are going into the water so then you are under sized. But if you have burnt that many cords and you are burning clean you must have a HUGE load. I have the eko80, (250,000btu) and I've burnt about 6cords all winter and part of that was learning how to run this thing. I don't think I could burn 8cord in six weeks even if I burnt this thing 24/7.
    leaddog
  14. ebbci05

    ebbci05 New Member

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    I don't have any cold water return protection right now. How do you go about this. I do have cold water returning to the boiler quite a bit. Right now, the pump starts circulating when it hits 135 and stops circulating when it gets below 130. Many times it does get below 130 because the wood bridges and burns out or the fire just burns out in 4 hours. When we looked into getting a boiler we did a heat loss on my house. It came in around 55,000-60,000 btus. We also calculated this to double check it with the amount of fuel oil I burned in a month last winter, and it figured out about the same. So that is why we figured that 100,000 btu boiler @ 80% would be plenty and have some left over. Not the case. I am not exactly sure on the size of my oil burner but I know that it isn't over 100000 and it did fine, other than the expense:(
  15. buickpwr

    buickpwr New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    British Columbia Canada
    Sorry about your frustrations.

    I am a wood burner with a Wood Doctor converter.

    My opinion is that if your air flow thru your boiler is roughly correct
    and its gasifying near its rate output, then its other factors causing the oscillation in temps.

    Burn rate is important as it helps with tank storage sizing. not the manufacture's but with your wood
    and the winter cold etc...
    if you don't know the math here it is (always time your charges)

    Use the boilers temp gauge as its consistant etc.

    Your temp change(finish-intial temp) x the pounds of water in your system = btu's average output
    140 to 180 = 40 degree change
    say 600 gallons x 8.4lbs/gal = 5040lbs in your system
    5040lbs x 40 degree change = 201,600 btu's and it took a total of say 130 minutes
    130/60 = 2.167hrs
    201,600/2.167 = 93,032 btu/hr average burn rate

    Weight your wood
    say 75lbs weighted @ 6050btu/lb = 453,750btu's in 75pounds of wood @ 20% moist.
    again your Delta Temp(finished-intial temp) say 600gal x 8.4lbs/gal x 70 degree rise = 352,800 btu absorbed.

    353/454 = 77.7% boiler efficient
    And if you timed the burn cycle you would have an average burn rate @ 77.7% efficiency.

    Storage sizing
    Lets say your firebox size holds 10 cubic ft of wood and we now a cord is 128 cubic ft
    10/128 = 7.8125% of a cord
    0.78125 x 6050 btu/lb x 3680 lbs aprox wt of oak = total full firebox should contain 1,739,375 btu's

    1.739 mbtu x .777 efficiency = 1,351,494 btu available to the water.
    130 degrees to 180 degrees is 50 degree change
    1,351,494 / 50 = 27,029 lbs of water or 3000 gallons

    Reality should say if your firebox burns for 7 hours(which you have tested) at say 93,000 btu/hr* thats 651,000 btu to
    the water
    * you have to measure the actual burn rate.
    651,000/50 degree change = 13,020 lbs of water (13,020/8.4 = 1,550 gallons)

    You could possibly go bigger say closer to 2000 gal and fill the firebox in the evening and turn down your thermostat and
    you could/would heat successfully with a smaller boiler to your btu load, because you will have stored 651,000 btu's during
    the late night firing.
    During the morning and day the boiler is heating the loop.

    Just some Ideas test your burn rate and boiler efficiency and seriously look at storing more water as it would also reduce your
    boiler cycle times/day, increasing the boiler's life(your investment).
    Food for thought; 2000 gallons stored, your house etc at 60,000/hr to cooling, and the water will take 14 hrs to reach 130, and
    conversely it would take 9 hour to reheat the 2000 gallons back to 180. And the cool part is thats 23 hours, Hence firing once
    per day!

    2000g x 8.4lbs/gal = 16,800 lbs; 16,800 x 50 degrees change = 840,000 btu
    840,000 btu / 60,000 btu/hr = 14 hrs (ignoring system heat losses)
    840,000 btu / 93,000 btu/hr = 9 hrs

    Plumbing
    you may have to make plumbing adjustments and ensure that your existing water storage receives the boiler water directly then the loop start to
    supply all your heating appliances from the storage unit.

    And lastly fuel is never the same twice and if stack temps are keep around 320-340 degrees will turn into good fuel... just need
    alittle more of it. lol when stack temps drop you increase efficiency but risk tar buildup and too hot your wasting 3-4% of you load maybe more.

    Good luck and work on getting hard facts you can make smart decisions with.
    doug
  16. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

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    Loc:
    eastern ct
    ANOTHER HAPPY CUSTOMER FROM ECONOBURN. WAS having the same thoughts about my boiler purchasing decision ??????
    I have a 200k btu boiler my house is about 4500SqFt and I'm heating a 450gal hot tub I'm having a lot of temp fluctuations
    with my system I did not burn no way near the amount of wood that you did though I figure about 5-6 cords burning 24/7
    My problem most of the time is I'M making too much heat at all the wrong times . During the day I can control the Temp better
    buy only filling the Boiler 1/4 of the way full and kinda baby sitting it by watching the water temp. Not exactly what I had In mind
    When I bought the boiler . At night is when I have my problems . When I fill the fire box to The manufactures directions no higher
    than the handle the boiler will severely over temp . That's ware I think water storage would come In handy
    As far as my air damper on my fan I fooled around with mine quite a bit found that about 3/4 of an inch works well for me.
    MY burn times at a full charge with all hard wood some split some 6 in or larger dia lasts about 4-6 hrs depending on how cold it is.
    I try to maintain about 70-72 deg most of the time . Ive kinda figured out how to limp my system by
    messing around with my air handlers turning them on an off . I have three of them . What I will do what ever floor we are on I
    will leave the heat on when my family goes to bed we sleep on the second floor so I will turn first floor air handlers off and turn
    second floor on for the night KINDA HOKIE but for right now that how I'm getting buy . The oil man has not been at my house
    yet this winter witch is a good thing last winter I went through a tank a month starting in Nov ending in april and one additional
    some ware in between that was also a 330 gal with aprox a 275 gal fill up per trip Have so much more to say but I gota go talk to you soon One last question you did mention you had to go out to your shop to put wood into your furnace how far away is it and what kinda pex did you run how is it insulated
  17. Buck1200

    Buck1200 Member

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    Loc:
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    I too was going to suggest measuring the output water temp at the boiler versus when it enters the house. I've heard on this site, and as well from people I know with OWB's that saturated insulation on their supply/return piping from groundwater in the trench resulted in huge heat losses.

    Don't blame the boiler just yet. Look for tulips growing over where you buried the lines. ;-)
  18. ebbci05

    ebbci05 New Member

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    Loc:
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    WE did measure the temp of the water directly from the boiler at 171 and came inside and checked the pipes and it read nearly the same maybe a degree or two different. I used 1 1/4 pex that we baried about 3-4' down. My dad has a company that comes in and spray foams the pex. It insulates it about 8" all the way around and puts an air and water tight seal around the pex. I have not seen any snow melting where we buried the line like I have heard on some OWB's. The foam is like "greatstuff" and is the closed cell so it should hold up pretty good. My shed is approx. 70-80' from the house. I am going to wrap the outside of the boiler with fiberglass insulation to see if I am losing heat that way. Hopefully it helps, but the skin of the boiler doesn't get very warm on a burn so I don't think that it is losing that much heat, but I could be wrong. I really appreciate the suggestions and help. I sure am getting tired of messing with it. Just had hopes that it would have worked better. Money is tight and my wife keeps "reminding" me that the money we spent for this system hasn't really paid off. I hate to admit it but right now she is right. When you pay that much for something new I expect it to last longer and perform better than it has. I don't want to sound like all I am doing on this site if complain. So I will keep trying new things and hopefully figure out what the problem is. Well, gotta go and re-insulate my boiler. I will post any changes from that if there are any.
  19. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    How is the system piped? A diagram, plus pipe sizes and pump sizes would be helpful.

    If your heat loss is only 50-60k, as you say in other posts, then you certainly don't need a 200k boiler. The 100k is oversized, as is.

    Joe
  20. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    How did you size the boiler to that house?

    Do you have a heat loss number for the house?

    Joe
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