1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

EKO 40 1500 gallon Storage project

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Ryedale, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. Ryedale

    Ryedale Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Southwest Michigan
    Boiler Project Update.

    I think the Valentines Day startup is now a fantasy.

    I have been swamped with my little side business consuming most my weekends and evenings.

    I was able to get some work done however this weekend when caught up. The "boiler room" a 16 x 15 room inside my pole barn will house the tank and the EKO.

    Heres kind of a bad angle shot of the room..... Basic 2x4 construction, 2x6 ceiling joists, leaving a nice loft above for storage. My barn has an inside wall height of 12 feet, and the new boiler room will have an 8 foot inside ceiling, leaving about 40 inches of space above to stash light weight things. Probably run a small beam to support the roof inside the boiler room.

    The Welder called today, and using my Tig, he was able to weld in the 1" SS couplings, which I will be able to attach outer and inner threaded fittings, nipples, unions etc to get the coils hooked up.

    This guy is a wizzard with the TIG torch. Look at his beautiful welds. He's a career welder at the plant, so this was quite easy for him. If I had done it I probably wouldnt publish the pics.
    We opted to remove and patch the bottom fitting. If I ever need to remove all the water I can just suck it out the top with a Wilden pump. I can still gravity drain it down to the bottom foot or so in the tank. Hoping I wont have to do this often.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,422
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    Quite the project. I'm ashamed to look at mine now :-(
  3. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    438
    Top notch! Glad to hear you are busy in a side business in Michigan. If you don't mind me asking, what is it?
  4. Ryedale

    Ryedale Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Southwest Michigan
    Hey.... not to worry..It may look pretty but it is also taking years to complete, (mostly due to lack of dedicated hours to the project).

    I've learned with my normal "pre-engineering", I have a very difficult time starting things, and this project seems to have so many directions it seemed insurmountable in my head. My buddy prompted me to just pick one thing and start going forward one piece at a time. I chose the tank, and hoping the rest will seem easier after this is done.
  5. Ryedale

    Ryedale Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Southwest Michigan
    Don't want to get in trouble for advertising so I'll just link it.


    www.pennysorter.com


    It's very busy in the winter months when people are holed up and looking through their coins. I've sold over 70 machines since the first of November, but only 3 in the entire month of September. It's cyclical with the price of copper too. People are either hoarding the pennies, or reselling them on Ebay or to private collectors. So I'm pretty happy to have completed as much on the boiler as I have.
    If anybody wants to discuss it please PM me.

    Thanks
    Andy
  6. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    438
    next step is buy eight ball valves & nipples. can't go wrong with to many valves. Have you ever had a chain that was to long, bet you have had a few that were to short!! "just saying"
  7. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,422
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    I come from aerospace, where part of the design philosophy is that a part that you don't have can't fail.

    When I did my original plumbing, a wise old plumber advised me to put gate valves on either side of all my pumps and zone valves to that they could be isolated and replaced. Ball valves seem a lot nicer, so I used them for the same purpose in some places.

    Here's the problem: if any gate valve weeps a bit, tightening the packing nut solves it. The ball valves that I have can't be repaired - when they leak, they have to be replaced. That's a big headache, especially in a part that was installed for the purpose of isolating other components.
  8. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Messages:
    856
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Ball valves last practically forever though, so replacement isn't much of an issue. Sure, 80 years down the road it may be a problem, but the odds of that current heating system still being in use are low at that point.
  9. Ryedale

    Ryedale Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Southwest Michigan
    Good points on the valves. I have seen both fail one way or another. Working with water softening equipment, i've found the gates can get so corroded, you can't budge them without the zinc handles breaking off.
    At work, ball valves often leak by, but i've had gates do the same. Bad deal with exotic chemicals in the lines at my workplace. I think mostly I'll be looking for full port. Thanks for the ideas either way.
    See this is why I can't ever get anything done, too many decisions and contingencies before actually turning a wrench. :)
  10. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    438
    nofossil -It looks like a rocket, but I don't think it is. I have installed maybe 300 ball valves in the last few years with no problems. All valves have a weep allowance but most smaller ones don't leak at all, either way its better then no valve.
  11. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,671
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    I have specified and installed thousands of valves over the years when I worked as an engineer for a pulp and papermill. In a 24 hour operation, there is a high premium on being able to fix things "on the run" and a lot of the chemical systems are toxic or at least a PITA to drain and clean. I dont think I ever had a ball valve leak unless it was installed improperly. On the otherhand, it was expected that gate valves and butterfly valves would leak and a lot of them got damaged when people used the proverbial bigger wrench to try to get them to seal. I was impressed with high end plug valves which could be adjusted for wear but they were quite expensive. I had mixed luck with three piece ball valves, generally used on welded piping. They did work but reassembling them in the small sizes required manipulating a very tiny floppy o ring or gasket that if misinstalled had to be replaced. When I used three piece valves, I always had to buy spares that ended up being canniballized. The valves I avoided if at all possible were globe valves unless I needed throttling capability.
  12. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    438
    Ever put a globe valve in backwards, it's really cool the rubber seat un screws and then goes some where and plugs up the hardest thing to repair. Been there done that!!
  13. DaveBP

    DaveBP Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,068
    Loc:
    SW Maine
    I think a lot of soldered valve problems with DIYers, whatever the type of valve, come from too much heat used in the soldering process. I've seen some pro jobs that looked pretty scorched, too. Modern teflon seals might make it less common these days.
  14. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    486
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I've had 2 failed ball valves in the last couple of years, one 1" had a casting defect, the other 1/2" leaked around the packing by the handle. Wouldn't go back to gate valves though!
  15. huffdawg

    huffdawg Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,070
    Loc:
    British Columbia Canada
    We have well over 200 ball valves on our ship being used on all sorts of applications fuel ,sewage ,water ,hydraulics you name it. I cant remember having one bad one in the last 3 years. I my opinion they are very reliable .
  16. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    438
    Bet I have close to a hundred on my system, maybe I'll count them and see!
  17. in hot water

    in hot water New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    895
    Loc:
    SW Missouri
    A good quality ball valve will have a double o-ring on the shaft and a packing gland and nut to tighten. You can spend a few bucks for a low quality import or over 30 bucks for a special purpose well built valve.

    Usually valves that fail, regardless of the type, failed from being gummed up by bad fluid quality inside. Then a big wrench is used and something has to give, usually the stem shaft on ball valves Also overheating them at install can distort the seat the ball rotates in, making them impossible to turn.

    hr
  18. Ryedale

    Ryedale Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Southwest Michigan
    Well I figured I'd resurect this thread again, and post an update on the progress.

    First off i'll openly admit that I've made this more difficult than it probably needs to be, but I like to compare this project to others who work on old cars, or restoration work etc. This is my "Hot Rod" so I'm definately taking my time and trying to think this through...thoroughly.

    Anyway... much progress has been made since my last post, and yes I missed Valentines day by about a year.

    I will do the photoessay approach again.

    Things that have slowed me down since January have been numerous, but necessary, including a 16' x 16' x 8' insulated room to house the boiler and tank within my large pole building. The intent of the insulated room is again to minimize waste heat to the pole barn. I figured the smaller I keep the delta-t, the less BTU's I lose to the barn/boiler room.

    So from the previous pictures where you saw the frames of the tank box sitting in the larger building, there is now this nice insulated room with a Man Door (Project in itself) and a nice insulated garage door to allow me to use a pallet truck to move crates/racks of seasoned wood into the room one at a time.

    So here is the latest with a few descriptions

    The Man Door was a salvaged Round top oak door that I got from Grand Rapids Mi. It was removed from an old house on the east side that was built in the 30's.
    The door had no jam, so I had to build a steam bent round top jam out of Red Oak.
    I cant tell you how long it took, but it's really neat looking now, and I'm happy with how it's coming out. Not completed yet, i still need to trim the inside and decided to use "Z-Brick" on the outside to avoid trying to bend trim boards. The inside will be the same or a varient of it with oak cut into a curve, or a sunburst.
    The door really sets off the boring boiler room and makes it feel old-fashioned. I never recommend anybody building a round top Red Oak door jam.......ever.

    [​IMG]

    Inside not trimmed out yet, but heres a shot of the EKO 40 in the room.
    [​IMG]

    and now some of the insulating process. I filled in as much as possible with some salvage Polyisocyanurate sheet that I cut and filled the major spaces around the tank. This simply kept me from having to buy a large amount of closed cell spray foam. once sealed up it has the same R-Value as the spray foam within 1 R per inch. I'm figuring about R-6 on the Polyiso, and R7 on the spray foam.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee208/Ryedale_photo/BOILERPROJECT/photo1.jpg[/img]

    Installing the immersion coil heat exchangers was difficult, as told by my expression when my wife snapped this photo. And yes, I had fresh air pushing in constantly while working inside the tank using a small squirrel cage blower and some flex duct. It was hot outside, and even though I was in the workshop out of the sun, the confinement and wrangling around in the tank, was like a continuous workout.
    I think I had been in the tank assembling the stainless steel frame, took the best part of a Saturday, in and out about 30 times.
    [​IMG]

    I mustered a smile for this one
    [​IMG]

    There are 3 copper 1" type K coils in the tank......Two are for rejecting heat from the boiler, and one is for absorbing for the loads.

    Here are a couple shots looking down into the tank from the manhole on the top, which is an 18" circle. The 1" type K soft tubing proved very difficult to wrestle around into nice uniform loops on my Stainless Steel frames. I used 15% silver brazing alloy on the joints so that if I had any galvanic corrosion it would not attack the softer Tin solder. Should last a long time.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    All the underground went in back over the 4th of July weekend.
    I used Rehau brand insulated 1" underground, which you can see sticking up through the floor.
    The other pipes are
    Cold Soft water from the house
    Cold Hard water from the house
    an air line to back feed the house compressed air if I ever wanted to. (or a spare water line)
    and a 2" grey electrical conduit (plastic) to run my internet, phone, control wires if needed etc.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I finished up this weekend by getting the chimney installed. I was able to push the double wall "Tee" directly onto the back of the EKO, and i drilled and tapped the boiler exit stub and installed it with some 5/16" bolts, then stacked the chimney sections on up. Some of the weight bears into the black box at the passthrough in the ceiling. I really enjoyed working with the chimney sections. It was almost too easy to use an engineered product after all of my "farm engineering" that went into the buildings, the door and especially the thermal storage tank.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm sure with a little thinking I could easily find a more difficult way to install a chimney :)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  19. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    712
    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    Question why did you use just 1 inch pex? What is the btu output of the eko 40?Will that big large enough to carry all the btus your boiler will produce?
  20. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,142
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    Holy chit! I just got time to read the entire thread! You really are a talented man. Sweeeeeeeeet. I hope the system works great for you!
  21. Ryedale

    Ryedale Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Southwest Michigan
    The boiler will feed only the two heat "reject" coils in the tank. It will use 1 1/4 inch Black Iron pipe and then Tee into the two 1 inch coils.

    All heat will be put into the tank. The tank is merely a large vessel of water that never circulates anywhere. Just like this http://stsscoinc.com/

    The "boiler" water will be the boiler jacket, and the line fill to and to/in the two copper coils.

    The house heat and domestic water will use the 1" insulated underground with it's own circuit of water.

    I'm planning a fairly large bypass water heater in the house with a mixing T (safety mixing T) It will essentially be a "zone"

    The main heat for the house will be a hot water to air coil in my forced air furnace with an extra thermostat.
  22. Ryedale

    Ryedale Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Southwest Michigan
    UPDATE....

    well I finished piping in the "heat the water" portion of the system, and got most of the electrical done too. Due to my black iron pipe, I chased leaks for about a week, and one additional leak has surfaced since heating the system, and I'll fix it before I put my final charge of water into the system with the chemical.

    Some new photos....

    I bought some surplus Brad Harrison connections, which allow me to completely remove the top turret where the controller is located, as well as disconnect my overheat , and fan power cord. These things are very nice and I recommend anyone wanting to be able to remove panels without unwiring all the time, to look at Ebay for this system, very pricy from the supply house, but reasonable unused surplus avaialable on Ebay.
    Basicly you buy a 3 or 5 or 7 wire connector, male and female, they come with various length pigtails with different colored conductors all coded so you can continue your wires to the other side. Then with a quick turn of the collar, you have it disconnected to be able to access your RTD or remove the fan without unwiring or taking the wire ends off the terminations.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Below you'll see my flow rate gauges that are placed on the return of each of the heat reject coils inside the tank. They are fitted with little valves to increase or decreas flow and fine tune the rate through each coil. I had to abandon putting these in (temporarily) with black iron, as all the screwed fittings looked like.....a$$ and I just don't have the experience with this type of piping to make it look good and not leak. I am planning on switching to a 1" Pex arrangement with crimp fittings, then hiding this setup in a small cabinet or box. I still want them in on the return (cooler water and gages are rated for 210 degree water I think). I will have a bypass to avoid these flowrate gauges if I want to . I think it will be fun to see the flow increase as the primary loop on the boiler heats up. I can use my delta temps and coil flow rates to determine how many BTU's are actually staying in the tank.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Brad Harrison system connector.......very nice.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I picked up this nice old large temp gauge, and removed a small EKO factory plug in the top of the jacket, installed a brass thromowell, and then this gauge. Thermowell allows removal of gauge and green sheet metal without opening the water system/draining the boiler.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The following is a picture of the controller before I switched out the wiring to the Brad Harrison connectors, note the flex going up to the overheat switch. BTW the switch was sent with my package, and I contacted COZYHEAT and they weren't sure where this was wired in. I ended up using the BH cables from the controller turret area, up to the switch, to open the fan on temperature rise, so if the water gets to 200 up there, I have it shut down the inducer blower fan... no matter what. Basicly a safety if the controller fails, or operator error IE stupidity.

    [​IMG]


    The next big steps....
    Improving the primary air gates under the rediculously designed, paper thin green painted fan plenum, with zero access while running. In fact... you have to open your fire doors to remove your green inducer plenum to adjust the primary air gates. The thin metal that the green sheet metal is "screwed to" is also just about as thin, and is spot welded in to the boiler plate metal. so you rely on two thin metals pinching a rope gasket to give steady pressure to the primary/secondary air gates/tubes. the green pinches the rope but the tack welded angle that the rope is stuck to, is not welded all the way around the perimeter, which causes smoke to leak out while the doors are open etc. The engineers really failed on this air plenum I think, so....it will be upgraded, I'm not going to set up my boiler for 20 years and have this annoying setup.
    I am upgrading this soon. With changing wood conditions, and relative humidity etc, and having read the extensive fine tuning section on the EKO, I firmly believe that one setting is not perfect for all burning conditions, especially with respect to flue drafts changing as outdoor conditions change.

    Not sure about the draft on this thing. probably will be adding a fan to my stack although I hate to do this, but hate filling my boiler room with smoke even more while adding logs to the fire, or poking at the coals occationally. My chimney height is only 16 feet above the TEE on the back of the boiler, going up throught the pole barn roof. I have a Magnehelic (I'll post pictures) gauge that is showing anywhere from .015 to .03 Inches of water column of draft when the system is off. This is lower than the book gives suggested settings for the air gates/tubes.
    Can anybody recommend a good smoke fan for the stack for creating draft when working on the fire? I'm using 6 inch double wall insulated pipe from Menards (I can get the brand name later).

    Just had the house coil installed yesterday in the ductwork, and will begin the "take heat away from the tank" piping this weekend.
  23. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,142
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    Ryedale,

    First. You have done a beautiful job man. You are a craftsman. A patient, well disciplined, craftsman with plenty of tenacity. Nice job. :coolsmile:
    Second. Dude. What the f_ _ _ is wrong with you!? :lol: Have you ever been treated for PCD? That is Perfection Compulsive Disorder.
    Third. I hope you burn this system for that 20 + years you are talking about. It is going to take you 10 to get the pay back out of it! :lol:

    No. Seriously. Very, very nice job. I hope it performs as good as it looks. You and the wife will be happy people. Glad to see you are finally getting it on line and will be saving some money not heating with "the other fuel". Have a good one man, and keep us posted on performance. Thanks for sharing your project with us and all those awesome pics!
  24. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    342
    Loc:
    Northern Canada
    Hi
    Looks great.
    Is the small tank sideways on the ceiling your only expansion tank?
    If it is...1 i think it would be to small
    2 i think you need a way to isolate it,so you can drain it in case it becomes waterloged.
    3 i think your expansion tank should be downstream from your circ pump,you don't want to be pumping into the tank.
    Just in case it's just not in the pic's.
    Looks Great
    Thomas
  25. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,750
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    Do you have a T&P relief valve plumbed in and if so where? The reason I'm asking is that I see a ball valve in the line between the boiler and the expansion tank. When you get old and feeble like me that could be a problem. Even though you aren't going to be shutting off things on a regular basis, accidentally leaving it closed and firing the boiler it is a receipe for potential disaster.

Share This Page