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EKO 40 owner can't get it up.......needs help to keep wife happy

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by 700renegade, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    518
    Loc:
    Nebraska
    I aggree with everyone on the good cleaning. I use a drill wheel brush hose clamped onto a piece of 3/8" pex that does the job (by hand, no drill) but if you can find a tube brush that would be better. Incidently although I am 95% pollack myself I shake by head when I look at the turb cleaning setup. I will eventually remove that entire "claptrap" and replace with log chains like someone mentioned in Fred61 post awhile back.

    Back to wood. It has to be dry. I've got away in the past with burning some wetter wood in the top 1/3 or so of a load but only after I have a good bed of coals. Some on here say the splits should be no bigger than the size of a playing card. I always split oak up well since it takes so long to dry out. Walnut and elm seem to season easily in 1 year for me, but not oak. When I build a fire I start with thin cardboard (like beer or soda comes in) torn up in about 4" pieces over the nozzle and a 2 or 3 of my driest, smallest pieces of wood on top of that. Bypass and lower door open. I let this run 10-15" to warm the flue and get the splits red hot. Others have good luck using a propane torch on the bottom of a load for a minute or so but I have found this the easiest way for me to get a hot bed of coals. Then I close the lower door, load it to the top, close bypass and start the fan. Using this method, I have noticed this year that I get almost no smoke when loading it to the top. I believe this is because the chimney has such good draw from the 10-15" warm up that everything is drawn through the nozzle and the tubes even when the top door and bypass are open.

    Settings. 150 for pump launch is way to low. I'm not sure how that could be the default value. Mine comes on at 165 and shuts off at 160 (165 & 5). Others here use 170 and 165 (170 & 5). The hotter you run the better it will gassify.

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  2. 700renegade

    700renegade Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    NE Wisconsin
    I'm making progress little by little. Opened up primary to 12mm seems to help.

    Since there is question about the wood itself and my explanations, I'll elaborate:
    Right now I have about 3 cord split and stacked for the last 1.5 yrs. I split it for my old system, so it's about 2X the size needed for the EKO and bridges badly.

    I have about 40 or 50 full cords of oak and hickory in 8' logs that I cut about 2.5 years ago ( which is too wet of course ). Right now the driest wood I have on the place is a couple cords of 18" long rounds ( avg 12 to 20" dia ) I cut a couple years ago but never got split. These were solid dry deadfalls that I wanted to get diced up and not mix in with the rest of my green standing stuff. Right now I'm running these thru my splitter, tossing them into 300 gal totes with the tops cut out, and bringing them into the shop with the skidsteer and shoving them into my boiler room.

    After they are warmed up and the snow dust is off, I'm testing them with a digital wood moisture meter ( chinese accuracy unknown ) and I'm seeing an average of 20%. There are some 10% and some 30% admittedly, though 2/3 is right at that 20% area.
  3. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,703
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    Do Us a favor and throw a couple rounds into the boiler room and let the snow and ice melt off them then split them and test the split surface. I make many statements of fact that I live by that have not necessarily been accepted by the rest of the world. One is "firewood doesn't dry until it's split." There shouldn't be ice on the wood.

    Let me tell you how fussy these gasifiers can be. I was asked by some relatives to remove about a cord of wood from the basement of a house that they were trying to clean out. A 94 year old woman lives in the home with the assistance of caregivers. The wood was split and neatly stacked in a damp stoned up basement and had been there for 4 years. I thought I would just use it first this year since it had'nt been in my plans and made for an awkward pile in my wood shed. It wouldn't burn in my gassifier. If I wanted to describe to you how it burned, i would just tell you to read your original post. Wood was too wet to burn in a gassifier after 4 years.
    taxidermist likes this.
  4. EffectaBoilerUser (USA)

    EffectaBoilerUser (USA) Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Having owned and operated an EKO 40 before purchasing my Effecta Lambda 35 3 years ago I have the following comments:

    1.) Make sure your wood is split quite small (not much larger than a playing card when looked art from the end). If not, the gasification will have a hard time and the wood will bridge in the upper chamber.
    2.) Make sure your wood is well seasoned (15-20% MC). Check the moisture content by splitting a piece of wood and checking it at the core/inside.
    3.) Once you have the proper wood as described above:
    A.) Fan speed to 50-70%
    B.) Primary opening to 10mm
    C.) Secondary opening to 3.5-4 turns out
    4.) When starting a fire make sure you have a nice bed of coals before closing the by pass

    Having operated my Lambda controlled boiler (without by pass lever) has greatly simplified this process.

    However, the EKO40 did heat my house for a few years but required more attention/TLC than I wanted to commit to it.

    Brian
  5. JimmyJames

    JimmyJames New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    PA
    Wood is like a sponge if it is in a damp humid area it will absorb that moisture. If you took it outside and stacked it in the open air and sun for a few days it would burn fine.
  6. huffdawg

    huffdawg Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,043
    Loc:
    British Columbia Canada
    I ran my eko 40. The first year with fan@ 100%. and the shutter wide open. This resulted in premature wearing of the refractory in the bottom door. I have since learned to turn the fan down to 50% after the boiler gets going good.

    I burn less wood and also achieve more blue flame this way.

    It's to bad the EKO doesn't auto adjust for this. But I guess you get what you pay for as it is in the lower end of the price scale when it comes to gasifying type boilers.

    I have removed the horizontal shaft that the turbs hang from so that it makes it much easier to access and clean the fire tubes . I have cut 6 lengths of 3/8 chain and welded the top link horizontal to hang the chain on the top of the tubes.

    Not installed yet as I'm waiting to get a flue gas thermometer so ill be able to compare the temps.

    Good to hear you got some better temps. Happening now. Taxi had to hold my hand too when I first got my system up. And running. Not to mention a lot of help from the rest of the boiler junkies on here.

    Huff
    taxidermist likes this.
  7. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,703
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    700 You got that Eko up to temperature yet or has your wife left you for someone with a hotter unit?

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