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Empyre elite owb

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by ctnative, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. dogwood

    dogwood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Western VA
    The subject of locating a wood-burner in a garage has come up before a few times. Unless your boiler is completely walled off in the garage from the rest of the garage space, with no access door into the then separate boiler room other than from the outside, you have a potentially dangerous situation. Gasoline fumes and flames are a bad mix. That's why the building codes I'm familiar with make this illegal and Danjahy's input from his insurance company was right on time. Just think of other flammable fume producers you might store in your garage like paint thinners and the like and you get the picture. I've got a gas fired DHW tank in my home in a laundry room. I made sure I removed anything that might produce flammable fumes from that room too. Why chance a potential disaster when you are literally playing with fire.

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  2. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
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    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    It depends on the company. I had my insurance company do an inspection.
    Not a problem, but the ignition point must be 18" above the floor.
    I had a second company come in for an inspection before they would give me a quote. At the time my lawn mower, and car were inside. He sid not a problem due to the fact the boiler is on blocks which raise it the required height from the floor.

    As always check with your company first.
  3. danjayh

    danjayh New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
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    67
    Hi willyswagon,

    My dad has been looking at wood boilers lately, but he doesn't have a lot of room for storage indoors - maybe a 100 gallon buffer tank, but that'd be about it. I remembered seeing the pictures of your Elite 100 idling with absolutely no smoke. Do you think it would be practical to run the Elite in a system where it would need to idle and provide heat on-demand? As in do you think it could maintain quite a bit of efficiency and avoid getting plugged up with creosote? Also I'm curious how you got those pics from the top of your stack?
  4. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
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    218
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    That's how I am running it. I have no storage.
    I got up at 615 this morning put 6 small splits in the box, cracked the thermostat on the living room wall, put on a pot of coffee. It will do its thing here till I get home this evening(providing,heat and hot water).
    It appears to be fairly efficent as I have provided all my heat and DHW so far this fall with about 1/3 of a cord of wood. $33 worth of wood so far;)
  5. Belknap

    Belknap New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    I like hearing that everyone likes their empyre's. I have been trying to figure out which owb to go with. I like the pro 400 but I am trying to find someone in my area that has one running. I am located in Gilford, NH. Just wondering if anyone knows someone close that I could look at one up and running.

    Thanks
  6. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
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    1,436
    Loc:
    S/W MI
    I looked seriously at the Empyre Pro Elite 100 and 200 and almost settled on the 200 until I found the firebox is not that thick (which may just be a personal preference thing) . I recently settled on the Portage and Main Optimizer 250 open system gasifier which is also EPA II white tagged and has its own 240 gallon storage. I had an EKO 40 Super in my garage until my insurance company made me pull the unit several years ago. The P & M is built to be an outdoor boiler but is also able to be installed indoors but is much larger than the Empyre because it has storage so size dimensions would have to be carefully scrutinized for indoor usage. I am happy to use mine out of doors. There really wasn't that much price difference between the Empyre 200 and the Portage and Main and the P & M came with its own storage and that translated into cash and space savings in one package. The P & M is so well insulated that snow can remain on the roof of the unit while it runs or idles at the 180F I have it set for. Once heat demand is satisfied the P & M goes into shut-down mode. A 5 degree differential mode allows for a restart that throws very little smoke and then emulates true gasification. It's sweet having a gasifier again. Look into Portage and Main if you haven't already put your money down. As well there is a company in Indiana (Natures Comfort) that has an EPA II White tag classification boiler which I almost settled on. You can google either boiler and get a load of sites to garner information. Best to you on your install selection.
  7. Belknap

    Belknap New Member

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    How long have you been running the 250. I had looked at the 350 due to the size of heat load but I have been hearing that they have been having problems with them.
  8. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    S/W MI
    The unit is just newly installed. I tried a bunch of searches for customer complaints, reviews and issues with P & M and could not find any mention against the P & M 250 except one vague reference concerning creosote (which I have not found with my unit but I am using 2 & 3 year old C/S/S wood that is well seasoned) Any gasifier will have problems with less than well seasoned wood. My searches were just general searches about Portage and Main and not specific to any one model to start. Even the P & M regular OWB's fared quite well. General searches allowed me to get a scope of the company's business practices and whether or not they responded well to customer complaints. What I did find was "comparison" references by people with different manufacturers products and the issues they were having with their units and not complaints about Portage and main which I thought spoke well for Portage and Main. Where the P & M Optimizer 250 was concerned with any complaint was pricing but as mentioned above about storage I figured the cost of additional storage, plumbing and spacing for a smaller built unit without storage the P & M pretty much covered it all with one expense. What I will say as far as cost is concerned is my plumbing and wiring were already in place as I was using an OWB (after I had to pull my EKO) so I didn't have the cost of the boiler and installation added together. However since the costs of the other companies (some with storage and some without) was not that different and in conjunction with P & M's track record I chose P & M. As should be expected I have already seen a decrease in daily wood usage with the gasifier. That's a good thing.:)
  9. sloeffle

    sloeffle Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2012
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Morrow County, Ohio
    My neighbor has a Natures Comfort wood boiler that is about 2 years old and it is a smoke dragon. I am not sure how dry his wood is or what model the OWB is. When he got it I was asking him some questions about it since it was suppose to be high efficiency and burn less wood. He got to showing me the pumps etc and I asked what the door was for on the back and he pulled out a tray ( 6 if I remember right ) of catalysts. At 150$ - 200$ a pop I would not of bought that furnace for that reason. To me it seemed like they were a after thought in the design of the OWB. I had a catalytic Dutchwest wood stove and was very happy with it. I am not knocking catalysts, but after having a wood burning furnace that has secondary combustion I would not look back.

    I looked at a pre EPA Portage and Main OWB at a trade show and it seemed to be a very well built furnace. It was a little more $$$ than some of the others but I think you are getting a better product.
  10. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    S/W MI
    Wood moisture is a big thing with gasifiers as water will punk a good burn. Natures Comfort supposedly just went EPA white tag phase 2. I was not inclined to encouragement with their secondary design but it must be doing well enough to get the white tag 2 classification. In any case I settled on the Portage and Main 250 Optimizer because of the lpositive design features and lack of negative press. I have been pleased with its performance as I am burning less than 50% of the wood my smoke dragon required and getting hotter water. When I got my unit I had to have it set in place by a third party who has the heavy equipment to move theses beasts and the unit had to stay overnight at his place and he looked it over. He uses a CB unit and was impressed with the design of the P & M.
  11. Belknap

    Belknap New Member

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    How long have you been running the 250? What are you heating with it?
  12. Burning Alaska

    Burning Alaska New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
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    Loc:
    Juneau, Alaska
    So back to the Empyre Elite...ctnative, what did you end up deciding? Did you go with the Empyre? And willyswagon, how has yours been doing so far this winter? Any issues? Any second thoughts about storage, or do you still feel the 60 gal integrated tank is sufficient for your needs? Anyone else with and Empyre Elite have a system that incorporates extra storage?
  13. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    218
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    So far so good. It has met all my needs to date. Great burn times.
    It Hasn't been off since late November. So far there has been no problem getting 12 hr burns.
    This week will be the test as we are finally going to have a full week of intense cold. I can see no reason to hook up storage, although I am going away for a week in Feb. I'll see how my wife gets along with it while I'm gone.
    It seems to be decent as far as wood goes, Several people I know with conventional boilers have used 4 cords to date, my buddy with a Wood Gun is at about 3 cords, I just hit 2.5 cords this am.

    The only issue I had with it was the ocassonal smell of smoke in the garage. I sealed all the joints on the smoke pipe, searched with a flash light at the doors... After giving up on it, I came out one day to find smoke coming out the door handle. I contacted my dealer, who said they had not heard of the problem before, but would look into it. They called the next day to say the plant was sending a door handle upgrade kit for my unit. I was told it takes about 1 hour for the change to be made, and it places all of the moving parts on the out side of the door.

    I'll up load pics of the upgrade when it comes in. So far I'm very impressed with the unit, my dealer, and the support from the manufacture.
  14. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    231
    Loc:
    SE Minnesota
    I've had my elite 100 since last March. I ran tried to run it with storage last year to no success. It just couldn't get ahead. I was told by the dealer and factory rep to disconect the storage and heat exchangerand run it as a open system. If the temp is in th 20s it keeps up pretty good. This week sucks by the time I get back from work its cold and takes until 10pm to catch up. It's only up to 165* right now been burning strong since 630, itwas down to 1468 when I got home. The boiler was up to 180* and refilled at 9am this morning. Not real happy with the burn times. I am burning 3 year old oak. Don't get much help from my dealer or factory. Jim
    woody1 likes this.
  15. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

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    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    Muleman: What are the temps in your area? It is -18 (0*F) with winds NW @ 15mph. I filled the boiler to about 90% last night at about 9pm. I just went out (6am) and there is about 3 of the splits left fully charcolized. I stirred up the coals and threw 1 split on top. I keep the house @ 20*C(72*F) all night so there is no lag time in the morning.
    There is one other Empyre in the area and he is now reporting the same findings that I am having. Do you have a large heat loss?

    When I went out at 6 the boiler was down to 168*. After two 15 min showers it is now 645 and the boiler is at 174 and climbing. I have a daughter that is home sick from school today so I won't filler up. I'll just throw a 4 hr load at it an burn it hot.
  16. chewy

    chewy Member

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    Loc:
    Indiana
    Updates please. Buuuuummmmmppppp!!!!
  17. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
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    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    My dealer was up in the area yesterday and stopped in to put a Handle Upgrade Kit on my unit. He also cleaned my tubes with the Flue Active Cleaning Tool. It is avalible at the dealer. It chews the deposits out of the boiler tubes. He left my place and went to another customer who was unable to get his boiler over 150*. He had 4 tubes completely blocked, two were down to 3 8ths of an inch. After cleaning the tubes and air divertor box they fired it up. It motored right along to 180*. The customer bought the tool on the spot.

    So far I have only gone through 3.25 cords, and am tickled pink with the operation of the boiler.
    pelletdude likes this.
  18. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    S/W MI
    The unit was installed Jan 7, 2013 so it is newly installed. We had some cold weather for this area almost immediately (started two days after the hook up) down in the 10's and 20's and compared to my OWB I was using less than 1/2 the amount of wood. and my water temps are higher. 180f compared to 155-160f. There is also a lot less smoke to be found in my area.
    edit: I am heating a rough 2700 sqft.
  19. logger6644

    logger6644 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
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    Loc:
    Upstate New York
    Hi Muleman51, I bought my first elite 100 in December 2010, but did not install or run it until September 2011. Last three digits of my serial number was 223. I to had trouble from the start. In fact it failed this January due to creosote corrosion. See Empyre Elite Boiler Corrosion thread on this web site. The Elite has gone through several design changes since it's early days and the company has not been open about these changes.To a large degree your success or lack of it may be related to what version you have. What is your serial number? In March of 2011 they changed a part called an air gate which regulates the split of air between the upper and lower chamber. Since mine was built before this, I was running with an improper mix which started my problems. These ducts also require cleaning to maintain performance. I did get procedure from the factory for the upper one when I continued to have problems, but was not even aware of the location of the lower duct until creosote and air at this duct location caused a leak. The wall had corroded from .130 inches to .020 inches in this location. I just received a replacement boiler from the factory on three days ago. They honored the warranty because they had not told me of the changes or the cleaning procedures in a timely manner. My replacement boiler has serial number 629. The replacement is not the latest version however, the latest one has the door modification willyswagon mentioned as well as clean outs for the lower duct. They have advised him to add clean outs and sent him a cleaning procedure. I strongly advise you to check under the side bricks near the front hinge side and check the condition of the duct and the adjacent wall. Also check with the factory and see if your boiler has air gate drawing number 817405 or the old version 815812. Your boiler was not operating properly and I believe may have a serious problem! I do not believe storage is a problem but that is topic for further discussion after you get past this first concern. I fear you are on the same path I took.
  20. logger6644

    logger6644 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    56
    Loc:
    Upstate New York
    Just an update on my Empyre Elite 100. My replacement boiler is up and running and so far so good. I use a 300 gallon insulated milk tank for storage. It is heated indirectly with two 150 foot coils of 3/4 inch Pex tubing. The new boiler is piped with the optomizer loop Pro-Fab requires on their boilers now. This uses a Danfoss thermostatic valve set at 140 F. It's been burning clean with about a cup or two of fine ash per day and not much tube clogging. A huge improvement over the earlier version. BEWARE of any unit with a serial number below 300. Although people within Pro-Fab, especially Ben DeBruyn, have been very helpful, their company policy toward customer information is non-existent. I am currently sending letters up through the food chain at Pro-Fab trying to get them to state what their policy is regarding notifying customers of changes or procedures. These exist, they are just not publicized. I suggested they should post these on their website, but so far no response to either a policy statement or a web site suggestion.

    As you can see from posts on this site, customer satisfaction depends on who your dealer is and how pro-active you are as a customer. If anyone decides to purchase a unit, make sure you set up a conversation with Ben Debruyn as he has been the only reliable source of information at Pro-Fab.

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