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EPA demands Efficiencies be removed from OWBs

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by tronsliver, Jun 25, 2013.

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  1. Well others have since asked and I'm asking now. What is your agenda? What is your connection to woodburning?

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  2. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Feeling the Heat

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    Exactly! that is why you would use the ODDGWB=outdoor down draft gasser wood boiler as a seperate loop to heat the storage and the storage heats the house. so freeze protection is only in boiler loop.


    could work?
  3. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Likely would.

    Myself, if I wanted my boiler outside of my house, I would put a gasser in one end of a big woodshed not far from it. Insulate that end, throw in a small electric space heater if you'll be away from home for an extended period - no worries, be happy. :)
  4. Their probably aren't many people that would buy indoor gasser with storage in a prebuilt shed like an OWB. It would be cheaper and a nicer setup to put it in a site built shed.

    The only people that would want one are those concerned about paying taxes on another building or are limited by local zoning ordinances.
  5. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Feeling the Heat

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    BINGO!
  6. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'd also still want my storage in my basement - I think - even if my boiler was outside. For what that's worth.

    Also, if I lived in some of the places I read about on here - I think I'd go bonkers. Kind of nice being in the middle of nowhere when it comes to 'silly' things like ordinances. ==c
  7. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I agree, this is one of those things that seems good on paper, but in reality it's a huge building to haul on a truck as pre-manufactured and another property tax that could be avoided.
    Another thing that seems good on paper. If you were gone or missed a fire and the boiler and storage had cooled to something like 30F there would be so much condensation and wasted wood just to get back up and running would take several loadings and puddles of condensate. As mentioned, the glycol is $$$$, and has a short life, it becomes acidic with time, and needs to be buffered with chemicals to keep the solution alkaline. This is not a really big deal, but need regular water testing and the correct amount of buffer chem added. There is also the added pump from the HX and the slight loss in efficiency from having a HX in the system.

    I'm with Maple, I want the system in the house where all of the "lost" heat is lost to the building envelope. (Not losing it to the ground through PEX runs and is a little building which I still have to pay taxes on and go out to in the cold and snow all winter. This is totally my personal opinion.)

    Upside of having dedicated boiler building is the house doesn't heat up all summer if using wood to make DHW.

    TS
  8. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    There is a way around the tax thing in most jurisdictions and that is to not "permanently attach or anchor" the structure to a foundation. This is how mobile homes excape paying property taxes. At least here in Michigan anyhow. I do not know all the regs in other states.

    The pictures attached here show how one homeowner handled it when he switched from an OWB to a better boiler.
    The old CB sat on the pad you see under the little building. He had the shed built on the existing pad and did not anchor bolt the shed down to it. There's some construction adhesive underneath the treated plate but that's it. He insulated the new boiler shed and we connected the new boiler to the existing lines. There is no other heat in the boiler shed other than the heat from the boiler, which itself has 3" thick heavy glass wool around the vessel. It is connected to a high mass radiant floor (6,400sq.ft) and it will literally go for 24-30 hours without firing when the temp gets up into the 20* range. No antifreeze in the system. Windhager pictures 163.JPG Windhager pictures 175.JPG
    arbutus likes this.
  9. tronsliver

    tronsliver New Member

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    I am not anti-woodworking. I burned wood for a number of years. However, I'm anti OWB. I firmly believe that OWBs have given wood burning a black eye and before they're ready for prime-time need significant modifications. Meaning, as long as OWBs employ cycling technology and consequently smolder the fire, clean and efficient is a pipe dream.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    You have been harping against OWBs for at least six years now around the Internet.

    How do you heat your home?
  11. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Please be more specific rather than making sweeping statements like "out west." This is a large area here and it is ENTIRELY dependent on the state or region that you live in, and it is highly varied.

    Specifically, WA state has the strictest standards of any state by a long shot, and all OWBs are banned there outright. All other wood burning appliances sold must be WA state approved (far more restrictive than EPA II, and likely what EPA III will be). Also WA state has burn bans by regions within the state in winter months, and currently there are two levels of bans. Level one allows for burning in WA state approved appliances, and level two does not allow any burning (except where the home is only heated with wood). Most WA counties also require an OAK in any stove and fireplace built there.

    In Oregon any home sold must have EPA or DEQ approved wood burning appliances. This does not include fireplaces. The OR DEQ has a large list of pre-EPA stoves that they deem burn cleaner and thus are not banned. All new stoves sold must be EPA approved, including OWBs. Oregon has regional burn bans in the Portland and Eugene metro areas, as well as isolated cities and towns, but no state bans.

    Perhaps the most restrictive region in the west is the SF Bay Area. No wood burning appliances are allowed in any new home construction in many of the SF Bay Area cities and counties. They also have local wood burning bans in winter there on days when there are air inversions. But that is limited to that specific region, and not all of California. Even in that area some cities still allow for wood burning stoves and fireplaces though. There are also burn bans in effect in many cities in the California Central Valley, but they are varied. The San Joaquin Valley (south part of the Central Valley) has a stove requirement similar to Oregon, where all wood stoves in homes that are sold must be EPA certified.

    Most other western states vary by region, and most only have regional burn controls (if they have any). Boise, ID has wood burning bans to limit certain types of burning when air quality is bad. Western MT has stage 1 and stage 2 burnings bans. Some areas of NV have green, yellow and red burning restrictions, depending on air quality. AZ, CO, UT and NM have some city and county wood burning restrictions when air quality is bad, and most states require stoves to be EPA certified.

    As for a general and complete wood burning ban, I do not think that will happen any time soon. It is highly regional, even where restrictions are in place. Also in most places they allow for grandfathered stoves and fireplaces, even in WA state. I owned a home in Santa Clara County, CA that had a fireplace, and it was legal to have and use it. Bans are on new home wood burning appliances and fireplaces, but existing houses may keep and use the ones that they have.
  12. tronsliver

    tronsliver New Member

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    I have a closed system geo thermal unit. Five 200 foot wells.
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  13. arbutus

    arbutus Burning Hunk

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    How do you feel about indoor gasification boilers that cycle, such as those without storage?



    ETA:

    Heaterman,
    What size is that shed? Looks like about 10' x 10'.
    I will likely be doing something very similar.
    Thanks!
  14. tronsliver

    tronsliver New Member

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    Personally if I was ever interested in an OWB it would be Garn. I do not believe that cycling technolgy, gasifier or not, can burn efficient and clean. I have absolutly no association with any wood burning manufacturers ....thought I should point that out.
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    You are, of course, correct in these assumptions. I've seen cycling tech burn fairly clean in a comparative sense, however this causes other problems such as premature corrosion, etc.

    It's not rocket science! Prof. Hill had it right back in the mid-70's and the Europeans are also ahead of the game. Basically, you need either storage or pellets. Even a pellet boiler is more efficient with some storage or under a higher load.

    I don't think there is a single advanced Euro manufacturer who would suggest their units without storage.

    However, it's just possible that the combination of a high heating load (cold climate), mixing valves and high water content (radiators, etc.) system can provide enough buffer to allow a modern Lamba-equipped boiler to work fairly well without too much additional buffer.

    OWBs are, in general, a black mark on the industry. That's my opinion and always has been. But i always leave a little room for exceptions since they do exist. It's not the concept of OWB's, it's been the execution. They have been used to skirt regulations and codes...
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The 30-40% figure does not surprise me in the least for this reason. I hope others will take the time to do their homework...

    We have been graced with a number of real experts and engineers here, including our VT-based friend nofossil, who has developed products for boiler monitoring. I remember some thread where he detailed the actual delivered efficiency of his system - which was an indoor small-firebox gasifier along with storage and top-notch controls. I think the figure he calculated was 56%.

    It doesn't take much of a stretch to look at an outdoor unit and see:
    Larger Firebox
    less in terms of monitoring and control
    Heat losses from the colder ambients
    "1st generation" engineering (learning on the job, so to speak).

    My guess would have been about 40% compared to Nofossils 56%. That's not too bad, really, when you figure that the older models of those same OWB's are probably 20-25% at best.

    I agree with heaterman and the rest of you who say we need a single standard. As of now, we have the American Way (PT Barnum), which unfortunately means stuff like this:
    http://fisherstovesusa.com/
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  17. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Antifreeze acts as a counter agent to heat transfer in water. It is not needed though. Ground lines are below frost depth, boiler has more than enough water to keep from freezing. We had no freeze issues with a CB classic down to 10 deg. F.
  18. That comment was in reference to using a typical indoor gasser outside in a OWB type enclosure. When you batch burn in a indoor boiler that is exposed to freezing temps freeze protection of the boiler becomes an issue. On a typical winter day my boiler only has a fire going about 1/3 of the time.

  19. I really couldn't speak with more specifics. Just heard 2nd hand info about people that can't burn on certain days. Any of the above restrictions you mentioned are unheard of here. With the exception of some recent OWB restrictions people can burn whatever whenever in any type of stove that they want. And we don't have to destroy woodstoves when our house are sold. (the old defiants still have a following and bring 3-500 on cl)

    My point and concern was that once incremental restrictions start happening in one area they tend to spread. And before long a ban on all wood burning is possible as people will be less reliant on wood heat due to the restrictions. So there won't be the same outrage as if their was a ban that happened overnight.
  20. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Its "arboristsite", Darin Johnson and his wife Jennifer own it. They and their moderators there can and do ban people for any and all reasons. I was banned there for no reason that I could figure out. I got no reply from Darren when I asked why he banned me. Apparently it had something to do with feedback I had given on a post there.

    Its a flame war on AS most of the time though, and people get into fights over issues there all the time. I do not miss that place... nor do I think that they as a group represent the general issues on OWBs or the issues with the EPA regarding manufacturing or testing of wood burning appliances. This site is far more rational, and a debate like this one would not happen over there.
  21. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Well, when it comes to anti-OWB laws, I would say that New York and New England were the prime areas for that, resulting from a lot of dis-information being posted and stated about them, leading to state and regional OWB bans and EPA regulations. New York State had an official air quality web site that showed several OWBs that were obviously staged and burning tires and green wood, and stating that they were typical OWBs and that they were evil. That site has since removed the photos, but it was obviously a political ploy to get EPA regulations on OWBs.

    As for states passing laws, what is good for some areas may or may not be good for others. Air quality is an issue here in many areas in the west, and for specific reasons. Mainly we get winter inversion air layers and the coastal valleys get choked up with smoke and smog at the lower elevations and it gets trapped there for days and days. So they have burn ban days in winter when inversion layers happen, to reduce the smoke in particular areas. Why that would cause the burn bans to spread to other areas that do not have that issue is beyond me. The banning the sale of non-EPA stoves and removing older stoves when homes are sold seems to stem from the Central Valley in California and Washington state, where winter inversion layers are the most common. I am not happy that Oregon mandated the same requirements, when they allow nurseries here to burn live green trees for months on end in winter, with zero restrictions. Its a hypocritical world of politics. Like OWBs, old stoves get a lot of the blame, but in fact have little impact on air quality overall (at least here in the US west). OWBs are actually so few in number here in the west it is absurd that Washington state banned them outright, but politics is like that. They picked up on the New England rants (and dis-information) and passed laws.
  22. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    To be completely honest, I've yet to find another place on the internet where people are so rational and are not restricted to a certain bias on the heating topic.

    There are many different perspectives here on Hearth.com and we all seem to be willing to learn from one another's mistakes and successes. Here in the boiler room logical arguments and designs are regularly presented and worked out. There are a lot of other places on the net which talk of heating and boilers, where they are so narrow minded and can't seem to think out-of-the-box, and can't seem to be logical or realize there is more to heating than gas and oil.

    TS
  23. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Let me tell you what, there's a lot of heat in a tire!;) I could tell you stories of "years ago" and the oil timers and tires.

    TS
  24. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    It's about 10x10 outside dimensions. That gives him enough room to store about 3-4 weeks worth of pellets and enough area to work around the boiler.

    For everyone's info, this particular installation has no storage in the typical sense of large water capacity. The owners "storage" is the 6,400 sq ft of concrete in the building. That factor along with the 3:1 turndown on the boiler keeps the hours run per cycle very high.

    Any wood fired boiler, regardless of inside or outside, benefits from storage. There are a number of reasons the European contries do not subsidize purchase of wood boilers if not accompanied by an accumulator (storage to us) tank. Many of those tanks have multiple coils that allow heat input from other sources like solar plus a coil for making DHW. I wish they weren't so expensive to ship over here.
  25. tronsliver

    tronsliver New Member

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    Like your quote from Jonathan Swift it reminds me of another along the same lines:

    Never argue with a fool he'll only drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
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