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"EPA" furnaces

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by ikessky, Dec 11, 2009.

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  1. ikessky

    ikessky Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    862
    Loc:
    Northern WI
    All right guys, I need to start sticking some money away for when I buy a new wood furnace in the next couple of years. I also need to start getting my ducks in a row so that I buy the correct one! I'm currently running a Daka, which throws off some decent heat, but it does not have any sort of reburn. I have a typical ranch house with ~1000 square feet on the main level and another ~1000 of finished basement that I heat. The Daka advertises something like 50K-105K BTUs and typically keeps the house too warm when I load it up and go for a long burn. I'm thinking something like the Mini-Caddy or Yukon BJ90 would be more of what I need. Now for the real questions.

    1) How clean do these furnaces typically run? With my current smoke dragon, every time I reload, I get the Rutland magnetic temp gauge up to 400-500 and don't damper the fire down until the wood is completely charred with deep lines and checks. After burning from November to April of last year, I got maybe 2-2.5 gallons of crud out of the liner (mostly fluffy stuff and soot). What can I expect from an EPA furnace? I really get tired of worrying that my flue is getting dirty and thinking that I should sweep it every other month. The wood will more than likely be 1-2 years old, so dry fuel isn't an issue. If I'm understanding the system correctly, the reburn is only happening when the forced draft is running. When it's off, isn't the furnace still producing nasties in idle mode then?

    2) With my current way of burning, I will usually shut the bi-metal damper down to 1/3 or 1/4 for my overnight burns. I can usually get 6-7 hour burns doing this, but am not left with many coals to relight splits from. What kind of burn times can I safely expect with a new furnace and still have a relatively clean flue? I am typically throwing wood in around 4 times a day. Maybe I'm burning it too hot, but I'm always nervous about creosote.

    3) If I were to leave the house for an extended period of time and the fire went out, what would turn off the combustion fan? I use my NG furnace for back up, but I have the t-stat set at 62 and usually use the wood stove to keep the house at 72+.

    I'm sure I'll have more questions as I think about things, but these are the ones that are really pressing right now.

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  2. ikessky

    ikessky Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    862
    Loc:
    Northern WI
    No one? Maybe take my questions right to the manufacturers?
  3. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,829
    Loc:
    Ashland OH
    There is 1 epa furnace on the market and its the caddy. First, they do burn clean. But unlike any woodburner, you throw wood in it, damper it down right away and it will smolder. Now load the furnace, get it up to temperature or when you are achieveing secondary combustion then close the damper down, it will burn cleanly for hours. Depending on the size of the house and call for heat, I have seen 11 hour burn times with plenty of coals let to restart the fire, 8 hours is not uncommon. Not sure of the mini caddy. Second a epa furnace is made where when it shuts down it burns cleanly thanks to the secondary combustion. They can throw out more btus than a standard furnace because they are burning the nasties. As far as a forced combustion fan, you won't see them on a EPA furnace. The caddy works off natural draft. You would load a caddy less than 4 times a day, maybe 3 times and use less wood because the firebox is only a 3.5 cubic foot firebox. Its a completely different animal than a standard furnace, and they have a learning curve to them. My flue temps average around 400 on a blazing burn, so they are efficient. If the furnace needs more heat the damper will open, but when it closes it will burn clean everytime.
  4. ikessky

    ikessky Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    862
    Loc:
    Northern WI
    So it sounds like the Caddy operates more like a wood stove/insert as far as the secondary burns are concerned. My Daka has a similar damper system except for the fact that the damper is controlled by a bi-metal thermostat on the front of the furnace rather than an electronically controlled t-stat. I would actually prefer this type of system over a forced draft blower since many times I am away from the house when the furnace burns out and should shut off.
  5. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    3,595
    Loc:
    Central NY
    I can say I have sold quite a few Caddys and ALWAYS have a happy customer. Burn clean, easy to operate, works like advertised. Cant go wrong with one of them
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