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Flue gas smoke

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by genevive, Mar 11, 2008.

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  1. genevive

    genevive New Member

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    Hi all, I have a problem with a wood burning stove which I hope someone can help me with.

    About two years ago I took a small Charnwood stove out of my living room and replaced it with a Broserly Hercules 30 boiler stove.

    I had used the Charnwood for a couple of years with great results, and had burned anything and everything in it including mdf with no problems, but as soon as I put in the Hercules I had complaints from one of my neighbours about the smoke and fumes from the stove.

    After a couple of weeks of use I stopped burning MDF in the Hercules and for over a year have only burned waste white wood like scrap pallets etc. but my neighbour still complains bitterly about the emissions from the stove.

    The problem seems to be that the boiler stove is much more efficient at taking heat out of the flue gas and as a result the exhausted gas does not get the same secondary burn that it did with the little charnwood.

    My neighbour called environmental health out who can't see anything wrong with the stove, but still he is far from happy.

    The Hercules is connected to the earthenware flue via about two feet of 3mm mild steel that I had rolled into 8" diameter and welded.

    At this stage I'm racking my brain trying to fing a way of cleaning up the flue gas to get it up to the standard it was before and in so doing alleviate any smell.

    I would be most grateful for any replies or thoughts whether they are "inside the box" or not!!

    Regards

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  2. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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  3. genevive

    genevive New Member

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  4. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    I am curious as to how the boiler aspect of your unit is piped in to your system. It seems to me if it was piped in to ensure the hot water stays hot at the stove before it is sent out to the system this would reduce the heavy smoke problem your having. Can you give any details?
  5. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

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    I'm not far from an expert, he lives next door. %-P

    Seriously, I meant to say,I'm no expert. Having admitted to that, I "think" that boilers & hot air furnaces are not secondary burn epa rated but more akin to the old time pre epa stoves of 1970 era, known as smoking dragons.

    So unelse you want to install bafle plates on the top of your firebox & a set of secondary air tubes just under the baffle plates with holes spaced every inch along their length, your dragon is going to be smoking.

    I did just that to my 12 cubic foot 1970 stove, & reduced smoke by 36%- 40 % & increased fuel milage by 50 %. Now a 1/2 load of wood gives me the same heat a full load used to.

    There is a hearth weki article I wrote, telling step by step,how I converted my 1970 smoking dragon to a non smoker secondary burn stove. Go to the hearth wiki page & see the menu on the left & select & click on the wiki titles list. When that page comes up scan through the articles, they are in alfabetical order, 3 titles across.

    This is assuming your hot air furnace or boiler is not a secondary burn unit. Look insde your firebox after it is cool & cleaned out with a flashlight & if you don't see secondary air tubes
    at the top of the fire box ,then it is not secondary burn. You might well have an original equipment beffle already in place, leaving you with just the air tubes to install.

    If you convert to secondary burn,you will have to learn the way your stove opperates all over again , because it will be very different from what it was.

    P.S. WHAT IS MDF?????

    THERE IS ALSO A WIKI ARTICLE -----WHAT NOT TO BURN------
    it not only tells you what not to burn but explains why you should not burn it.
    Very Good Reading, I recommend it to you highly.

    WIKI BUTTON IS IN UPPER RIGHT HAND CONER OF BLUE AREA TOP OF THIS PAGE.
  6. milner351

    milner351 Member

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    MDF
    =
    Medium
    Density
    Fiberboard

    it's basically sawdust held together with glue - much finer and smoother than typical particle board - it's great for making speaker cabinets, furniture that you're going to paint - cabinet frames - etc - they use it a ton on the home improvement "trading places" type shows. It throws super fine dust when you cut it.

    I'm sure it's NOT GOOD TO BURN! (full of glue)
  7. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    Actually MDF burns GREAT!!! but, the glues in it are pretty toxic.

    Can you see the secondary burns when you damp down the stove? Do you have visible smoke coming from your flue when the stove gets up to temp? I am guessing you just need to relearn how to burn on this new stove. Monitor your temps, and check your flue. And if all else fails, tell your neighbor to pound sand ;)
  8. milner351

    milner351 Member

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    I hope he has better luck with his neighbor than I've had with mine.

    I have to meet with them and the township supervisor next week.

    The supervisor says my attendance is not required but voluntary - and insures me I've done nothing wrong -- he just wants me to attend in the spirit of mediating a solution.

    My solution is this:
    1. I voluntarily spent money and time to install a far better stove (PE summit in place of an '80's era smoke dragon)
    to reduce the smoke and hopefully appease the neighbor.
    2. my installation passes any and all local and state codes - I have the signed off permit to prove it.
    3. I'm doing nothing wrong - therefore - if they continue to complain - I WILL proceed with filling harassment charges and perhaps even a restraining order
    (we blocked their phone number so they've been reduced to parking cars in front of our house with signs in the windows claiming the smoke is killing them)
    (they are also deathly afraid of our German Shepherd)
  9. Girl

    Girl New Member

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    They sound like people that need something to complain about.
  10. genevive

    genevive New Member

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    Great to read your replies folks, and especially to realize that I am not on my own with this problem!

    My boiler water jacket is plumbed with a pipe stat on it so that the pump only runs when the water is about 60C, and the boiler has a tube across the back about 4" above the grate which has holes about 1/16th diameter every inch or so. Sometimes you can see the secondary burn taking place with flames coming from the holes.

    I think my neighbour wouldn't mind the smoke, of which there isn't very much, generally only after lighting or after refuelling. What annoys him more is the stink it makes, I can't quite understand how a stove burning scrap timber pallets can make the smell it does. I think i'll light some of the pallet material in the yard at the weekend to see if they smell the same in an open fire, if not it must be something to do with the stove or flue.

    What I need is something cheap that I can add to the fire to make it smell like roses! There must be some product that would do this, I just cant think of it!!

    Anyway, thanks for all your help so far

    Genevive
  11. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Your flue is probably full of crap from all the MDF you burned. Might not be a bad idea to get it professionally cleaned and inspected.
  12. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    Start burning cord wood?
  13. dj2cohen

    dj2cohen New Member

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    What is the source of your pallets?

    Is it possible that the pallets came from a place that handled chemicals of some sort?

    The pallets might have soaked up some sort of chemical or compound and the burn is releasing these into the air releasing a foul odor.

    Try what Backpack suggested put a couple of loads of good seasoned cord wood through it and see if it helps.

    Just my .02 cents worth.
  14. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    Your problem seems to be the lack of secondary burn. What is the efficacy, and particulate out put per hour for that stove. That stove looks like a outside wood boiler we see here that have no modern pollution controls on then just smaller and inside your home. I call them Smoke Dragons. Does it have any clean burn secondary combustion in it at all ????
  15. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    Second one down:
    ----
    * Fitted with massive 100 000 BTU Stainless steel boiler which will run hot water and approx 22 radiators
    * Effective after burner control (tertiary air system) whereby hot air is sent into the stove to re ignite the smoke, thus increasing efficiency
    * Adjustable feet
    * Airwash system to keep soot particles off the glass for a clear view of the fire
    * Riddling grate whereby the grate bars can be moved externally to shake spent fuel into the ashpan
    * Dimensions H700mm W750mm D550mm
    ----

    Looks like a clean burner to me, and if there is no visible smoke coming from the stack, it sounds like you are burning properly.

    And let me say that is one pretty boiler:
    http://www.qualitystoves.co.uk/images/broseley hercues.jpg
    Too bad the EPA wont let us have anything like this.
  16. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    Ya I missed that more of a visual learner I guess. Just burn it hot and as clean as you can keeping the air control's as open as much as possible. This post needs to be bumped into the boiler room.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    MDF is TOXIC - it should NEVER be burned in a home wood stove or boiler, just because there is no visible smoke does NOT mean that it isn't putting out noxious fumes...

    It is worth noting that any of the wood working magazines I've read make heavy emphasis on the need for dust masks and related protective gear if cutting or working MDF - to the same extent or more so than they say they are needed for working with Pressure Treated lumber (which also should NEVER be burned...) You also should not be burning plywood, particle board, or any other "manufactured wood" products... Paper should only be burned to the very limited extent needed to start a fire. Remember this is a heater, not a trash incinerator - if you burn improper material, you should EXPECT complaints!

    Pallet wood and other lumber is marginal, and tends to give over-fires, but otherwise is usually OK from a smoke standpoint. Given that you have been burning noxious materials, I would suggest a thorough cleaning of the stove and chimney, then seeing if things are better when burning appropriate material...

    Gooserider
  19. genevive

    genevive New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies folks, by the way what is cord wood???

    Cheers Genevive
  20. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Normal wood from a tree that hasn't been messed with (except for splitting it).
  21. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Welcome to the Boiler Room, genevive. Are you in the U.K?
  22. renewablejohn

    renewablejohn Member

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    genevive

    welcome you are going to have to learn how to speak english. I have already made the mistake that wheat straw is called shocks and corn is not wheat or maize but sweet corn. other than that they seem a good bunch.

    with regard to your problem your boiler may be keeping the temperature of the firebox down. the solution would be to fit a laddomat 21 which would keep the boiler temperature high.
  23. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Ahh, the wonders of USA vs. England - two countries, seperated by a common language... :lol:

    Cordwood is natural tree firewood, minimally processed - cut the tree down, cut it into the desired length for burning (exact length depends on what you are burning in) and split it as needed to get the desired cross section. It is called "cordwood" because it is measured in cords, a traditional English system measurement equal to 4' wide x 4' tall x 8' long, or 128 cubic feet - the volume is the important number, the 4x4x8 is traditional, but any combo that gives you 128 ft3 is legal.

    You will also sometimes see references to "Face Cords" or "Ricks" which are a non-legal, fuzzy term for a stack 4' high x 8' long x 1 log length wide - since the log length can vary, there is no real way of telling how much wood this represents. The Weights & Measures Departments in most US States prohibit selling wood by the "face cord" for this reason, although many wood dealers do so anyways.

    Hope this helps, feel free to ask for any other translation you need as we go along, eventually we'll teach you Brit's how to speak English... ;-P

  24. genevive

    genevive New Member

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    Aha, I've been rumbled. I indeed come from the British isles, the northern part to be exact known as Scotland. A much friendlier place than England in my opinion!!

    This website is proving to be a real education for me, my next question is what is a Laddomat 21??

    Many thanks
  25. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    No problem... Though definitely understand why there is a communication problem now... One of my big travel experiences was a trip my girlfriend and I took a few years back. We hit Iceland, Glasgow, London, visited some of her family on the Cornish coast, and Amsterdam... The folks in Glasgow were definitely very friendly, and would go out of their way to help us "bewildered tourists" - When we were standing someplace trying to figure out a map or some such, folks everywhere would help if we asked, but in Glasgow they would come up to us and offer to help... However it was the only place I had language trouble, couldn't wrap my ears around Glaswegian for some reason... Lovely country though, and great breweries...

    Gooserider
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