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Gasification issue? Definitely a question and concern

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Cornell3786, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    I have Econoburn 150 without storage heating my home. It is in my 'garage'.

    Second year burning with it.

    This year I installed a barometric damper and use a Dwyer to keep tabs on the draft.

    Calls for -.02 to -.05 draft

    At full burn I see about -.05 or -.06 with 400-450*f flue temps and damper pretty much wide open.

    I also switched to dry beech wood this year.(+\- 20% mc) and I mix small and large splits. I don't fill the fire box all the way until I go to bed, trying to keep a hotter burn in the box.

    Anyway what's going on is the thing idles obviously since I don't have storage.

    Walked out there a few days ago to keep tabs on the boiler and the damn damper was laying halfway across the garage on the floor.

    Kinda made me curious. So I put two more screws in it and then sat with it for a few days at various times in the burn cycle.

    When it comes out of idling, fan kicks on and usually it starts to gasify fairly quickly. Starting to slowly gasify until its at a full burn.

    What I have noticed a few times is it will not start to gasify. The fan will run for three or four minutes until "Whaammm!!" the damper slams open and closed and what sounds like a mini exhaust explosion happens in the boiler/chimney. Then it'll be at a full roar instantly.

    What the eff is going on and should I be concerned?

    Thanks

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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  3. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    That's kinda what I had figured myself.

    Last year I burned pretty wet oak and never had it happen

    This year is dry beech.

    Storage is something I want and need but can't afford right now.

    Should I try bigger splits and a less intense fire?
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    If you are going to experiment, try mixing the wood with some a bit less dry. Perfect wood, IMHO, tends to create more flashbacks.
    Fred61 and Cornell3786 like this.
  5. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    Perfect.

    At least I know my wood is good n dry this year. Last year was no bueno

    So I shouldn't be too concerned about it?

    What's the worst case scenario? Blow a chimney section apart?
  6. NCFord

    NCFord Member

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    Cornell, I don't know about the worst case scenario since I am in my first year with my Econoburn 100, but I have experienced exactly the same thing. Another thing I learned from experience, is if you try and load it with a lot of wood in the box already
    and don't wait awhile after you open the dampner the same thing happens except it blows the door in your face and or flames.

    I also do not have storage yet but am actively working on it. How much creosote do you get inside your firebox?
    With all the idling mine does, it seems to have a lot, like every time I open the door to load there is stuff
    stuck the door which comes out like melted cheese. Just wondering if yours is similar?
  7. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    When a wood burner is idled, the air is cut off and the flame dies but the wood is still off gassing to some extent. That gas is present in the primary and secondary combustion chamber as when the fire gets to their ignition point it all lights up at once.
    In Europe it is common, maybe even a code of some kind, to see a barometric damper plus a "blow out damper" that swings out to give the rapidly expanding gasses a place to go.
  8. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    Interesting about the blow out damper.

    Looks like something ill just have to be careful with this season.

    Bad part is I work out of state 6 months a year, two weeks at a time and my 8 month pregnant girlfriend will be feeding the pig while I'm gone.
  9. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    I definitely have creosote in the upper chamber and I have had a door leak since the day I got it. It's like the door came out of adjustment from the factory in the upper right corner its no longer blue, but brown from smoke.

    I don't think mine is as bad as yours. When I am home and can tend the thing all day(in between whitetail hunting) I keep smaller, hotter fires in the upper chamber.

    When I open the door I can hear the dry crumbly creosote popping and crackling.

    When I keep it stuffed to the brim it gets gooey in there definitely.
  10. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    I also always leave the damper open for at least a minute, then slowly open the firebox door I have had it puff in my face a couple times.

    If I notice a darker colored smoke slipping out while door is cracked, I close the door and wait for the puff to come. If its white airy smoke it usually doesn't puff
  11. NCFord

    NCFord Member

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    How did you set up your barometric dampner? I have my BD installed, but have not adjusted it yet. I have a
    manometer but not exactly sure how to use it. I assume you have to have a small hole before and after the BD?
    Did you drill a hole in the chimney?
  12. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    The addition of the damper this year prevents the higher draft that you had in the past from removing the volatile gasses up the flue. More time between burn cycles would also help stop the explosions. Dryer wood also gasses for a longer period after shutdown because it chars deeper and breaks into a pile of smaller chunks that also banks itself and continues to stay very hot.
  13. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    Who knows if I did it correctly or not, but it makes sense to me.

    I put a T coming out of the boiler and another T directly under that with my baro on it and a clean out under that.

    My thoughts were it cannot get gummed up with creosote this way.

    I drilled two holes in my stack. One for a thermometer and another for a probe for my Dwyer manometer.

    Not sure what kind of manometer you have I just used one hole and left the manometer open to the atmosphere.

    With the Dwyer you have to hook it up backwards since it is made to read positive readings.

    I drilled my hole about 6" above the top of the boiler flue entry to my stack.

    I keep a piece of aluminum tape over the hole when I'm not measuring draft.

    As far as setting it up, my baro can be open 100% at a full burn and I will be around -.05 or -.06 draft. Rarely have I seen more.

    I can't get it any less than that
  14. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    That's exactly what I was thinking to myself and my observations in the ash pan.

    Thanks for the insight guys
  15. NCFord

    NCFord Member

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    thanks
    Cornell3786 likes this.
  16. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    I know this can be super frustrating! I had the same issues with my old boiler. I had enough and bit the bullet to go with a different boiler. I can honestly say that storage should be on the top of your priority list. Many people do not understand how great the benefits are (It took me a while to come around, now I would never not have it). I would also recommend batch burning and limiting any "idle" time.
    heaterman likes this.
  17. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    +1 on what Web said about mixing in a few pieces of wetter wood with the dry. It's worked for me before too.
    Cornell3786 likes this.
  18. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    I can't find any 500 gallon propane tanks for anything less than a fortune around here or I would have storage. I want it bad but can't fathom spending 3000 dollars on tanks

    What do you use for storage tanks? I have a pressurized system but I supposed I don't need pressurized storage. I would prefer it though
  19. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    I just loaded it with some hog logs. Last year I had 1 year old oak to burn so I split it all really small

    I found myself wanting to split any half logs this year again with my hatchet before feeding them to the pig.

    Definitely gonna try to resist the urge from now on and monitor it all.
  20. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    I have a 500 gal propane tank with 2 120 gal propane tanks on top. it is all pressurized. For a bare tank I think anything around a $1 a gal is reasonable. If you are handy it is not to bad to get storage set-up. IMO
  21. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    Sh*t I can only find tanks for $1000 or more. And most propane companies I call don't like the fact I wanna buy one of their tanks and are rude about it
  22. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    I find it is better to show up in person and explain that you are looking for tanks that cannot be used for propane anymore. Just tell them it is for water storage. I had trouble getting anyone to talk to me on the phone, but I had a friend that got a couple really cheap by going to the location where the tanks are stored. 120gal tanks are quite common and could be plumbed together a last resort.
    Cornell3786 likes this.
  23. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    not a bad idea. I have considered using 6 or 8 120 tanks that would be a lot of insulating and a pain in the ass but it would work I'm sure
  24. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    You could start with even 1 and add on as you find/can afford them. Just plan ahead...
  25. Cornell3786

    Cornell3786 New Member

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    I'm heating 3600 sq ft and my water right now idk if 120 gallons would help much? I know it wouldn't hurt anything

    My heat loss calculation I did (not positive if correct) says my house calls for 64k btu/hr and I have 150k btu boiler

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