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Geothermal is out! Need advice on the boiler route

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by denvershepherd, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    As long as its dry, sounds fishy to me.

    You might have to adjust your air settings a bit, but once you get them set you should be good if your fuel is more or less consistent.

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  2. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd Member

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    Does that mean I shouldn't burn a mixture of soft and hard woos together in the Garn?
  3. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'll let someone with a Garn answer that one more specifically, but my general comment would be as long as it's dry - burn it.
  4. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd Member

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    I just spoke with a very knowledgeable fellow at Garn in regards to burning the very dry pine and he's said its most likely due to the high altitude and the extremely dry wood. The fix for the high altitude is a high altitude kit, which apparently I have, that gets more O2 into the burn chamber. If the pine is super dry he said to not split it which will reduce the surface area using less O2. When the fire burns more air than is available it causes a phenomena known as 'puffing'. This can make the Garn sound like a locomotive lol. I hope that doesn't happen at my place. I'll think its going to explode or something. Bottom line is that the Garn can burn the very dry pine. You just might have to make subtle adjustments. The guy would still be talking to me about it if I didn't tell him I had to go lol. Wonderful customer service they have at Garn. Another assurance that I went with the right product.
  5. Are you burning in the garn already?
  6. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd Member

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    No. It has not been fully installed yet. Probably 3 weeks away yet.
  7. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    I have seen Garns on radiant floor applications routinely run all the way down to the 105-110* range with no ill effect. You are however borderline condensing at that point so I would advise anyone doing so to have a firm handle on the moisture content of the fuel. When we start one up cold, like an installation in the winter, water temps can be in the 40* range and condensate will literally pour out of the exhaust. We're talking buckets.......Once water temps get much above 95-100* the condensation stops.
    There is no problem running a Garn down to the low 100* range because you are never idling the fire when it burns. Operating at water temps that low would of course dictate that the heat emitters are sized to deliver adequate btu's in that range. There are often design problems from that perspective.

    In addition, you never have to worry about "boiler protection" or elevating return water temps with a Garn because the firebox, heat exchanger and water vessel are all one unit. You can't "shock" a Garn because the sheer volume of water eliminates rapid temperature drop that can mess up small volume boilers.
  8. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd Member

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    Install still going :( It's amazing how long it takes to get one of these up and running. Here are some more pics...

    Attached Files:

  9. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Very nice work. You're in the home stretch.
    It doesn't look like you have much room above.
    Isn't there some sort of opening on top that you need to access ?
  10. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd Member

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    Thanks! It's getting close. We are going to spray foam the roof and leave it open all the way up to the peak. That way there will be like 4 or 5 feet of space above the manhole opening. The trusses are not blocking access to the opening either.
  11. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Sorry. The pictures are decieving. Again looks good. How long before you light 'er up?
  12. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd Member

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    Thanks. The sooner the better. The main installer is having knee surgery so I'd like to wait till he can come back. I'm not really sure how much they have left but I'm sure a few weeks at least. I'll make an announcement when its fired up. lol
  13. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Ouch. Depending on the type of surgery, he could be out for at least 4 weeks or more.
    Definetly keep us posted. What are you heating with now? I'm sure it's cold and snowy there!
  14. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd Member

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    Yes. That's a whole other store. When the electrician came two weeks to route power for the Garn we had him remove the electrical for the current electric baseboard since we want to get rid of them for esthetic reason. We had no idea it would take this long to get the Garn up and running so for the last couple of weeks including some below 0 days, we have been without electric heat. We have been surviving on two pellet stoves. They do 'ok' but the house is around 48-50 degrees. Not the most comfortable but hopefully its very temporary.
    Tennman likes this.
  15. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Portage and main optimizer 250 would be my suggestion. The mess is out of the house and the unit is fairly flexible and tunable.
  16. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    48-50* is most definitely not comfortable. It's down right crazy. I hope it is a very fast temporary. And hopefully this doesn't leave a sour taste in your wife's mouth, so that everything else related to the garn will irritate her. Like everytime you spend hours scrounging, splitting and stacking. If you can afford it, take her out to a nice hotel for New Years and maybe stay there the rest of the week. A little honey goes a long way. Have a safe and WARM New Year.
  17. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Man that's downright cold inside.

    I think I'd be doing whatever I had to do to get that Garn up & running, even if you need to find another substitute installer guy. I couldn't sleep at night with it being that cold inside & having that awesome beast almost ready for action - and my wife would make sure I didn't if I did happen to doze off.

    Good luck!
  18. Blue Tornado

    Blue Tornado Guest

    WOW! Quite a thread.

    Been a month since the last post, I hope things are well with you and your Garn. Hopefully your new system was up and running through the cold spell last week.
  19. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd Member

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    WHAT A PROCESS!!! BUT IT'S UP AND ONLINE!!! Sorry I've been so slow getting back to everyone. I've had the Garn up and online for a little over 3 weeks now and although winter is almost over, I'm ecstatic to have it done! I just finished with the chemical clean yesterday when I drained the tank, and the Garn was refilled this morning and I'm firing it now to get it back up to temperature. It's amazing how fast that thing can heat up 2000 gallons of water from just burning wood. It still has been cold outside here the past 3 weeks as I'm at about 8000 feet in Colorado so the Garn has been tested a little bit. What it has faced so far, it has passed with ease! I'm sure some of you know my story but I retrofitted the house with in floor hydronic heat using the under floor method and aluminum plates that the pex snaps into. I was skeptical but it really does warm the house up nice. Not to mention how nice just having warm tile on the feet is. The only issue I have with the Garn so far is that there is a little bit of smoke coming into the room from somewhere. The installers can seem to find where it is coming from but they suspect the seal on the door and want me to play around with tightening it up. Oh, and I've had some "puffing". Garn has informed me how to fix that issue when I get my next supply of wood.

    I'm going to go down and do another burn right now but I just wanted to say thanks to everyone on here that helped me from the beginning to end of this process. From someone who didn't even know what wood gasification was, to now having all my heat and DHW provided from a wood boiler, it really is a miracle lol.

    I hope that I can pay it forward if anyone else is wanting to make the switch to wood heating. Not that I'm an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I can now say I've been there and done that!

    Thanks!
  20. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    That is great, denvershepherd! Congrats.
    I've had a blast with my new system for the last few months now and appreciate the feeling. Enjoy!

    As far as the smoke smell-It is pretty hard for me to imagine any smoke coming out of the door with the strong negative draft of the Garn's but I don't know the boiler. Any chance the cleanout ports need to be tightened down a little? Or the fan? Just thinking out loud here.

    Best of luck with the new boiler!

    Noah
  21. denvershepherd

    denvershepherd Member

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    Thanks! I'm not sure. I'm going to continue to watch it and see if I can figure out whats going on. The fan is quite the beast the way it gets that fire going so I don't think its that. Just growing pains with a new system I guess :) You sound like you have a lot of the same stuff in your system as mine...Grundfos, Taco etc.. How did you do the in floor heat?

    Neil
  22. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    I did a tube and plate(lightweights) install above the subfloor with 3/8" flooring over the plates to help keep the supply temps down. Love the low temp radiant heat!

    The link in my signature has more info and pics of my system.

    Noah

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