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Greenwood boiler problem

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by joeski206, Nov 9, 2007.

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  1. joeski206

    joeski206 New Member

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    Just had the 100 series greenwood boiler installed professionally, works great , HOWEVER despite the cold outside temps and the fact that it the boiler is running great, EVERY TIME i load the boiler smoke pours out of the front. Dosent matter what I do it still happens. I have it installed in the workshop with a 6" chimney which travels WAY above the code for height, WTF is going on here, there are no clogs in the chimney as it is NEW and there obviously a draft so WHY does it always smoke me out ???

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  2. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Is the shop airtight? You could be drawing a vacuum so that the air pressure inside id lower than outside. Try opening a window or door before you open the boiler door.
  3. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I too have a GW 100, installed last winter so let me make a couple of observations:

    1) 6" stack? Mine is 8" metalbestos.

    2) Please tell me you didn't install the GW inside . . . they say it's designed for that, but, leave it outside in a shed or something.

    Ok, a couple of questions:

    1) Are you letting the load burn down all the way to coals? and
    2) Are you waiting until the flap is open and will remain open the whole time the load door is open? and lastly
    3) Are you opening the door ONCE, filling the stove, closing the door, and LEAVING it closed?

    Jimbo
  4. joeski206

    joeski206 New Member

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    The boiler is installed inside my workshop, its SUPPOSED to be an indoor boiler! I had one back in the late 80's in my basement of a raised ranch and never had a smoke problem. The chimney is 6" which is what GREENWOOD said would work. MY workshop is not airtight by any means the house is era 1840. It does not seem to matter that the "vent" is open in the back , sure the fire is all the way down to coals and venting great, however when I go to fill it as soon as the 1st log hits the coals the smoke pours out the front door and yes the vent is open, its not until i close it that it decides the chimney is the best route. The whole thing was professionally installed including the chimney which goes directly out the wall and straight up so thats not the problem. Im going to install a draft inducer that I will control with a switch and hope that does it. My in law apt is directly above the workshop and the smoke is wrecking it. After almost $12,000 to put this thing in im not happy, this smoke issue has to stop, dont know what else to do after i try the Draft inducer.
  5. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    I don't know the Greenwood, but a 6" chimney seems minimal for a wood furnace / boiler. Assuming that's not easy to change, I can think of only a few options:

    1) Try opening a door or window. Open the door on the Greenwood slowly to let the airflow up the chimney build up speed.

    2) Draft inducer as you've suggested. I have no experience with them

    3) Exhaust hood - I had a cranky old wood furnace that smoked, and I build an exhaust hood just above the door with ducting and a high-velocity fan blowing outside. Crude but effective. Mine was just a bit wider than the door, mounted 2" above the top of the door, and only about 5" front-to-back. I ducted it with 5" galvanized stovepipe out through a panel that replaced a basement windowpane. With a little more cleverness than I had at the time, it could act as a cold air supply to the boiler as well.
  6. joeski206

    joeski206 New Member

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    Greenwood specs suggested a 6" chimney. I am familiar with boiler operations and all the little tricks and nuances associated with operationg one. If i bought a new car i wouldn't expect to have to stop every 100 miles and tighten the lugnuts, or glue them on. The idea of adding an exaust hood while it would work is still a jerry rig way of solving the smoke issue that once again shouldn't even exist. I dont expect zero smoke, thats unreasonable, but i dont believe fogging up the damn house every time i load it is acceptable. This boiler is advertised and touted as an indoor boiler. My old boiler from the 1980's never smoked me out of the house. That was even prior to hydronic and gasification technology. After $12,000 to buy and have this boiler installed i shouldn't have to keep buying attic fans and draft inducers to stop the thing from smoking, not to mention the added costs and time i spend installing these items, the damn thing should work considering it was installed exactly as specs indicated. next move is to install the draft inducer to a switch and hope it sucks the smoke up the chimney instead of pouring out the front door. If that doesn't do it i don't know what else to try, i feel sorry for the company who sold me the boiler because it needs to work and I've added enough extras on my dime to solve the problem. I could understand if i was new to running one but i have had had them and been around enough to understand how to operate on properly. I hope the inducer does the trick, for greenwoods sake. Like i said it works great and burns every ounce of wood cleanly and my home is warm as hell with scalding hot domestic water and NO OIL CONSUMPTION , but the smoke issue ???? we will see. Any other suggestions are GREATLY appreciated.
  7. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    I discovered that there times in the burning cycle of my Seton boiler [ Greenwood's father ] where you don't even want to think about opening that big door .What I do is make two big burns a day and let the boiler burn out completely in-between. I also added a extra 4' on to the chimney it is now 23' tall 8'' dia. PS I do have a inlie variable speed draft inducer at the base of chimney , it helps allot even when cleaning ash , almost no soot in my face
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    A Seton. How cool is that? Welcome to the Boiler Room, Anthony D.

    I've read about Setons. If their website is to be believed, Seton is the granddaddy of all gasification in this country, especially the (now defunt) Black Bear and the Adobe, plus probably the Blue Forge as well.

    Great to have you aboard. Please tell us some more about your setup.
  9. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    What I have is a seton w-130 in separate bay of my garage about 130' from my house .The bay has a homemade 3500 gallon endless pool in it , heated with a special flat plate heat exchanger only 7 plates. The big Seton has much more output than unusually need so it feeds thee Super Store 119 gallon indirect stainless tanks continuously.The system prioritizes the main house by sending the hottest water to the boiler first then back to the tanks. The system is purely experimental and is controlled by many aqua-stats. This will be my first winter with this system , I plan on swimming allot {free heat after pay back about 1200$ }.No problem with wood supply .
  10. WRVERMONT

    WRVERMONT New Member

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    Eric, Do you have any smoking issues of any type associated with your Eko 60. I would be interested in any observations you may have made concerning smoke. I seem to be getting a very little smoke out the gasification door of my Eko Boiler. Thanks
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I get smoke out the main loading door when I open it and there's unburned wood in there. I also get smoke out of the gasification door when I open it before gasification has been achieved. And I have really good draft.

    Other photos I've seen of other EKOs and other brands online suggest that it's part of the game. That's one reason I've grown so fond of having my boiler out in the barn.

    But to answer your question, I think it's a matter of timing and becoming more familiar with the equipment. I usually consider a year about minimum for learning how to operate anything remotely complex with any confidence that I can predict what will happen with any accuracy.

    If you're getting smoke with the door closed, then it's probably an issue with the gasket seal or the door fit. When mine isn't not gasifying completely, I tend to get some smell in the boiler room indicating that it's backing up into the space. If the boiler was in the basement instead of out in the barn, I might be more concerned about it. But since it's not, I can't really say whether it would be a problem or not.
  12. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    Sorry what I meant to say was free heat after a pay back of around $12000 not including my labor . But the way I feel it's concept of getting so much energy out old trees that have blown down over the years . The woods around my house are looking allot better these days.
  13. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Right off the bat, let me state that my opinion of the GW company is rather low. To them, customer service means this annoying guy called Mr. Barber calling you to see if everything is okay. When it's not, he knows basically nothing technical, and has to have someone else get back to you. The 'someone else' is running around putting out fires - pun intended - with all the other people having problems.

    My problem with the furnace itself is that the combustion chamber cracks to heck and will probably disintegrate before I make my money back.

    Now having gotten that all off my chest, I would recommend you do as I did, and cut the cord with the company. That alleviates the frustration of dealing with them, and forces you to solve the problems that come up.

    When I had my GW 100 installed, I was experienced with old woodstoves, but not furnaces. My first year was frustrating, but you are experienced. So the next things I will say are going to sound simplistic, but I must say them.

    1) Saying something is designed for inside use is just sales puffery. GW has probably also told you that the refractory material will support 48 hour re-ignition too. Do you believe that? Don't.

    2) My first year my wife used to complain because I smelled like smoke all the time. The front of the GW had this thick scaly black soot on it. This year, no such problem so far. What did I do different?
    a)Do not open the feed door until 1-the draft flap is open, and 2- the water temp is down to 160 (assuming you are still running the aquastat at 180). These two measures will ensure a coals only fire.
    b) Use Reasonable dry hardwood that doesn't ignite immediately. Red Oak, ash or apple. White birch and softwoods will ignite before you can get the feed door closed.
    c) Have your load sitting on the floor ready to load. Load all at once and do not open the door again until the next feed cycle (8 hours if it's cold out - wait. . .you didn't believe GW when they said 12 hours, did you?)

    Things {possibly} NOT to do -
    The aforementioned Mr Barber told me to get a draft inducing fan . . . I immediately bought one (insert the sound of GW sucking more cash outa my wallet) but it never warmed up outside enough for me to justify installing it. I was gonna do it all summer and never did. I have unscientifically decided I don't need it.

    Question for you . . . you say you had it professionally installed . . . did this professional measure the draft? let the measurement tell you if you need the fan, not a salesman.

    Before you reject the idea of a hood and fan . . . think about the smoke path . . . it's not like it has a direct, constantly ascending trip from the combustion chamber to the atmosphere. . . . I think it's the "Alternate Energy" furnace that actually comes with a hood and fan. Yes, I still wish I'd bought that furnace instead of the GW, but no point in crying over spilled beer now.

    Seriously though . . . if you are only opening the feed door three times a day, and for say, 30 seconds, how can you get enough smoke into the room to cause a problem that even an opened window and fan can't handle?

    And my 2-cents worth . . . seriously consider moving the GW outside befor next winter.

    Jimbo
  14. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

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    Interesting to hear the operation on the GW boiler.I am considering this design but i like the seton and the adobe models. i too did not like the GW rep i talked to it seemed i knew more about the boiler than him.I have been researching owb and gasifire for about a year or so and like simplicity of the GW design. If the power would go out it would seem to still work with limited amount of power to heat my house "one or two pumps" since i have radiant floor heat. do you think the adobe "gasifire" boiler has a better design with the induced draft and bypass for start up or filling? it seems that the fan on the exhaust would do well for the smoke problem you would just turn it on for loading or starting a new fire. I hope you can figure the smoke problem out smoke in the face everyday is not a good thing.

    good luck.
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Since you're in the market for an outdoor gasifier, rsnider, check out the Blue Forge. I think the design is similar to the Seton. Adobe hasn't been on the market for long, so you takes your chances. I guess the same could be said for the Forge.

    Based on what I've read in this forum so far, I'd think twice before getting a Greenwood.

    New Horizon sells an outdoor version of their new BioMax--complete with a hot water storage tank.
  16. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    Wondering if what Fred Seton said about the casting of the refractory on Greenwood's is true , he said it is cast in one piece. Or is it five separate castings set into boiler like the Seton he sells.
  17. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Actually, my GW100 combustion chamber is in about 20 pieces. Not sure at what point all the cracks let in air and just burn up my wood. The first time I complained of cracks, they sent me free patch. Suppose I should email them for more . . . . what I really want though is material to build a ramp out of that will keep the chunks and coals moving to the back (air inlet) so that I can get a couple extra hours of heat.

    But to answer your question . . . I think it is correct to say the GW is cast in one-piece. I can't verify it at the moment as the inside of the box is somewhere north of 1,000 deg :lol: Though . . . if it gets any warmer here in NY, I may go back to just burning one load of dimensional lumber in the evening for the next day's DHW needs.

    Oh, BTW . . .is Seton saying anything more about a co-gen unit as an add-on to his unit? If I could get that . . .

    Jimbo
  18. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

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    The co-gen is not on his website. that thing would be cool to have.
  19. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    Thanks for the info on the Greenwood refractory design . I called Fred a couple week ago , he said it's still on lathe . What it will be is flash steam turbine that will turn a 1000 watt generator and some how integrate into the Seton boiler . Anthony
  20. joeski206

    joeski206 New Member

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    Well all the advice and experience is appreciated. I thought i did my homework and research well enough. I wont blacklist the greenwood just yet because I have heard horror stories from other manufacturers as well. Here in Maine there are a lot of boilers. This winter will be a test for sure and i believe the draft inducer should do the trick. greenwood does come with a 10 or was it 20 year firebox warranty so we will see how it holds up, I have been running it for a month straight now and all seems well.
  21. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

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    does the GW have an ash pan or opening other than the fill door?
  22. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    No means of ash removal, which was one reason I almost bought the 'Wood Gun'

    If run 'properly', the GW doesn't need much ash removal. However, If you continually burn wet wood, and constantly keep the chamber full instead of letting it burn down, the ash will build up and compact. Then 'bricks' of ash will be found at the back of the box. This is a problem if not removed, since this will decrease the distance from the floor to the air inlets. But a sod shovel works great to remove these 'bricks' quite easily if this becomes an issue.
  23. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Did you actually send the warrently in? Are you aware that putting wood in North/South voids the warrenty?
  24. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

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    do you think the GW burns well with just the natural draft? other than the refractory crack and the smoke problem is there anything else? do you have water storage? and if not do you need it? thanks in advance ryan.
  25. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I've never experianced forced draft, so I have nothing to compare the GW to. I believe the simplicity of the draft control (either open or shut, no in-between) is a plus, Until you want to go control-crazy, like me.

    For me, the smoke is not a problem, since I installed the GW outside. One thing I am going to do though is put an override switch in to force the draft open when I want to fill the stove. An obvious hasle with having the GW outside is having to go out to see if the draft is open. Opening the door with the draft closed WILL result in smoke, especially if there is unspent fuel in the box.

    Hmmm . . .water storage. The NEED for water storage was one of two reason I didn't buy a TARM (though I was stupid enough to send them a $500 deposit :coolgrin: ) GW will tell you that because of the sheer mass of the refractory material, you don't need water storage. I want water storage mostly for DHW. Currently the GW goes into a 20 plate HX to my Viessmann, which then goes into a coil HX in the accompanying Viessmann DHW tank. The multiplicity of HX just HAS to be inefficient. I plan to go with a 160 gal tank with two coils. I hope to then start installing solar panels to heat the tank when possible, and fire the GW to suppliment during cloudy periods.

    Unscientific observation here . . . I think concrete makes beter storage. I have tubes in my attached garage, plus my basement slab. Thats like 1,800 [] out of a toal 4,000. Getting those slabs warmed up puts a hurtin on the boiler, but once they are, they radiate for quite a while. But since you can heat water much hotter than the concrete, maybe it all evens out.

    The one draw back with water storage is that the standby losses for my 50 gal DHW tank are unacceptable . . . not sure how I am going to handle the standby losses on 160 gal . . .
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