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Greenwood Transfer Fluid

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by jbeamer, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. jbeamer

    jbeamer New Member

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    I recently purchased a home with a Greenwood 100 installed in an outside shed to heat my house. I'm just learning about all of this, but I've been told it is a closed system. I've been doing prep work getting ready to fire, and my instruction manual talks about checking the transfer fluid levels routinely and draining/changing it every couple of years. Here's the problem - I don't see this gauge anywhere on my stove. Plus, I don't have the "fill port" shown in the diagrams. The previous owner (who is a contractor and knows more than I do) said that the system doesn't use the transfer fluid because it is closed. Greenwood's website hasn't been helpful and, so far, I haven't been able to talk to anyone from that company. The stove is about three years old.

    So, my questions: are some systems run without this transfer fluid? If so, is it okay to do this? If I should run it with the fluid, any ideas where the fill port would be hidden?

    Thanks for any help that you can provide.

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  2. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Welcome Aboard Jim Beam!

    Question #1 . . .you say the GW is outside . . . follow the water lines coming out . . .where do they go? Directly into an inside boiler? Or into a storage tank or plate HX?

    Q#2 There should be a date stamped (probably on the front plate, in the upper left corner) plate indicating when the unit was manufactured. What is that date?


    Some general facts to get you up to speed . . .

    GreenWood is out of business. ProFab handles parts for them. You will get more information about that unit here then anywhere else in the world. It would be helpful to the rest of the responders - most of whom are more expert than I - if you placed pictures of your installation here for us to observe and comment on.

    Jimbo
  3. jbeamer

    jbeamer New Member

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    I'll try to get pics uploaded later today. The water lines travel into a boiler in my basement (it seems they connect to my oil furnace). I know that there is a date of December 2007 on that plate, but that may be the install date. I'll have to look to see if there is another one. I would greatly appreciate the help - I really want to start firing this weekend, but don't want to begin if I need to do something with this transfer fluid. I can't even find an outfit around here that knows how to service them. The one place I did talk to doesn't have much experience with Greenwood, but thought that it would be okay to run without.
  4. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    First off, I ain't no plumber. Though I do like to lay pipe. But I digress . . .

    If the water comes out of the GW and DIRECTLY into your oil-fired boiler, then exits the oil boiler and enters your GW, it sounds like a closed system. Unless I'm wrong - happens a lot - the GW is not a pressure vessel so as to be designed to be pressurized.

    Does the reservoir port on the back of the GW have a pipe plug in it?
  5. jbeamer

    jbeamer New Member

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    Okay, I'm definitely not a plumber, so you lost me on the last part. A pipe plug? Reservoir something?
  6. Deere10

    Deere10 New Member

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    Ya some pics of the back of the GW would be helpful. I installed mine last summer(unfortunetaly I found this site after the install was half complete).Do you have the remote mount reservoir(tank) to fill the unit with?
  7. jbeamer

    jbeamer New Member

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    what would a remote reservoir tank look like? I have a grey tank that sticks up in the air at the back of the system...is that it?

    Also, does anyone know how to post pics? I tried to put it as an attachment, but the file is too big.
  8. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Resize the pics (PhotoShop) down to 700K. Or post them to a photo site and link them in the body of your post.

    This grey tank you speak of sounds like an expansion tank. If so, sounding more and more like you DO have this set up as closed.

    IF that is the case, there is no external fluid. The same water that goes through your oil boiler also goes through your GW

    If my memory serves me, 13 has his GF set up closed? Possibly he will chime in here.
  9. jbeamer

    jbeamer New Member

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    According to the previous owner of the house (a contractor) and to everything I have learned, it's definitely a closed system. However, the manual for the furnace still says that you need this transfer fluid (a mix of propylene glycol and water). That's what has me so confused. I know the previous owner didn't do anything with this, but I just want to be 100% sure before I fire it up (I don't want to have to shut it back down to mess with this).
  10. jbeamer

    jbeamer New Member

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    Okay, here are some pics. So, the big question after reviewing them - does it appear that there is any inlet for the heat transfer fluid? Or can I trust the previous owner (and discredit the user manual) and assume that it doesn't need the fluid since it is a closed system?

    Attached Files:

  11. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Closed system it is

    Fire it up this weekend . . .um, no :blank:
  12. kabbott

    kabbott Member

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    I think the GW had some issue's with condensation so maybe thats what it's from??? But ... My first thought when I look at pic #3 is Are there any joints
    in that piping that haven't leaked?
  13. Jesse-M

    Jesse-M Member

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    Not to many of us use anything but straight water for the " Heat Transfer Fluid ", also you may want to look for an automatic 12# fill valve that keeps the system topped off. You don't hear about them too much, but it's what I use on my unit. If you have something like this, then you should have no worries.

    Attached Files:

  14. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    Yes you are correct 100% Closed system. I am assuming that when your manual speaks of "transfer fluid" they are talking about a fluid that will transfer the heat from the heat source to some kind of load, Heat exchanger, radiator,baseboard, etc. I personally run a 40% mix of glycol but I know most run just water due to being the most efficient and cost effective. I have modified a couple of your pictures. I used that water valve that I pointed to to fill my system. Hooked a hose to a pump and filled it up to the Air separator and then threaded the air separator on. One thing I would recommend is that you crack your safety blow offs at least once a year. When you do that you should be able to tell if is is straight water or a mix. Glycol is a red in color and should feel a little slippery. If your still unsure put some in the freezer and see if it freezes.

    Attached Files:

  15. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    Quick question for you guy's that run water. Do you add any kink of treatment? And if not do you change it? I went with the glycol because I wanted the protection and also was told that if I did that I would never have to change it out. Not really sure that is or is not the case? Thoughts anyone?
  16. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Jim Beam

    See, I told you you'd get plumbing advice here. Just not from me.

    But you won't get away without advice . . . just the way it is.

    Your pics seem to indicate massive condensation issues which are indicated by the rust bubbling through the outside panels - 'skins' - of your GW. Once the skin has a hole in it, the only thing between the fire and your room is the insulation. According to the date you gave us, your unit was manufactured a year after mine. My unit showed no where near that amount of rust through this fall. I replaced 2 of the 4 skins before firing this year.

    Others here are way more qualified to talk about why you got extraordinary condensation, but . . . I can't help but wonder if you've had creosote sitting in there since the first fire, and your oil boiler was constantly circulating through your GW. Does not sound like a good idea to me, but again, listen to the plumbing types here.

    No way would I run the GW in your pics. While you are taking pics, open the door and take some pics of the inside of the refractory, the primary combustion chamber. Post those for us please.

    Jimbo
  17. Deere10

    Deere10 New Member

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    Do you think that the extra condensation is from too cold return temps from the heat load? Jimbo yours is an open system with the remote reservoir for the boiler side,correct?
  18. jbeamer

    jbeamer New Member

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    I'll try to get some pics of the inside to post. I know the previous owner ran the stove year-round, but I don't know how much maintenance he actually did on it (I'm guessing not much). When I was cleaning the ash out of the firebox, I did notice a good bit of creosote on the coils.

    So, if all think I should replace the skin/s, where do a get such a thing and is this something I can do myself? Also, due to the rust on the pipes, are these safe to continue using as long as they are not currently leaking?

    I'm getting a bad feeling about all of this, so hopefully someone can put me at ease...

    To Trzebs13 - if I crack the safety blow-off that you pointed to in the pic, where can I expect the fluid to come out from (sorry for the ignorance). Also, you mentioned the air separator - are you able to point that out to me? BTW, the transfer fluid they suggest is the glycol mixture you mention.
  19. jbeamer

    jbeamer New Member

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    Okay, not sure if this question is directed toward me or not (since my name isn't Jim, the whole Jimbo thing is throwing me off). If it is directed at me, I have a closed system with no remote reservoir.
  20. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    The saftey blow offs do one of two things. Either it opens that valve under pressure. Meaning if pressure builds in the system too high it will open that valve to release that pressure so it will not gernade. Or it will open by tempature. I thought most had 1 of each on them. You want to test these at least once a season to ensure that they are not corroded shut, keep them working properly.

    I have marked those pics with your answers.

    And are those just hose clamps on your pex lines going out?? That in my book is not kosher. You have a pressuredized system of very hot fluid flowing there. Have a plummer stop over and have him replace those with some pex crimp clamps.

    I would not worry about that plumming haveing some rust, iw will take a good amount of time for it to compermise the strenght of those fittings. But I would look at the air cerculation in that room. During the summer is it able to breath or is the concrete just sweating like a pig and eating away at your boiler.

    As far as the skins Jimbo just went threw this with his. But I'll throw my 2 cents. Mine has Stainless Steel skins. If I were to work on yours I would definitly reccomend that you do SS. The one thing I don't know is the cost difference here. You should be able to handle changing these your self. Find a Fab shop in the area and probably the best is to take the rusted skins there and tell them you need a new pc like this. Or take measurements and thickness and they could probably shear one up. It's just a flat plate. The only tricky thing here is attaching the insulation. And Jesse had some good idea's on that one.

    Stick with it, a little work here and you'll have a great boiler that will keep you cozy and warm for just the cost/labor of your wood.

    Attached Files:

  21. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I've never heard of a J. Beam that wasn't Jim . . .my apology.

    While I agree with 13 that getting new skins made and replacing them is a relatively straight forward operation, I think I'd need to know more about you and your situation B4 I'd advise one way or the other.

    1) What's your comfort level with burning wood?
    have you done it b4?
    if so, in a stove or an OWB?

    2)Why do you want to burn wood starting this w/e?

    3)What is your wood supply?
    type, size, MC, quantity?

    4)What did the prior owner tell you he went through for wood?
    how much oil does he say you will use for a year if you just burn oil?

    5)During purchase negotiations, what were the old owners comments about how much value this wood setup contributed to the value of the property? Did you really think it added ANY value? If so, how much?

    Jimbo
  22. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

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    OK now I'm confused, why are you recommending two blow offs. Boilers use a pressure based valve & tank style water heaters use a T&P valve, combination valve for temp and pressure. These don't and aren't used on boilers because they can't exceed 180 degrees. The boiler valves only see the pressure because the pressure will rise with temp & it releases at a given. pressure/temp. Where am I wrong? Are two valves recommended by manufacture for GW?
  23. jbeamer

    jbeamer New Member

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    Okay, lots of questions here. I burnt wood growing up in an indoor woodstove, this is my first experience with an boiler unit. It's starting to get cold here in central PA and, with the cost of oil, I'd prefer to burn. I have one triaxle load of mixed wood (oak, locust, a few poplar) that I have cut and stacked. The guess is around 7 cords. Previous owner bought wood by the pickup load from a local Amish sawmill. It's hard to tell how much he went through. Oil wise - we went through 100 gallons in about 2.5 months (but they were fairly warm months). We actually negotiated for the woodstove, and I paid an extra $4k for it (figuring that it was only 2.5 years old at the time, I thought I was getting a good deal).
  24. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    Mine has 2, I just assumed that all of them had 2. When I first had is hooked up (wrong) it blew the temp valve first. I was making an assumtion that all had 2. I thought that on the Seaton's there was 2 as well. So I very well could be wrong here. Maybe one is all the GW's have. Just trying to get JB up and going here, with out him over looking some key issues so he can have a good safe burning season.
  25. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Ok, I'm gonna chill 4 a bit and let someone else give you their ideas.

    If money were no object, I'd yank that GW and replace it with a tried and true unit that is designed to be used in a closed system. And I'd either incorporate storage, or make it so I could seperate the wood unit from the oil unit durning the DHW season.

    If money were somewhat of an issue, I'd seperate the GW from the oil, burn oil for now. Then I'd disassemble the GW and fix it properly.

    If money were the only issue, I'd find all the current jobs that contractor is working on, then tell the contractor that, unless he gives you the $4k back, you are going to show pictures of the plumbing to all his customers :smirk:

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