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Holy roller coaster batman!

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by kopeck, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    Anyone else having fun trying to figure out when to fire and how full your boiler needs to be over the last week or so?

    We (Midcoast Maine) had a small run of cool/cold weather at the end of November & early December then everything went loopy. Some really warm days, some cool nights, sometime the night was just as warm as the day.

    My heat load has been all over the place. Right now I'm doing two small loads (fire box about half full) a day. I was trying to just fire the boiler once a day but I was caught once with to much heat and once where I came home to hear my oil boiler running.

    Not much constancy here!

    K
    ScotO likes this.

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  2. nrcrash

    nrcrash Member

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    Thats why you need storage!!!! I just wait till the temp goes down and load up a full load. Easy breasy!!
  3. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    That was my complaint, even with storage. http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/wheres-winter.100681/
    ScotO likes this.
  4. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Yup. If it would stay between 10::F and 25 ::Fwe would be all set. Not too cold, not to warm. But then you would be burning more wood.
  5. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    It's been pretty consistent up here, staying below freezing for the most part. Low - mid 20s during the day, and about four inches of snow today. But yesturday I was outside sandblasting those ci radiators and it was 34.

    TS
  6. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    Storage, a spreadsheet, and a scale. Weather doesn't matter, if it's 90 degrees in the summer or 0 degrees the spread sheet averages the storage temps and tells me how much wood to throw in.

    gg
  7. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    I have storage. What I'm finding is with zero house load once my storage hits 165 + degrees I start to see some cycling. I cranked the pump speed up to 3 on my loading unit which helped some but it was still happening.

    That why I've been going with two small load, when it's 45 degrees I only need to get my tank to 160 or so degrees to satisfy my heat demands for the day/night.

    When it's cooler and the house is sucking up a bit of the heat I just load 'er full and go!

    K
  8. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Those radiators are nice. I saw those and then lost track of the thread. My brother has a bunch of really old ones throughout his house. I believe they are all the original ones from when the house was built. I am thinking late 1800s or very early 1900s. But I am not sure.
  9. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    Gasifier likes this.
  10. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    If I remember right you have a lot of radiant. Is that correct? One nice advantage, being able to use those lower temps.
  11. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    ;lol Oh. Well don't even bother posting kopeck. No Wood Gun. No EKO. No RV. No Kubota. Pfffff.
  12. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I guess the moral of the story here, and in Fred's post, is this roller coaster weather SUCKS! Honestly, fellas.....I think we're in for a screwy winter just like last year. Totally nutty, and a royal PITA to get any kind of rhythym in consistent wood burning.
    Gasifier likes this.
  13. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    I hear you also have 5 or so inches of snow on the ground as well!

    Those temps are pretty easy to deal with, 50 one day, 35 the next, some nights warmer then the day.

    I really appreciate those of you (goosegunner) that take the time to weigh and track your usage. I'm happy if I can get close enough and go by my gut. What I'm finding is I don't need to get the tank up to 180 deg. every time, if it's 40 and sunny out and I can throw an arm load of wood in and get the tank up to 165 deg. then that will satisfy all my heat and DHW needs. Do it again at night and I'm good to go. Yeah, once a day would be nice but I can start a fire with almost no kindling, a sheet or two of news paper and about 5-10 minutes.

    K
  14. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Just got 4" today, the first "real" snow this year, first time I actually snowblowed the driveway, and the first time I used 4x4 in my truck............other than for mud ;)

    I don't have enough disipline to weigh my wood, just keep track of anual useage. Gut feeling by the thermometer here.

    TS
  15. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    Nope, just hot water baseboard.

    A fairly well insulated house with good windows and doors. The guy that installed my baseboard sized it by the seat of his pants, which means all of it is over sized so that helps with the lower temp water. I'm installing a new baseboard in a room I'm working on and going with high output and sized it at 160 deg so that should help too.

    Oh, and no Kubota!? No fun!

    K
  16. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    Last year I upgraded my pump because I was having some cycling. Now I have noticed that on low my tank charges nice and hot to the top and the bottom comes up slow until the end. If I run on medium it will bring the top up to about 160-165 then the bottom will come up to that before the top goes much higher.

    So, maybe moving more water would help you bring entire tank to 165. I have forced air coil so I like to bring the tank to 185 top to bottom.

    gg
  17. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    We got an inch of snow/sleet/ice/slush. Driving to work was slick for about 15 miles, then it was just rain.

    I hear you on the gut bit, I'm just fine tuning my guy. :p

    Hey, did you get my PM?

    K
  18. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Just replied, had to think about it for a bit.... lol

    TS
  19. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    No problem, just curious.

    K
  20. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

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    PEI, Canada
    Ya these up and down temps really make it hard to get a firm grip on a new boiler system.
    I started burning on and off in Oct, and will have gone through my first cord by the end of the week. I don't think I'll have to worry about running out this year, as that will leave 10 cord to finish the season.:p

    It is bizare to be having these systems go through that are causing it to be warmer through the night than it is during the day.

    We got about 2" of snow yesterday @ -2* C, followed by rain. Then Temp then went up to 12* C by 5 am today.
    It has dropped to 6*C in the last hour, and is set to drop all day down to -5*C by evening.

    I have found that placing a load on the boiler mid day works great to keep things pumping along.
    We will put on a load of clothes, or run the dishwasher mid day to keep the boiler thumping along.

    If both need to be done, we can set one to come on at 10 am and the other around 2pm.

    Delay start on both the washer and dishwasher are a great options.
    Gasifier likes this.
  21. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    That is good willyswagon. There was another guy in the boiler room who said he had three or four programmable thermostats and he would program them to call for heat for an hour at different times throughout the night to make sure the boiler cycled on enough to keep it from going out.
  22. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    By 'cycling' at 165, do you mean the boiler will start idling? What do you have for a boiler & storage? Any settings you can change? Just seems like a pretty low temp to see idling start - if that's what you meant.

    So far I'm just burning every evening, same as I've been doing since I started. Sometimes it's just one load, sometimes I'll throw more wood in on the way to bed if there's still room in the storage for heat. Last night, I might have almost overdone it - I put 3 or 4 more sticks in when top of storage was 175, then I went down for one more look an hour later and it was 190 top/180 bottom with the fire still going pretty good. I didn't really clue in as to how warm it was outside. Anyway, I just turned one of the downstairs thermostats up a couple of degress & hit the hay - warm house in the morning and top of storage still above 180. I'm still new at this stuff, but doesn't seem you're getting the flexibility of storage you should be?
  23. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    These temps are a little nicer for boiler operation. We had 12::Fat about 5am this morning. It is about 15 ::Fright now. If these temps stay around for a while I will start using up some wood. According to the forcast it will be a little warmer than this for the next five days.
  24. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    Maybe Mark at AHONA just right sized my pump.. I have a 0011. It won't idle at all really until the storage hits 195. Ok.. I guess that's wrong. I have seen it slip into idle in the high 180s storage temp.. but only after I have just monkeyed with the load. Raking over the coals and peeking at what's going on. It shortly comes out of idle and burns at my lowest set fan speed... 35% I can routinely get 195 to 197 top of tanks.. and 195 on the bottom. Lotta heat stored. Love this technology. I had a bad set of pallets in there this week. Lot of punky stuff. I think the wife used most up while I was gone this week. I am going thru some wood though. But it's sure cheaper than oil. Just an excuse to rev up the new saw!

    JP
  25. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    The Tarm manual calls it cycling, Froling calls it slumber, folks here say idling quite often all the same thing, the blower turns off for a bit so the boiler can get rid of some heat.

    My boiler has always cycled a bit once the tank got into the 170+ range. Usually it's just short spirts, off for a minute or two, maybe once or twice at the end of the burn. It gets back to gasifcation really quick, I checked with the folks at Tarm Biomass and they said that this was completely normal. What I saw on a really warm day, with zero load from the house and a stuffed fire box is the whole process started a bit earlier. Just playing with things during the warm spell, seems that small loads with a target tank temp of 165 works better (ie little to no cycling) then shooting to top the tank off at 180 like I would in the dead of winter.

    I'm running unpressurized storage with a in tank heat exchanger so I really don't want to go over 180 anyway. That's one advantage you folks running pressurized have, no heat limit and really good "heat transfer". That being said I've been really impressed with my exchanger, water is going in at 185 and coming out at tank temp. It's really doing it's job well.

    K

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