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How do you have your setup in the event of a power loss?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by RDabate, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. RDabate

    RDabate Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    88
    Loc:
    Ellington, CT
    Hi guys,

    I've got the EKO 25. I'm looking to have some improvements done on my setup and I'd like to prepare for a power loss. What is best and safest way to accomplish this? Should I just have it all wired to a UPS? Any suggestions would be great, thanks.

    Rick

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  2. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,318
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    I have my EKO 40 plugged into an APC UPS 1500 and I sleep very well at night. More than enough juice...
  3. RDabate

    RDabate Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    88
    Loc:
    Ellington, CT
    I actually have two APC 1500's, but not connected to anything yet. I do IT work, so I was able to get some from work. My system is running in parallel with the oil furnace. So if the power goes out, and the EKO is plugged into the UPS, the EKO stays one, but the furnace stays off. So I don't know if that would do anything since the all the zones and everything are connected to the Oil furnace.
  4. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    733
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    I have my boiler circ hooked directly to a UPS. This way if I loose power my stove will shut down, but my boiler circ will still run allowing the boiler to stay cool. My concern was overheating if I had just filled the boiler and I lost power. I wired in a light switch to the side of my boiler that I use to control the boiler circ so I go from the UPS, to the light switch, and then to the circ, all independent of the actual boiler controls.
  5. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,361
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    I burn wood.........no need for backup!!

    -Soupy1957

    P.S.: Sorry........couldn't help myself! (lol)
  6. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    438
    how many watts do these things produce and for how long?? My system is spread over 2 acres and this is on the list. Thinking going to an emergency generator might be simpler and could still run some other things. looked at some home built wind mills also. can't stop building!
  7. Kemer

    Kemer Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Messages:
    213
    Loc:
    Northeast Pa
    I live at the end of a power line and will be the last to get power back so I installed a auto stand by gen.$5,500
  8. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,318
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    If your furnace shuts down your EKO will simply go into "idle mode" when the temps reach your set-point as long as the primary circ is still running. The EKO will manage the fire for you as long as it still has power...
  9. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
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    1,721
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    I installed an aquastat in the spare well on top of the unit. and hooked it up to my "overheat" circulator which pumps to a copper coil placed in the bottom of my unpressurized storage tank. I'm powering it with a auto switching 1500 watt pure sine wave inverter/ charger hooked up to my RV battery bank. It prolongs the life of my RV batteries while the vehicle is in storage for the winter.

    At first I tried a 1000 watt modified sine wave inverter but I wasn't happy with the buzzing coming from the circulator.
  10. 91220da

    91220da Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    145
    Loc:
    Pocono's Pennsylvania
    I have a back up generator but you have to be home or awake to fire it up. I also have a charger/inverter hooked up to two deep cycle batteries that is supposed to run my system for up to 14 hours. When the power goes out my house boiler and circulators are dead but the wood side runs as it should. Since the house is not calling for heat the wood boiler just goes into an idle state. I have to figure out how to tie in my house circulators and thermostats so the whole operation will function.
  11. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    2,301
    Loc:
    Adamant, VT 05640
    HR gave me the idea of using a Laing DC circulator and a deep cycle 12 volt battery- with a relay set up to the 120 volt power, so that the DC circulator only comes on if the AC goes out. In addition to the relay, a snap disc thermal switch on the boiler outlet makes sure that the DC circulator only turns on if the boiler is hot. The DC circ feeds a large panel radiator for "power failure dump zone" that I got for free since it was cosmetically damaged.
  12. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    459
    Loc:
    Central Ma
    An auto standby would definitely be great but if that doesn't fit the budget, a genset can be done for much less. The ice storm of 2008 knocked power out in our entire region for 6 days. Not wanting to suffer through something like that again, I installed the hookup for a manual generator myself for just under $400. I used a very nice Reliance subpanel/transfer switch (great if your main panel is already real busy), and also wired in an outdoor 30 amp receptacle. A 10 HP B&S second-hand generator in good shape ($300) completed the setup. Anyone with basic wiring skills can get this done in a reasonable amount of time (just make sure to research and chose the appropriate wire sizes).
  13. timberr

    timberr Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    Messages:
    226
    Loc:
    Hill, NH
    I use a power inverter w/ built in transfer switch/charger. It runs my entire heating system. One Deep cell battery will run it for about 6 hrs. My system is a Primary/Secondary so there are 4 circulator's. It isn't unusual to have 3 running at time (Boiler heating storage and zone calling for heat). A little more expensive then the UPS but this setup cover me for an entire burn cycle if I am not home.

    Good Luck
  14. Justburnit

    Justburnit New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Messages:
    68
    Loc:
    East Wallyworld Vermont
    I have a 500W Harmon Stoves charger/inverter with a single car battery. During the winter I sometimes get more batteries hooked in as cars go into storage. The boiler and it's circ draw about 130W. I also have our solar water system powered from this.
    To date I have seen the single battery run the boiler for 6 hours, and yes the circulator is noisy. I do not like that but live with it.
    The battery is in the basement and if I need to bring it up I run extension cables down there from an idling vehicle rather than run the generator. I rarely run the generator during an outage, just enough to cool the fridge and bring the water pressure back up.
    I do not have any of the heat system circulators running off the backup and has not proven to be an issue. The boiler is ground level in a back room and warms the house well. If the house does cool I can manually open the zone valves for the baseboards rather than run the radiant.
    I would not call this to be optimum but it works and is proven. Maybe next year when the Tarm is replaced I will upgrade the backup also.
  15. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Loc:
    Broadstone England
    We have the logburner which is independant, but also have a fully charged car battery and inverter which will knock out enough power for the pump on the furnace, keep the freezer running, and a couple of low wattage lights.

    Not needed the inverter yet, but then if you are ready for something, something else unforseen usually goes wrong instead.......... ;-)
  16. Mcbride

    Mcbride New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Mcbride BC Canada
    Battery power is great, but a small genset is great to, just incase the power is out for a long time, to recarge the batteries, and also power the fridge and deep freeze for a while say every 4 hours or so to keep from spoiling food.
    In a long outage its nice to run in a couple extension cords from the generator and have some light, etc. to.
    The Champion brand is cheap,and they work very well.
    I can power a TV, computer, several lights, and also plug in the fridge and freezer to.
    No it will not power the clothes dryer, stove, or hotwater tank, but nearly anything else its capable of.
    It has a peak output of 6500watts, and a sustained output of 5500.
    Easy to start, and it just sits in the garage until needed.
  17. 91220da

    91220da Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    145
    Loc:
    Pocono's Pennsylvania
    To all generator users, be careful running any computers or sensitive electronics. Unless you have a top quality genset the cheaper models use lighter windings in the generator itself that can produce erratic sine waves. Not to get to technical, I just know from teaching electronics that the fluctuating sign wave can reek havoc on processors and ram memory etc. The pulsing and stumbling of gas engines can also effect the sine wave. Just my 2 cents trying to save your 2 cents.
  18. firecaptain

    firecaptain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    western pa
    16KW whole house automatic backup generator. the way to go, lights go out.... within 1 minute lights come back on like nothing happened.
    but yes, be carefull of the disturbance in the sine wave, it will kill sensitive equipment if it is "out of wack".
    if you plan to run sensitive equipment, make sure you take this into consideration. skimping on a cheap generator could cost you dearly later.
  19. shoeboxlen

    shoeboxlen Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    189
    Loc:
    Schoharie County NY
    I currently have a generator and a manual switch to change from power company to generator during an outage. only negative is I have to call a neighbor to find out when the normal power comes back on. As far as the boiler goes I would like to put that on a ups as well but I have not done that yet as I am in operation at this time. I figure I can run my whole system off of a ups 1500 eko 25 circulators and regular fuel boiler as they are all on the same circuit. Basically would only need the ups to tide me over until I drag out the generator fire it up and flip the switch so I should not need too much run time. a ups 1500 should give me 4-6 hours or so in this config i think. my fuel boiler only comes on if the water temp goes down to 140 degrees other than that the wood boiler handles the heating. I have a emergency power kill switch mounted in case of a emegergency figured I could just tie the ups in there somewhere.
  20. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Do you folks with the automatic gen sets have natural gas, propane, diesel? I've often dreamed about being able to afford an automatic unit. But then I think to myself - if a REAL natural disaster hits what are the chances I loose natural gas? I don't have propane and I figure a big boom that knocks out power for a long time may as well knock out my natural gas. So I use this argument to convince myself that my 5500W generator on wheels is my best bet for now. I have a fair amount of gasoline stored in the garage (in cars) that would serve me for quite some time I think.
  21. firecaptain

    firecaptain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    western pa
    right now my auto gen runs on propane, i have a tank that will run continously for 10 days if needed. also in the process of getting natural gas from a well run to it. i live in s.w. pa. which is the "hotbed" for natural gas drilling right now. working with the drilling co to get rites to run a line from neighbors well to my gen with a meter on the generator. this way when the poop hits the fan im hooked up to a well and wont have to worry about how much propane i have.
    yes it was a large price tag for the gen set ($4500 in 2004) but its worth it. last year we had the big snow storm in febuary. lost power for 5 days, slept very well.
    when i purchased the gen set in'04 i had lost power 3 times within a month for 4+ days at a time, and had my newborn daughter at home. got very tired of running down to my fire dept to "borrow" one of our generators to get by.
    right now i feel im pretty self sufficient if anything happens, the ultimate will be getting hooked up to the gas well. right now i look at it as if the power is out longer than 10 days....... theres bigger problems than not being able to run my gen set. lol.
  22. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    438
    Consumers Energy here in Michigan stores the NG under ground, all the pumps are powered by natural gas and the small amount of electric needed is provided by NG Gensets. Barring a break in the line the gas, should keep flowing no matter what, here! I did an install of a 50kw unit on a roof top for standby in a muilti state all center. We considered diesel l until we were told by the gas gas company what the scoop was.
  23. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    1,721
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    When I was in construction I used an 8000 watt genset fairly regularly. I also have a 2200 watt and a small 1200 watt unit that I could easily transport, all gasoline fueled. Now that I do not use them on the job I kept them around for emergencies such as power outages. The problem is that gasoline and diesel go bad in a short amount of time and gum up carburetors and injectors so only using them once every 6 months or once a year, means you are depending on a solution that's not reliable. I just sold my 8000 watt in a consignment auction last fall and intend on purchasing a propane fueled standby unit in the next few months. Propane can stay in the tank and system for years and not be affected. Meanwhile my 1500 watt pure sine wave auto-switching inverter will keep my heating system safe, although in an extended outage I'll only get one flush in each toilet because the 2200 and 1200 watt units don't have a 220 outlet to run my water pump.
  24. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
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    1,389
    Loc:
    Broadstone England
    I'm not too worried about water, we have a flat top to our wood stove and can boil saucepans of water for washing or cups of tea.

    If things got really serious, I suppose we could get chunks of ice and boil them on the stove, but the last time my family did that was the winter of 1962-3, 10 foot snowdrifts for 6 weeks.

    I remember it well, I was 6 years old and put on water duty :)
  25. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,022
    Loc:
    Missouri Ozarks
    When we have had medium long power outages, the natural gas has remained pressurized. Apparently, our pipeline is pumped by natural gas fired pumps and generators. We circulate low temperature hot water from our natural gas water heater through a radiant floor for heat. I have a power inverter sized to run my small circulator from a car battery. Of course we have wood. And a very well insulated house. The ideal for me would be a propane fired backup water heater for when the wood, natural gas, or passive solar fail to keep up. Like many, we have a gasoline fired manual connection generator for the refer, microwave, a few lights, and the laptops.

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