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How Hard is a Gasifier to Set Up and Use?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Eric Johnson, Apr 8, 2008.

?

What Best Describes your Experience Installing and Running a Gasifier Compared to Other Woodburning

  1. Not Hard

    50.0%
  2. Very Difficult

    50.0%
  3. Somewhere In Between

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
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  1. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I say not very hard. At least no more difficult than a conventional wood-fired boiler, which I also used for many years.

    I think people read about some of the problems people have getting their gasification boilers set up and running correctly, and assume that they're somehow more difficult than some of the alternatives (OWBs, indoor boilers, furnaces and wood stoves). I don't think so.

    But let's hear what you have to say.

    I realize that there are different brands, designs and ranges of interest and technical expertise (not to mention dumb luck). Let's ignore all that for the moment and just vote. You can qualify or embellish your vote with a post if you like.

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  2. Jim Post

    Jim Post Member

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    It's all relative of course. I thought plumbing my tarm was one of the more difficult things I've done. Certainly not as difficult as replacing the head gaskets on my toyota 4runner is proving to be. Like most everything else if you put the research time in and develop a plan before you start it goes better. Using the tarm is not difficult at all...pay a little attention the the weather and load accordingly....oh sure it's more difficult than running a fossil fuel appliance but so is making toast. Securing my future wood supply is my biggest concern right now....with my truck down, scrounging all my wood becomes a more difficult proposition.
  3. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    I vote 'somewhere in between'. I seem to be on a roll with automotive analogies, so here goes: I think it's like the stick vs. auto issue. The stick is a bit more work at first just to figure out how to make it go. Once you're past that, it's not much different in terms of workload for normal operation. However, if you're so inclined, you can keep improving your technique with the stick indefinitely. If you love driving and performance matters to you, it's the only way to go.

    How's that for an analogy?
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    As a guy who only owns standard shift cars, I'd say that's just about right. Always trying something a little different.
  5. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Oct 16, 2007
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    3,025
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    Falmouth, Michigan
    I have to say not hard, but then hydronic work is what I do for a living so it better not be hard at this point.

    For someone with no experience whatsoever in working with hot water piping and especially with pressure vessels..........all I can say is there are a LOT of ways to screw up. More so than with a gas or oil fired appliance due to the fact that you have to be very careful about how you deal with loss of circulation events and/or power outages. This is simply because you can't snuff a wood fire like you can oil or gas. Open systems present a few less challenges but pipe and circulator sizing are still the places that I see the most problems.
  6. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Northern MN
    I also say "not hard." I can load and leave the Tarm without a second thought, something I cannot do with my free-standing wood stove. Need to keep an eye on the flue temp on the stove. Also, the Tarm stores its heat (1000 gal LP tank storage), so it can burn full-out to feed the tank. Power out overheat is a new issue, but fairly easy to resolve. And the smoke issue is solved.

    Issues related to plumbing, installation, selection of other components for a hydronic system have their complications and skill set requirements, especially if an owner self-installs and has very limited experience. Yet for one who wants to self-install and enjoys the learning challenge, this actually is quite an adventure which provides great satisfaction in the end result.
  7. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    912
    Loc:
    Hesperia, Michigan
    I'd say not hard. What is hard is to forget all the things everyone thinks about burning with OWB. Learn how to start a fire, burn dry wood, have storage, and read all the good help here and it's easy. It's been fun but only because I found this place. I'm sure I would have got it figured out but not with out more problems with out all YOUR help. I had done alot of research before I bought but this place has been the greatest source of knowledge and now I've got even more projects to do. Radiant, solar, trying to get those Danes to export one of those Refo's, the list goes on and on. Keep the ideas coming.
    leaddog
  8. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
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    SW Missouri
    Some folks turn them into a 15 speed road ranger transmission, With a two speed rear axle! The ones you had to double clutch to shift :)

    If installed in a well planned manner they are fairly trouble free. Get the piping and or venting wrong and you'll be grinding gears forever.

    hr
  9. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Northern MN
    I too can't say enough "thank you's" for the help of this forum. While I voted "not hard," as with anything there are tricks of the trade, learned only from experience, and this forum excels in sharing that knowledge. Without the help of this forum I likely would have voted "hard."
  10. hkobus

    hkobus Member

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    Also many thanks to all here in the boiler room, made life much better. Well I sure did some grinding at first, will do some more permanent modifications this summer, while trying to not grind the real road ranger :coolgrin:
  11. DenaliChuck

    DenaliChuck Member

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    South Central Colorado
    I've already got a pile of gear shavings and I haven't progressed from beyond the paper planning stages =-)

    I don't have a system yet, but the information here is helping my wife and I decide if the expense to purchase and effort to self install are within reason for us now. The info about installation and operation you folks have provided is worth a LOT!

    Thanks!
  12. free75degrees

    free75degrees New Member

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    Apr 6, 2008
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    Loc:
    Boston Area
    I can't really answer too much about the difficulty because I don't have my system set up yet, but getting the damn Tarm into my basement was a hell of a job! I felt like I was trying to move an aircraft carrier.
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