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I hat this @#$% EKO

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by deerefanatic, Jan 7, 2011.

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  1. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    all this might be right if the soil was isolated but that water is moving and it is taking every btu it can to who knows where.
    leaddog

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  2. free75degrees

    free75degrees New Member

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    ok i guess that makes sense if the dirt is wet. 12 feet is a lot and at that depth the heat gradient would be curved and you'd be losing a lot of the heat to the sides as well as down.
  3. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

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    I didn't insulate below my shop slab, but I have 3 french drains under it to 4 ft deep, 4" foam on the perimeter to 2 feet below grade, then 4 feet of 2" wings sloped out.

    Below the slab there is 18" of sand, then vapour barrier.

    It is unhooked right now, with just solar heating in the shop, the slab never gets warm. On the other side of the wall in the living space, everything is the same except there is 1" of xps under the slab. It heats up to room temperature with about a 12 hour lag.

    I won't be heating the shop to much more than a few degrees above the normal soil temp because it will take too much wood. I designed it like that because I was broke, and there is a break point in dry soil once you have enough square feet you don't need to insulate the middle if you have dry soil underneath. Trouble is, my soil isn't as dry as I thought, water still wicks up between the french drains and carries my heat away!

    Great for a geo thermal system, terrible for uninsulated infloor.
  4. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I've owned three homes in my life and every one had wicking soil. You could use all the tricks available but none will stop the water from migrating. I could bulldoze a mound 7 feet high, cover it with a roof, dig into the top and hit very wet soil.
  5. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    I am using an old heat pump outdoor unit (same thing as air conditioner coil as far as I can tell). 2 years ago I was desparate to heat the pole barn with the EKO 40 since the Modine knock off I bought off Ebay was misquoted terribly as far as BTU output and wouldn't even come close to heating the 30x60x14 mostly un-insulated shed at the time. My father-in-law knew a guy that had a scrap yard and sent me there. He gave me the old heat pump condenser and a commercial air conditioner coil unit as well. We hooked up the first one since it was all copper tubing and easy to soldier if it had leaks. Well it never leaked and I only had to solder on a couple Pex fittings and it was good to go. Even though the tubing is terribly small is some places this thing will draw a tremendous amount of heat from the water. The water splits after the input into 2 paths that each cover 1/2 the coils but it is not the most efficient way to transfer heat but I didn't have to modify anything to use it this way. If I took the time to cut and solder a manifold (like most Modine's are built) it could even put out more heat. I did spend almost a $100 changing out the fan motor to an 120V fan from Granger. This was totally unnecessary. Even at the lowest speed it turns way too fast. When boiler is hot and it is running it blows out lukewarm air. However, the water going is very hot (170 degrees) and the output is ice cold (~50F or less)!!! I have 3/4" pex running to it off the primary loop. I'm guessing the Delta T on this must be about 130 degrees! I can remember having a the EKO 40 running full tilt with good wood and the barn was cool (50 degrees) and it would pull all the the BTUs the boiler was putting out (over 100k) since the temp hung in the 170s for several hours. I never even hooked up the other commercial air conditioner coil that I got from the scrapyard. Just got rid of it last summer. I don't even run the big fan anymore. I just circulate water through the unit and it acts like a big cast iron radiator and keeps the shop at 60 this time of year. I may just get a box fan tied to a thermostat to lay across the top for a permanent fix when I get my storage set up.
  6. Sawyer

    Sawyer Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, I have a coil available free. I think I will try this in my air handler. I would then have two coils. I have plenty of fan to handle the extra restriction.
  7. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I'm WAY down on wood consumption right now with the slab unhooked. I run the old truck radiator for about 3 hrs per night and it raises the temp 10 degrees. Couldn't do that in 2 days with the infloor!

    But alas, the 1947 truck radiator leaks. :( So can't leave it run all the time or I'd have no water left. :( My friend with the radiators called me and remembered he had a commercial air handler hanging around, so I'm set to get that tonight or tomorrow.
  8. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Glad to here your on the right track ! Now maybe you can get ahead on wood.
  9. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Glad that things are taking a turn for the better.

    Could you orient the air handler so that it could blow on a pallet of your wood chunks?

    That'd help dry your wood + humidify the shop, which would help comfort level.
  10. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

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    Is it on a fin? Pinch it off with vise grips on both sides of the leak. Glad to here there is an improvement. There was just a post on another forum I'm on, guy with bubble wrap only and high water table, dumping piles of propane into a boiler and couldn't get ahead. He had spent thousands getting his boiler repiping, and messed with and was equally frustrated I'd guess.
  11. Rick Stanley

    Rick Stanley Feeling the Heat

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    Glad you found the problem. This place is great isn't it.
  12. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    Great news Matt! My slab is not insulated either even though it was poured in 2008. I was too rushed to find a home for your temporary home (RV) while new house was being built. I had to scrap my infloor radiant because it was already mid NOV and I was getting a lot of grief from wife, family, and concrete folks about the pex in floor. That stuff is just starting to pop up around here and most people are clueless about the benefits or how it works.

    Nevertheless, since we insulated the building walls (R19) and ceiling (R38) so well the homemade heater will turn it into a sauna if I want. I still wish I could have insulated the slab but one benefit is that it stays cool for much of summer though too.
  13. Hydronics

    Hydronics Feeling the Heat

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    Matt,
    That's great to hear! I was feeling quite bad for you. Glad you can get an air handler for cheap.
    This thread is getting some "air time" I must say...
    If you can get your wood prepped in the spring and stacked/covered I think you'll be much happier next winter. Not ideal but 1 summer drying can work.
  14. Pyromaniac

    Pyromaniac Member

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    Matt, I don't even know you but I'm way too excited that it's working out for you! That's what these forums are great for! When you have a problem and need to find someone with specific answers there's no better place to find it than on a topic specific forum. From the moment I saw your thread title I thought "These guys will get him turned around". Just like yourself I thought it was your wood(some), your house(a little), and your unit(a tiny bit, but only because of the huge demand/wet wood I'm guessing). After much discussion and you almost giving up on posting anymore was the "smoking gun" found that an uninsulated pad in a high water table is just sucking all your heat. Great thread. I'm glad you've found a solution without spending tons more money(can you imagine trying to heat all that ground with pellets or coal? ouch!)

    Don't be afraid to make your shop a comfortable temp with an air HX. You'll never come close to the amount of consumption you were taking to keep it at 58 I'd think. Good Luck to you!
  15. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    thanks for the help. Yes, I'm supposed to go get the air handler today. I've got a little 12x12 inch hot water coil right now and It's cycling on and off keeping the shop at 54... When I get that handler in, should be able to jack it right up there. :)

    Course, you need to keep it warmer with hot air system than you do with infloor for the same comfort level. But, still, it's going to be way less consumption that what I had previously. :D
  16. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    I had to wait till this thread was 11 pages long. Without reading a single post, I would like to add:

    Hat, lolz.
  17. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Matt, it appears that you are going the air handler route in your shop and I understand your rationale and the other issues involved in your case.

    I would however like to point out that a system using radiators and TRV's is much more "friendly" for any boiler system using solid fuel as the heat source and especially those that do not utilize storage.

    This is the main reason.
    Visualize your boiler standing there with a load of wood in it, up to temp but idling. Now introduce a load that can use up about half the boilers output at full throttle. An "instant" load that comes on full draw all at once like an air handler. In your case the boiler will pump out 180-200Kbtu and the airhandler may draw 100K. Here's the sequence that I see time and again and it leads to poor performance and other problems.

    1. The air handler/furnace with a coil, kicks on and introduces a substantial load.
    2. Assume that the boiler is in an idling state of operation.
    3. Heat is drawn off and water temp drops after a couple minutes.
    4. The aquastat on the boiler starts the combustion process after the load is present.
    5. Being that it takes a few minutes to get a solid fuel fire going, much less up to full output levels, the boiler water temp drops to unsatisfactory levels. (if a mixing device or pumped bypass is present you now have greatly reduced heat or even no heat going to the air handler)
    6. The boiler catches up after maybe 10-15 minutes of getting itself up to full burn and satisfying the heat demand.
    7. The boiler cycles down wasting a fair amount of heat and inertia because the load is gone as with the same "speed" as it was introduced.

    Now let's look at a Radiator/TRV system

    1. Assume you have iron column type or steel panel rads
    2. The TRV's are constantly providing heat proportional to the loss of the space being heated. They are never "off".
    3. Heating load on the boiler is constant, allowing the fire to cycle at a very even rate, maintain temperature and never get behind the curve.
    4. Water temps and combustion temps remain in a much narrower range greatly enhancing efficiency.

    Proportional heating beats forced air any day of the week and twice on Sunday. :)
  18. range patrol

    range patrol New Member

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    Hello Deer fanatic:
    I just installed a Bio-mass boiler and I can relate to your situation. I'm burning dry wood,heaps of it,corn cobs, by the bushel and barely keeping warm. I just spent $25,000. insulating the house and I am using more fuel than I did with the old airtight with no insulation. Can't get it to burn clean.
    Now the firebrick has collapsed in the secondary chamber. This thing has cost a fortune. I just found this web-site. I'll see if i can get some help here.
  19. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    Great explanation Heaterman. I'm hoping when i have storage online the issue you describle will not be quite as big an issue. I think if I add anything down the road it may be some staple up radiant with plates. Probably cost me less than rads and wife won't complain if she can't see them although I think they look pretty good. It will probably take a couple years before that happens after a few other things get done. The startup costs are so high with these systems. The radiant floor comfort will be nice but I've also been thinking how great it would be if we ever lost power for 3-4 days in this weather. Right now I would have to run a generator 24/7 just to power the air handler. With a couple batteries and an inverter, we could have a warm house, hot water with only running generator periodically.
  20. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Hey Range Patrol. Welcome aboard!

    I'd suggest you start a new thread that will deal with your issue by itself. Mixing it in with this thread will be confusing to some people.

    Like me :)

    Give us a description of what you are heating, square feet, how it's insulated, what you are using for emitters such as baseboard, in floor or forced air and then the installation of the boiler itself. Pictures are a great help too.

    We'll see what we can do for ya.
  21. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I know forced air isn't the greatest. I do have storage though so that helps some. :D

    Plus, right now, the air handlers I have will barely keep the shop warm, so they run quite a bit. Something will have to change before next winter, but this will help stem the consumption this winter.

    I'm thinking of moving the boiler into the shop. The stupid little outshed will hit 90+ when it's 0 outside, might as well have that heat inside.
  22. Willman

    Willman Minister of Fire

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    Great idea! Maximize your btu's. You will prolly even lower your wood consumption some, especially in the shoulder seasons.
    I am glad you had the wherewithal to publicly air your issues. Many people will be able to learn from your challenges.My self being one of them.
    I can only add that it is time to start on the next two years of wood supply. After that your on ez street. The burning of the seasoned wood should also lessen your consumption.
    Just think what fossil fuel will be in 2 years time. If the emerging markets let us have any that is.

    Will
  23. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    You may want to check with insurance before you move it.
  24. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    +1x10 After four years use insurance forced me to pull my EKO out of the garage even after they approved its location before selling the policy to me.
  25. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    The scenario explained above is why storage is so important to the owners satisfaction and a happy and long life for the boiler. I can't emphasize enough how important storage is in the overall performance of a solid fuel heating system. Using wood heat on a high mass low temperature system compounds all those issues
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