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I like my tarm...even with no storage

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Jim Post, Dec 9, 2007.

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  1. Jim Post

    Jim Post Member

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    Southern WI
    Installing my tarm was the best home improvement I have done to date...It's the most nearly complete project I've accomplished anyway. :) We moved into this 40 yr old 1320 sf ranch w/ hw bb heat in 1998. We installed our tarm in 2005. It's the best money we've spent. Our 2004 LP tally was 1400 gallons. :bug:

    I like Saturdays...I can stay around the house and check the ol boiler any time I get the urge. So today, I rolled outta bed about 6am...check the boiler...draft fan is running, temp gauge says close to 170d, pretty complete burn overnight.

    Last night, I stoked full load at 9:30pm (single digit temps outside...ideal weather for our no storage setup).

    There's just a few glowing coals to get my kindling started. I load about 3/4 full, we'll be doing lots of laundry today using wood heated water. I make a mental note to check things again around noon...at Noon draft fan is off, boiler is a little above 180...no need to restoke yet.

    I check it again about 1pm...burned pretty well down to coals...throw on some kindling, stoke about 1/2 full.

    I check back around 5pm, just a couple of split remnants left no need for kindling. Now, since I just want to stretch things out to set up for a full stoke overnight, I only add about 1/4 load. 9 pm check boiler...draft fan is running temp is under 170...time to stoke.

    For a full load, I usually put smaller diameter splits on the bottom, to make sure I get things cooking good before the first idle.

    So that's it...that's a day in my life tediously tending my tarm boiler w/o heat storage. :roll:

    For now, I enjoy it. The work is in the wood, the scrounging...cutting, hauling, splitting, stacking, moving, restacking, stoking, cleaning...but I enjoy that too. With 3 kids under eight we are home alot...if we do travel...I will light off our 40yr old LP boiler and turn the thermostats down.

    In the last two years we have used less that 200 gallons of LP...for cooking, clothes drying and heating when we travel.

    So that's my story FWIW...

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like a winner.......I think a big thing with no storage is to not run the boiler in really warm weather - that is when the acids can form and reduce the life of the boiler metals.

    In a cold climate and cold weather, you are probably good to go.
  3. Grover59

    Grover59 Member

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    Loc:
    Central Maine
    I have a Black Bear Boiler and it is somewhat the same as a Tarm, at this time I am doing about the same thing you are and it is working fine. However the temp here now is about 10 degrees FH and I can keep this thing pretty much humming. I too don't really mind tending the boiler this way, but because of my work schedule it sometimes gets hard to keep things going. I am at this time constructing a wood storage tank, and I decided to do this because of the fact that it will make life a little easier for me and I can extend the season that I can run the boiler considerably. Also because both of us work and are gone most of the day during the week I can take advantage of turning the temp down during the day when we are not here, I believe that with a tank this would work much better then without. My boiler is in the basement so any residual heat is just heating the house it is a very small ranch with a low heat load. When I extract the heat from the tank I will be using a seperate zone that will be going to a water to air heat exchanger and forced up through the existing floor vent I had with the old wood furnice. It is my belief that I will have more usable range with my storage tank if I use this approach, I can still heat with the existing baseboard as I am doing now any time I want, actually I can do both at the same time if needed. My wood boiler just circulates through the oil fired boiler and keeps it up to temp, I then have a flat plate heat exchanger heating the storage tank, everything is basically seperate.

    Steve
  4. jklingel

    jklingel Feeling the Heat

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    It is good for beginners like me to have data on how/what/house size others are doing/have. That way, I can tell if I am out of whack or in whack. Thnx. j
  5. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Don't get a storage tank inferiority complex. While I'll tell anyone willing to listen all about how great mine is, it's really just an attempt on my part to justify the time and expense that went into it ;-)

    Storage tanks are not the answer to everything. Contrary to some of the claims being made, they don't cure athlete's foot or bring about world peace. In my case, I'm not even sure that it improves efficiency. It does give me more flexibility about when I build fires, and it keeps the house temperatures more even for longer.
  6. Grover59

    Grover59 Member

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    I agree 100% my sole purpose to build a tank was to make my life a little easier, and to be able to control the heat better.

    Steve
  7. Jim Post

    Jim Post Member

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    Loc:
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    I guess from my brief review of the posts in the last week, I was getting the feeling it was a mantra that you have to have storage to enjoy a wood boiler. I can relate to the discussions though since I been known to do the same thing with my install. :)

    My wife wanted me to diagram her tedious day tending the boiler when I am at work. So here goes: she stokes the tarm at 1:00. :)

    I keep my eyes open for any large tanks at low cost....At work we have some poly tanks that are maybe 250 gallon inside a steel cage...Not sure if those could withstand 200 degree water but that is the kind of storage I could warm up to. Cheap!

    Keep warm!
  8. Grover59

    Grover59 Member

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    I could have got a tank such as you speak of I use to use them a lot when I worked in the paper mill here in Maine, as a matter of fact this was one of my first options. However they where not as large as I wanted, and I would have had to screw arournd with them to make it work, and I was not sure how hot I could get them.

    Steve
  9. EricV

    EricV Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Saranac, NY
    I'm not so sure on the athlete's foot claim. I bet if you soak your feet in that tank at 180 degrees the athlete's foot won't be a problem any longer.

    World peace, well no to that one.
  10. Jim Post

    Jim Post Member

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    Loc:
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    I called my propane provider this AM to check the price of LP.... It's currently $2.239/gal :gulp: At that price, I'll have paid for the cost of my tarm by the end of my 3rd heating season. :coolsmile: Like I said above the best home improvement decision I ever made. Maybe I can spring for some storage after all...my other thought was to get an insert for my masonry fireplace. Any of you boiler types still have an occasional fire in the fireplace for the ambiance?? I haven't burned in our fireplace since we put the tarm in. Just can't bring myself to waste those btus through an open fireplace.
  11. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Barely ever use the fireplace. I'm going to get around to conencting the outside air ducts to it so that it won't waste as much heat, but it's still an ambiance thing.
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    We have a fireplace that's nice for ambiance, but it burns an alarming amount of wood, so I only fire it up when we're trying to impress guests. They say "Oh, your house is so warm." I say, "We heat with wood." They see the fireplace and think that's the heat source. Eventually (like about five seconds later), I've got them out in the barn checking out the boiler.

    A fireplace is also a good way to road-test firewood. If you're not sure how dry it is, fire up a load in the fireplace and see if it sizzles. It's also a good way to "commune" with your dry wood. Get a nice fire going in the fireplace, then sit back with a glass of wine and watch it burn.
  13. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    I put a pellet insert inmy fireplace and now I use it alot. We like to see the fire and it uses very little pellets. I've been lucky and have picked up a couple of tons of pellets at auctions real cheap so that makes it even cheaper. Of course I've had to tape some holes and put some broken bags in some spare garbage cans and even had to burn a couple bags that had gotten moisture in my eko but its all heat.
    leaddog
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    How did the EKO handle the pellets, 'dog? I've been meaning to try that.
  15. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    I put about half a bag on top of a full load of wood and it seemed to work good. They were swelled up and turning to sawdust so they weren't much good for anything else.
    leaddog
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