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I thought its called gasification not a SMOKIFICATION

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by infinitymike, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Listen I know I'm new at this and I know my unit probably could have been piped better and I know my wood isn't seasoned but
    REALLY....I MEAN REALLY.
    [​IMG]
    By infinitymike at 2011-12-13

    That was at 5 am this morning after I came out and saw that I had a full bed of red hot coals. probably 4-6 inches thick. There where 2 charred splits on the left and right sides of the box.
    I filled it up and this is what happened.

    This pic is from 5:30am and the next pick is from 7:15am
    And the last one is what the firebox looked like at 7:15am.

    [​IMG]
    By infinitymike at 2011-12-13

    [​IMG]
    By infinitymike at 2011-12-13

    [​IMG]
    By infinitymike at 2011-12-13

    I am burning mostly maple and some cherry. Both were split in early September BUT ....BUT ...WAIT I re-split a bunch over the last week and they all read 20-22% moisture. Yes they are heavy and still have bark but really..is this the only reason why? The picture really doesn't do any justice to the amount of smoke billowing out of this thing. Saturday was even worse. The smoke was blowing over the front of the roof and filled up the street it was un- freakin -believable.

    The guys at AHS said i need to put a couple pieces of wood let it get good and hot, an hour later add some more and then an hour lateradd some more. I don't have time do sit around a stoke this thing all stinkin morning.

    And how much hotter does a 4 inch bed of coals have to get anyway?

    I m losing sleep over this stuff..are my pipes to small, which way should my primary be plumbed which way should my secondary be plumbed, how dry should my wood be, is it burning or just smoldering, is that to much creosote on the walls of the firebox, am I smoking out the neighbor hood, am I ...am I... am I ... my head is spinning. I woke up this morning at 3am and from my home office window can see the unit in the garage and saw the green light was on which means its running.
    So I went out there in my freagin underwear to open it up and see what was goin on and by the time I got there she just shut down AAHHH. I am going crazy. Who in the right mind goes out in the underwear to see if it needs wood. The other morning I woke up at 4 and thought the house was on fire because I saw flickering and flashing coming through the window and ran out side, again in my underwear, to not see a chimney fire but see a cop going real slow down the street.
    Thank God I go out the back door, through the covered breezway and into the garage through the side door...otherwise I might get arrested running around naked!!!


    I need some help. I know its funny and I am even laughing my ass, off but really what should I do.

    OH yeah today I came home and started cutting that big ass pile of logs I got when I hijacked the logging truck and I pulled one off the pile and couldn't get my foot out of the way fast enough and WHAMO smashed all my toes. Work boots but no steel toe. They are all black.... yippie kiaye cowboy.

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  2. TCaldwell

    TCaldwell Minister of Fire

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    hard to tell but looks more like steam to me
  3. Briquetmaker

    Briquetmaker Member

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    infinitymike, I had the same problem the other day. I burn all really dry wood, mostly kiln dry wood and my briquets and when the weather is rainy and damp I smoke out the neighborhood and I freak out.Don't want any complaints. I tried really cranking up the fire but it kept chugging
  4. kevindauch

    kevindauch New Member

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    What does the secondary chamber look like when it is running? Are you getting a good flame? Can you send a pic? I don't have a Wood Gun, but it did take a few fires before I got really good performance because the refractory cement needed to dry out some.
  5. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    yeah it kinda did look like steam and maybe it was but I'm tellin ya there are more smokey days then not.

    Now, I'm not home during the day to see what it looks like but neighbor who is retired said sometimes it is smokey but not too bad. He also, before moving here, heated his house with a wood stove for 24 years and said he understands it happens.
  6. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    It was dry and crisp this morning, about 29* but I know what ya mean, there were some heavy, muggy days and it just pushed the smoke down and flooded the place.
  7. Hydronics

    Hydronics Feeling the Heat

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    It looks like mostly steam to me but hard to tell in pics with it dark out. In daylight is it white in color and dissipates within about 10'? If so it's steam, no worries. If it's bluish and carries across the yard it's likely smoke. Steam will be more prevalent in colder weather.
  8. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    WARNING NEVER OPEN THE SECONDARY CHAMBER ON A WOOD GUN. I tried this ONCE and the damn thing nearly exploded. It stopped down drafting and I don't know where the flame went but it started pouring black smoke from the air intake and the chimney. the thing smelt like burnt rubber for nearly an hour after that.

    Sorry no pics
  9. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Its been both at times. But more times then not its been dark brown/grey smelly smoke. It smells like an electrical fire or burning tires. Again not all the time but some times.
  10. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    Are you being carefull to not uncover the nozzles when loading? It sure looks like you are pulling smoke through a partially uncovered nozzle. The WG has a very powerfull fan & just a small uncovered area will cause smoke, Randy
  11. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    Mike,

    Picture 3 looks like steam to me.

    The firebox doesn't seem like excessive creosote. A good sign is how clean your door is.

    With wetter wood the moisture will some what extinguish the gasification flame. Smaller loads will reduce amount of moisture being released at once.

    Can you hear the Nozzle roaring or rumbling when fan is running? Standing in my boiler room I can tell you when the smoke stops just by the roar of the boiler.

    Have you tried burning your framing scraps yet? That should give you a good idea of actual smoke output.

    gg
  12. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    I never open my lower door when the fan is running.

    gg
  13. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    When you add wood try putting a large dry split over the nozzles. If you put a round in there that is off center it will burn up quickly & you can lose the coal bed over the nozzle, Randy
  14. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

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    Mike, I think that the really smelly and dark smoke happens when the thing is early in it's "turned back on" cycle or before it's really hot enough to burn all the gasses. I also think that with a newly loaded firebox, the early phase of burning wood is when the gasses are being "released" from the wood, and much less as the fire burns. I wonder if that's an observation of others here as well. I am slowly begining to understand that storage will stop, or at least help with these issues. Personally, I really don't want to give up the space for it. Didn't you mention an underground tank? I had thought about this also, but wonder about having the storage lower (in elevation) than the boiler? Would this matter?
  15. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Really, wow i thought I was supposed to open them up to get the smoke and gasses down there to start the gasification.
  16. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Mike,

    I will chime in with my experience because I own the same boiler you do. Yes, you appear to have piping issues. That you will get solved in the future. Yes, your wood is not seasoned anywhere near long enough. That will get solved in the future. Yes, you are running a boiler that can put out a lot of heat. Yes, most of the time your boiler is in idle mode. That will get solved in the future as well. When you add storage. And your boiler runs wide open most of the time, if not all of the time.

    I have 400 gallons of buffer tank and a larger house. And mine is in idle mode quite a bit. Here is what I am thinking. And as you know I am not an expert. I am in my first season with mine as well. I bet that a fair portion of your smoke is steam. But, you are getting smoke as well. And it is probably a pretty good mixture of both most of the time. You are burning wood that is green. Period. That will help create some of it. But when the Gun shuts down and goes into idle mode, all that wood is almost like turning to charcoal. It was on fire and now it is not. Still hot, but almost out. What does a campfire do when it is not roaring. It smokes like I did when I was young, stupid and drinking. I smoked way too much! What does charcoal do when you first get it lit. Smokes! Until it is heated up real good and is in good red hot burning/cooking mode. Your wood is being turned to charcoal, almost. Then each time your Gun fires back up it is re-igniting it back into life. But for the initial time from when the boiler opens the rear door, until it gets into gassification mode takes a while sometimes. And that whole time it will smoke. By the time your Gun gets into gassification mode it really starts throwing the heat. Then it quickly meets the demand of your house, and oops. Time to shut down again. Now when you get more demand, time to fire back up again and smoke time. Until it gets into gassification mode, then the smoke goes away.

    I get smoke as well. But it does not last long. It only smokes a little when it first starts up. Then it is gone. Completely gone after gassification. You are seeing the results of all your problems added together. But, you are heating your house. Are you not? And you are going to get those problems solved. Are you not?

    Next year I have a feeling your piping problems will be fixed and you will have storage. In fact, you will probably have storage sooner than later.

    Don't let a little smoke keep you from sleeping buddy. That boiler is safe. Remember that you are creating creosote, so have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis. It should not cost you to much, your chimney is pretty short and easy to get to.

    Now do not forget this. Do you have a poker stick to tend to your fire? It is important to keep the slots in your ceramics at the center, open. You said you have 4 inches of coals there. Every once and a while they can get plugged. Keep them open. Just carefully use a poker to scrap the coals and make sure the slots are open. If you get them plugged up, you are choking your Gun.

    Hang in there man. As you are finding out. Heating with wood is not like heating with your oil boiler. Things will get better. You will have to make them get better. But right now, you are heating your house with wood. Remember to try mixing some kiln dried scraps that you said you had access to with the unseasoned wood.

    Safety first my friend. Safety first. Rest those toes, have a doctor check them out if need be. Not something to screw around with. Take your time. You can injure yourself worse than that when working with wood if you are not careful.
  17. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    The door maybe clean but the walls and ceiling seem really "wet" and sometimes I can scrap a good amount off.
    There is no difference in the way it sounds at all.
    I do mix some 2x4's that are full or some that are split in half. There doesn't seem to be a difference in smoke.
  18. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Interesting. I'll give that a try.

    thanks.
  19. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I dont know if having a tank lower than the boiler would matter. Hopefully someone will chime in. Even If I put a tank in my basement my boiler would be higher since it it is the garage. I dont really have the room in the garage for either vertical or horizontal tanks. Well I kinda do but then I would have to lose the garden and pool equipment area. and believe it or not but that area is a foot lower because it is 6'x22' extension of the back of the garage.
    Thats why I thought putting it in a pit much like a mechanics pit would be cool.
  20. bpirger

    bpirger Minister of Fire

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    Mike, have you tried burning a load of just your lumber scraps? Those should be nice and dry and should burn clean. Of course, if it goes into idle, things will adjust.
  21. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Do you have air adjustments for primary and secodary air? If so try opening the secondary air more and not just a tiny bit ,a lot.
    I run my biomass almost a year before I figured out I didn't have the secodary air open enough for my wood. I had trouble with
    smoke sometimes and sometimes had trouble keeping gasifacation. I had tried adjusting the air before and adjusted a tiny bit at a time with no luck so I pretty much kept them where they were when I got it. One day I opened the secondary air up a lot and
    havn't had and trouble with smoke since. I do get some steam but no smoke. I also gained about 30 degrees on my stack temp due to the hotter fire. Somthing to try If you havn't allready.
  22. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like your on that "learning curve" of a new boiler owner. I always wondered what would happen if the lower door was opened during a burn but figured that "lock" on the door is there for a reason, glad you didn't get hurt/burned.

    I think a lot of your problem is unseasoned wood. Your creosote accumulation is evidence of that, while I also get some build up it's not anywhere near what it was in our 1st year with less than ideal wood. I think my chimney also smoked more then than now. These days it's only on the initial start up of a burn that there is some smoke, but it quickly goes to steam. I kinda pay attention to this as a house nearby also burns wood and his chimney is a smokin' big time.

    If the stains showing on your lower door is happening when your upper door is shut you may want to adjust your upper door.

    I use the cleaning tool provided by AHS as the poker previously mentioned. I try to keep the nozzle reasonably clear before loading her up again.

    No J.T., there is no air adjustment other than the fresh air intake flap which on mine is about 80% closed.
  23. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the morning humor to go with my coffee Mike. I know it's impolite to laugh at others misfortune, so I won't tell you I was laughing. For my first season my family was greatly entertained when I would come in the house with my eyebrows curly and smokin'. For some reason mustache hairs are tougher. I quickly learned what doors not to open when. This site should really be renamed, "Wood Boiler University". Far as I can tell it's the only place to go to learn how to run one of these things and commiserate together.

    No storage right? Yep, just like me. Lots of idling now that weather in our area is mid-40's to 50's. This mild weather is great for the wood pile but really hard on a system without storage. My wood this year is very well seasoned and I still experience a fair amount of creosote but I've had that for 3 years because early on I burned unseasoned wood so now that I'm burning dry stuff, it's idling more because the wood has greater energy content!! This is really my first year where the boiler on a regular basis is generating significantly excess heat for our energy sieve of a house (my choice).

    I agree with others that your night time exhaust looks like mine did last nite, mostly steam which given the state of your wood shouldn't surprise you. I'm fortunate that I have that little window to tell me the health of the burn when the fan is on. The other sign on the state of the burn is learning to read the exhaust color. Even in the midst of steam, I can tell if there is a faint blue color. That immediately tells me there is an open path thru the coal bed. On my gasser it doesn't take much of a clear opening into the lower chamber to allow unburnt particles to sneak thru. For me the revelation was when I dramatically cut back on the fan and reduced pressure in the upper chamber. As soon as an open path is created to the lower chamber the pressurized uppper chamber air takes the path of least resistance and very rapidly blows a bigger hole, leading to more smoke, less energy, etc, downward spiral. This year like my first year you are in a Catch 22, since your wood is not seasoned you need to keep the fire hot to burn wet wood which increases the likelyhood of bridging or blow holes. For me last year it was a balancing act to reduce upper chamber pressure (that's really what we're doing by tinkering with vents and fan rpms) to the point you're wet wood is happy. At the moment with the nicely seasoned wood I have my fan at the lowest setting (50%) which tells me I need to close off a vent somewhere so I have bandwidth to electronically adjust my fan. Now that I'm maybe a Sophomore at Boiler University I need to re-read the sticky about tuning the EKO because some of the finer points may start to make sense to me. Learning how to place the wood and the sizes of the splits and whether they go on top or bottom all are part of the art of learning your system. But my 2 cents is to play with reducing upper chamber pressure to delay the creation of blow holes. "Blow holes" is my term. One of the "Seniors" here may have a better name for it. Can ya wiggle yer toes? Merry Christmas, I gotta go order a replacement backflow preventer. Probably ought to do some work too.
  24. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I have ZERO experience operating a WG, so I can only offer some general observations:

    1)Year one sucks big time. Relieve the stress with more frequent sex! You may need to remind your wife that stress kills. Or, maybe that would be counter-productive :wow:

    2)My general observations are that
    grey/black smoke indicates over-fueled
    blue smoke indicates under-fueled (bridging)
    white smoke indicates resticted air flow (damper closed) and is probably made up of mostly water (steam)

    3)IF YOU HAVE THE TIME, a base load of dry wood directly on the coals, followed up an hour later by a half load, followed up an hour later by a full load, will decrease the over-fueled smoke condition.

    Outside air temp/RH have a big impact on how much the 'smoke' shows up. But most importantly, the first year SUCKS! Hang in there!!

    Jimbo
  25. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

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    I'v opened my bottom door lots,if near the beginning of burn you will get smoke out of it.If it's gasifying all i get out the door is a bit of flyash and some embers,it's nice to see the blue flame roaring out of the refractory.I have turned down my primaries about 1/2 turn,trying to get rid of huffing during burn,still getting a nice blue flame.

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