1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Just talked with Fred Seton ..

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by patch53, Dec 29, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. patch53

    patch53 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    UP of Michigan
    I just to spoke to Fred Seton about the correct way to run his boilers.

    The consensus here seems to be that these units need to be run full bore a few times a day to keep the refractory temp up and to minimize creoste formation, and that the wood should be well seasoned with no more than approximately 20% moisture content.

    Well, not according to Fred !

    I told him that my burn times are only about 15 minutes max, and then idle for up to an hour, depending on heat demand. I told my concern was that the unit is not getting hot enough to prevent creosote from forming, altho my water tubes look relatively clean right now. He told me that 15 minute burn times were plenty long enough to burn out any accumulated creosote.

    He asked about my chimney and I told him I had about 20 feet of class A and he said that was more than enough. he said 16-18 feet is plenty, even tho the literature says a MINIMUM of 18 and up to 20 feet. I went with 20 feet because I wanted to be sure I had enough draw and I also have 1 elbow coming out of the boiler into the class A. I haven't taken flue temps yet, but when the stove is fired it seems to be really ripping inside, so at this point I believe I have plenty of draw.

    He asked what I was burning. I told him red oak large splits and rounds. he said the rounds were better. I told him that even 2 year old rounds would likely hold much more moisture than splits and he said that high moisture content was NO PROBLEM ! Even relatively green wood is fine according to Fred. I disagreed somewhat and he insisted relatively high moisture content is not a concern, and that most of the moisture would be expellled on the first firing after loading.

    On the subject of storage he stated it was DEFINITELY NOT needed. He said it would probably only waste wood.

    So, in a nutshell, Fred says that short burn times are no problem. Relatively wet/green wood is no problem. If your chimney is plenty high you will get no creosote formation, even with short burn times and extended idling. And storage is not needed and will likely only waste wood.

    I told him the guys on this site would probably disagree with a lot of what he said regarding the operation of a gasification boiler. he said the Seton was not really a gasification boiler but a "pyrolezation" (sp) boiler. That the refractory "cokes" the wood and keeps it glowing even when the air is shut off to the wood.

    Comments?


    Pat

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,101
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Based on his advice, the boiler would have a relatively low efficiency. Sure, you CAN cook off moisture, but the laws of thermodynamics say there is no free lunch - it costs BTU's.

    In short, although it would beat OWBs and old boilers with no combustion tech, it would not approach the modern highly tuned downdraft fan-forced models with storage - IMHO.

    Keep in mind that storage is not designed to increase the combustion efficiency as much as it is to balance out the delivery side of things. That is just common sense.

    Think of a high mass Russian type fireplace. It STILL needs good wood AND it also burns at full blast and stores the heat in tons of mass...similar to water. Based on Freds advice, a Masonry Heater would burn green wood, not need to weight tons, and could have an air limiting control.
  3. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    712
    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    hello , it is about 5 f out here tonight in crntral nh. the wind is howling from the north and my 2 story faces due north. right now iam burning straight out with a little idle time.so there wont be any creosote problem with this cold weather.
  4. 91220da

    91220da Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    145
    Loc:
    Pocono's Pennsylvania
    How awesome is it to talk directly to Fred Seton?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I thought I did alot of research before buying my Greenwood. Why did I find Seton boilers about 2 weeks to late? All in all the Greenwood is performing well but talking to the president and founder of Greenwood has, and will never be an option.
  5. sgschwend

    sgschwend New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    PNW
    Please call him back and ask him if he aware of any of the problems folks have listed?

    GW purchase the rights to build the wood fired boiler from Seton. I don't know for sure but I believe they weren't the only ones to do this.


    I am interested in hearing his thoughts. I am sure others are too, and since you had a good start with him it would easiest if you could follow-up for us. That would be great, perhaps he has suggestions that may help some of us.


    As to his comment about gasification. I believe his design does convert the solid fuel into a gas which is reported to start at about 1000F, 540C. Which I believe is the definition of gasification. I assume the gas is then chemically reacted with oxygen so that the heat energy can be used. That would have been a big issue if it didn't work, a la, low efficiency, smoke...
  6. patch53

    patch53 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    UP of Michigan
    Sure, what questions would you like me to ask him?
  7. sgschwend

    sgschwend New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    PNW
    1. Draft value, is a draft fan necessary?
    2. There has been Seton Design users who have had a black liquid seeping out of the bottom of the boiler and the chimney, what does he think causes this?
    3. There has been cases where the boiler output nipple has developed leaks, what does he think causes this?
    4. What is causing the creosote buildup on the heat exchanger?
    5. Are there certain no-nos in material selections for his design?

    Perhaps other folks will add their question too.

    Thanks again.
  8. patch53

    patch53 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    UP of Michigan
    Steve, I think I can comment on a few of these questions. #1, I'm sure he would say a draft fan not needed. he seemed to almost imply that my 20 feet of chimney was too much draft. #4, according to Fred, there should never be any concern about creosote, no matter how long your burn times or what kind of wood you use. He basically said that any time the stove is fired it will be eliminating any creoste that may have built up during idling. ( I completely disagree with that statement ) #5, he may not think there are any material changes that should be made, but after seeing what is happening to some of the galvanized side panels, he might want to go with SS instead?


    I'll ask him all the questions anyway when I call. I'll wait a few days and see if any of the other guys chime in with questions of their own. BTW, if anyone would like to call Fred, his # is 406-295-9902


    Pat
  9. NNYorker

    NNYorker Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    245
    Loc:
    Upstate N.Y.
    6. Stainless steel condensate drip pan-- where is it located and how does it work--only on next generation Seton
  10. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    712
    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    how about the bypass door to remove smoke when the boiler is not completely burned out?
  11. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    3,946
    Loc:
    Central NY
    If you want to see creosote dripping from a gasification (losely defined) wood boiler, you should have played with the old wood guns in the 80'. Good times, good times. Almost any wood burner can burn wood. Some can burn it clean. My woodstove burns green wood with almost zero smoke and creosote. I am, however, using a lot of energy created in the stove to combat the greeniness.
  12. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    712
    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    with good hot fires as it is this time of the year. the pipes only show a shoot build up that i brush off with a round steel boiler tube brush. granted you can not get the section in the back after the 90 but 2/3 clean is better then nothing. also most of the fire is hitting the horizontal section of the pipes.
  13. Jesse-M

    Jesse-M Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    191
    Loc:
    Columbia City, IN
    Make sure you clean them at least once a season, you don't want it to end up like this........

    Attached Files:

  14. snowman49820

    snowman49820 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Loc:
    Central Michigan
    Jesse, did you ever fab an air intake for the front of your stove? If so, did that help with the huffing?
  15. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    712
    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    wow if that is after one year. i had nothing like that when i took mine apart.
  16. Jesse-M

    Jesse-M Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    191
    Loc:
    Columbia City, IN
    I did. I stuck 1" pipe through the side with a high-tech valve device to open and close with the damper. It simulates cracking the door,(which is the only thing that will stop the huffing) and allowing some air in from the front. It helps a little, but is not the complete cure I was hopping for. I have found that it is very useful for sticking my ear on and listing for the slightest beginnings of the huffing scenario. I've actually become quite good at building and constructing a huffingless burn. The main part of which is blocking off the two center intake holes with a piece of wood. The air fuel problem works itself out long before the piece of wood covering the holes is burned away. At that point the holes are opened up and the remainder of the burn has all the air it wants. I also adjust the flue damper down according to how windy it is at the time...............what a deal huh?.............makes me think about the title of the thread I just saw "Could my wife run the boiler if I died"..............I won't let anybody come close to it now, I sometimes forget one of the many steps that I myself created.


    I don't remember the time frame, but it was longer than a year and with some unusual circumstances. Those pictures came from a thread from last year. I can't find it... or I would post a link.

    Attached Files:

  17. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Well, you can officially EXCLUDE me from the so-called consensus.

    I am burning 90% oak, most of which has only been blocked for a few months. In fact, some has only been blocked a week or so, even though it was severed from the stump about 7 years ago. In most cases the bark was still on when blocked. I have never measured my MC, but I'm sure it's not 20 or less.

    I also burn un-split rounds. IMO the 6-10" rounds work best, with the +12" used for night burns.

    Though I have never checked the draft, the GW manual spells out where it should be. IMO, before I would go messing with chimney height, I'd measure the draft.

    On the smoke issue . . . if you wait till there is only a bed of coals and the damper is open, you will not get smoke out the load door. But as soon as you put fuel in, PREPARE YOURSELF FOR SMOKE. Not a huge issue for those of us that put the GW outside, but I think the design could benefit from a bypass of some sort.

    I think you missed the REAL issues with this style boiler when you queried Fred . . .

    1)The refractory cracks and busts to hell, and
    2)The skins and anything they touch are being eaten alive

    Those of you - including the Webby - that have never run these style should stick with what you know :-S

    I have no scientific proof, but I believe these units are probably somewhere between an OWB and a state-of-the-art Euro style, downdraft unit. We have talked about the use of the term 'gassification' here before . . . pretty misleading term.

    Some of you like to point out that it takes BTUs to boil off the water. While that is true, the large mass of super-heated refractory is what drys the wood out, and much of this happens during 'idle'. Yes, it then still takes BTUs to heat the refractory back up, but is quite different from your Euro-style boilers.
  18. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    712
    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    Jimbo, go for it . my refractory does have a couple of cracks. i hope it holds up for a few years. pro fab in canada that built the green woods still has some in stock if you want to replace it? my skins are all good. just a couple of rust blistors on the top. i dont know how you could get condensation on the skins? my are about 150 f. and the refractory is 700 to 1200 f to dame hot for water to stay around. idi notice the other night with the wind blowing like hell from the north and temps at O f there was not much idle time.
  19. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Idle time can be minimized with proper loading.

    Attempting 10, 12, etc hour burns will result in idle time without storage.

    Though storage is just a theory to me, I would guess tha Fred is correct that storage is not as much an efficiency savings with these units as it is with others.

    And I think its great when a member here gets something to work and posts it. But for 'huffing' I can't do any better than . . .

  20. tigermaple

    tigermaple Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Messages:
    86
    Loc:
    Fingerlakes, NY
    "Though storage is just a theory to me, I would guess tha Fred is correct that storage is not as much an efficiency savings with these units as it is with others."
    I agree, the refractory is storage in itself.

    I love my GW and probably will build my own with improvements when it dies. It is on it's 4th year now. The 1st year I had all the problems everybody talks about, climbing the learning curve. Now it runs so smoothly(knock on wood) I have time to do other stuff besides plumbing. And my oil guy didn't send me a calendar this year, I guess the split is final.
    Anyway, if you talk to Fred again, please thank him for his innovation.
    Pat
  21. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Pat(tigermaple) . . . how are your skins doing? Any rust bubbles?

    Jimbo
  22. sgschwend

    sgschwend New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    PNW
    [/quote]


    Those of you - including the Webby - that have never run these style should stick with what you know :-S

    [/quote]

    Jimbo, I don't know who you are referring too? If it is me then I would disagree with your assessment.

    Furthermore you had/have problems with your unit including creosote buildup on the heat exchanger tubes and a failure to the heat exchanger.


    As you have suggested, you burn green wood. Don't you think it is your choice to burn that way has caused these problems? The Greenwood manual recommends mixing seasoned wood with the green wood to avoid creosote formation.

    I interpret the Greenwood NOTE to mean:
    burning 100% green wood is going to cause problems.


    I remember you saying the oak trees you use for firewood were down for five years or so. There certainly should be some moisture loss there, certainly not fully green, too bad you haven't measured the moisture content; then other board users could benefit from your experiences.


    In the past I think folks were trying to point out that burning seasoned wood saves a lot of human fuel production time and money. Certainly bucking up a log and stacking it is even less labor. But seasoned wood will provide nearly twice the heat; the user would only need to have half as much.
  23. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Well, I actually had reference to a couple of posters. If the shoe fits, as they say, wear it. :) I will say that the way you talk about these units, a reader here could think you have run one for a while. But I think you said you have not. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that.

    Despite the crappy company that GreeWood was, they never said anything to me that indicated I could/should burn 'green' wood.

    My definition of 'green' wood is cut it and burn it. I don't do that. But due to the nature of my wood (oak tops left on the forest floor) I would bet that my MC is greater than what most Euro style units guys here are burning. One of the reasons I chose the GW was it's ability to handle higher MC wood. I think we all know there is some trade off with the higher MC. But in practise I don't think it's as much as you think.

    LOL, everyone knows what problems I've had with the unit. Running higher MC wood may have aggrevated the corrosive action under the skins, but the problem is the skins were not designed to be able to handle the environment that they are subjected too. Making no provision for cleaning the HX tubes also was poor design in my opinion.

    While I don't think I have all the answers, I hope some of my ideas for enhancements will improve the design. Since I don't anticipate mass marketing, I don't have to cut corners on production costs.

    The only real point I'm attempting to make is that telling Seton that "'we' have decided that 'we' think his unit should have dry, small splits and storage" is counter=productive. Use these units for a while and you will understand that.
  24. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Interesting statement . . . what leads you to that conclusion?
  25. sgschwend

    sgschwend New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    PNW
    Jimbo, yes I have run one, in fact I have installed one, designed the heating system it is in, including designing sheet metal and the extra controls to support loading wood and over temperature protection. I ran this unit just a couple of days ago, I work in the shop it is in so I am around it all the time, if there are any problems or issues the owner and I deal with it. Yes, you are wrong, but so am I, see next:

    As to your question about heat loss:

    Heat from season cord red oak: 24 M Btu,
    Heat to evaporate water 2.1 M Btu
    percent heat lost 9-10%

    Did I say half? Well I see that was in ERROR. More like 5-10% depending on how much moisture is removed.


    The Greenwood I worked on is not mine, but I supply the wood for it, have done extensive work on it and do run it from time to time. It is approaching its fourth season has some black color above the door but beyond that looks new, and runs fine. I like the insensitivity to loading wood in it, I just don't agree you can burn green wood in it.

    Happy Holidays
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page