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keeping up with the polar vortex

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Coal Reaper, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    NJ
    how did everybody do handling the polar blasts that you are not used to?
    i think i used a design temp of 10*F and expected to load my boiler (~60#'s/loading) 3 times a day at these times. we are coming out of a 3 day period of near 0 temps, with a negative windchill. we saw a high of 8*F yesterday with winds 23mph gusting to 36mph. i know this is nothing for our northern friends with crazy insulation but here in new jersey we just ussually dont see more than 24 consecutive hours under these conditions. i did fine with 3 loads the first day. yesterday i fired in the morning. 12 hours later when i got home from work 1000 gallon of storage tanks were depleted and house had dropped 5 degrees. 3 loads later the house had climbed only 3* by the next morning. thats 240#'s of wood for a 24 hour period. after a load this morning the wife reported that the house is now back up to temp. outside temperatures are climbing and it is sunny with no wind. my oil boiler would have had a very difficult time maintaining as well. even with 180*+ water coming from boiler/storage, it takes a great deal of effort to bring house temps back to where they should be. lesson i guess is to try to not let storage temps fall too low when it gets this cold. just hard being out of the house 12 hours during the day. again, these are extreme circumstances for our area. wind kills the heat loss in my house. i need to address air infiltration issues better. is what i am experiencing out of the norm for guys in my region with similar systems?

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  2. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    fire was started at 17:30. TANK 0/4 is actually on the return line.

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  3. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I'm still wheeling in one cart of wood per day. The only difference is that I'm using more of the wood on the cart during my evening burn. The storage temperatures are a little lower than normal in the morning but on days like yesterday the zones call for heat more often during the day. House temperature still holding at 70 but tank temperature was down to about 127 when I went down to light my evening fire at 4:00 PM. I have been throwing a couple more splits about an hour in to the burn and then when it starts approaching 165 or so I start adding a split or two at a time trying to calculate when the storage will be at 180 at the same time the wood is burned out.

    I don't usually fool with it this way because normally I have adequate heat stored when tank temperature is between 170 and 180 but in this weather I wanted to get the storage close to the max which I consider is 180. Trouble is I get more idling time when I start pushing storage up.
  4. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Wow, that storage sounds so "convenient". Babysitting 1-2 splits at a time?

    Put the wood in the boiler. If the storage goes higher than 180 is something going to explode?

    How are you using 1 cart of wood per day, if you are burning more wood from that cart now than before? Must be a magic cart.

    ac
  5. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    You must have an itch that you can't scratch.
    BoilerMan, mole and flyingcow like this.
  6. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    We've got a tank of five year old oil that needs to be used up, so flipped the switch to get rid of it. I must say oil heat is very nice once you turn up the thermostat and quit worrying about the expense!
    STIHLY DAN and flyingcow like this.
  7. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Long Island, NY
    I seem to be handling the blast pretty well.
    Temps here on LI a bit higher but not much.
    I live on the north shore 1 mile from the water and get good north west winds off the LI sound.

    I load the WG e100 at 10:30pm to the top and wake up at 6am to house holding temps at 67* with a nice bed of coals in the box waiting for the next load.
    Then I load box again and come home at 3pm and find house holding 70* and another nice bed of coals waiting for the next load to make it to 10:30 pm.

    Heating a 2700 sq ft house built in 1951 and remodeled in 1975. So it's insulated like a wiffle ball. And I'm nice and toasty with NO storage and no more creosote in my firebox than I've seen in any other units posted here.


    Nice machine you got there AHS.
    shoeboxlen and Green Mt Heat like this.
  8. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    All good here.

    During the coldest days, I have a fire in the boiler for 10-12 hours/day, with it about burned out as I'm heading to bed. That keeps the house all kinds of warm, and storage charged by the time the fire is out. Otherwise, in more 'normal' winter conditions, the fire is only burning 6-8 hours a day. Firebox holds about 3 cu.ft., but I rarely load it full full.

    My storage is waaay convenient (I wouldn't go back to being without it), and no babysitting of it here.

    I do have a couple of itches though. :)
    flyingcow likes this.
  9. MarkW

    MarkW Member

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    NE Ohio
    My boiler went out about 10:30 last night and storage was virtually depleted by the time I got out at 5:30. I did drop from 73 to 69 in the house but it was right back up after I got the boiler going. If the boiler is running, I have no problem maintain temps in the house and it's not well insulated at all. I suppose having a 60 helps in that department.:)
  10. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Normal operation doesn't require babysitting and adding a couple sticks during the end of the burn isn't my definition of babysitting and you can tell by my morning storage temperatures that the exercise was not needed but I did it anyway for at least three nights. As I said above I don't want any unburned wood in the firebox when I shut her down for the night.
    skfire likes this.
  11. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    It's been quite a week. The only difference I have is a longer burn between when I start my boiler at night and when I give it the last fill. I'm probably using about a 1/2 load of wood more than normal to keep my storage where it needs to be to heat all day while at work. For me that's a "lot of wood" but in reality it just means I go to bed an hour later than normal.
  12. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    We have been burning more wood than usual of course since typically we don't get temps lower than mid teens and usually that's with daytime temps getting to mid 30's. Cold temps compounded by my lack of foresight in stocking the wood shed(hitting the cherry instead of the better stuff this last week or so) has me running to the shed sooner than usual. But I'll take that exercise any day to keep the house warm.
    Even the Mrs mentioned last night that the last time we had these kind of temps over a prolonged period of time we were burning oil and wearing sweaters. I'm not even sure where the sweaters are now.
  13. MaineGuy

    MaineGuy New Member

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    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Here in Maine we call a Polar Vortex, "Winter"
    711mhw, BoilerMan, Wildo and 2 others like this.
  14. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

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    I upped the lower limit on my storage tank from 150F to 160F. 150 wasn't heating the house. It would maintain the temperature but in order to raise it I needed 160F as a minimum.
  15. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Agree completely.

    There are times I burn in what some might call 'babysitting' ways - but not because I HAVE to. Sometimes I'm just in the basement anyway, so I'll put just enough wood in to try to just get storage up to 180 or so since higher temps likely lead to a bit more inefficiency.

    Sometimes I put a couple sticks in on the downside of the burn at the edge of the box so they'll leave char for firestarting.

    Then there's those times I'll go down & put a couple sticks in just because I want to go down & watch that blue flame for a while.
    skfire likes this.
  16. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    Central Maine
    If you have a fire, and there is a call for heat, does your setup heat storage first, or the house?

    I ask because when any heating zone calls for heat, my storage is bypassed and heat only goes to the house load. So, what I see is my house temp come up, and storage doesn't change at all until the zones are satisfied.

    In this weather, I think the major change I see is the flipping back and forth between heating storage and the house. Throughout a lot of the shoulder season and early winter, it seems that once my zones are initially satisfied, the ambient heat of my stove pipe in the basement and copper pipe is enough to keep the house at temp, so I don't usually see zones open until I am running off storage.

    It's awesome to watch the boiler speed up and down in this weather, but I don't want to get your thread off track. :)
    skfire likes this.
  17. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Everything kept up, but burned more wood. But I feel bad for the deep south. Some places were looking at 7f on the thermometer. No place for cold like that.
  18. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

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    My storage is set up so that it will try to heat the zones and storage at the same time. However, as more zones call for heat less heat is transferred to the storage tank.
  19. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Hiker88--TV-2 valve? That works nice. Nothing like 195f water rolling thru the Baseboard. Makes it really nice to bring the house back up to temp.
  20. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

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    NEPA
    Same winter burn schedule, 6:30am & 8:00pm, just fuller loads with more oak,
    70-75%(5.3 cb ft) in the a.m. and 90%(6.5 cb ft) in the p.m.,
    Except Tuesday, the warden did a less than half box(3 cb ft) mid day fire for a heavy dose of DHW need(Laundry, Hot water for goats in barn(6 buckets) etc.

    On same Tuesday , the -11f (-27f wind chill)morning, I found the tanks down to 102top/98 bot and the 2 far zones of the house at 65f instead of the 68f setpoint. Started the fire but the LP burner switched on during loading....beat me to it by minutes. Thought about ramping up the mixing vlv dial for more output to 130f, but didnt.
    Floors were still 80f, no complaints from the warden and the jr assistant wardens.

    Thus far all good....getting ready for 48f on the weekend..:eek:

    Scott

    PS: btw...storage is a no brainer and would not do without it.:p
  21. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    my oil only a year old but i thought about it!
  22. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Same here! I'm spending more time in the basement this winter within feet of the Eko now that I've mounted a TV in front of the treadmill.
  23. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for thinking of us in the Deep South flyingcow. Our 60 class boiler has been running flat out to keep our old creaky home at 68F. Last nite it struggled to keep 65F in the house. Setpoint at 191F and it's running full bore to keep the boiler at 185-188F.... 0F to 4F where we live is a recording breaking event. Haven't needed storage for the last several days! I guess I've got a load calc on our old house.

    Thank heavens this year I've got some no kidding 2-3 year seasoned oak that's plum full of btus. Roads are dry here and schools opening mid-morning... we ain't equipped for real cold.

    Let's keep it among friends, but this morning I actually ran propane AND wood to warm the house up.:rolleyes: ;em
  24. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I heat only off storage but I must say that when the zones are calling while I'm charging storage the temperature at the top of the tank rises reeeal slow.
  25. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    i am using a bumble bee set-point circ for storage to house loop. once the system is up to temperature 10-20 minutes after a call for heat, the BB is moving ~3.5gpm from storage. the loading unit moves more than this but i forget what the gpm value is. so both are getting heat and it climbs to 180* supply. when the storage is getting close to full charge my supply temp increases if there is still a high load at the house. boiler is in the barn so no ambiant heat is felt by house. i could increase the flow rate on the BB but then it would pump too fast at lower storage temps when the house is merely maintaining temperature.

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