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Loading a Greenfire, Seaton Greenwood

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Trzebs13, Dec 3, 2009.

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  1. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    Wondering how much wood you guy's put in these things? I'm on my second year with this thing and so far so good. (other than the dripping creosol out the sides) But One thing I still wonder is how much wood can you put in these things? Can you stack it right to the bottom of the door? One thing I have found is that it is true, if it fits threw the door it burns. Now with that said it dosent seen to produce as much heat with a load of big rounds but it depends what your needs are.

    I also thought I'd share my pics of my safety dump. I used a 40 gallon hot water and a normally open valve. On the back (inlet) I put in a heat loop to prevent heating the bottom of the tank. And all in all it works great and was pretty cheap.

    The only thing I still want to do is put in a bypass in so I don't get so much tempature drop when my infloor kicks in. But I have a real problem paying over 200 bucks for a danross valve. Does any one out there found a less expensive soulution?

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  2. sgschwend

    sgschwend New Member

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    My buddy has a Greenwood, he has been evolving his idea on the best wood for the boiler. He recently said he watched my Essex burn and could tell that his older method was not as effective as the one I am using, which is I burn slabs trimmed from the logs I mill, every piece of firewood is only a few inches thick.

    Yes, he can put anything in and it will burn, but has found that even a full width crack greatly improves on the burning/heat. He now has reduced the size of the wood he is using and always makes sure all round have been split at least one time.

    As you point out that design can hold a lot of wood and large or small, but you also point out the issue with creosote stains. He and I are guessing the larger parts are causing higher moisture level and cooler fires which result in creosote buildup seen on the boiler tubes.

    One nice thing about this design is that it appears to be less sensitive to the location of the fuel. In the nozzle style like Essex the fuel location matters. In both cases the fuel needs to be kept small, my rule of thumb is if I can pick it up with one hand then it is small enough, I try to follow my own advice but sometimes I do put in a big chunk.
  3. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    My observation . . .

    The same quantity (mass) of wood but greater surface area (loading with small rounds or splits) will:

    Burn up quicker,
    Heat up quicker.

    It seems to me that large rounds (+12" Oak) will take longer to go VSF.

    I think you may want to be carefull using observations fro the past say 4 weeks. If you are anything like Upstate NY, it has been unseasonably warm.

    Jimbo
  4. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    Yes last nite I filled it with 3 big wite oak rounds and some small that were cut green in the fall of last year 2008 and this morning there was still alot of the wood left. Enough so that I won't put more wood in till this afternoon. So graet burn time. But it has not really been cold yet. It only got down to about 30 deg last night. But as you would guess there was alot of smell in the garage form that damm creosel dripping out. I really thought I had solved this problem by replacing the chimminey with all insulated stainless, it has helped but by no means eliminated it. I calked all of the seems thinking that would do it. But once again it still did. I sure am glad that I wasn't talked into putting this in my house. Tonite I'm gunna try loading the same amount in of smaller pcs and see what happens. If I could get rid of the dripping this thing would be perfect. But untill then still trying to figuar this out. And I do not want to explore storage. It's going to take me long enough to recoop what I have invested and other than my time wood is free so, if I burn more I really don't mind.

    But still want to know (in the coldest days) how full do you fill them?
  5. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    I don't have a greenwood but I fill my EKO until it won't allow any more. With milder temps I'm getting a good 10 hours + even with my walnut. Had a few days with cold windy nights in the upper 20's and still had a good amount of wood left in the boiler. I don't have storage and get a lot of idle time with warmer weather but don't regret filing the firebox full. During the summer I will put in half or less loads and shut the boiler off in the morning and burn again in the evening for dhw.
  6. 2.beans

    2.beans Minister of Fire

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    when its cold i fill it to the top, some split and some full rounds, so it touches the vessel. i have a 1000 gallons of storage so the idle time is real minimal. before i had storage i would get the creosote drips from long idle times with to wet of wood. i do find that in milder temps just put in less wood. also when you know its going to idle alot put the driest wood you have. if your getting creosote drips then its also building up on the vessel and in the chimney.
  7. tigermaple

    tigermaple Member

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    Trzebs13,
    You are burning wet wood. Oak takes a while to dry in optimal conditions. When there is little heat load, the water has no place to go and ends up leaking out the bottom or the stovepipe. I will get better as it gets colder.
  8. Jesse-M

    Jesse-M Member

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    I'll keep it 6-8" from the vessel, a couple of splits on the bottom then what ever rounds will evenly stack up to that point. I find myself always looking through the pile for just the right piece. This is only when its cold cold, otherwise it's to the bottom of the door.
  9. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    Hmmmm, I 'm suprised that it's ok to put that much in. Last winter I had mostly only stacked it to about the bottom of the door. But I do agree with the fact that is is not dry I should split one and take a moisture reading but I'm confident in saying that is is not dry as it could be. last year was the first year burning wood full time. So I did make enough last fall for two years. So next year I will have 2yr seasoned wood. And will easily be able to keep that the norm. In all reality with the wood spiltter it's not really that much work to at the least spilt it once. So far with just heating the house I figuar that I will only burn about 5 cord. Now when I get my detached shop finished and start heating that slab I bet that it will take alot more than that. I'm starting to believe in the therory that this my be better. To spit it and get it dryer. I would think that this would decrease my burn times but that has not at all been a problem. An I had only been filling it to the bottom of the door so I could get a a longer burn by filling it fuller. And On a side note I mixed up some "Snake Oil" and it actually got some of the cr-ap off the floor.
  10. sgschwend

    sgschwend New Member

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    I guess what we all need to understand (and I know that I don't know all the facts, or practical facts) is how wood fuel is consumed. I don't know this stuff completely but I will contribute what I know, perhaps others can add more.

    Wood chemically reacts with the oxygen in the air in an exothermic reaction. Moister trapped in the wood is boiled out and this uses some of the heat of the chemical reaction, hence moisture reduces the heat output.

    Sulfuric acid can be produced in a wood fire, moisture in the wood contributes to this (acid attack iron).

    No oxygen, no chemical reaction, or no fire.

    From this model or description the best fuel would be small dry pieces of wood, the heat output and burn time would be based on the species and the mass of the wood.
  11. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I started burning wood in the sixties at hunting camp and then started burning wood in my home in the early seventes. Most stoves available back then were box stoves. You know, when you opened the door you were looking at the end of the burning log. Over a few years I concluded that if you were burning un-split wood that was even a year or two old, it wasn't dry. Any rounds, even down to 3 inches in diameter would ooze boiling water out of the end grain. My philosophy is that if it ain't split, it ain't dry. When I have a piece that is too small to split, I zip the tip of the chain down the length of the piece which opens up the bark and allows the moisture to escape while it is stacked and drying. I first started doing this only on birch and cherry birch and after seeing the results I started doing it on all rounds.
    A one year old un-split 12" chunk of oak will be soaking the entire combustion chamber and if there is any idling you will surely get creosote dripping from the stack.
  12. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    Well, you and now my own expierence have convinced me. My Dad has been burning wood in a forced air furnace in his basement for 30+ years and he always has had dryed wood and never and I mean never, has had any kind of issue like this. I can see where if you had a out door unit that it really wouldn't matter but having it, in doors makes you awaire of all the issues with we wood.

    One of the ideas I have is to #1 split my wood for next year and also spit it before I even throw in in this year. I really have no choice for this year . I kinda made my bed and will have to sleep in it. But I would think that even with the added surface area it would burn with less dripping.

    The othe idea I may try, is to not let my air intake close completley, but just leave it open a crack. My thinking behind this is that it wouldn't totaly idel and keep the exaust moving a little. I know it may take more wood this way but. The extra heat is just going to be pumped in the the basment floor, which is the dump zone. So it's not like the energy would be wasted.

    Any thoughts?
  13. tigermaple

    tigermaple Member

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    Trzebs13
    "The othe idea I may try, is to not let my air intake close completley, but just leave it open a crack."

    That is asking for big trouble. The unit will overheat and then bad things happen man, bad things.
    Also, these type of boilers are designed to burn big chunk. Using split wood and smalls is OK to get it up to temp, but will smoke more and burn much more wood if used all the time.
    How are you storing your wood in the summer?
  14. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    I really don't think that over heating would happen. Once the basment floor (Dump Zone) kicks on even with the biggest fire it will take out 20-30 deg on the water temp in less than 3 min. I don't know how to calculate it but a 1800 sq foot slab takes up allot of BTU's.

    But any way's this is what we do. After the tree is down and cut to lenght we have the splitter on the back of my ATV and bring the spilter right to the tree and split what is needed. The Pallet is on the 3 point of the tractor right next to the splitter. So I split it and stack it directly on to the pallet. And the smaller limbs then get stacked on as well. Then we take the pallets in a open field and cover them with a what ever we can find, plywood car hoods steal siding ect. Then in the fall I load the pallets (24 for this year) onto my trailer and bring them to my house. I take my Bobcat, unload them and stage them in back of my shed and recover. I then built my 3rd stall extra deep for my boiler room. I bring in two pallets with my Bobcat into the boiler room and and chuck in into my stove. I like making wood but all of the handeling that usually goes on is crazy! I only touch my wood twice. Once stacking it onto the pallets and once into the boiler.

    Next year I'm building a short pole shed (so to speak) with out any walls for storage. Just high enough for the pallets to fit under.

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  15. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    And the one other thing I did was install a sprinker system in the boiler room. Sprinkers go off at 140 deg ( I know that seems low but I got them from a guy who does that for a living) and would contain the fire in the worst case. All of the warter then would flow to the floor drains and viola.

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  16. tigermaple

    tigermaple Member

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    You are asking for it. When my GW overheated three years ago, due to the damper door not closing all the way, it was a big mess. The area around the stove hit 140º easy. The water temp went to 270º screwing all the pex it touched. My 50k dumpzone was overloaded quickly. This all started by burning nice dry hickory splits on a 20º night. GW soon started saying not to burn splits, not that they were or the dealer were any help at all.

    I like your wood set up though.
  17. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    Ok I will pass on the intake air idea!
  18. trailhound68

    trailhound68 New Member

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    I will not hesitate to fill my Seton 100 right to the top. Mine is a little undersized, so when it's coldest, she needs a lot of wood to make it through the night and the work day. I have not had any problems to speak of as a result. It's best to reserve the big rounds for when you have a big base of coals.
  19. Jesse-M

    Jesse-M Member

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    I agree with this, I would not leave the intake in a position that it could not shut down completely. I subscribe to the theory that burning split wood in these units ( with the surface area ) puts off to much heat. That then get the water hotter quicker, which then causes more idling........ Maybe a drip pan is in order?
  20. Jesse-M

    Jesse-M Member

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    I can't tell by the pictures, do you have temp. and pressure safety blow offs?
  21. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    That would be Yes the unit came with both a pressure and Temp blow off. on the back of the unit.
  22. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    i burn just rounds and use splits to get things going. if it fits it burns. ido not have any creosote leaking out of mine. just a litte moisture in the first burn of the season from the refractory. i will scrape down my water pipes when i see some build up on them, but mostly the burn off them self. i just reloaded mine today at 230 pm friday.ihad let it burn out from the last load wed night at 800 pm and still had plent of coals in the ash pile to get it going. i like the idea of fill it and walk away, no fans or air adjustments to deal with. nice and simple. the way i like life. well have to sit in the tree and see if a deer wants to comit suicide in front of my rifle!
  23. Jesse-M

    Jesse-M Member

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    Very good............Also, I am very envious of your wood handling program...........that's awesome.
  24. sgschwend

    sgschwend New Member

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    I cut logs into lumber for a living. I have cut plenty of logs that sat for 5 years. I found plenty of moisture in those logs as seen by how the wood cuts and by moisture meter readings.

    I think it is likely that unless you kiln dry your rounds you are likely burning green wood.

    To have a boiler maker say you can't burn splits is just a little strange from my point of view. What happened to the Greenwood marketing statement based on the idea that when the damper closes the fire goes out? You can't have it both ways.

    Remember that burning green wood will increase air pollution. Which can cause our big brother to want to become involved.

    To compare burning splits to round: weigh the wood to make sure you have the same mass, run the two samples and record the run time versus the fuel gas temperature.
  25. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Rp1yBpP3xE

    I stumbled on this on Youtube it's in Europe and they measured in it metric but the point is well taken. The video is 7+ min but at 1min 50 sec into it they do a comparison of green wood and a dry pc of dry wood. It really is an eye opener when you watch how much water it takes to the dry wood to equal the weight of the green piece. And if you watch the hole thing, notice there wood pile!! I think the reason all of these guy's market burning big rounds this is because most of us are lazy. And I think that you will get longer burns out of it but at what cost? And if there product is easier to use then more people will buy.

    Goes back to a statement I heard along time ago: Believe nothing you hear, Half of what you read, and everything you see for your self!

    Tomorrow I will test my larger rounds and measure the moisture.
    Any bets?
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