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)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Loading a Greenfire, Seaton Greenwood

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

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

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Remember when doing moisture checking, the surface doesn't count... Split the piece under test and measure the middle of the newly split surface.

    Gooserider

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. snowman49820

    snowman49820 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    Central Michigan
    I have a drip pan under my tee and I use an odor absorbing cat litter in it. That does a good job of controlling the creosote smell. I burn mostly two year oak and dead ash.
  3. 2.beans

    2.beans Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Messages:
    520
    Loc:
    new hampshire
    if your getting alot of idle time and dripping this is what your vessel-heat exchanger probably looks like if you havent cut the side open and cleaned it out.the bottom left is the ash build up in the bottom around the air inlet tubes.

    Attached Files:

  4. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    134
    Loc:
    Central WI
    You are correct in your assumtion. My tubes do look somthing like that. My unit has a pc on top to remove for cleaning. I cleaned them last spring and they pretty much look a little worse than that already.
  5. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    OK, seriously Dude!! If you think you can load an hydronic unit that is designed to be operated with the door closed and the damper open on demand and closed on no demand, but you think its okay to keep the damper from closing all the way . . .?!? :smirk:

    I know you are frustrated but don't get outside the box till you clearly understand the box. If you can run with the damper open then you have tremendous heat exchange (storage or undersized hydronic/oversized HX) or the fire sux!! I'm gonna go SWAG and say the fire sux. I rave about oak, but the oak I burn has been severed from the stump for a minimum of five years. Granted, if it had been bucked and exposed to the drying elements (sun, wind) it would be dryer now or ready earlier.

    Though I respect the contributors to this Forum, I would venture to say those who have not operated the refractory mass units (Seton/GreeFire/GreenWood, etc) have good intentions but no relevant expedience :-S Despite the piss-poor customer service at GreenWood, the unit was DESIGNED to run best on UNSPLIT ROUNDS of quality hardwood. Hopefully those with a Euro-style forced Induction downdraft would not ask me for advice on what type of wood to burn. But I thing most of that style their manuals recommend small, dry splits.

    You actually give me concern for the safety of your family if you have this unit within your residence and you don't let the damper close all the way!

    Jimbo
  6. sgschwend

    sgschwend New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    PNW
    Here is the statements in the owners manual I have, you decide:

    Owner's manual page 37:

    "Your Greenwood Furnace operates with the greatest efficiency when burning large, un-split seasoned wood logs. If the log fits in the door it will burn. Small logs and splits are fine too, but they tend to burn faster and slightly reduce the burn time of the load."


    They go on to later and defined seasoned as a moisture content approximately 20%.

    page 38:

    "Note: If you must burn unseasoned wood, mix it with dry wood to keep the flu temperature elevated and avoid creosote formation."



    I also want to point out that the moisture in wood must migrate to the surface in order for it to be released into the atmosphere, hence drying. When I cut lumber for folks we address this all the time because of building code requirements (the spec is 20% or less, magic number commonly used because it can be reached by drying in the air). The freshly cut 1" thick lumber needs to air dry for 2-3 months in order for the moisture to migrate the 1/2" to reach the surface. 2" thick lumber the drying time is like 6 months. So if you have the bark on a round providing a moisture barrier the moisture will need to come out of the ends. That is going to take a very long time to migrate from the end to the middle (9-12").


    Good luck, on your tests.
  7. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    134
    Loc:
    Central WI
    Not to worry Jimbo. I have scraped open intake idea. With out trying it out by the way.
    I forgot to do the moisture check today but hopfully will tomorrow. Lookig threw my wood
    I have about 9-10" rounds of the largest and I also have some pallets of splits so I'm going to split a round and take a reading. And then split a split pc and take a measurement there. Realisictly I really don't think a 8" or larger round would ever get close to 20% even after 5 years.
  8. mole

    mole Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    159
    Loc:
    Western NY
    Trzebs,
    Im on my fourth season with my Seton and went through quite a learning experience with creosote and condensate. My W-100 is a bit oversized for my house so it idled a lot. The first season I had some awful condensate problems. The worst condensate occured when I threw a load of wood into the already hot boiler with little or no immediate heat load. I have collected as much as a quart of liquid at a time in a pot that I kept under the elbow in the stack. When I did the math, I realized the extent of the problem. Say you add 50lb of wood to your boiler and it's 20% moisture, just as prescribed. That's still 50lbx.2= 10lb or 1.2gallons of water that's added with the wood, not counting any of the water of combustion!! In idle mode, the hot furnace evaporates off the water, which can't rise very far up the stack without any air flow. It condenses, and pours right out of the elbow behind the boiler onto the floor.

    Next I tried to only light a fire or add a large load of wood when there was a heavy demand for it....which means letting the house get cold before making a fire, or heating the house hotter than desired. Neither approach made the wife happy, but this way most of that water could be evaporated off in a hot fire. That helped a bit. I also bought a moisture meter and began testing my wood as you're doing. That helped somewhat too. I confirmed that aging the large rounds 2 years minimum is the way to go. There's a real noticable difference in how they burn between the first and second year of aging. I also tried something similar to the "not closing the door all the way" idea, but a little safer.... I wired a 60 minute Tork timer parallel with the house thermostat which would force the boiler to cycle on once or twice an hour for maybe 3-5 minutes to keep the stack warm. This also helped, but at times made the house warmer than deired. Despite getting rid of most of the condensate problems, the boiler still built a lot of creosote on the tubes, so I ended up scraping the overhead tubes very frequently. I also took the whole back of the boiler off and scraped the lower tubes monthly. It absolutely sucked.

    To make a long story a little shorter, I ended up building a heat storage tank. I sized the heat exhanger coils to be able to run the boiler wide open, without any cycling. It fixed everything. Now there is absolutely no cresosote buildup on the tubes anymore and I'm even burning blue spruce rounds now! Condensate is not even a consideration. The best part is the shoulder season (Oct, Nov), when the boiler used to be at its worst. Instead of a cold house or an overheated house, I make one real hot 6hr fire every 3-4 days to recharge the tank and the house holds steady. It's sweet. So if you can't get the condensate and creosote issues resolved and you're on the fence about storage, I'd say go for it!

    JR
  9. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    134
    Loc:
    Central WI
    The wierd thing is that all of the dripping is out of the bottom of the sides. Ever since I put the insulated chimney on I get ZERO out the elbow all of it is now coming out the sides?
  10. Jesse-M

    Jesse-M Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    191
    Loc:
    Columbia City, IN
    That's where I get it as well. If I burn green wood, the water drips from the same two spots. ( bottom sides )
  11. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    711
    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    my wood was cut lat spring and i know some is wet, but i do not get any thing dripping out. loaded lat night at 8 reloaded this am at 7 to a big bed of coals. it took right off agin.
  12. mole

    mole Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    159
    Loc:
    Western NY
    Mine dripped from all around the sides too, just not as much as the stove pipe elbow dripped. I got rid of the dripping on the sides by wrapping 1" thick fiberglass blanket over the skin on top and sides. I think the small amt of insulation brings up the skin temperature enough to prevent the condensation there.
  13. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Seriously, how f'in cool is that!?!

    Look at it this way . . . salespeople make a living by S E L L I N G, and in the case of wood-fired hydronic units, many of them do a good job of selling sheetz.

    1) "Load twice a day" this panders to our desire to do as little work as possible. Unless you have storage, infrequent loading is going to mean idiling which is going to be bad.

    2)"You don't need storage" while this is technically true, this statement panders to our not wanting to spend more money. Though I do not have storage, listening to those who do has convinced me it is THE way to go.

    3)"Our unit shuts the fire down when there is no heat demand" Even some of the Euro's say this. I say bull chit. You can't completely stop the burning process for a period of time, then restart it by introducing oxygen. How can you ELIMINATE oxygen from the fire environment??


    Jimbo
  14. trailhound68

    trailhound68 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Messages:
    98
    Loc:
    NW CT
    What you're getting is condensation on the inside face of the skin of the beast. A cold room, one that's not well insulated, will contribute to that.
    I started my boiler after 11/27, it took some time to get the room up to a temperature that wouldn't make my boiler "sweat". At the same time, the stack drips condensate too because of idling. But, that's all behind us now that there is an almost constant demand. No more drip pans or sawdust, until spring at least.
    It is something you have to become accustomed to with this type of boiler.
  15. mole

    mole Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    159
    Loc:
    Western NY

    Jimbo, I agree on all counts. I'm embarassed and disappointed in myself for not sorting the facts from the hype up front. In my case, my blindness was directly caused by #2 - my desire to not spend more money!
    JR
  16. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    134
    Loc:
    Central WI
    Well my results are in!!! I can't believe what I have discovered. I took and spilt a 8" round red oak pc 16" long that I cut green last November and took a moisture reading. It read 29%-31%.

    I took a split that would have been a 12" round that was cut and split once down the middle las November. Split that again and got a reading of 27%-28%

    So I must say that I would not have thought that this would have been the case but by my findings I would say that I will not be splitting anything under 8"-9". The larger ones I will because my wife also loads the beast.

    As far as the condensation the room is a 2x6 walls insulated with bats and R-board on the exterior And as of yesterday drywalled taped and painted. So with only 2 walls being outside walls that are insulated to a R-22; the room is not cold by any means. But I still due understand now that what I'm getting is Condensation.

    Storage for me is not going to happen. I have no interest in #1 spending more money on this system. I now have well into 10K in the boiler, piping, and pumps, ect. The way I figuar it will take me 8-10 yrs (at around this years gas prices) to just recoup my investment the way it is. And thins is not figuring in the fact of all maintence on my equipment. And not to even mention the time invested in cutting wood. Don't get me wrong I really like heating my home this way but I could have done nothing but pay the bill for the next 8 yrs and been even. And the whole thing of having to start a fire from scratch all the time does not interest me in the least. I just feel at this point where does it end?


    Next project is to fab up a exhaust hood and then possibly look into insulating the skins I like that train of thought.
  17. mole

    mole Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    159
    Loc:
    Western NY
    Trzebs,
    Good luck with it. I don't think anyone answered one of your questions about alternatives to a Danfoss valve. I recall reading posts from other people who are using a small pump (some use variable speed) on the bypass with temperature feedback to the pump. I just don't remember the datails...maybe someone else can chime in here?

    By the way, I like your heat dump. Nice simple design. I take it you scavenged the tank from an old hot water heater? Has it been activated under full fire yet? How well does it handle the heat load?
  18. Jesse-M

    Jesse-M Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    191
    Loc:
    Columbia City, IN
    What is the theory on this style of heat dump, how does it work?
  19. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    711
    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    what style heat dump?
  20. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    134
    Loc:
    Central WI
    Yes it is a old 40 gallon water heater tank. I tried calling around and had no luck finding any old cast iron radiators. And with the price of copper I really didn't even try looking for damaged or used baseboards. But when I called my plummer and asked him for a water heater (that didn't leak) with in 2 days he had a 2 of them for me to pick from.

    And as far as it working after I got it hooked up I made a large load just above the bottom of the door. turned on my in floor and got the fire really going hot. Then unplugged it and started wating. By the way the silence is deafining while I'm doing this. But the intake then closed and the water temp was already at about 180. The bypass valve opened and the temp went as up to about 195 stayed there for about 30-45 sec and then started to drop. I let it sit for about 5 min or so and the temp got down to about 150. I went up and felt the tank and the top 16" of the tank was very hot and the rest of the tank was cool. So I figuar that there was about 25-30 gallons of water that was still cool. So I think that I should be very protected with it like this. The only thing I think I'm going to change some time. Is run it at a 45 deg angle upto the tank from the boiler and im still trying to think of some kind of finned tube for that piece. One thing that I think is absoultly nessary is to have the heat trap on the intake in back. With out this through convection you will start heating the tank from the bottom. Works perfectly, The valve and pipe aout the back are hot, and the pipe going back up to the tank is nice and cool.


    Jesse: The reason for this style of heat dump is stricly for a power outage protection. If you have a roaring fire going and the power goes out. So all pumps go down, you will most deffinetly have a boil over. Cuz it has no way to expell the heat with out power.


    The only idea that I had heard of for the non Danfross valve was to make a valve with a thermostat from a car. Which I could easly make. But I really don't know if I would like putting that restriction in my main loop. I have helped this big time by turning my mixing valve way down on my infloor. Now I'm only putting about 90-100 deg water into it. Big improvment by doing so.
  21. Jesse-M

    Jesse-M Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    191
    Loc:
    Columbia City, IN
    So is the ( cool ) water in the tank being replaced by hot water, via thermosyphyon?
  22. mole

    mole Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    159
    Loc:
    Western NY
    That's pretty sweet. Is the normally open valve 3/4" or 1"? If 1", where did you buy it? Why are you lookin to add the 45deg slope up to the tank? Is the flow lower than you want? Sorry about all the questions. I'm on my second backup power inverter which took a s**t. Anyway, I 've been waffling between a 12Vpump/relay combination that was suggested to me on this site and a thermosyphon type dump zone. My overhead space is limited and your idea would fit much better than the standard fin/tube type thermosyphon approach. I like the idea of not relying on batteries at all. Less to go wrong. It also looks like a lower cost solution.
    thanks.
    JR
  23. Trzebs13

    Trzebs13 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    134
    Loc:
    Central WI
    Jesse: You got it hot water rises, cool water falls, and S@#t runs down hill. :)

    JR, it is a 1" Caleffi normaly open vone valve, here is a link of it:

    http://www.caleffi.us/en_US/Technical_brochures/01115/01115.pdf

    Just my suggestion but I would not go any smaller than 1" and if the price isn't much different might even consider 1 1/4. The less resistance the better. I went with the sweat style connection. I'm pretty sure that most any of your pluming houses or a hardware store would be able to get it for you. I had my plumber friend get it for me. And I even saved a few bucks by saving the 24v power inverter from the water heater when I strippped it down. The valve runs off of 24v. And I just wired it up to the box on the back of the boiler which feeds the whole system.

    The reason I want to change it to a 45deg is actually so If I do get a bug up my behind and put fins on that pipe it is kinda close to my sprinker head. Which pops at 140deg, really don't want that going off unless it has to! LOL

    I remember reading about your battery system and I gave it some though and between atv's, cars, boat, skidloader, camper, generator, ect; I have plenty of batteries to maintain and replace every so often . No ofence cuz I still like your idea in the fact that you could still heat your house in case of an emergency. But I am looking at putting in a connection so I can just run my gererator that I use for camping to still runn the bare essentials.

    He charged me $165 for the valve (no idea if that is a good price or not) Got the water tank for free, whic had the 24v inverter on it (which was $17 at Menards) used about 12' of 1" copper and maybe 8-10 fittings, I had put one of the ball valves on last year but had to add another one in back this year. There not essentail but I really like being able to isolate any particular thing in the system. And with the vone valve the Actuator is a seprate part so if that would ever go you can just replace that part.

    Dont appoligize for asking questions, that is why I post on here, to get ideas and share mine. God knows that the makers of these things sure don't offer much in the ways of help.

    If you can't see somthing in the pics let me know and I will try to get a better one if I can for ya.
  24. sgschwend

    sgschwend New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    PNW
    We use outside storage without a problem. The trick is to keep the rain off of it, flat boards work better than tarps. Your measured value shows the average humidity for the way you are storing the wood.

    Looks like your storage method has removed about 1/2 of the moisture (about 4/5 the way to air dry), with about 20% to go for air dry.

    As to the cost of a storage shed? Lots of folks here use those shade covers, if you like to weld you can make a custom size one for yourself; I have been able to find free used steel well pipe from our local service company; then a heavy gage green or brown tarp to blend in with the trees, and your done.
  25. mole

    mole Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    159
    Loc:
    Western NY
    Trzebs,
    Thanks for all the helpful info. Now I need to make a decision and get it done!
    JR
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page