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)

Looking for a week in the life of a indoor wood boiler owner

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by pulse, Dec 28, 2010.

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

    pulse Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    michigan
    Hi! This is my first post here although I have been lurking for a while. I currently heat my water, house (2800 sq ft), and garage (600sq ft)with a standard owb. I am quite happy with it, I don't have anywhere near the smoke issues so many talk about, and the maintance is a non issue. I light one fire a season, and remove ashes twice a month, load typically once in 24 hours. I use between 8-10 cord a year, which takes about 40 hours to cut and stack, I split very little. I do know however it is not nearly as efficient as the gasification boilers, or the newer owb gassers. That is where my question comes in, guys with a gasification boiler or owb gassers please tell me your routine for a week. How many times do you start a fire, typically how many times do you load in 24 hours, what other maintance do you have to do I don't know of? I am not trying to put down anyones setup so please don't bash mine. As I said I am quite happy with mine I do not plan on changing it anytime soon I am just trying to educate myself on other options down the road. I think most of my setup could be reused for another, ie. logstor pipe, hx's in the furnace, dhw, and garage.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,422
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    A typical winter day looks like this:

    Sometime in the late afternoon or early evening, put on the bunny slippers and walk down to the basement. Build a fire, light, wait for gasification (ten minutes). I usually play a round of darts or shoot a rack on the pool table during this time. Ash removal happens every two or three days (major or minor, extra one or two minutes).

    About an hour later, add an armful of logs. Less than two minutes, including up and down stairs travel time.

    At bedtime, load it up (two armfuls). Less than two minutes, including up and down stairs travel time.

    I heat 3500 square feet plus DHW and a hot tub with just over 4 cords of mixed wood - about 50% poplar, red cedar, or other low value wood and 50% hardwood.

    Many times I'll be able to skip a day, so my effort is nothing at all.
  3. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    456
    Loc:
    Lyme, NH
    pulse, I have a great deal of respect for nofossil, but I must interject that his experience is not typical.......most of us don't have the bunny slippers. :)
  4. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,030
    Loc:
    Sussex County, NJ
    I have about an 1800 sq. ft. house. I'll burn about 7 cords. Load it up at dawn and again at dusk.
  5. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    And I'm not sure NoFo wears the slippers anymore, since last I saw them, they were on the beach!
    [​IMG]

    My 'indoor' hydronic is in detached space. I load three or four times a day. I do this based on my schedule. I remove two scoops of ashes once aweek. More often when I'm burning paper. I start one fire a year.
  6. pulse

    pulse Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    michigan
    Wow I have been looking for a set of slippers like that! Seriously though I am already confused, 3500 ft plus dhw plus hot tub on just over 4 cord. vs 1800sq ft with 7. Is the difference due to home construction or system design? I would think Vermont would be colder then NJ? ISeeDeadBTUs do you have storage? If not is that why you load 3 or 4 times a day? Keep the replys (and pics) coming guys!
  7. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,017
    Loc:
    Near Williamsport, PA
    We have just a "basic" set up....that is, no storage, no solar, etc. House is around 2200 sq ft...very old farm house so I think the walls have minimal(at best) insulation except for the 1000 sq ft addition we put on a few years ago that is very well insulated. My winter weekly routine is basically:

    In my robe & slippers walk down to the unfinished/uninsulated basement & load boiler at around 6:15 am...repeat again at noon to 1pm(wife does this since she works 3rd shift) but this will be a smaller load of wood as she hardly ever puts a lot in. I'll "check" the boiler at 5pm when I come home from work just to be sure wife put in enough to get me to bedtime, usually have to add some. Around 10:30 - 11pm I load her up for the overnight burn. If the Mrs. would load the boiler to capacity in the early afternoon I'm sure I could skip the 5pm "inspection".
    Clean the boiler each Saturday...fairly easy and quick routine of about 15 minutes or so. This is basically inspecting the fresh air inlet "flapper" and wipe rim with damp cloth if needed..pull cleaning rod through tubes...scrape ash build up from inside doors and empty ash pan. I probably could do this every other week but this works for me. Also on Saturday I bring into the basement the next week's anticipated load of wood.

    We go through about 4.5 cords of mostly hardwood each year for heat and DHW. I must admit we were going with an OWB originally but the idea of tending to the fire in my slippers was just too appealing! Unfortunately Santa didn't bring me any bunny types.
  8. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,379
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    I have a very similar routine to Nofossil sans the fancy footwear. I typically have sandles on that are held together by duct tape (not making this up).

    I get home from work at roughly 6PM these days. I grab a cold beer and head downstairs after changing my clothes and appeasing any babies, dogs or wives that need attention. I turn on the radio and choose a station that matches the day at work I just had. I walk to my slider, grab roughly 1/3 of a Radio Flyer worth of wood from under my deck, pull the wagon to my boiler (a long 25 foot commute), toss wood in (carefully) and light fire from the lower chamber with a quick touch of a propane torch. At this point my beer is 1/3 gone (5-10 minutes maybe?). From here I typically tinker with whatever is on my work bench or go back upstairs for a few minutes while the flue heats up. Once my flue temp hits 400 (15-20 minutes after start) I close the damper and hit go.

    Depending on the weather I'll swing back downstairs after 1-2 hours to throw in another 1/2-2/3 wagon full (see Radio Flyer). And before I go to bed (usually between 10 and 11) I make one last trip downstairs to throw in a full wagon (full firebox) of wood. At this point I've spent maybe 20 minutes tending the fire and I'm done for the day. I clean out my ashes once a week max.

    I heat 3,200 square feet on just over three cord of wood. I heat from October 31st until the wood runs out. Last year I made it to the second week of March on 3.3 cord. This year I'm keeping the house a little warmer so my goal is March 1st on wood heat. I currently keep the house 70 during the day, 68 at night. Last year I ran 70 during the day and 66 at night.
  9. musclecar joe

    musclecar joe Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    48
    Loc:
    western pa
    Wow !!! I am very confused. I have a 3000 sq ft home. well insulated. baseboard rads and an econoburn 150 with no storage and I burn at least 10 cord of dried hardwood ( oak,ash,cherry,maple etc)per year.

    I must be doing something wrong. I read all over the forums that most are burning 4-5 cords of wood, can someone tell me why i burn so much? I do understand storage would help, and if i had radiant floor it would make a difference. In my situation adding storage doesnt really give me enough saved btu's to make a difference since i have to keep my temps on the boiler above 165 to heat my rads, I would be only storing btus for about 2 hours worth of heat. from what I have been reading here there are a lot of people without storage and still burn less than me. I bought an indoor gasifier because i believed i would be saving on wood consumption vs. a outdoor boiler. If i would have known I was going to burn the same amount of wood I would have bought the outdoor unit saved a few thousand and only load 2 times a day instead of 3. Am I the dumbest person in the world or have I done something wrong.

    I read here about no insulation or storage and burning 4 cord of wood????? how is this possible? What is the secret to only burning 4-5 cords of wood?

    Tired of cutting and stacking 10 cord a year.

    Musclecar Joe
  10. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I can't say for sure, but I think I burn about 8 cord. But it's that stuff no one wants to burn, Red Oak ;-)

    I'm not exact on the amount because I don't build a stack, measure it, then burn it without adding to it. I hate to burn up my wood so I keep getting more while I'm burning. I have no storage, but I have good insulation and radiant.
  11. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,422
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    I don't know what the critical variables are for wood consumption. Our house is well insulated and pretty tight - 20 years old. My wood is medium quality, but dry. I almost never idle. I build relatively short hot fires. I had similar wood consumption with and without storage. We used about 720 gallons of fuel oil per year before converting to wood. We have a decent amount of southern exposure with large windows. We keep the house between 70 and 72.
  12. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,017
    Loc:
    Near Williamsport, PA
    Are you talking face cords or actual full 4X4X8 cords of wood?
    Don't take my reference to insulation as having none...I'm sure there is some in my walls but I'm also sure it's very minimal. At best I think we have some rigid board under our siding and probably newspaper and the such in our interior walls.
    Now the basement is not insulated at all but the residual heat from the boiler keeps it very comfotable down there and we get benefit of heat rise into the living space above.
  13. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,509
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    Since I heat my shop, and not house, need to adjust a little. 1500 sq ft, radiant floor only, 1000 gal pressurized storage. In-floor sensor/thermostat keeps the floor at 61F with a 1F differential. Inside air temp 55-60F. So far this winter, -10F to 25F, have burned 1.75 cords of pine slab wood, low heat value, one burn of 4-6 hours every second to third day, about 135 lbs/wood per burn. I fire the boiler when storage drops to 100F +/-, and then heat to 180-190F. Heating is from storage, with the boiler used to recharge the storage.

    Maintenance: 1) every 3 burns or so pull out the fly ash that has accumulated in the gasification chamber; 2 times/month brush the fire tubes; 3) as needed, remove excess accumulated ash from the firebox chamber (have not done this yet this heating season); 4) end of heating season, clean and seal up the boiler.
  14. musclecar joe

    musclecar joe Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    48
    Loc:
    western pa
    Full Cords. 4x4x8 I have 30 4x4x4 pallets stacked and shrunk wrapped i bring into my garage where my boliler is located as needed pallet at a time with a fork lift. my insulation is R16 in the walls. and my basement is a finished basement with insulated walls R16 (part of the 3000 sq ft i mentioned earlier)
  15. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,379
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Shrink wrapping is probably not a good idea. Do you shrink wrap before or after the wood has seasoned? Have you ever measured the moisture of your wood?

    Most of us gasser burners running in the 4 cord ballpark or running well seasoned hardwood. 2 years or more, less than 20% moisture content. Burning green wood will cause your consumption to go up (perhaps quite significantly).

    Storage does not significantly impact efficiency of properly sized wood burners. It's more for convenience of scheduling the fires for when you feel like burning.
  16. musclecar joe

    musclecar joe Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    48
    Loc:
    western pa
  17. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    294
    Loc:
    upstate ny
    Well, I really don't have any set routine, I put wood in early am, reload at 6 or 7 pm, house is a cool 60 or so, reload full and then again before bed, house is again cool in the am 60 ish. If we are home we burn lots more wood. almost 3000 sf old house somewhat insulated and some new windows. about 10 full cords a yr give or take a few, but if I had a pair of those slippers in my boiler rm that jimbo posted I'd be there 24/7, she's so hot she could prolly heat house all yr long, no need for wood. (Well, maybe some kinda wood)
  18. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,030
    Loc:
    Sussex County, NJ
    My firebox holds 5.3 cu.ft. of wood. A cord is 128 cu. ft.
    That means if you load your firebox full, have a full stacked cord of wood, you will get about 25 loads out that cord.
    Two loads a day, you'll burn thats about 2 cords a month.
    A five month heating season will be about 10 cords.
    Personally, I really can't skip many days, nor can I get by with less than two loads a day very often.
  19. mheroth1

    mheroth1 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    central new york
    I have a 30 yr old essex boiler that I use to heat my 3000 sq ft house. I use about 5 - 6 full chord of semi seasoned wood per year. I typically top off the boiler at about 5:00 am (when I leave for work) and then check it at 5 pm. I usually top it off again at 9:00pm. I clean the ash out about every -10 day. takes about 15 min.
  20. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,288
    Loc:
    WI
    [/quote]
    Moisture is less than <17%. wood is seasoned for 1-2 years. shrinkwrapped after seasoned. its is perplexing to me.[/quote]

    Is your boiler in house or shed?

    Any underground pipe?

    gg
  21. musclecar joe

    musclecar joe Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    48
    Loc:
    western pa
    Moisture is less than <17%. wood is seasoned for 1-2 years. shrinkwrapped after seasoned. its is perplexing to me.[/quote]

    Is your boiler in house or shed?

    Any underground pipe?

    gg[/quote]

    boiler in my garage. 40 feet of underground pipe.
  22. pulse

    pulse Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    michigan
    Well my first thought after reading these posts is a indoor boiler has no business being in a outbuilding. I didn't know there would be so much tending and topping off the fire. No big deal if it is in your basement or garage but not something I would like to do in foul weather. My second thought is what is up with the crazy difference in wood usage. 4-5 cord is what I was expecting but 3.3 to 10? Interesting reading keep um coming!
  23. pulse

    pulse Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    michigan
    musclear joe what type of underground pipe are you using, and do you notice any snow melt?
  24. musclecar joe

    musclecar joe Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    48
    Loc:
    western pa
    sound the same as me. except i load 3 times a day at 7am then 5 pm and top off at 1130pm during december,january and Feb. the other cold months i can get away with loading 2 times a day. morning and night.
  25. musclecar joe

    musclecar joe Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    48
    Loc:
    western pa
    insulated pex. no snow melt.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page