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)

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.

  1. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,030
    Loc:
    Sussex County, NJ
    SnowTraveler, You have a 500 gallon and a 300 gallon tank for storage. Did you start out with just 500 and then add. The reason why I'm asking is I'm going to increase my storage from 500 and I'd like to know how much of a difference it will make.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. SnowTraveler

    SnowTraveler New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    70
    Loc:
    East Berne, NY
    Chuck, I started with the 300 gallon pressure tank in the basement in a utility room next to the boiler. I had teething problems with my installation due to having an oversized boiler for my well insulated home and no experience with gassifiers. I received a lot of help from the regulars here that steered me toward storage and it helped immensely at the end of my first heating season. I moved my boiler to a new boiler room addition on my garage during the summer of 2008 and added a 500G former propane tank as additional storage, with the option to add another. I have had terrific success with 800G total, so I stopped there. I can charge my system to 190 Deg and heat the house for 12 hours on storage. I do have ambient heat loss in the boiler room and basement, but those are both "heated" areas anyway. I did take great pains to limit heat loss from the 500G tank and the underground piping though. I think your bumping to 1000 will work well, but don't go any higher than that with your unit. How long can you heat on storage now??
  3. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,030
    Loc:
    Sussex County, NJ
    My 500 gallons of storage goes fast. Depending on the temps. probably no more than about 4 to 6 hrs.
    Storage is only convenience, so I'm putting up with the limited storage for now. Someday, I might add another 500 gal. tank.
  4. TimfromPittsburgh

    TimfromPittsburgh Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Loc:
    Western PA
    Interesting thread. Ours is a 2500 sq ft ranch with 50% radiant floor and 50% slant fin baseboard radiators. The living space is fairly well insulated. Our heating system is a Tarm 502 boiler and no storage. Our average consumption during a 6 month heating season is 12 cords of wood and 200 gallon of oil. Prior to installing the wood boiler our annual oil consumption was 2000 gallons. We keep the living space at 68 degrees during hours we are up and cut back to 65 degrees during the night.

    The boiler is in the basement. Once per day I bring in wood from outdoors and fill a wood stacker by the boiler. About every four hours somebody goes down to feed the fire. The last feeding is usually around midnight. By 7:00 AM the fire is down to a thin bed of coals, but usually enough to start the next load. I burn mostly white oak that has been on the ground for 10 years or longer. I suspect that the wood has lost some of its heat capacity, but there is lots of it and it is readily accessible so I burn it. Our basement is not insulated at all and there are are lots of air leaks. I have purposely left the hot water piping in the basement uninsulated in order to supply some heat to the basement. I suspect I am loosing a good bit of heat in the basement.

    This summer I will add 600 gallon of unpressurized storage, add domestic hot water heating and convert more of the living space to radiant floor. Our boiler idles quite a bit and I am hoping that adding storage will improve efficiency a bit.
  5. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    616
    Loc:
    Southern Tenn
    Been following this interesting post for several days. I think one of the most interesting aspects is the definition of "filling". This year's operations are totally different from our first year hindered by poorly seasoned wood and heating almost 200' of dirt between our barn and the house. So now easily keeping our home at a confortable 68 for the downstairs floor. Upstairs ends up to be whatever. BTW, we have 2 AZELs, one on the tees joining the PEX at the boiler in the barn and on the HX in the house. Between blower runs we are consistently seeing a 2-3 deg temp loss for about a 400'-440' complete boiler out to boiler in loop. This is after temp stabilization between blower cycles. See the underground sticky. I'm amazed.

    Now, from the top of the nozzle to the bottom of the upper door opening on our BioMass is about 10", door opening about 12" and the domed top of the chamber about 8-10" above the top of the door opening. Or said another way the upper chamber is about 30-32" tall with the top of the door about 8" down from the top of the chamber.

    Last year and for much of this heating season filling for me was stacking wood from the coal bed to as close to the top of the chamber as possible. Had continual issues with bridging which required someone shuffling/shaking the wood often to keep gassing going. recently started using much smaller loads to avoid the bridging which resulted in (at least to me) a large empty volume in the upper chamber. Temps have recently warmed, so hard to judge burn times, but the smaller loads require less attention. I would guess our blower inlets are about mid-way between the nozzle opening and the bottom of the door opening. Learning bridging is far less an issue with dry wood, but before smaller loads in the morning had the FUEL lite on with still half the wood remaining often. Can overfilling reduce efficiency and lead to using more wood? Stee's comment on what he calls "filling" and my recent effort to reduce bridging really has me wondering. I know for me part of my problem is that I need to make smaller splits also. (BTW read the really interesting inputs in my post titled "Splitting.. fixed or moving wedge" in the Gear section. Very interesting comments on splitters).

    So back to the topic, I can't comment much on useage particularly living in a climate with the winter mean being the low 40's. So good thread pulse, musclecar feel your pain but seems like somethings really sucking your efficiency. That is an enormous volume of fuel. Being much further south and our ave temps, my consumption is not relevent or useful for you, but I'd feel like you if I had to process/handle that much wood. Someone can do the math but I guess the total energy content of that volume of wood would be 3-4 times over your heating demand. You probably need a new thread to assist in debugging what's going on with your system. My 2 cents here relates to what is "filling". First I've read about how different folks fill. THAT may require a new topic. Happy and Warm New Year to all!!
  6. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,030
    Loc:
    Sussex County, NJ
    To cut back on firewood amounts I'm burning a load in the Tarm in the morning, then using the woodstove in the evening. The morning burn heats the domestic h/w. and gets me through most of the day.
  7. pulse

    pulse Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    38
    Loc:
    michigan
    Well I can honestly say I am a little suprised in the result of this thread. As I said in the begining I have been lurking in the shadows of this forum for a while, but have been reluctant to post. I have felt almost embarrised to own a owb by some of the members here. There is no doubt a gassification boiler is more efficient by design than what I use, but I am not sure the spread of difference is as much as I once thought. As far as I am concerened, it really doesn't matter what the setup is as long as the user is responsible, doesn't offend anyone, and happy with the results. I think if more owb owners sized there "boiler" to their needs, burned SEASONED wood, and used GOOD underground pipe (logstor) they would not have the reputation they do. I also take my hat off to anyone who can honestly heat (72*) a large house (>2500 sq ft)in a cold climate with only 4 cord of wood. That is absolutly amazing! So anyway thankyou for all the replys, and everyones honesty, and I hope everyone has a great new year!
  8. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    438
    pulse - I couldn't agree more - seams to be two camps here! There are several OWB in my square mile and if you drive by you can tell when they are idle - there is some smoke. I have seen the giant cloud of smoke that people refer to here [looks like they are burning leaves] but that isn't the case around my house. If storage was added to these also, it would even be better. [less smoke] One person I know mixes coal with his wood and has a tall chimney, no problems there. the quality of the units was the real low spot for me. everyone was building there own version and they would fail in a short time. I won't argue that they aren't a little thirsty. But if the low% moisture wood that the gasers require was used in all of them they could be under sizer for the load, most people don't live and breath this wood burning stuff and just want to save a little money. I have seen some investment numbers verse the sq ft of houses be heated that didn't make sense to me, like 10 dollars a square foot. Got-a just want to do it. Mine is a home build up draft gasier, and it will eat up the wood. I am heat1ing about 13,000 sq ft at different temps. My routine is - load it in the morning and load it at night. 10 minutes each time. if it's real cool or I am just around during the day I might add a load in between. I don't have my boiler or storage insulated and that should happen this month and that should keep me to twice a day. This has been a project & investment that I have loved and hated, it been over three years [1-year to build] and third heading season. made a few mistakes, but overall love being able heat my world by something that I put together. It's more then a day in a life off!! It's the life style off!! My biggest problem is I can't quite putting money in to this thing, it works fine -- just keep adding bling
  9. Rory

    Rory Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    Messages:
    193
    Loc:
    Central Me
    This is a very informative thread. I'm surprised by the ash regimes, I learned my technique from someone else and it has worked fine, so here's what I do - I start by removing the ashes from the bottom of the furnace and the nozzle, which are usually all burned up. I then push the ashes from the bottom of the firebox, which usually contain "clinkers", to the front of the gasification chamber. The next fire will burn these to a fine ash. I then use newspapers and 4 pieces of kindling, a few small split pieces and light it with the firebox door open a crack. After 10 minutes or so, I'll add some more wood (filling it if I'm leaving for work or whatever) and close the bypass damper. If I'm around during the burn I'll check on it once in a while, as it's not unusual to find some minor bridging inhibiting an optimum burn. I'm on my third winter heating a 2500 sq foot house to around 70 most of the time, and providing 100% of my DHW. In the summer, I have about 1 fire a week to charge my 670 gallons of unpressurized storage, and the fires increase in frequency as the weather cools until I'm having 2 a day - morning and night - during the coldest days/months of the year. I used to use 800 - 1,000 gallons of oil along with a little wood, and now I'm using 5 - 6 cords of wood with too little oil to mention. I almost never get up during the night to feed it (I might if if gets -20F), and my wife has never touched it, it goes untended while I'm at work.

    I'm completely satisfied with my Tarm Solo 30, but you do invest extra effort into splitting the wood small in comparison to a conventional woodstove or some other furnaces. I only clean the tubes a few times a year, and the chimney never needs cleaning.
  10. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    581
    Loc:
    Allenton, Wisconsin
    One thing I know for sure. If I turn the heat to 72* my furnace runs a whole lot more than if I keep it at 68* I will bet I use 30% more wood @ 72*. Another thing I noticed is many keep their temps @ 180. I found I use a lot less wood @ 165. 165* is enough heat to maintain 70 * in th ehouse no matter how cold outside. I guess If I keep temps @ 180-190 like some do and then keep 75* like post # 46 I would use 7 cords instead of 3.5. This most likely is why some burn 8 cord, some burn 4. I burned 3 1/3 cord last year and a bunch was popple and box elder. It was a fairly warm winter though.
  11. hedge wood

    hedge wood New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    66
    Loc:
    Eastern NE
    Last heating season was the first for my Garn we heat a 1912 farm house three story 4000 sq ft newer windows and good insulation DHW and heat slab heat in a 20ft by 60ft 16ft ceiling and keep it at 45degrees all the time. we heated from Oct to easter last year as I got hurt easter and couldn't load the Garn any more. We kept the house at 75 degrees all the time and I run the Garn up to 210 regularly. I burned a true 10 cord of hedge last winter but we had a very cold winter we had not seen in years. I think I will be at closer to 8 cord this year or less it has been a warmer winter so far. I if was doing it again I wouldn't spend the big money on a gaser.There are only two house in the mile I live in so the smoke is a no issue I would build my own burner add storage down from it. I have another 2000 gallon stainless storage tank on the trailer in the shed for next year so we can be gone longer between burn. I won't mind burning less wood but I don't like being cold that is why I went back to burning wood. I have a whole pasture of wood that needs to be cut.
  12. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    581
    Loc:
    Allenton, Wisconsin
    I hear ya. My wife is cold all day at 71* I just say a warm wife is only a few logs away. Want to burn less wood? Insulate, insulate, insulate.
  13. rwh442

    rwh442 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    Typical routine for my conventional non-gasser boiler:

    Load up at 5:45 before going to work.

    Load up at 4:30-5:00 typical when get home from work.

    Adjust last load accordingly at 10:30 -11:00 before bed.

    Boiler in insulated three car detached 1550 sq ft garage 200' away from house.

    House is 2050 sq ft ranch set at 71 deg F 24/7. Water to air HX in propane furnace plenum.

    Typical wood usage has been around 7.5 - 8 cords per year.

    Detached garage minimum temperature has been around 58 degrees with help from radiant heat from the boiler alone. Wood consumption would be reduced drastically if the boiler was in the house basement.

    However - working in the detached garage in mid January wearing shorts and a t-shirt - priceless.
  14. NewBoiler

    NewBoiler New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    45
    Loc:
    Canada
    I have a new Kerr Highlander indoor boiler installed and have cast iron rads through my house (2 years old). My house is three floors (including basement where boiler resides) and two car garage totaling about 3000 sq/ft of heated space (usually don't heat the garage). The firebox is about 8 sq/ft and I load it around 6:00AM, again at 3:00PM and then again at 11:00PM. The temp on the main floor is set at 77 and the top floor is at 73- nice and toasty. The basement thermostat isn't even on, heated simply from the radiant heat from the boiler- usually around 80 believe it or not.

    So far this year, burning since mid October, non-stop, only lit twice, I figured I have burnt about 5 cord. By the end of the season I will probably burn 10-11 cord.

    Whats nice, I have only burnt maybe 50 litres of oil since the summer- nice.
  15. pulse

    pulse Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    38
    Loc:
    michigan
    WOW! That is a warm house!
  16. 101x81

    101x81 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    57
    Loc:
    quebec
    i love the slippers, but what is the thing between

Share This Page