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Loving that storage

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by woodsmaster, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Despite the cold temps 20 F last night, I went two days without a fire. The sunshine and no wind allowed me to run storage down to 106 F on top and 102 F on bottom. The house was still 70 deg. and I had plenty of hot water for my shower. I'm the only one here right now so recovery time on the domestic side isn't an issue. Just wanted to share how much I like the storage. I build a fire on my schedule and the boiler cools between firings so you can clean or maintain easily ! I highly recommend it for anyone with a wood boiler.
    Floydian likes this.

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  2. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Plus one.

    In the summer i can go 4 days sometimes 5 on 1 firing. Thats with 3 teens and a wife in the house. I usually only bring my storage(unpresssurized) up to about 160 ish in the summer.
  3. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    Sounds like those panel rads are working out pretty well for you, Woodsmaster!

    I knew pretty early on in my boiler research that I wanted storage so I could take full advantage of low temp heating. The convenience is often considered the biggest plus to storage and I am all about it but I also have to think the efficiency gain for me is fairly substantial as my boiler output is more than 2x my heat load at design temp-which doesn't happen often.

    I have to say though, that NOT having a fire burning in my house when no one is home gives me a degree of peace of mind that would be hard to put a price on(even though I consider my gasser to be safer than any wood stove I have operated).

    Noah
    arngnick likes this.
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Hmmm.... Think I am going to go throw a beer can at my wood stove. ;lol
    Floydian likes this.
  5. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    Could not agree more! When the whole idea of batch burning and storage was explained I said I would never do it...but after I struggled with my first boiler for 2 years and saw how easy I could start a fire in the vedolux I can around and I now feel it is the only way to burn wood. I am looking forward to burning this summer for DHW.
  6. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    I never tried throwing beer cans. I usually resorted to cursing and name calling but this probably only made things worse.

    In fairness, I only have experience with two stoves. The first was a homebrew beast that never stood a chance of burning clean but I grew up with it and it kept us warm. The second is a '79 VC Vigilant from my FIL. Nice little stove that my wife and I have operated for 14 yrs. Still, few moments of clean burning even with nice dry wood.

    The new house I am building for my folks will have a wood stove that should easily meet my clean burning/safety expectations.

    Noah
  7. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    You know.........even a cursory glance through all the threads dealing with storage here on Hearth quickly reveals the truth of a couple very basic facts.

    1. Storage is good
    2. The more the better.

    A person looking at all these threads will find that for most systems, unless they are very low heat load or the owner doesn't mind messing with his boiler 3-4 times per day, 1000 gallons is about the minimum you should shoot for. Guys with that level of storage capacity are nearly universally happy with the performance not only of their heating system but also the performance of their boiler. The right amount of storage basically "disconnects" your boiler from the actual heating load and allows it to burn at its best.

    The easy lesson to be taken from that is pretty simple in regards to how a cord wood boiler should be operated. That being, burn the wood hot, fast and without cycling the fire off/on/off/on etc. Whether the storage is pressurized or not seems to be of little if any importance as far as the operation of the system all other things being equal.
    A lot of people I have spoken with about their PhaseII boilers have discovered this the hard way because they learned very quickly that idling any cordwood burner leads to less than optimal results. Gasification works best if it is not shut down in the middle of a burn plain and simple.

    Now...before anyone climbs all over my case about advocating BIG storage, I would urge them to just go back and do a search of the forum for storage related topics. The facts are out there for all to see regardless of whether some salesman is telling you that you only need a couple hundred gallons or not.
  8. I've had my boiler two seasons, one with and one without storage. There is no way I'd ever suggest anyone install a boiler without storage.

    I didn't have time the first year to get tanks and plumb in storage. I was still happy with my boiler. But now with storage I'm really impressed. Much cleaner burning and every time I check on it I have good gassification and the boiler is cruising along at 190 +-.

    And the convenience of not worrying about when to load the boiler is worth the cost of storage.
    Taylor Sutherland and flyingcow like this.
  9. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    Actually it's horses for courses. We're running 25,000 btu per hour load with 750 gallons storage and system deltaT of 75 degF during peak heating season.

    To me space in the mechanical room is some really prime interior real estate, I'm really glad I sharpened my pencil and figured out how much storage would be optimal rather than blindly assuming more is better.
    woodsmaster likes this.
  10. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

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    I left my storage in bypass last year [4000 gallons] , why because I am an idiot and it wasn't that cold, the boiler holds over a thousand gallons that should be enough, right. This year because of a pump issue I had to let the storage charge. the system for the most part,by passes storage below about 120 once it gets to there and it's charging to full open at 130.[22 gpm] at that point the top of boiler and top of storage are the same temps. This year the giant flywheel of the BB system was great, I stretched my burn times out etc. Just don't remember it working that good the first three years. Bet it would work even better with insulation.
  11. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I know I've got 660 gallons & would prefer to have more, even though that size is matched to my boiler pretty good. Right now heading into shoulder season I'm still needing an evening burn - I think I could go every two days if I had 1000 gallons. I'll likely be noticing that even more when I get to DHW-only season.

    There is no way I'll ever be without storage again - and knowing what I know now, if I had a non-gassifying boiler with decent heat transfer (firetubes) I'd be thinking long & hard about replacing it with a new gasser & storage, or just adding storage to it. IMO, storage is the bigger leap of the two.
  12. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    My in-laws came over this morning to pick us up for maple Sunday. They said "you can't even tell your "wood stove" is going and it's so cozy in here" (70f). I said "you can't tell my wood stove is going because the last burn ended sometime around 1130 am yesterday morning".
    woodsmaster likes this.
  13. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    My parents were over last weekend and they said the same thing "are you still buring wood?" I said "yes, but it went out yesterday" "it's so warm in here"............ you get the point.

    TS
    woodsmaster likes this.
  14. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Still it's a little different in the summer. It's 80/90's out and I'm stating a fire?
  15. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I burn all summer too. The electric heating elements in my water heater don't even work. They went out and the heater is getting old so I'm just going to replace the whole thing, so till then no slacking on the fires. About once every 5 days in the summer.
  16. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    You must be using some sort of radiant then?

    I find my baseboard will work down to 130 or so but it's marginal at best, I have my back up kick on when the tank hits 140, during the dead of winter it seems to be the happy medium.

    As things warm up and my load becomes basically DHW I'm going to lower my backup kick in to 125 and see how that works.

    K
  17. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Just finishing up the forth season of running a gasser without storage. BUT, a loading unit is on the way, found the first of two 500 gal propane tanks this weekend and will start the install in several weeks. You guys are making me wish it was October..... naw.... scratch that thot. I'm sure I'll resurrect this post in December so I can join in the praises of storage. Can't believe it took me so long to "get it". Thanks for this motivational thread.
  18. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    I'm using baseboard. I heated my 820 gallon to about 85c top, 75c botton on Saturday morning - the burn was winding down when I left for work around 1130 am. Kept the house at 70f until about 8 pm Saturday night, 66f overnight (at least that's what the thermostats are set to - might not have got all the way down to 66). Thermostats go back to 70f at 430 am and I think it was around 68 or 69 when we got up around 530 sunday morning. My wife asked if I needed to start a fire and I said no, I was going to see what happned.

    I started a burn yesterday around 5 pm when the tanks was 48c bottom - I can't remember the top. The house stayed at 70 all day.

    I wouldn't see that in the winter of course, but yesterday was high 30s to 40s and pretty windy, so I'm pretty happy. My electric bill is $63.17 for feb-march, so although my pumps might be running more, I can take that.
  19. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    As I said EW, "unless a person has a very low heat load"........... which yours surely qualifies as being.

    I would place a bet that 90% of the folks on here are dealing with substantially more heat loss than 25K at design.

    That being said, I've pondered more than once some kind of a graph, chart or rule of thumb that takes into account heat loss and the workable delta T of a system, to use when calculating how much storage is enough storage. Any thoughts?
  20. logger6644

    logger6644 New Member

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    One issue that occurs to me that I don't see mentioned in these storage conversations is "How much creosote formation is caused by constantly letting the boiler cool off and then reheating the water?" Unless the water temperature does not drop below 140 F, it seems creosote would be generated whenever these restarts occur with a detrimental effect on the boiler over time? I'm presently avoiding this issue by keeping my water temperatures over 140F. Thoughts?
  21. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    Made me do all those conversions... :)

    You are right though, I'm sure I could get more out of lower temps right now. That being said I find the magic temp to be in the mid 40s, you hit that during the day the load drops dramatically. Not sure why but that's just what I found.

    I chose 140 deg because that's what works best for me during the winter. During that period I'm starting a fire twice a day regardless so it doesn't really matter.

    If I was building a new house I would definitely go radiant though, get the most out of storage for sure! That being said the baseboard keeps me nice and warm.

    K
  22. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    During the main heating season my boiler doesn't drop below 120 degrees between fires. It also come up to temp really quickly. I would think it's a pretty minor problem overall.

    K
  23. I've had a better experience with baseboard and low water temps. With overnight lows of -10 I can maintain 68 in the house with storage down to 110.

    My baseboard sizing was based on design temps of -20, 72 an 180 supply.
  24. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    I think part of my problem is design more then anything. My downstairs is one giant loop. There's alike 42 feet of 3/4" baseboard and I'm pretty sure what's happen is by the time the water is getting to end it's not carrying enough heat to do the job. I've wanted to break it up into two zones for a while, just need to take the time to do it. Just so many variables comparing houses.

    The upstairs seems to stay fine. All that being said when I really noticed it was on those super cold mornings we had back in January, other wise I don't notice the house getting cold when the tank gets down to 140. 140 is also the set point for the loading valve, so I think keeping the tank up a bit higher makes for faster loading (I have no proof, just made sense in my head).

    K
  25. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    No creosote here! Boiler is at 90 to 100 F every afternoon when I light my daily fire. Been doing it this way for 5 years. Where would you expect the creosote to deposit? When I shut down my boiler after the daily burn, there is only charcoal in the burn chamber and I purposly add a little more wood than I need so when I shut it down there is some charcoal left to start tomorrow's fire. Those glowing coals don't produce creosote and eventually extinguish because the master switch is shut off on the controller and the cycle timer doesn't cycle.

    The firetubes only have white powder that would blow off and the black coating on the walls of the primary fire chamber is mostly dry and crumbly.

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