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Maintaining water level in an EKO

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by carbon neutral, Dec 8, 2008.

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  1. carbon neutral

    carbon neutral Feeling the Heat

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    I finished my Chimney install today and piped up my laddomat so I have a closed loop. I then fired the boiler with a small load to check for exhaust leaks and any water leaks. The chimney did fine but I found 4 water leaks. I will address the water leaks tomorrow. My question is how are you guys checking your water level? The boiler is installed in a shed 60' from my house and is at a high point so any air will make its way to the boiler. Should I install a make up regulator in my basment and an air seperator on the boiler?
    Also the boiler went into gasification and I was surprised how much steam/condensate was coming out of the chimney. Is this normal. The wood I have is white oak, seasoned at least two years, by seasoned I mean cut split stacked on pallets and covered for two years. My moisture meter is showing right around 18% on the surface then I split the piece and get another reading inside and it is showing around 22%. I would say I had a 6' plume of steam from the chimney in high winds. The plume quickly dissipated and had no appreciable or offensive smell to it.

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  2. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    You'll get a water vapor plume - that's normal. Much more pronounced earlier in the fire. In addition to the moisture in the wood, wood gas also contains hydrogen which will yield water vapor as a combustion product.

    I don't check water level. My system is pressurized with vents at high spots.
  3. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    clarkharms,
    Certainly use an air separator at the highest point in your system. By a closed loop do you mean pressurized too? I placed a couple T's in my loop in the basement, like you were talking about, where there is a pressure gauge and direct two valved hard line water supply tapped into my system. When water pressure gets low and I'm up to temp I just add water until pressure is where I want it which also means it's full. Some of that steam will also be from ambient humidity like you will see from NG or oil furnaces in the winter but like Nofossil said steam is a by product of wood burning especially via gassification.
  4. carbon neutral

    carbon neutral Feeling the Heat

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    By closed loop I mean the boiler water is going from the boiler to the line set into the house and through the heat exhangers both in the air plenum and storage tank. I guess the best way of bleeding out the air and keeping it out is to set up a air seperator on the boiler which is the highest point and have a water regulator set up for ~10 psi in the basement. I want to have some pressure to prevent any boiling or cavitation at the circ. pumps.
    I was just surprised at how much condensate the boiler produced while firing. At first I thought it was still smoking then I noticed unlike the smoke it had intially the steam was dissapearing within a few feet of the chimney and there was no wood smoke smell. Really was cool to watch for the first time. Also there was some water coming out of the black chimney pipe at seems that must have small leaks when the boiler cycled off. I imagine when I have a longer burn and get the heat up the condensate will lessen but it was certainly neat to watch the first time.
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