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New gasification system looking for information

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by arngnick, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    I am in the process of replacing my Irleh 40 and possibly getting a vedolux 37 for my home. I am looking to get 1000gal of storage as well. My home is about 2500 sq ft and I live in northern PA. I figure the heat loss to be between 25K BTU/hr and 50k BTU/hr. I am looking to have my storage last 12 hours in most cases and no less than 8 hours due to my work schedule. So with the peak load of 50K BTU/hr I NEED it to last minimun of 12 hours. Can I accomplish this with the vedolux 37?. I am tempted to go to the larger natural draft boiler from veribronan but I am concerned that I may not have enought draft and there may be more smoke involved inside the house. I am open to other ideas as well. Any advice that is offer will be much apreciated...I look forward to contributing to this foum as I gain more expirience. So far my expirience with my Irleh 40 has not been favorable.

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  2. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    What do you have for a chimney? Mine is 30 feet tall (stainless chimney), give or take a couple of feet. I have the UB 40 natural draft model - I think I'd get by with 25 feet but I'm on an open hilltop so your particular situation might vary. Best way to tell is to get a Dwyer manometer and hook it up while your burning now and see what it says - that's what I did to be sure. I easily get 0.1" of draft minimum, and never did bother sealing up my smoke pipe joints.

    You should have no problem getting that long between burns with 1000 gallons of storage and a 37. My house is 2700 sq.ft. in two stories (over a 1500 sq.ft. basement). My typical routine is light a fire around suppertime, re-load it maybe 3.5-4 hours later. That does it until suppertime the next day. During the coldest spells this winter, I lit earlier (around noon) and burned three loads instead of 2. I only have 660 gallons of storage. Even the couple of times I got caught out & didn't get my fire lit as soon as I usually would have, the house was still lots warm - just that the storage got down farther than usual. Those couple of cases called for another partial reload. The 37 is rated a bit higher output than my 40 - so I have no doubt the 37 plus 1000 gallons will do what you need it to do.

    On the smoke issue with natural draft - as long as you don't open the fire door with the bypass closed, there will be none. The draft pulling from the chimney ensures it all goes up rather than out. I have lately taken to lighting my fire with the bottom ash hatch out (my idea - not suggested in manual) - it seems to get the fire going quicker by giving a direct path for air to the bottom of the fire and up & out thru the bypass. I will get smoke come out if I forget, and open the fire door before putting the ash hatch back in place. But operating normally I get no smoke out the door - which allowed me to do away with the cobbled up smoke hood I had in place with my old unit.

    Good luck!
  3. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    My chimney is 24' tall and it is a regular 8x8 clay lined block chimney. I like the way the 37 operates but I am trying to view all my options. When I first got my Irleh 40 I thought it was going to be great but I have had quite a few issues with it. Mostly ash buildup causing it not to gasify. The design is also very difficult to clean. I would switch back to a coal unit but I have so much wood that needs to be burned on my property. Thanks for the info.
  4. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    same situation as me. i am 2400sqft with cathedral ceilings in NWNJ. i will be getting 1000 gallons storage and 37 and hope to be able to run through most of the winter on 2 full reloads of oak/locust in a 24 hour period. i may have to do a little more when temps are single digits or even teens, but that is not often so its acceptable to me. the 37 will transfer slightly less than half million btu to storage throughout a full burn and the ub50 slightly more. if you havent already done so, i suggest go see dean at smokeless heat. great guy and will show a 37 and a lambda running as well as what he has in the warehouse. they are all very easy to clean and simply to operate.
  5. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    I am working with Dean at smokelessheat.com his custtomer service is OUTSTANDING! I just want to go into this purchase fully informed so I do not regret my decision.
  6. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    The way I look at it the size of the boiler has nothing to do with your primary question about how long storage can keep your house warm. The main determination of that is the minimum water temperature at which your system can deliver 50k BTU/hr into your living space. at 50k per hour for 12 hours, you'll need 600,000 BTU of usable heat energy in storage. Assuming 1000 gallons of pressurized storage at 180 degrees, 600,000 BTU will take your tank down to 106 degrees. Unless you're heating with low temperature radiant, you're not going to get 50k BTU/hr out of water anywhere near that cool.

    My guess is that there's some 'wiggle room' in all of this. In your worst-case really cold day, could you load the boiler before you leave the house? The boiler could then keep the house warm for the next few hours while it tops off the storage tank. It's also usually the case that the highest heat load is at night. Unless you work third shift, you're home at night. The heat load during the day is typically much less, especially if you have southern exposure.

    Dean should be able to give you good guidance - he knows his stuff.
  7. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    This might sound biased - but my experience in using mine now since early October, combined with all the research I did in my decision making plus what I've read & seen on here since from others in the use of their boilers, has me convinced that there is no boiler that is easier to clean than the Varms. There are vids of it out there. An easy 10 minutes has my turbulators in and out, and my tubes clean, plus my chambers cleaned of ash. I can & have even pulled my turbs out while burning. Not sure why you'd NEED to do that, but it makes for easier tuning in being able to put in & out while burning (say you didn't realize until after lighting how warmer it was outside since you burned last and you want to quickly pull one out to compensate for resulting lower draft) - plus if for some reason you find the need to get some ash out of the tubes while you've got a fire going, you can simply open the door, hook the turbs with the hook tool, and move/slide them in & out some to get rid of a lot of it from the tubes. I don't think you'd want to try brushing the tubes while burning though - pretty sure you'd end up with a burned out brush by the time you got it pushed down close to the gassing chamber. Not sure you can do that with the 37 and it's fan running. Doesn't matter much anyway, but just kind of shows how service-friendly these things are. I stuck my neck out and bought mine from 1500 miles away sight unseen with not one regret yet.
    arrowe44 likes this.
  8. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    Right on with both these guys. I was figuring on the same thing. If i have to start a fire when i get home from work and reload before bed it aint that big of a deal for the few days of the year its required. Does dean know when he will be getting more 37s in?
  9. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    Glad to hear all the reassuance on the varm! I can see that the maintenence, and lighting proceedures are very easy! I also agree that burning two fires at night is not a big deal. My major concern is that the storage can hold 8 hours on very cold days and 12 hours on most days. I do not however want to be trying to burn 4 loads a day! At most I can burn 2 loads at night and one in the morning before I leave. I am nearly set on the 37 (just have to convince the wife which can be difficult since we have had trouble with our Irleh).
  10. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    So between a Vedolux 37 and Vedolux 50 UB? What are the pros and cons of each? Maple do you run an draft fan with yours to get your fires started?
  11. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    No - no draft fan at all. It's a bit slower to get started without one as the fire has to build the draft up. I've been refining my firestarting routine since I got it though, and think I almost have it nailed - see my first post. I just lit a half hour ago - very quick now to get up & going. I get my kindling in with some paper underneath, and light that from underneath through the nozzle with a torch & with the ash door out. With the ash door out & the fire door closed, a good draft gets going almost right away as it is a straight clear open shot from the bottom to the top for the air to come in & get going up through the kindling. If it's a sluggish day outside, I'll light a ball of paper first on top of the wood to get the draft started. Then while that's going on I get the rest of my load ready to put in - I usually re-split some stuff smaller with my electric splitter for the first load. Then I put the ash door in, open the fire door, load it up, close the fire door, & close the bypass damper. Away to the races. This thing couldn't be simpler - no controls, no electricity (aside from the circulator).
  12. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    I really like the idea of simple, but by being too simple I am afraid that I will have to "figure the stove out". After seeing Dean light the 37 I almost feel like an expert. LOL Anyway I am scared of going with the natuarl draft since my chimney is near the minimum requirements and it is on the outside of my house. I have never checked it with a manometer so I cannot be certain I even meet the requirements. Since my current stove is inoperable without a door latch I need to make a decision soon and I am unable to check the draft.

    If the 50 works as well as the 37 and does not need electricity to run it seems like a no brainer! Does anyone see any problem with adding a small draft fan if it turns out that I do not have enough natural draft?
  13. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    Dean is a huge help!

    The size of the boiler just determine how many fires I must lite in a day. And since I am going to have the storage to hold it the bigger the better in my mind.

    I do think there is a little wiggle room but I would not mind having a little extra capacity in case I decide to add a garage to the heat load in the future. As far as heat distubution I have an air handler with a 150 BTU coil in it. for half the house and the other half I have radient floor heat in which I run at full temp, but I am being told it would be best to temper that down to 150 degrees.
  14. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I think if I wasn't sure about the draft, I'd go with the 37 to be sure. It does sound like you'd be marginal with a 24' outside chimney. I was told that some put draft inducers on to help with startup, but I didn't and am happy with it. I've also heard some say on here that draft inducers don't work very good.
  15. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    I live nearly ontop of a hill so I may very well have enough but if I don't then I would like a backup plan just in case. The more I think about it the more I think the larger boiler would work better for my application. I just want to be sure. I will be on my way to see Dean at smoklessheat.com in the morning hopefully make a desicion. Any last minute thoughts or advice would be appreciated. I do not hear of anyone that is unhappy with their varm so I feel good about making the purchase one way or another.
  16. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    The only other thing I can think to say is - I don't think he'll steer you wrong, so take his advice. I think he used a 50 for a while at his place, so he should be able to give you an honest assessment. You're in good hands - keep us posted.
  17. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Agree, I think Dean will do you right. Sorry to hear the IRLEH wasnt a good experience for you. If you are on the fence, I would go with the 37, just to avoid having to tweak (especially if your wife will ever be running the boiler).

    Or you could go with this guy:

    http://www.smokelessheat.com/gasification-boilers/vedolux-lambda

    It comes in 35kw and 45kw outputs, along with the big guy 65 kw.

    That way you get a higher output boiler, and super ease of use.
  18. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    Still on the fence....leaning towards a 50 mostly because he does not have any 37s available today. Dean says the 50 should nit be to much different than the 37 just have to pull the trigger I guess
  19. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    I wouldnt make your decision based on if you can nab it right this second... You want to have this boiler for years to come.

    I say pick the features you want, and go from there.
  20. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Maybe he could come check your draft for you before you decide?

    (Not sure how far away you are though).

    I wouldn't commit to spending all that cabbage on natural draft until I was sure I had enough draft.

    (That lambda boiler is a work of art....)

    As I was saying, the 40 does me fine with lots to spare - so I'm sure the 50 with 1000 gallons would do what you want with ease (with enough chimney, of course...).
  21. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    The trip to SmokelessHeat is about 3-3.5 hours so its not too close. I have just returned after spending nearly an entire day with Dean and my wife deciding on what would be best. Although the fact that I could load up the Vedolux 50 did weigh in on my decision as of right now I think it is the better option since I plan to add more heat load in the future and if I can make more BTU's in one burn that is less fires I will have to start in the long run. I was not able to get 2 500 gal tanks due to space availible so I am going to add 500 to what I have for right now for a total of 700 gal and see how it works. I still plan to add another 500 gal in the future. I expressed great concern over the fact that I may not have enough draft to run the natural draft boiler but Dean assured me that even though I am on the minimal edge there are a few things I can do in case I lack some draft. First thing that I am going to do is add a draft fan for lighting fires and to keep the smoke and dust down. This will be on a timer so after 5 or 10 min the chimney will be warm and I should have plenty of draft. Worst case senerio I have to fill the bottom of my chimney with sand as they recommend or really worst case add some length to my chimney. I cannot wait to fire it for the first time! I have plans to have it burning by Tuesday at the latest so I have some work cut out for me. Thanks for all the advice and support.
  22. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    Tuesday? Get to work!
    Congrats. I think you will be very happy. Keep us posted and take pics.
  23. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    Yes a lot of work! I will take pics and post them as soon as I have time.
  24. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    That's moving fast - now I won't be the only natural guy on here. Sounds good.

    I thought about the 50 too but was pretty sure the 40 would be good for me.

    There are a few little tricks to getting them up to speed - dry firestarter being very important. Mainly just fundamental fire starting techniques though. Looking forward to the pics!
  25. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    What a day! Getting the 500 gal stubby in place was a treat and the boiler was fun moving into place as well. So far I am just getting started on the plumbing. If all goes as planned I will start filling the 500 gal tank tomorrow. I know I will have to take a few trips to town for supplys that I keep forgetting. the next couple days will be long.

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