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  1. Artfultouchmusic

    Artfultouchmusic New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    Perry, ME
    Hello Wood Boilers,
    I am planning for an Econoburn 200 wood boiler system inside a new home's basement, to use with a 680 gallon heat bank and a propane boiler for back up, summer use, and lazy days. I will also be getting a solar hot water system (and the previously mentioned heat bank w/ exchangers) from American Solar Technics in Maine to supplement our DHW without burning wood or propane.

    Anyway, I am feeling overwhelmed with information and it seems like I need an advanced degree in plumbing and engineering to simply understand the language and helpful explanations on the Hearth forum.

    My initial concern is with power outages, which are not uncommon in our neck the Maine woods. Would any of the experienced folks on this site help me understand the implications of power outages in relation to Econoburn wood boilers, and then to explore my options for keeping the system safe and functioning when electricity goes out? I am certainly open to solar powered batteries, but then I experience more of the overwhelm trying to understand that system as well.

    Thanks in advance.

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  2. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    218
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    The most common solution is known as a "dump zone" usually a section of slant fin type elements with enough length to handle at minimum 10% of your boiler's rated output. The boiler connects to this series of plumbing via a "normally open" valve. A normally open zone valve requires electrical current to keep it closed - in the event of a power outage it opens and heat from your boiler is dumped into the zone.

    I live in Maine as well and I know what you mean about outages. I worry that I don't use my backup system enough, so I look at power outages as a chance to fire up the generator and burn a bit of oil, so I don't run my Froling if the power is out.
    mikefrommaine likes this.
  3. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,303
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    The above mentioned dump zone is what most, if not all, boiler manufacturers will recommend or even require. Many of us around these parts also use battery backups to keep our pumps running in the event of a power outage.

    Depending on the construction of your heat-bank one easy way to construct a "dump zone" is to elevate at least a portion of your heat bank above the boiler. I have a 500 gallon propane tank that rests above the output of my boiler. Makes for plenty of capacity in the event of a power failure...

    Welcome to the board!
  4. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,170
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Don't know what your total budget is.. but in this day and age a high end home should plan for auto transfer, and automatic power backup.

    I salvaged an old office UPS power supply.. and slapped a big 12v out of a scrapped diesel mercedes.. that would go a while.. I only need constant power for about 7 seconds till the kohler kicks in.

    Worst case.. everything fails.. there's a simple overheat loop in the top of the vigas. It's plumbed with a cold water connection. Of course.. there's not a lot of gallons there, maybe 40 if power is truly out.

    I'm ok with triple redundancy.

    JP
  5. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    2,301
    Loc:
    Adamant, VT 05640
    An EBW 200 is a pretty big unit, unless the new home is very big or has an unusual energy appetitite for energy for new construction, and a 200 is also pretty big in relation to a 680 gallon unpressurized storage (in my opinion)

    Sizing of both the boiler and the storage in relation to each other and both the boiler and storage in relation to the type of heat delivery/ emitter and heat loads is pretty important to really make one of these systems "sing" (i.e. low hassle/ high convenience/ high comfort/ high efficiency).

    This is all really cool stuff and many aspects of the "assembly" are well within the realm of do-ability for an avid and accomplished "do-it-yourself-er" but the sizing, proportioning, etc., mentioned in the last paragraph are really things that you don't want to figure out (or not quite figure out) as you start dropping large sums of money into big heavy things that are hard to change... some input from a highly experienced pro (not just a heating pro in general but someone who really, really knows these systems) on the selection, sizing, and configuration of boiler, storage, and heat emitters could be money well spent.

    I can also offer some owner/ user experience on the EBW units, which I would just as soon do 1:1 in direct communication rather than in postings, but, long story short, between my own experience and with other options that are on the market now, I would not be in a hurry to get that particular unit again. I regret to say that because I had high hopes and in many ways did and do want to support a domestic manufacturer of an innovative product, but... well, again, I could offer some thoughts off-line.
    henfruit and hobbyheater like this.
  6. Artfultouchmusic

    Artfultouchmusic New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    Perry, ME
    Thanks for the thoughtful and useful replies. Clearly I was overshooting my capacity with a 200 k boiler, so that's good to know. Having some direct contact with people on this forum, as well as reps for boilers is also helpful. Thanks, again.
  7. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Loc:
    Lyme, NH
    Artful, intentionally over-sizing a wood boiler is OK as long as you ALSO intentionally over-size the thermal storage. For example, the 820 or 1100 gallon Heat Bank might be good options. Tom at American Solartechnics is one of the wood boiler/solar gurus that pybyr mentioned. He will be an excellent resource for designing/helping you understand your system.

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