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NEWBIE WITH A GREENWOOD 200 UP NORTH - HELLO

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by DKerley, Jan 31, 2008.

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  1. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

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    Loc:
    Yukon, Canada
    Hello Everyone,

    My name is Doug and yes I have a Greenwoood....

    Greetings from Whitehorse, :) Yukon where my recently installed GW200 is heating my house, DHW and energy inefficient workshop in -43 deg C (that's -45 F) for those of you south of the border. I have just recently come across this forum while searching the web looking for others who have a GW with hopes of being able to share experiences about the GW. Any of you out there who would like to correspond I would welcome the communication.

    So far my unit has come with a very steep learning curve, not the fault of the unit directly, but as a result of issues that cropped up from a "professional" installation. Looks as though I will have to open up the 200 soon to clean the tubes of creosote that built up over the three weeks of operating with a partially blocked chimney....

    I could go on but I will keep it short for those of you that have interest. I thank all of those responsible and who contribute to this site. I wish had known about it prior to my purchase and subsequent install/operation. This site is a gold mine of information.

    Cheers,

    Doug

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  2. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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    Man, Your about as far north as another fella from Tok AK. I am sure glad I don't have to cut your wood.

    Your learning curve will hopefully lessen with some help from the other GW owners. I know that one member described that his GW created "goo" He'll chime in soon I am sure.

    Welcome and GL,
    Bill
  3. sixroses

    sixroses Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    alaska
    I am also in the north of the border club...Wasilla, Alaska. I am using the 100 model. The challenge I am having is fluctuating temps. Last week we had -20 and 3 days later it was +35 and raining. I have had a Greenwood for 2 years and keep learning as the days go on. I have cut my heating bill(natural gas) to $35.00 per month including cook range and dryer. I have been keeping my house and garage heated, and hot water. I am heating over 3100 ft and have gone through nearly 13 cord of birch so far since Sept. I have to learn more about hydronic storage, this will help with the extra heat the stove produces and the house can't absorb. Good luck in the Yukon.
  4. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    i have the 100,yes they do take a while to get used to.how bad are your water tubes that will have take it apart? do you think the birch has any thing to do with it? i have just had a situation this am where my smoke pipe in the cellar caught on fire from the build up of creosote.it melted and caught fire to the hitemp silocone around the draft inducer. thank god for smoke detectors that are hard wired to the alarm co that dispatches the fire dept. i was able to put out the fire and not have to have a visit from the local fd.my concern now is did i do any damage to the tile lined chimeny? i can look up the clean out and see nice clean tile up to the curve then it gets black agin. i am letting the green wood burn out so i can take all the pipe apart inspect and replace with new as long as the chimeny is ok. this one more reason that will move it to an out building this summer. i dont care how dry you wood is when they run at idle the smoke is colder and makes creoste that makes a fire in the pipe.
  5. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Welcome aboard!

    The extent of my knowledge of the Yukon is, well, is Yukon Jack. Though I prefer cold weather to warm, I prefer Bourbon to Canadian whiskys as they are too sweet for my taste. Anyway . . .

    Well, from my experience, the learning curve is a rough one. But my knowledge base was using wood stoves 25 years ago, plus whatever tidbits I could gather from friends and aquaintenaces that burn wood. CB is popular around here. I am on my second year with the GW100.

    I am a bit cynical, but I think the first thing you need to do is accept the fact that neither your contractor, nor the GreenWood company, are going to be of much any help. Do what the book tells you, listen to the knowledge found on this forum, and hang in there. I would guess a year from today you will be happy with the cashola you are saving.

    I can't remember if you said. . .is your GW200 inside the residence or out? If it's inside, smoke will be an issue for you when you open the load door.

    General observations on operating the GW:

    1) Let it burn down to coals before reloading. Make sure the top of the coal bed is below the bottom of the air tubes. If the coals are accumulated, push them in a loose pile to the back of the box, then dig enough away so that the air tubes are exposed. This will burn down your coal bed to a manageable density.

    2) Avoid removing ash until you have a warm spell. The sheer mass of the hot ash - plus the introduction of cool air to the box - will cause extended recovery time. Best not to do that when there will be significant heat demand within 12 hours.

    3) When you load, fill it and forget it. The size of the fill should be based on the quality of the wood and the anticipated heat demand. I try to shoot for 8 hours out of a load, whether it's below zero (filled to the top with the best red oak and/or hard maple I have) or seasonable (filled half-way up the door with a mix and match of birch, aspen).

    4)For the past week and a half, I have been running with my aquastat set at 190. I have noticed quicker response times and cleaner burns. Though I thought I would, I have NOT noticed any increase in the amount of wood I have used with the elevated setting. This was even when it was nearly 40 about 36 hours ago.

    Jimbo
  6. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    The tubes are steel, you can scrape on them, wire brush them, whatever. Just my two cents, no way no how would I take it apart to clean the tubes. Someone posted recently about a neat trick where you spray charcoal lighter flud on the tubes . . . My suggestion would be that you talk with that person directly to see exactly how he did it.

    BTW, are you new to burning wood? or just new to the GW?
  7. sparky1961

    sparky1961 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
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    Loc:
    maine
    I have a greenfire boiler for about 4 months now and there is a learning curve in run this stye of boiler . This boiler needs really good draft they say around .06 to .07 if u don"t have not enough draft u don't have enough air for good combustion and causes problems such as build up on the pressure vessal that will reduce heat transfere to the pressure vessal. That increase the amount of wood u burn . Also u get a clog chimney . I started the season i was burning split wood maple and yellow birch that was small in size 4'' to 7'' an i found that it did not burn clean and had very short burn times. So i switch to wood that was cut in the fall and that had a large dia 8'' to 13'' this made a huge improvment in how clean it burns and the burn times went up to 10 to 12 hours . It gets very cold in fort kent . me. We have had temps of 34- below . I heating 3600 sq ft with 130 btu unit and we keep the house temps at a very coze 76 degrees. At these hi oil prices i will save around $4500 dollar i like that !!
  8. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

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    Loc:
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    Thanks for all of the above responses. I'll try to answer the questions at the end of my post.

    It's a balmy -47.5 deg C (about -52 deg F) where I live just outside of Whitehorse. I did a little time lapse photography last night to monitor the cycling frequency of the damper door. The conditions were a bed of coals at 8pm load 110 lbs of dry large beetle killed white spruce @11% moisture content into the box and let her burn. The GW got up to temp within 15 min then short cycled 4 times in the next 30 minutes before settling down for the next 2hr 15 min. After the long closed period the cycles were a little more normal - opening about every 50 minutes for between 5 and 35 minutes. The total burn time to a good bed of coals that could no longer keep the temps up was 8 hours and 40 minutes.

    My house is a 12 year old 2000 sq ft. 4 level split with high vaulted ceilings and a fair number of windows. The unofficial heat assessment for the house based on last years propane burn was "on the high side of average". The shop on the other hand uses fuel like a 70's muscle car with dual quads and a lead foot. It is only 574 sq feet but uses 1/3 of the annual fuel bill. Last years propane burn was 5300 litres for the house and 2700 litres for the shop. Yes, I will be adding insulation and tightening up the shop in the next few weeks. As of right now, I am burning about 1 cord of spruce per week in these cold temperatures.

    Back to the GW..

    The creosote build up that I referred to in an earlier post was, I believe, a direct result of operating the GW for 3weeks with insufficient draft due to a partially blocked chimney. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a manometer at the time of install to test the draft. It has since been tested with the Testo combustion analyzer and the draft is between -0.06 and -0.075. The problem that I am dealing with now is high flue gas temperatures. Depending on what stage of the burn the fire is at, my temps exiting the exhaust port are between 450 and 600F. This I am told by the Greenwood people that this is because of the build up on the heat transfer tubes. I did clean the tubes at the top of the firebox from inside the unit and it did drop the exhaust temperatures by about 100 deg. The puzzling thing is that my temperatures have increased once again as there has been some more build up on the transfer tubes, eventhough, the firebox is burning beautifully and staying clean and white. I am starting to think that the beetle killed spruce may have a higher pitch content than other woods and, that our extremely dry wood (usually 10 -14% MC) causes higher stack temps than wood with a higher MC. FYI, last nights load of 110 lbs has been the largest to date and the long dampened down time was a first. Normally, I have been building small 60 -70 lb loads during the day that last between 4-6 hours depending on the outside air temperature and 80 -90 lb loads before bed.

    To Stihlwoody in AK - Thanks for the consumption info. Do you think that your GW is burning more or less wood than what you had anticipated? Did the consumption get any better the second year of operation after you figured it out a bit more? How about that Birch, have you tried any softwoods yet to compare performance?


    To Henfruit - Thanks , I too had a chimney fire after three weeks. The post fire investigation (by contactor who installed chimney) revealed something other than just creosote in the ash clean out suggesting a foreign object in the stack.


    To Sparky1961 - Thanks, do you know the moisture content of the wood that you cut in the fall and is burning better? I have tried some wood with a MC of about 20% and it appears to burn slower and cooler than the really dry wood.

    To Iseedeadbtu's - Thanks for all of your suggestions. The GW is inside my attached garage so the smoke is not a big problem. If for some reason that I let too much smoke escape (usually by my curiousity and/or showing people the burn), I just open the garage door and poof its gone. I did install a draft inducer which I usually turn on when opening the door for loading. My aquastat is set at 180. The installer initially set it at 175 but i then turned it up to see if I could get a cleaner burn. Don't really know if it made a difference or not.

    ABGWD4U - Hello and thanks for the reply. What does ABGWD4U stand for?


    The picture is of the heat transfer tubes at the top of the unit after 3 weeks of a blocked chimney.

    Attached Files:

  9. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Ok, unless the Pine is Pitch Pine, I can't see how 110# can heat effectivly for 10 hrs. . .no way!
  10. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

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    Hello Iseedeadbtus,

    Total burn time 8 hours 40 minutes. House and shop thermostats set for night (62 + 50 deg respectively). Do you think that that burn time was too long or too short?

    Cheers,

    Doug
  11. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I have not obsessed to the point of putting a scale in my shed, but . . . on cold nights (we've only had one below zero F this winter) I am sure I load +110# of a mix of red oak/hard maple. I can get 8 hours of effective heat in 4k [] of new construction.

    The only time my GW sees pine is during spring or fall when I run a small load to heat the DHW for the next morning.

    Glad the GW is working well for you other than the fire. How many pieces is the combustion chamber in so far?

    Jimbo
  12. sparky1961

    sparky1961 New Member

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    Loc:
    maine
    Hi doug what is your hi water temp set at . The rear of your pressure vessel looks like it has alot of build up that will cause hi exhaust temps I don't know what the mc is in the wood i am burning.
  13. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    hi doug. boy you pipes do look alot worse than i have seen mine. how often do you scrape them? did you have any damage to your chimeny with the fire, and what type of chimeny do you have? thanks pat
  14. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

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    Hi Jimbo,

    I was quite surprised how heavy a piece of wood really is. My wife thought that some 15" round by 24" spruce weighed about 40 lbs when in reality it was between 55-60lbs. Our bathroom scale is now beside the GW. the refractory is still in its original number of pieces. We have been running 24/7 since dec 15th with only one shutdown 2 weeks ago to clean the pipes.

    Cheers,

    Doug

  15. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

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    Hello Sparky,

    My hi water temp is set at 180 deg. The plan to dismantle the GW is so that I can clean the back of the pipes.

    Doug
  16. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

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    Hello Pat,

    The picture of the pipes was taken after having burned 3 cords of spruce without ever cleaning the pipes. At the same time I was having the blocked chimney problem. The chimney suffered no damage whatsoever. It is 20 ft. of 7" Stainless Steel Excel Pipe mounted on the outside of my house. I get a 100 degree temperature loss from the base of the GW to the top of the stack.

    Doug
  17. Mainewood

    Mainewood Member

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    Doug, Is dismantling the GW the only way to access the back of the pipes?
  18. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    doug are you loading your wood east to west , or north to south?
  19. tigermaple

    tigermaple Member

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    Hello,
    I have a GW100. They are a pain to get going but you will be happy if you can hang in there. I agree with deadbtu, greenwood will be little help. I think their r&d;is us early buyers. Loading east west is critical to burn time. Last night I burned 100# of 20% mc beech and got 11 hours. the water temp was 135 this morn. I heated 3600 poorly insulated sf. The outdoor temp @7am was 15º outdoor, indoor 66º. I also upped my water temp setting to 190º with much better performance. Good Luck, Pat
  20. sixroses

    sixroses Member

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    Doug, I think I am pretty close to my estimates on chord usage. I will use about 2 chord a month. Most of my wood is birch with about 20% mixed poplar and spruce. I think it goes away really fast. I am using a 300 gallon tank so I can capture some of that heat when all zones are closed. I think I have a pretty good rythem going for my loading schedules. I pack the stove as full as I can at 10:00 before bed, at 6:00 I pack it full again, my wife tops it off at 10:00 before leaving for work, then I just keep it at temp with a piece or 2 untill bedtime again. I have minimum ash build up on my exchange tubes, actually never have cleaned them in 2 years of running. Did have a bad melt down early this year after a full load was put in followed by a 4 hour power outage. Damaged the original damper motor, GW sent me a replacement motor and Aquastat. Thought that was a good deal. I am working out a battery/inverter system so circulators will still move water through the system.
  21. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

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    Sparky, I am afraid so. The tech guy at greenwood said it takes about an hour to dismantle, 4 - 5 hours of cleaning and then back together again.
  22. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

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    Hi henfruit,

    I am loading east west.
  23. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

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    Thanks Pat,

    So far I have had a pretty good response from Greenwood. It appears as if they are trying to improve their customer service. Had a great 30 min discussion with one of the tech guys on Tuesday - he was a big help in answering my questions. How do you figure that the higher water temps help you? Is it because better heat at your end of the heat distribution chain ie: radiators etc. or do you get a better burn with less cycling? How about your exhaust temps? Do you know what they are at various times during your burn cycle? Please let me know.

    Doug
  24. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

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    Hello Stihlwoody,

    Thanks for the reply. Would you have a picture handy of the condition of your exchange tubes? I am most curios to see what they are supposed to look like. The plumber that hooked up my system plumbed in a dump zone that opens automatically and requires no circulator pump in the event that we have a power failure. I also have an inverter and battery backup to keep the damper and circulation pump operable. Did adding the storage tank reduce the amount of wood that you burn? I was wondering if it helps. I would assume that you are running your GW 24/7 for the heating season.

    Thanks Doug
  25. sixroses

    sixroses Member

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    Doug, after talking with people who"really know", I have come to understand that with the style of baseboards I have the maximum water temp is 190. It is not possible for the fins to distribute any more heat no matter what the fluid temps are. One option would be slowing down the flow but is not practical for me at this time. I think that the burn effceincy rises also as the burn can be hotter and more complete. I do adjust temps down as the temp rises outside (at +15 I reduce boiler temp back down to 180). Maybe with all of the practical knowledge out there we will get this right?!

    Steve
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