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Oohhhhhhh Crap! Well, at least I know my oil back-up is working!

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Gasifier, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    :-S

    Fire on the wood boiler went out last night and did not re-ignite! Dam! Oil boiler was running when I got up this morning. Strange. I have had the Wood Gun be running when I got home from an eight hour day of work and it was warmer than it was last night. Quite a bit warmer. Why did it re-ignite then and not last night?

    The temperature was down to 20 °F. Seems like there should have been enough call for heat to turn the boiler on more often. Could my tank be working against my Wood Gun's design to re-ignite? In other words. Could the fact that the circulation pump goes off between the boiler and tank at 165 °F resulting in this: When the demand for heat is called for the tank now supplies the heat to satisfy that demand leaving the boiler from not having to fire for a longer period of time. The tank supplies the heat long enough that the boiler has not had to fire for several hours and gets to cold to re-ignite fire.

    Last night when I went to bed the Wood Gun and tank were both 180+ degrees. There was no call for heat coming from the house when I went to bed. I had a good size load of wood in when I went to bed. Slightly more than half full chamber. And when I added wood to it to get it to that point the boiler was running and hot.

    Any suggestions? I use to have the circulation pump between boiler and tank set at 150. I recently changed that to 165. Could this result in the tank alone suppling heat for a longer period of time? Resulting in boiler ceramics and entire wood chamber getting cooler and less likely to restart fire?

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  2. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Doesn't your Wood Gun have an "idle mode" where it flushes some fresh air in occasionally to keep a fire going during periods of no demand? I know most of the EU boilers do have this and I'd be shocked if the Wood Gun does not. Typically these idle modes can be adjusted for more/less air and more/less frequency. Sounds like this might be your ticket.

    I personally think any pump-on temp below 160 is less than ideal. Especially when boiler return is typically set at 140...

    And last....are you bridging? Are there big gaps on the bottom of your wood load preventing wood from dropping over the nozzle?
  3. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I do not believe the Wood Gun flushes some fresh air in occasionally. It closes itself off tight to keep itself hot. This is suppose to help re-ignite the fire a longer period of time from when it shut down. The bridging is a possiblity. I guess this would keep the wood from burning. I was under the impression that bridging meant the nozzle was getting covered by the wood and the fan not being able to get air down through all the slots and then fire going out.?
  4. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Looks like we're the only two sipping our coffee and cruising Hearth.com this morning, Gas!

    Bridging is when you get splits of wood that "hang" while the pile below it continues to burn. This creates a gap over the nozzle and eventually it will put the fire out because all of the wood on top will be held up away from the coal bed. Many many a gasser user has woken up to a cold boiler with a full load of wood. Many times bridging is the cause.

    The cure? Smaller splits. You'll find countless threads on bridging. I haven't had a bridged load (knock on wood) in years because I split my wood quite small. If I have an large splits I'll only throw them in on top of my last load of the day. I struggled a bit with this issue my first year but ultimately it is easily cured at the wood splitter...
  5. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    They must be sleeping still. :cheese: That will get some responses!

    I think you are right. I did have some big splits in there. Was probably bridging. Glad my tank was good and hot when I went to bed. It must have met the heat demand for a few hours anyway.
  6. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

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    Not knowing how your system is designed to run, here are a couple of questions. First, is 180* the max for your storage - do you have unpressurized storage, which can't go over that temp? If you have pressurized storage, it seems like the WB would/should just continue to run full out and charge the storage higher, without needing to take much of a nap. Second (assuming your storage max is 180*), could you not make it through the 20* night with 400G of 180* water? Running without storage, in the shoulder seasons I frequently run a partial load and then shut down the boiler in the middle of the night. The house "coasts" and gradually cools down, but a fast restart of the boiler in the morning bumps the house temps right back up. Seems like you could be in that same ballpark, without needing the OB to help out. Could you experiment with lowering the set point for the OB start-up, in order to find out if you have some wiggle room there?
  7. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Not knowing how your system is designed to run, here are a couple of questions. First, is 180* the max for your storage - do you have unpressurized storage, which can’t go over that temp? If you have pressurized storage, it seems like the WB would/should just continue to run full out and charge the storage higher, without needing to take much of a nap. Second (assuming your storage max is 180*), could you not make it through the 20* night with 400G of 180* water? Running without storage, in the shoulder seasons I frequently run a partial load and then shut down the boiler in the middle of the night. The house “coasts†and gradually cools down, but a fast restart of the boiler in the morning bumps the house temps right back up. Seems like you could be in that same ballpark, without needing the OB to help out. Could you experiment with lowering the set point for the OB start-up, in order to find out if you have some wiggle room there?

    No, 180 is not the max for my storage. But, I have Aquastat on the boiler set for 190. This usually leads to the Wood Gun shutting down around 180 or a little higher. My storage is pressurised.

    The Wood Gun shuts down on a regular basis because there is little heat demand right now and my storage tank is only 400 gallons. It seems like it should be able to keep running. Maybe I have something set wrong? I thought the Wood Gun was just getting itself to the temperature it needs to and shuts down. Even though I have 400 gallons of storage.
  8. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    You are running storage a little differently than most. I would say you are really running as a buffer. I believe most people with storage burn all the wood and then heat from the tank. The goal is to try not to have a idling load of wood. You are doing a combination of storing heat in water and unburned wood. I woud double check with Wood Gun to see if they have a setting to periodically fan the wood. My Econoburn will do it every 20 minutes for 15 seconds.

    What is your design heat loss?

    Do you have any estimate on your average heat loss for this time of year?


    You should be able to do some math to get an idea how long your 400 gallons should go without needing heat.

    What about starting to heat your tank later in the evening? If you are up to temp and then load I could see where the boiler could be off for an extended period. As the temps get colder and your heat loss increases you may be fine.

    gg
  9. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Better learn to live with it! It happened to me several times each season, especially when I was using wood with poor coaling qualities. It's hard to believe that you had a 180 degree tank and a hot boiler when you went to bed and you were that cold in the morning. I love hearing their claim that the hot refractory re-ignites the wood. Not gonna happen!! I shut off my boiler in the evening when storage is at 180 or so and my living space is at 70 in the morning with the tank still at 140 to 150. Perhaps you should consider adding more storage.
  10. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    You are running storage a little differently than most. I would say you are really running as a buffer. I believe most people with storage burn all the wood and then heat from the tank. The goal is to try not to have a idling load of wood. You are doing a combination of storing heat in water and unburned wood. I woud double check with Wood Gun to see if they have a setting to periodically fan the wood. My Econoburn will do it every 20 minutes for 15 seconds. Yes, I was told it is more of a buffer tank. I was okay with that. It fit through my basement window and allows me to heat my domestic hot water and low heat demand in shoulder seasons.

    What is your design heat loss? Can't remember. Did that to long ago and didn't write it down. :)

    Do you have any estimate on your average heat loss for this time of year? No. ;-)


    You should be able to do some math to get an idea how long your 400 gallons should go without needing heat. Not long this time of year. I am thinking I found that out last night. I am guessing 3-4 hours. It was down to 20 degrees.

    What about starting to heat your tank later in the evening? If you are up to temp and then load I could see where the boiler could be off for an extended period. This sounds like a good idea. I will try this when heat demand is not very much. Like now. It warms up to 50 degrees during the day. Definite learning curve.

    As the temps get colder and your heat loss increases you may be fine. I think I will. Thanks for the response GG. And have a good one.
  11. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    My first thought was it just basically idled for too long? And throw in the possibility of bridging also? But one thing you did find out is the oil burner fired up. I will fire off the oil burner(once every 6 weeks or so) just to make sure it's OK. Even let the tank drop down to verify it's going to back up and fire off as planned.
  12. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    No, I will not learn to live with it. I will learn from it, and solve the problem Fred. The hot refractory has re-ignited the wood on many occasions already. What was that, my imagination? I believe bridging was the problem. The large pieces of wood were in the boiler and there was nothing in the center by the nozzle. My living space was not cold. The boiler and tank were cold. 130 or so for boiler. 140 or so for tank. The oil boiler came on because we were all taking showers.

    I was shutting off my boiler in the evening when storage was at 180 or so and leaving it. But now that it is getting colder at night I have been letting it run all night. I have done it on many nights already and it worked great Fred. When I came down in the morning many times there was a nice bed of hot coals with the boiler running. Imagine that! I must have been imagining things again!

    I have considered adding more storage in the future. But I could not afford it at installation time so I went with what I could afford. I also don't really want more storage. It would take up more space in the boiler room. And I don't think it is necessary. When things get colder, the boiler will be turning on more often. And I will wake up with a hot bed of coals in the morning. Again.

    In a prior thread, when you were once again bashing the Wood Gun, I asked you a few questions and you never answered them. Why not?

    Again with a few questions for you Fred. Did you have storage with your Wood Gun? If not, do you think it would have been good to have with it?
    What year model was your Wood Gun? Do you think they could have and may have improved it since then?
    Was your Wood Gun still working when you threw it out? Was it still plenty capable of making heat?

    Have you ever found a load of wood in your current boiler that was sitting there unburned when it could have been heating your storage?

    Yes or no would be good answers to all the questions. Thank you in advance.

    Oh, I changed my signature just for you FRED. Have a good day!
  13. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    How about trying to load all smaller splits for your last load. Maybe that would help them get burning again vs larger pieces. I think small splits would also fall to the center instead of burning a hollow spot near the nozzle and then staying in place.

    You could still burn your larger pieces when you are around just try all smalls for a night load.

    gg
  14. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Yes. I think you are right. That is what Stee6043 told me above. Thanks for the info gg. I appreciate it. Have a good one.
  15. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    I forget who, but somebody(might have been Fred?) mentioned to be sure to order the 4 hour cycle timer with the WG. This provides the air that Stee was talking about to keep the coals hot. I only use the timer in early and late parts of the heating season. Basically the timer turns on at designated intervals and you can control how long it fires. I have found for me that having the boiler fire once every hour for a few minutes works for me. Of course, if you have major bridging going on this won't help much.

    I too find the statement that the refractory will reignite the fire a bit misleading. Hot refractory will help to keep whatever coals I have there going and then the fresh air intake will stoke them up. But, I don't really care how it reignites...just as long as it does!

    Missed all the morning chatter as I was out on a CL score, full truck load of sugar maple and mulberry.
  16. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I may try the cycle timer in the future. But not to many days ago I was commenting to my wife that it was working great. We both went to work. It was 28 degrees that morning. I loaded the boiler up that morning and when I came home at 4:15 in the afternoon the boiler was running and was burning hot. Still had some wood in it because it had warmed up to the mid 40's in the afternoon. And I have had this happen many times with overnight burns. I think I just need to learn from these experiences and work the bugs out of my operation. I have been very happy with the boiler and the boiler in combination with the tank. Heating our hot water and low heat demand since October 1st. No oil!

    Let me ask you this Bob. Have you ever had your boiler shut down. And then turn back on several hours later and bring the fire back to life? (re-ignite) Keeping the coals warm enough to stoke them up again. Isn't that re-igniting? I have looked at my boiler several times when it just turned on after being out for a while. All the wood was just black. And I thought, that isn't going to re-ignite. Left it to run for 5 more minutes or more and opened the door again. Red coals burning at the bottom near the nozzle. Shut it again. Let it run for a few more minutes. Opened it up. Wood on fire now. I think that is what they call re-ignition. Yes, Fred is probably right. The Wood Gun is not setting a match to the wood again and restarting the fire. Re-igniting is just a term. But you have to admit. It is keeping that fire going. But you have to do everything you can, just like in any gasser, to help that process along. Like prevent bridging. Didn't you say, "But, I don't really care how it reignites... just as long as it does!"? It is doing that for me without even having the cycle timer yet. All except this one time. I think I will do my best to solve my problem instead of throwing out my boiler. Betcha I can do it! :)

    Happy burning to you Bob.
  17. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I only had 10 years experience running the thing so what do I know? But OOOHHHH how I loved it the first two years.

    Funny how posting my experiences and trying to warn about what to expect is considered bashing. You have already had one of the problems I had warned about on this forum.
  18. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    EDIT: Yes it was your imagination!
  19. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

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    Somebody didn't eat their prunes today!
  20. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    :smirk:

    Cmon Fred. So, all the times mine has gone through the night, and was not burning the entire time, because of low heat demand, and I woke up to find there was hot coals in the boiler when I woke up, that was my imagination. The boiler did not shut down and then start up again several times during the night. All that wood just disappeared. You originally said you had my experience happen to you many times each season. I think that was what you said. What about all the rest of the time during those seasons? Did you have nights and days when the boiler kept wood going for you for many hours? You must have.

    This time you added storage in with your new boiler. Why? You learned Fred. You learned that having storage, and the right amount of it, lets you burn your boiler wide open and not have to worry about this situation. Good for you. That works good with any boiler. And I am glad you are enjoying your new boiler with storage.

    Does that mean that no one can make the Wood Gun system work? No. It does not.

    It rusted out in ten years? That sounds very strange Fred. Could any factor in your Wood Gun's system situation, any factor at all have affected that? Other than Eshland being at fault. I have not heard of to many indoor boilers rusting out in 10 years. Not indoor wood, oil, or gas. 10 Years? Something sounds strange there. (Mine is 304 stainless steel, I am hoping that gives me an advantage. ;-) ) Did they have that option when you bought yours?

    Has anyone else on this forum own and had there Wood Gun rust out in 10 years? Or any wood gasser? Or any boiler? Or know of anyone who has had so many problems with there Wood Gun, or wood gasser, or any boiler that they had to throw it out after 10 years? You are the only person on here that is talking so badly about the Wood Gun. Does that strike you as odd at all? Is it possible any of it may have been your fault, or even partially your fault? :wow: An honest mistake made by you? Maybe an honest mistake made by someone at the old company?

    I am not saying they are the greatest boiler of all. But it sounds to me like you went through an unfortunate situation with yours. And I don't know it, but maybe, just maybe, some of it could have been related to your unique situation. But that does not mean everyone else is going to go through that. Not by a long shot.

    And no. It was not my imagination. For several nights when the temperature went below 40 I left wood in it all night. The wood was gone in the morning and there was hot coals, or all the wood and coals were gone. (That was me not putting enough wood in.)
  21. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    It wasn't me. I was farting up a storm earlier! And I won't mention about anything after that timeframe. :lol:
  22. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Coaling, coaling, coaling, not ceramic igniter.

    I really hope you don't run into the problems I had. I know how disappointed I was and I wouldn't wish it on anyone else. I learned from my experiences.

    I know that the what I'm saying is like telling you your newborn in ugly but they are my experiences. Just trying to prevent someone from the agony that I experienced.

    I ran my first year without storage with my eko. I never had the fire go out but I did get a large amount of creosote in the firebox. Had to learn to build small fires.

    The cycle timer wasn't available as far as I know at that time for the Wood Gun. The eko controller has it built in. I even had to build my own lock out to keep the combustion fan from continually running after the Wood Gun had cooled.

    You made a good choice by going with the stainless. One question that comes to mind is. why do you suppose they started offering it in stainless. Was I a guinea pig?

    I'm going to pin a small piece of note paper in the upper corner of my bulletin board and write down what I think your next problem will be so don't forget to post so I can see if I was right or wrong.
  23. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Yes, my fire has re-started after several hours of inactivity. I think it really depends on what type of wood was previously burning, some wood coals up better than others. I'm fairly certain I know what Fred will have on his note and I have remedied that with my boiler. Remember, you do not have to rely on AHS for parts/tweaks...many other options out there.

    I think the WG is not much different than most other boilers out there in so far as operators/owners will learn and adjust to each environment and usage. This is my 3rd year and I have made a few changes from the original set up....happily burning these days and no regrets other than paying AHS more for parts than what they should be charging IMHO.

    The WG boilers of today are a little different than what Fred was running(gaskets, lock out, etc) so it's not truly an apples to apples comparison but his experiences are worth listening to so you can avoid some of those problems. As far as SS goes, I was only considering boilers that DID offer SS.
  24. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Coaling, coaling, coaling, not ceramic igniter.

    Definition of IGNITE - transitive verb
    1: to subject to fire or intense heat; especially : to render luminous by heat

    So if their claim is the Wood Gun shuts itself down air tight and holds it's heat in allowing it to re-ignite the fire for a 2-4 hour period. Aren't they re-igniting the coals (fire) by keeping them hot with the ceramics in the fire box? Maybe I am wrong. Maybe not. Or is it just splitting hairs? :lol:

    I really hope you don't run into the problems I had. I know how disappointed I was and I wouldn't wish it on anyone else. I learned from my experiences.

    Well thank you Fred. And I sincerely hope everything goes well for you with your EKO and storage. I think you will have a lot better luck with storage. Maybe that should be your "warning" to everyone who buys a Wood Gun then? Make sure you have storage with it? Just a thought. Especially now that AHS, not Eshland, is offering the cycle timer. This would help Gun owners with and without storage. Hey, didn't your signature use to say former Eshland Wood Gun owner?

    I know that the what I'm saying is like telling you your newborn in ugly but they are my experiences. Just trying to prevent someone from the agony that I experienced.

    Thank you again. I appreciate your concern. And I do listen and think about what you say. I appreciate any help you can provide us Wood Gun owners with your experience. The help is much more appreciated than the "better get use to it." Because there are some things I can do in my situation to prevent this from happening again.

    I ran my first year without storage with my eko. I never had the fire go out but I did get a large amount of creosote in the firebox. Had to learn to build small fires.

    Interesting that you never had the fire go out. Why did you decide on storage then? Just the creosote? Or like me, more useability of entire system. So you built small fires to give you just the amount of heat you needed for the time being. Did you do anything else to keep the fire from going out? Anything besides the cycle timer on your EKO? I am curious because I am going to do everything I can to keep the fires going out with how the Wood Gun is right now. I will probably eventually try their cycle timer, but not this year.

    The cycle timer wasn't available as far as I know at that time for the Wood Gun. The eko controller has it built in. I even had to build my own lock out to keep the combustion fan from continually running after the Wood Gun had cooled.

    When the heat demand is low I have just been heating boiler and tank up and letting the fire go out. Surprising how long it will give you hot water and enough for low heat demand in this, my first shoulder season.

    You made a good choice by going with the stainless. One question that comes to mind is. why do you suppose they started offering it in stainless. Was I a guinea pig?

    Thanks about the good choice. Good question. Do you mean were you and many others guinea pigs? But how many of the others had their boiler rust right through so that it wouldn't even hold water? I wonder if it happened to a lot of others as well. I guess I will never know that. I still find that curious. That seems fast, for an indoor boiler under good conditions, to rust through that fast. Did you buy a stainless steel model this time? Or go with a carbon steel one? If carbon, did you do anything different this time than last? I guess I am thinking water treatment, or anything different.

    I'm going to pin a small piece of note paper in the upper corner of my bulletin board and write down what I think your next problem will be so don't forget to post so I can see if I was right or wrong.

    Okay. Deal. I will post all of my problems. I am sure there will be some problems? After all, it is a wood burner. The whole wood burning process has problems. So doesn't burning just about anything. Doesn't it? Will you do the same with your EKO problems? I have to admit. It will be interesting. And I hope you do not have many problems.

    About 8 years ago I replaced my old Weil Mclain oil boiler. It was the original boiler in the house. Put in in 1978 when the house was built. It still worked. That was 2003. So it ran and worked, cycling on and off with heat demand for over 4000 square feet for 25 years. And still held water and heated the house. I just got tired of fooling with the old oil gun, fan, old circulation pump, zone valve motor heads, etc., etc. But 25 years. That is pretty good. I am still wrestling with why your boiler rusted right through in 10 years. I wonder if the steel quality back in 1978 was better then.

    Thanks for the good discussion Fred. I respect you and everyone on here. And hope we can have more of them along the way. Happy heating man!
  25. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    Yeah, that was hard to swallow, along with the 90 percent efficient heat exchanger. My boiler will hold about a 2" bed of red coals for an hour, after that I couldn't relight to save my life, Randy

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