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Orlan 60 Scary night!!

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Gilby, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Why does the Orlan recommend keeping the lower door to the gasification chamber open during starting or ever? In the Tarm the lower door is always closed, except when the boiler has burned out and a need to clean out ash residue. It seems that keeping the lower door open must also mean that a bypass to the flue from the upper firebox also must be open. That appears to me to be a ticket to a run-away fire.

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  2. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I don't ever open the bottom door on the biomass to start a fire.
  3. taxidermist

    taxidermist Minister of Fire

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    It is the only way to supply the fire box with air unless you start the fan. I always open my lower to get a fire going because you cant leave the upper door open because the smoke just rolls out. But even with my door open and my pump launch set at 165* I never get a run away boiler because my pump kicks on and moves the water. But if you are just circulating around the bypass loop like he is then there is not enough exchange of cooler water and the boiler overheats.


    Rob
  4. Gilby

    Gilby Member

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    Appreciate all the posts. I will get a bunch of pics at lunch. Not sure I can do much better than what I posted on the link someone else already pasted on here, but I'll try.

    After reading these, I'm wondering if my pumps are failing because that bottom chamber was open?? I know they've quit with everything closed down too...so I'm not sure.

    I'm going to do a rundown of my procedures to see if I'm on the right track.... I have my water set to start circulating at 160 (per advice I got here). But here's where I run into a bit of trouble (thus heating with the bottom chamber open). When I start my boiler from cold (the other night the water temp was at 92 degrees), I build a small fire using some paper and smaller splinters of wood with both chambers cracked open. Once it gets hot and going, I'll add larger pieces of dry wood. The water temp will usually increase fairly rapidly until it hits that 160 mark. When it starts circulating, it drops back down to 150 or so because you have the colder water returning and mixing in. After a few minutes it'll start catching up again and will climb over 160. I USED to let it get to 170 before I closed both chambers and pushed the start button, but what happens is once the chambers are closed and I go turn one furnace on, that one furnace will drop my water temp down to the 150's. Obviously once that happens, my furnace is blowing nothing but cold air on cold coils because the water isn't circulating (under 160). So then I have to go shut the furnace off, let the temp get back up to 170, and then turn the furnace back on. Back and forth and back and forth. You end up leap-frogging my thermostat one degree at a time until the house is comfortable. Kind of an utter pain in the a** and takes a lot of time. So recently, i noticed that if I left that bottom chamber open while my furnace(s) were running, it was able to maintain that 170 water temp while my house heats up faster. But obviously the problem being if the pumps shut off it becomes the runaway freight train like I found out the other night!

    I have the dial set at 175 (per advice from here) and once the house is warm, it all functions beautifully. It's just the intitial warming process of the boiler AND the house that eats my lunch. When the house load drops the boiler temp below circulating, my fans blow cold air in the house and the boiler never catches up (and the house drops in temp from the cold air)...thus the babysitting I have to do for an hour every time I cold start.

    After my little ordeal the other night, I let the boiler cool down to the 170 range...I checked everything out to make sure I didn't have any leaks and I let it continue to run. The digital guauge and the analog gauge (if those are proper terms!) both matched up like they always do and the whole deal functioned the rest of the night. I was a tad nervous to leave it, but it seemed to be doing what it always did. Just had to blow off a little steam! :) For the record, I spoke with the local guy that has the outdoor units and he said that the pressure release should have been piped through the ceiling and roof and right outside. After I got off the phone with him I called my plumber and he said you shouldn't pipe anything like that outisde because if it freezes I don't have any release and therefore I basically have a bomb. I tend to agree with the plumber just from simple logic, but that's an example of my local resources not knowing what I have and are merely guessing.
  5. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

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    I have already had a plumber at my house to the tune of $78 an hour “trying to figure out my system.â€


    Gilby
    I vote for getting Heaterman a plane ticket out there to help you change the near boiler plumbing. Head scratching at $78/hr will pay a plane ticket pretty quick.

    PC
  6. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Gilby - your description reads very much like you do not have, or at least not effectively have, boiler return water protection. And I can't believe you have to leave the bottom door open at all, except maybe when you shut the fan down to add wood so that smoke does not roll out the firebox door. And your bypass damper is open at this point. But after loading, I'm sure you shut the top door, shut the bottom door, and start the fan, and maybe still keep the bypass door open to build a fast and good fire and start building some coals.

    I keep the bypass door open, fan on, until flue temp reaches about 350-400F, then I shut the bypass damper, and the Tarm almost immediately roars into gasification. And gasification and high burn continues. Assuming of course you have dry wood, absolutely critical, and if you don't, build a campfire outside, huddle together, and use the boiler as a paper weight until you get dry wood. LOL

    At this point the boiler water is still cold, or at least below 160F. The boiler continues to heat until it reaches you circ start setpoint, perhaps 160F. And of course at this point you will have cold system water returning to the boiler. That's where the boiler return water protection system kicks in, immediately shutting down the cold return and mixing with hot boiler output to maintain somewhere between maybe a low of 140F return to boiler and perhaps higher into the 150'sF boiler return water. This also then means that boiler output water will likely range between a possible low of +10F to +20F higher than boiler return water after protection, and your boiler should be able to maintain a +20F or more higher output temperature than the temp of return water after protection. All is sweet, because your system/storage is taking all the output the boiler can deliver.

    When system return water temp before protection rises to 160F and higher, your boiler during at least mid to high burn should be able to maintain about a +20F output temp over return temp. As return temp reaches about 165-170F and you still have about a +20F output temp, you will run into problems, unless you have someplace to take that output. That's when careful loading comes into play to insure that as temps reach this point, the wood load has burned down, output is falling, and you don't go over the fan shut down set point for your boiler.
  7. mr.fixit

    mr.fixit Member

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    Gilby,you should hit the start button when first starting the fire so the fan on the boiler gets the fire going.

    The fan should get the fire going good with BOTH doors shut tight. When the temp is up good on the controller (150-160)then close the bypass damper and let the controller control the fan and fire.No way should you operate it with the lower door open.

    Do you know what your fan speed settings are?

    What about fan shutter openings and primary air settings?

    It may be time to get to know a little more about all the settings and what they do.Read the EKO sticky.
  8. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    I guess my method might not be the only method and I didn't intend to imply that. If you closed both doors, left the bypass open, and started the fan I guess that would also get the fire going. I would think the fans would force more air and smoke into the boiler room when you open the door to add wood. I never load the thing to the top until those those first 3-4 pieces are well charred. (This a bed of hot coals is what many strive to find when we reload a warm boiler since gassification will be immediate and we can reload and walk away.) The chimney well be nice and hot at this point providing a good draft. Open the top door, close the lower door, load it up to the top, close the top door, pull the bypass closed, and hit the start button. It does look like you do not have boiler protection like others have noted which (ie. Tekmar or Danfoss valve) would protect the boiler from shock by maintaining 140 degree water back into the bottom of the boiler. This may also explain some of the issues you have getting the boiler up to temp. Some also use the special circs that slow down or stop when the return water is too cold and speed up when it warms up. Those cost about the same as a Danfoss so you could probably re-plumb that piping his summer and use that existing boiler circ for something else like a P/S circ or just keep it for a spare. There are many options to get your system to work like it should and others here are more qualified than me. Maybe someone has a link handy to some piping designs they can post. You definitely will want to correct this before next winter and the operation of your boiler will be a dream compared to what you have described to us this year.
  9. Gilby

    Gilby Member

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    I do not have the return temp protection. I kind of figured that was part of my issue. I know we've talked about it on here. Not sure where to get one...or where it goes...or how it's installed! Any pics or destructions I could follow??

    Truth be told, I don't think I have ever closed the chambers and turned the fans on, but left the damper open (at least not on purpose). I know I have a thermometer on the bottom of my chimney pipe that is never very warm and is in the "creosote" stage. Not sure if that matters....other than I do have some build up.

    My wood is decent at best. I began sawing smaller pieces and I split everything. That has helped my cause a bunch.
  10. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I've been starting my fires with my lower door wide open since day one. I personally feel that starting the boiler (pushing start) with both doors closed and the bypass open is much more risky than leaving the lower door open. I'm much more apt to forget the boiler is in start-up mode if it's all buttoned up, doors closed.

    For me the best way to start my EKO is to open the lower door, start the fire from below and leave the lower door open until stack temps hit 400 +/-. Once I have good stack temps I close the door, close bypass, hit start and walk away.
  11. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    My temp will drop 10 degrees or so when I close the bypass and start the fan even before the circ starts. I believe this is because the refractory and the fire tubes are still cool and that temp sensor is located right on top the boiler. Nevertheless, now the heat is being directed downward through the nozzle, refractory, and fire tubes instead of just the upper chamber and up the chimney through the bypass when the bypass is open. My install has 700' of 1.5" UG pex between the shed and house that has to heat up and rom the time the boiler hits 165 this may take another 30" at least before the water at my furnace if hot enough for it to do any good. I have a Johnson Controls A419 aquastat in my basement. My furnace blower and circ on my water-air HX won't even run until the water temp is at least 110 degrees. Likewise, it also shuts off the blower and circulator when the boiler runs out of wood and water cools so that my blower doesn't blow cold air. I have my actual heat pump tstat set about 3 degrees less (67 vs. 70), so that nothing happens until the house cools down to 67 and then the heat pump takes over. By the way, I used a relay to isolate the blower from the existing heat pump wiring so it did not interfere with its operation. If the HP wants to run my wood tstat signals to not operate anything. If my furnace was peroidically blowing cold air my wife would have me sleeping in the garage with the dog. Your life will be so much simplier when you get this fixed and working the way it should. I suck at making up diagrams to post but I will take a stab at it later toinight.
  12. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    Do you just start with a few pieces and then fill to top after it is hot? It seems like the whole load would start burning if you didn't and some of the fuel would be wasted but I might be all wet on this one.
  13. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    You can get a plumber off Craigslist. If he also sells firewood he can bring your 1/3 cord(full cord ordered) at the same time, lol. Seriously, if you are carefull you can get a real decent deal on a qualified person this way, Randy
  14. Gilby

    Gilby Member

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    That's something I've wondered about. I get my fire going...then immediately load it up full. My simple mind has always thought "bigger fire = faster heat up." But I'm sure I've wasted quite a bit of wood.

    I started the season (November) with about 11 cords of wood. I might have two left...and I'm not out of the woods in terms of winter up here. It's nice now...but that just means we'll get a foot of snow the first week of May. Granted my learning curve has been steep with this thing, but I think I've gone through way more wood than I should.

    What type of tank should I look at buying for storage? Any suggestions? I want something minimal - just in terms of space in my garage. 100 gallons?
  15. taxidermist

    taxidermist Minister of Fire

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    [quote author="Gilby" date="1331757570"]I do not have the return temp protection. I kind of figured that was part of my issue. I know we've talked about it on here. Not sure where to get one...or where it goes...or how it's installed! Any pics or destructions I could follow??

    I will try this again.......look at my pics in my blog if you want to see a way to plumb it proper. Your return protection is only one of many problems with your system.....as for your plumber buddy and the OWB guy ........RUN!!!!!!!!!!


    Rob
  16. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    If you have enough load (ie. big house, cold climate) you might not need storage. Anything less than 500 gals will probably not give much benefit vs. the time/cost involved. Two 500 gal tank mounted upright like Huffdawg's would be very nice in your garage if they would fit. Mine are setting on the floor not even hooked up because after seeing everyone neatly stacked one on top of the other or two mounted vertical like Huffdawg's I decided to wait until this summer to do the same. I loaded mine 2-3 times a day this winter depending on the temp and if the temps were going to stay above 25 degrees overnight, I just let the heat pump run. It would have idled much more and probably wasted wood. When the temp was 25 or below overnight running w/o storage worked pretty well. If your wife likes the house temp to stay consistent the storage will help in that regard as well as giving you more flexibility with your fire tending.
  17. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    As for storage more is better to an extent, but if you only have room for 100 gallon I think that would be better than none.
  18. mr.fixit

    mr.fixit Member

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    Looking at the pictures in the old post it does look like you have a danfoss valve. It faces the wall so it is hard to make out. It also looks like the bypass shutoff valve just above the danfoss is almost completely closed,it may have to be opened more with no storage.

    But the way the zone pumps and plumbing is run,whats to prevent the pumps from recirculating their own return water?

    Should there be a shut off valve in the piping after the pumps where the pipe takes a downward turn on the RH side in the pictures?


    Huskers,I wasn't taking issue with what you said,I just wanted to stress to Gilby to not run it with the bottom door open for an extended period of time.
  19. Gilby

    Gilby Member

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    Not sure about all that.....

    Like I stated in a couple of my previous posts, in order for the water to circulate evenly to those pumps, I had to choke the valves on that first pump way down. I even have that pump on low. The othert pump is on high with both valves completely open. If I open all the valves completely on both pumps - even if I turn the first pump to low and the second to high - the first pump hogs all the water and the second one doesn't get much. I've found they way I have it to be the best way to heat both sides of my house.

    I took a bunch of pics...I'll get them put together this afternoon hopefully before I head out.
  20. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I looked at your other post, and at least part of what you are experiencing some call zone starvation, where one or more zones hog all the heat and one or more other zones aren't getting any. I think this relates to a variety of factors, including 1) insufficient boiler output, 2) failure to balance the zones, 3) insufficient flow through the boiler even if it has sufficient capacity to provide needed output, 4) improper sizing of pipes and or circulator(s) to obtain required flow, and 5) probably more.

    As others have said, you would greatly benefit from experienced hot water hvac installers, which you say you do not have. While this isn't brain surgery, what you are doing is like operating on the brain by looking at a couple of pictures - that won't cut it. It doesn't mean that after trial and error and spending lots of money, much of which may be wasted, you will obtain a satisfactory result, but in the meantime I hope what you do doesn't hurt or injure anyone, and it looks like you were a hair width away from doing exactly that.
  21. Here is what I would do.
    Simple 9 step plan to wood heating nirvana!

    1 - Stop using as is

    2 - Call your building inspector and ask if this a permitted installation. If not have it inspected. You will probably be given a red tag and told to stop using it. Not having a pipe to the ground from your relief valve is 'plumbing 101' and is a major safety issue. Imagine if you had been next to it when it relieved the pressure.

    3- Buy a pipe wrench and cutter.

    4- take apart all the piping, parts, valves and clean for reuse

    5- Find a good diagram that fits your situation. Tarm has very detailed schematics available.

    6 - Compare the schematic and order any necessary parts that you were not able to salvage.

    7a - buy some loctite 55 and assemble -OR-
    7b - hire a plumber, show them the schematic and tell them to assemble. Level, plumb and leak free. You don't an ORLAN specialist, just someone that can read and thread/solder pipes.

    8- Get it inspected and permitted.

    9- Hire a lawyer to send a letter requesting to be reimbursed for all your expenses and have it sent via certified mail to the former owner/idiot who sold you this mess. Not likely to get paid but I would do it just because.

    You probably have most of the necessary components. Your biggest cost will be labor unless you want to do it all yourself. Plenty of people here willing to answer your questions if you decide to diy.
    ewdudley likes this.
  22. huffdawg

    huffdawg Minister of Fire

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    From the EKO manual

    When starting the boiler from a cold start, the following steps should be followed in sequence:
    1. Switch off the controller power.
    2. Push the bypass damper lever forward to open the burning chamber bypass.
    3. Put paper, very dry kindling and a few larger pieces of dry wood into the burning chamber.
    4. Start the ï¬re.
    5. Open the bottom combustion chamber door to provide a natural draft.
    6. Let the ï¬re burn for 10-15 minutes (WARNING!! NEVER leave the boiler unattended in this state.
    7. Add more wood.
    8. Wait another 15 to 20 minutes for a charcoal layer to accumulate.
    9. Close both upper and lower doors.
    10. Pull the bypass damper closed (toward you) and switch on the controller power.
    11. Ensure that gasiï¬cation is occurring;*
    12. Repeat steps 1 and 2.
    13. Fill up the entire upper combustion chamber with wood.
    14. Repeat steps 9 and 10
  23. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I realize now the biomass is a designed differently and what works for me is likely not what works best for the EKO.
  24. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

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    Hi Gilby
    Are you making any progress? I was able to zoom in on your pics and see where the circs, pumps to zones downwards. Might be way off on this but, some circs have a check valve that could stop air from going to the high point of the system. The air could be stuck in your circ??? Turning but not pumping.

    PC
  25. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Getting back to the original problem of the pump shutting down..........if I am hearing you correctly, your circulator shuts off when the boiler temp gets to high? According to the EKO manual, the boiler pump circuit should energize no matter what when the water temp hits 200 or better. Check to see if someone has installed another aquastat in that circuit somewhere that may be wired incorrectly and is opening rather than closing the contacts during a high heat situation.

    RE; your relief valve spewing all over.
    It did exactly what it was supposed to do. Dumping excess pressure is its goal in life. The fact that the discharge is pointed in the wrong direction can be easily corrected. A relief valve should always be installed so the valve stem is vertical and the discharge terminated within 6" of the floor.

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