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Outdoor Wood Boilers - "Just A Little Smoke"

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BrotherBart, Oct 29, 2006.

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  1. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I was in a stove store in a small town south of here today. There was a guy in there asking the owner questions about the Central Boiler OWBs out front. One of the suckers looked to be half the size of my two car garage. The peddler told the guy that one customer just backed a load of logs up to his and cut off whole chunks as he needed them.

    The part that made me choke to stifle a belly laugh was when he told the guy that "You can just put it between a couple of hedges and nobody will even know it's there except for a little smoke.".

    I had to get out of there. Fast. I lost interest in anything he might tell me about his stoves.

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    This guy's second job will be at the local used car lot tomorrow. You see that car? It was dirven by a little old lady twice a week to get milk and to play bingo.
  3. Toolman

    Toolman New Member

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    You have to love it when you are driving down the road, and you can spot just who has an outdoor wood boiler...

    There is a company up here in Maine that is going to be building them to meet EPA standards, with a secondary burn.

    We also have towns up here that are moving to pass ordianances to ban them altogether. It would seem to me that the technology should be worked on, and perhaps can be made much cleaner than the simple "boxes" that are out there now.

    The "little smoke" must have been relative... It IS just "a little smoke" when compared to a buring house fire! Or, perhaps it is "just a litle smoke" compared to a burning tire pile.
  4. PAJerry

    PAJerry Member

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    I pass a neighborhood that has 2 of these things and if I lived there, I'd be calling the cops and raising a real ruckus. The smoke just bellows from these things and the stacks are low so it doesn't disperse. Who paid off the EPA to get these things to remain legal? They give wood burning a bad name to a lot of folks.
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That boiler they're going to start making up in Millinocket is interesting, Toolman. They say it meets EPA regs for woodstoves. Believe it when I see it, but I hope it's true. They're a little pricey at $7,500, but worth it if it does what they claim.

    Have you seen one running? You say they're using secondary burn?
  6. hardwood715

    hardwood715 Feeling the Heat

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    Every year about the same time , Someone in East Park fires thiers up for the first time, and my scanner goes nuts. I here them looking for a house fire in the location of 9G and Brower Blvd. Now when the call goes in to 911 its like a crapshoot, Ah its probably that guy with the outside boiler I here the dispatcher say, but just as a prank 911 call, they gotta go investigate it, people driving down 9G with cell phones glued to thier ear constantly call 911, report of heavy smoke in area! meanwhile, Joe Blow's house is burning down on other side of town, and they are investigating the stove, due to 911 regulations, no call goes unanswered!
  7. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Not defend em but there are a couple around here and I have to say they are churning along all year long and I don't ever see any visible smoke around. About all there is amounts to a small plume that looks more like the steamy thin stuff my corn stove makes than the pics I have seen. It seems to me that the right wood has a lot to do with it. Of course burning garbage wood is a major selling point for the things.
  8. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    As our area becomes less country by the day (1,600 acre developement adjacent to and attempting to join up with our developement) I am thankful that my home and those around me are on larger pieces of land. I imagine the smoke that comes up when I stoke up the stove in the mornings would be rather annoying to some folks.
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a new viewpoint after seeing the smoke from my little pellet stove when it is starting - and going out!

    Wow, and our houses are about as far apart as they can be in typical surburban-rural small developments.

    I just can't imagine someone burning one of these dirty outdoor stoves where anyone else lives!

    1600 acres......wow! Here is western New England developments are usually 8-20 houses. There are no plots like that left, and if there was the development regs would make it impossible to build those mega-neighborhoods. When I was visiting LA, I read of a new development on the edge of the county that was 29,000 houses! Now that's a development!
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I for one know the state of MA is considering adopting strick l regulations to ODW.
    some of the regs I have seen they have to be 750' from the neasest home another one can only be installed ona 5 acre lot
    another one is addressing the chimney height others prohibit burning PT wood of painted/ stained wood

    I know NY is looking to tighten up the regs. S What will happen that the states will react first and leave these boiler manufactures out in the cold.
    If they do not clean up their act , they will be selling them to third world countries

    state of VT is also considering restrictions as is CT

    They are not EPA regulated for verious reasons the size of the fire box their location ontside aand when the Epa steped int to the act in 1990 they were not an issue not enough to leglistate

    If one reads the entire 1990 clean air acts the amount of particulates discharged is clearly spelled out none of these boilers are even close to compliance in fact language from these clean ari acts all but bans them anyway. All one has to do is to get the local board of health to adopt the 1990 clean air acts and these OWD will dissappear

    In a way its too bad they were so illresponsible. It did not have to go this way, they will be banned and cleaner ones may not be able to be installed
  11. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Craig the forum member expect a wite up on your corn burner detailing you pursuit of finding corn in MA

    Yeah we expect pictures
  12. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Alright , I'll bite ........I'm all about worded out on the Outdoor Wood Boilers issue.
    I was doing a lot of research on them years back and this year i started on the research again.
    Some one posted a topic and i thought it was interesting so i took the post over to AS ( ArboristSite) that i belong to and in the wood heat and wood stove forum .
    Talk about the NEW shot heard all around the world the thread exploded and ended up with over 4300 views and a lot of input and the guns came out as a hot topic sometimes does.

    Posted a lot of links and information if anybody is interested in reading the blow out of the year over there on the wood forum of AS on out door wood boilers.

    There a little tougher redneck, wood choppen, beer drinking beat on your chest kind of crowd over there but there all good guys.

    http://www.arboristsite.com/showthread.php?t=37151
  13. hardwood715

    hardwood715 Feeling the Heat

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    Roospike, Hey thanks for the link to thier forum, I will always remain loyal to this forum, I've learned so much from the guys here, I don't think I could trust as much as I do here, and The more I learn, maybe someday I can help here also -but it is always fun to read other stuff as well.
  14. Toolman

    Toolman New Member

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    Eric,

    I haven't seen one running, as I believe that they are still developing and building them.

    I read an article in our local paper about them. He said that the boiler would meet EPA guidelines, and all but said that he would be offering them up for certification.

    The paper was a bit ambiguous about it, but he said that it had two combustion chambers, one to start the wood burning, and gassify it, and another to burn the gasses.

    I was talking to a person who works with my father, who also has a pellet stove. My father, and another person there (who also have an OWB) came over to join the conversation. My father said, "they aren't as good as our boilers!"

    I guess it depends on how you define "good." In terms of fuel cost, nope, he has me beat (father has fifty acres of land to cut wood from... I have to buy my pellets.)

    But, I like my nice, warm, gentle heat from my pellet stove. This is my first year using one, but I am already hooked! I have not experienced any of the issues that people talk about (maybe I'm lucky?)

    Plus, it is nice and clean...
  15. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    The farmer just down the road from me just put in one next to his house and it's been real clean so far. I bet the problem is on startup or use of green wood.
  16. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I drive around New England and upstate New York a fair amount and, as I've said before, most of the smoke I see is coming out of chimneys. Every wood burning appliance has its moments, but I contend that the OWBs are, on average, no worse than most pre-EPA reg wood stoves when it comes to visible, nuisance-causing smoke. And there are a lot of those old woodstoves out there.

    Good, dry wood and an intelligent firing routine will fix most of the problems with either one.

    Toolman: Talk is cheap. I'll believe Black Bear's claims when I can see one running, but I sure hope they're right.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Can you send me a link for that company? My BIL is looking to replace his aging 25 yr. old wood boiler. I suggested Greenwood Furnace and he's looking at it now. He is also looking at another company because it's local to him in NY state - http://www.alternativefuelboilers.com/index.htm. But I don't like the unit because it's a water jacket boiler and has forced draft. My understanding is that the gov. of NY is pushing legistlation that will ban waterjacketed wood boilers in 2009. Is that correct? Regardless, the Greenwood looks much more serviceable and cleaner burning without draft assistance. If the Millinocket company is on this same track, I'd like to get in contact with them.
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Got it, thx. BB. I'll have to contact the company. The blue flames are pretty, but I need more info. There aren't lot of details or cross sections for the boiler. I want to see whether it is forced or natural draft and if it's a water jacket style or has a serviceable heat exchanger inside.
  20. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Pretty interesting story...That area could use a shot in the arm...An article I read said that a couple of the other mfg's are starting to work with the secondary burn in these units also...They are saying that with roughly 6 cords you can due the equivalent of 1000 gals of oil...
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, nice to see some progress and competition coming from the US. It would be great to see some independent testing, side by side of the clean burners. All are claiming great gains. Greenwood is kind of a russian fireplace design. Tons of mass heated up with a quick hot burn. It tempers the heat from the hot water by storing it in the brick to avoid the rapid heating and cooling stresses on a steel water jacket. And it runs without power for combustion. The Bearboiler approach is also very cool. I'm not sure how it actually heats the water yet. Wonder which one actually uses the less wood per btus output into hotwater. And which one will keep running years from now with minimal maintenance? Tarm and Garn would be a good one to throw in the mix for a heat-off. Maybe we should meet in Eric's barn and have at it.
  22. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Your absolutely correct Dylan , Green wood does have a lot to do with it as there are still a lot of people that dont know the difference of BTU from green wood to dry seasoned wood and or dont care. A lot of the OWB companies push sales of OWB that can burn green wood and dont educate the new owner of the correct way to get the max efficiency and emission's as well as burning less wood.

    A lot of OWB companys claim:
    72 hour burn times
    burn full logs
    burns green wood
    burns just about anything

    They dont tell buyers that you get only 28%-35% efficiency burning green wood
    puts out high emissions and smoke
    and one shouldn't burn just anything
    and NO they dont get 72 hour burn times

    OWB are a loss to there own claims and the down fall is the bad rep there are getting in the end.
    I know of many people that own or HAVE OWNED outdoor Wood Boilers and dont use them anymore because of all the wood that have to burn.
  23. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    You guys bring the boilers, and I'll supply the wood. Don't worry about hauling the boilers away after we're done--I'll handle that--no charge to you.
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