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  1. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    733
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    I've been a reading this forum for a while now and I enjoy everyones input. I have a question for you folks...I live in a small town that at this point has not passed any ordances on OWB yet. I have a two year old Central Boiler and own approximately 4 acres so I'm not smoking out my neighbors but I am concerned about the little smoke I do produce. I burn it properly and try to reduce the particals as much as I can. My father is now in the process of installing a EKO (Its either a "80" or "90" I can't remember which number is correct) with 1200 gallons of storage. I will be putting up a new garage and install a similar system in two years but I have to get through with my OWB till then. I'm going to install a tank I have that holds 330 gallons as a heat storage, so with the boiler and storage I'll have approximately 725 gallons of water. My question is has anyone experimented with lining the sides of their OWB with firebrick to increase the temp so that maybe the boiler will produce less smoke particals? My thoughts are that with the increase in water storage and firebrick I should be able to burn it hotter and for a longer burn time. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
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    Hey sd--welcome to the forum.

    EKO makes a Model 80--not a 90, so that's probably what it is. I've got the 60. Your dad must have a pretty big place to heat. That's a lot of btus.

    Having owned and operated a smoky boiler in a residential setting, I'd say your best bet, if you're worried about the smoke bothering people, would be to watch the wind direction, burn dry wood, and adjust your firing habits accordingly. OWBs are engineered to burn as clean as possible within the constraints of the technology they're using. That's another way of saying that I doubt you can modify yours to produce less smoke. If it was as easy as putting a layer of firebrick, they would design them that way. Hot water storage might do some good, though for some reason I've never heard about it being used with an OWB.

    If it's not bothering anybody, then I wouldn't worry about the smoke. Most of it will just settle on your land, I think, and cause no harm.
  3. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Messages:
    804
    Loc:
    North Worc. CTY MA
    SD...Welcome to the forum.
    Sounds like you too see "the writing on the wall" when it comes to OWB's... I have a similiar situation, and it doesn't get much more 'urban' than mine. While your concern is to be applauded at the very least... Lining with firebricks isn't going to do much to "decrease emsisions". I would echo Eric's comments above and add that the hot water storage is definately worth pursuing for some imediate benefits as well as future ones. Having storage capacity and slightly modifying burn techniques will go a long way towards easing your concerns, and rightly so.

    As a fellow "OWB" owner I'm glad to hear you 'chime in'...

    If your locale proposes regulations...make sure your voice is heard.

    Looking towards "an upgrade" in the future is wise to say the least...
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Central NYS
    Keyman makes a great point about hot water storage. If you put it in now, that's one less thing to worry about when you get a gasifier. But everybody I talk to says go as big as you can, and leave your options open for even more, later. I'm starting out with 1,000 gallons, but I will probably put in another 1,500 gallons if it works like I hope.
  5. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    733
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Thanks for the replys...I wish I had researched the gassifiers before I purchased my new Central Boiler. The reason for the question on the firebrick was because the future of the OWB seems to me to be using firebrick (I suspect that this is what Central Boiler is doing now for the new stoves coming out to make the EPA happy) to increase the burn temp so that the burn will be more complete. From my experience over the last two years is that when I have ashes several inches thick, the OWB produces less smoke due to the fact that the bottom of the fire is insulated from the water. This coupled with brick on the walls a couple feet front to back should reflect some heat back to the fire which should increase the temp slightly. This might not produce any difference but I think I will try it along with the small heat storage. I already have the 330 gallon tank so this will not be much of an expence to retrofit my system. I don't want to put in a 1200 gallon tank yet because I plan on putting this along with a EKO in a unattached garage for furture use. I just need to get by for two years till my wife says that the checkbook is ready for the upgrade.
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The new clean-burning OWB designs that I've seen (Black Bear, Adobe, etc.) seem to use lots of refractory brick and either a downdraft or updraft gasification arrangement. I'm sure CB will eventually out-engineer them all, because of its resources, but I suspect that making a viable consumer product that people will be happy with is probably harder than it looks. One of the big selling points of the typical OWB is that they will burn just about anything and stay lit under most circumstances. Plus, they don't have a ton of refractory material added to the weight of the steel. So what you get now is a unit that's both affordable and it works more or less as advertised. The trade-off is relatively low efficiency and relatively high pollution. Fine for the right application--a disaster in some.
  7. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Couple points Central boilers is comming out with EPA low emmissions boiler. Re engineerring any appliance without testing and design and approval is not a good idea
    besides voiding the warranty you could damage the burner in doing so.

    No solid Fuel burning appliances can be installed in a garage Acccording with NFPA 211


    Whether your town adops OWB restrictions ,there is plenty on books concerning air polution to worry about if a complaint is registered.

    Like Eric a said, time your loading when people are not out and about, out of site out of mind
  8. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Another thing I've heard mentioned in this connection, though I'm not sure just how effective it is, is to increase your stack height as much as you can - This will slightly reduce your smoke because some of it will be deposited on the stack walls, but primarily it helps to get the smoke up into the air more where it can dissipate without being as much of a direct nusiance.

    Gooserider
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