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Pics of starting a fire

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by BoilerMan, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    As requested by HDRocker, I took some pics of starting a fire in the gasser. This is my daily process now that the weather is below freezing during the day and in the low 20s at night.
    I first run the turbulator handle up and down a few times to clean out the heat exchanger, being mindful of the last time I opened the cleanouts on the sides and vacuumed them out.

    DSC02805.JPG
    Rake charcoal over the nozzle and place some kindling over that, with an airspace below so the OSB (gulp) can light easily.


    DSC02806.JPG
    Fill it up with splits, being sure there is a good half-round flat side down directly over the nozzle.


    DSC02808.JPG
    Press "Start" to turn fan on and torch the kindling with the bypass CLOSED and locked at this point. Torch for about 20-30 seconds letting the fan pull the flame right into the kindling and charcoal pile.



    DSC02810.JPG
    Close the door against the CLOSED and locked down bypass latch, the door is not closed all the way, it's still open about an inch. Wait till you hear the rumble of secondary combustion. This should take about 3min. Look at spider boiler mascot keeping an eye on the boiler operator......

    DSC02812.JPG
    After the rumble is established I open the bypass and watch the flue temp rise quickly to the 350 reigion, this takes about 2min at most. Once this happens, I close up the top door which also closes the bypass and I can hear the rumble of the secondary flame distinctly with everything closed up.



    DSC02814.JPG
    The stack temp at full gasification about 20min into the burn.

    From torch to 250+ stack is usually about 25-30min. This whole process takes no longer than 10min. Tonight when I lit the boiler (water start temp of 104F) to pump launch at 160F was 16min. I burn one load as you saw in the second pic a day, when it's colder or I have a large demand for hot water and wish to re-load I wait for only coals (about 3 hours) rake them all over the nozzle and set my splits on that, this puts out heat almost instantly and really puts out the btu's.

    Hope this was helpful for you Rocker, other comments or suggestions are welcome, and expected. I'm by no means a seasoned gasser operator, in fact this is only my 60th or so fire in one, but it's down to a pretty good science I think.

    TS
    Elusive likes this.

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  2. Adabiviak

    Adabiviak Feeling the Heat

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    Sierra Nevadas, California
    That spider was looking right through me.
  3. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    Hi Taylor, what's the secret on using that piece of OSB? 15/32"?
    Nice seasoned firewood, the way it should be.
    Benwa907 likes this.
  4. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I have no charcoal left at all in my firebox after the fire burns out - just a little bit of fine ash. Nice that it's burning everything, but makes starting the next fire a bit more challenging. That Attack is a sweet looking unit.
  5. What's that small knob on the bottom left of your controller do?
  6. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    You really load that thing up when you start it! I typically have about 1/3 of a firebox full, or less, when I start my unit. I've found that more wood actually makes my starts take longer. A few pieces, just enough to get gassification started and burn for an hour or so, is all I typically toss in.

    Your splits are also about double the size of my average split. Have you had any challenges with bridging?
  7. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    The little knob is the flue temp shutdown. It is either a room temp setpoint or flue setpoint (controller has to be set to know) This is when the flue drops below 210F (my personal likeing) it goes into "FUEL" and shuts down, this is what leaves me with the charcoal. One advantage to having a fan Maple (although I'm still jealous of your Varm).

    Stee: I don't have too much bridiging, although I processed this wood before I had a gasser, I generally process smaller, and will always now. I've found that with having the flat side of the split right over the nozzle it gets a great coal bed established and bridiging seems to not happen as often. This was a bit of a learning curve, but after all this Beech is burned up, my other wood is a bit smaller anyway.

    Marc: Thats 5/8" OSB........ love the engineered wood products and their wonderful ability to catch fire with just a torch! I have lots of building material scrap, as I'm the "wood guy" on all the job sites. "Fill up the back of my truck as long as it's not PT!!"

    TS
  8. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    Taylor, Have you tried putting the tourch up the nozzel? I have found the higher the shut down based on flue gas temp the more coals and if the fire box needs cleaning.I always fill the fire box cock full light it off. As long as the flu gas temp is climbing, iknow i am good to go.
  9. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    torch
  10. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I basically light my EKO the same way except I shake out more gray ash and don't use any kindling (OSB or 2x4). My splits are 2 to 3 years dry and I pick out 3 or 4 smaller ones to lay on the coals and then load about the same amount as you do. I then light the charcoal from below through the nozzle and when I see the reflection of a good glow on the target bricks, I start the fan, close the door and close the bypass. Listen for rumble which is usually instantainous and walk away. I don't wait for any temperatures to rise. Usually check the gauges in an hour or so. The reason I start the fan before closing the door is that I have the fan speed turned down so low, it has very little starting touque and takes a while to get up to speed so I let the glowing coals have as much air as possible.
  11. HD08Rocker

    HD08Rocker New Member

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  12. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Very Nice system TS.

    I very rarely have a completely empty firebox and have a lot of charcoal to relight then throw in 3 -4 splits. Come back in 30 mins and add 5-6 more. Good to go for 8-10 hours.
  13. wardk

    wardk Member

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    Nice system TS and your pics are great you must have a good camera. How much water do you heat from 104 to 160 in 16 min?
  14. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I allso fill to the top before lighting. It eliminates any smoke spillage. Usually gassing in just a couple of miniutes. boiler air adj and gasifacation 003.jpg
  15. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Just the boiler water, 36 gallons I think. Older (10 years) Sony digital, I have played around with it alot though and enjoy taking pics of things on different settings.


    Woodmaster, I load it up for the same reason as you, no smoke spillage into house. Just enjoy the heat off the boiler!

    TS
  16. HD08Rocker

    HD08Rocker New Member

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    Thanks TS very helpful. How much storage do you have? How long are your fires to heat up your system? How do you get the bypass open after the fire is started? My bypass sticks closed and the only way to get it to open is to poke it. I get my stack temp up to 350 ish and then close my door and I am only burning around 210. So is that not hot enuff? How do I get it hotter? I tried leaving the door open a bit like you said. however it takes forever for the temp to rise. If it even does. Do you think I do not have a good enuff draft? Sometimes (most) I get smoke out of the open door while I am starting the fire trying to get my stack temp up. Not even to mention the huge amount of smoke when I open the door more than a crack.

    When I am having a fire is seems like it burns out in the middle and puts me into fuel mode. Should I have to stir the coals often or should they settle down over the nozze by themselves.

    Someone in a post I read somewhere on here said that there should be a 20 degree difference in output and return temp. How do I get that difference? By having more radiators? I have been looking everywhere for something to use for storage and not having any luck. Everyone is saying that it has to be a pressure style tank. Why cant it be any kind of tank with a pressure release valve like is on the furnace. My system is only running about 10 - 14 psi. I am contemplating building a tank since my stepson is a certified welder. But the uncertainties about pressure are killing me.

    I have been in contact with the guy who did the install for me and he has pretty much told me he didnt know how to help me. So I am hopeful that you and the other members here can help me figure this out.

    I need to do something and I am not sure what it is I need to do first to help my situation.
    Do I need more heating volume?
  17. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Random things:

    -Have you measured accurately your delta T? (Difference between supply & return). What is it? It can be increased by either increasing your heat loads (more radiators), or slowing the flow through them - but that could also in turn slow the flow of heat out of your boiler to less than adequate causing overheating or excessive idling.
    -DO NOT try to make a tank, or use anything but a pressure vessel (propane or air compressor tank) unless the storage is going to be strictly open/unpressurized - which will in turn require heat exchangers (typically big copper coils). Any certified welder should know that, and 10-14 psi is actually quite a bit to contain. Don't take my word for it - find an old oil tank & pump it up with air to that much & see what happens.
    -Burning out in the middle = bridging. That can happen, and can usually be avoided with smaller splits & careful arrangement of wood in the box (comes with practice). If it happens, just give the pile a poke so it un-bridges.
    -Have you tested the MC of your wood? If it's too high that could also lead to bridging especially on startup - the fire starting stuff will burn out before the bigger stuff catches good.
    -Can't comment on the operational stuff on your boiler since I don't have one - but generally the bypass is opened before the door is to prevent smoke from coming out. Some of what you describe could also be due to wood that is not seasoned enough.

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