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Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Tony H, Apr 11, 2008.
Master of Sparks.
Is the Caleffi zone valve as good and less expensive as the Automag ?
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I got my Honeywell V8043B1076 3/4" sweat normally open zone value from plumbersStock.com for $78.23.
Steve, That would be like the automag right? 110 volts to the transformer shoots 24volts to the zone valve valve is closed. Power falure- 110 to the transformer interupted, no juice to valve, valve opens- allows gravity circulation - cooling the woodboiler.
Do I have this right?
And the valve is at least $25.00 cheaper
You described exactly what is in the manual but I have not installed so I cannot swear to the operation in practice.
I bought it for exactly the power failure operation.
Maybe someone else can confirm the operation for you...
In my application I'll be able to tee into an existing zone that has at least 25' of baseboard. With the overheat zone valve opening, I will get gravity flow through this zone and hopefully cooling the wood-boiler.
Looks good on paper, (I think?)
An existing zone should work, subject to comments above. In any event, fire up the boiler, bring it up to full heat, turn off the power and see what happens. Does the zone heat as it should? Does the boiler still overheat? Either way, you will know whether you have an effective overheat loop.
Good advice Jim, the proof's in the pudding.
Caleffi or Honeywell or Erie (and others) all make normally-open zone valves.
Any of those are equal to or higher quality than Automag's.
I would like to know how many of you existing boiler owners actually have a safety backup operation with your boiler? I talked again with Dave at Cozy today about this problem ....and he indicated they have not had one boiler burn up becuase of power failer ....and that not all of his customers put in some form of power failer protection ...Thx, RH
If you mean an overheat loop, the answer is Yes. I'm not about to make an investment in a gasification boiler and then try to save a hundred or two by not providing for overheat and take the risk of cracking the boiler or worse.
If you mean a UPS with sufficient battery capacity to power the boiler for several hours, that too is pretty inexpensive, but I don't have that yet and not sure I will. My system with pumps takes only about 400VA, so a computer UPS with substituted high capacity deep cycle/gel cell batteries is very feasible.
Generator with automatic start, no. I do have a generator with a manual transfer switch to cover any long period of power out when extra heat is really needed, but with 1000 gal storage, not likely, unless a long power outage occurs when the tank is pretty much depleted.
I agree ....a couple of hundred $$ is not much ....except that it seems like these systems will couple hundred $$ you to death .....but even more so I am getting more and more concerned about the complexity of these systems. It just seems like there are so many pieces and parts to manage ....not to mention break down ....so maybe I should start another thread about just that. I am not trying to vent here ......just trying to get an idea of what is necessary so I can finally put a cap on what it is I will need and how much it will cost for a system ....and so far it just keeps getting more expensive and complex it makes my head spin. Thx again ....RH
I agree with you headrc. I'm trying to mentally put together a system also. I'm looking to put a $500. deposit on the Tarm solo 40 very soon. I can't afford storage right now, hoping to get through next winter without it. I have to line my masonry chimney and that's another $500.
Be thankful we have this forum and the experienced people on it.
I was in the same position as you were when I bought my Tarm last fall. Including mistakes and wasted plumbing, my Tarm was $7000 including some of the essential extras (Termovar, C-3 Aquastat, immersion well, Automag, Expansion Tank, Air Purger, and Ash Container). I made a "gut estimate" of what the total install cost would be, self-installed, of $10,000, and I just about hit it on the nose. Since then I added the 1000 gal LP pressure tank (had old fuel oil tank open storage initially), so I added another $1000.
If you are mechanically minded, maybe have done some plumbing with steel and copper in the past, and especially if you or a neighbor has an oil or gas boiler installed so you can look and see how it was done, plus the plumbing diagrams on this forum, you can do it.
I got delivery in mid-September, first fired up in later October, and did all the install myself. Yes, a few mistakes and re-do's, but everytime I came up on a problem, this forum solved it for me. My dealer also was very helpful, and the Tarm manual was excellent, step by step instructions on the basic install.
I bought most of my plumbing parts, circ pumps, etc. off of e-bay. Slowed things up a bit while I waited on auctions and delivery, but saved quite a bit from retail.
How many hours would you guess your install took?
Jebatty, - did you run it last winter without storage? Curious on how many times per day you loaded it
Even though it was not addressed to me, I'll chime in on this, coming from the other side of the equation.
For a "run of the mill" gasifier install with storage, I budget 40 man-hours. That does not include special delivery time - for example, if we have to dismantle the boiler, attach rigging, and lower it down a ladderway with an overhead winch to get it into the basement, that would add extra time.
Obviously, each install is different, but I would expect that should get any decent install crew into the ballpark, anyway. Also obviously, that is for professionals, so your time will vary depending on how much experience you have in this sort of thing.
I think I'll budget 1,000 hours for myself :ahhh:
My general rule of thumb on most of my projects is to figure out how much everything is going to cost (not including the boiler) and then double it. Then, calculate the amount of time you think it will take to do the work and multiply by four. That gets you close. Me, anyway.
I really don't know. I worked on it off and on, as often I was waiting for copper parts to arrive. Much more than 40 hours for sure, but I did everything myself, no help, and some things just go slow with one person - 4 hands can be much better than 2. I did not feel it was a burden, as every day real progress was made, and it just progressed, and it worked when all was done.
I gave lots of weight to the recommendations on storage, but just didn't know how it actually would work. I ended up buying 3 - 275 gal well used fuel oil tanks, plumbed them in series, open storage - got all three for $125, so I regarded it as an experiment. My setup is not exactly normal, as I use the Tarm to heat my shop, an old barn, poorly insulated, and lots of cracks that let light in. But I live in a cold climate, several occasions in the -30's, so it definitely was a test of the system. This is an inside install and inside storage, so I used the tanks as large radiators almost exclusively - worked really well.
You probably are wondering about lots, as I was. Let me assure you I am at least 95+% satisfied with the Tarm; storage is every bit the plus factor that it is represented to be, but I would not let lack of storage right away keep you away from proceeding.
I burned almost only pine. On the coldest days, I burned 1 to 2 loads per day; other days (-5 to 15) just 1 load per day; and as the temps got into the 10-25 range, about 1 load every other day. A load of pine is about a 4 hour burn, give or take. These all are approximate. What was quite astonishing based on my past experience with an OWB is the huge amount of heat from a small load of pine, compared to the large load of pine and not nearly as much heat from the OWB. I have had lots of wood burning experience, and still am amazed by the heat output from such a relatively small quantity of wood.
Now for the downer: if you are used to burning any wood, junk wood, wet wood, whatever, that's not the way to use the Tarm. It burns best on small splits or small rounds (up to 5"), dry, and no longer than 20" (18" is better). The larger splits or rounds, and especially larger angular splits, will tend to "bridge" and interrupt the gasification burn. The bridge will collapse after a time, but during the bridging efficiency drops, you will get smoke, and you may be a bit frustrated. I had to re-cut and re-split most of the wood I had on hand because it was 24" and in large chunks for the OWB. That does not work with the Tarm. There are some "tricks" to burning larger rounds/splits, but that can be another discussion.
A little maintenance is required, cleaning the ash dust from the gasification chamber, removing excess ash accumulation in the firebox, cleaning the hx tubes, cleaning fly ash from the top of the hx chamber. Kind of like if you own a car, you have to change oil, check the tires, fill the washer fluid, etc. I regard all of the maintenance as normal for an appliance of this type and not a downer. Burning wood is not the same as oil or gas.
Even though I burn pine, I have experienced no creosote or other build-up in the chimney after one full season. I will clean it before next fall as part of normal maintenance.
There's always more, but the best is to just get started, ask lots of questions, experiment some. I can't guarantee that you will be satisfied, only that I am.
Well this thread has gone away from the power failure protection where it started ....and I feel somewhat to blame here. But I will once again chime in .....looking at everyone's locations ....I appear to be the only one located more in the south ...I do not know what everyone else's oil/gas bills are but I am sure they are a lot higher than mine because of my location ....and as such this whole gasification/boiler system concept because of $$ ...as well as the different components etc. has now reached the ....."I don't know if it is worth it status" which is why I started the other thread about older system owners and problems they might have ....sure wish I could find someone that has had a system in for several years that could address dependability of the complex different pieces and parts ....Thx RH
Thanks for the candid words Jim. It helps to know that even with extra work folks are still happy with the purchase.
I'm still paying the price of not cutting/splitting my wood best for the Tarm. When I bought the Tarm last summer and read it would take 20" wood, all my new cutting last summer and fall was 20" and large splits. Fortunately, I left that in piles outside, as I still had a woodshed full of 24" cuts, which I had to re-cut with some re-splitting as winter progressed.
Well, yesterday I started tacking the 20" wood piles. I'm not re-cutting those to 18", as they clearly will fit, sometimes a little tight if my cut was carelessly long. But I am re-splitting all of that wood, and I wish I had known that last summer. Wet wood splits a little easier than partially dry wood. This coming winter should finally use up all the 20" wood, and after that all new cuts and new splits will be 18" and small.
The Tarm manual says 4-5" pieces work best, and I should have taken those words seriously. My mind was warped based on my past experience with the OWB.
In fact, now I'm better using most of the branches as well, which I tended to waste in the past. 2-3" and larger I cut into firewood. A little more time to cut, but no time needed to split- leave 'em round up to about 4-5". They dry fine with a summer or two of good air circulation.
I don't think I said this before, but if I did, be patient. You might think that a firebox full of small, dry splits will burn hot and out of control. The Tarm (with some manual adjustment) closely limits combustion air and thereby maximizes wood gas for the gasification tunnel. In varying measure the wood in the firebox is charring, nearly flame-less, giving off wood gas, and as the burn progresses the char itself is combusted. Creosote forms and is burned off in the firebox, all normal. I have found no accumulation of creosote in the firebox, although the walls are scaled, it's volume self-regulates through the burn process, at least that is one burn season experience. And as you probably have read in various posts, final ash volume is almost minuscule - I estimate about one cup after 4-6 hours of burning pine.