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Problem with Seton boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by wouldchuckwood, Dec 3, 2007.

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  1. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

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    i know what your talking about now. did seton suggest this for th boiler?

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  2. wouldchuckwood

    wouldchuckwood New Member

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    In the installation manual they recommend one if the draft it too high, in order to increase the efficiency of the boiler. If the heat moves through the boiler too quickly, it won't get adequately absorbed by the water vessel.

    So far, I don't notice any real increase in wood consumption since I eliminated the regulator - even though the exhaust temp is noticeably higher. I'm going to have the chimney lined in April, so I may need to put a regulator back on if the liner greatly increases the draft.
  3. Scotty2

    Scotty2 New Member

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    After running a Seton 300 for 2 seasons, I'm now in the process of removing all side panels, replacing the thermal blankets, and doing a "MAJOR" creosote removal.
    The stove has always smoked, thank goodness it's out in the wood shed, and it's always dripped creosote, around the door and many of the panel seams.
    When it stopped working, I started removing cover panels to find the thermal blankets were wet to the touch...must be a combination of moisture and creosote as when we started a bit of mig welding in the back (the flexible exhaust pipe that Fred Seton uses has fallen apart), we started a smoldering fire in the blanket, which went on for hours...eventually I got out the water hose and saturated it as I couldn't get all the side panels off quick enough.
    Fixes: I'm told bring my return water temperature up over 100 degrees F, and I like the gasketing some of you have done. Any other suggestions?
    Only lucky thing to happen is that this stove is a "take apart", if it had been the Greenwood (based on the Seton), I understand there are a lot of welds I would have had to contend with.
    Regards, Scotty
  4. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    Scotty your not alone when it comes to major creosote problems and saturated insulation lurking in back of Seton style boilers . The problem is almost always related to the intended close to condensing efficiency Incorporated into the original design . If you had a heat load high enough and a way to extract the boilers full potential for a extended period of time with a full load of good wood the boiler will self clean the hidden components in back of the boiler . If this info makes sense to you and you would like me to go into more detail , say the word . All my info is based on experiments with my Seton W-130 . How large of a heat load do you have ? Hope it's huge . Anthony
    I just read your other post regarding pex pipe insulation . It sounds like you know both of your problems, pipe size and return temperature .
  5. Scotty2

    Scotty2 New Member

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    An additional problem is one we brought on ourselves...I couldn't get the Seton 300 to hold a fire overnight and the warehouse was dropping temperature drastically...tho Fred Seton helped to spec PEX size, layouts, stove etc...so we went and installed an on/off switch that allowed me to close the damper, yet have all heat go to the warehouse. Course this cooled the stove waaay down.
    Additionally, I was assured the stove would handle mostly green wood better than dry, so I went from burning dry Cedar to 16 month Oak split into 50 lb. chunks...never got a good heat going, possibly already too creosoted up.
    So, I'm guessing I need to add a mixing valve?
    Regards, Scotty
  6. Mainewood

    Mainewood Member

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    :coolsmirk: Does it get cold enough on the west coast to heat with a Seton? I have learned from reading the various posts on this forum, that there is a "learning curve" period while operating any wood burning appliance. The good news is that there are plenty of "learners" in this forum who will be able to help you. It is always important to insure that the wood burning appliance is not "idling" for extended periods of time. These types of heaters work best when there is a sufficient demand for heat so that they burn hot.
  7. Scotty2

    Scotty2 New Member

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    To answer some of the questions raised about our Seton 300 creosote and thermal blanket problems.
    Our heat load is massive...in season. That's the first thing I noticed...I really need the thing less than 6 months of the year...and then it won't keep up (as configured).
    To hold a fire, I was turning the thermostat off/down in the warehouse at night...I got tired of starting a fire anew each morning. That's when I "stupidly I find" installed an off/on switch at the furnace (much closer to the house than the warehouse), so that I could shut down the draft, yet keep the water circulating to the warehouse regardless of temp (not just the overload temps)...Sigh, how is it possible to shoot yourself in the foot so often?
    I'll reiterate for those coming late to this post how thankful I am that this Seton has screwed on side panels...it's basically a take-a-part...and that's exactly what all these types should be. I definitely wasn't provided the necessary info regarding condensation and haven't seen much if any about it in the instruction manual. If this had been a welded panel stove I would have been scre....Regards, Scotty
    Picture 1 is the back draft assembly removed from the lower back section of the stove.
    Picture 2 is the 8" exhaust plugged
    Picture 3 is some of the burned insulation...most was in unrecognizable shape.
    Picture 5 shows the creosote on the schedule 40 pipes as seen from the back
    Picture 6 (bottom right) is the new draft pipes we're welding together
    Note the 3/5 gallon buckets in Pic 4 showing just the start of the cleaning process...not the ash, just the creosote, with the broken flexible exhaust pipes that were used on the draft.

    Attached Files:

  8. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    Wow Scotty those as some scary pics, this is a major wake up call for anybody with a Seton style boiler to check an clean the components behind the back refractory wall . If it just soot accumulation it is not as volatile an creosote . It's unbelievable you were able to even light a fire with such restricted draft . Glad no body got hurt or major property damage Anthony
  9. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr Minister of Fire

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    I hope you guys are using smoke detectors and low level CO detectors. That some dangerous looking stuff. Stay safe with wood burners, CO detectors are a must!

    hr
  10. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

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    The real question is, how do you prevent this. Those pictures could almost be mine, although mine has never gotten that bad. My Adobe will plug up so that it burn poorly in about two weeks, 'm getting to be a pro at removing the back and cleaning it. Everyone says you need higher return temps, but unless I quit my job during the day and get up in the middle of the night it ain't going to happen. Seton, Adobe, Greenwood we all seem to be in the same boat.
  11. Scotty2

    Scotty2 New Member

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    Fortunately our Seton 300 is in a free standing 3 bay building that we use to store wood for the stove...otherwise I would have removed it from the home/whatever some time ago.
    Regards, Scotty
  12. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr Minister of Fire

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    There is always a cause for an ugly mess like that. I doubt it is inherent to the design of the appliance??

    It could be one, or a combination of events. Green or wet wood is a common cause. Draft problems too much or not enough. Mainly it is caused by running them to cold. You MUST know what that return temperature is and have a means to adjust it. Manual balance isn't very practical. Really a 3 way thermostatic mix valve is a simple and effective fix. It assures the boiler stays warm enough regardless of the loads. Although when it starts opening to bypass more flow back to the boiler, you are probably running out of available power to meet the heat load. The 3 way will prioritize the boiler protection and provide less to the building load. A simple strap on aquastat that turns off the pump until the fire catches up works, but does lead to cycling. Variable speed injection, delta T circulators are a few more methods.

    hr
  13. Mainewood

    Mainewood Member

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    It sounds to me like there is a greater heat demand than the boiler can keep up with. What are you heating? How many sq. feet? Is it well insulated? You may need to consider heating less area so the boiler will operate at temperatures necessary to burn clean.
  14. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

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    I am heating a 1920 four square farm house. It is very tight all new windows and reinsulated. We only heat the basement and first floor, the upstairs stays warm enough. The basement is heated with fintube on zone valves, there is a zone valve on the heat exchanger for the first floor. The main house is 30x30 with a new 12x24 sunroom on the south this has in floor heat, all new very well insulated. I have begun to collect some data, don't know if it will be helpful or not. I'm trying to write down the return and supplly temps and flue temps when I am by the boiler. I really don't think the boiler gassifise but I really don't know how you would tell. I didn't check the tubes in the last week. Its been in the 30-40 range so demand isn't very great. Seems to me like my flue temps are plenty high between 5-600 when its burning. Anybody want to buy the boiler it is a great science project if you are so inclined, I'm loosing my interest fast.
  15. KZIEBARTH

    KZIEBARTH New Member

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    Muleman, I may be interested in your boiler as a science project. Send me an email. I feel bad about all the trouble you have had with the boiler. Your pain comes through pretty clear in your posts.

    I have no answers for you but I like to experiment with things and do some fabricating as well.

    Kevin
  16. Mainewood

    Mainewood Member

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    It looks like there is a greater heat demand than the boiler can keep up with. What are you heating? How many sq. feet? Is it well insulated? You may need to consider heating less area so the boiler will operate at temperatures necessary to burn clean.
  17. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

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    Kevin, if you interested give me a call. 507-251-0901 Where are you in MN? I'm in Zumbrota.
  18. Scotty2

    Scotty2 New Member

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    Regarding the Seton 300 with the creosote problems...
    An interesting side note.
    It was suggested I consider an 'on demand' propane fired inline water heater to keep the temp up over night...$600 for a good one, plus tank and installation costs.
    Any thoughts?
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