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Problems with a Tarm Pellet boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by sat1963, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Yes I have an agenda

    I am interested in a lucid answer to the burn back potential in a 4.0

    What has this "expert" Jo offered -- buy a smaller boiler

    What has his justification been - that he is looking out for the consumer - that he knows what it best - and I stayed at a Holiday Inn one night!

    Bla Bla Bla

    A boiler must be able to operate under moderate - light - and the full load it was sized for, with some confidence.

    The advice to buy an under sized boiler - even if we reason that the boiler should be correctly sized - does not address the burn back if the boiler is to be run all season and it will then need to idle for some periods -- the fuel input of that idle in a 4.o can be - (as noted by Wippingwater)cut back significantly to configure idle fire, and maintain at a very low fire. This fuel feed should keep the boiler running, and the feed system should stay clear and safe --

    If the 4.0 is not capable of maintaining fire in low load conditions I submit it must come off line - just like a similar smaller model Tarm would need to.

    As I stated -- the "expert" advice to buy a smaller boiler will not hold water and YOU Jo are the one polluting this thread - All I am simply looking for, is a halt to a salesman's line of BS

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  2. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Which seems to be that you are all kinds of upset that I wouldn't tell you that your boiler was defective, like you wanted me to, but instead truthfully examined the situation and determined that your installation was causing the problems you described.

    That, and providing comic relief for myself and several manufacturers who find your threads quite amusing...

    And if it is sized for far greater load than the structure has?

    Indeed it must. If it is improperly sized. If it is sized correctly, it should be able to operate for the whole heating season.

    You've been asked several times, now. What am I selling? The individuals in question are nowhere near where I work, so I'm not planning to sell them boilers. Putting information out on the 'net that future customers of mine might find, encouraging folks to buy smaller, less expensive boilers certainly doesn't seem like it would fit with your theory very well.

    As I've said several times, anyone who likes to is free to call BioHeat, and they will happily confirm what I've posted here. Sizing is critical with these boilers, and oversizing is the top cause of burn-backs.

    Joe
  3. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Don't worry about that. Sting's antics won't dissuade me from offering help/advice to folks who ask. I could make two or three times what I do, if I went back into engineering, professionally. I do "applied engineering" because I love what I do, and can actually make a living doing something I love. I help others because many others have helped me, in the past, so I believe that I should "pay it forward," and because I believe that we need to move to sustainable energy sources, and I want that to happen, so helping bring biomass to the mainstream by fixing problems and making it accessible to as many folks as possible is critical to that goal.

    Joe
  4. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Only took three days to workup another side step of my question: How to make a 4.o operate in warm months?

    Oh -- I missed it again didn't I -- Buy a smaller boiler - I.E> one that will not carry the load in the winter but will in the spring and fall

    So now I am saving money by having to buy/install/operate two small pellet boilers rather than burning a correctly sized 4.0 ????

    Good job jo

    And rest assured, I am Glad you are amused as I debunk your load-- I too have pm's from others amused by your propensity to prevaricate and BS like you knew what was what! Keep it up -- I am sure it will snag a few more sales and shills. Oh, and on a side note - you weren't even close with your past hypothesis. Baby Boiler it working just fine this season :) The appliance is just old and I was thinking of stepping up to a Baxi -- if your involved - Ill need to revisit that desire.

    Kind Regards Pal
    Sting
  5. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Some of us work for a living, Sting.

    No, buy a correctly-sized boiler, but err on the small side. One that might have to rely on backup for a week or two during the dead of winter.

    If a 4.0 is correctly sized, go for it. But that's not what was described. What was described was a dramatically-oversized 4.0.

    PM's from the anonymous folks on the Internet, versus discussions with the actual manufacturers/importers/resellers of these various products. Hmm... who knows more about what is and isn't correct?

    Oh, really? The boiler was hitting high limit, but not heating the structure, and you're claiming that was not a flow problem?

    If the boiler is hitting high limit, then it's doing its job in generating heat. If it can't keep up, then the water flow is not sufficient. That part ain't rocket science.

    So, you still haven't answered my question about what I'm supposed to be selling. For someone who keeps (falsely) accusing others to avoiding questions, that seems quite hypocritical...

    Joe
  6. whippingwater

    whippingwater New Member

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    That explains it. Only an engineer could have a complete disregard for common sense and logic.
  7. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Common sense is not very common. Legitimate engineers (not overpaid managers) get that way by having far more of it than average.

    You admit that there are problems with the system, and someone tells you the reason, and your response is that saying there are problems with the system is nonsensical?

    Hardly logical...

    Joe
  8. whippingwater

    whippingwater New Member

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    There are not problems with the system that cannot be controlled. Idle auger time is adjustable to control a burnback problem at idle. If idle time is a problem with a system then it will be a problem with all models during light load conditions. I know, your defense is how you understood what Bioheat told you and your solution is to remove a $12-14000 boiler and replace it with a $10-12000 boiler (excluding parts and labor). But you would still idle during light load conditions. But please feel free to tell me again to call Bioheat, because I say idle is not a CAUSE. It's simply the opportunity. I love my Tarm.
  9. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    You can't turn the idle low enough to eliminate all problems.

    It will, if the load is light enough.

    The "right" solution is to install the correct boiler. For most folks, the most practical solution is to install a dump zone to force the boiler to have some load on it. It wastes fuel, and may overheat the area that it is pumping heat into, but it creates enough load to avoid the burn-back.

    What I've suggested to others with this problem, is to install a digital temperature controller (like a Ranco ETC, or similar) with the probe near the burnback sensor. Set it a bit below the trigger temperature, and have it operate a dump zone (typically a fan convector, or the like). That way, it will only trigger the dump zone when actually necessary to prevent a burnback. When the temp in the auger tunnel hits the trigger point, the controller will activate the dump zone, pulling heat out of the boiler and thereby causing the boiler to cycle. By cycling the boiler into a burn, the auger moves the burning pellets away from the tunnel.

    A more-audacious solution is to install a thermal storage system, as with a wood boiler, sized to absorb a full hopper-load of energy. Then the boiler can be run as a batch-fired appliance. That eliminates some of the benefit of an automatic pellet boiler. On the other hand, the 4.0 can (theoretically) be set up to take coarser fuels than the other two boilers. Like pelletized switchgrass, for example. So, someone could theoretically grow something like switchgrass, and feed it into a bath-fired 4.0, heating storage tanks and using a very inexpensive fuel in that way.

    That's just two potential options - there are quite a few ways to address these sort of issues. The first step is to find out why the particular system is having burn-backs. Then a means of remedying the problem for that particular system can be developed.

    I rather fond of them, too. I wouldn't recommend, sell, or install the things if I didn't think they were a fine piece of equipment. Other companies use paper stickers to identify their work, which usually fade after a handful of years. I use photo-anodized, image-stabilized aluminum nameplates. When I install a system, my name will be on it for a handful of decades. There is not one of those out there on a product that I don't still feel is worthy of that consideration. Even in the cases of products I no longer deal with due to problems with the manufacturers, and such. I won't put that nameplate on anything I don't feel comfortable having my name on, for decades to come, and the Tarm pellet boilers are more than worthy.

    That doesn't mean they don't have their own quirks and issues. Everything out there does. I'm a big fan of diesel trucks, but I still grumble at having to plug the block heater in. Doesn't mean I'd rather have a gasser. Just means that I make sure to bring an extension cord with me.

    The Tarm pellet boilers are great boilers. That doesn't mean that sizing them correctly is not important.

    Joe
  10. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    jo -- your not worth the effort
  11. whippingwater

    whippingwater New Member

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    Once again, the auger idle interval is adjustable from 60 minutes to 1 minute (which would only be necessary if the pellets were impregnated with kerosene) so the auger interval can be shortened enough to push the pellets into the burn chamber sooner and correct the problem. Instead the engineer makes things more complicated by adding additional controls, probably recommended by a salesman, rather than using the controls on the appliance. But, what do I know, I'm just a dumb truck driver and you can't possibly be wrong. I'm done with forums.
  12. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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  13. whippingwater

    whippingwater New Member

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    I'm sorry Joe, you're right. It has to be one or the other. With only 60 available setting positions, how does the manufacturer expect a user to find a balance between burning back and overheating. And this could not possibly be a cause for the original posters problem. My apologies.
  14. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    I am sure the resident "expert" feels better now

    and I am sure as long as jo has anything to do with BAXI I will not own one!

    Thats a bright spot for your big belt buckle jo -- one pissed off customer and a loss of potential others because you proved a blue boiler with cast name plates cannot be idle fired

    Good Job!
  15. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Sting, given your earlier threat blaming Pinnacle/Trager for making a bad boiler, when the cause was really your bad install, I think everyone who likes and understands these boilers is quite relieved that you won't be buying one. They don't need the bad publicity you would give them, when you blamed them for your mistakes.

    Joe
  16. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Nice spin again jo

    As my goal is to keep you honest and point out at any turn your real goal here (To promote your sales) -- and I know that's going to be daunting - near to impossible with out some help from a few of the other people you have alienated over the season, ill just correct a few of more of you Spin Doctor "facts"

    ONE - my dispersion on Pinnacle/Traeger was not for making a bad boiler -- Its just a simple vertical tube appliance, How can that be bad jo? and I await with baited breath at your response to that question -- NOT - To set your jaded "threat" straight, I have a dear dislike for the newest negative pressure burn chamber design due to the less than fault tolerant choice of hair dryer doing the exhaust job - plus the inability to service this feature. Everything else is a very robust and simple to operate design - and - oh this should burn your shorts -- the Traeger feed system doesn't display a propensity to burn back like machines with their pretty cast and riveted placards.

    TWO - get over your self -- my install is not bad. You spun that prevarication just as you have most others on this board. I was simply looking for ways to get more BTU's out of my burn pot and into energy transmission. I was looking for means to burn more pounds per hour of corn to accomplish that. And you decided my installation was poor. Even after exhaustive grilling, you were not able to find fault with any part of the installation. Guess what pal -- there isn't and I accomplished my goal with the help of others willing and -- ABLE-- to help.

    THREE - HERE is my mistake -- and it goes back a ways so try and keep up here jo. My mistake was believing you had a brain and might be able to help with modifying my stock burn system. -- You should be ashamed, but its plain your not. Go lay by your dish! or spin this one back - it will either keep you in the limelight you desire, or the webmaster will get sick of one or both of us! Anyone car to guess the one I might pick? :)
    [​IMG]

    Oh now look what you did --you make me burn my oatmeal on the stove :( Guess Ill have to enhance my typing speed or was my installation bad on that too?
  17. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    You still haven't answered what "sales" I'm promoting, Sting.

    Yeah, I guess accusing them of not meeting their rated efficiency:
    Or the rated output...
    et cetera, going on about it not being able to keep up based upon degree days, and such.

    However, based upon the numbers that you provided, the appliance was actually making it's rated output, easily.

    Why would that bother me? I like, recommend, and install both boilers. The each have particular benefits/drawbacks, depending upon the particular situation. Some folks like the "revolving door" safety of the Pinnacle/Traeger unit. Others like the fact that the Tarm has an active fire-suppression system. The Tarm is chimney vented, only. The Pinnacle/Traeger can be direct-vented. The Tarm has higher efficiency, but is a more-complex unit. The Pinnacle/Traeger doesn't attain the same efficiency numbers, but can be maintained and repaired by a competent mechanic, with little more than access to the Grainger catalog.

    Your install is bad, based upon the numbers that you provided. You had inadequate water flow through the heat exchanger. Again, based upon the numbers that you provided. The calculations for btu's provided are quite simple... 40 degrees temperature rise over a heat exchanger at 6gpm is 120kbtuh, and a boiler that can maintain a 40% duty cycle on a 36-heating-degree-day day, can provide sufficient heat to handle a 90-heating-degree-day day, not the 50-60-hdd that you claimed the boiler topped out at. If your install isn't bad, then you provided false data. One or the other.

    Joe
  18. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    You just cannot get over your pompous self and accept that the burn event was the issue.

    Your loss - not mine

    And you searched out my old thread and spun it to your advantage

    I am so flattered.

    OH and above -- you answered your own question re sales - What do you post that sell and install - but your not a salesman ?????

    - Ahemmm "One or the other"
    - Good Job jo
  19. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    "The burn event." Is that an event like a parade or something?

    Don't be. Typing "Sting" and "Pinnacle" into the search box didn't exactly take much effort.

    I'm an engineer who decided he preferred hands-on work to sitting behind a desk. So I gave that up to start out as an apprentice and learned a trade that interested me, from the bottom, and on up.

    So, I will design systems for folks, and explain the advantages/drawbacks of various options. If they like what I've presented, I will sell them the equipment and install it. But I don't do "sales." The only "technique" I have is to provide folks with honest answers and let them make up their own minds on what they need and want.

    A salesman would tell folks that they need the larger boiler, Sting. An engineer and/or an honest tradesman would tell them what I told them above, even though it might cost him some profit.

    And you still haven't addressed what I'm supposedly selling, by answering a question from some guy in Maine, when I don't do work in that state...

    Thanks for the entertainment, though. It's a busy time of year, and you're providing a great deal of comic relief for myself and others.

    Joe
  20. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Your beginning to show signs of the strain of covering up your various spins

    And as you elude to help hide your debacle - How did you "explain the advantages/drawbacks of various options" to folks so they might sleep well at with a Tarm in the basement????

    Oh yes -- Buy something else or make sure the fire suppression system works

    I am sure that will provide "comic relief" for your anonymous "manufacturers/importers/resellers"

    Good Job jo
  21. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't install a system without the addition of one simple control that can avoid so many problems. I mean, adding just that can be sufficient to prevent a burnback caused by a break in the door's airseal, as was previously mentioned as another potential cause. It's triggered by the beginning of a burnback rather than relative to any cause, so it really doesn't matter why a burnback is starting, for the dump zone to be triggered.

    So no, it's not something extra. In my opinion, it's part of any proper install.

    Joe
  22. paul2e

    paul2e New Member

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    My experience with my 2.5 is the basis of my questions & opinions

    What is the condition of the gasket between the hopper and the firebox? Is that seal tight ? Is the floor flat and level?
    What is the condition of the tar build up? I have noticed that it does tend to creep into the auger tunnel just a bit.
    How often is the unit cleaned? Completely? Has the arch ever been removed? What is the position of the arch? How often are the ashes moved away from the auger? or even removed? Daily?

    The different pellets I have used this past season, 6 tons so far, have vastly different qualities. Some are perfect, light brown ash while others have formed a hard clinker the size of a tea saucer or plate completely covering the ashes/fire. About one month ago I emptied and cleaned all of the fines from the hopper. I will only do this at the beginning and the middle of the season (unless pellets conditions warrant otherwise)

    About monthly I've shutdown and cleaned. Ash vac the entire unit, wire brush all surfaces and tubes (pay attention to the blow holes too). remove all of the tar buildup.

    Lastly here in Maine we have had really poor power reliability this season. What has been done to mitigate power outage overheat and/or burn back? UPS on the circulator? Proper shut down when lost power?

    I think that burning pellets requires some maintenance/oversight daily.
  23. paul2e

    paul2e New Member

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    There is also a "tube" that connects to the hopper in the upper left corner. I believe that this is an air tube that creates positive pressure in the hopper. What is the condition of this tube? blocked? connected etc.
  24. dosat1

    dosat1 New Member

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    thank you all for the input into the problem. I do have an update from my neighbor. Apparently a valve in the fire suppression system was leaking so that he was having water dripping into the burn area as well as hydrating the pellets which were then binding up his auger system which I think led to the burn back problem. He has not used the boiler since the replacement of the faulty valve due to his concern for the safety of the system. The Tarm representative did visit the site and opined on the faulty valve with the installer eventually replacing it. Nevertheless the boiler has not been used since. Anyone else having problems with a valve on the firesuppression system? I do not know what my neighbor will do with his inactive boiler. He is very disappointed with how he has been treated by the installation company however.
  25. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    This is why I bought what I did! Simplicity of design is most often the better choice ;-P

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