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Rotten wood in outdoor?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by tjcole50, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. tjcole50

    tjcole50 Feeling the Heat

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    Lot if guys I work with are saying they burn nasty wood in their outdoor boilers and have done so for years. Obviously clean good hardwood will burn better. But my dilemma is I have 17 acres of downed wood ,storm damage and rotten stuff just sitting back there to provide years of heat. I have debated the entry level central boiler unit. A lot of trees downed or leaning have been there for 1-5 years and the ton of junk wood has been there since who knows. But if I can burn this stuff in an outdoor boiler non epa then I may consider the large cost for one of these! Thanks again

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  2. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    If it's on the ground and starting to rot, leave it there for the critters to make their homes in. It will also add nutrients to your soil. Some people think it's ugly but good foresters think it's beautiful. Take down the ones that are leaning and those that are crowding other trees, split them and stack the firewood outside with just a cover on the top of the stack in a place that has good air circulation and sun.

    You should do your part in keeping pollution to a minimum which means you should not be burning wood in a non epa outdoor boiler whether it's punky or solid. Get yourself a good boiler that produces less pollution for the sake of our planet and your neighbors.
    Tenn Dave, jdp1152 and iceguy4 like this.
  3. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    Anything will burn if you get it hot enough. You are losing a great deal if heat to get it to that point, heat that could be going to your house. How often do you want to feed boiler? How often do you want to replace boiler? The current path requires both more often than is acceptable for most. Can you sleep at night knowing that thing is pouring unburnt gasses into the air you breath?
  4. tjcole50

    tjcole50 Feeling the Heat

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    Well it would be a new central boiler . I thought there classics were non epa and retail for 4700 where as the epa one is 9700$ ouch. I only have permission to cut dead or leaning storm damage or ground wood . Gotta listen to farmer or in screwed for free wood lol. I have about 20 hickories I'll be dropping soon on my land but was going to use that for my living room stove
  5. tjcole50

    tjcole50 Feeling the Heat

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    Trust me I'm not trying to pollute or cause issues just trying to get edumacated. I went to the farmer asking if I could clean up his woods for him there is a lot back there that looks to be unhealthy for that wood lot
  6. DamienBricka

    DamienBricka Feeling the Heat

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    My Father who has acres of land leave a lot of branches, leaves and rotten wood on the ground by the tree. He always told me it was good forest management.
    Over the years I have seen his trees grow and they are a lot healthier and bigger then the properties around him.
  7. tjcole50

    tjcole50 Feeling the Heat

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    We had a really bad storm tornado started out in a field in front of us. I live in a clearing of trees but the damage outback was bad lot of dangerous cutting but full grown trees need cut up I agree with small amounts on the bed of trees
  8. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't bank on future use of that 17 acres if I didn't own it.

    Downed trees can be burned OK, if they haven't gone too far and become punkey rotten. Usually, if when they are split, they actually split rather than crumble or break apart, there will be some heat in them. But they have to be cut, split & stacked for a while in an open area to make sure they are dry. When they go to far, they become sponges that just won't dry out and give next to no heat. I'm burning a lot of windfall spruce now that I processed early this past summer. Need to burn more of it than good hardwood or course, but it was a lot easier for me then to get a bunch of it ready to burn than it was going after 'good' stuff. Some of it I had to leave where it was, but most of it is burning really good for what it is. I'll be pulling more of it out of that area this coming summer. Not having to fell stuff can really cut down on time & risk, depending on the situation.
  9. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    You're looking for blow downs more than rotten and fallen over. Depending on the ground, you may get a fair amount of wood this way. I have very wet ground. A tropical storm coming thru a couple falls ago gave me a dozen hemlocks, right along the driveway. I wouldn't have cut them for wood.. but they were a mess and had to go anyway.

    Dry it all and burn it.
  10. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    With good forest management blowdowns and dead rotten trees aren't the only ones that get harvested. Trees that are crowding other more valuable trees need also to be removed. Forsters use the term "releasing" when referring to the thinning. I personally have proven that a forest can be improved over the 26 years I owned my woodlot. I had gone in and "released particular trees and 12 years later and observed the growth rings on the released tree. The wood production is unbelievable. Sort of like thinning carrots in your garden. If your neighbor is unaware of good forest management he will forever have a forest of weed trees which will produce half of what a well managed forest will produce.
    iceguy4 likes this.
  11. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Standing dead are good homes for animals too. The pilieated woodpeckers often start the hole, then the squirrels enlarge it. Then as the hole gets larger, other animals move in.

    Make sure to leave some of the standing dead for the animals.
    Tennman and Fred61 like this.
  12. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Hah. I love the drama! I hope you ride a bicycle and don't drive a car, Coal, for the sake of your good nights sleep.


    To the OP, I've never had much luck rescuing much of anything from a fallen state. Unless I get to it within a few weeks (months maybe?) of falling, I leave it. Too many times I've started in on a fallen tree with my saw only to find that the middle was 100% water or worse yet, completely missing due to the above mentioned critters that build homes in there. These days the only time I may go after one is if it fell on another couple of trees and managed to stay 100% off the ground. Those seem to be worth saving more times than not.

    My two cents only.
  13. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    If you wouldn't burn it in your stove, don't burn it in anything else. That's my rule. Any tree that has been down for any length of time is generally punky, and rotted wood as has been said has no (or very little) heat left in it. Any questionable wood I have is campfire wood or left in the woods.

    TS
  14. burrman

    burrman Member

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    if it burn i burn it in my outdoor stove..it dont mind the punky wood ..its all btu's just some more then others..if thats all you have to burn and can burn it for free..i say go for it
  15. burrman

    burrman Member

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    i myself sleep pretty good..thanks!!!
  16. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    Nope, i drive a powerstroke.
    There is restaurant down the road that we frequent with several OWB around it. Even inside the place you can smell them unless the wind is coming from the direction across the river and then a big cornfield. I have heard people complain to waitstaff and insist that there must be something that can be done. On a damp still day below freezing the smoke will just linger in the valley. There is a field with all rotting logs in it behind the parking lot. It just doesnt sit well with me thats all.
  17. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    And aside from pollutions and smell and smoke there always this that most of us have seen:
    PPLcangotoh... likes this.
  18. burrman

    burrman Member

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    I come from propane side of the fight... ya my owb is not a gasser yes its smokey n yes prob not the best for the air but I'm saving money using it..I burn wet/green/dry/seasoned wood. ..if it burns I burn it....I'm saving money....I hate how people on here think if someone has a owb they are thought of differently...just my thoughts I guess
  19. iceguy4

    iceguy4 Minister of Fire

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    Do you have any idea how many BTU's are in a tire?:p
    BoilerMan likes this.
  20. tjcole50

    tjcole50 Feeling the Heat

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    Wow he hates it so bad he should sell n do something else? Are they really that bad? Not knowledgable on these
    Edit meant video
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  21. Thom Griffin

    Thom Griffin New Member

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    A couple exceptions to reluctance to burn downed trees: #1 would be ironwood. I've never seen one rot, unless it's less than 1 1/2 inch diameter. It's like putting a piece of anthracite into your boiler. Oak tops can be really good even years later, as they have wide spreading branches which stay up off the ground. One last good "rotten" tree would be beech trees which have broken off from beech bark disease; but you've got to get them the year they fall. They decompose from the break up and down, in both directions, but they do have a lot of heat in them. Unfortunately, they usually fall over at the break, about 20 ft in the air and are extremely dangerous to cut because of this. I winch the broken top down, then cut the base.
  22. burrman

    burrman Member

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    Haven't burnt tires..someone needs to build a stove that can..lol
  23. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I can see your point, trust me I'm not some kind of earth-saving type........
    However OWB are a black eye for all wood-burners. When I tell people I heat my house and water with wood they assume I have an OWB and say something to the effect you must not have close neighbors.

    This is simply not the case, there are many OWB around here, but many of them have either rotted out or have been removed in good faith because of copous amounts of smoke.

    I'm not argueing with the fact that you are saving $$$$ and not burning LP, it's just when people irritate others or are otherwise irresponsible we all get the blame.

    Personally I don't think wood-burning will be curtailed or outlawed here in Maine, but I don't want to see it happen in other places. Fossil fuel is a very useful energy source and we should not waste is on space heating where it doesn't need to be burned. Save it for transportation and emergency energy, burn solid fuels (including coal) for stationary heat requirements wherever practical.

    I enjoy processing wood, but my engineering mind does not like waste of any kind..........so the thought of doing a lot of it for nothing and wasting my time and money doesn't sit well.

    Just my opinion, there are others who will disagree.

    TS
  24. phantomblack

    phantomblack New Member

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    Guys, just because it is an OWB means it has to smoke. I run dry quality wood in my OWB and I only get smoke right after loading for about 10 minutes. Then it burns clean for the next cycles. No smoke hanging in the woods, no stink for us to smell, and I'm not running a gasser.

    The key is using good wood, running a higher set point (I'm running 185 damper close temp) and getting the damper draw rates set correctly. Once it is dialed in, it'll run clean with quality fuel. If you burn cruddy fuel, it'll smoke, with cruddy fuel they'll all smoke.

    OWB owners just need to get into the habit of using good fuel. It's the use of poor fuel that causes the problem, not the OWB.
    BoilerMan, Coal Reaper and iceguy4 like this.
  25. iceguy4

    iceguy4 Minister of Fire

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    Smokey boilers.....:mad:

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