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So, how bad is idle?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by JP11, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    I left home this morning for 3 days. When I jumped in the shower today.. My tanks were about 180. Not a lot of room there.

    I filled the firebox about half full anyway. It was still going strong in the 185 or so range when I left. My wife reports that the tanks are 197 top and bottom now.. 10 hours later. Obviously... the boiler is idling.

    SO.. I know idle isn't ideal for efficiency sake. I know the vigas starts the fan every hour or so to keep the coals alive.

    Obviously... my tank and pipe insulation is pretty good. I'm sure the weather tonight will be cold enough to need some heat, not to mention DHW use.

    I did it just to try and see if it would supply the heat thru the 3 days. Lately it's been going about a day and a half between burns, but I bet I could have squeezed 2 full days out of it.

    Thoughts?

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  2. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    It's been 15 hours. Tank tops are 195, and bottom has varied 175 to current 183. Seems there is still wood in there. Not sure at what temp the vigas starts it back up. I think it was low 190s.

    I guess that means there's still wood in there, and it's going.

    I guess I should have stuffed it full.

    JP
  3. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

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    I don't think "idle" is bad. I understand that with storage it is more efficient to burn hot, fast, and then build a new fire when needed. As a matter of fact, with my Tarm I even lower the aquastat down to like 180*, and maintain that temp. I think that you will get super long burns, if you do exactly what you are doing.
    I only have 500 gallons of storage and sometimes load my boiler after charging my storage. It idles, makes for more required cleaning, but I honestly feel I burn less wood.
    This method makes 500 gallons of storage seem like 1000.
  4. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    So, that's the downside.. my turbs will need cleaning sooner?

    I did it just to see how far I could stretch it being away. My wife will load the boiler, but she's been swamped with work. Late fall is her busy season. As illogical as it sounds to us men.. 10 minutes loading the boiler could ruin her whole day's plan. :)

    JP
  5. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    SAFETY WARNING

    Just a note, Make sure she understands how to load a idling boiler. It could really ruin her whole day. It is much different than starting and loading a boiler with fan running at the end of burn. The fuel is there but starving for oxygen.

    Either load it during a fan cycle or bump up the set point to get the fan running for a few minutes before opening the door. Just remember to lower the control set point when you are done.

    gg
  6. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    I ran my Econoburn the first year without storage. I have now been using it with storage for a year. My goal is to never idle if at all possible. I would prefer to keep any amount of creosote from the fire tubes if possible. It is very hard to remove once it is there.

    With good coaling wood it could be possible to hit the idle right near the end with 8 to 10 inches of just coals. That would extend storage time and really reduce the chance for creosote compared to a fresh load of wood when your tanks are already at full temp.

    gg
  7. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah.. I learned that one myself yesterday.

    MMMMmmm burnt hair. My forearms were too fuzzy anyway.

    She won't load it at idle. I just stuffed some in to see how it would run. In hindsight.. I should have filled it chock full. I have my shutoff temp at 200 stack temp.. so it would eventually burn it down to just a few coals. Tanks are still 160. 28 hours after loading half full. It should make it thru tonight.

    JP
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  8. ozzie88

    ozzie88 Member

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    Thats what I do,why put more wood in than it takes to heat boiler up to temp. Your right as to keep creosote from getting there in first place. If my boiler is down to say 110* by now I know how much wood it takes to heat it up again. Have to run another fire anyways why leave bunch wood in there ? Pile of hot coals does make storage last longer also.
  9. ozzie88

    ozzie88 Member

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    Thats what I do,why put more wood in than it takes to heat boiler up to temp. Your right as to keep creosote from getting there in first place. If my boiler is down to say 110* by now I know how much wood it takes to heat it up again. Have to run another fire anyways why leave bunch wood in there ? Pile of hot coals does make storage last longer also.
  10. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    I'm at about hour 40. Tank temp still 150.

    I guess it'll make it thru the night, then depending on DHW needs.. MAY make it till I get home. I guess two days is about max now.

    I'm happy. Basement radiant is set to 72 or so. Way warmer than I've ever had it. If I really wanted it to go without loading... I could heat the basement to 76 or so before I turned it down to leave. I think that would take a day just to bleed down.

    My wife should be back to a more normal schedule soon She can load once a day. I'm on vacation first two weeks of NOV. I'm hoping to get up over 20 cords of non oak. I've got 5 cords plus of oak for 14/15.

    Awful happy with my Vigas setup.

    JP
  11. And the cycle begins! First you set the thermostat a little higher, then a little more... Pretty soon the wife will be yelling at you for letting the house get too cold. And when you check the thermostat the house will be 72*
  12. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    As long as she loads the boiler when I'm away.. I'm good with it. I think she's starting "the change" she's never before said she's hot. But lately claims the room is too warm.
  13. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I don't have to worry about idling I have a WOODGUN;).
    Just tryin to stir it up a bit. I love to instigate :p
  14. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

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    I think when it starts to get really cold, I'm gonna get my storage up to temp and vary the amount of wood in the firebox. I'm not afraid to let my Tarm idle. I don't get creosote that needs to be scrapped out of the fire tube area, just soft ash. Easy to clean.
    I oversized the amount of fintube heating elements, so I can lower the temperature of the storage down to about 160*. I'll then lower the boiler aquastat accordingly.
  15. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    I guess that's the real issue. I don't KNOW what mine does at idle That's why I told the wife to leave it alone. I can check it when I get home. I run my storage down to 135. My domestic is set at 132. i logged in this morning... and tanks are at 132 top to bottom. Not sure when it gave up in the night.

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