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Still looking at gasifiers with more questions

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by MaverickM23, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. MaverickM23

    MaverickM23 New Member

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    Posted on here a couple weeks ago that I was in the market for a boiler and needed to do some research, well Ive been reading and listening to comments but still have some questions, bear with me all this heating stuff is new to me. Growing up we just had two woodstoves, one upstairs and one downstairs and when it was cold we burned wood in them, very simple. I know I want to go with an indoor gasifier, I have room in my current boiler room to fit it. I plan on moving my current oil boiler to the other side of the room and using a powervent to vent it, them place the wood boiler where it was and use the flue it had. I have read as much as I could about storage but at this time I don't want to go with storage because I don't know what I want to do in my basement yet. It is unfinished approximately 1400 square feet. I thought I had my choices narrowed to two and Empyre Elite or a WoodGun. Called both companies and both said that they effectively stop burning when heat is not needed and should relite when heat is called for. Then I read something on here about someone having an Empyre Elite and it corroding inside after only two years since its an open system. Then read both good and bad about WoodGun, then thought maybe I should look for something totally different that could effectively be run without storage. As you can tell my head is spinning. Any help would be great. I have HWBB, first floor 1950 sq ft, split basement 1400 sq ft with a connected 400 sq ft garage. I did not do a heat loss calculator however I have figured that in November and December I used 500,000 BTU a day (223 gallons), and now in January I have used approximately 734,500 BTU a day (165 gallons), as you can tell January has been colder here, and that is keeping the house at a toasty 58 degrees, except for one zone that the bedroom is on that is on a programmable thermostat. Just looking for ideas and setups that may be similar to mine

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  2. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    Not sure where you are located. If it's close enough to western NY.. you should take a ride to meet Mark at AHONA.

    I wouldn't rule out storage. The convenience factor it adds..... especially if your wife will be running the boiler.... should not be overlooked.

    Takes all the "it's this cold so I need X amount of wood for today" out of the equation. Tanks cold.. burn. Tanks hot... wait.

    JP
  3. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    HWBB is not the ideal setup for a wood boiler of any kind IF you need 180F water to meet your needs. You said currently you have a oil hot water boiler "keeping the house at a toasty 58 degrees." I'm guessing that something closer to 70F is desirable, or do you set your thermostat at a toasty 58F? What is the temperature of your supply water currently? Knowing that will help narrow the focus of your questions regarding a wood gasification boiler.
  4. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    It's a lot to figure out. Too many choices. Also, whether it's a gasser or conventional wood boiler, it should work well with BB. Since you've got experience with burning wood, the learning curve will be easier. Storage is nice, but not needed. Be a nice DIY project later on.

    How many BTU's is you oil boiler? And will it heat the house in the deep of winter and heat it to room temp? 70f? My house has a 80,000btu oil boiler, with BB. In the deep cold, it will maintain the house at room temp. But it will run 70%+/- of the time. Which is fine.

    Where region are you located in? You might be close to a couple of dealers. Be nice to go and talk in person, big outlay of money. I'll also give Mark from AHONA(NY state) the thumbs up. Met him once and he knows his stuff. He thrives on customer service. But I have had good luck with my Tarm and Bioheat(NH). They've been good on customer service.
  5. MaverickM23

    MaverickM23 New Member

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    No I would certainly like to move it up to 70 F. Right now Im just trying to make the oil last thats why i have it so low. The water going through the BB is 180 to 190, the boiler will shut off right around 190.
  6. MaverickM23

    MaverickM23 New Member

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    Im not sure what size nozzle is in mine but I think the BTU are between 137,000 and 151,000 and it will keep up with the house, I just don't have it do it that often. It is an EFM VT1000E. Im a single guy and I work all day so its just me and I want to have the ability to get my house up to 70, load up the boiler leave for work and come home and add more wood as necessary. Thats why I have been leaning towards WG or Empyre
  7. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    The point I'm trying to make is that if you need 180-190F to meet your heat needs, then any wood boiler will have to burn at near maximum rate to provide this output, and any storage will have quite limited use in providing heat between boiler firings.
  8. MaverickM23

    MaverickM23 New Member

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    Thats what Im starting to see. I was told that baseboards want a water temp of 180 degrees is that correct?
  9. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I have my Wood Gasser turn on at 170 and off at 190. I have a 400 gallon buffer tank. System works great. Heat 4200 sq.ft. house, 900 sq.ft. garage, and Domestic Hot Water (DHW) year round. Take your time and plan it correctly. Get wood cut/split/stacked (c/s/s) so you have dry wood for next season when you fire it up for the first time.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Getting exactly to my point. The lower the water temperature that meets your needs, the more storage capacity you have to supply heat between firings. If 170-190F works, much better than 180-190F, and a buffer rather than a storage tank works really well in this situation. The Froling has specific recommendations for a buffer tank (accumulator), and if your are working primarily with needed high temperature water, check out the info on the Froling for buffer tank advice.
  11. MaverickM23

    MaverickM23 New Member

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    Thats impressive. My total square foot that Im trying to heat is right around 3835 and the guys at AHS told me I would need the E140 but I see your making it work with a E100. Thats the unit I was considering until AHS told me I would need the 140. My house is newer 2003 and is well built and insulated, I definetly don't want to undersize it but at the same time I want it to work effectively. What is the advantage with your buffer tank? Does it let your WG run at full efficency or is it more for your DHW?
  12. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Both. It lets the Wood Gun run more and cycle off less. It also provides a "buffer" if there is a lot of heat demand when things are really cold. Say the Wood Gun cools down to 170 degrees and is running and heating back up. Zones can take heat from top of buffer, giving Wood Gun time to heat back up quicker. If I were doing it new though I would go with more storage than I have now if you can afford it.
  13. MaverickM23

    MaverickM23 New Member

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    I got ya. What are your thoughts on my size requirement, AHS saying I should go with the 140. I have seen a couple guys on here with the 100 heating more space then I plan to. Like I said I want to go big enough but not too big
  14. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Do you have, or could you imagine any future expanded heat load? Addition, garage or other building? Remember, you hopefully will be using this for 20-30 years.
  15. MaverickM23

    MaverickM23 New Member

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    There is another building, a shop that I might consider heating but not anytime soon.
  16. hartkem

    hartkem Member

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    Im heating about 3500 sqft with an eko 40. I have 500 gallons pressurized storage. The 40 is just big enough to provide enough btus to heat the house and charge the storage assuming I fire before the top of storage drops below 140 degrees. I wish I had 1000 gallons but I don't think the eko 40 would be able to charge the storage and heat up the house at the same time with one load. The Eko 25 would probably heat my house but I doubt it could keep up with the heat demand and charge storage at the same time. I was doing the same thing as you trying to figure out my heat demand by my use of propane and the size of my current furnace. I didn't think about needing excess BTUs to also charge the storage at the same time. Just something to think about.
  17. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    First. I am not an experienced heating person. Second, do a heat calculation on your house. You can find a number of heat loss calculators on the net. I don't remember which one I used. I guess it depends on who you talk to at AHS. I was discussing with one of them what I wanted to heat and talking E100 or E140 and he said he thought the E100 could handle it. I was looking for a deal and they had a spring sale going on with 10% off. They have these every year I think. I think this was around March, 2011. They had an E100 S.S. on the floor that they wanted to replace with their newest model and said they could give me 15% off on that one. Well I wanted a stainless steel model! Worked for me. 15% is a good amount of bean dip.

    My Wood Gun can give me 12 hours between loadings when temps are fairly mild. When it starts to get colder I can still get 10 hours, and the buffer tank will buy me another hour or so. When things start getting really cold, like down below zero I have been getting about 7-8 hours between loading. I have not seen it get much colder than -15 since I bought the Wood Gun. 7-8 hours is the minimum I want. One thing I wanted when I went over to the boiler from a wood stove was no more getting up in the middle of the night. I usually am in bed around just before 10 and up at 5 anyway. So I am okay with 7-8 hours the very few times a year it gets that cold.

    All that said, I believe an E100 would heat what you have. Being a newer house with probably better insulation than I have.

    I would not limit yourself to just looking at Wood Guns. Take your time and look at at least four models and see which one you like the best for you situation. I narrowed it down to a Wood Gun or an HS Tarm. I went with the Wood Gun for several reasons. With the size of my heating demand I wanted a boiler with more water capacity and a larger burn chamber. The Wood Gun had both. I also liked the idea of Stainless Steel construction. I live in the country and do not have the best water quality. Although it is not bad. I knew I was going to burn wood for another 20-25 years. The fan on the Wood Gun means it is not too picky about what eat it's on a regular basis. Although I would suggest you always burn well seasoned wood. That goes with any Gasser and any wood burning appliance. With a Wood Gun it is imperative that you have your exhaust pipe sealed perfectly if it is inside your house. It took me a little while to get it to that point. But once I got there I have had no problems since then. I may even have a guy weld my double wall s.s. chimney together at several of the points. And just leave one joint before the exit through the wall and then be able to take it apart at the Ash cyclone and that one joint for cleaning. I would also highly recommend the smoke hood with the Wood Gun. They may tell you you do not need it (if you are trying to keep the expense down), get it. Period. Keep the questions coming. Best thing to do is get them all answered now. And make a decision after all options and requirements are considered. Lots of good guys in the boiler room to answer them.

    Sorry about the novel. ;em
  18. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    'Want'?

    In my experience, they will heat faster with 180, sure, but likely don't need it. My baseboard system was designed 18 years ago to work with a boiler that is not very powerful (relatively speaking), and to heat a 2700 sq.ft. two storey house. I ran it as hot as I could get it on wood - which sometimes wasn't that hot & more often than not below 180. It always kept us 'warm enough', but needed either boosts from a semi-regular shot of oil fire, or almost round the clock attention with the wood feeding. Since I got rid of that boiler & put the new one plus storage in, I most often let my storage go down to 140 at top before I re-fire, and the house has never been warmer - 24/7. I have no idea on the design parameters used back then, or if maybe it was designed with more baseboard than might have been needed or not. But baseboard will work down to those temperatures, it might just spend more time flowing water than it would have with hotter water - and it should be possible to add more in if you think you need it or if it turns out that the amount of radiation put it was based on minimum 180 water with none installed above that minimum amount.

    Bottom line with baseboard: cooler water = more radiation put in OR more time circulating.

    (But it still won't work as good as in floor heat or low temp panels - they will work down to much lower temps).
  19. MaverickM23

    MaverickM23 New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I am looking and researching other models as well. What I want to be able to do is load it and leave and load it when I get home, I teach school. I also live in the country and my water is extremely hard. i know gassers cost alot but I just want to try and get the best one for my situation and not spend more than I have to.
  20. MaverickM23

    MaverickM23 New Member

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    I was reading a hydronics link on Econoburns website and thats where I got the 180 degree figure. Right now with my oil fired boiler it will kick on when the water gets to 180 and then shut off at 190. The guy who serviced it this fall said the aquastat is rarely accurate and I think mine is set at on at 160 off at 180, but it performs as mentioned above. Do you think I should turn my low point down a little more? Maybe I could get more run time from my boiler with less firing. I plan on insulating the pipes to try to help save even more.
  21. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I have always thought about the water in the pipes of my baseboard when heat from the boiler has not gone through them in a while. So the pipes and water are now at room temperature. Let's say 68 degrees. Now you send water through them that is 180 degrees. You will get a certain amount of heat. The hotter the water the more heat. To a certain point of what the max BTUs the fins and pipe can radiate out. But, if you send water through them that is 150 degrees you are certainly going to get some heat out of them as well. Not as much, but you will have heat. No doubt in my mind. There have been plenty of times when the zones were taking water from the top of my buffer tank when the tank was only 160 ish and the boiler was still warming back up to the point of the circ. pump above said boiler turning on. The zones were still warm enough for the oil boiler to not kick on. Have I said I don't want my oil boiler to kick on yet? ;)
  22. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    What area do you live in Mav?
  23. My experience has been similar with low water temps in baseboard.

    My system is plumbed with a second diverting valve in the primary loop that sends the water back through the baseboards until it cools below 140 degrees. When a zone kicks on hot water is injected into the primary loop but once it gets above 160 the diverting valve is pretty much closed so all the water gets recycled through the zones.

    Which means most of the time the primary loop is right around 140 degrees and never above 160. And it has kept my house warm down to -10 f.

    I have a higher temp element to put in the diverting valve. But it came in the mail a week after I got my system going. It would keep the primary loop hotter. But I don't see a need for it at this point.
  24. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Portage and Main makes an indoor gasifier. I Have an outdoor model that I really like (Optimizer 250) so no I can't say much about the indoor model but if they make their indoor model like they do their outdoor model you should spend some time looking over their website. I have included a specific link to their Economizer IDM 100. I don't know if the size is what you want/need and you should beware that the unit requires 220v. My outdoor unit uses Johnson controls because they want to simplify end user compatibility. I looked at the Empyre Elite for the outdoor application but decided against it because the firebox walls were only 10 ga versus the 1/4" of the Optimizer 250. I like my boiler and though it is new P & M has been in business since 1973 and to my knowledge they have never gone out of business. I co-ordinated with thier shipping office and ordered my boiler on Dec 5, 2012 and received the boiler on Dec 7, 2012. I had an EKO 40 in my garage until the insurance company decided to change my policy and I ran that for 4 years without storage. I was temperamental when the temps dropped and I had to load in a bunch of cold wood but otherwise was quite adequate for my needs. Best to you in your search. http://www.portageandmainboilers.com/gasification_pages/g-economizerIDM.html
  25. MaverickM23

    MaverickM23 New Member

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    Im in central PA. Now you guys have me thinking that I should turn my low point down a little, think it would hurt anything?

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