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Strongly thinking about buying a Wood Gun

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Scotts Bum Wine, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Scotts Bum Wine

    Scotts Bum Wine New Member

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    Hello all-

    I have been reading this forum for ... about .... well ... oh Christmas .... a very long time now. I have been searching for a suitable wood gasification boiler that will suit my needs and situation. So far the Wood Gun E140 appears to fit my needs. I had been leaning toward the Empyre Elite, but the recent thread about boiler rust made me do a little head scratching. I looked further into my alternatives, and the Wood Gun stood out, based on some positive comments on this board and some nice videos from a fellow NY State resident, albeit a downstate one. ;o) I won't get into the weeds about how I arrived at my current preference. What I would like is a pdf of a Wood Gun owner's manual. I can find electronic owner's manuals for a variety of boilers online, but I have not been able to find one for the Wood Gun E140. Would any of you fine Steam Heads have one that you could share? I need to research everything down to the Nth degree before I will make a purchase. Must be the engineer in me. Plus the Kid is off to Duke this fall, so money is kinda tight.

    Regards,
    Scott

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  2. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm. Trying to remember if I got a CD with my wood gun? I will see what I can dig up for you Scott. I am not in downstate NY. That guy from the Island is a little strange if you ask me. ;em Hi Mike! ;lol I am about as far North as you can get. And I like my E100 Wood Gun. Heating a house just over 4000 sq.ft., a 900 sq.ft. garage to 45 ::F, and our Domestic Hot Water (DHW) for showers, dishes, and the like. With these temps in 20's and 30's I fill it once around 7pm and once around 7am. Nice.:cool:

    May I ask how much you are going to heat with it. And if you are planning storage?
  3. Scotts Bum Wine

    Scotts Bum Wine New Member

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    You're heating all that with an E100? Wow! You're all the way up in the North Country too. We certainly don't get as cold as you, here in the Ontario Lake Planes region between Rochester and Niagara Falls. I bet an E100 would work for me as well. I plan to heat a 2,600 SF Victorian (37 windows) and a 24 x 36 shop. As far as storage goes, I will see what I can stuff through my cellar door. I don't think any of those 500 gallon propane submarines will fit through, but maybe a few 100 gallon tanks will.
    Since I have your attention, Mr. Gasifier: can you run a Wood Gun pressurized? I have looked all over, and I think the answer is yes, because I see pictures of systems with expansion tanks. I like the idea of having a sealed system, and starving the water of rust causing oxygen. My home has the original piping and radiators (pressurized), so it serves as a testimonial as to how long iron components will last in that type of system (100 years).
    Also, if I can pick your nose a little more: Have you found that you can burn larger pieces of wood in your Wood Gun? In my business (heavy highway construction) I frequently get wood, but it is from big (what we used to call) wolf trees --- big honkin' trees from a dooryard or curb-lawn, where the grain is all gnarled up. These trees don't readily split down to the "playing card" size required by some boilers, or at least w/o a lot of effort and waste.

    Thanks,
    Scott
  4. mark123

    mark123 Member

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    The woodgun does run pressurized and it will burn anything any size you put in it, I routinely burn rounds that barely fit in the 14" door, Actutally mine likes big round wood better than small stuff.
  5. CTFIRE

    CTFIRE Member

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    hey scott whats your email? I will send you the pdf. Or you can call AHS and they will send it to you. I have a 140 and have been using it since December. If you get one, you will find a lot of great threads on the forum. Search Woodgun and Wood Gun separately. Also Gas is right about the guy from the Island!!! . No doubt he will post shortly.
    Gasifier likes this.
  6. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Don't buy one. 20 years ago Wood Guns were pieces of shiite in one man's opinion.

    ac
    CTFIRE likes this.
  7. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Scott, I have 31 windows and 3 doors in my entire place including garage, plus the two garage doors. Some windows are new about 8 years ago. Some are original from 35 years ago when house was built. Some sections of house the insulation is good in. Some not so good. We have done some remodeling over the years. The garage has new closed cell spray foam insulation in walls and ceiling, so insulation is excellent. Some small leaks around the garage doors. Garage doors are steel, insulated and new about 5 or 6 years ago. I don't know where you are planning on installing your boiler, but much of the reason mine will heat this big house for the time that it does is it is in the basement. The boiler radiates off a lot of heat. The thermostate in the basement is always set at 60 degrees and it is usually 75 degrees down there. I think if I had to do it again though I would put the boiler in an attached building(garage) or an out building of it's own. Just so that all the wood was outside with the boiler. No mess in the house and no bugs. If I had done that then I would have had to go with the E140 to get long burn times. But, what I do is stay right after the mess. Everytime I move wood, I clean up any mess I make. About once a week I clean the boiler room. Keep these things in mind. I do not know how much experience you have with burning wood. But it is a lot of work. Especially if you start going through 10 full cord a year. (30 face cord in a full year, I heat my DHW year round with wood boiler now.) It is also some extra work to clean the boiler and the messes you make. Although I do not mind it. You will also need dry wood for a gassification boiler. You can not get your wood in the fall and start burning it that year with these boilers. Dry wood is better in any wood burner. The wood you burn should be cut/split/stacked and be outside for at least a year before you burn it. The best thing to do is get ahead at least a full year, a lot of guys on hearth get themselves to a point of being ahead two years or more. If you do not have your wood for next year, get it quick. Ash has a lower moisture content and dries fast because of it's straight grain. Get your entire supply for next year c/s/s by April or May and ready for next year so it can season. Even if you have to buy. Do you plan on buying some wood or c/s/s your own, or both. I c/s/s about 2/3 of mine and buy 1/3. Eventually hope to get to the point of c/s/s all of mine. The Wood Gun will burn larger pieces of wood, but it is best to split your wood smaller to let it season better, and this also helps your boiler to get and keep good gassification. It needs a good bed of coals to keep gassification going. So I would say split everything to 6 inches across. With my E100 I cut mine about 20-22 inches, some guys go with 24 inch. It will take wood up to 26 inches. I like a little room to move the wood a bit and the splitter I rent has a max length of 24 inches. Sorry about the novel. ;em
    CTFIRE likes this.
  8. Scotts Bum Wine

    Scotts Bum Wine New Member

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    Good morning all, and thank you for your responses to my questions.

    Mark- It was good to hear that the Wood Gun will accept larger hunks of wood, if need be. I see from your signature that you have a stainless steel model. I was thinking about going with one of those. One quick question: What's "auto oil"? Is that a fuel oil burner?

    Jason- Thank you for your offer to send a pdf of the owner's manual. I will send my email address to you through the board's messaging system. Don't want to get inundated with spam.

    ac- There's a Wood Gun owners underground? Is that like the Mason's lodge? :D

    Gasifier- Thank you for the lengthy post and all the information. I am planning on putting the boiler in my shop (out building), for the same reasons that you mentioned --- keep the mess and bugs outside. I have heated both my home and shop with wood, coal (anthracite), and fuel oil, depending on what I could get cheaper, for 27 years. I have four stoves and a boiler. Well, coal has gotten to be off-the-charts expensive, and I do not see the price coming back down ever again, hence my interest in upgrading to a more modern wood heating system. Then I can get rid of my plethora of stoves --- two coal and two wood. I should have done this a year or more ago, because college tuition is placing a hurtin' on my bill-fold, so it might be a couple of years before I can make the investment.
    It looks as though the Wood Gun has relatively simple off-the-shelf controls. Is this correct? Are there any areas on a Wood Gun which are a maintenance headache? I saw some nozzle replacement posts on this board. Are the replacement nozzles expensive? Do you think the stainless steel upgrade is worth the extra money? I saw a video online in which a Wood Gun owner said that there should be a couple of 90° bends in the flue pipe. I have also seen some pictures on this board where it appears as though the flue pipe is running vertical. Any opinion on that? I would prefer to run mine vertical, as that would best fit in my shop. Because of space limitations, I would like to put the storage in the house --- about 100' from the boiler. Is this doable? Do most people buy their boilers from a dealer, or directly from the factory in PA? Do I ask a lot of questions? ;)

    Thanks,
    Scott
  9. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    If you can have your pipe go vertical all the way, I would say do it that way. I got rid of my horizontal runs and ran insulated stainless steel at about a 45 degree angle right after it comes out of the cyclone and that goes over to one short two foot section of horizontal that runs through the thimble in the wall and then the 90 clean out and up is all stainless steel insulated. So everything in insulated except a short adjustable 90 deg. black pipe fitting. I went with the stainless steel hull. I believe it is worth the extra money. Coming up soon is when AHS has there spring sale. You can usually get 10% off your boiler at that time of the year. I think they do it in March or April. Give them a call or check out the web site. 10% off regular price just about covers the extra cost of going stainless. Wood Gun has simple controls. The Wood Gun is a very simple boiler to clean. It takes about 15 minutes. All horizontal tubes that can be cleaned with the tool that comes with the boiler. Nozzle replacement for the E100 cost about $110. As far as the 90 deg. bends in the flue pipe go, I disagree. But that is just me. The reason they say you should have that is because most installations, I would think, go through the wall with a thimble or to a chimney. So they think you should have a couple of 90 deg. elbows so that you can take a cap off or a elbow out and then clean those sections of horizontal runs. But without horizontal runs, the pipe stays cleaner. You just have to be sure you check your ash cyclone often and make sure it is not plugged at the bottom. If it gets plugged, which is easy enough for it to happen, the ash can not fall down into the ash pan and then gets forced up the pipe by the fan. As with any wood burning appliance you should clean or have your chimney cleaned at least twice a year. And check it often. My chimney use to stay almost spotless with my wood stove I use to burn in. That was because stack temperatures were high. With the gassification boilers your stack temperatures are much lower with proper gassification and this can lead to a chimney that is less clean. Many variables effect this though. How long your run is, the moisture content of your wood, the type of wood you burn, what type of chimney you have, weather it is insulated or not, etc., etc. If you go directly vertical through your roof you obviously need to be certain it is done correctly because you have a hole in your roof. I am not a fan of holes in roofs, but as long as they are done correctly you should not have any problems. You will want to be sure your stack goes a healthy distance above your roof. The Wood Gun has a strong fan and you may end up with some embers coming out the top of your stack. Is your roof steel? You don't have a straw roof do you. ;lol
  10. Scotts Bum Wine

    Scotts Bum Wine New Member

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    Straw roof! HA! That's funny. :) No, the shop has a steel roof. The chimney is Metalbestos triple-wall, goes straight up through the roof, and projects a few feet above the peak. It draws very nicely. Thanks for all the information and the heads-up on the AHS sale.

    Scott
  11. CTFIRE

    CTFIRE Member

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    I don't think AHS sells the carbon steel anymore. Just SS
  12. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Scott, I'm not aware of any WG dealers...but then I also was not aware that all they sell now is SS :)

    A side note, I was recently in touch with a WG owner(also SS) and her unit is 20+ years old and still doing the job. I have to agree with Gas on the elimination of horizontal pipe a much sa possible, I didnt have much of an option there and life would be much easier w/o the run I have.

    Auto mode is for units that have the oil burner attached. Oil is the most feasible back up for us so that's what we have although I probably have not burned much more than 20 gallons in the last 4 years. Come on down to see the WG in operation...we like wine! :)
  13. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I have a manual oil backup on my Wood Gun. I have yet to install the oil burner and hook it up. My oil lines just kinda float unattached next to my boiler. It makes me happy that way.

    ac
    711mhw likes this.
  14. Scotts Bum Wine

    Scotts Bum Wine New Member

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    Hi Muncybob-

    Thanks for the invite. I might just take you up on that visit someday. ;) Are you in Centre County? I lived there in the early 80's while at PSU.
    Not sure if you'd like my wine. I'm not the best vintner, hence the name Bum Wine. It can only be consumed from a paper bag while sitting under a bridge.
    Thanks for the news about the 20+ year Wood Gun owner. That's what I like to hear. If I am going to drop many thousands of dollars on a heating plant, then by golly I want it to last a long time.

    Scott
  15. Scotts Bum Wine

    Scotts Bum Wine New Member

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    ac-

    I agree --- not using fuel oil would make me happy too. I think it is still over $4.00 per gallon here, which irritates me to some degree. Gasoline is $3.90, and it comes off a higher lever of the cracking tower, plus the price includes road use taxes!

    I'm not sure if I would go with the oil backup or not. I have a good oil boiler, which I will tie into the wood boiler. The only advantage that I could see is to keep the wood boiler from freezing in the barn, if I decide to take a winter vacation. But a small electric heater would probably take care of that.

    Scott
  16. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Scott, we are not far away from State College...near Williamsport. Just got my PSU alumni credit card and ironiclly my first purchase was a spare set of center bricks from AHS.
    We have a local winery we like and one of my favorites there is Beach Bum.
  17. Scotts Bum Wine

    Scotts Bum Wine New Member

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    Gee, I'm guessing you might be near Muncy for some reason. ;) I drive through there, on I-180, a few times per year, on the way to-and-from NC. It's a pretty area! So you're a Nittany Lion too! Small world. I tried to get my daughter to go to old PSU, but they are tight with the financial aid these days, so she chose Duke Univ. instead.
    I see AHS is in Chambersburg --- not too far off my beaten path --- maybe 7 hours from my home.

    Scott
  18. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    If you tie them together, you can use the oil burner in the house to prevent the WG from freezing in the barn.

    ac
  19. Scotts Bum Wine

    Scotts Bum Wine New Member

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    ac-

    Good point! I had not thought of using the oil boiler to keep the wood boiler warm while away. Thanks!

    Scott
  20. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    When you say tie them together AC, do you mean have them plumbed in series? If so, would it be better to plumb them parallel to each other for efficiency sake, so that the wood boiler wouldd not be heating the oil boiler when in normal use, and then have a valve or two that he could open/close so that when away he could warm the one in the barn? I am just trying to understand what you guys are thinking.
  21. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    There are many options.

    A lot of guys like to plumb them in series so the switch to oil backup is as easy at the original boiler control on the oil being set to ~140F. Then the wood boiler normally keeps the oil boiler off by maintaining temps above that. In the event of vacation, the oil boiler would then keep the wood boiler from freezing.

    Plumbing in parallel would increase theoretical efficiency, but would require a more complex control setup to be "automatic" for both backup and freeze prevention.

    ac
  22. mark123

    mark123 Member

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    Before you order it ask about all available options, I am glad I got the automatic shut down and cycle timer, I have talked to a few that wish they had known about these options. The auto oil simply turns on the oil burner when the wood goes out although in the 3 years I have had it I never used it. I did run the oil on manual for a week when I went to Cuba last winter. You can order it with any size door you want if you have large wood available, I think 14" is standard.
  23. Scotts Bum Wine

    Scotts Bum Wine New Member

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    mark123-

    I'm glad you mentioned the options. I will ask what upgrades are available when I decide to order.

    A lot of folks appear to have the smoke hood. I'm thinking this must be a pretty good upgrade, even in a barn/shop?
  24. mark123

    mark123 Member

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    You will need the smoke hood for sure.
  25. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    Are you planning on running storage with the wood gun?

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