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The EPA and conventional Outside Wood Boilers?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by fabguy01, Jun 9, 2009.

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  1. fabguy01

    fabguy01 New Member

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    With all the new EPA stuff going on in the world off wood burning the word on the street is that they are going to ban the sale, manufacture, and install of the "old school" wood boilers. Can anyone here confirm this?
    The main reason I ask is that there is a local manufacture here that this would affect badly in michigans already crappy economy.

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  2. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    I think it is a State issue.

    Colorado is talking about it, can only be a question of time.

    Tell him to manufacture something more suitable for this century.
  3. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I bet if anything does come down it will be limited to more "densely" populated areas. It doesn't make much sense to burn an OWB if your closest neighbor is 100 feet away. Get out of the cities and suburbs and it seems to be less of an issue.

    As I've poured over posts and articles on OWB's both here in Michigan and elsewhere it really seems to always come down to how they are used. With good wood and proper use an OWB can burn very clean. Maybe the EPA's solution will be the development of some strict rules on how to use a wood boiler and what can/cannot be burned in them. No doubt strict fines would be involved for all violaters. I'm not sure this is a real solution to anything but it sure seems to make more sense to me than an all-out ban. I've got friends that burn outdoor Classic units that do it right and they produce very little smoke. They shouldn't be penalized for the actions of the other guys burning trash and tires in their OWB's....
  4. fabguy01

    fabguy01 New Member

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    Yea I've mentioned that to him, but with the economy being what it is, his bigest selling point is his price and he just cant produce anything for near the same price. his boilers start at $3,500 and he has 3 different sizes that add $1,000 per size. :coolsmirk:
  5. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    Unfortunately I think we'll see the OWB go the way of the Dodo because of the same said peeps who burn tires and trash. Fines for stupidity only work if someone around to catch you and hand you a ticket. Case in point: Littering...we have steep fines in place for those who throw trash on the ground, yet, if you drive along any road, there is trash. If we had a way to actually collect on these things our towns and states would be super wealthy. We may not see broad band prohibition of OWB, but we'll see silly installation requirements like 40' radius of non-combustable material, chimney not less than 2times the height of your house but not more than 1.5 times the height of your neighbors house, burning only on odd days between May 15th and Oct 8th. .......ect. It is the American way to punish the many for the actions of the few.
  6. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

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    The biggest problem with the traditional OWB is that it is inherently inefficient. Inefficient means dirty burning so I would suggest that ultimately emissions regulations will be the death knell.

    The huge firebox is (essentially) completely surrounded by water and the boilers are normally grossly over-sized. How many residential applications can use a 300k+ BTU boiler?

    In order to get a clean efficient burn, wood needs to burn intensely and at high temperature - upwards of 1800+ degrees. The water surrounding the firebox in a traditional OWB is a relatively cool 160 to 180 degrees which never allows these high temperatures to be reached. Add to this the gross over-sizing and the boiler operates in a perpetual smolder phase. As with any wood boiler heat storage can address this issue, but does not seem to be part of the OWB Way. Gasifiers get such high efficiency because the secondary burn chamber is refractory lined, not water jacketed, and the heat is not sucked out of the fire until AFTER that secondary burn. Add storage for the ideal set-up.

    To their credit, several OWB manufacturers are developing gasification-type boilers and I am sure that these are/will burn much more cleanly and efficiently than the traditional style. Just like when EPA mandated emissions standards for woodstoves back in the late 1980's some companies will exit the industry and those who innovate will survive. The next challenge for the OWB industry will be to get regulators to understand that these 'new' type boilers are not the same old smudge pots so installation restrictions should be relaxed.

    The next generation of OWB will require nice dry firewood just like any efficient wood burner, so the days of garbage, tires, wet wood and deer carcasses being burned will go away too. You still won't be able to load fuel in your slippers though! :)
  7. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

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    You forgot dead calfs
  8. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    A single stage fire such as found in a typical OWB will never be clean or efficient. Mr Bio-heat nailed it when he stated that an optimum burn cannot be reached unless the combustion process is somehow "shielded" from heat transfer surfaces. Nearly all Euro design downdraft gasifiers operate under that simple principle. Garn goes one step further and effectively shields the firebox itself through an air wash effect created by negative pressure and correctly located combustion air inlets in the firebox. Any wood burner that relies on the firebox itself for heat transfer will have a high particulate count as well as sub standard efficiency. BTW, it is very common to have a burn that appears smoke free but has a high particulate count.
  9. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Although in my youth I never thought too much about it, where I am now is that waste, of any kind, never makes sense or $cents, and the social cost of waste, from disposal to environmental to health of humans, is huge. Waste is false economy of the worst sort. The waster achieves a perceived personal financial or social benefit while imposing the much larger social cost on the rest of us. Mandated efficiency, call it regulation, is a win-win for everyone.

    I'm not saying that all "efficiency" regulation is a win-win -- that is a completely different issue. I'm just saying that efficiency and conservation of resources in all areas, rather than waste, is a very worthy goal, and in pursuing this goal we need to be intentional about determining and publicizing the social costs of our choices. I think the public is pretty ignorant of the actual costs of a great many choices, and therefore makes very wasteful choices with the thought that these choices are economical or otherwise "worth the cost." The trouble is, we aren't given information about, or perhaps don't even know, what the cost really is.

    Not wanting my position to be "overkill' (pun fully intended), I simply don't want to pay the lung cancer cost of my neighbor's perceived economy in using a wasteful and air polluting heating appliance.
  10. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Another guy speaking the truth!
  11. altheating

    altheating New Member

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    New York State will ban them. The new draft is placing the burdon on the dealers just as VT has done. They will make it illegal for any dealer to sell a non certified OWB to any New York homeowner. This is take directely from the OWB Draft as I received it a month or so ago. It has not been passed yet, but it will be soon.
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    One potential problem that I see if they DO ban OWB's and thus cause people to switch to gassers, is that I don't see it necessarily helping the pollution issue all that much. While we all like to brag on how clean a gasser CAN burn, if properly operated, it is also no secret that if improperly operated they will still burn just as dirty as any pre-EPA smoke dragon...

    What worries me is that while some OWB operators will get and appreciate the economy of a gasser, it also seems likely to me that the OWB industry's "problem users" - those that burn green wood, garbage, tires, telephone poles, etc. in their OWB's. The jerks that smoke out their neighbors with an OWB are probably going to be shoveling the same crap into their new gassers, and continuing to smoke out their neighbors (While complaining about how poorly their abused gasser does at heating their homes...)

    What will THAT do to the acceptability of a gasifier in the community at large?

    Something to think about... :coolhmm:

    Gooserider
  13. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Goose - your point is well taken. The solution starts, hopefully, with the mfrs/dealers who will design and market wood heating appliances and train users so that the appliances are properly used and will minimize the "fuel" abuses you cite. Our mfrs/dealers have a long history of being foot-loose and fancy-free, anything goes, no regulation, no responsibility, and the larger public be *amned. Time to end this.

    Personally, I'm fed up with the fast buck, easy street, approach of our society, from industries of all sorts to the consumer. The mantra long heard is personal responsibility. The problem is that there are too many who do not actually assumes personal responsibility (and these are not the so-called welfare crowd) where there is an adverse impact on profits of the mfr/dealer or the pocketbook of the consumer. This leaves the truly responsible mfr/dealer and consumer out in in left field, out of business, and mocked by the "smart" guys and gals who revel in beating the system. And in fact, often the "smart" ones are held up as the model to follow rather than be placed in stocks on the public square.

    History of the last 30 some years has proven that we are irresponsible living in a minimum regulation society. The mantra of govt being the problem, not the solution, (Pres Reagan) has dealt us a bum hand. On the macro scale it has bought us a global financial meltdown. It also has bought us a collapsing health care system, an education system in shambles, massive concentrated wealth in the hands of the abusive few, destroyed retirement accounts, accelerated climate change/global warming, pollution of our lands and waters that may end up destroying us, and abusive use of every resource to the point that the future of the whole human race is at risk.

    I don't want anyone telling me what to do any more than you do. But as a society we have proven to ourselves by our behavior that we are irresponsible in self-management and that our short-term greed has trumped the long-term best interests of our society. That's got to stop, more deregulation won't fix it, and unless we invent something else or somehow finally become enlightened to the point that we accept "we all do well only we all do well," it's going to be a government that shows us a better way and better future than the hands-off government ushered in by Reagan which sold us a false bill of goods.
  14. altheating

    altheating New Member

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    I always say there are some people out there that should only burn firewood in a fire pit, it doesn't matter how sophisticated the appliance is, they still want to burn in a fire pit. I just can't believe someone will spend 8-$12,000 on a new gasser and try o use it like a conventional OWB. Cutting their firewood usage by 2/3 should be enough incentive to get their firewood supply in and dry enough to make the gasser operate at its best. Not smoking out the neighbors is even more of a reason to use the gasser properly.
  15. 603doug

    603doug Member

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    I am glad that we have all figured out that the world problems are caused be owb users. I have several friends who burn properly(no tires,dead cats or dispose of any trash to avoid tipping fees). As their dirty "carbon footprint" goes most owb users use best management practices to maintain their wood lots, properly insulate their dwellings etc. Education is the key, we do not need any level "uninformed government mandated fee,reg or non elected official to oversee our finite resource". We all are very concerned about waste and might be alittle more aware due to fact we are directly involved in gathering our fuel and several wasted cords burnt mean more effort etc.(money and labor are to things we like to conserve). Yes ,a form of government is needed to to maintain a "civilized" society but as I watch the current situation respond to the crisis that the "gov" has created I have a hard time being convinced that bigger and more control is better for the "masses" but only for a small few "case in point General Motors."
    Okay I admit I tend to lean to the libertarian side of things and I will get off my soapbox.

    Pitchforks anyone:)
  16. rphurley

    rphurley Feeling the Heat

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    I'm sure that we all know people who refuse to properly season their firewood. They'll say that their wood burns just fine, and they refuse to believe that more time and planning will give them much better results. Frustrates the heck out of me!
  17. fabguy01

    fabguy01 New Member

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    WOW :bug: you must be a gov employee to be thinking like this, Just kidding. But it just makes me laugh when i hear people talking about us dirty un-environmentally responsible americans. IMO everyone who thinks this way needs to take a trip yo India or China and not on the big money sight seeing tours, go to the Massive industrial areas, and then you will see irresponsibility. and dont say Ohh I've seen pictures because that dose it not 1 cent of justice. And I know what all will say "if we just show them the way they will follow" total B.S.Those countrys are in the same place now that we were in during the industrial revolution.And it is a process that takes time for them to figure out themselves just like we did. BTW have you seen what the all powerful gov has done with all its new power of giving YOUR money away to greedy corporations? anyway, I dont think mor gov control is the answer to anything. P.S. probably time to go to the ash can eh?
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Seems to be headed in the Asch Can direction, but only if we continue on the current side track... It would be good to see a return back to the OP's question about whether or not OWB's are going to get outlawed or not, which really hasn't been answered. (At this point in time, I'm not sure it can be...)

    While I have mixed feelings about whether or not they should be, my instinct, based on observation of past behaviour, is that they probably will be... Further, I'd be willing to bet that the restriction will have unintended consequences that hurt far more people than the original smoke boxes did, and WON'T solve the basic problem of excessive smoke...

    Gooserider
  19. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Another point well taken.
  20. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

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    I don't think the elected government officials know which end of a chainsaw to hold on to. Rest assured they will take the OWB problem and make it ten times worse and jack the cost up for a wood burner to the point we will all go back to big oil and bend over for them and take it in the @ss. I always believed a little regulation was ok, to the point that if enough people complain a compromise should be made between neighbors. I believe that gassifiers are a much better product and the free market will prove it, not regulation. Gov. regulations are decided by lawmakers that don't know how to stack firewood so they vote the way of the action group that has the best lawyer. I think owb will be gone when owb owners see gassifier owners pack up and go fishing or hunting when owb owners are still making wood. Also, I think firewood will get hared to come by. It is for me cause pulpers take the whole tree and run it through a chipper right into a semi and leave nothing. I used to take 2 cords of branches a year, now there's nothing but a 6" stump. Everyone is totally jumping on firewood now days and it's to some degree because owb owners need 10 cord a year when they could use 4-5 cords. I know a guy who is always making wood. He burns 20 cords a year. He is crazy if his next isn't a gassifier. P.s. I think Reagan was the best president we had in 50 years. I think the people want everything way too cheap and forget about quality in the long run.
  21. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    i think its interesting....the key to ANY system of combustion that is going to be operated by the home-owner is education. I have a saying.. that may be stolen (probably is) but i dont know where it came from...."Doing something the wrong way for 30 years doesn't make you an expert, just makes you wrong"..and there will always be the die hard independant thinkers who take no consult, seek no guru, and ignore the free advice of their neighbors. I think those people generally don't occupy Hearth.com. Everyone here is sharing what they've learned or learning what others share. We tend to be the people doing the leg work and recognize that knowledge becomes power when given. It sthe guy who doesn't get on here, doesn't read his manual, doesn't bother to appreciate the science of fire that causes many of our woes. Having been in customer service for moons now, I have a huge amount of respect for the peeps on this site. I'm an eternal student of many disciplines (father is a Prof, mother and 2 sisters teachers) and marvel at the thirts for knowledge here. Maybe instead of regulation and code ammendments there should be a pre-requisite "spend a week on Hearth.com" before you can own any potential smoke dragon (wood,pellet,coal,peat,dung,corn,rendered animal fat). Sort of like a waiting period for gun ownership.
  22. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    "I don’t think the elected government officials know which end of a chainsaw to hold on to."

    Another truth speaker!
    I have a gut instinct telling me that if we had men familiar with the use and operation of chainsaws running this country, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now. Too many educated idiots running things.
  23. fabguy01

    fabguy01 New Member

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    :coolsmirk: :coolsmirk:
    Now were on to something :coolsmirk: :coolsmirk:
  24. smokywoodmaster

    smokywoodmaster New Member

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    Another Massachusetts town looking to ban outdoor wood boilers.

    The Town of Holliston Board of Health voted last week to ban any new or existing units.
    It is subject to DEP approval.
    There is only one known boiler in town.
    About 35 towns have now set their own regulations.

    New STATE rules took effect 12/08 which limit emissions
    Require EPA Phase 2 "White Tag" (not many choices there)
    http://www.mass.gov/dep/air/community/burnwood.htm
    • As of Dec. 26, only the cleanest burning wood boilers could be sold in the state, those that emit less than .32 pounds of particulate matter for every million BTUs of heat produced.
    • Existing outdoor wood boilers that do not meet the new state emission standards cannot be operated between May 16 and Sept. 30 unless they are more than 500 feet from the nearest occupied dwelling.
    • An existing wood boiler located within 150 feet of an occupied dwelling it does not serve (such as a neighbor's house) must have a smokestack at least two feet higher than the peak of any roof structure within 150 feet. Owners of such wood boilers have until March 1 to comply.
    • It is unlawful to operate a wood burner in such a manner that the smoke from it exceeds an average of 20 percent opacity for two minutes in any one-hour period.
  25. altheating

    altheating New Member

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    You will see that most states that are working on something are using the NESCAUM model rule or a version of it. Then we have to thank our former Governer Spitzer for his lying report 'Smoke gets in your lungs". Below is the NYS Draft as I received it a month or so ago.

    DRAFT
    Page 1 of 12
    Express Terms
    6 NYCRR Part 247, Outdoor Wood Boilers
    Section 247.1 Applicability. This Part applies to outdoor wood boilers. Sections 247.3 and 247.4 of this Part apply generally to all outdoor wood boilers. In addition to the general provisions, sections 247.5 through 247.9 apply specifically to new outdoor wood boilers, and section 247.10 applies specifically to existing outdoor wood boilers.
    Section 247.2 Definitions.
    (a) To the extent that they are not inconsistent with the specific definitions in subdivision (b) of this section, the general definitions of Part 200 and Subpart 201-2 of this Title shall apply to this Part.
    (b) For the purposes of this Part, the following definitions apply:
    (1) ‘Agricultural land’. The land and on-farm buildings, equipment, manure processing and handling facilities, and practices that contribute to the production, preparation and marketing of crops, livestock and livestock products as a commercial enterprise, including a ‘commercial horse boarding operation’ and ‘timber processing’. Such farm operation may consist of one or more parcels of owned or rented land, which parcels may be contiguous or noncontiguous to each other.
    (2) ‘Clean wood’. Wood that has not been painted, stained, or treated with any other coatings or preservatives, including, but not limited to, chromated copper arsenate, creosote, alkaline copper quaternary, copper azole or pentachlorophenol.
    DRAFT
    Page 2 of 12
    (3) ‘Commence operation’. The initial start-up of the combustion chamber of a new outdoor wood boiler after all piping and electrical connections between the new outdoor wood boiler and the building(s) it serves have been completed.
    (4) ‘Commercial-size new outdoor wood boiler’. A new outdoor wood boiler with a thermal output rating greater than 250,000 British thermal units per hour (Btu/h).
    (5) ‘Distributor’. Any person who sells or leases a new outdoor wood boiler to an end user. A distributor may be a manufacturer or agent thereof or an independent contractor.
    (6) ‘End user’. Any person who purchases or acquires any new outdoor wood boiler for personal, family, household, commercial or institutional use. Persons acquiring a new outdoor wood boiler for resale are not end users for that product.
    (7) ‘Existing outdoor wood boiler’. An outdoor wood boiler that commenced operation prior to April 15, 2010.
    (8) ‘Manufacturer’. Any person who makes or produces a new outdoor wood boiler that is ultimately operated in New York.
    (9) ‘Model’. All new outdoor wood boilers manufactured by a single manufacturer that are similar in all material and design respects.
    DRAFT
    Page 3 of 12
    (10) ‘New outdoor wood boiler’. An outdoor wood boiler that commences operation on or after April 15, 2010.
    (11) ‘Outdoor wood boiler’. A fuel burning device that (a) is designed to burn wood or other approved fuels; (b) is specified by the manufacturer for outdoor installation or installation in structures not normally occupied by humans; and (c) is used to heat building space and/or water via the distribution, typically through pipes, of a gas or liquid (e.g., water or water/antifreeze mixture) heated in the device.
    (12) ‘Residential-size new outdoor wood boiler’. A new outdoor wood boiler that has a thermal output rating of 250,000 Btu/h or less.
    (13) ‘Responsible official’. A president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, general partner, proprietor, principal executive officer, or any other person who performs policy or decision making functions and is authorized to legally bind a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship which is subject to the provisions of this Part.
    (14) ‘Test Method 28-OWHH’. “EPA Test Method 28 OWHH for Measurement of Particulate Emissions and Heating Efficiency of Outdoor Wood-Fired Hydronic Heating Appliances”, Attachment 2 of the “EPA Outdoor Wood-fired Hydronic Heater Program Phase I Partnership Agreement” dated March 16, 2007 (see Table 1, Section 200.9 of this Title).
    (15) ‘Thermal output rating’. The heat value in Btu/h that a manufacturer specifies a particular model of new outdoor wood boiler is capable of supplying at its design capacity.
    DRAFT
    Page 4 of 12
    Section 247.3 Prohibitions.
    (a) No person shall operate an outdoor wood boiler that does not meet the requirements set forth in this Part.
    (b) Prohibited fuels. No person shall burn any of the following items in an outdoor wood boiler:
    (1) wood that does not meet the definition of clean wood;
    (2) garbage;
    (3) tires;
    (4) yard waste, including lawn clippings;
    (5) materials containing plastic;
    (6) materials containing rubber;
    (7) waste petroleum products;
    (8) paints or paint thinners;
    (9) household or laboratory chemicals;
    (10) coal;
    (11) paper except as described in paragraph 247.4(a)(4) of this Part;
    (12) construction and demolition debris;
    (13) plywood;
    (14) particleboard;
    (15) fiberboard;
    (16) oriented strand board;
    (17) manure;
    (18) animal carcasses;
    (19) asphalt products;
    DRAFT
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