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The Roar of an Oil Boiler!

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by willyswagon, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    So here it is 345 am and I'm trying to figure out exactly what went on.

    My daughter has been home sick for the last three days, coughing like mad.
    I was woke up by one of her coughing fits, went to get her some water. As I came down stairs I checked the thermostat(70*F). Walked into the kitchen to get her a glass of water.

    Looked at the temp on the boiler 161*F, thought oh well it must just have fired back up.
    Went back up stairs and heard this sound. WTH!! Came running back down to find the Oil Boiler hammering away and the the water temp at 144*F.

    I opened up the fire box to find all of the wood has been turned to charcoal. I rustled up the coals and shut the door, and instant gasification. The temp on the WB was increasing by 1*F per minute. WTH, ok now I'm fully awake and wondering what is going on.

    The temp hits 165*, it shuts off the OB, temps drop to 155* and it continues to gasify, while slowly bring up the temps.

    My question is this, why did it completely turn the load of wood to charcoal?
    Did I put to much fuel in there for what the heat load was to be?
    Presently it is -5*F with 30 mph NW winds, I filled the boiler at 9 pm as we are all fighting this bug and I was hoping to get the first decent nights sleep in a week, and not have to worry if I slept till 8 or 830.

    On the good side I now know that my OB will indeed come on if needed==c

    Here is the scary part .... Your thoughts????

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  2. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    Update: 645 and still no sleep.

    Outdoors -7* F, winds 25mph. This is as cold as it ever gets around here. Set records yesteray, and will most likely do so today.

    The house is still @ 70*F the WB is hoovering @ 170* F. It will stay there if I stir the charcoal every 45 min or so. If I let it go longer than that, it starts dropping about 1* every 10 min.
    The charcoal is about 12" deep in there.

    I just threw two small splits over the nozzle hoping that it may cause hole to be chewed down to the nozzle.
    Has anyone else seen this before?
  3. Sounds like you had some bridging occur that created the charcoal. I'd let it burn down and check everything after you get some sleep.
  4. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    That's what I was wondering, but it had not happened since November. I thought I had figured out how to load it so it wouldn't bridge.

    Is there any way to effectively burn out all of that charcoal, other than stirring every 30-45 min??

    As far as sleep, that will come tonight. I'm just glad the kids are feeling good enough to go to school today
  5. When it happened to me I just stirred it up once and went to bed. It was gone by morning. Unless something is blocked up I imagine your boiler should do the same.
  6. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,711
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    I have had that happen several times. Occurs with super dry wood, full firebox and long hot continuous fire. Pyrolyses the whole load. In normal operation you want that to happen on a limited basis where coals are produced just above the fire to make coals above the nozzle but with a hot prolonged fire and extremely dry wood, it happens to the whole load. With wet wood, fuel just above the fire takes longer to turn to charcoal because much of the time is spent drying. That's when bridging occurs because the coals below are burned away before the wetter piece can produce a coal bed.

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