1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Thermo Control boiler gasification?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Chris VanMaaren, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Chris VanMaaren

    Chris VanMaaren New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    I am new to boilers but am looking to put an add on to my oil powered water baseboard heating system and found the Thermo Control boilers. They describe themselves as gasification units but I'm not sure if you guys would agree. Please check out their Model 2000 and tell me what you think.
    http://www.thermocontrolheating.com/

    I like the idea on an add on set up as I wouldn't have to redo the unit and would still have a way to heat the house when I wasn't around to add wood.

    Thanks

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. rwh442

    rwh442 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    They are natural draft conventional boilers. I have a 2000 model and it has done well for me. Load it about 3.5 times per day depending on wether. My average wood consumption has been about 7.5 - 8 cords per year. 2000 sq ft ranch house, full basement, kept at 71 all year. Boiler is in a 1600 sq ft detached 3 car garage that averages low to mid 60's due to the radiant heat off the boiler. That being said the boiler would use much less wood if it was installed in my basement. I'm happy with the setup though because I play in the garage often.

    I'm sure a gasser is more efficient but cannot put numbers to it. I have no storage other than the 130 gallons the 2000 holds plus lines, expansion tanks and have no issues.

    I initially had issues with overfire or high stack temps but added draft controls four years ago that limit my stack temps to 600 degrees and it has behaved itself since. Just load and walk away - simple.
  3. Chris VanMaaren

    Chris VanMaaren New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Thanks for the info rwh442. Does it burn fairly clean or will it build up creosite in the chimney? I have an old chimney from an oil unit that was in the garage and I could work with that but worry about having 2 turns in the pipe.
  4. Trex83

    Trex83 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    45
    Loc:
    Far Eastern Ontario, Canada
    Hi Chris,
    do you have more info on the clearances of your older chimney?
    Is it a Class A or Class B. You may want to install a Class A. Some other members would advise you better than me. The older chimney might be to rusted out or not have proper clearances because the flue of an oil burner is less than a natural draft single stage solid biomass burner. I would go all new with a clean-out adapter and a draft regulator. You will use less wood with a new draft regulator.
    Think about the insurance guy; the next time he walks in your garage... Don't forget to clean oil stains on the cement too!
    Good luck, if you are on this website, you are on the right track!
    Trex83

    ps picture is good too
  5. Standingdead

    Standingdead Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    156
    Loc:
    Saratoga county, NY
    I have the model 2500. It's a natural downdraft as well. I go through 8 cords or so a year. It's a good efficient boiler but not a gasser. The 2500 has 175 gallons on board storage. Runs pretty clean with dry wood. Overall I am pleased. It works the way it's supposed to. Does like to eat a lot of wood though ;).
  6. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    314
    Loc:
    SE CT
    I looked into the Thermo stove / boiler units. They have basically the same firebox design, just depends on if it has water pipes in it or an actual water jacket.

    The primary air enters through the front door, around the fuel, and has to go "down" to get around the sloping rear smoke baffle. This sort of makes the gasses flow past the coal bed, not through the bed like an actual downdraft gassifier. The secondary air enters through 2 pipes on either side of the load door and is injected in the rear, near the smoke baffle.

    IMO they act like a gassifier to some degree. If you want to get technical, any EPA stove with secondary burn tubes in the roof is also a gassifier, just in updraft form. IMO a full downdraft design is best since the smoke must go through the coal bed, which is the hottest part of the fire.
  7. rwh442

    rwh442 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    Chris,

    Creosote buildup depends on how you burn and wood moisture. If I load the 2000 up at low water temps the chimney will get a dull sound when hit or smacked by hand (highly scientific). If I burn small hot fires at higher boiler water temps (say above 140 degrees, 3 logs) I usually have a clean stack after that type of burn and of course no smoke at all. Tinny sound when checking the stack. I used to clean the chimney a few times each year but once I learned how to run it best and have good seasoned wood I only clean the chimney after the burning season in April. I might get about a half gallon to a gallon of ash and creosote and almost all of that is in the 8" outlet pipe IN the boiler. The chimney buildup is minimal. My chimney is pure vertical straight up - no bends.
  8. Chris VanMaaren

    Chris VanMaaren New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Thanks for the help. I guess the bottom line question for those that have a Thermo Control 2000 or bigger is: would you buy it again or look for something better (less wood etc).
  9. Standingdead

    Standingdead Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    156
    Loc:
    Saratoga county, NY
    I would buy one again. It's simple to install and maintain. It works well. It's efficient (1 cord of wood burns down to a 5 gallon ash bucket or so). It's a bit cheaper than a top of the line gasser 4-5k. Yes you burn a little more wood but if you process your own wood that's not a big deal. It's also capable of burning rounds if your so inclined. I never had a gasser so I have no way to compare.....
  10. rwh442

    rwh442 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    I would buy one again also. I know a gasser would use less wood but you have to split it smaller too. I would bet the time would come out about the same. If I come across a knotty piece I can't split it becomes an "all nighter" and gets stacked along with the splitters.

    A much simpler design obviously. The fire brick is the only refractory and they are standard stove size - you can get them anywhere.

    A local farmer here has a 1978 Thermo Control stove model (not a boiler) and is looking to first replace it now because it's obviously worn out. My father has the same year stove model, which he quit using about 15 years ago, that the guy wants to buy from him but my father refuses to sell his. So if mine holds up that long (I doubt it but wishful thinking) that would great.
  11. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Messages:
    389
    Loc:
    Western ME
    I know a guy that sells them, he's a "stand up" guy that says good things about the boiler (expected) but also that the folks that make them are good people, and stand behind their product 100%.
  12. Dan Giesen

    Dan Giesen New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    What do you mean by draft controls? The only draft control i'm familiar with is the spinning plate within the pipe
  13. rwh442

    rwh442 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    I inserted a type K thermocouple probe about 2' from the exit of the boiler in the stack and wired it to a PID digital temperature controller. The temperature controller sends a control signal to a damper actuator I mounted to the front of the TC 2000 door. I control the stack temperature to whatever I want - I found 600 degrees is good. The controller has a relay output as well that I set to kill the power to the factory spring loaded damper - I think I have it set to 750 degrees - in case the damper actuator cannot catch the fire in time (it is very slow). See attached pictures.

    I had a chimney fire Christmas Eve about 1 month into running this boiler the first year (about 4 years ago). I was at a nearby family's house. No damage but I swore it would never happen again so I added this protection. Obviously I know how to run the boiler much better now and may not even need the controls but I like the piece of mind.

    Attached Files:

    BoilerMan likes this.
  14. Standingdead

    Standingdead Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    156
    Loc:
    Saratoga county, NY
    I am curious what you think caused the fire/over firing. When I bought my stove it came with a stack probe and motorized control to close down the air once the stack reaches 350 or so. At that point the boiler is just drawing air in through the secondaries. I feed the boiler 6 times a day with the only "large" load going in at night (depending on boiler temp and expected overnight low this could be anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 full. It runs cleanly for me with a little smoke when I reload.
  15. rwh442

    rwh442 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    My year one wood was less than ideal. I would always load it totally full. So I must have had some poor burns and creosote buildup. Once that happens the stack limit switch is slow to respond due to any buildup (my guess). I must have had a clean hot burn and then a chimney fire.

    I added the draft controls with the temperature sensor (type k thermocouple probe) internal to the stack. So now it cannot run away.

    I studied the stack limit switch with clean chimney and burns and found that it goes off around 650 degrees internal stack temp with my setup and the gap recommended. It's still in the spring loaded damper circuit so it can shut the draft off as well.

    My burns are much cleaner now. So like any stove or boiler there is a learning curve.
  16. Dan Giesen

    Dan Giesen New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    I am thinking of buying the model 2000 and putting it in my basement. Would you go with the clad or un-clad model? I'm thinking the insulated model would be better.
  17. Standingdead

    Standingdead Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    156
    Loc:
    Saratoga county, NY
    I have the unclad model 2500. Its rated to produce 40k BTU's of ambient heat, putting another 160k of BTU's in the water. When running the boiler at say 140 degrees or more heats my basement to 75-80 or more degrees. To combat this problem I put in a powered vent that pushes the excess heat upstairs. It works very well for me. At seasons start I store 5 cords of mid season wood in the basement. Sitting months in a hot dry basement helps lower the moisture levels. It's also I nice place to "hang out" after working outside most of the day.
  18. rwh442

    rwh442 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    As Standingdead said, you will have a warm basement if non-insulated. Mine keeps me detached garage plenty warm and it's around 1600 sq ft. I would probably have it insulated.
  19. Dan Giesen

    Dan Giesen New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    The model 2000 has about 130 gallons of water in it. In your opinion how well do you think that much water heated to 180 would keep the house warm when the fire dies down? I know there are a lot of variables but i'm just asking what is your real world experience. It would be nice to load up the fire box before work and come home 12 hours later and still have the house warm.
  20. rwh442

    rwh442 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    I leave for work right around 6 am. Get home around 5 pm. I loaded it at 120 f this am and the water temp was around 85 when I loaded it again tonight. House was still at 71 degrees but the furnace fan was running. My 2000 is in a detached garage. That being said I am almost positive that if you insulate a 2000 and place it in your basement you would be fine. In any case you can catch up easy if needed.
  21. Standingdead

    Standingdead Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    156
    Loc:
    Saratoga county, NY
    With so many variables it's hard to say if you will get a 12 hour burn. I generally max out at around an 8-9 hour burn and using up the on board storage. My unit stores about 100k BTU's of heat. You go through that pretty quickly on a cold night. the unit your considering stores less, about 70k BTU's of heat. Keep in mind I almost never completely fill the box as I would rather have several smaller/hotter/cleaner fires. Even without the jacket I like this unit as the radiant heat is still in the house. With the basement so warm my first floor hardwood floors are usually 75 degrees. This includes the kitchen which makes my wife VERY happy!
  22. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,381
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    If you get the uninsulated one, you will likely be finding it too hot in the house when burning when it's not very cold out. I started out this fall deciding to not insulate my newly installed storage tanks until spring. I soon changed my mind on that - it was getting just too darned hot in the basement & first floor. However, I then found it too cool in the basement on cold days. I fix that now by cracking one end of my insulated storage box open a bit when it gets real cold out. So, I'm not familiar at all with the Thermo units, but I'd be tempted to get an uninsulated one, and do some insulating of my own (as long as it could be safely done) that would allow you to easily regulate the amount of heat it radiates or not by maybe pulling an insulation panel off or opening it up or something like that. It is nice on real cold days to have a huge radiator to take advantage of if wanted.
  23. rwh442

    rwh442 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    Bump for recent Thermo Control inquiry.
  24. Bruce2500

    Bruce2500 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Fryeburg, Me
    Hello, I am new to these forums but reading through the strings it seems there are ideas here that will help with my dilemma. I have used a Thermo-Control 2500 for 5 seasons skeptically going into the 6th. My stove appears to be what they offer as the 2000 today. My problems is that the high stack temp limit switch is what shuts the front damper down 90-95% of the time, resulting in the high temp limit ultimately controlling my boiler water temperature, not a good scenerio. I see the aguastat controlling the damper maybe 4-5 times a heating season. So I get a problem with the boiler keeping up with my heat demand because it's out on high limit which is a timed reset and vicious cycle. Damper reopens, air races through heats pipe and trips on high heat again. While the damper is forced closed the smouldering fire is now sooting up the chimney. Not uncommon for me to go on the roof and clean the chimney every Saturday morning. I am interested in what rwh442 did with the damper control. You must have set that up to modulate and seek a position that will keep the temp around 600 degrees. How is your linkage set up to accomplish this and also shut it completely down should you get a high temp situation? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated as I just can't see what I'm doing wrong.
  25. Standingdead

    Standingdead Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    156
    Loc:
    Saratoga county, NY
    What kind of stack limiter are you using? Mine originally came from manufactorer with a close limit of 250-270 or thereabouts. I went online an ordered one that triggers at 400-425. It was an easy modification. You can also try to insert washers between the switch plate and stack. By moving he switch slightly away from the pipe you can trick the switch into measuring 250 when in reality it's much higher. For what it's worth unit runs pretty clean at 400 and up. My aquastat is adjustable so I can shut the temp at 140 in shoulder season or 180 in winter. If your aquastat is not adjustable you might want to install a new one that is. I also burn smaller hotter fires until the late night load since i work from home. Good luck :)

Share This Page