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)

Things not to do when the power is out

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by dscamp, Feb 1, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. dscamp

    dscamp Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    I thought about that this morning as well, as I slogged through the ice storm on my way into work.

    One thing you don't want to do if your boiler overheats due to pump failure is allow it to pump very hot water when it turns back on. Turn the pump off if your power is out and your boiler temp exceeds 200 degrees, or you run the risk of blowing out your pex, trashing your pumps, etc. when the power comes back on and the pump tries to circulate that very hot water through your system. Do what you have to to get the boiler water temp down below 200 before you try to pump it through the system, in other words.
  3. Jersey Bill

    Jersey Bill Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    132
    Loc:
    Central NJ
    I have been concerned about this also. I have a stick thats supposed to supress a chimney fire. My plan is to throw that in in case of a power outage.
    I have been considering getting a CO2 extinguisher. I think that might be able to shut down the fire and cool the coal bed. Thats only the plan though. I have never had an outage with a fire going.
    While discussing this, i realize that i will also be in the dark, and my boiler room exhaust fan will not be on either. I should pick up an emergency light today and mount it in the boiler room.

    If I put the wood boiler pump on emergency power that would help also but I am not sure how much because the primary loop pump will be off as well.

    has anybody had a power failure while a wood boiler was being fired?
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    I've had a pump fail while the boiler was firing, and it wasn't much fun. I had all copper pipe at that time (different boiler) and managed to melt much of the foam insulation when I got the water circulating again. That took out the expansion tank, so I had another incident getting that replaced. Generators and/or batteries and gravity feed heat dumps are all good ideas, but nothing is foolproof. The way my boiler room is set up, it's right next to the back door of the barn. In an emergency, I can pull chunks out of the firebox with a set of tongs and toss them out into the snow. I'm comfortable doing that because I have a concrete boiler room and a concrete floor in the boiler room. But trust me, that's not a lot of fun either.

    Anyway, getting back to your original question, theoretically when the boiler overheats the pressure relief valve should pop and domestic water should flow into your system to cool it down enough to relieve the pressure. That's another good reason not to use glycol.
  5. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    If the power goes out, the forum will be minus one NY'r . . . we bought and had wired a propane 16Kv automatic generator, but I have never put a battery in it, nor run the gas line. Thus, when the electric goes out, we will be in the dark . . . when the lights come back on, I'll have a kitchen knife in my back . . .
  6. eekster

    eekster New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    51
    Loc:
    southeast michigan
    I also had a mishap, the termovar valve blew a gasket and I lost water. The low water cut off shut down the boiler, I was home at the time so I pulled out the wood and put sand over the remaining coals. The main circulator always runs constant I have it plugged into a battery back-up strip that you use for computers. But the boiler was already hot, so I opened the relief valve and all the doors on unit to get cool. Definitly was an exciting moment and not the good kind. Keith
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Most drinking establishments have backup generators, Jimbo. Not that you'd need much encouragement, but perhaps one would be a good place for you to quickly seek sanctuary when the lights start to flicker. The anesthetic effect of the alcohol might take the edge (so to speak) off the kitchen knife encounter.
  8. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    912
    Loc:
    Hesperia, Michigan
    I lost power a while back for 3 hr's after I had loaded the boiler up for the nite. I was into the burn about 1 hr. I didn't have any trouble. When the power goes off the fan shuts down so the boiler went into idle. There was enough thermal movement to take care of the residual boiler heat. I was wondering how it would work. I really didn't want to get up and hook up the generator to the tractor as I was sure it was a short time thing and I was in a warm bed. Long term I have a 30,000w gen that I can run everything.
    leaddog
  9. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    294
    Loc:
    upstate ny
    , I’ll have a kitchen knife in my back . . .

    Thanks for the tip. I am removing all of the sharp objects from the house right now.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,349
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    Brings up a fair question for Tarm boilers and boiler pump failure. Tarm are equipped with an overheat aquastat for the purpose of activating the pumps if overheat; also an Automag valve designed to open a gravity dump loop if a power failure. But a pump failure with power on and overheat will activate the overheat aquastat to no avail, and since power is on, the overheat dump loop also will not activate. See video Boilers Gone Wild.

    Seems to me that if overheat caused by boiler pump failure, overheat aquastat should close to turn on any other operating pumps for what they are worth and should break the circuit to the Automag to activate the dump loop.

    If this correct, the overheat aquastat should be SPDT, with power to Automag when aquastat is open, break power to Automag and power to pumps when aquastat closes.

    Scenarios:

    1) Overheat, boiler pump failure, power on: boiler draft fan off, overheat aquastat closes, all pumps activated, circuit to Automag broken and overheat loop activates.

    2) Overheat, power failure: system shuts down, Automag circuit broken, overheat loop activates.

    3) Overheat, no pump failure, no power failure: overheat aquastat closes, all pumps activated, circuit to Automag broken to activate overheat loop (but overheat loop does not activate due to check valve which is forced closed by boiler pump). With pumps operating, excess heat should be distributed throughout the system.

    Comments welcome.
  11. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    477
    Loc:
    Wisconsin
  12. Nicholas

    Nicholas Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Messages:
    102
    , I'd pass :)
  13. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    710
    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    jimbo why havant you got got your back up working?
  14. sleepie

    sleepie New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Messages:
    65
    Loc:
    elmira, new york
    when the power goes out try this--http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/12280/

    pat
  15. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    356
    Loc:
    Lafayette IN -BoilerMakerCountry
    We have similar posts in the boiler room where people would use an apc "computer" ups for their needs. But, none of them posited hooking up a car battery to the apc electronics. I won't list the number of reasons why that is not a good idea.
    Clearly the proper way of taking care of businsess when the power goes out is we should just hook up the car via jumper cables directly to breaker box -- problem solved.

    In all seriousness check this out

    This is from a Q/A session with the tech reps and APC

    The UPS your using isn't cheap. How long have you tested it for(how long without power). I don't trust the diagnostics. The system has been altered. Do you know if it floats the batteries or does a top charge?
  16. sleepie

    sleepie New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Messages:
    65
    Loc:
    elmira, new york
    i have went 8 hrs on it --and it did fine---it floats the batts to full charge--pat
  17. pcampbell

    pcampbell Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Messages:
    97
    Loc:
    Vermont
    I don't really know how a UPS works..... but I think you could just hook up a trickle charger to the car battery with a charge controller, and an inverter? This seems inefficient to me... I hope that a UPS does not always run on 12V inverted to 110V but only switches to that mode when power fails????????

    I would also like to hook up a car battery to a small solar charger and use this for my Tivoli (radio) and a small LCD TV. These particular are both 12v native appliances (or at least have 12v inputs) and could be run this way all the time, not just in the event of a power failure.

    We really don't get power failures here, but it is nice to be prepared. But I cannot justify a $3000 generator for the 2 hour power outage we haven't gotten since I can remember. The reality is we are not going to freeze nearly regardless of what happens until there is an ice age. I do work from home so I could probably justify a few hundred dollars on a small generator that could be manually hooked up. My company does not have power outages so if power goes out in my home it is no excuse not to be able to function.
  18. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    We got a generator at work after that big ice storm that hit the Northeast back in the mid '90s and everybody was all excited--until we realized that now we have to work when the power is out. Before, power outages were kind of special event. Everybody went home, stoked up the wood stove and snuggled with their significant others. Beats working.
  19. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,349
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    I got a used UPS, 36V, 1400VA, 950W, that uses threee internal 7ah batts. I rewired it to bring the terminals out front on binding posts, so that the internal batts may be disconnected and external batts connected. Also recently got 3 Group 31, 105ah, sealed deep cycle for $50 each. The plan is to use this on the gassifier. I'm estimating not more than 500VA to run two pumps and the boiler, but when I finally take the time to hook it up, I will update. I got the UPS as a backup system of the house computers, but also because it is a high-end, true sin wave output, as opposed to the lousy waveform of regular UPS and inverters.

    The big question, which only will be answered through a test, is whether the electronics of the UPS are designed to handle high-output, long term, power.
  20. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    356
    Loc:
    Lafayette IN -BoilerMakerCountry
    To cut through the crap. The two biggest weak spots to this approach is 1 the batteries are likely not properly maintained by the hardware or the user. They are the biggest part of the investment. As I already posted the chips and circuits can act funny.

    Charging lead acid batteries via the "constant voltage" method is easy. Charging them well is somewhat less easy.

    If you put this in your freezing shed for 2 years you’re a gonner.


    Incidentally, I plan on putting a page together that shows you how and what to buy to roll your own.

    Tons of white papers are put out by APC about their products and their behavior - due to the nature of their responsibility.

    I have read the white paper for the 1400 va Smart UPS—not for yours Pat
    Je, your right on the about the sinusoidal waveform. For the 1400, it works well. It really saves as much as 15% power maybe more. Your variable speed motors also hate square sine wave --dirty electric.
  21. jklingel

    jklingel Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Messages:
    279
    Loc:
    Fairbanks
    Sting: That ain't even fair. It is the dead of a long winter and you have to post that young lady? Oh, mercy.... but does she chop wood? j
  22. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Loc:
    S.W. Nebraska
    My wife splits wood! :cheese:
  23. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    477
    Loc:
    Wisconsin
    Yes - she dates my son in Fairbanks - He is there working for us at Ft Wainwright
  24. Cath

    Cath Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    292
    Sting,
    If this were your daughter would you want someone posting her picture on the internet for anyone and everyone to see and "drool" over?

    Do you realize her picture has already been linked to another thread here?
    ~Cath
  25. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    477
    Loc:
    Wisconsin
    yep

    and I pulled it from another web page before I posted it here

    its been around the web for quite some time

    Just what do you find "unacceptable" about it?

    its not porn - its simply suggestive - no more so than pictures of wet pumping systems posted here - designed by so called professionals who cannot install to code - leave the home owner with a non functioning system and collect far too much cash for the debacle.

    She is no different than the people you and I see every summer day downtown or at the mall!

    but your point if correct in the fact that you never post something that you don't want to hold to the light of the world

    Was it here --? The guy posted pictures of his boiler piping and in the back - you could see his hydroponic garden of cannabis?

    Darwin would be proud.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page