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Thinking Wood Gun...any advice or experience?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by avc8130, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I paid a total of $8,800 for the e100 with shipping. I got the stainless steel fire box upgrade which was a $1000(i think).
    I also got the DHW coil which I think was $350. I bought the parts and installed the low water temp shut off.
    I just bought the smoke hood which was another $350.
    I paid $4600 for parts and labor to install.
    Plus $1,500 for the stainless smoke pipe.
    I also converted my garage into a fire resistant boiler room which cost a few bucks

    All in all I spent around $17,000!!!

    But I still believe it is money well spent:)

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  2. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I only have one flue so I need the combo unit. There have been some lengthy discussions about my situation, but the bottom line is I need a combo unit. The oil gun is only costing me $340 because I plan to transfer my current oil burner and controls to the WG.

    I don't plan on running the oil as "auto" backup. I plan on it being a manual only switch. I am going to make a label that says "REMOVE PLUG" for above the switch.

    Ben told me the unit would include the low temp cutoff. I am confirming again.

    I will be wiring in my own timer on Ben's advice.

    Before you got the smoke hood, did you allow the unit to "purge" before opening the door? Ben was adamant that the smoke hood is not necessary.

    I need to watch clearances, I am in a basement and I'm not sure if I can raise the unit that much. The E180 is significantly bigger than yours, I wonder if the load height is higher?

    What does the return water temp protection valve do? This unit is SS, why worry about condensing?

    PLEASE shoot some video!

    ac
  3. Medman

    Medman Feeling the Heat

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    Can one of you with the smoke hood tell me what the CFM rating of the blower is? I need to replace the blower on my hood and want something more powerful.

    Thanks,

    Ryan
  4. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    If you leave the "smoke shield" in place there is very little smoke escape, but I still semed to get some if the shield would pivot upwards when loading more splits. The shield became a PITA to me and I removed it. The only 2 ways I know of to basically eliminate any smoke is to either install the smoke exhaust fan or be sure to only load new wood when the unit is down to coals only. The former is much easier to manage than the latter.

    Ryan, I forget the cfm on their fan but I do remember it was fairly strong....and it should be for 350 clams!
  5. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I asked about the smoke shield. He laughed and said no one installs them.

    Do you run the draft fan when re-loading?

    ac
  6. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    It is a big NO NO to open the loading door w/o first running the fan...well, unless the boiler is stone cold. Actually, you are supposed to wait for the green light to come on after starting the fan which normally takes about 30 seconds or so. This is supposed to help evacuate any bad fumes in the box but also helps to start the draft of soke up the chimney.
  7. Then why do they sell it?

    Unless the laws of physics are suspended inside the the woodgun i don't see how there won't be smoke. I'm sure it can be avoided by doing batch burns and only loading when the fire is completely out. But that is easier to do with storage than with a boiler destined to idle half the day.

    I ran my boiler without storage last year and plan to add storage soon mostly because I got tired of waiting for the right time to load the boiler. If there were too many coals left over the new load would catch too quickly and i would get some smoke smell in the boiler room.
  8. Double post deleted
  9. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Its a 1/12th horsepower and 485 cfm
  10. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    The wood gun is a little different then most units. It does not have a bypass damper that you open before opening the firebox door. So most of the time you will get smoke or at least very hot air that will roll out of the unit.
  11. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    To piggy back Muncybob. When reloading the wood gun if the unit is off and up to tempature you must manually override it and turn on the fan. This will purge the gases that could cause a back draft "explosion". Because you are introducing oxygen into a air tight chamber that has hot coals and gases from the wood and they could ignite.

    The draft fan is on whenever the unit is on and then the green light will be on which means you can open the door.

    I didn't install the smoke flap either. It covers almost half the firebox opening and gets in the way when trying load the entire box.

    Remember pics, lots of pics.

    Here are a few of mine when it was delivered. http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/here-she-is-boys.72496/
  12. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

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  13. i·dle   [ahyd-l] Show IPA adjective, i·dler, i·dlest, verb i·dled, i·dling, noun
    adjective
    1.
    not working or active; unemployed; doing nothing: idle workers.
    2.
    not spent or filled with activity: idle hours.
    3.
    not in use or operation; not kept busy: idle machinery.
    4.
    habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy.
    5.
    of no real worth, importance, or significance: idle talk.

    10.
    to pass time doing nothing.
    11.
    to move, loiter, or saunter aimlessly: to idle along the avenue.
    12.
    (of a machine, engine, or mechanism) to operate at a low speed, disengaged from the load.

    verb (used with object)
    13.
    to pass (time) doing nothing (often followed by away ): to idle away the afternoon.
    14.
    to cause (a person) to be idle: The strike idled many workers.
    15.
    to cause (a machine, engine, or mechanism) to idle: I waited in the car while idling the engine.
    noun
    16.
    the state or quality of being idle.
    17.
    the state of a machine, engine, or mechanism that is idling: a cold engine that stalls at idle.
    Origin:
    before 900; 1915–20 for def. 12; Middle English, Old English īdel (adj.) empty, trifling, vain, useless; cognate with German eitel

    Related forms
    i·dle·ness, noun
    i·dly, adverb
    o·ver·i·dle, adjective
    o·ver·i·dle·ness, noun
    o·ver·i·dly, adverb
    EXPAND

    Can be confused:  idle, idol, idyll (see synonym note at the current entry ).

    Synonyms
    1. sluggish. Idle, indolent, lazy, slothful apply to a person who is not active. To be idle is to be inactive or not working at a job. The word is sometimes derogatory, but not always, since one may be relaxing temporarily or may be idle through necessity: pleasantly idle on a vacation; to be idle because one is unemployed or because supplies are lacking. The indolent person is naturally disposed to avoid exertion: indolent and slow in movement; an indolent and contented fisherman. The lazy person is averse to exertion or work, and especially to continued application; the word is usually derogatory: too lazy to earn a living; incurably lazy. Slothful denotes a reprehensible unwillingness to carry one's share of the burden: so slothful as to be a burden on others. 5. worthless, trivial, trifling. 7. wasteful. 11. See loiter. 13. waste.

    Antonyms
    1. busy, industrious. 5. important, worthwhile.
  14. If its not in 'idle' mode than what do you call it?
    I don't doubt the wood gun can extinguish its fire. But if it does put the fire out how does it relight itself?

    I'm not trying to pick on the woodgun. But some of the claims seem contradictory. In the end I'm sure it will do the job as well as any other gassifier, and it's made in the USA!
  15. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    This has been debated previously...actually I think a few times. AHS marketing is questionable on this as I think it stretches the truth here. I believe there is some "idle" status, but it's very little. If you have established a good bed of hot coals the fire will "reignite" once the induction fan starts again. Depending on how much coals you have, the unit can be "idle" for a couple of hours and still get the fire going again when the fan turns on.
    However, if there is not a good bed of hot coals and the system is in "idle" status for a prolonged period of time, you may not get re-ignition....hence the cycle timer.

    ...anyhow, it does work as intended and my experience has been that it is fairly efficient at burning wood for heat and DHW.

    BTW ac, I had to set mine up so the draft fan did not run when the oil was firing due to excessive draft. I also had to insulate the ash pan and piping connected to it to avoid condensation when running oil. I'll be interested to see what your experience with oil will be.
  16. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I think "idling" seems to have a definition around these parts where a typical boiler is "running" with natural draft of the chimney only and there is no forced draft for gassification.

    The WG seals off the fire box and relies on the retained heat in the refractory to put the wood over its ignition temperature when oxygen is re-introduced.

    The cycle timer works by keeping the heat up in the refractory/firebox.

    I plan to try without the smoke hood. Worst case I call Ben and order it later. If it works out, I save $350...if not, oh well.

    ac
  17. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I asked Ben about the draft fan and the oil function. My oil setup will be designed off my own controls. Backup will be 100% manual as I plan on running the plug in the oil chamber when running wood. The draft fan will NOT be on when the oil is on, Ben confirmed this was the preferred method.

    ac
  18. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I see you have the 100. From looking at your pictures, your firebox is a flat top with the loading door almost at the ceiling. On the 180 I ordered, the firebox has a curved ceiling and the load door was quite a bit lower than the roof of the firebox. I wonder if that plays into the smoke spillage?

    ac
  19. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Oh boy here we go again. I've stayed far away from these debates but since I've burned for a season and am now a professional I'll give it a go;).

    The design of the wood gun is that there is a fan at the bottom of the unit, below the gasification chamber, which pulls air from an air intake valve that is up in the back of the firebox.
    The air is pulled over the wood and the coals and into the gasifaction chamber then through 2 other tubes and then is forced out into the chimney.

    The air intake valve opens and closes with a motorized control box and has a silicon gasket that seals the firebox off completely.
    When you turn on the unit the fan starts and the air intake valve opens, which introduces oxygen into the fire box and begins to pull the air over the charcoal which will be laying on the hot refractory cement. The air and the heat begin to ignite the charcoal.

    Its like blowing on a bed of coals in a fire pit and they start to glow red.

    When the unit reaches temperature the fan shuts off and the air valve closes and seals tight. The unit is not idling it is off.
    No oxygen can enter the fire box. And with no fan pulling air and no draft there can be no fire. It is OFF

    I have opened the firebox door several hours after the unit shut off. Like I said it was shut OFF. There is no fire, no smoldering wood, no smoke and the coals are black.
    I left the door open and watched with my own eyes as the fan is pulling air over the black charcoal it begin to shimmer a little hint of red and then begin to get redder and then more coals turn red and then poof a flame bursts out and then in a few minutes there is a roaring fire.

    Now the conditions must be right. There refractory must be very hot from the previous fire and the coals must still be holding heat.
    There have been times when the unit has been shut off for to long. I said off. and the fan kicks on and the air valve opens and it doesn't relight. There just wasn't enough heat.
    Thats where I need to go out and open the firebox door and use a propane torch to light the coals.

    I'm tellin ya I am gonna shoot a video of this to settle it once and for all.
    muncybob likes this.
  20. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Will you stop threatening us please? :)

    ac
  21. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Oh,its not a threat but a promise
    Somebody has to do it so it might as well be me
  22. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Mike, good description, but this is where I think the marketing claims are stretched a bit. Yes, the heat in the refractory is important but they would like you to think it's mainly the refractory heat that restarts the fire. If you have very little coals or no coals and a hot refractory I don't think a restart is feasible without manual intervention, just as you stated.
    I would agree however that the temp of the refractory preserves the coals to allow a relight after extended periods of time being off.

    Looking forward to that video :)
  23. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Me to :)
  24. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    There is a wire in the electrical box that I had to disconnect to stop the fan from running. I ran oil the other day to appease the Mrs one cold morning since I didn't have any wood in the house and by the time it got to 180*(about 30 min.) my stack temps were running close to 750! Won't do that again.
  25. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    It's not just the refractory that needs to be hot but the coals themselves as well.
    I'm not a physicist but I'm sure the coals have to have a lot of potential energy too.
    All I know is the the fire is definitely extinguished and the coals are black. And then there is a fire.

    I guess the wood gun has little fire gremlins that live inside the firebox. AHS never marketed those guys! ;-)

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