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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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    Unit running for 45 minutes so far and has been reloaded for 30 minutes.
    Just peaked outside and no more smoke.
    Came back to type this and the unit shut down.
    House still calling for heat but the water has hit 190*.
    It will turn back on in about 10 minutes plus or minus.

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  2. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Unit back on and some smoke coming from stack.
    It looks to be whitish as I can kinda see the trees behind it.
    It disappears about 8-10' from the stack.
  3. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Now its very light and almost gone it disappears about 3-4' from stack
  4. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Unit just shut off again.

    The water will continuously circulate through the house and the WG.
    The unit will run for 10 minutes and shut off for 10 minutes.
    This is what will happen for the next hour or until house hits 70*

    The smoke I will see from now on will be the built up gases and steam that is sitting in the firebox as well as the smoke that comes off a fire that is starting to build back up.

    EDIT: There actually wasn't any smoke upon the unit turning back on.
    So I can assume that everything is up to full temp and gasifies immediately.
  5. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Unit kicked back on and there is zero smoke only heat shimmers.
  6. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    The unit will stay off longer now and run shorter because the delta t of the return and supply water is decreasing.
    Therefore taking it longer for the unit to cool down.
  7. Woodsrover

    Woodsrover Member

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    Don't panic. You'll figure out how this thing likes to run and everything will be fine. There's a big learning curve but you'll get it.

    And don't ever throw water on the fire!! These things can handle a lot of heat and its pretty hard for them to get away from you. Relax.
  8. Woodsrover

    Woodsrover Member

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    Mike, that's steam and that's perfectly normal.
  9. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    The house is up to 69* and in about 20 minutes or so the house will be satisfied and the unit will remain off for most of the day.
    High temp of 48*.

    Ok I gotta get off this computer. I gotta go to work.
  10. Woodsrover

    Woodsrover Member

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    Mike and CT, I think you guys need to relax, load some wood in your boilers and leave them be. Go have a beer and stop trying to micromanage every flame and every ember in your boilers. Sometimes they smoke if the wood's a little wet or you have a big load. Sometimes they go out and you have to relight them. Looks like the cold weather is starting to come along and you'll find they run even more efficient and more predictable. This machine has been built for 30 years without significant changes and they were designed and work best without a lot of poking and prodding. I don't care how thick my coal bed is, as long as the fire is burning. I've gotten to the point where I know how much wood I need to last 12 hours. I don't care if there's a bit of smoke from time to time. Its a wood fire...sometimes its going to smoke. If you're making heat, not filling your basement with smoke and running a stack temperature between 200-300 degrees, I think your good

    Now go. Get upstairs. Your wife hasn't seen you in weeks for all the babysitting of your new boiler then running upstairs and posting on hearth.com. Tell me she hasn't laughed at you for all the posting here! I know mine did....Still does!
    CTFIRE likes this.
  11. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Woodsrover

    I totally agree with you. I was just giving a step by step post by post description of a typical burn for those who need to know.
    I get up at 5 stick wood in and don't look at it until 5 at night.

    Although I was like that for the first few months last year.
  12. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Woodsrover,

    You and I must be in the ~1 month zen period. Put wood in, enjoy warm house.

    ac
  13. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    6:31am is beer time. I like.
  14. CTFIRE

    CTFIRE Member

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    I seem to be getting conflicting advise. What does loading the boiler up mean? to the roof? To the bottom of the opening like ac? So dampering to 80% closed seemed to work last night. I didn't put wood to the roof of the chamber either. But I didn't have any coals this morning. Couple pieces of charcoal. The low temp switch worked. Water temp was down to 100, but the house was still at temp. Don't think it was off for too long. Maybe another log or two would have gotten through to the am with hot coals. Appreciate all the feedback and yes my wife laughs at me, but that's not unusual. Seems to me there are a lot of variables at play. I have a mixture of wood (all seasoned 12-18 months) black cherry, ash, tulip, and some others. Still trying to wrap my brain around the moisture content of the wood and home much that matters. Any log on the top is going to dry out relatively quickly in the wood gun before it gets to temp and starts to gas.
  15. Woodsrover

    Woodsrover Member

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    Depends on the time of day and the temperature outside.

    Last night I loaded the firebox 3/4 full and it got me through to this morning.
    This morning I loaded mine about half-way and that should get me through until tonight.

    Judging by what I'm burning in this weather, when it really gets cold out I can see myself loading it chuck-full in the evening to get though to the morning and again in the AM to get through the day. Still, a nice change from loading my old Vermont Castings stove up at 9:00pm, 12:00 midnight and then again at 4:00am like I used to.
  16. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    You'll "get to know" your boiler as the season progresses. Different loads for different demands and durations of demand. A mixture of size splts works well for us. Normally we can get away with 2 loads per day but in really cold weather it may take 3. A full load can have a different meaning depending on if you still have the smoke shield installed. By it's nature(getting in the way!) it will only allow you to load up the firebox to a certain level which in turn may require more loadings. This is our 1st season w/o the shield as we now have the smoke hood so we have yet another learning curve to get thru.
    The air intake damper is yet another part of the learning curve. Originally AHS told me to run it wide open...that eventually caused the humping effect to such a degree that one day I shut down the boiler for fear of something dreadful was about to happen! For the most part I run with the flap about 1/4 open, this seems to minimize any humping and also decreases the draft which in turn can help to make the wood last a bit longer in the firebox.
    The comment about the wood will dry in the firebox is correct but I would rather dry the wood prior to burning...the exess moisture has to go somewhere and I would prefer it outside of my boiler.
    CTFIRE likes this.
  17. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    "Wood load" is tough. My 180 has a 14 ft3 wood capacity. I would say I am putting ~5-6 ft3 in when I reload. I am still running the smoke flap, so I am limited to how tall I can stack. I also don't fill the boiler to the sides as I feel a centralized stack burns better than one with wood out on the sides. If I put wood out on the sides, I find that it doesn't burn as well as the wood in the middle.

    We also need to be careful when we talk about he damper. There is only 90 degrees of operation since turning it either way does essentially the same thing. With the handle parallel to the intake tube that is 100% OPEN. With the handle perpendicular that is 100% CLOSED. Right now mine is at ~45 degrees, or 50% open/closed. I'm not sure I notice a difference from 100% OPEN.

    ac
  18. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Hey CT
    Hows it burning for ya.
  19. CTFIRE

    CTFIRE Member

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    Still dialing in the right amount of wood. Had a good bed of coals two mornings. Went out another. I think I may retape the seams of the vent pipe. I didn't put silicone on the joints, just metal tape. I don't see smoke, but get a wiff of it in the house. Not a huge deal, but I think there is something leaking.
  20. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    MORE WOOD. Just do it. Put more in than you THINK you need. Report back.
  21. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I wake up at 5 am with more than a third left, nice coals and then I load it up to the top of the door. About 8-9 splits
    Yes I log every split I put in, along with time of day and outside temp.
    I come home at 4 and have about a quarter left and fill it half way. about 4-5 splits
    At 10 pm I fill it to the top again. About 6-8 splits.

    About 18- 22 splits a day. they range from 3x3 to 5x5
    I have around 380-420 splits per cord...yes I counted

    I have burned close to a 1000 splits since 10/8/12 when I lit the seasons first fire. about 2.5 cord
    That actually makes sense based on my rack system.
    I have 3 empty racks
    One rack is just under 3/4 cord and the other 2 are just about a cord.
  22. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I was tracking what I was burning on a spreadsheet, then I stopped once I realized it didn't really matter. I now just put in enough wood and it isn't a problem.

    I brought my boiler online Nov 19th. I believe I have burned ~4 of my 1/4 cord racks. So about 1 cord/month. That is pretty consistent with what I used to feed my wood stove that didn't heat my whole house or let me take warm showers.

    ac
  23. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I've been trying to roughly predict how much wood I'll burn by winters end, using the firebox size. I measured it at about 3 cu.ft. usable volume (spec is 4). So far I think I'm burning around 4.5 cu.ft. a day between an intial load & a partial re-load - that translates to around or just a bit over 1 cord/month. Which by rough judging of my wood pile likely is not far off.

    You fellows have some big fireboxes, by specs - the 100 at 6.5, the 140 at 10. At just one load per day, that would mean 1.5 & 2.3 cords per month. So I'm wondering if the WG is like mine, the measured useable volume is actually smaller than the specs? And also maybe, the box isn't full front to back? My wood is usually a few inches shorter than the box.
  24. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    My 180 has a claimed 14 cu ft box. I haven't come anywhere NEAR putting that much wood in it.

    1. It takes ~28" long splits. Most of my splits are 16-20", so no matter how I stack I lose a lot of volume there.
    2. I don't fill up along the sides. The bottom of the box is rounded to the nozzles, I generally only stack ~3 splits wide at the bottom whereas 5-6 could easily fit side to side.
    3. The firebox is very tall. I rarely load more than 1/2 height. I still have the smoke shield in, so I am limited a bit by that.

    I have seen no reason to fill the firebox any more than this. I am getting 12 hour cycles easily. I sized my 180 to support my workshop, but I don't have any heat installed in it yet. My 180 is well oversized for my house, but I don't see any real disadvantage to that yet. Oversizing the boiler resulted in a large 80 gallon internal capacity.

    ac
  25. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I know it doesn't matter but I can't stop it's just force of habit.

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