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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. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    That's impressive. That's a lot of house for the 100 to keep up with so well. It does it really well. I am very happy with it's performance. Like I said, I think it puts more than what it is rated at.

    I spoke to the guys at AHS (Ben) and he said I would need the 180 for my 2500 sq ft 1st floor ranch with vaulted ceilings + 1k sq ft basement (separate from the WG) + my 1500 sq ft well insulated work shop (separate building). I told him I wanted 12 hour burn capability in Northern NJ.

    I would think the 180 would heat that no problem. I do not know your insulation factor, layout, baseboard or radiant, windows, etc. etc. Did you do a heat loss calculation? Here is something I would consider. A lot of the time that 180 is not going to be needing to put out all the BTUs it can put out. Again, I do not know all your particulars. But are you eventually going to install well insulated storage tanks? I would think that 1500-2000 gallons of well insulated storage would really help. AHS will say you do not need storage. They are correct. But you will be better off with it. Imagine being able to burn your Wood Gun and all your wood flat out, that is the most efficient way, and then shut it down and let it heat your demand for as long as your storage will heat it. I installed my 400 gallon tank and am very glad I did. That is all I could afford at the time. Maybe if you are not going with storage now, you could plan for that in the future.

    Throwing that excess heat is what has me hesitant to heat DHW with the WG in the spring/summer. I don't want to be warming an area I am also paying to try to cool in the spirit of saving money.

    This is true. I try to do the best I can to keep the areas seperated and keeping that heat blowing out the window in the basement when it is hot outside.

    How is your buffer tank setup? Are there pics on the forum somewhere?

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/wood-gun-boiler-and-tank-pictures.74171/#post-938495

    Here is a little about how it got done.

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/moving-in-the-tank-pictures-i.74168/#post-938169

    Ask questions to the guys on this forum. I will answer any I can. But there are more knowledgable people here and they can really help you to get a good set-up for your system. I am very happy with the way my system came out. I did quite a bit of research, asked questions, and then put my own experiences into the mix. All and all, spent a lot of money, but now I am saving a lot of money. And burning no oil!:cool: That's what I'm talkin about.

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  2. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Gasifier,

    Basically we have a 2500 sq ft RANCH with a lot of vaulted ceilings and Anderson windows/sky lights. 1500 sq ft is 2x4 1980 and the remaining 1000 sq ft is 2x6 2000 construction. Heat is with hot water baseboards. I did my best attempt at a heat loss calculation, and I THINK I am around 65k btu/hr for the house. The workshop is ~50k btu/hr. I used Build it Solar for the calculation.

    So total the design should be for 115k btu/hr plus DHW demand.

    What confuses me is that my oil burner has a 1.25 gph nozzle. That will deliver 175k btu (140k/gallon) x the efficiency: ~80% = 140k btu/hr. This does NOT heat my shop.

    Who's math is horribly wrong? I sized the 180 based on my current oil capability + the current propane capability in my work shop (gone). That lead me to the 180 being just UNDER what I though I needed and I figured I could under-heat the shop if that became an issue on those days. I don't plan to heat the shop constantly as it is just a hobby and not priority.

    Storage will be added depending on how my experience is this winter. Right now saving the cost has a lot of value to me.

    I'm gonna check out your threads. Thanks!

    ac
  3. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Thinking about this more...what is a proper btu load for DHW?

    I did some math:
    2 GPM requirement (is this reasonable for 3 bath, 4 person house?)
    60 mins/hour
    8.33 lbs/gallon
    Incoming water temp: 50F
    Desired water temp: 120F

    2*60*8.33*(120-50)= 70k btu/hr

    Add that to my original house load of 50k btu/hr and we are at 120 btu/hr if the house is calling for heat and the showers are running. Maybe the oil burner wasn't too far oversized for WORST CASE condition?

    What is the disadvantage to having a bigger WG than I NEED? I assume I can have smaller fires to reduce btu output on days that are warmer and have less heat demand. I know AHS doesn't suggest more wood than needed for 12 hours. Is the biggest disadvantage spending the initial $1k extra?

    ac
  4. mark123

    mark123 Member

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    I have the E-180 and have been running it for 2 winters now. Make sure your unit has the rope seals on the rear and lower door, mine came with the silicone seals and they did not last long. As for the oil plug, I did not have much luck with it, just before I went on vacation I took it out to fire the oil and it would not work, the oil burner was all sooted from wood smoke leaking past the plug. What happened with mine is that when it started chugging the oil plug eventually started moving and became oval shaped and did not seal. I ended up welding 4 stainless studs around the opening and made a 1/4" steel plate which covers the opening and is held there with 4 nuts. It only takes a minute to remove and seals the wood smoke out . I only use the oil burner if I go away for more than a few days in the winter. You WILL need the exhaust fan, no question about it. I heat 4000sf and it has no problem at all. I also use it all summer for domestic water, every morning I put in 2 spruce or poplar 4-5" rounds and some kindling and my wife turns the boiler off 2-3 hours later and that gives us enough hot water until the the next day. If you want to know anything else about the 180 let me know. When you have your smoke pipe all laid out take it and have it all TIG welded. I originally sealed it all with high temp silicone and one day all the silicone set on fire and my wife called me and told me the house was going to burn down from the flame, very scary but nothing in the basement caught fire. Some charcoal must have made it's way into the smoke pipe and started burning.
  5. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I went to Chambersburg, PA and visited AHS last week before putting a deposit down. The lower and rear door were both sealed with fiberglass rope.

    That is disappointing to hear about the oil plug. What is "chugging"? Do you have any pictures of your modification?

    I'm working on plans to make a smoke hood. I figure 24" wide and 8" deep. Does that sound about right? Any chance you could take some dimensions for me?

    Are you using the DHW coil for that? I wonder how that would work with my indirect. I could superheat the indirect up to max aquastat setting (150?) and then run a mixing valve back down to 120 at the top.

    That is quite scary about the chimney pipe. Where is a good source for SS pipe to use?

    Thanks for the help!

    ac
  6. mark123

    mark123 Member

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    Chugging is when it sounds like someone hyper-ventalating and I find my boiler does this if there is a lot of very dry wood, or a lot of cardboard. The only solution seems to be choking the air supply by closing the damper over but I don't like doing that because it seems to produce more charcoal which ends up in the smoke pipe so I just let her chug away. They were working on some sort of modified air inlet pipe which goes in the firebox, you should ask them about it. I will get some pictures for you later. I also made my own smoke hood and used a fan which I found through google which are commonly used in hydroponic growing operations, it moves around 400cfm and there are times when smoke even escapes it. My smoke pipe came from a local sheetmetal shop which makes it, there seams are crimped and leak a tiny bit of smoke, I would get factory made pipe next time with welded seams. I heat my boiler up to around 180 before I shut it down in the summer time and when it is shut down the pump associated with the return themal mixing valves continues to run circulating the water within, the boiler, I get much more useful hot water this way rather than shutting everything down, I am also going to try and insulate the bottom of the boiler with fiberglass insulation and help hold more heat in for summer use. The boiler radiates a lot of heat, my wood room is pretty well sealed and gets up to 90 degrees during the winter which is great for drying the wood.
  7. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I spoke to AHS and their solution to the chugging is exactly what you mentioned: damper down the intake.

    Please take pics! I love pics!

    ac
  8. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    If you are not heating the shop constantly, which is very understandable, I think that 180 will be shutting down quite a bit. If the 180 puts out closer to 200-210, like my 100 probably puts out closer to 120-130, you will have plenty of shut down time. With the hot water demand added in that will help, but I have 2 adults and three kids in my house. Another adult, college student, there every so often. The hot water demand does not seem to add that much to the Wood Gun's tasking.

    I think you will be fine avc. But, I think you will be much better off when you have your storage added in. It will all come with time. The first year will give you a great chance to get use to the Wood Gun. Good luck with it, and keep us posted.
  9. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I spoke to Ben at AHS about that. I will be installing a cycle timer to help with the "down time" a bit.

    I'm not sure if I understand DHW. I did the calculations above based on 2 GPM. Then I realized the WG coil is rated for 5 GPM. That would mean close to 150k btu/hr...IF the hot water was running 5 GPM for an hour. It seems DHW is a very REAL load, but it might not be significant since it is so short lived generally.

    My house DHW was designed to support a family of 6 operating 3 showers, running on 2 cycles. I imagine that really drove their decision to go with the indirect water heater, the 140k btu oil setup and the 3/4" piping througout.

    ac
  10. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I do not know enough to help you with the calculations on DHW. But it sounds like you have about the same demand as I do. It is a REAL load. But is short lived in our case. We do occasionally let each of the three young children take a hot bath in the Jet Tub. That can put a demand on the hot water heater. This happens more in the winter when the wife and kids want a long hot bath when it is freezing cold outside.

    So are you going to be using the coil in the 180 to heat your hot water or using the 180 to heat the indirect hot water heater? I use an indirect hot water heater. Triangle Tube smart series. http://www.triangletube.com/TriangleTubeProduct.aspx?CatID=6&PID=2 It has been running smoothly for about 9 or 10 years now I guess. Very happy with that. The oil burner use to heat it, now the Wood Gun heats it.
  11. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    We have a jet tub...but in the 2 years living in this house I have never seen it full.

    I did not order a coil in the 180. I plan to use my current indirect setup. I don't know the brand/model off the top of my head, but it is nothing fancy.

    ac
  12. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Just chiming in. Probably the ubiquitous BoilerMate like mine. Maybe not fancy but not cheap either.
    Please resume...
  13. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    If you have an indirect then I don't think there is any need for the coil.

    Unfortunately, I ordered mine with the coil and still haven't hooked it up yet. I ended up getting 2 indirect 50 gallon tanks. one for free that is only a year old and a new one for $175 on ebay.
    Now there is no reason for the coil. At least I think.

    One thing I learned here, is to take it slow and do the research. Things can always be added as time goes on.
    It's amazing what a year will do. I learned so much here and in the real world experience it just amazing.
    The main reason for me buying the WG was that it "didn't" need storage (lets leave that debate for another thread).
    In fact I don't know how well it would help since I have baseboard heat which needs 160- 180* water not much delta-t there.

    Hey on another note you said you would be getting it tomorrow, is that still gonna happen.
    PICS, PICS and more PICS
  14. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Hook up SOMETHING. Stop paying the oil man for hot water when you are stuffing the wood box full anyways!

    I'm in the same boat. Baseboard heat wanting 160-180. Not much delta T would mean LOTS of storage to get any real btu that would last a worthwhile time.

    The unit will SHIP tomorrow. I should have it either Friday or Monday. Of course there will be pics. Just wait til you see how we get it in the house. I THINK it will fit!

    ac
  15. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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  16. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I'm in a similar boat. My oil tanks are sitting just below 1/4 heating INTO heating season. I'm burning 1/2 gallon/day heating DHW right now and I am NOT happy about it.

    Your storage idea sounds like quite the plan. I find it tough to see the pay back. That's ANOTHER large chunk of change and really what do you gain with the WG?

    Cutting the roof/floor sounds like the easiest idea! It is going in my basement.
    1st we need to get it off my trailer.
    2nd it needs to go across the gravel patio.
    Then the 31" wide unit needs to sneak in through the 32" sliding door (this is with the door removed).
    Then we have to go up 1 step and through a 33" door.
    Then across the basement to the final resting spot.

    Should be fun!

    ac
  17. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    The storage is a wish list item. I heated my house just fine last year no creosote in the flue and almost nothing firebox.

    Sounds like you are going to need some plywood, steel pipes, pry bars, few Egyptians and a lot of elbow grease.
    Gasifier likes this.
  18. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Hahahahahahahaha

    Just what I was thinken'

    TS
  19. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I just couldn't remember which one he was going with Mike. Definitely don't need the coil and the indirect hot water heater Mike. Only a point dexter would do that. Oh. Sorry about that Mike. ;lol I would agree with the steel pipes and the Egyptians though. ;lol

    How the hell ya doin pal? Have the neighbors sent the patty wagon to your door yet? [​IMG]

    Hey that guy down the street has enough wood to heat the whole neighborhood for the winter, ya better come and take him away!
  20. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Compared to the cost of the new boiler and all your options, and installation and associated materials and all that, the extra cost of adding storage is minor. I haven't done the adding up yet (I will when I'm done although I don't think it will do my heart any good), but figure I'm right around $1000 for my storage. That should cover my tanks, transporting them around, the welding of fittings, and some left over for some valves. It'll be past that when it comes time to do the covering & insulating, but still quite a small proportion of the overall project.

    EDIT: Agreed though, the WG seems to be quite capable of running good without storage.
  21. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I have a skid steer, a tractor, 2 pallet jacks, and assortment of pallets, a lumberyard worth of wood, black pipes, come-along and a lot of friends + beer lined up for the moving operation.

    Storage decision will be made after a year's worth of experience.

    ac
  22. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Now ya talking!
  23. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    That should do it ac, it's how we got ours into the basement. It was a very tight fit for us but we managed it with barely a scratch on the WG.
  24. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    AC, are you going to do the install? Or do you have a plumber lined up?
  25. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I have 15 lbs of Crisco on standby!

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