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  1. don f

    don f Member

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    Hi all been lurking here for a couple of months. I inherted a Tarm solo 55 from my inlaws this summer . I have it out in the polebarn heating it and my house.The heating guy that helped me hook it up thought that we did not need to use the termover valve . The water temp on the tarm go from 200 down to 140 fairly fast and takes forever to recover to 180 and hold.I am heating
    1 polebarn 1200 sq.ft. basement 2240 sq.ft. and garage 850 sq.ft. All built in the last 4 years .Oh ya all infloor heat
    Thanks for the help.
    Don

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  2. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Welcome -- there is so little info provided that it is really hard to know how to respond. Maybe start with some info on the Tarm 55.

    I have a Tarm Solo Plus 40 wood gassification boiler, and if yours is similar and you can narrow your question to more particularly describe what you are experiencing, there are plenty on this forum who may be able to offer some help.
  3. don f

    don f Member

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    jebatty- it's a Tarm MB solo MK ll 55 built in 2001 model . Installed in my in-laws farm house in 2004 used vary little. The problem i think is i am getting some boiler shock but I'm not sure. I have not been around wood boilers a whole lot.We burned wood when i was young but this is a whole lot different.And it can burn through a pile of wood in a hurry.I plan on anding 1000's gallons of hot water storage this summer. Any help would be grate.
    Thanks Don
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Welcome to the Boiler Room, Don. I'm sure we'll be able to help you optimize the performance of this boiler. We have quite a bit of collective Tarm expertise and experience here, though I don't.

    How dry is your wood? What kind of wood are you burning?

    Can you post a pic of the piping, especially on the return so that we can see if it has low temp corrosion protection?

    Our Webmaster, Craig Issod, owned Tarm USA for many years and can probably give you some specific information on that model.
  5. don f

    don f Member

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    Thanks Eric.
    My in-laws gave me this Tarm as a gift for helping demmo the old farm house and build them a new home. The wood is well seasoned stored under a lentwo and is a minemum of five years old and older mostly red oak. The piping is all new and i might be able to get a picture later today.

    Thanks Don
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Is it keeping your house warm?

    How often do you load it?

    Does it idle a lot?

    Are you heating your domestic hot water (DHW) with it?

    Any smoke out the stack when it's running?

    How big is your house, and what is the insulation situation?

    "A lot of wood" means different things to different people. You're going to burn more with a central heating appliance than you would with a woodstove, but you're getting more heat, (hopefully) distributed more evenly. What I'm trying to determine is whether your wood consumption seems excessive for your situation.
  7. don f

    don f Member

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    I have burned a cord or better in less than a week. I am heating about 4400 sq.ft. total all is walls are R 19 cielins are R38 in the house & garage. The pole barn is srayed hardcell foam 2"thick and a batt of R 19 over the walls. I can not keep a fire over night or during the day for more than 4 or 5 hours.
  8. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Do you have any baseline for heat loss or energy consumption? For instance, did you heat with oil or gas before installing the Tarm?

    A cord a week seems high - I burn about a quarter of that for 3500 square feet in Vermont - maybe a bit better insulated, but not by that much.

    There are only a limited number of places that you can lose heat:

    1) Incomplete combustion. Smoke or creosote would be a clue. Many possible causes.
    2) Loss via flue gas - high flue temps would indicate that possibility.
    3) Direct loss to the outside environment - especially from buried lines.
    4) Structure losses - this would be the actual house / garage heat load.

    There's really not too many other likely large - scale losses.
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That seems high (even) to me, too. I'm curious about the 5+ year-old wood. It might have lost much of its heating value, depending on its condition.

    More questions:

    Any heat exchangers on your system?

    Any glycol anywhere?

    What kind of performance did your in-laws see?

    How about a rough piping diagram?

    I agree with nofossil that some indication of how much oil or gas you burned to heat the same space previously would be very useful.
  10. don f

    don f Member

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    I have seen the flu temp up to 700 but usualy around 250 to 400. I have done a heat lose when the we built for the house and garage .I have a Munckin 90,000 btu boiler for basement & garage forced air to heat the upstairs both are propane fired.
    My heat bill runs about $3000.00 a year all my applances are gas also stove dryer waterheater. The boiler does seem to smoke plenty and you can definitly smell it when your outside.

    The Tarm is 150 ft away from the house,the line are buryed 6' under the ground with 10" of sprayed closed cell foam .That serve as a primary loop that feed the house .It then enters the existing system with a threeway mixing valve.
    The system is filled with water,and the wood is in good shape moisture running 12 to 18 percent.
    Thanks
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    If that's a gasification boiler, it shouldn't smoke hardly at all. The smoke represents lost heat potential from the wood. It indicates inefficiency.

    Can you (or anybody) verify if that's a gasification boiler?
  12. don f

    don f Member

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    It's not a gasification boiler that i'm aware of.
    Father law said that he had trouble keeping the water over 180 under a load . I think the Termovar valve needs to put into these unit.
  13. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    According to my interpretation of the literature, the Solo 55 is a non-gasification 140,000 BTU boiler.

    Could you get temperature measurements at both ends of your buried pipes? If the foam is getting waterlogged, you could be losing a good bit of heat there.
  14. don f

    don f Member

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    I did not mention the foam is wraped in poly and taped to form a seal with tarvec tape. the soil is well drained also . All i can do for temp is use my touch and the water going from the bioler to wear it hooks into the house system is hot no diferance in temp.But i have noticed a diferance in the return temp. it's cool.Thats why i think i have install the termovar valve
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    One cheap way to check would be to tape a couple of meat thermometers to metal pipe or fittings at either end and see how they compare. Or use one of those point-and-shoot remote thermos. I'm not sure you can draw many conclusions at those temps from touch. At least eliminating transmission losses would be a big step towards diagnosing the problem, if in fact there is a problem.

    I had a similar size, conventional wood boiler until this season, and it struggled to keep up with our heat demand when the temps were around zero. Slightly smaller house, but probably not as well insulated. Toss a garage into the equation, and you may need a bigger boiler. Bear in mind that with a gasifier, you will probably burn about half the wood for the same amount of heat.
  16. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Someone that actually plumbed their own units pitch in here, but, . . . if the returns are too cold - obviously not good for the wood boiler - doesn't that mean we are doing a very good job of exchanging the heat? Is cold water returning to the wood going to cause it to cool significantly though? It is designed to heat water, after all.

    Or is my headache affecting me more than I realise?
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Not if it’s going into the ground.

    If it’s not going into the ground (or somewhere else not related to heating the structures you’re trying to heat), then that suggests to me an undersized boiler. Unless too much heat is escaping up the stack.
  18. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    No, I mean, if the heat is making it inside, then it gives up that much heat to the HX and/or boiler, then returns outside cold . . .
    A cool water return to the wood boiler should not make it lag like that.

    Brings us back to actually measuring the water at both ends of the underground line to determine losses
  19. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I see what you're saying and I apologize for further aggravating your headache, Jimbo.

    My point was that if he's losing heat in the line, he'll lose some on the trip out, some in the house, and some more on the way back. So he would have very hot water leaving the boiler, hot water arriving at the house, warm water leaving the house and cool water returning to the boiler--instead of: very hot water leaving the boiler, very hot water entering the house, hot water returning to the boiler.

    But without actual measurements, as you suggest, it's all guesswork. Very hot water leaving the boiler and cool water returning suggests excellent transfer--we just don't know into what.

    Now I'm getting the headache.
  20. don f

    don f Member

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    The temp on the feed line at the boiler is 185.1 F. 150ft. to the house 185 F. This did bring me to notice the temp on the boiler contols said 90 c . Over 200 F. I wiil make the house call for heat and Take a reading.
    I think that temp control is off. What do you all think.
  21. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    OK< talk about headaches . . .

    I thought you were getting low temps out at the boiler . . .but now are you saying you have 185 coming into the house???
  22. don f

    don f Member

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    Take 4 advil my friend. didn't mean to confuse you.

    Its the gauge on the boiler that has fluating measerments and in my first post i was trying to figer out if me skipping the termovar valve was making the boiler work harder
  23. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    Seems to me aside from other issues the system should have a termovar valve to make sure the water returning to the boiler is not too cool making the boiler work extra hard to heat the water.
  24. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    the boiler is not a gasifaction boiler and is most likely to small for the space but the wood being that old cloud be suspect.
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