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)

Varmebaronen doesn't like oak

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by colcarlmiss, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    912
    Loc:
    Hesperia, Michigan
    I'm not an engineer so take what I say with a grain of salt. I would check on the gauge of steel in the boiler that you decide on. As you say thicker should be better. I haven't looked at the Varmebaronen so I don't know how they are constructed and that makes a difference on the wt. I think that cold water protection is probably the most important issue with corrosion. if you keep the flue temp up above condensing temp and keep the return temp up I don't see a major problem. If you go with storage you should have a hot burn and not have idleing time. I have heard mention of not using oak before but it's been used here in the US as a #1 choice of wood for ever. I haven't heard of people haveing any problems but that doesn't mean there isn't.
    leaddog

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,030
    Loc:
    Sussex County, NJ
    I'd be very concerned of the Varmebaronen's steel thickness. My Tarm's literature states that the inner plate steel is 7mm., just over 1/4". Weighs in at 1160 pds.
  3. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,641
    Loc:
    Cayuga County NY
    I might be concerned too if I knew what it was.

    Since you must already know the thickness of the Varmebaronen's steel, could you please share it with us?
  4. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    3,008
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    WOW! That is a very substantial difference in weight. I would look closely at the type of heat exchanger design as either it, or the gauge of metal has to be significantly different than the others that are more similar in weight. I doubt there would be more than a couple hundred pounds of difference in the refractory. Having worked with EKO, Econoburn and Tarm I can say that any of them are well made and use a design that is similar and well proven. The Econoburn's materials and construction are "robust" to say the least and if all other things are equal it would probably be my weapon of choice. The company is great to work with.
    The Garn of course is an entirely different type and class of product and one would have to evaluate the cost of an equal amount of storage with any of the downdraft gasifiers to arrive at a good conclusion. AFA sealed system boilers vs open vessels is concerned, their are valid arguments both ways and it boils down to what you are comfortable with and of course $$.$$ involved..
  5. dzook

    dzook Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Messages:
    42
    Loc:
    Central PA
    When we made arrangements with Varmebaronen to sell in US, we had similar concerns with the weight and steel issues. Here are some comments from some of our conversations in regards to the steel that may help explain some of the questions. Some of the information that follows is also from conversation during factory training and visits.

    Quote

    Boilers are made of plate steel and the thickness is 5mm in the firing chamber, 4mm in the flue gas tubes and 3mm for the “surrounding” plates. The weakest point is the welding, not on the plate steel. Some producers have as much as 8mm thickness but it only makes the product heavier and more expensive. When fired in the right way a boiler never gets plate steel damage.
    //Jens

    On the Vedolux 30 and 37 we have a high quality steel below the ceramic and the temperature is approx. 1000 degrees C, the same as in your boilers, at the ceramic. Ceramic pieces is wearing parts but the steel part normally lasts a boiler life time. (20 years)
    A layer of ash will build up after a couple of firing cycles and instead of removing it we recommend to leave a few centimeters as an insulation/protection for the ceramic to extend the life time.

    On the Combimax 30 UB, Vedolux CU, Vedolux 40 UB and 50 UB we have ceramic also in the combustion tunnel below the "rost". It is the same on Biomax.

    //Jens

    end quote

    Varmebaronen is very clear that their boilers need storage and are required, return water protection in the form of a loading valve etc., and boilers must be fired with seasoned wood. They go into length even how to prepare the wood in the manuals and also have a section in their promotional video explaining moisture content in wood. They are concerned to have an educated customer. If the boilers are fired that way a normal boiler "lifetime" can be expected. If that criteria doesn't happen fit a potential customer's usage plan then this brand would not be for them. Their largest product offering in most cases will service a 3500 - 4000 sq ft house and smaller or under 1.2 million btu per day unless you want to be a slave to the boiler and fill it every 6 hours.

    They have done tests on boiler failures and in their experience found it was not the thickness of the steel that caused problems or where failures happened, but the weakest point in their findings were related to the welds. They take the utmost pride in their welds and quality of their product and have had little problems.

    One of the weight differences in the 30 and 37 models and some of the other brands is the amount of ceramics. each of the VArm models has a ceramic grate about 4" thick between the upper and lower chamber, otherwise there is no other ceramic. The flames pass down through the ceramic and through a combustion tunnel made of a special steel made for high temps as quoted by Jens previously. The hi temp steel part has the flames passing through it before doubling back and up the boiler tubes. Soon after lighting a fire ash and coals fall down on this area and create a protection and is part of the way it is designed to be used. The manual says "Rake out the ash from the combustion tunnel, but leave a protective layer of a couple of centimeters."

    The ceramic grate and steel combustion tunnel may have to be replaced and should be expected to need to be replaced sometime during the life of the boiler and are consumable parts. From their experience many grates last 10 years plus. The grate and tunnel parts are around $300 depending on model, and may take and hour to replace. It is a very easy process should it be necessary to change, and was made to be so, based on it being considered a consumable part.

    The natural draft gasifiers 40 and 50 UB are heavier and have the ceramic grate and ceramic combustion tunnel and this is to have more ceramic mass for the continued natural draft because we are not relying on a fan to move the air.


    Based on our discussions using the steel thickness and ceramic design they currently have in place gave them the best overall customer and installer experience. Many installers preferred their boilers based on the fact they were lighter and easier to install.

    This brand is not for everyone. There are boilers that are thicker, heavier and made like tanks that may never need to have anything done to the ceramics during the lifetime, but if you find it necessary to replace or repair some of those ceramics it could be a much harder process. Varmebaronen went the route in their design to make them as light as possible, but building to a high standard and also making some of the parts around the high temperatures to be consumable and easily replaced if necessary.


    The boilers go through two pressure tests during construction. the inner chamber is fabricated, simulated doors are clamped over the door and flue openings and the inner parts and boiler tubes are pressure tested immersed in a water bath, any leaks if found, are able to be patched. The outer shell is then installed and pressure tested again for leaks, this time testing the completed boiler. Many companies fabricate and do one pressure test, this if a leak is found on the inner area a patch is also required in the outer shell to reach the problem.
  6. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    3,008
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    I will say this. The Swedes know their metallurgy and how heat interacts with it. I started working in the family hardware store in 1974 and soon found there wasn't enough work to keep me busy. Dad said it was OK if i started a chainsaw department and after talking to some professional loggers and doing some research on my own, settled on Husqvarna. The initial order was 4 chainsaws. Word soon spread about them and the loggers started coming in asking for " one of them damn orange saws". Stihl, Jonsered, Homelite and McCulloch were the tools of choice at the time but the Huskys blew them all away in the power to weight category. Still do in the pro grade units. My brother who is in charge of that department told me they sold over 500 saws last year. Most of their volume is in the pro saw end of things and believe me those units get a work out. They flat out hold up. Maintenance wise some feel the Huskys take a little more work but usually it's the guys who abuse the product that are having the problems. If used and maintained as intended they run like the wind. I would guess the boilers in question here are no different as making things light and efficient is how the Swedes think. I'll never forget an afternoon I spent with their head engineer at the time, Ulf Naslund, who did his best to "educate" me in the Swedish way of engineering. Light, efficient, powerful was his mantra and if it demanded a little more maintenance that was just the price one paid for having the best chainsaw in the world.
  7. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    440
    Loc:
    Central Wisconsin
    Agreed. I work on their submersible mixers, Flygt. The are the standard in the WW field. I was in the market for a saw last year and almost bought a husky but stuck to my roots and bought a Dolmar. Its almost the same color!
  8. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    One question Dean - I know that the Varm boilers need to be used with storage, but what is their policy about the type of storage? Looking at the website, I'd say the factory tanks are pretty, but pricey, and also tend to be on the small side for a lot of our usual American size installations... (I do notice that you have several other options on your site)

    Do you insist on a customer getting a boiler with the factory tanks, or are you willing to sell just a boiler and let the customer arrange their own storage (possibly on the condition that the storage setup be approved in order to get the warranty honored)?

    Gooserider
  9. dzook

    dzook Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Messages:
    42
    Loc:
    Central PA
    Other tanks can be used as long as the design connecting the boiler to the tank is approved. If the models with suction fans are used Vedolux 30 or 37, its best to use the loading valve (termovar loading valve) designed to charge the tank. There are electrical connection plugs for the loading valve on the back of the boiler that make it more of a turn-key system.

    With the natural draft gasifier models Vedolux 30CU ,40 and 50 other circulators could be used as long as similar flow rates are achieved and the return temperatures are in the approved range. I am personally using a propane tank storage with the one I set up for myself because I had been using an eko 60 and wasnt going to change tanks. I could have used the termovar loading valve but i wanted to also test other circulation methods. The system uses a taco 007 and and i-series taco 2 way modulating valve on the bypass. i'm using a NFCS so i can adjust flow very accurately. Before using NFCS I had adjusted the flow with a Nimbus motor control to a fixed speed but just fast enough to keep the boiler from overheating. With cost of the modulating valve, the circulator, and the flue stack switch the turn-key loading valve would have been a good deal but I already had the other parts.

    The Aqualux tanks in their system are made in approx 200g modules so installation can be achieved without calling superman. They are just connected together to make whatever total volume is needed as shown in the tank install manual. Most homes need 2-3 tank modules. The most expensive tank in their system has an indirect domestic tank submerged in the 200g tank and also comes with a 4.5 KW electric backup immersion heater, and also has a 4 way mixing valve that is designed to be a takeoff to the heating load. The other tank is just a plain insulated tank. The tanks are expensive but sometimes getting a propane tank into position some places in impossible. Also if another tank is used thought must be given so thermal circulation is possible or a battery backup to assure flow in event of power outage.

    With that being said using their components boiler,tank,loading valve, just works "out of the box" . The tank charges properly, return temperature is protected, and with power outs the loading valve allows circulation to tank, so a bit more planning is needed when substituting a particular component. Substitutions are accepted with approved plans. We are most concerned with the boiler to tank design, not so much what you do with the water from from the storage tank.
  10. Hansson

    Hansson Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Messages:
    389
    Loc:
    Sweden,Leksand
    Burning Chunk can you tell me what is the efficieny on the vedolux boilers?

    They refuse to show the testing pappers here in sweden?
  11. dzook

    dzook Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Messages:
    42
    Loc:
    Central PA
  12. Hansson

    Hansson Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Messages:
    389
    Loc:
    Sweden,Leksand
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,277
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    FYI, I think the Tarm OT models (from way back) were 3 or 4mm, and they lasted just about forever. Many are still around, although they were last sold in about 1982.

    Thickness of steel is much less of an issue than both the quality of the steel and engineering.
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Agreed, but I think I would also include proper installation and operation, including things like good low temperature return protection, care in loading, proper maintaining and cleaning, use of dry wood and all the rest of the stuff that we keep telling folks about as well.

    Certainly lack of those things can rapidly destroy a boiler that we agree is high quality, OTOH, I would expect that getting them right would probably get a reasonably long life out of the hypothetical badly engineered boiler made from cheap steel (I say hypothetical, because I don't consider that description to apply to any of the current "available in the US" model boilers)

    Gooserider
  15. flameretardant

    flameretardant Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    canada
    How do you sell something to an American? Make it B I G. Huge, bigger than all the rest. It don't matter if it works better or even makes sense, just make it friggen huge. As stated, excessively thick steel offers no real longevity benefits and wastes more heat up the flue. Speaking of milimeters, some guys just need to compensate for their own physical "short"comings somehow!
  16. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,030
    Loc:
    Sussex County, NJ
    The best way to sell something to an American is to make it in America!
  17. kabbott

    kabbott Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    384
    Loc:
    Hampstead,Maryland
    When I first compared the weight of the various boilers I was concerned about the light weight of the Varmebaronen....After a trip to Ag progress days in PA
    and looking at deans demo setup I decided to go to Smokeless Heat and have a closer look.... I came home less a deposit for the Varmebaronen.

    I would say that much of the weight difference is the ceramics ( or lack of). The fit/ finish of the Eko/Biomass is not comparable to the Vedolux boilers. I had
    pretty much decided on a Biomass 40 until I looked at the Vedolux. While the biomass is built like tank there is a lot of ceramic/refractory to replace if it cracks
    or wears out. Very little to go wrong with the Vedolux.
    The best feature is the ease of cleaning, so simple I wonder why more are not built this way. Boiler went from cold start to gassing with no visible smoke in under
    5 minutes(did not time it but it was QUICK)

    Controls are VERY simple, this may be a downside for some but I have the NFCS for the rest of the system so this is a plus for me.
    The big question for me is will the pressure vessel hold up? only time will tell... I hate spending this much money on a "new" design (new to U.S.) But
    I do like this boiler.

    If your looking at boilers this one deserves a look IMO.
    As far as burning oak..... It will learn to love it. :coolgrin:

    Kris

Share This Page