VIGAS Boiler Issues

Denise McMurray Posted By Denise McMurray, Jan 25, 2013 at 7:23 AM

  1. Denise McMurray

    Denise McMurray
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    Jan 25, 2013
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    Hi

    We have had a Vigas boiler to provide our heating and hot water in our 5 bed detached house for a few years now and still we have not managed to master the damn thing! We seem to have it working fine for a few weeks then it starts playing up! My poor husband & father in law are at their wits end as they keep splitting hundreds of logs but the boiler only produces luke warm radiators. Also it keeps switching itself off! The temperature reached 80c then as soon as the heating is turned on the boiler heat drops to 40 or 50c and switched off!

    Has anyone got a Vigas boiler and had problems or does anyone have any suggestions?

    So far we have regretted buying the boiler which in total has cost us around £10,000!!
     
  2. maple1

    maple1
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    Sep 15, 2011
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    Sounds like you definitely have some problems (I doubt it's the boiler itself - but it could be) - but that's not very much info to go on. Pictures & more info will be needed.

    Does the boiler have return temperature protection plumbed in? Boiler temps shouldn't drop that low when loads come on line.

    How dry is your wood?
     
  3. foamit up

    foamit up
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    Apr 9, 2010
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    What are the settings you have the boiler set at. Please post them. Moisture content of wood is very important, you may have to turn up the make up air. I have an Vigas 80 and it works fine. If you have return temperature protection plumbed in, you may need to adjust that. I am at school now but i can make a list of settings i need to look at to see what is happening when i get home tonight. The 80 does take a lot of wood if you are supplying a huge load, but it does the job. I am heating around 6500 sq ft. Where are you located?
     
  4. Tennman

    Tennman
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    Mar 4, 2009
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    Denise, Welcome and you've come to the right place. People will want to know where your located because it's surprising your dealer for the boiler hasn't resolved your problem. Be encouraged, you purchased a high quality boiler so it's most likely something is not set up correctly or you simply trying to burn wet wood. I'm presuming you did not purchase your system from Mark at AHONA. I don't recall ever having a disgruntled Vigas or AHONA customer post here. To help you debug your system your husband and FIL need to be ready to answer a bunch of questions. The first one will be about the quality of the wood. How long has it been seasoned. These guys helped my thru my very frustrating first season 4 years ago but there will be lots of questions. Even if you didn't buy your Vigas from AHONA, I've found Mark a very helpful and knowledgeable guy and he's certainly knowledgeable of the Vigas.

    Trying to burn not properly seasoned wood in one of these gasification boilers will just drive a newbie crazy. My first year I was bringing wood out of the hills that had been down for many years that looked seasoned to me but just wasn't. The fact that you say you're splitting a bunch of wood now indicates wet or unseasoned wood may be part of the problem or all of the problem. Probably should invest in a moisture gage which are pretty cheap. The period where it's working fine could be when you've actually been burning properly seasoned wood. You may have a system or setting problem, but telling us your spliting and feeding is a bad sign. I burn primarily oak and hickory and where we live it takes about 18 months to get where it burns well in my BioMass. I'd suggest your husband go find some wood that he knows has been split for at least a year and burn some and see if the problem still exists. Just be prepared to answer lots of questions here as this group helps debug.
     
  5. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot
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    Hellooo...I think she's in England. :)
     
  6. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water
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    Jan 14, 2011
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    If they are still splitting wood right now, I would say the wood you are "trying" to burn is way to wet. MC>30%

    Splitting should have been done 1.5 to 2 years ago.

    What you split today you stack and dry and burn 2 years from now.
     
  7. mikefrommaine

    mikefrommaine
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    You beat me to it, took me five minutes to find the £

    And of course pics and diagrams please.
     
  8. maple1

    maple1
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    Sep 15, 2011
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    10,000 pounds (can't find the symbol) - that's an expensive boiler! :eek:
     
  9. kopeck

    kopeck
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    Mar 24, 2011
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    $15807.00 to be exact!

    The splitting part bothers me, it sounds like you are trying to burn unseasoned wood. That would probably explain the problems.

    K
     
  10. Denise McMurray

    Denise McMurray
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    Jan 25, 2013
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    Hi everyone thank you so much for your replies. I'm in England & we brought the boiler from dunster wood fuels, not sure if anyone has heard of them?! I will get my husband to respond to the technical questions ASAP.
     
  11. heaterman

    heaterman
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    I noticed the "pounds Sterling" symbol also......
     
  12. heaterman

    heaterman
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    Oct 16, 2007
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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ What he said is correct.

    You have to burn dry, seasoned wood that has been cut, split and stacked for at least a year at minimum before using it.
     
  13. JP11

    JP11
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    May 15, 2011
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    I'd bet twenty bucks.. or... whatever that is in pounds sterling you folks over there use on the other side of the pond.... It's wet wood!

    Water doesn't burn too well. Lots of ways to TRY and mitigate that for THIS year. But for next year and the years after.. the only solution is to split wood NOW that you want to use two years from now.

    JP
     
  14. Denise McMurray

    Denise McMurray
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    Jan 25, 2013
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    Hi everyone

    Thank you so much for all your replies and apologies I have not got around to responding sooner!

    The wood was originally cut a few years ago but we have just been splitting it down to size to fit in the boiler, once split the wood inside is dry as a bone although we do not have a moister gauge so cannot be 100% on the moisture content/! Any suggestions would be greatly received.
     
  15. JP11

    JP11
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    May 15, 2011
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    Ok.. when can I collect my 20? ;)

    Denise. Sorry, wood doesn't dry well AT ALL when in log form. Most of us are shooting for a year MINIMUM after it's split to dry. Three if it's oak.

    You can look around online for an inexpensive moisture meter. Should be less than 30 dollars.

    JP
     
  16. Fred61

    Fred61
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    Chances are that the bucked up blocks were laying on the ground, not covered jus to add to the misery.
     
  17. kopeck

    kopeck
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    Mar 24, 2011
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    OK, try this.

    Find a bunch of scrap KD dimensional lumber, something that hasn't been left out side exposed to the elements. Load it up with that and see what happens.

    Another option, although I don't know if you folks have there over there would be Bio Bricks.

    Both would give you a "dry baseline".

    K
     
  18. mikefrommaine

    mikefrommaine
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    Or try throwing in a bag of charcoal along with your smallest pieces.
     
  19. EffectaBoilerUser (USA)

    EffectaBoilerUser (USA)
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    Aug 23, 2010
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    It certainly sounds like a wood issue.

    You really need to purchase a moisture monitor so you can see exactly what the moisture content is (this is checked once the wood has been split to make sure you get the true, inside moisture content of the wood).

    Can you attach a diagram or photos of your exact system set up!

    Thanks,

    Brian
     

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