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Wet Wood? Icicles and no gasification.

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by infinitymike, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I cant believe what I saw this morning!

    Icicles on flue stack!!!!

    Heres a video of what happened yesterday. I moved into a pile of ash that was c/s/s somewhere in July/Aug/Sept I can't really remember. I resplit some and its between 23 and 26% MC. I know my first season I burned wood with MC than that and had the same type of "steamy smoke" but never had icicles.


    [​IMG]
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  2. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Yup it's too wet but if your moisture meter is anywhere close to accurate your wood gun should handle it. Have you checked for an obstruction such as a plugged cyclone or an overfilled tube? I think most woodburners that have a few years of heating under their belt would tell you that wood split in the summer is too wet to burn the next winter.

    Most people describe their wood drying by how many summers their hoard has dried but they don't give winter any credit. SUBLIMATION: When you look real close in the molecular range those little molecules of water are dancing and jumping whether thawed or frozen. They jump a little higher and faster when the surrounding air is warm and not so much when it's cold. Some land back on the wood and some are absorbed by the air. Now in Vermont the air is rain forest wet in the summer and desert dry in the winter. The summer air which is more saturated absorbs a good amount of these little rascals but the winter air is more of a blotter even though it has fewer dancing water molecules to attack.

    EDIT: This is why your ice cubes keep getting smaller in your freezer if you don't make enough margaritas.
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  3. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Mike,

    As we have been discussing, I think you need to clear your refractory tubes. My wife had some troubles while I was gone with a wet chimney and when I inspected the boiler I found virtually clogged refractory tubes which I think brought gassification to a standstill.

    ac
  4. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I get icicles on my chimney something like that when burning in a snowstorm.

    I didn't think it was anything more than the snow melting as it hit the warm chimney top, then re-freezing into icicles as it ran down.

    I'd say that's what yours is, just from what I've seen mine do - but if you're not gassifying, that's another issue.
  5. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I like it Fred! I do alot of c/s/s in the fall and by spring time that wood is split at the ends and has droped in mc considerably. I know people who hang clothes out to dry in winter, they say the colder the faster things dry. I monitor relitive humidity and temp as they coincide, in the winter it's in the 20% range here, meaning at -XX degrees that air can take on 80% more moisture than it currently has in it. Thats why when you throw a boiling cup of water into the air when it's fridgid it never hits the ground!

    Conversly, in the summer with average humidity in the 70-80% range here in NM, that air can't take on moisture near as fast, although the heat and sun make the wood want to give it up faster. That is my limited understanding anyway.

    Mike, your hoard should be much better next year, do you have any Silver (soft) Maple or other faster drying woods in the stacks to burn till spring? Personally, I'd burn oil and not gum things up too bad in the WG. If you don't find any plugged air tubes, I'm not familiar with the WG air induction system. Those little elves don't like all that smoke in there ;) they may be on strike.
    BTW Mike, I really like your sig!

    TS
  6. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I guess I forgot to mention that the flame over the fire that I saw in your video was burning gasses which caused me to believe you have an obstruction. When you closed the door those gasses should be forced down into your refractory tube and voila!!!!gassing.
  7. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Thats a great explaination. And I will lean towards that answer more than what I was initially thinking, that it was the moisture in the smoke that was freezing.

    I honestly don't know if I was gasifing or not. I never checked.;em More of a shock value statement more than anything else.:oops:
  8. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I have found that if I have too deep a bed of coals (3-4") and reload a lot of splits on top that I don't get the proper stack temps or good gasification.

    I think the moisture meter is relatively accurate and I don't see why 23% mc would cause so much steam.

    Isn't it recommended to get down to that MC?
  9. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Cold outside air! Temps in the teens and single numbers make mine steam also.
  10. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    TS,

    Thanks for liking the sig.
    I'm NOT one for political debates and I believe in the last line of your sig.
    BUT, I am concerned for the future of the country and believe that the founding fathers of this great country had the God given insight of the potential dangers, which are coming to fruition.

    OK enough out of me. Maybe I go over to the ash room.....NAAA

    As far as my hoard being good for next year may not be so true. All I have is red oak that was c/c/s in Jan/12 and all I'm splitting now is red oak.
    Its bitter sweet knowing that I will have great btu's but also knowing that I may not realize those btu's anytime soon.
    STIHLY DAN likes this.
  11. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Here's a pic I took of my chimney the day after a snow:

    [​IMG]

    It's way up in the air and I took it with my cell real quick - so not the best pic. I thought I only took it couple weeks ago, but the date on the file is New Years Day. There should be icicles growing on it again today - but there might be too much wind for it, and I haven't looked at it yet. The only time I see an icicle is after a snow.

    I get steam out my stack on every startup or loading no matter how dry my wood is. Even if dried to the optimum, there's still some moisture in the wood, and it has to go somewhere. It shows up real good in this cold weather we've been having lately.
    infinitymike likes this.
  12. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Moisture is a byproduct of combustion. Gas and oil heaters also steam. Even condensing boilers and furnaces steam. I know, I had someone call the fire department on me when they saw what they thought was smoke coming from a pvc pipe exiting the side of a building I was working on.
  13. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Yes indeed - I actually think my parents new Buderus oil boiler steams more than my gassifying wood boiler most of the time. Or looks like at least as much. There is also at least a little bit of moisture/humidity in the intake combustion air that has to go out the smoke stack as well.

    Did you check out that refractory tube thing that avc mentioned?
  14. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Ventured outside. Here's another from 15 minutes ago:

    [​IMG]

    I guess icicles will form here in blizzard winds too.

    Gratuitous storm pic, while I was at it:

    [​IMG]
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  15. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I went to Smokeless Heat last weekend and he took us out to see 2 Vedo's running. The Vedo Lamba steamed the ENTIRE time it was running. The salesman and the owner both said it was 100% "normal". I felt better about my WG operation.

    ac
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  16. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Did you watch it through an entire burn cycle?

    That last pic I posted is in the middle of one - no steam.

    My friend here with the Woodgun had steam coming out his chimney too last time I was there, and he indicated that was normal. Infinitymike posted a vid of his steaming. Not sure what your point was - they all steam at some point. Yours doesn't? Whatever makes you feel better with your WG I guess....
  17. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    We hung out with 2 boilers.

    Vedolux 37 installed with 500 Gallons located in a "bunker" outside of the saleman's brother's house. This boiler smoked/steamed only during the first ~20 mins we were there and then ran relatively smoke free for the rest of the ~hour we spent there.

    Vedolux Lambda installed in a garrage with 1k Gallons. This boiler steamed the entire ~hour we spent there. Both the owner of the boiler and the salesman said this was completely normal. The salesman has a Lambda in his house and said it steamed the entire burn cycle.

    Steam has a lot to do with flue temp. I think the Lambda runs at a much lower flue temp in order to get those claimed efficiencies. As the flue temp is lower, it is closer to the condensation point.

    ac
  18. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Well needless to say the steam did go away. And I know from previous experience that it would.
    As far as it gasifing or not, I cant actually say because I never looked.
    I guess I was just in a pissy whiney pity party. I mean we did just have 24" of snow dump on us!
    And that means to me is WORK WORK WORK all UNPAID WORK.

    WA WA WA call me a WAMBULANCE

  19. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Its not so convenient to see if a WG is gasifing. When the door to the gasification tube is opened the draft is interrupted and gasification stops.
    I can just crack the door open and get a little peek.
  20. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    It's ok Mike. We are all a little emotional about our wood burning. :)

    ac
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  21. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Don't feel bad Mike. I let my boiler run out of wood this morning since I knew it would be a good solar heating day. I scraped all of the ash I could out of the wood chamber and started a new fire. I can hear the roar, but when I look at my stack...straight steam.

    ac
  22. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    The flip side is having a 3"x 5" window into the secondary chamber(Vedolux 37). This can definitely lead to obsessive, compulsive boiler behavior! (its not disorder, right?.....right?)

    Noah
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  23. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    It might be, just a little OCBB. Speaking of which I need to go clean the boiler, and that little window. My view is getting obstructed!
  24. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I think that little window was the coolest feature of the Vedos. The Lambda didn't have the window and the distributor tried to add one but couldn't get a piece of glass that wouldn't crack.

    ac
  25. __dan

    __dan Feeling the Heat

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    Pretty much always looks like that. Almost never invisible but the flue pipe inside the house runs ~ 125 to 140 deg F surface temp, easily touchable. Couple of pieces of softwood on the coal bed, max turndown, low fire. Its varies a lot with the outside humdity, currently 33% rh. same output makes a good cloud above 80% rh.

    If I get the tank I want, have my eye on adding a flue gas condenser next to the Froling.

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