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WHAT WAY DO I GO

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by skidsteer, Feb 1, 2008.

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  1. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

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    I HAVE BEEN READING AS MANY BLOGS FOR THE PAST MONTH SINCE IVE FOUND THIS SITE I HAVE A 200 000 BTU ECONO BURN HYDRONIC BOILER I HAVE A 5000 SqFt HOUSE WITH THREE SEPERATE AIR HANDLERS AND IM HEATING A HOT TUB AS WELL IM HAVING ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMS WITH MY BOILER UNDER TEMPING AS WELL AS OVER TEMPING IM TRING TO MAINTAIN A WORKING TEMP AROUND 160 TO 180 I NEED TO RUN THE WOOD BOILER ABOUT TEN DEG HOTTER DUE TO THE HEAT LOSS OF THE 80 PLATE HEAT EXCHANGER IVE BEEN IN TOUCH WITH THE SALES MAN THAT SOLD ME THE BOILER AND ASKED IF ANY ONE ELSE HAD THE SAME PROBLEMS THAT I WAS HAVING HE SAID NO IVE BEEN AROUND ALL SORTS OF MECHANICAL ROOMS FOR YEARS AND HAVE SOME PRETTY GOOD KNOWLEDGE OF HYDRONIC SYSTEMS AND CONTROLS AND I WORK WITH SEVERAL DIFFERANT MECHANICAL COMPANIES BECAUSE MY LINE OF MY LINE OF WORK IM A PROJECT MANAGER SO I DRAGGED A COUPLE OF LICENSED LOCAL HEAT CONTRACTORS IN TO HAVE A LOOK TO SEE WHATS GOING ON AND THEY ARE STUMPED WITH THE PERFORMANCE THE PEOPLE THAT ALSO LOOKED AT IT INSTALLED MANY OWB AND SOME TARM UNITS BUT THE TARM UNITS HAD HEAT STORAGE TANKS I ALMOST BOUGHT A TARM BUT COULD NOT SWING THE BOILER& THE TANK ECONOBURN SAID I DIDNT NEED A TANK BUT FROM WHAT IM READING IT SOUNDS LIKE A TANK IS WHAT I NEED TO BALANCE OUT MY SYSTEM THATS WHAT WE ALL COME UP WITH BEFORE I MAKE ANOTHER MOVE IM HOPING TO GET SOME IMPUT SELL THE BOILER AND CUT MY LOSSES AND GO WITH AN OUT DOOR BOILER OR DESIGN A HEAT STORAGE TANK ALREADY OWN A 1270 GAL STEEL WATER TANK ALL I NEED IS TO MAKE SOME COILS THAT WILL BE MY NEXT QUESTIONS PART TWO OF MY WOODBOILER SOGGA PLEASE HELP

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  2. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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    Hi Skid, You are aware that all CAPS IS CONSIDERED YELLING RIGHT?
    I figured the econoburn would have been a good buy. Could you describe what exactly you are experiencing. I get overburn underburn. But is it just seemingly random?
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Yeah, welcome to the Boiler Room, skid, but calm down already!

    I have the EKO 60 which is pretty similar to the Econoburn 200 KBTU unit, so I'm guessing that we can help you out. It sounds like a control issue easily solved with an aquastat or two, but that's just an uneducated guess. I don't think you need storage to get the results you're looking for. Anyway, post some details and let's see what the gang comes up with.
  4. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

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    sorry about the caps new to this site didnt relize that i was yelling or maybe i did in fustration i do have a aquastat with a designated cirk pump hooked up to some hicap base board econoburns recomandations said to have 10% of the out put of the boiler for a dump i have 30% thirty ft of hight cap base board out in the garage have aquastat set at 170 to give some lead way before its hits 200 and then some also i noticed my electric bill rise since ive been burning the furnace it runs 24 7 any one else see this with my boiler the fan never shuts down maybe all gassers are like that
  5. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

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    can someone out there give some conifindence that i bought a good boiler on all the blogs that i read no one talks much about the econo burn boilers does any one else own one besides me ? boy it seems every one i know that owns an owb loves them not having the same feelings with my indoor gasser
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think you're our first member with an Econoburn, skidsteer, but from all I've heard and seen, it's a very good boiler made by an established boilermaker (Dunkirk).

    Sounds to me like you've got an installation problem. I've been thinking about what you've described, but haven't formed a clear picture of what to suggest or ask, yet.

    Are you getting good gasification, which is to say fire out of the nozzles and no smoke?
    What's your wood supply look like--is your wood very dry?

    Gasifier efficiency suffers when the boiler goes into idle mode. If your blower is running most of the time, then it's not idling, which should be good. But if you're using the entire output of the boiler all the time without storage, then you either have a huge, consistent heatload or something else is wrong.

    How warm do you keep your house?

    What's your main circulating pump controlled by--an aquastat or the controller on the boiler?

    Forget the 10% dump zone for a minute--that's a separate issue--UNLESS you're running hot water through the dump zone, which would be a huge waste of heat.

    Where is the boiler located and how are you getting the hot water into the zones?

    You mentioned a flat plate heat exchanger. How is that hooked up and what is it hooked up to?

    BTW, we've got two Econoburn dealers here--Heaterman and Joe Brown. Since both of them have presumably actually seen one of these boilers, I'm hoping that they can jump in with some intelligent troubleshooting questions, as opposed to mine, which are kind of general stream-of-consciousness stuff designed to get the ball rolling.

    Are you running plain water or glycol?
  7. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I thought the guy from Herkimer Home & Leisure - can't remember his member name - sold Econoburns . . maybe I'm confused.

    Anyway, I know nothing about them, but my experience is that most wood hydronic newbies have varying degrees of trouble the first year. Don't give up on the unit yet. And take a deep breath before, during and after you type :smirk:

    I would guess that approx half of us here have no storage . . . I would be suprised if your current problem is due to a lack of storage.

    Before I can postulate on the problems you're having, I'd need to know more . . .
  8. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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    It can't be that far from working "well" Hang in.

    Things that help are estimates of burn times. Whether you see signs of creosote.

    maybe even a scanned diagram of your layout.
  9. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

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    ok piping of my boiler top of boiler feed maid up a manifold with two 007 pumps one pump is wired to the main sw on the boiler when you power the boiler you power the pump pump recircs water through a short loop which goes through my hx returns through otherside or hx back into bottom of boiler pump #2 is hook to a aquastat only turns on or when it hits set temp thats my overtemp control which puts nice heat into my garage but in most cases does not do the trick when she dont want to behave i have that set at 170 deg that returns to the bottom of boiler the other side of the hx goes to my oil boiler ware that makes a continous loop such as the wood boiler that ware all the zones and thermoatat controls for the house are located five in all three air handlers all with 007pumps a 30gal boiler mate with a prioratoy zone and onother 007 pump and last but not least the new grunforce threespeed pump that pumps a continous to the hot tub i used a 0011 to feed all of those zones thinking it would be benifical to have moore volumn incase multipal pumps were runing besides my boilermate i find my self always having to turn the thermostats up and down to control my boiler temp either its too hot or too cool and all the air handlers are running my wood is not perfect but its been cut and split for a season i perfer two seasons but i got cought behind the eight ball building this new house that im trying to heat with this unit the units are both filled with water we try to keep the space at 70deg my electric bill has been very hight since ive been burning does the fan on these gassifyers suposed to shut off mine will slow down but wont shut off and when it runs out of wood it runs at 100% trying to make heat to bad it wouldnt shut down in both directions when it gets too hot or at the end of a burn cycle
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    What's keeping the heat from escaping out the oil boiler's chimney?

    What temp is your Econoburn set for? Are you saying that it never reaches that temp, or it reaches that temp but the blower never shuts off?

    Are you saying that your boiler overshoots the setpoint on a regular basis and causes the heat dump circ to kick on?
  11. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

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    the econoburn has a digital thermostat that has a thermocoupling that is fixed to the boilers waterjacket it displays the actual temp of the boiler and you physically set your desired temp witch then controls your fan speed it is factory preset with a five deg diferantial the fan will either run high if its below your temp or it willrun at the lowest speed if it goes above your set temp and i got to tell you when your standing there watching the temp keep rising and the fan keeps blowing it just doesnt see wright any comments is that normal dont understand what you mean about loosing heat up the chimney
  12. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Whew!! First a few questions.

    It sounds like you have the Econoburn isolated from the rest of the heating system with a plate type heat exchanger. Correct?

    If so, are you sure it's sized correctly? The issue with heat exchangers is that you alway lose some temperature on the "B" side which then lowers the output of all your heating equipment compared to what it formerly was. Too small of a heat exchanger will drastically increase the response time of your heating equipment because actual output is lower due to reduced temps.

    Also, the Econoburn is itself a sealed system so what's the reasoning for the HX? (I'm assuming that your existing heating equipment is itself a sealed/pressurized system to begin with)

    Next, from what I can decipher from your post, the issue is inconsistent temperature in the Econoburn. It's either trying to catch up or getting too hot and hitting your "dump zone". (How am I doing here?) If this is the case, I'd have to say this would be normal for your type of installation for the following reason(s) .........Think through this common scenario......... The Econoburn is at temp, say 165-170* the fan is at idle or off and now an air handler, or maybe two, get a call for heat. The airhandlers are maybe 40-60,000 btu capacity each and have the ability to suck all the heat out of the water in the Econoburn in very short order. The aquastat brings on the fan for the wood fire but the water temp continues to drop for a while. (Am I hitting the nail on the head?) This is because the Econoburn, or any other boiler of its type takes a few minutes to build up a head of steam and start producing some serious BTU's. After 10-15 minutes the Econoburn has a good fire going and the thermostat ends it's call for heat. Now you have a raging fire in the boielr with nowhere for the heat to go and the temp overshoots, causing you dump zone to dump. This is just simply the way that any wood fired equipment with a relatively low water content is going to run. With a gas or oil fired boiler the burner produces it's full output nearly immediately, much different than a wood burner.
    If your heating system consisted of baseboard or radiant instead of forced air this "flywheel" effect would hardly be noticeable. You would simply notice a longer lag time in satisfying the thermostat(s).

    As far as electrical consumption is concerned, I would guess that it has more to do with your circs running longer than it does the draft fan on the wood boiler. This again goes back to heat exchanger sizing and the use of one in the first place. The reduced temperature is going to make everything run longer, so you have higher electrical use. On the subject of circs, I'm not following your description of the piping. It would be helpful to see a picture or a diagram of what you have installed there.

    This ought to be enough food for thought for a bit so let's try to work through what I posted here before going any further.
  13. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

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    YOU HIT THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE HEAD thats exalty whats going on my plumber recommended the hx its an 80 plate i did have it set up before with out one he probley got the i dear form all the owb installs most of the are all low pressure units my oil boiler is a pressurized system i always wondered what i needed the hx for i was told you dont want the boiler waters to touch but if there both pressurized whats the harm if i remove the hx i can drop a pump also as far as the rest of the set up im contiguously pumping water through my oil boiler then i have an argo control box to signal the other pumps to run upon heat call would a heat storage tank help take all the bumps out of the road and at what temp do they run those tanks at i would run a nonpressurized tank with coils
  14. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    1) Are you SURE on the 80-plate? That sounds too big.
    2) What size are the circulator pumps with the wood and the oil units? Some of the more technical guys here can tell you for sure, but I think pumps for an 80plate have to be big!
    3)Storage may be nice for the future, but don't try to fix your current problems by doing that.
    4)I have a 20plate for my GreenWood. The fact that it is an open system was one reservation I had about going with the GW. If I had a wood hydronic that was pressure, I would definitly NOT use a HX.

    Jimbo
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I used a flat plate hx for 4 seasons and observed that it's a lot less efficient and responsive than piping direct. Absolutely. You're only getting 20 or 30 degrees out of the flat plate on each pass, so a lot of your heat is going right back to the wood boiler for another cycle. Any inefficiencies in your insulation, standby loss, etc. are going to be magnified many times before you wring all the heat out of that water. This year I piped direct into my gas boiler, and noticed a huge difference. So yes, unless you have glycol on the wood side, I'd scrap the flat plate and just connect it directly. Pipe around it for the moment and see how that works. Another advantage is that suddenly you've got two pressure relief valves on your system and two expansion tanks. Not bad to have redundancy on those two components.

    What I was talking about with the heat loss up the oil boiler's stack is simply that if you're heating up that pressure vessel to, say, 180 or 190, what's stopping the heat from rising up the oil boiler's stack and out into the great beyond? Do you have an automatic damper that closes when the burner isn't firing? If not, you've got a big hole in your system that needs to be fixed.
  16. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

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    boy o boy every thing is getting clearer and clearer by the min i can see i have some issues that i can easily fix i will keep you informed i just wish the sales force ware i bought my boiler had the info im getting it sure would help future sails.I was ready to rip this boiler out and put an owb in they just seem so much simpler. but i am stuck on the hole gasification thing and the clean burn that theygive
  17. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

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    as far a the size of the cirk pumps they are 0011 for the loops with very short runs on11/4 pipe total run lengths are both under 20ft either side of the hx but that is going to be out of the picture very shortley back to ware i had it
  18. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr Minister of Fire

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    Any way to post a drawing or the piping. Hard to answer all the questions without knowing what your building loads are. Doubtful you need that 0011 anywhere. The boiler, pipes, and pumps need to be correctly sized to the actual load to get the best performance.

    The 0011 could be the source of high electrical use, and the tie in to the other boiler could be a cause of uncontrol-ability and high wood use.

    hr
  19. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

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    Well when you remove the hx let me know what you want for it. That size hx is @ 360,000 btu. I wouldn't consider that to be the main problem. Thats like having a semi radiator in a Ford ranger. The transfer volume is there unless its plugged or the circs are operating properly.
  20. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Master of Sparks is right, a 0011 is a LOT of circ, probably way more than you need and I would bet in your application it's only running at about 20% efficiency. Far from the sweet spot on the pump curve.

    I'd probably recommend ditching the HX. There's no need for it in your system. The fill valve currently tied into your oil boiler will then keep both boilers at correct pressure.

    As far as piping and control changes to your system are concerned, It'd be just a shot in the dark for me to make any recommendations without seeing a schematic or pictures of what you have installed presently.

    Getting away from the "flywheel effect" inherent in your present set up will probably involve storage of some type in the future. You would be amazed how 500 gallons of 160-170* water can smooth out the bumps on the road to heating nirvana.
    Your heating system as it currently stands is a classic illustration of all the shortcomings of forced air heating. The main issue is that F/A heating is full on or full off. We're discussing much same issue (modulating output) on another thread regarding burning capacity.
    A system that delivers its output proportional to the "load" is a much better match for a wood fired appliance in that it will modulate (there's that word again) based on the heating load in your house. That type of system never really shuts off, it just throttles the flow up and down to match the desired temp in the house.
    I'm wandering off here as the heat delivery system is a whole 'nuther nut to crack and a topic worthy of another thread.

    Gotta go. Just got a "no heat" call on an oil furnace.
  21. skidsteer

    skidsteer New Member

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    thanks again for all the imput i will either send some pictures or a drawing as soon as i can figure out how my computer skills are about as good as my boiler is hooked up now what i would really like to share with you all is part b to my plan you all finally convinced me to stay with my gasification boiler but for the next burning season i want to make sure that im good and ready for war on winter im in the process of building a storage tank i already own a 1270 gal tank im getting some prices on foam insulation for the tank (liquid foaming the out side with 3in of foam) then i want to bury it out in a detached garage that im currently building thats ware i want to reinstall my boiler thats about 100ft away from my house but getting wood in and out will be a dream i already have to one inch insulated lines going from the garage to my house that was installed prior to my purchase of my indoor for an owb hook up that never took place so im going to have many questions hopefuy im on the right track what my master plan is i to be able to fireoff the boiler before i leave to work once the tank is up to temp burn it for 8-10 hrs and have plenty of heat with out playing around with stats and i also want to burn it in the warmer months for my domestic
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