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When to re-fuel

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by chuck172, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

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    I've been waiting for my 500 gallons storage tank to hit around 145* at the bottom to re-fuel and re-start the boiler.
    Regardless of the top of storage temp.
    What's everyone else doing?

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  2. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    When it's convenient for me.

    If I know it's going to be cold overnight. I'll have a fire in the evening. Even if tank temps are 180. I know that the house will be using the heat, and I'll take the little bit of idling.

    I usually have one first thing in the morning.. even if I've still got 150s or so in the tanks from the overnight. I just don't make the fire as big if it's going to be sunny out.

    JP
  3. ozzie88

    ozzie88 Member

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    Depends on how cold out and need for hot water that day[laundery,dishes,etc] most time in am it around 140-160 so I will start a small fire till heat hit around 160-180 then in needed evening run a good fire till 190-200 for over night till next day, alll depends on heat use and outside temp?
  4. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I've been doing evenings so far. I also watch tank temps - the middles of the top & bottom tanks. The top one can be anywhere from 150 to 170 when I fire. Sometimes lower if I drag my feet, sometimes higher if the heat loss hasn't been much that day.

    Right now I'm in the middle of my biggest trail so far. We left home yesterday afternoon for a couple of days. Before we left, I got the house up to temp (plus a little bit - around 24c), storage up to temp (190/180 when I left), and I left some fire in the boiler. Turned down all the stats to around 14c. It's fairly mild, around the freezing point - I'll see how things look when I get back. Was hoping everything would coast through until we get back (electric boiler will kick on if it doesn't). Really wishing I had some remote temp access right now - kind of like leaving your puppy at the dog pound.
  5. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    I reload any time the middle of my tanks get below 140. If the top is 160 or lower, I know Ill have to burn a full firebox and re-load before things are fully charged.

    Ill alter the schedule based on the weather and if Im headed to bed anytime soon. Earlier this week we had high winds which just sucked the heat right out of the house, and I ran the boiler almost continuously during the day.
  6. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    Depends on weather.

    During the winter it's two fires a day, how much wood is a variable based on tank temp and outside temps.

    K
  7. Rob186

    Rob186 New Member

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    I can't get my tanks up past 180 and I'm burning for 6-8 hours a day and all seasoned hardwood going to have to figure out what I'm doing wrong or ill be hooking up my oil boiler again and selling a slightly used vedrolux 37
  8. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Right now! I just tossed in my first and last full load of the night. It's going to get down into the mid teens tonight, high in the mid 20's tomorrow. On this type of day I'll start a fire when I get home from work (6pm +/-) with a small load (maybe 4 or 5 small splits). An hour and a half later I'll throw in maybe 8 or 9 splits to get a solid two hour burn. Sometime between 9 and 10 I fill it full and call it a night. I'll have plenty of heat to spare tomorrow at 6pm. Last week I was not starting the fire until after 7 and I was only loading it once after I started it. Temps were primarily in the 30's with some sun. For me my peak load/design load (below zero at night, barely above zero during the day) will have a 2 hour first load of wood, a 3 hour second load of wood (2/3 fire box +/-) and then a chock-full load of wood at 11pm or so. I do not like design load days since I typically like to hit the sack before 11pm. I only have a handful in a normal season. I had ZERO design load days last year.

    There have only been two or three days over the past five years I've ever had to deviate from the types of schedules above. And those were extremely cold days with a lot of wind. On those days I actually set an alarm for 3am +/- to throw one last load in so the system could get me past 6pm with no struggles. My ultimate goal operationally is to avoid having the bottom of my bottom tank drop below 140 before I have a chance to relight the fire the next day. The methods I've shared here at 99% effective at doing that for me, for my system...
  9. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    What are you running for output and or fan speed if 4 or 5 small splits will last an hour and a half?

    What is a small split?

    gg
  10. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

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    I monitor the top and bottom temps of my 500 gallon storage. The bottom temp is important. I also reload before I hit the 140* point.
  11. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I start my boiler cold with 60% fan speed, shutter 100% open. Usually within 30 minutes of hitting start I'll swing back downstairs and drop the fan speed to 50% and let it finish off the first load with no more changes.

    When I toss in my second load I'll usually also start closing the shutters. The shutter location for me is somewhat dependant on the wood and weather. Most of the time it's half closed. If I'm burning red oak (which I have a lot of this year) I have been getting it down to 80% closed by the time I toss in my full load. My guide for fan speed/shutter position is my el cheapo magnetic flue temp gauge. I'm typically shooting for 400 degrees.

    A small split for me is 4" across, 2-3" deep +/-. I guess I failed to mention I usually have two larger pieces (maybe 6") that I use to create a funnel when starting. But everything above those two pieces I would consider a "small split".
  12. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Usually when tank temp is 110F. Then 136 lbs of wood brings it back up to 190F. Burn about every other day.
  13. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Start a new thread about the tank temps, along with other info about your wood, flue temps, and the rest of your system and see if we can get it straightened out...
  14. mole

    mole Member

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    I only make fires in the evening during the week. So far this season its been every other day. On the weekends, I like to run the bottom of the tank down to 140F, which is my lower usable limit, before making a fire.
  15. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    Thats interesting that the air gets choked that low. I would imagine that it really extends the use of your storage because your actual burn time is so long.

    It would be interesting to cross check your magnetic flue gauge. I think I have posted about mine before as have others. Mine reads at least 200 degrees low at times.

    gg
  16. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Getting rid of a Vedolux & hooking oil back up is the LAST thing I would do. That thing should be giving you all kinds of hot water.

    Pretty sure you'd find some takers for it though.
  17. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Even with these air settings I won't get more than 4 hours (maybe 5 max) on an absolutely full firebox. In the grand scheme I don't think I'd consider that a "long" burn time overall compared to a boiler that idles??
  18. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    No thats not real long considering the air shutter at 80% closed. I thought it would be much longer on a full load if 4 or 5 splits will burn for 1.5 hours.

    It would be nice to some how have a setup that would gasify at low speed for 10 or 12 hours never shutting off. Just cruise along heating the load and slowly charging the tank. Problem is the firebox on low output boilers are too small to hold the amount of wood to burn for a long time.

    The Froling does have the option to run as 2 different output boilers.

    ggg
  19. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    My 1.5 hour "startup" on 4-5 splits includes my 20 minutes +/- of cold start. So really I'm probably getting one hour, typically, after I hit the start button. As I stated above I'm getting my "real" two hours, fan on, on twice as much wood. Sorry for all the confusion!
  20. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    This is a very satisfying thing to watch I have to say. Once my house is heated up, the boiler will come up to its setpoint very quickly. Then it slows right down and It's very common for my unit to run at 35% fan speed (as slow as it can go) with primary settings at 20% and output 188 to 194f water for 3-4 hours at a time as storage charges. Nothing like the 10-12 hours you describe, but still very cool to see.
  21. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    I dialed my min fan speed back to 25% just to try. I'm really stretching out those burns. The right amount of fuel once storage is done... like a few splits that are all charred up. And it just purrs along in the 190s for several hours. Pretty cool technology.

    JP
  22. Hansson

    Hansson Feeling the Heat

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  23. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

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    It's probably more logical to wait for the top of storage to hit the min. usable temp like Hansson says, but I think the bottom of the tank water becomes the boiler return, and 140* will get by the termovar valve without much blending.

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