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Why is everyone down on non gassers?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by chadley, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. martyinmi

    martyinmi Member

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    Hmmmmm....
    Funny how when an EPA accredited lab tests an OWB gasser their findings are considered "a farce at best and fraud and the worst", but when a mass storage unit is tested by one of these same labs the results are accepted as gospel truth. Then you have a particular dealer stretching the EPA's findings(as posted by Garn). All I can say is "buyer beware when purchasing one of these units".

    Go with something that sits outside for a "no muss no fuss installation". Buy it once, install it right, operate it properly, keep the mess and fire hazard outside, and be done with it for 20 years!

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  2. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Well you & I may not like it Marty, however virtually all of the science of clean & efficient burning of wood is on the side of the Gassers found on this forum, not the OWB's. Just the way it is.
    As far as the EPA being the laughing stock on this issue, with the test results they accepted as the "truth" from the OWB co's, well many of us had our laugh on that one. You can read past threads & learn what members had to say about the crib wood results that the EPA accepted from labs chosen by the manufacturers not the EPA.
    What possessed the EPA to accept results that were & still are physically impossible is beyond me. Big part of the reason it was such a laugh & now the EPA has removed that data from they're site, wonder why?

    Maybe it was the 99% eff OWB that had no condensate drain, not sure how they pulled that off as at 99% they were well into the condensing range, that OWB should have been just peeing water out of a condensate drain. Perhaps it was the fact that that OWB & a few others were claiming eff #'s that no N.G. appliance had been able to achieve, even though they have been working on condensing N.G. units for over a decade.
    Leaves one wondering did they use magic wood? Sure got some magic results, if you believe in magic that is!
    Me, I will stick with peer reviewed science. The OWB co's are just about out of magic.

    BTW what is the benefit of recommending buying a non compliant unit to a user in a state that will soon be removing non compliant units from it's list of approved sales.
    Won't that user have a unit that they can't get parts/dealer support for?
  3. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Y'know Garn & all the other established gassers should be upset, after all isn't that magic OWB a full 10% more eff than any of them?
  4. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Speaking to your first question as to why many of the OWB companies don't push their gassers;

    In many cases the first attempts by these companies have not and do not work very well. Witness the fact that the big guy on the block, Central Boiler, is already on their second iteration and from what I understand from a CB dealer out east the company has stopped backing up the first and left dealers and customers hanging in many cases. I know a guy that kept all of his repair receipts and after a couple years and nearly $5K out of his pocket in non warranty repairs got a lawyer involved and made CB buy it back. Talking with end users in my travels and after installing a few different brands here locally, I hear pretty much the same stories all over.
    It must be said though that in probably 50% of the cases, poor quality unseasoned wood is being used. No gasser out there is going to do good with that. My son in law discovered that with his Econoburn and everyone else here has also. Traditional OWB's due to the nature of their design will "digest" green wood. And I do mean "digest" because what happens in there really can't be called combustion. A traditional OWB gets away with that due to the nature of the design, Most are more like a pot of water hanging over a camp fire than an actual boiler meant to transfer maximum heat value of the fuel into the water.

    As far as the design of the European style gasification boilers is concerned you are correct. These are not outdoor rated units. There are a couple manufacturers that have enclosed their gasification unit and made it an outdoor capable product, Econoburn for one, but any of them can be installed in an outbuiling and piped to your house the same as an OWB. This is by far the most common route around here. You have to remember that these units were and are designed in Europe where there are realistic emission laws and such a thing as an OWB does not exist. I remember telling some of the big wigs at Viessmannn (Germany) about outdoor wood burners and they could not for the life of them understand why anyone would put heating equipment outdoors.

    Pricing: You'll find that a decent outdoor gasification unit like the Portage and Main will start out at around $11,000 with the next model up jumping to about $15K. (Your sq ft might work better with the larger one) Econoburn's outdoor rated unit will be in the same ballpark. Others will be similar.
    If you consider an indoor unit for either your basement or in an outbuilding (my first recommendation always) You can drop the cost to around $9K and up for a unit sized to heat your load. Added to that would be the cost of storage, which IMHO should be and probably some day will be, mandatory. For a unit with lot's of storage built in like a Garn 1500, which would run your load nicely, you would be looking at about $13,500 depending on the choice of flue. (Vertical flue a few hundred higher)

    Gassers by their nature are a bit more complex, with Garn being the exception there, and they may require a little bit of a learning curve for satisfactory operation. I think that has a lot of the OWB dealers a bit gunshy about them also. It certainly would not be too much for someone like yourself who is not afraid to ask questions.
    The dealers don't understand them in many cases and they don't want to educate themselves or their customers. In addition, the sad reality is that if they started really telling the truth about gasification efficiency, it would pretty much expose what they have been saying about the traditional OWB's for years as a lie.

    Hope that gives you a little guidance.

    Send me a PM here if you want. I'd be happy to help you talk it out.
  5. barkeatr

    barkeatr Member

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    Profab has an outdoor EPA gasser that is in line, or less, than the prices noted for the Portage and Main above. I agree that some of the outdoor gassers are complex, and that is why i chose the profab, its very simple in design. There are several happy users on hearth.com. While storage will improve performance, it is not required for the profab. They work great. Dont forget to add the cost of a fairly large insulated building to the price of a Garn and of course the insulating pipe ( which can cost as much as the gasser) when comparing indoor to outdoor solutions.
  6. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Even if accepting that the EPAII testing was a farce, that does not mean that Phase II OWB gassers are not worth considering - does it? I think there are some very good ones being built now that are not deserving of being condemned just because they were efficiency tested with a faulty testing procedure - that seems more of an EPA problem that an OWB one.
  7. hoogie

    hoogie Member

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    There inlies the only problem that i see with this site...everyone on here or most is pro inside models...yadda yadda...My profab emyper pro200 is url listed...I could put the unit in the basement or in the garage if i choose to. i didnt because i like the mess outside close to my wood pile. heck of a lot less luggin the wood around and i can use larger pieces than alot of the indoor models. as for epa...i'm doing my part as a responsable wood burner buyin the latest and cleanest burnin equipment out there...Some owb should be commended on there persuit to higher performances...but ya just cant get some on this site to believe that or its just to hard for them to admit there is a place for owbs. Dont get me wrong i really get a lot off this site its help alot and made me a better burner with a lot of suggestions that i've now put in place....Just my 2 cents worth...Hoogie
  8. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

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    I think that most folks on this site use the term OWB in reference to all of the non-gasification smoke dragons. Based on what's on their web site, and what's been written here about the Profab 200, that unit appears to be a gasification boiler, and would not be in the "OWB" group that we're so negative about. So, maybe you would get better mileage if you start calling your boiler a gasser, and not an OWB ;-).
    But, that being said, I read the following on the Profab site: "The Empyre Pro Series operates best with large seasoned logs, making wood splitting obsolete." This past Summer, I happened upon a very nice oak tree out in the woods - down, but propped up 3 feet in the air on both ends by big rock formations - no ground contact (or even close). This tree had been down for so many years that the bark had disintegrated - not a trace or bark remained anywhere. The wood was still high quality, no bugs or rot, but had just begun the process of "turning over". Bucked up, it felt dry and looked dry. I thought I had finally found the legendary "seasoned log". Brought it home and split up a bunch. 33% - everywhere :roll:. So I would like to find out from Profab how to create a "seasoned (20%) log". IMO, they are shooting themselves in the foot by trying to convert the existing OWB unsplit-log mentality over to their gassers by promoting the use of "seasoned logs". They will not try to do EPA testing with "seasoned logs", so why keep on pushing that ridiculous idea just to make a sale?
  9. hoogie

    hoogie Member

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    I think that most folks on this site use the term OWB in reference to all of the non-gasification smoke dragons. Based on what's on their web site, and what's been written here about the Profab 200, that unit appears to be a gasification boiler, and would not be in the "OWB" group that we're so negative about. So, maybe you would get better mileage if you start calling your boiler a gasser, and not an OWB ;-).
    But, that being said, I read the following on the Profab site: "The Empyre Pro Series operates best with large seasoned logs, making wood splitting obsolete." This past Summer, I happened upon a very nice oak tree out in the woods - down, but propped up 3 feet in the air on both ends by big rock formations - no ground contact (or even close). This tree had been down for so many years that the bark had disintegrated - not a trace or bark remained anywhere. The wood was still high quality, no bugs or rot, but had just begun the process of "turning over". Bucked up, it felt dry and looked dry. I thought I had finally found the legendary "seasoned log". Brought it home and split up a bunch. 33% - everywhere :roll:. So I would like to find out from Profab how to create a "seasoned (20%) log". IMO, they are shooting themselves in the foot by trying to convert the existing OWB unsplit-log mentality over to their gassers by promoting the use of "seasoned logs". They will not try to do EPA testing with "seasoned logs", so why keep on pushing that ridiculous idea just to make a sale?[/quote]


    I so understand what your sayin, and for the most part i do refer to my burner as a gasser, but its just an owb gasser lol...and your right about the rounds thing...I split everything at least once just to aid in drying time...I put wood in that is somewhere from 19% to 23% that is what profab stated was optimal moister for this and there burner...
  10. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    [​IMG]

    This is from the Windhager (Austrian) site.

    I would not call it an OWB but they make what they call a Bio Cabin for their equipment.

    I have seen some in the UK, larger installs, they were in outbuildings.

    You can gassify 35% wood, but you need to chip it first.

    In a UK environment an OWB would be difficult, firstly most people will not have the space for it and then there would be the chimney issue plus of course it is wet/cold/damp in winter! Having it inside something makes much more sense. Plus of course the building are on average smaller and so is the equipment.

    Where I am it is much colder, but we do not have the mind numbing dampness.
  11. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Hoogie, maybe you have an OWBG ?
  12. pwschiller

    pwschiller Member

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    Even the generalization of all non-gasification OWB as "smoke dragons" isn't necessarily fair. I thought that the picture that I posted answered the "Why is everyone down on non gassers" question pretty simply, at least from the viewpoint of the general public. There are lots of OWB owners who are burning green wood (or trash), which has made them a target of the EPA. Most people don't understand the merits of drying your wood and many of the people who do can't be bothered.

    One of CB owners in my area just built a nice big woodshed this past year. Even before that, I never saw the thick plumes of smoke coming from their OWB that you see in other places. Their unit certainly isn't smoke-free, but it's far better than the thick smoke that you see coming out of some people's chimneys from their wood stoves.

    I have a nice view of the surrounding mountains from my house. This time of year, instead of the mountains being the mix of green and brown that you might expect, they appear as more of a grayish-blue. I'm pretty sure it's mainly from wood smoke.

    Gassifier or not, it doesn't seem reasonable to expect a cordwood boiler with a half burned load of wood to shut down instantly or to quickly reignite at a high temperature. You're going to get some smoke if that's how your boiler operates, although clearly some designs are better than others. If you want a wood boiler that heats on demand with very little smoke, then reducing the size of the wood and only feeding it into the burn chamber as needed is a good solution, which is what pellet boilers do.

    I think that the best thing that we can all do to not give wood burning in general a bad rap is to dry our wood and try to enlighten our friends to do the same.
  13. martyinmi

    martyinmi Member

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    Pete-
    Very good, intelligent post. Points will be well taken.
    maple1-
    See above reply to Pete.
    canuck-
    You are obviously NOT familiar with the phrase "Sometimes it is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" are you?
    heaterman-
    If you'd like to add some validity to your posts stop typing with the mindset of a salesman.
  14. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I think that the best thing that we can all do to not give wood burning in general a bad rap is to dry our wood and try to enlighten our friends to do the same.

    Yes. Good subject to focus on Pete. Dry wood. It does not matter if you will be burning in wood furnace, wood stove, or boiler. With any boiler, the benefits of storage next.
  15. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

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    http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/JF/425/20-439.pdf

    Pages 65-77, especially the section regarding Benjamin Frankiln

    Proper practices were spoken of by Ben Franklin as well as the Downdraft pyrolitic (gassification if you will..) principle.

    The shortage of fuel in the colonies was becoming as bad a problem as the smoke and fire issues.
    We are not in uncharted territory, nor are we re discovering the wheel. The wise approach is studying history's lessons and some common sense paired with a scientific approach.

    We are all in the same boat, is sounding right, but only if we are all rowing together.

    Scott
  16. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    I have had several different types of heating systems over the many years including the OWB. I thought it was the greatest thing to heat with. It had so many advantages. No smoke in the house (except when the wind blew toward the house), No fire danger, could cut the wood and just throw it in, If you could pick it up or roll it in it was good to go, No splitting, fill it to the top and you wouldn't have to fill it again untill the next day. I even tried the tire thing, even got paid to take them. They didn't work out to well cause that tire soot would get on the snow and the better half didn't like me tracking in that sticky stuff. Sure I used alot of wood but I had lots. When my last one was getting about 4years old I knew I't wasn't going to last much longer and wanted something better so I started to look on line.I started to learn about gasification and could see the advantages. There wasn't any I could see and it seemed like no one in Michigan had even heard of them. With my recearch I desided on a wood gun 180 and had gotten a price from the manufacturer. Thought about it for a couple of weeks and called the manufacturer and asked if there was any in Michigan to look at. They told me they had just signed up a dealer in MI and there was one in the center to the state and I could go look at that one with him. I went and looked at it and liked it even though he didn't have storage I could see that storage was really needed. I went and was going to order but because they now had a dealer the price went up $2000. They said I could say I was getting it for someone in ohio and they would sell it to me but other wise I had to buy from the dealer. I don't play that way so I went with my second choice the eko80.
    After I got it installed I was having lots of trouble and wasn't happy at all. I found this site and started getting advise on how to make this work. My dealer was very helpful but like everyone else didn't really know how these things worked. Most every one here and the dealers were learning together. Overseas they have been running these things for years and it is second nature but because of us running those OWB we were doing every thing wrong.
    All the advantages I THOUGHT of the OWB were really bad. way to much smoke, burning green cold wood, bubble wrap lines, two small of lines, throwing in huge rounds, and having it and the wood setting out in the cold was making me burn way to much.
    The second year I had my wood split and dry my eko was in a shed along with room to store wood so it would be warm when I put it in, My lines were double 1in pex foamed in place with 2000gal storage. I now use way less than half the wood running year long and now heating my house, hottub, and waterbed and use NO propane. I don't have second thoughts at all It was the best move I ever made. I would never advise someone to buy any thing but a gasser but can understand if someone does. But take every thing a OWB dealer says because most of them a just people with very little knowledge. Most are just doing it as a sideline. Take this for what it's worth. I have no axe to grind and I'm not on any buddies payroll. I've found very few knowlegable people about gasifiers except for the pro's here and they have been very helpful to all. If they haven't installed them and seviced them they think they a complicated. Once you understand dry wood, proper install, storage they are easy.
    leaddog
  17. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    I didn't see any statement that could be taken as a fool and in Heatermans defence He is a salesman but has given some of the best advise to the people here no matter what they burn with out expecting any thing in return. I expect ANY dealer to talk up his product and make a buck but when people are giving BAD advise just to sell a product then they need to be called on it. I can tell you lots of BAD advise from the OWB dealers and some outright lies so if most of us here are skeptical there reasons for it. Just a few. 1in pex will handle any thing you need, this insulated buble wrap pipe is the best you can find., no heat loss in over 100ft., Storage is a big waste of money. You just need a bigger pump. Burn big green wood cause it is more efficient. and the biggest one off all from the top engineer of CB told to both my son and my self, " I havent heard of a single problem with our burn pots"
    leaddog
  18. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Pete. You hit the nail on the head squarely with this statement.

    "Gassifier or not, it doesn’t seem reasonable to expect a cordwood boiler with a half burned load of wood to shut down instantly or to quickly reignite at a high temperature. You’re going to get some smoke if that’s how your boiler operates, although clearly some designs are better than others."

    Shutting down at mid burn because the aquastat is satisfied will always result in increased emissions and a loss of efficiency. Storage is the key. In fact, I think that if a person were to connect a standard OWB to storage which allowed the entire fuel load to be consumed without shutting down, you could probably hit around 50% efficiency with it.
  19. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Jeebers, how much storage would that require?
  20. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Marty, if you're trying to get under my skin or disprove the theories I am referring to, it ain't working.

    If you ever get up toward Falmouth in the morning, give me a heads up. I'll buy you breakfast at the local greasy spoon and we can talk shop. That's a standing offer.
  21. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Depends on the size of the fuel load and how much heat you want to bottle up. For all but the smallest homes and lower output boilers I recommend at least 1000 gallons. I think Leaddog cornered the market on LP tanks and hooked up 2,000 gallons worth to his EKO 80. He could tell you if it still idles.
  22. bpirger

    bpirger Minister of Fire

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    Well, martyinmi might not be getting under heaterman's skin, but I'll certainly say his remarks and lack of respect have gotten under mine. While hopefully Steve does earn a bit of living through his efforts here, I for one have benefited tremendously from him and have the deepest respect for him. I find the childish bantering and constant attempts at starting a pissing match ridiculous, and Steve's constant respectful remarks and open hand to marty even more proving of the MAN Steve is, in addition to his vast experience and knowledge.

    I'm all for frank discussion and debate, but it should be supported by facts, evidence, and dare I say science. This constant badgering and disrespect does this incredible forum only harm to its content and image upon viewing by others. As a scientist, I spend much of my day teaching and helping others, learning and creating, and seeking out new understanding. If I tried proving I could piss further everyday than those around me, man would life really suck.

    Martyinmi, and everyone else, I ask that you treat everyone with respect. Many come here solely to help others, perhaps to learn a new thing or discuss a new thought. Having some unnecessary, childish comments and "taunting", quite frankly you remind me of my teenage daughters. I can't wait until they grow up either.
  23. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    It gets worse and a lot more expensive.
  24. James Ascherl

    James Ascherl Member

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    After logging on virtually nightly for almost two years now, I have found this forum to have incredibly helpful people who are eager to help us all with one common goal- to build and improve the best heating system possible for our needs and budget. The friendliness and subtle humor has actually made my nightly log-ons addictive. Often people have different opinions, yet they are always discussed without insults or judgment. Once every so often someone "misinterprets" someone's comment/opinion. It is usually rectified with a simple clarification or an apology. As I have been following this thread for several days, I have watched tension build as the thread slowly spins off topic. Mayhaps we should "retire" this particular thread. Lets all sit back and enjoy an adult beverage of our choice and enjoy life. My $.02
  25. James Ascherl

    James Ascherl Member

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    bpirger, you actually said what I meant to say. I was just a bit more delicate perhaps. :lol:

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