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Wood Boiler for PEI

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by AndrewG, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. AndrewG

    AndrewG New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
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    Loc:
    Prince Edward Island
    Hi Im currently building a new home , it will be a split entry on a concrete slab, 28x40,, so roughly 1200 sq foot per floor. I will have in floor heating in the slab with 2inch sm Styrofoam under the concrete. The walls will be r35 with the standard r-20 in the walls with 2 inch sm on the outside walls.Ive been looking at several models and am now dizzy with all the info. I was looking at a Harman SF 260 but this is not a gassifier and seems to be a wood hog but far less cheaper then the gassifier units. Which one would be the most efficient wheter it be strictly wood boiler or the gassifier unit. I looked at the empyre elite and wasn't so sure..i looked at the central boiler but have read a lot of negative reviews about their steel walls being to thin and no customer service whatsoever...then I looked at the EKO..any info would be greatly appreciated...Thanks....This will be to heat the home and also hot water supply.

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  2. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    The Garn Junior works the same as the larger unit in the video; incorporates its own storage, is efficient, simple to operate, can be direct vented through a wall requiring no chimney and the company has been in operation for over 30 years with good parts support. My feelings are that once you add the cost of storage to most other gasification boilers, the Garn Junior would not be much more expensive and will not occupy a much larger foot print!
    Welcome to "The Hearth" and good luck! Caution - this subject always brings some very interesting debate!

    Attached Files:

  3. leon

    leon Member

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    Feb 3, 2013
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    108
    I can tell you that I I will be replacing my wood
    and coal boiler with an SF360 when it fails.
    I can only hope it lasts 33 years like the one
    I own now.

    Saying that I only use the wood and coal boiler for the
    heating season here in New York State.

    I filled my wood boiler half full of firebrick and I will 'be
    doing the same thing when I replace it with the Harmon.

    What I did was purchase a piece of 12 by 12 steel channel
    two inches high and covered half the grates with it and the
    firebrick is a huge heat sink and I have almost no smoke
    when burning firewood because the firebrick holds the heat
    and maintains a high combustion temperature in the
    combustion chamber.

    Now with the SF units you can purchase a firebox reducer
    to make a smaller fire combustion chamber to heat your
    water during the summer or do what I did with the firebrick and
    leave the firebrick in the boiler the year round. The boiler plate
    will not be affected by the firebricks.

    Small hot fires to burn wood and coal are better than fighting with a
    gassifier because you need dry wood. The only way you can manage
    that is have a wood box that has a dehumdifier in it to remove the water
    in the firewood. If you have anthracite coal you can also burn that
    in any of the SF units.
  4. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    Hobbyheater has you pointed in a very good direction.
    As far as I know.... old Ernie and his Garn are still ticking.
  5. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    This is the section from the Jetstream manual on the BTU values associated with burning wood with varying degrees of moisture content.

    upload_2013-10-14_10-33-18.png
  6. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Nova Scotia
    As far as I know there is no coal burning in PEI.

    The rest of that, well - what the heck are you talking about? You know if you stack wood outside for a few months, it'll dry - right? And everyone should be burning dry wood no matter what they're burning it in.
  7. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    218
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    Hey Andrew, I'm up in Souris if you want to check out an Empyre Elite. I would suggest you go with something that has storage if your house is going to be that well insulated. Are you wrapping the structure with blue seal? If you are smart with your build, you will have very little heat load due to your insulation and air infiltration measures. A wood boiler with storage will be on the edge of overkill, one without storage would be overkill and frustrating to operate.

    The old place I'm in is 2700 sq ft, with a 660 sq ft garage. R12 walls, r52 in the roof system, 12 yr old windows with low e and Argon. We went through 4.5 cords of wood last year, while we were learning to run the gassifier. Once you get on to the system it works great ( as long as you have a load for the heat to go to).

    The 3 main points I need to stress are

    #1 you can't process wood like your fellow Islanders, you must get ahead of it and burn DRY WOOD
    #2 You don't load it up so you don't have to relight the boiler(relighting is no longer a chore because you have DRY WOOD)
    #3 Clean your boiler tubes and remove ashes every week( very little ash because you're using DRY WOOD)

    Let me know if you want to come up and check it out.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
    hobbyheater likes this.
  8. Noob2wood

    Noob2wood New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    PEI
    Hey guys.

    I have the Empyre Elite 100. I'm in mermaid PEI. I have had issues .
    1 being the load door built up with cresote where I couldn't open it . They retro fit a new handle and ordered a new door.
    2. My pin snapped inside load arm to damper. Twice! Hopefully it'll be replaced .
    Vizsla likes this.
  9. Noob2wood

    Noob2wood New Member

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    Oct 17, 2013
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    Loc:
    PEI

    Are you having smoke issues inside your house when you open door to load wood? What have you done about it
  10. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    Smoke inside the house hasn't been much of a problem since I started with smaller hot fires. Only open the door when the boiler is at the higher end of its heating cycle and that will all but eliminate the smoke.

    The handle on my door was replaced because smoke was seeping out around the handle. So far Pro Fab have been great to deal with

    Creosote build up on your damper door probably caused the door to stick and then break the pin. When I first operated the boiler I had one time where I had difficulty opening the load handle, followed by the sound of the creosote dropping down on to the fire causing the ever famous wood gas explosion.
    I called the manufacture and they told me I was overloading the boiler for the heat demand. Smaller hot fires were what I needed. I have not had a problem with it since.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  11. Noob2wood

    Noob2wood New Member

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    Oct 17, 2013
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    Loc:
    PEI

    I have split hardwood. Seasoned I load it up to roof of boiler. The pin just snapped last night on me. They are ordering one today, also my load door is being replaced.
    Very good company I had a rep on phone last night and he helped me out.

    So your suggesting I not fill wood up all the way but only half full loads?
  12. Noob2wood

    Noob2wood New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
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    Loc:
    PEI
    I built new and used all wood. Much better heat. Bought my stove from Corrigan's. Willyswagon do you have a pin connecting your load door to your damper. Or is it welded?
  13. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    I'm not sure what you have for a heat load, but I have not even fired my boiler up as of yet.
    If you fill the boiler right up you are going to produce tons of creosote as the boiler will be idling a lot in this mild weather.
    Did you run it last winter?
    I'll check the boiler later to see if it is a pin or welded.

    Ken
  14. Noob2wood

    Noob2wood New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
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    Loc:
    PEI
    Yeah take a look and let me know. I fired it up due to door handle change and it was cold for about a week and I thought it might stay cold. But it is now mild. I killed the boiler , I'll clean it out .. It was mostly to fire it up work out any kinks for heating season coming up. Glad it all happened now rather then mid dec! Plus my house is new and there was infloor heat put in the floors of garage as well as basement and I wanted to see if garage was working as he just bled the lines .... I chaulk it up to a test run. My wife is pissed as she said we have had nothing but issues with unit. But they aren't major ones. I'll clean boiler today after work and hopefully my parts are coming fast.
  15. AndrewPEI

    AndrewPEI New Member

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    I have the Harman SF-260 bought new last year from Corrigans. Break in year went pretty good. Thought about getting the Empyre Elite boiler, but after hearing about the issues with them I decided to stick with the Harman, less parts, less maintance, tried and tested design. I burned a little shy of 7 cord last year, with no other heat source at least 1/3 of that was junk wood or dead. Other than cleaning the chimney this fall and emptying the ashes every 7-10 days it has been maintenace free. Small hot fires are key. I never filled the firebox full even on -20c days as to avoid idling as much as possible, although I'm only heating 2,000 sq feet. Putting firebrick on the back half of the unit over the grates has enabled me to have hot coals 12 hours later. Before I did this the unit would be cold after 7-8 hours. I may still upgrade to a gassifier in a few years or so, perhaps when more of the kinks have been worked out.
  16. OldStoneHouse

    OldStoneHouse Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    What about a Tarm or Frohling? I just put in a Tarm Solo Innova and am really pleased with it. It's very well built and there are no smoke issues in the house at all.
  17. Noob2wood

    Noob2wood New Member

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    Loc:
    PEI
    I only have hard maple to burn . I got myself some soft wood but it is a year away from burning .. I'll try the small fire maybe only 3 half logs..
  18. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

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    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    Bought the Empyre from Corrigans as well. Heating 2700 sq ft plus 660 sq ft garage, solar in there as well 4.5 cords. Small hot fires with DRY WOOD.
    Can't wait to start this year as all of mine wood is 18-20 month C/S/S.
  19. leon

    leon Member

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    ========================================================================================
    Hey Andrew,

    Glad to see you are happy with the firebrick in the SF260
    and it is working wellfor you.

    I do not see the gassifier issues going away ever unless
    they provide a kiln with a forced air hot water heat exchanger
    to dry the wood for the owner and attached to the gassifier


    I have my firebrick all the way up to the flue opening in my
    boiler. can you add more firebrick to just below the flue exit?
  20. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    OK - what the heck are you talking about?
    Fred61, Floydian and __dan like this.
  21. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

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    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    x2
  22. leon

    leon Member

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    What I am saying is this;


    A small fully insulated wood kiln sized for a thrown cord of split wood with an isulated door
    should be placed next to the gassifier and the gassifier would also heat a full length steam
    radiator converted to water heat to kiln dry the wood before it is burned.

    IF these people were serious about the gassifiers they sell they should include an insulated
    hot water kiln sized with a full length steam radiator coverted to water for a thrown cord of wood.

    Once you start heating the wood in the box you will see lots of steam coming out of the vent holes.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  23. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
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    So....using heat from the boiler to heat and dry wood that goes into the boiler AND another round of moving firewood? No thanks.

    Seasoning wood to less than 20% is pretty easy and is a proven method. Just like gassifiers with dry wood are a well proven technology. Although some folks have run into puffing issues with kiln dried wood, usually small pieces are a big part of that problem.

    Now if you really want to get your firewood dryer, why not build a simple solar wood kiln.

    Noah
  24. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Do you have a kiln next to your boiler?

    Does anybody?
    BoilerMan likes this.
  25. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Leon, you are always on a bent to tell everyone about your firebrick, I've done it in my old NY 130 wood/coal boiler. It was a good improvement, however nothing like running a gasser in it's place. Have you run a gasser before? By what you've been posting it sounds like you've not.

    I had no wood moisture issues going from a non-gasser to a gasser. I wish I had taken pictures of the work I did, welded in C channel 1/2" SS secondary air tubes fed pre-heated secondary air and all. More C channel for firebrick surrounding the fire as well. It was a lot of work and cleaning for welding prep and having to weld inside the firebox. Vermiculite above the secondaries and a longer path for heat exchange. All of this and still the gasser saved me 25% in wood consumption easily.

    Burning wood that is not ready to be burned simply consumes more wood, and personally I'm not crazy about having steam coming out of a kiln in my house I'd rather dry my wood outside. Also my heatpump water heater is located in the boiler room and condenses water out of the air, but even after bringing in 3.5 cord of wood in my air-tight house the relative humidity stays in the 55-60% range@ 65F.

    TS
    maple1 likes this.

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