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Wood Gasification Recommendations

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by ivars, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. ivars

    ivars New Member

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    Thanks, that's something to consider. I wrote-off the Garn because of the expense of creating acess for it.

    I live in Los Angeles (For another 8-9 months, anyway). Everything is expensive here. Hopefully Vermont will cost less.

    I take it that you believe that the expense of construction- changing the sliding door and interior door way to accommodate the Garn, might be comparable in price to installing a gasification boiler and water storage system?

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  2. Garn calls for 9' of ceiling height to access the manhole. Which rules out most basements.

    Though if I cold have convinced the wife I would have lowered the basement floor to make it fit.
  3. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    I know a lot of folks put boilers in their basements but if you don't already have a chimney to use I think you would be better off building a $2000 boiler/wood shed. Many of these gassers have the possibly of letting smoke into the house while loading which can drive you crazy. Check out everyone building the smoke hoods and exhaust vents. If you have ever burned with wood then you may be comfortable with what I call the "wood mess". Granted it can be kept clean but it is a full time job with all the handling and shop vac cleanup. You still have to do this in your shed but at least it is a shed not a house. My two cents although I know a lot of people have no problem with that in the home (ie. think happy wife. ...). The Garn is usually the best choice for someone than afford the initial cost upfront since they storage is integrated. With existing propane forced air, it may not be the best choice for W/A heat exchangers and it may be costly to add radiant or rad panels to a home of your size. Heaterman would be the expert to answer this and I'm sure he will chime in. It may be that by oversizing the W/A h/x's you can overcome this. My home is similar in size, a 2200 sq.ft. walkout ranch with 2 sides of the basement totally above ground. My highest bill on the coldest winter (pre-boiler, Jan 2010 I think) was only $257 using a 5 ton air source heat pump with electric backup. The propane usage on your home seems outrageous for a newer well insulated home and should be looked into as well. Either way a gasser with storage/Garn is going to save you a lot of money and pay for itself in just few years.
  4. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Not everyone is building smoke hoods. ==c

    My new unit allowed me to get rid of mine - and I wouldn't have it anywhere else but the basement. Aside from being able to feed it in my robe & slippers, the chimney height from there up through the two floors above allowed me to go natural with the draft. But like has been said, different strokes for different folks & situations. There are a TON of considerations. I actually second guess my whole install once in a while & wonder if I'd been better off putting mini-splits in, what with moderating climates & all that stuff. Those thoughts don't last long, I'm happy with what I did (although not done yet), but something else to consider.
  5. dogwood

    dogwood Minister of Fire

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    Ivars, look up some of pybyrs old posts where he special ordered an especially large w/a heat exchanger. If you are going with an in-plenum hx you are going to need a very large one with 4700 square feet. I can't for sure remember the name of the company he used (maybe National?) and I'm not home to look it up. They will size one out for you based on your heating load once you complete your heat loss calculations. I got mine from them, but would much rather have gone with Euro style low temp panel rads if I had to do it over. Much lower install cost I would think than in-floor radiant.might be.
  6. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    FYI you should be able to leave the frame and take just the panels out of any sliding door giving you full access.

    Thanks but they told me it was gremlins and I didn't believe until I snapped a picture of him in action.
    [​IMG]
    Taylor Sutherland and Gasifier like this.
  7. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Ahhh. What the _ _ _ _? Not one of you guys told me the Vigas came with Santa Claus. I would have gotten that one dammit!:mad:
  8. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I think asking at this stage for recommendation on a particular gasification boiler are premature. In you situation with a wahx fan coil, hot forced air system, your critical determination is temperature of water you need and gpm flow requirements. For example, as mentioned above, if it turns out that you need approximately 180F water, no matter what boiler you get will need to burned almost continuously and storage will serve primarily as a buffer and not much as storage at a water temperature you need (160F water in storage will not help much if you need 180F water).

    If you need high temperature water, perhaps even160F and above, a boiler with an internal water of 50-100 gallons likely will be far more responsive in delivering that water than will a boiler with a high volume internal water. This though isn't black and white, and it also will depend on flow rates. That's why I think you need, in your situation, to put first things first: 1) what temperature water do you need and 2) what is the gpm flow requirement for that water. Answering those two questions will guide subsequent decisions on boiler brand and other components in your system.
  9. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

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    FWIW , I run my WG off at 210, on at 180, 60 gal boiler cap.
  10. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    More proof the WoodGun is the ultimate burning machine :)
  11. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    :eek:
  12. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    While I do agree that higher temps are better for us forced air guys, I don't really think it's a deal breaker for storage (or for a Garn for that matter). I can run my storage temps down to 140 and still get heat to the house. The furnace fan definitely runs longer but it's still keeping up. And I have a crappy run-of-the-mill heat exchanger in my plenum. If I had a proper coil like some folks are running I bet I could even go below 140.

    You can also include me in the no smoke hood, burner indoor crowd. There is a learning curve for smoke free operation but once you're there, it's pure greatness.
  13. ivars

    ivars New Member

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    Thanks for the advice;

    I was driving home from work yesterday, talking to my brother, who is a HVAC contracted in the Albany, New York area. He has the same opinion as you, and gave the same reasons. I'm going to have to look into that, especially if the Garn can be housed in an unheated building?

    I'm glad I joined this site. I have leaned a bunch. Narrowing the choice will be difficult.

    Thanks. Tim
  14. ivars

    ivars New Member

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    rkusek:

    The house is 4700 squared feet finished/ heated space. propane costs approximately $5500/ year.
  15. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    I heated 4400 for probably less than 1/5th of that in 2010 before the boiler. Vermont might have a little colder climate but not that much. Doesn't this seem rather high to anyone else?
  16. Here in Maine those numbers would be reasonable.
    We can go a week or more with daytime temps never getting above 0 F. Doesn't happen every winter in southern Maine, but not unheard of. I'd imagine Vermont to be similar.
  17. wardk

    wardk Member

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    Tim I have put in a Garn this year, it is super simple put as much wood as you can get in the fire box up to 12" splits start it light it and let her rip,I love it.Doing the work my self with a little help from family and friends it came in around your budget but that was with it's own building and attached 10 cord wood shed. I replaced a forced air wood furnace, not having firewood in the basement anymore sure is nice. good luck
  18. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    This is always an interesting conversation. Put your boiler inside or outside? The reason I find it more interesting now is that I still am not 100% about how I would do it if I had to do it again. ;lol I went with the boiler inside in my basement and now I do not know if I would do it again like that if I were building new or in Tim's position. Probably would put it in a boiler room in the garage that is attached to the house if building new. So I could walk out in the evening and again in the morning to load it and stay inside the entire time. It is nice to be able to go down in my shorts and a pair of slippers and load it up twice a day. But I still love the fact that the heat that radiates off my boiler is helping to heat my house and not a building outside that I do not need heated. A waste of energy which leads to more wood, more wood processing, more work for me, more emmisions, etc. etc. In fact, with the size boiler that I went with for this big house I think my boiler would have a hard time heating the place in the really cold weather. But this way every bit of heat the boiler puts out is going into my house, besides what goes up the stack of course. So I like to think I went with just the right size boiler. In other threads I have talked about how nice those old radiators are and how much I like them. A slow constant heat. Well my boiler and tank slowly radiate heat off into the basement and that slowly goes up through the house. A really big pair of radiators.

    Then there is Tim's situation with forced air already in place. My friend has a place up in the Adirondacks and is getting ready to put a wood burning appliance in that will heat the entire house. He has forced air in place already as well. I told him to consider everything. Look into the outside wood gassification boilers, inside wood gassification boilers, and also take a look at the Kuuma's. I have no experience with them. But to be able to put a forced air, high efficiency wood burner in, and hook up the plenum to the existing plenum is pretty simple. Shorter burn times though. (~8 hours) And at about $5000 for the large unit and then installation cost, you might be able to get it all done for $7000 and have a pretty nice set up. Like I said to him though Tim, take your time and consider all options. You are in a good situation with that kind of budget. Sure would be nice to put a lot of storage in and burn a fire once every three days, and even when it is cold, once every day and a half or two!
  19. wardk

    wardk Member

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    I put a 160k WA ex @ 180F in the plenum, it still warms the house with 120 water in the morning, of course it's not winter yet, installed a cast iron rad in the older and cooler wing of the house yesterday, thats nice heat.
  20. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

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    ZERO smoke in the basement or house with the Froling.

    Scott
  21. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    I agree that there is a lot of talk here about needing very hot water for water to Forced air heat exchangers. My experience with mine has not been the case. I can heat down to 130 degree water.

    I have seen setups where they take 2 exchangers and fabricate them into a A coil.

    I recently spoke with a guy that pushes and installs Geo thermal systems. He said the max water temp they can get for the air coil is 110 degrees. Claims that with high air volume it works great and is more comfortable. From what I have learned here I would disagree that high air volume of cool is more comfortable.



    gg
  22. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'd agree with that - I find any noticeable air movement discomforting.
  23. dogwood

    dogwood Minister of Fire

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    Ivars, check out the w/a hx in this thread: .http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/25090/. I think this hx will put out usable heat down to 140 degrees. That's what the similarly designed hx Nationwide Coils built for me is rated for. By the way my 3000 sq. ft home's propane bill was, $4500 last year, and that's in Virginia. That's what motivated us, like you, to get a gasser. Propane rates dropped $1500 this year. Still well worth it if I could finally get the install finished.

    Mike
  24. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Main first decisions to make: inside or outside, hot air furnace or hot water boiler. I'm glad I was starting with an existing hot water system and refined (from years of trial & error) basement entrance wood supply system - I would have been another good 5 years deciding what to do starting from where you're at. :eek:
  25. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    What is your propane gallon useage? 5,500 dollars for how many gallons?

    TS

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