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Woodgun lessons learned

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by chiefburritt, Nov 7, 2009.

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  1. chiefburritt

    chiefburritt New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Loc:
    Central NY
    Make a few changes and wow!! Over the last two days I had been having a small heating issue with my system. It's a woodgun E-250 with steam controls, as my system is a one pipe parallel flow dry return system. I installed the woodgun last year and it performed quite well. In addition to installing the boiler I changed all the near boiler piping to a correct installation for a one pipe setup. Dual risers, 3" and 2" with a 4" dropped header and correctly pitched equalizer. Also a proper hartford loop was installed. The previous oil fueled boiler was not setup correctly. Well when I started the system up for the first time last year it worked "perfectlly", no noises, no banging, no hisses etc and the house got warm. Not bad for a steam beginner two weeks prior.

    So being the newly self appointed expert in the house I revelled in my accomplishments. Thats all I did except for minor maintenance. Any ways back to my first sentence. My problems started with a very low stack temp of 100 degrees and poor airflow through my intake pipe. Steam was not being produced at the rate I needed to heat the entire house and satisfy the thermostat. I swore, and cussed, blamed my wood, the world etc... I also reluctantly started to tear the system apart to find the problem. First was the chimney.. nope it was clean, then came the cyclone ash collecter. I removed that at 10:00 pm only to find a minor build up of fly ash in the connecting tube. Cleaned and reinstalled I figured that was my problem.. No it wasn't. More cursing ensued. Feeling worried and hopeless I remembered that Alternate Heating Systems, the mfg of the woodgun, provided me with a larger pulley for the motor sometime last year, that I obviously did not need as I was still reveling in my marvelousassity at the time. Carl at AHS recommended I put the pulley on to increase airflow to the system at that time. It got set on a shelf until I remembered it yesterday.

    Man with tools will travel.... at least to his basement to fix a problem. New pulley installed and AHS contacted I set about to have the problem fixed. "BTW the people at AHS are great to deal with and gave me tremendous help." Well that did not work. More cursing, swearing and throwing things, except for my beer, I needed that. Yes there was more airflow but not what was required to get a full head of steam up. My stack temp was still in the 100 degree range where it was 250 degrees last year and into this heating system until a few days ago. Plenty of beer and the sabres losing to philly did not help either. Sleep did...

    This morning I decided to finally figure the issue out. I did. This is part of the lessons learned part. The primary burn chamber had burned down to coals by this a.m. and I cleaned it out with a shovel and pan only to find large masses of wood ash. I can only describe these as the wood equivalent of coal clinkers. These things were solid and obviously blocking the nozzle airflow. I had not seen these before even throughout last year. The rest of the refractory was cleaned with minor ash production. System was restarted with a small wood charge and immediately within five to ten minutes went in to gasification with the familiar roar of the beast.

    Within twenty minutes my main steam vents were hot, Heat was once again flowing liberally throughout my kingdom again. All the radiators were heating evenly and at the same time. Something I had not seen in two days. When I checked my stack temp I was shocked to find it was fifty plus degrees my normal operating temp. I had hit 300 degrees on the flue within a few minutes of restarting the system. I was king again.

    The moral.. If your system was operating well before and it isn't now then there probably is a simple fix. Also if it was operating well before it can and most likely will operate better with the advice from the manufacturers. I am pretty sure that is why we all cruise this forum to make our systems better and more efficient once we have them operating well.

    I hope you have enjoyed my story, and sorry for the rambling. :{)

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  2. NNYorker

    NNYorker Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    245
    Loc:
    Upstate N.Y.
    Enjoyed the story. I too mumbled to myself, threw a few things, had a few choice word with my Eco because it ran backwards. In the end it was a simple fix with excellent factory support. This year drier wood has made gasification much easier and quicker. There is a lot to be said to dealing with an established manufacturer....I have lived and learned.
  3. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    733
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Good read and I'm glad you figured it out...I know the feeling that it just can't possibly be the operators(me) fault.
  4. chiefburritt

    chiefburritt New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Loc:
    Central NY
    Yeah it couldn't possibly be the kings fault!!!! I also forgot to mention that the new pulley significantly increased the air flow in the system, to the point where it almost sucked the fingernails off my fingers... well maybe I exaggerate a little.
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