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Woodgun Owners Only...Looking for first hand feedback, no knocking from others Pleeeeeease.

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by GS7, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Woodsrover

    Woodsrover Member

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    They are tricky in the beginning. You'll have some fits and starts figuring out how to run it correctly. Once you get that figured out the whole system fades into the background. Fill it with wood twice a day and empty the ash pan once a week and forget about it. After tending a woodstove for years the lack of attention you need to pay a boiler is strange at first.

    I like my Woodgun. I also considered a Tarm. Both would have been a good choice for me. The Woodgun is a little simpler to install as there's no dumpzone required and they seem to be just as happy without storage. Before you buy anything, don't simply believe what you read here. Go look at them. Look at them burning and making heat. Talk face-to-face with the people that are throwing wood into them, not just the people trying to sell you one. I went to the Tarm distributor in New Hampshire and spoke to them. I had lunch with the salesman and walked around their facility. I saw the units together and apart, saw their parts, saw them burning and saw exactly how they worked. I also went to the Woodgun factory and walked the floor, saw them being built and shook hands and talked to the guys building them. I chose the Woodgun because of the simplicity, use of common controls and the availability of replacement parts. I think I made the right choice for me. I could have as easily been saying I went with a Tarm and would have been just as happy.

    Like a lot of things with good competition, most of the units available these days are pretty darn good. Saying this one or that one is junk is just silly and immature. The truth is any unit with a good name out there will serve you well for years and years.

    My suggestion is to go out and see them, watch them, and talk to the people using them while you're watching the things work. I have a Woodgun and I live in CT. You're more than welcome to come over and kick tires. Find someone with a Tarm and others that you are interested in and go see them work. Talk to the guys that live with them, not to the guys that are trying to sell them.

    This is a great forum even with the differences in opinions, and one thing we have is users of all brands that are willing to open up their homes and give you some first-hand experience and advice on they boilers that they are using. Take advantage of that and no matter which boiler you buy, it'll be the right one.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
    GS7 likes this.

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  2. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    All references in my post should be to the E500. My head and fingers were not burning the same fuel.
  3. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Leaks aside, Woodgun was one of the pioneers in the USA in wood gasifiers but the trap was set when they went with that particular design instead of a simple box over a box. It may have been fine in the early days but more knowledge of wood combustion over time has caused the technology to pass them by because of the design. The "blow on the fire and let er rip" is a thing of the past' Unfortunately the design of the Gun doesn't allow for fine tuning the fire.

    It's not the first company that has had technology pass them by. I worked for one for 25 years. We were in the data storage business, ie rotating magnetic memory devices (disks and before that, drums). One of three or four in the country in the late fifties and forward. When the markets saw a need for more units the stogy old company couldn't crank up it's technology fast enough and all was lost to the Seagates etc of the world.

    I don't believe they could get the present complicated design to be fine tuned like the other boilers on the market today. Finesse has taken over the brute force of the Woodgun.
  4. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Fred,

    What are you trying to say? You think the newer boilers "throttle" a bit better? In other words they can actually burn slower while still gassifying?

    Shear curiosity. I know my WG has no adjustments. A coworker has the Vedolux 40 and he has a little GLASS plate with a thumb screw secondary air adjustment. He says he can't tell any difference when adjusting the plate. That boiler uses a draft fan also.

    ac
  5. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I haven't operated the vedolux but I do know I can adjust the flame from a dirty lazy red to a red/blue to a blue/white by adjusting the primary and secondary air on the EKO and the Biomass and I believe the same can be said for the Tarm and Vigas while using a much lower velocity than the Woodgun

    .
  6. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Woodgun Owners Only...Looking for first hand feedback, no knocking from others Pleeeeeease.

    Again. Read title of thread by original poster. (op)

    Woodgun Owners Only...Looking for first hand feedback, no knocking from others Pleeeeeease.

    Not Woodgun Owners from 5 years ago, 10 years ago,15 years ago, dealers who use to sell them or their competition, not owners of other boilers who do not like Wood Gun. That was his request. Not anyone elses.
  7. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Sorry Gas. I asked permission from the OP to respond and in post #2 and received permission from him in post #3. Go back and look.
    flyingcow likes this.
  8. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Sorry Gas. I asked permission from the OP to respond and in post #2 and received permission from him in post #3. Go back and look.

    Oh no need to apologize Fred. I am not going to lose any sleep over it. Maybe you should do what Webbie suggested in the other thread. Here is his statement and suggestion from the other thread.

    So, to be clear:
    "We not talkin about whose God is the right one, just wood burning. ", etc....


    Maybe there is a reason the OP didn't continue to engage? If so, that's my only point. It's fair to warn users of a bad experience. It's fair to tell them just about anything in positive or negative features. What is not fair is to be on a crusade either way or to confuse new users more than they were already....

    My suggestion for those who have bad experiences is this. Place ONE review in our review section. Once it is checked and public, copy down the link. Then, when people ask about the boiler, you can say "my experience is not so good - please see this and other reviews".

    You see you seem to be on a crusade against the Wood Gun in general. And you do not believe, or want to accept, that any of your lack of knowledge at the time of your install may have helped lead to your bad experience.

    You apparently did not have a return protection valve that would have continued sending hot water back into your Wood Gun. Again, because you did not know at that time. Your new system now has one. I would bet. Right?

    You did not have the option of the S.S. Wood Gun at that time. You did not have large amount of storage for that system. Your new system now has a large amount of storage. Right?

    The rest of us have been fortunate to find this sight, do our research, and learn from past mistakes. That is to our benefit. I tell others to look at several boilers. Read. Make sure you have storage with your system. Etc.

    Stop being on a crusade and failing to acknowledge that some of your problems were probably from lack of knowledge that you now have. There are guys out there who have been running Wood Guns for 20 years plus.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  9. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    Simply reporting facts in a level headed and competent manner does not constitute a 'crusade'. It sounds to me like the boiler in question was installed and operated in a manner consistent with the manufacturer's claims and guidance, and it failed miserably. Fred has simply taken the time repeatedly to report that there is such a thing as a Wood Gun that fails.

    Anyone is welcome to conclude that the failure could have been avoided, but it is certainly not Fred's job to figure that possibility out for them, let alone "acknowledge ... [his] problems".
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
    BoilerMan and Fred61 like this.
  10. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    So if it is a level headed and competent manner, than each time he reports about his boiler failing he could also inform them that he did not have any hot water storage or return water protection like he has with his new system now. Where he "batch burns" and coast off his storage. And his boiler has nice hot water coming back into his newer boiler. Just sayin.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  11. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Actually if we all would amend Webs suggestion above to something like what I have edited it would hopefully improve the discussion as it would give (hopefully) a source of user reviews/opinions for folks to read rather than "tell me what to do" posts. If folks can keep it honest with a reasonable amount of detail as to why, then it should be a good source of reference.

    Another bonus (hopefully) is it would be much easier for the mods to review than this endless I love this boiler so it's the best & vice versa. Another benefit to mods/admin (perhaps with pro/factory assistance) would be listing discontinued etc, boilers so potential users know that this review is basically N/A.

    The pros here do an excellent job IMO of keeping the forum clean regardless of their affiliation, some users can be a tad over zealous at times.

    Gotta say though all in all I love this forum, only wish I had found it earlier.

    Ok flame suit on. ;)
    BoilerMan and hobbyheater like this.
  12. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    Where does AHS specify that storage and return water temperature protection are necessary, or even recommended?
    BoilerMan and Fred61 like this.
  13. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Heres my take on the whole thing, Jack Nicholson and earth are like the wood gun.

    Frozen Canuck likes this.
  14. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Anyone is welcome to conclude that the failure could have been avoided, but it is certainly not Fred's job to figure that possibility out for them, let alone "acknowledge ... [his] problems".

    So here you say it is okay to hide, or not report his system failure and just pin it all on the Wood Gun boiler. ? Bull. Why? It is not Fred's job to figure that possibility out for them, let alone acknowledge (his) problems. ?

    What? So don't acknowledge any problems he had with his system. Just accept that it was the Wood Gun boiler. That's it.

    I have had some issues with my Wood Gun boiler. I have posted them. Most of us do. And then we make an improvement and solve the problem. I thought that is what this site was all about. Helping each other. Learning from past mistakes and helping others to avoid them. You obviously are a smart person. Why would you say that Fred's behavior is the right way to be if it is just as likely that return water protection and storage could have helped prevent this miserable failure as you called it. Pretty sure he included both of those things in his new system EW. Why is that?

    Where does AHS specify that storage and return water temperature protection are necessary?

    I am pretty certain that the Wood Gun manual tells you to install return water protection. And I think they say 160 deg. is optimal. But I would have to go back and read that.

    It does not say storage is necessary. But do you disagree that it would be better for the system, and more efficient, to have storage with the Wood Gun. Look at what Jebatty has reported about the institution's findings with the E500 and how much better things work with the added storage.
  15. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    I believe back in the day Wood Guns disabled the load circs when supply temperature dropped below low limit, same as any fossil fuel boiler. Of course we can't verify this because then as now AHS publishes nothing by way of installation manuals, operator manuals, system schematics, or electrical schematics prior to dealer contact and/or sale. All we know prior to sale is that efficiency is unrealistically high and flue temperature is dangerously low.

    In systems with high-mass emitters this is a recipe for failure because by the time supply temperature drops the boiler is filled with cool water and condensation in the firebox is likely. So much the worse if the boiler is over-sized, which is certainly the norm for all boilers, let alone Wood Guns with their half horsepower (or whatever) combustion fans. I'm speculating this is the way Wood Guns operated with factory controls installed according to factory recommendations, again because AHS publishes bupkis on the matter.

    Again, there is such a thing as a Wood Gun that fails, and simply reporting this fact does not constitute a 'crusade', especially if the cause of the failure is due to design and control defects on the part of the manufacturer. But even if you choose to blame the operator, it can't change the fact that the boiler failed, and nothing is to be gained by insisting that the failure shouldn't be reported except according to conditions imposed by you.
    BoilerMan and Fred61 like this.
  16. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Return water was never below 150-160degrees. No storage. I was told that it just cycled and shut down like an oil boiler. Storage was never thought about at that time.

    I don't want to get into a p!ssing contest every time someone requests info about a Wood Gun but I feel obligated to tell them about my experiences. I really hope your Wood Gun gives you years of trouble free service now that you have it but if you were asking about purchasing one now I would tell you my experiences and let you make your decision. I have never told anyone not to purchase one and I have no business interest nor do I profit from your decision.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  17. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I believe back in the day Wood Guns disabled the load circs when supply temperature dropped below low limit, same as any fossil fuel boiler. Of course we can't verify this because then as now AHS publishes nothing by way of installation manuals, operator manuals, system schematics, or electrical schematics prior to dealer contact and/or sale. All we know prior to sale is that efficiency is unrealistically high and flue temperature is dangerously low.

    Jebatty has shown through detailed wood measurement that the efficiency of the Wood Gun is right up there with any of the other boilers. The one boiler running right next to it was the famed Garn. A very nice boiler indeed. But I believe the Wood Gun was just as efficient in Jim's measurements.
    In systems with high-mass emitters this is a recipe for failure because by the time supply temperature drops the boiler is filled with cool water and condensation in the firebox is likely. So much the worse if the boiler is over-sized, which is certainly the norm for all boilers, let alone Wood Guns with their half horsepower (or whatever) combustion fans. I'm speculating this is the way Wood Guns operated with factory controls installed according to factory recommendations, again because AHS publishes bupkis on the matter.

    I understand you do not believe the design is as good as the other designs EW. Point taken. But. Everyone here in the boiler room would recommend the needed amount of storage for your situation, return water protection and batch burning. To try to obtain optimal performance from any Wood burning boiler you have. In a perfect world if everyone could afford said storage. I believe every boiler has problems with it's design, it is inherent with what we are trying to do. Control fire and use it for heat efficiently. It is completely possible to have serious problems with any boiler and any system. Wood, Gas, Oil, etc. You have to try to prevent them. That is the point. At the time Fred had his Wood Gun he had a certain amount of knowledge. Now he has more knowledge. The boiler he bought now is not doing a whole lot different than what the Wood Gun was doing. But he added storage and burns flat out. Because it is better.
    That is why Garn not only recommends, but says it is required that you test water, and make sure you have a certain water quality and you continue to test on a regular basis and make sure it stays like that. Do we call Garns junk because of it. No. Do we say they are a disaster. No. What the owners of Garns do, hopefully is make sure the water that they put in their Garn is of the quality the manufacturer wants. And then hopefully they try to keep it that way. I recommend storage and return water protection to anyone putting a wood gun in and any boiler for that matter.

    Again, there is such a thing as a Wood Gun that fails, and simply reporting this fact does not constitute a 'crusade', especially if the cause of the failure is due to design and control defects on the part of the manufacturer. But even if you choose to blame the operator, it can't change the fact that the boiler failed, and nothing is to be gained by insisting that the failure shouldn't be reported except according to conditions imposed by you.

    Yes the boiler failed. Those conditions were not imposed by me. I believe those conditions are imposed by the physics of this Gassification and wood burning process we are all trying to harness. And those conditions that many here like to speak of are the laws of physics. These conditions of physics lead most people in the boiler room to recommend storage and return water protection for any system in order to get the most efficiency and best results of your system no matter what boiler you run. So for me to say that Fred learned from his lack of storage is fact. And that he should report that his system did not have storage is reasonable. Why the heck do you think he installed storage this time? Why install storage now. He is retired and could stay home and tend to his boiler 90% of the time. What do you need storage for then! Because it is better. That is why he installed storage the second time around. That is why most people here have installed storage if they could afford it. You and I can go out and buy an Attack, an HS Tarm, etc. without storage. The dealer will sell you their boilers without storage and tell you it will work without it. But most will recommend storage with there boiler. So we don't say because that boiler will not perform as well without storage and will probably rot out faster without it and return protection, that the design is flawed. We install return protection and hopefully if we can afford it, storage. The people at AHS have proven that you can run your system without storage using their design. They obviously do not have all their boilers failing or they would be out of business. But to the contrary they are succeeding and expanding their business. And they have recognized the fact that the boilers will last longer with the S.S. system they have. From what I have heard they are only selling S.S. models now.

    Tell me of the design flaws you have learned of the Attack boiler you run. Or whatever boiler or burning unit you run now or have run in the past. A brief explanation would be fine. Every one of them has flaws.
    GS7 likes this.
  18. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    The 40 doesn't have a draft fan, it is a natural draft unit.

    Watching mine, the differences in the secondary air adjustment are indeed very subtle. I had to first hold it completely closed with my fingers for a while, then open all the way, and watch the difference to notice. I have mine open very little, it stays that way. I think most of the air for secondary combustion actually comes thru the nozzle from the primary area. Whatever the case, they seem to have it tuned very well from the get-go so no fiddling is needed, and severe fiddling won't mess the burn up.

    Sorry, back to the WG...
    arngnick likes this.
  19. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    The sales tactics used by AHS to claim the efficiency they claim are terrible. I mean look at the site of the Attack wood boiler. They are Heat Technology Producers! Wow!. http://www.attack.sk/?run=produkt&id=17&lang=en I can see why! ;lol Check that out! Wait, let it go through all of them!
  20. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Wood Gun states return water temp required in the manual.

    When I was shopping I emailed AHS and asked for a copy of the owners manual. I had one within an hour.

    Gas,

    Let's not forget the definition of insanity: banging your head against the wall repeatedly expecting a different result.

    These guys don't like our boilers. Plain and simple.

    ac
  21. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    But did you see those girls? The efficiency of the boilers was probably right about what I am getting with mine. Probably where most are realistically. 85-87 % But did you see those girls? LOFL.

    Ya gotta remember to laugh guys. Laugh.
  22. GS7

    GS7 Member

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    ALL of the constructive feedback is greatly appreciated, I can see I have lots to consider.
  23. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    I personally don't care one way or another re: brand. Quite likely that you can throw a 5% eff blanket over many of them. So with that in mind preference would likely come down to factors other than eff%, which of course has a lot of variation for a wide variety of reasons.

    What I do not care for is the peeing match (not directed at anyone). Fred did ask the OP about posting prior to doing so. Fair enough. He then posts & it begins & continues until Admin/Mods/? are forced to edit/delete posts. Wouldn't it have been easier to post something like my experiences have differed from Fred's & are as follows? Perhaps skip the peeing match altogether?
    Fred61 likes this.
  24. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    It's such a constant barrage that after a while you just can't take it any more.

    ac
  25. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Girls?

    Where?

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