1st Time Poster - EKO 40 Questions

49chevyman Posted By 49chevyman, Sep 5, 2017 at 12:36 PM

  1. 49chevyman

    49chevyman
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    Sep 5, 2017
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    Loc:
    Northeast TN
    Bought a new house in December of 2016. Came with a EKO 40 in the barn, and a horizontal 1000 gallon storage tank in the basement. Last time I fooled with stoves was growing up and all we had was a coal stove in the living room to heat the entire house I grew up in. The system and I worked through a few kinks this past winter. They sure do not like moist wood! Ended up burning once per day to keep storage hot enough for the coils in my air handlers. Never tried the sidearm on my bigger water heater (a goal for this year).

    I have read a lot of posts on this site and can easily see there is a wealth of extremely valuable knowledge being shared by some very smart folks. I have a lot to learn about this gasification heating system and hydronics, but would like to start with a few simple questions.

    The EKO supplied tube cleaning tool does not seem adequate. Has anyone found a good steel or SST cleaning brush/rod that will do a better job of cleaning the tubes? I have plenty of room above the gasifier. My EKO is the standard model without turbolaters, and I plan to copy others on here who have installed the chains and rings.

    The U-shaped bricks in the bottom of my unit are both cracked in half. Previous owner said they had been that way for a couple of years. I would not mind buying the new set from New Horizon, but it is hard to stomach the cost of shipping for these heavy items. I am not ready to pour my own as some on here have done, but would like to know if it is possible to get more life out of them by 'gluing' them back together with refractory mortar, and holding them together with SST band clamps? I noticed the new replacement bricks are a different shape. Anybody see a big difference in performance when they changed them from the U-shaped ones?

    My system is pressurized with no antifreeze. Lack of freeze protection worries me. I have to travel fairly often. I generally leave the circulator for the air handler in the unheated attic running. It is operated by a hand switch anyway and not tied to a thermostat (more planned upgrades). But the circulator at the boiler in the barn does not run unless I am burning. I have read some where that the RK2011U controller has freeze protection built into it, but can't find that in any manual.

    I have tried to attach a crude schematic of my system. Currently the 6 zone Taco relay panel is only controlling P4 via a signal from a 1st floor room thermostat. House was built in 2010, 2 story, 3900 sq. ft, full unfinished basement - heated by barely insulated storage tank. Any and all help/input is appreciated.

    Kevin
    System.JPG
     
  2. 49chevyman

    49chevyman
    New Member 2.
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    Sep 5, 2017
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    Loc:
    Northeast TN
    Well, I figured out a way to get a control signal from my upstairs thermostat to the TACO relay panel. The outdoor condenser for the upstairs heat pump was only about 20 ft. away, right outside my basement where the TACO panel is. It had 2 unused wires in the 7-wire thermostat wire bundle that runs from it up to the indoor unit/air handler in the attic. So I tied the TACO panel to a pair of those wires, then used an unused wire on the indoor thermostat wiring to get all the way to the upstairs thermostat. Works good now, with the circulator for the upstairs air/water heat exchanger kicking on when the upstairs thermostat calls for heat.

    I also used some fireplace cement to 'glue' the broken U blocks in the bottom of the gasifier. Clamped them together with some long SST band clamps and they seem to be OK. I have not fired up the unit yet. Also had to replace the stove pipe coming out of the back of the gasifier to the chimney. Surprisingly, Lowes had the 8", 6" and 8 X 6 reducer that I needed.

    I have ordered a snap acting temperature switch that I plan to put outside that will close at 35F and open at 45F to control my two circulators that have parts of their piping loops exposed to freezing outside temperatures. This should provide protection even when I am traveling.
     
  3. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr
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    Jan 9, 2008
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    A few freeze protection options for that AH. You can buy FreezeStats from HVAC suppliers. Basically turns on P2 if temperature drops. It is used often to protect AH in attics.

    Or use a flat plate HX, separate the AH from the piping and use glycol in that loop. It adds cost and additional pump, expansion tank, air purger.

    Depends on how much "protection" you want to invest in.
     
  4. 49chevyman

    49chevyman
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    Sep 5, 2017
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    Loc:
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    Thanks Bob. I think the freezestat is the best bet for me right now. I would like to have glycol in the whole system, but as you know, it takes a lot of glycol to treat 1400 gallons.
     
  5. Hydronics

    Hydronics
    Feeling the Heat 2.
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    Dec 3, 2008
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    Loc:
    Northern CT
    Regarding the refractory blocks, I would just get firebrick and stack them in a U shape. I think that's what Zenon (New Horizon) is selling as replacements. As you know you could also make a mold and cast your own ceramic refractory but it's probably not worthwhile.

    My unit has turbulators, chains seem like they'd work well and be easy to remove. If you're not seeing excessive flue temps I wouldn't obsess about getting the tubes spotless.

    I don't recall any freeze protection logic in the controller. Bear in mind that the danfoss will close and likely prevent flow if the temp gets below 140*. Constantly circulating that loop (tank to boiler) will also mix your tank water negating stratification in the tank.

    I would use the freeze stat for the attic loop, only risk is power loss or circulator failure. As Bob said, glycol in that loop alone is the more secure solution. If you do, make sure you don't undersize the HX.

    As you noticed, dry wood is a must with these downdrafts.

    Good luck.
     
  6. easternbob

    easternbob
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    Nov 29, 2007
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    I'll second or third the idea of using fire bricks to make your own 'U'. I used a mix of the thick and thin ones and it's been working great. And they are cheap.
     
  7. 49chevyman

    49chevyman
    New Member 2.
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    Sep 5, 2017
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    Loc:
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    That is good to know. I will have to see if there is a place locally where I can buy fire bricks. I am going to run the ones I have tried to repair and see how they hold up this season.

    Going to work on insulating my 1000 gallon storage tank in the basement. Right now it is sitting in a corner with a metal frame built around it. The metal frame has 1" thick fiberglass insulation board mounted to it that is foil faced on both sides. Seams are sealed with silver tape like what is used on HVAC ducts. The basement stays very warm in the winter. Not a bad thing. I work down there a lot and the ceiling of the basement is not insulated, so the first floor is warmed by the heat escaping the poorly insulated tank. I am thinking of just renting one of the attic insulation blowers and blowing loose attic insulation into the framework that is there now. I think I may use some 2" thick foam board (not sure which type exactly to use) on top of the concrete floor under the tank before I fill it full. I know this will not be as good as spray foam, but I do still want some leakage to heat the basement.

    Working on hand hewing some Hemlock posts to expand my barn and wood storage right now. Thanks to all of you guys who have replied. I have learned a lot from this site.
     
  8. taxidermist

    taxidermist
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    Mar 11, 2008
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    The boiler will turn on the pump at 40° and that will circulate water only around the boiler if your using a danfoss valve. Some have drilled a small hole in danfoss to allow water to circulate. I have piping around my danfoss so I can run water thru the whole system. I wired a 110 switch that I turn on to run the pump all the time if I have to leave in the winter for some reAson.
     
  9. 49chevyman

    49chevyman
    New Member 2.
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    Sep 5, 2017
    5
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    Loc:
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    Thanks Taxidermist. I had not thought of bypassing the Danfoss valve some way. Wonder how big a hole I would need to drill? I will do a search on here and see if I can find out.
     
  10. taxidermist

    taxidermist
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    Mar 11, 2008
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    Loc:
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    I know it has been talked about on here. I live in Mi and used mine in a uninsulated barn for a few years and never froze it up.
     

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