Bunk House with Hardy H2

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Aug 12, 2020
86
Parkers Lake, KY
My wife and I have moved into a very strange living arrangement that includes use of a classic Hardy H2. I've never burned wood to heat before so I looked around for forums from which to gather information and this one caught my eye as most active and viable, so here I am.

I've downloaded the owner's manual for our particular woodburner and have begun maintenance on the Hardy that appears hasn't been completed in quite a long long. This morning I was up to my armpits in the firebox removing old chunks of gunk, wet cold coals and wood in various stages of having been partially burned.

THIS is going to be very interesting.
 

E Yoder

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2017
555
Floyd, VA
The Hardy is a pretty simple if somewhat inefficient unit. Keep it full of water, load what it needs for the next 12 hours and you're good to go.
I've never burned one but they're everywhere around here.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,276
NE Ohio
It will probably be a major undertaking, but if you can build up 3 years worth of firewood CSS (cut split stacked) so it will actually be dry (not "seasoned"...whatever that means) that will be the best way to lessen the amount of wood that it uses (short of cheap and/or improperly installed underground lines) and reduce the smoke cloud when it is idling. You'll never get rid of all of that goop inside with that type of boiler, but truly dry wood will reduce it for sure!
Its a bit like eating an elephant...one bite at a time...just keep after it and eventually you'll get there...once you have your 3 years worth then all you have to do is replace what you actually use...and as a side benefit, if you have a year where you get hurt, or just can't make wood for whatever reason, no emergency...
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,783
Nova Scotia
Kind of wondering about it being wet inside. That isn't good. Could be a sign of a firebox leak - and also, wet ash/creosote can be quite corrosive.
 
Aug 12, 2020
86
Parkers Lake, KY
Maple, I too was wondering about the amount of moisture/water inside. The stack is open, without spark arrestor or cap of any kind and I have already been thinking of installing that just as a safety measure.

Brenndatomu, with regard to wood, there is no shortage surround the Bunk House. We are adjacent to the Daniel Boone National Forest with over 100 acres of private property from with to gather wood. I have already picked up a limb or two and have spotted several down trees that I'm going to harvest. There is a wide variety with many hardwoods included. I think I'm gonna need a splitter.

Since I have the manual for the Hardy, I'm planning a complete pre-season inspection including inspection of the water pump impeller. I'm confused by the instructions because the book says to remove the pump from the burner but it's unclear which bolts to remove. Here are the instructions for the pump maintenance from the manual:

7-2 Preseason Maintenance (continued)
WATER PUMP – Unplug the power cord going to the water pump. Close the valve above the water pump and the return water valve at the bottom of the heater. Remove the pump motor from the pump housing by removing the four bolts in the pump housing. Remove the impeller cartridge assembly from the pump housing. Check the impeller to determine that it is free by spinning the impeller in the cartridge. Check the pump housing for rust or any other build up that could impede the flow of water. Reassemble the water pump, making sure the “O” ring in the cartridge is seated right. Once the pump is reinstalled, open the water valve above the pump and the return valve.


There are four bolts that attach the pump into the water line; two above and two below. However, there are also four bolts that would remove the pump from what appears to be the pump housing of the system and leave the water line connections untouched. (I may try to figure out how to upload pictures here to clarify.) The four bolts that appear to connect the pump to the mounting plate look as if removing them would expose the impeller shaft and internal assembly of the motor's business end and I think that removing those and leaving the line connections alone would be smart . I have access to a local retailer for parts and advice called Southern Kentucky Wood Furnaces so I may check with them to see if they have o-ring seals before I start taking things apart.

Glad to have y'all here for consult and advice as well. I love a good adventure that this one promises to be exciting.
 
Last edited:

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,783
Nova Scotia
Maple, I too was wondering about the amount of moisture/water inside. The stack is open, without spark arrestor or cap of any kind and I have already been thinking of installing that just as a safety measure.

Brenndatomu, with regard to wood, there is no shortage surround the Bunk House. We are adjacent to the Daniel Boone National Forest with over 100 acres of private property from with to gather wood. I have already picked up a limb or two and have spotted several down trees that I'm going to harvest. There is a wide variety with many hardwoods included. I think I'm gonna need a splitter.

Since I have the manual for the Hardy, I'm planning a complete pre-season inspection including inspection of the water pump impeller. I'm confused by the instructions because the book says to remove the pump from the burner but it's unclear which bolts to remove. Here are the instructions for the pump maintenance from the manual:

7-2 Preseason Maintenance (continued)
WATER PUMP – Unplug the power cord going to the water pump. Close the valve above the water pump and the return water valve at the bottom of the heater. Remove the pump motor from the pump housing by removing the four bolts in the pump housing. Remove the impeller cartridge assembly from the pump housing. Check the impeller to determine that it is free by spinning the impeller in the cartridge. Check the pump housing for rust or any other build up that could impede the flow of water. Reassemble the water pump, making sure the “O” ring in the cartridge is seated right. Once the pump is reinstalled, open the water valve above the pump and the return valve.


There are four bolts that attach the pump into the water line; two above and two below. However, there are also four bolts that would remove the pump from what appears to be the pump housing of the system and leave the water line connections untouched. (I may try to figure out how to upload pictures here to clarify.) The four bolts that appear to connect the pump to the mounting plate look as if removing them would expose the impeller shaft and internal assembly of the motor's business end and I think that removing those and leaving the line connections alone would be smart . I have access to a local retailer for parts and advice called Southern Kentucky Wood Furnaces so I may check with them to see if they have o-ring seals before I start taking things apart.

Glad to have y'all here for consult and advice as well. I love a good adventure that this one promises to be exciting.
Sounds like they mean the 4 bolts, that would leave the housing & piping intact.

Pics may help with some things, as you go along.

Do you know how old it is? I would be way leery of it starting out, some OWBs can have a very short life if they weren't used & treated right.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,276
NE Ohio
Do you know how old it is? I would be way leery of it starting out, some OWBs can have a very short life if they weren't used & treated right.
I think Hardys are stainless steel...had a lot of problems from cracking from what I hear...
 
Aug 12, 2020
86
Parkers Lake, KY
Brenndatomu, this unit is stainless steel. My mother-in-law paid to have this OWB installed by a local HVAC company about 15 years ago. It was their first OWB install and several caretakers that have lived in the Bunk House have used this unit with varying degrees of success. I don't think any of them knew what they were doing or what maintenance was recommended. Using the videos that I've seen on YouTube for comparison, this unit is in pretty good shape, cosmetically, but I realize that cosmetics do not mean that it'll function correctly. Therefore, I might as well run the pre-season checks and find out what the real condition is of this unit. I will be watching for cracking issues.

Glad I've started this process early. I just shared a good conversation with my local retailer and have a loose appointment for next week to visit for an O-ring set and some advice. I've taken a few pictures with my phone so share with the shop owner and will be able to address some very basic questions. I need to remember to ask if'n he has a flue cap with spark arrestor...
 
Last edited:

E Yoder

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2017
555
Floyd, VA
That looks like a stainless Taco 009 pump, it shouldn't rust. You can take it off by loosening the flange bolts or the screws on the motor, but I would just circulate it and see if you're getting flow. I think the Hardy stoves have to be over about 120 and the thermostat then calls for heat to start the pump.
If the stove is hot a little rain down the chimney won't hurt a thing. Cover it during the summer. Hardy is not an efficient model so be prepared to have a fair amount of wood on hand. I've seen flame out the top on those units.
Not meant as criticism, just saying it's old school.
 
Aug 12, 2020
86
Parkers Lake, KY
E Yoder; you're right about the pump. I have a feeling that this OWB has not had any love in a very long time so I'm planning on pulling the pump just to check everything including the impeller. The stack has been uncovered as long as I can remember and I'm trying to find something large enough to cover the pipe now.

I am planning on getting as much wood stacked as possible before winter and I already have three trees identified for harvest. One of them came down this last spring in my mother-in-law's back yard. I'm pretty sure that it's oak and it looks like it about 12" near the base. The other two I've found are similar in size. I down know how much wood that these three trees will produce but I figure it's a good start. I'm looking at splitters now and I have a manual but I know that's not going to be viable for entire tree volumes.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,276
NE Ohio
The stack has been uncovered as long as I can remember and I'm trying to find something large enough to cover the pipe now.
5 gallon bucket will work...
I'm pretty sure that it's oak and it looks like it about 12" near the base. The other two I've found are similar in size.
Sounds like a couple weeks worth in January...
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,783
Nova Scotia
Yes, we don't really know exactly what you will be heating with this, and the heat load.

It will need a LOT of wood. And if you don't keep it burning all winter, things can freeze & break.

Like, wild wide guess without knowing heat demand, 5-10 cords of wood. More if a high load. And it should really be processed & drying now. Or more ideally, should have been started this time last year.

Just some more FYI.
 
Aug 12, 2020
86
Parkers Lake, KY
Yes, we don't really know exactly what you will be heating with this, and the heat load.

It will need a LOT of wood. And if you don't keep it burning all winter, things can freeze & break.

Like, wild wide guess without knowing heat demand, 5-10 cords of wood. More if a high load. And it should really be processed & drying now. Or more ideally, should have been started this time last year.

Just some more FYI.
Maple1: yes, our wood requirements are unknown since we've never used wood to heat before and the previous owners were unable to learn what/how to operate this OWB. I fully expect that we'll need nearly 10 cords of wood for a cold winter. However, on the good side, I've only had to shovel snow once in two years. Having said that, I've prolly just cursed myself with regard to this coming winter. That's how my luck goes.

Also, I understand how far behind we are when considering a proper schedule for putting wood up. We may need to buy some wood to get through this winter. However, much of what we've selected for harvest so far has been down for months as wind-fall or storm damage. I realize that standing wood/trees don't dry evenly or as quickly as cut/split wood, but we play the hand we've been dealt, so we'll prolly buy several cords for this winter.

Ultimately, once I've completed the pre-season checklist, we may find the OWB has been abused and is unusable. Time will tell. Thanks for your input.
 

axegrinder

New Member
Aug 31, 2020
7
WVa
Yes, we don't really know exactly what you will be heating with this, and the heat load.

It will need a LOT of wood. And if you don't keep it burning all winter, things can freeze & break.

Like, wild wide guess without knowing heat demand, 5-10 cords of wood. More if a high load. And it should really be processed & drying now. Or more ideally, should have been started this time last year.

Just some more FYI.
Jumping in. I used a Hardy to heat a 3 bedroom doublewide for several years. I used a heat radiator in the pelham of the electric furnace. The thermostat was connected to the furnace blower motor. The pump ran constant. Speaking of which I ran the pump year round. It keeps the calcium and other minerals from seizing the impeller. Hardy has a low water light on the side. If it doesn't auto fill be sure to fill through vent. The single wall smoke stack will get creosote build up. I just tapped in lightly with a stick every so often, build up drops into stove. Be sure to clean ash often as it will block the air input in back. Always open bottom door first before opening loading door. Fire will come out. If the wood is still damp it will build creosote in the blower and stove when idle. The Hardy will burn damp wood because of the fire box configuration. My Cozeburn at the shop needs dry wood. As far as the amount it got cold here in WVa Double wides are not winter friendly. I would have a tri-axle load of full logs delivered by the local timber cutters. One load would usually do the job. The hardy can also heat domestic hot water. If you leave the stove in the winter not tended be sure to leave pump running and unplug the blower so that it doesn't burn up. Well heading back to the shop. Redoing the radiant heat setup there. Sold the doublewide and the Hardy 2 tri-axles a winter was more than I can stand. Good Luck stay toasty.
 

axegrinder

New Member
Aug 31, 2020
7
WVa
Jumping in. I used a Hardy to heat a 3 bedroom doublewide for several years. I used a heat radiator in the pelham of the electric furnace. The thermostat was connected to the furnace blower motor. The pump ran constant. Speaking of which I ran the pump year round. It keeps the calcium and other minerals from seizing the impeller. Hardy has a low water light on the side. If it doesn't auto fill be sure to fill through vent. The single wall smoke stack will get creosote build up. I just tapped in lightly with a stick every so often, build up drops into stove. Be sure to clean ash often as it will block the air input in back. Always open bottom door first before opening loading door. Fire will come out. If the wood is still damp it will build creosote in the blower and stove when idle. The Hardy will burn damp wood because of the fire box configuration. My Cozeburn at the shop needs dry wood. As far as the amount it got cold here in WVa Double wides are not winter friendly. I would have a tri-axle load of full logs delivered by the local timber cutters. One load would usually do the job. The hardy can also heat domestic hot water. If you leave the stove in the winter not tended be sure to leave pump running and unplug the blower so that it doesn't burn up. Well heading back to the shop. Redoing the radiant heat setup there. Sold the doublewide and the Hardy 2 tri-axles a winter was more than I can stand. Good Luck stay toasty.
By saying not tended, as in going away for a few days or so. Leaving the pump run will generally keep it from freezing up.
 
Aug 12, 2020
86
Parkers Lake, KY
Jumping in. I used a Hardy to heat a 3 bedroom doublewide for several years. I used a heat radiator in the pelham of the electric furnace. The thermostat was connected to the furnace blower motor. The pump ran constant. Speaking of which I ran the pump year round. It keeps the calcium and other minerals from seizing the impeller. Hardy has a low water light on the side. If it doesn't auto fill be sure to fill through vent. The single wall smoke stack will get creosote build up. I just tapped in lightly with a stick every so often, build up drops into stove. Be sure to clean ash often as it will block the air input in back. Always open bottom door first before opening loading door. Fire will come out. If the wood is still damp it will build creosote in the blower and stove when idle. The Hardy will burn damp wood because of the fire box configuration. My Cozeburn at the shop needs dry wood. As far as the amount it got cold here in WVa Double wides are not winter friendly. I would have a tri-axle load of full logs delivered by the local timber cutters. One load would usually do the job. The hardy can also heat domestic hot water. If you leave the stove in the winter not tended be sure to leave pump running and unplug the blower so that it doesn't burn up. Well heading back to the shop. Redoing the radiant heat setup there. Sold the doublewide and the Hardy 2 tri-axles a winter was more than I can stand. Good Luck stay toasty.
Axegrinder, your answer clearly demonstrates your knowledge of this OWB and all of the points you make are based on your experience. I really appreciate your input.

Our Hardy does not include the autofill option and someone has covered the tank condenser stack with a block of insulating foam. The stack is not sealed, but it has been closed off and the previous resident of the Bunk House informed me that if you get the fire "too hot" the condenser stack will blow off. I don't think this foam block is supposed to be in that stack, right? If I've read the instructions correctly, your supposed to be able to look down the stack and see the water? I have been able to remove the stack by hand and look into the water tank to see that the water level is correct so I know that the tank is full but I'm thinking of removing the foam plug that has been placed inside the condensing stack.

I have not powered the Hardy so I do not know if this OWB has any problems, yet. I have begun the pre-season checks that include a major cleaning, inside and out, and am ready for checking the impeller this coming week.

I will confess that I am excited to learn new things and the lessons that I've been learning about this OWB as well as the idea of cutting wood are very new to me and I'm looking forward to gaining this skill set. I realize that the challenge of cutting enough wood will very likely dampen my enthusiasm well before the second load of wood is CSS.

Thanks again for your input.
 

axegrinder

New Member
Aug 31, 2020
7
WVa
Axegrinder, your answer clearly demonstrates your knowledge of this OWB and all of the points you make are based on your experience. I really appreciate your input.

Our Hardy does not include the autofill option and someone has covered the tank condenser stack with a block of insulating foam. The stack is not sealed, but it has been closed off and the previous resident of the Bunk House informed me that if you get the fire "too hot" the condenser stack will blow off. I don't think this foam block is supposed to be in that stack, right? If I've read the instructions correctly, your supposed to be able to look down the stack and see the water? I have been able to remove the stack by hand and look into the water tank to see that the water level is correct so I know that the tank is full but I'm thinking of removing the foam plug that has been placed inside the condensing stack.

I have not powered the Hardy so I do not know if this OWB has any problems, yet. I have begun the pre-season checks that include a major cleaning, inside and out, and am ready for checking the impeller this coming week.

I will confess that I am excited to learn new things and the lessons that I've been learning about this OWB as well as the idea of cutting wood are very new to me and I'm looking forward to gaining this skill set. I realize that the challenge of cutting enough wood will very likely dampen my enthusiasm well before the second load of wood is CSS.

Thanks again for your input.
The foam block should be removed. The vent pipe is not sealed. You may remove the vent pipe to check water level. There is a float switch. When the stove blower motor is plugged in it will activate the switch. Pushing down on the switch to simulate low water should make the indicator light on the side come on. If you happen to run across a small 1 gal. plastic bucket it makes a nice cap for the chimney.

The Hardy I had was misused. Previous owner burned anything and everything. Plastic, trash, you name it. Gaskets were useless. They are easy to replace if needed. I had never used a OWB before. Had indoor wood furnace or stove years ago. Word of caution: Do not run the circulator pump without water. If the pump is running you should see water movement in the tank. Be sure there are grates on the lower ledge of the firebox.

I find cutting and splitting wood in the cool of Fall to be therapeutic. I've been heating with firewood for close to 40 years. If you do decide to get a big load of logs try to have load placed near the boiler if possible. I'm sure your process will evolve as time goes. I generally cut my logs a few inches short of the max length for the stove. If the logs are dry you can usually get away without splitting up to 8 inches in diameter. Otherwise split to fit in the door. I also split quite a few pieces from 1 to 2 inches then stack in a kindling box in the garage corner. They will be very dry for starting the stove.

Good luck with your new venture,
 
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axegrinder

New Member
Aug 31, 2020
7
WVa
The foam block should be removed. The vent pipe is not sealed. You may remove the vent pipe to check water level. There is a float switch. When the stove blower motor is plugged in it will activate the switch. Pushing down on the switch to simulate low water should make the indicator light on the side come on. If you happen to run across a small 1 gal. plastic bucket it makes a nice cap for the chimney.

The Hardy I had was misused. Previous owner burned anything and everything. Plastic, trash, you name it. Gaskets were useless. They are easy to replace if needed. I had never used a OWB before. Had indoor wood furnace or stove years ago. Word of caution: Do not run the circulator pump without water. If the pump is running you should see water movement in the tank. Be sure there are grates on the lower ledge of the firebox.

I find cutting and splitting wood in the cool of Fall to be therapeutic. I've been heating with firewood for close to 40 years. If you do decide to get a big load of logs try to have load placed near the boiler if possible. I'm sure your process will evolve as time goes. I generally cut my logs a few inches short of the max length for the stove. If the logs are dry you can usually get away without splitting up to 8 inches in diameter. Otherwise split to fit in the door. I also split quite a few pieces from 1 to 2 inches then stack in a kindling box in the garage corner. They will be very dry for starting the stove.

Good luck with your new venture,
Liam, I have a correction if needed. The vent tube should have a metal cap. The tube should not be sealed with silicone. If the piece of foam is used as the cap, it should be left in place. If open then debris will get in the water tank. Which could obstruct the heat exchanger.
 
Aug 12, 2020
86
Parkers Lake, KY
Liam, I have a correction if needed. The vent tube should have a metal cap. The tube should not be sealed with silicone. If the piece of foam is used as the cap, it should be left in place. If open then debris will get in the water tank. Which could obstruct the heat exchanger.
axegrinder: there is no cap on either the fire stack or the condenser stack. I'm now hoping to find/make a cap for both. thanx
 
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Aug 12, 2020
86
Parkers Lake, KY
Axegrinder, I was thinking of using some small gauge wire to create a spark arrestor that I would cap with a "tin man" style cover, screwing the assembly together using sheet metal screws and then to the stack using the same screws. My design would use about 5" screen spark arrestor with a sheet metal cone hat. However, I've read that it is not unusual for more than a little fire/flames to come out of the stack so I wonder if this type of spark arrestor would function correctly and stay in place.

What do you think? You've had lots of exposure to this OWB so I figure you have good experience from which to offer an opinion...
 

axegrinder

New Member
Aug 31, 2020
7
WVa
I'm not familiar with spark arrestors on OWB's. My Cozeburn has a few baffles and doesn't have a spark problem. The Hardy was in an area that was not prone to spark issues. The hardy does sends sparks out since the chimney is positioned directly over the fire box.
 

E Yoder

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2017
555
Floyd, VA
A cap can be a nuisance because steam coming out the chimney can condense on it and splatter.
I've heard of flame out of a Hardy as was mentioned, somewhere I read of someone who hung a short piece of auger in the lower part of the chimney to exchange the heat better and cut out sparks.