Bunk House with Hardy H2

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,520
NE Ohio
My experience with spark arrestor screens has been that anything that makes much smoke, plugs up the screen every week or two...
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,768
Downeast Maine
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.
Some kind of internal baffle will definitely help and probably increase efficiency. The auger as a turbulator is pretty neat.
 
Aug 12, 2020
66
Parkers Lake, KY
I pulled the water pump out of the Hardy yesterday and it's in excellent shape, except for the ants that think they live in the motor windings. They didn't like me disturbing their homes. Too bad. The pump tested fine and spun up real well. I took the assembly to my local wood burning retailer and discussed the pre-season service that I'm completing. I picked up some water conditioner and am ready to flush and fill the tank. No one knows when the last time any preventive maintenance was completed on this unit some we're running down the list of checks according to the owner's manual. Everything is looking very good so far.
 
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Aug 12, 2020
66
Parkers Lake, KY
I've completed the flush and fill/treatment on the water tank and removed the cap on the condenser stack. We're ready to charge the electrical system and fire the boiler for a test run of the Hardy. I can't tell you when this furnace was last fired.
 
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Jun 8, 2020
102
Craig County, VA
[U]LiamFitzpatrick,[/U] your situation of inheriting a Hardy H2 sounds very familiar to me. A little over a year ago, my wife and I moved out in the country and inherited a Hardy H2 as well. Like your situation, it hadn't been used in several years. I to was excited to get the thing fired up and working. I had no firewood and purchased a couple of truck loads to get me going. I scoured the internet looking for as much information about this stove and how to use it. There really isn't too much other than the user manual. I decided to get a Hardy dealer to service my stove pre-season. That did not turn out well as the previous Hardy distributor and service person had retired. The retired person gave me a name of someone to service it. We had a zoned heat pump system in the house and the outside condenser would come on every time it called for heat-even when the OWF was creating the heat. I needed another thermostat installed to control the Hardy Stove. The Hardy service guy looked at it, but wasn't evidently comfortable with trying to install the thermostat in a zoned system-he didn't show up when he was scheduled and didn't call me back. I called another outdoor wood stove dealer who sold a different brand and he was kind enough to get me hooked up with a service tech to install the control system (Thanks Mr. Yoder who is a member of this forum).

So, a couple of things I would recommend is to have plenty of wood-these units are notoriously inefficient and burn through a whole lot of wood. My situation requires me to fill it up in the morning at about 5:00 AM before I leave for work and at 5:00 PM when I get home, and it is pretty much burned down to the grates each time I fill (when it is cold). If time allows, certainly don't pack it full if you are able to add wood throughout the day and you will burn less. I do occasionally burn off some cardboard boxes from items we order online, but do not burn just any trash in our unit like I have read about commonly with the units.

In a nutshell, it is important to keep an eye on the units-especially the water level. Even though it does have a light on the side, I periodically refill the unit through the condensation port on top. My unit does have the auto water feed, but has never worked as it should even after replacing the float switch. My unit was plumbed with a spout from the water feed from the house, so it is pretty simple to hook a short hose and fill. My condensation stack is nothing more than a piece of stove pipe with a cap siliconed in place. It does not completely seal off, but I really don't lose much water through evaporation and since I check and refill it regularly, I don't worry about it.

Depending on how high your fire vent is above the stove, you will from time to time see flames shooting out the top. This especially happens when the blower is running and you open the two doors on the front. It really throughs the oxygen to the system and makes it roar. It will also burn off the creosote which is usually good. Don't be alarmed, it will happen and die back down fairly quickly.

I have found these stoves to be fairly simple to work on as they are pretty basic in the way they work. The pump really shouldn't give you much problem as long as you don't run it dry for an extended period and you keep your water clean. The SS pumps are well made and should give your many years of service. If you have hard water, you will need to de-scale the system from time to time.

I used the hot water system in the stove for my hot water last winter, but after a real heavy rain, was getting crud water (from well) and needed to have that tank flushed, so I kind of just put that off and went back to using the hot water heater since I didn't want to keep the fire burning all summer. One other thing about the hot water from the stove is that depending on how it is plumbed, it is really hot and if it is plumbed to bypass your hot water heater, the water will scald you if not careful.

One issue I had last year is that the PEX pipes that came in from the house were not properly guided and wire tied together in the back and the vent that opens on the blower would make contact with the pipe and eventually wore a hole in the piping and started spraying everywhere-again, check your unit regularly to limit the damage when things like this occur.

It is good to know exactly where the heat exchanger that the stove piping goes through in your attic or basement. I will often feel the pipes to make sure hot water is flowing through them and if the piping is cold, you know something is not right.

Sorry to be so long here, but after one year of heating with my OWF, I learned a lot and must say I really like my unit and they way it works. FYI, Hardy has gone out of business, but parts are still easy to get. If you need a link to a parts dealer, PM me.
 
Aug 12, 2020
66
Parkers Lake, KY
County Living:
Thanks for all your advice. We have completed our preseason checks and are ready to fire the system for the first time. I am encouraged by your positive experiences and look forward to using our owf.

We have not had the opportunity to put up the wood we are going to need so I may be forced to rely on the heat pump quite a bit this season. We are on the edge of some major forested areas and there is quit a lot of timber from which we can harvest but time has been working against us, preventing us from gathering. I am hopeful that we'll be able to make a good showing now that we have completed some projects that were of higher priority. Currently, I have just enough seasoned wood to make my first burn test for 24 hours.

Regards,

Liam
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,768
Downeast Maine
I think you will much prefer the Hardy H2 over the heat pump! You could probably get away with harvesting dead trees under 8" diameter for the boiler, it won't be as picky as an EPA approved appliance.
 
Jun 8, 2020
102
Craig County, VA
I agree with SpaceBus-the Hardy’s are not picky about wood and will burn most any wood seasoned or not. Keep an eye on Craigslist-specifically the what’s for free tab and you will find free wood regularly, provided you have a way to haul it. Pine will burn just fine, creosote is not a problem with the outdoor stove. Even when I didn’t find free wood, I could generally find some cheap loads already cut up. Like you, I have thousands of acres of national forest land around me. There are a lot of houses around my area that burn and when a tree falls, it doesn’t stay long.

I certainly understand all the other projects thing. Moving into a new home and making it the way you want it is an exciting time.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,768
Downeast Maine
I agree with SpaceBus-the Hardy’s are not picky about wood and will burn most any wood seasoned or not. Keep an eye on Craigslist-specifically the what’s for free tab and you will find free wood regularly, provided you have a way to haul it. Pine will burn just fine, creosote is not a problem with the outdoor stove. Even when I didn’t find free wood, I could generally find some cheap loads already cut up. Like you, I have thousands of acres of national forest land around me. There are a lot of houses around my area that burn and when a tree falls, it doesn’t stay long.

I certainly understand all the other projects thing. Moving into a new home and making it the way you want it is an exciting time.
We basically had the same situation, but at least we have a tiny indoor stove, so bio bricks worked for us. Our house is still a work in progress now two years later!
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,520
NE Ohio
the Hardy’s are not picky about wood and will burn most any wood seasoned or not.
Yup, they will...but you are just perpetuating the reputation that OWB's have as super smoke dragons...the reason they are banned in many towns/cities and now federally too...they still smoke some with dry wood too, but a fraction of what you get with truly dry wood (unless ran with storage where they can be left to burn wide open through the whole load)
I know that you have to do what you have to do sometimes, but great effort should be made to get your wood inventory up enough to have dry wood to burn each year (additionally difficult when burning wet wood due to the increased usage, I know)
 

E Yoder

Feeling the Heat
Jan 27, 2017
443
Floyd, VA
I do a lot of work in the somewhat remote areas in western VA and WV. Some houses are very isolated and they aren't concerned about reputation as smoke dragons to put it mildly. But I heartily agree, let's all use a little common sense and consider your neighbor. What I'm saying is there is understandably an enormous difference of lifestyle and perspective depending on your location and circumstances.
The Hardy will smoke a fair amount no matter what wood you use. It's pretty basic.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,520
NE Ohio
I'm familiar...my FIL is from a lil holler in WV where people pretty much live off the land for the most part...and dad has an old school CB owb.
 
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Aug 12, 2020
66
Parkers Lake, KY
We do live at the end of the road on the edge of the National Forest with the only neighbor being my MIL. Still, I'd prefer to burn seasoned wood when I have the choice. My goal is to put up between five and ten cords and keep a rotation. My MIL doesn't agree and thinks it perfectly fine to burn "wet" wood. Since she isn't doing the work, she doesn't get to decide for me, but that's just me. We've never heated with wood full time and I'm looking forward to the "free" heat. Since I've never had to put up wood before, maybe my opinion will change after a few cords or a season of CSSing, but I love the price.

I really appreciate all the advice here and enjoy reading about others experiences. Thank you.
 
Aug 12, 2020
66
Parkers Lake, KY
I've located all the water by-pass valves and we'll be lighting the system for the first time this week. Just want to run a test burn and see how things work. It'll be interesting to see how the boiler tank functions and if all the connections are solid. Nice to be retired so I can babysit this system and manage each step.
 
Jun 8, 2020
102
Craig County, VA
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.
I would not leave the foam in as a cap. My cap is nothing more than a piece of stove pipe with a round top held in place with silicone, however, it does not completely close off. There is actually a faded note on the stack saying not to seal it off. Last season, I did not get the bottom door closed all the way one morning and the fire got extremely hot and was boiling the water. The pressure relief valve did release as well and I had to replace it as it would leak constantly. I will try to get a picture of mine this evening.
FYI, the only time I really have an issue with sparks or flames coming out of the flue is when I open the bottom and top door to add wood when the blower is running. I wouldn't add wood while the blower is running-you should be able to hear it.
 
Aug 12, 2020
66
Parkers Lake, KY
I'll need to get a cap of some kind for both stacks, just to deflect debris and as a spark arrestor on the main chimney. I'm gonna try to light my first fire tomorrow if time permits. It's mowing day around here, so...
 
Aug 12, 2020
66
Parkers Lake, KY
I lit the Hardy this morning. It took me six attempts to get a fire started in that thing and I finally had to go old school and start with a tiny teepee of kindling and feed it very slowly. I think I have it going now so I'm planning on watching it for a few hours to be certain. I'd like to get a bed of coals upon which to work and add a log or two just to keep it going, for today.

Most of my firewood is not dried or seasoned and I don't have enough to keep it fired for an extended period so I'll let it go out sometime later today. This is just a test run. I've already discovered that the fittings for the water pump were not tight enough and the pump mount was leaking so I tightened those enough to stop the leak.

It's been smoking now for almost thirty minutes and the tiny fire I've lit is burning into the logs I laid under that so I think it'll keep going. Y'all talk about learning curves with these things but it seems to me that everything about this method of heating is going to be a learning experience.
 

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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,768
Downeast Maine
When was your place built? You probably mentioned it, but I missed it.
 
Jun 8, 2020
102
Craig County, VA
I lit the Hardy this morning. It took me six attempts to get a fire started in that thing and I finally had to go old school and start with a tiny teepee of kindling and feed it very slowly. I think I have it going now so I'm planning on watching it for a few hours to be certain. I'd like to get a bed of coals upon which to work and add a log or two just to keep it going, for today.

Most of my firewood is not dried or seasoned and I don't have enough to keep it fired for an extended period so I'll let it go out sometime later today. This is just a test run. I've already discovered that the fittings for the water pump were not tight enough and the pump mount was leaking so I tightened those enough to stop the leak.

It's been smoking now for almost thirty minutes and the tiny fire I've lit is burning into the logs I laid under that so I think it'll keep going. Y'all talk about learning curves with these things but it seems to me that everything about this method of heating is going to be a learning experience.
So didn’t the blower fan kick on to get the fire burning hot? It usually scares the crap out of me as soon as I plug it in. It should keep running until the water reaches temperature
 
Aug 12, 2020
66
Parkers Lake, KY
So didn’t the blower fan kick on to get the fire burning hot? It usually scares the crap out of me as soon as I plug it in. It should keep running until the water reaches temperature
CountryLiving: NOPE. We have a problem. (I'm not surprised.)

As soon as I plugged the blower in, the blower kicked on and "excited" the fire. However, I only built a very small fire that used three logs and didn't really get the water "hot." My goal was to see if I could get the fire burning and to test the different components of the system. I noticed right away that there was a water leak at the pump mount housing that had allowed water to leak out of the system. The low water light was on and I needed to refill that tank. It was down about a gallon but it was enough to turn the light on. Then, when I plugged the pump in the GFI outlet tripped. I swapped the blower for the pump to check and see if the problem was only in one of the plugs but it didn't matter because as soon as I powered the pump.

My fire burned for over six hours before I shut off the power to the furnace. The water heated to luke warm but never got hot enough to produce heat. I wouldn't have wanted to take a bath in water that was only that warm but the system was telling me about the issues. I consider this a successful test even though I was unable to power the pump. I know that if I built a large enough fire that the water would heat and the system would function. I've already called the service department of the heat-A/C company that installed this thing to have someone that is more skilled with a multimeter come to determine the problem. I know the pump is good because I've tested it independently from the furnace. I'm 99% sure the problem is a failing relay that'll need to be replaced.

So far, we know the blower works, the pump works and the water heats. In a system this simple, that's pretty good. I plan on pulling the pump again to check the seal and possibly put some gasket sealant on the mounting surfaces to help seal the pump to the housing. I'm feeling good about this test.
 
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