Getting ready to upgrade

UPmqt Posted By UPmqt, Oct 8, 2018 at 11:28 AM

  1. UPmqt

    UPmqt
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    I don't think I could add more slant fin...I would have to go vertical so would probably change to runtal... which I can do long term but definitely not before I upgrade the boiler
     
  2. BoiledOver

    BoiledOver
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    Yeah, you really need to get some accurate hard data in order to advance properly. The calculator link I provided will get you there if you do your due diligence. It may seem difficult but from reading your posts in this thread, I am confident you would be up to the task.

    Like I said "It is time consuming", but well worth your effort. At your outer wall openings (doors and windows) it is easy to determine the thickness of the walls, (2x4, 2x6 and such). The 2x4 wall should be close to 5-1/2" because of exterior sheathing and drywall interior. The year of construction will also help in determining R-values, that is if building permits were obtained. But if that is uncertain, accessing a wall here and there is worth the effort, such as peel back the exterior siding a bit or looking around the edges of an electrical wall outlet. Insulation R-values can be determined with a little creativity on your part.

    I see from the product brochure that your current heating instrument is rated at 125,000 btu's per hour, probably overstated. The conventional outdoor wood heaters are actually rather pathetic at actual efficiency. If in fact it is as high as 50% efficient, you see the value is more in the range of 65,000 btu's per hour. Considerably undersized for your demands. Gasification boilers running in their sweet spot can be over 70% efficient.

    The benefits of using a gasification boiler with thermal storage are big. When a burn takes place, it goes full bore with little if any smoldering time. Think of the storage unit like a battery, charge it till full and then use the battery to exhaustion, or close to. Burning green or overly moist firewood wastes some of its energy removing the moisture in the wood. The moisture must be boiled off first and then the positive results commence. Low moisture content is critical in gasification boilers. Below 20% or the results are less than optimal and closer to mediocre. Only in the dead of winter do I need to burn everyday. During the fall and spring the time between recharging storage can last days.

    Since you are planning in advance, there are two things at the beginning. Heat loss results and preparing your firewood in advance. It sounds like you are getting log loads as we have available in the northern lower, 10 and 20 cord loads for $850/$1700. I am near Cadillac. Out here sits 3 years worth all the time. Once you get ahead of the 3 year curve, it is like one year at a time.

    Once you get your heat loss results, you will be able to figure how much firewood you will need to process for one years heating.
     
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  3. UPmqt

    UPmqt
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    Getting a three year curve isn't a possibility for me. I don't have the room for that kind of storage. I have temporary storage space for the 30 cord in log form but once it's cut it takes up all my free space. When I upgrade my building it will have to be my storage for the boiler and the wood.

    I know that sounds off but originally I was looking at a garn whs 2000 put in a 45' HC shipping container.. that would leave approximately 25x9x10 of storage for wood. I would switch to running year round to make hot water leave some insulation off and then leave the doors closed with a fan to "kiln" dry my splits. Hopefully getting close to dry before winter. On the roof of the container place active solar heating and solar panels to buffer both the electrical and heat load. Don't think it would take a ton of either to help take the edge off.

    The other option was to just get a log boiler which is still gasification but takes whole logs. Not really a lot of info on it, maybe some people in the lower have information the company is based out of the lower peninsula. My main concern is life of product and long term viability of staying in our home. I don't mind burning a bit of extra wood if all I have to do is dump a cord into it with my tractor. But the cost of that boiler isn't worth the price if it only lasts 10 years and gives up the ghost.

    I will try to look into the other boilers people have suggested to see what might work the best for me.

    I will try to do a heat loss over the next couple of days, the areas I can't get answers to I will have to guess.

    In the meantime im going to continue to work on the insulation and figuring out the imbalances in the zones to see what I can fix.
     
  4. maple1

    maple1
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    Shipping cans get darn warm inside in the summer just from sun shining on them.
     
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  5. maple1

    maple1
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    You mention imbalance. Does that mean some spots in the house get too warm now?
     
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  6. UPmqt

    UPmqt
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    The can can get warm im the summer but not sure if I would get hot enough to dry out green wood without a little extra sauce.

    None of the rooms in my house get too warm, but some zones can get closer to temp than others and one of the zones stays warm in one room and not in another.

    Once the temp outside drops enough I set the temp on the boiler to 180.
     
  7. maple1

    maple1
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    The shutters on the fin enclosures have been pretty good for balancing for me.

    Good luck on the squirrel thing, those varmints can wreak havoc.
     
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  8. Dutchie84

    Dutchie84
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    Do you have the heating imbalance issue when using just your back up boiler?
     
  9. UPmqt

    UPmqt
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    Yes I do. It doesn't matter what source im using. There is very little usable exterior wall, so I think that they didn't size anything they just put the biggest slant fin they could on every exterior wall and just called it best they could do.
     
  10. maple1

    maple1
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    Not sure it's possible, but you might also consider adding in some cast iron rads. They're pretty good at getting heat out of lower temp water.

    Another factor that might be significant though is you don't want your boiler return water temps being lower than 140f. Lower temp emitters can easily make that happen - plus poor underground. Does your boiler have return temp protection?
     
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  11. UPmqt

    UPmqt
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    I would be shocked if I have any protection on any of the system. As for rads I'm not sure if there would be a way to make those work with our space, that's why I was think runtal.
     
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam
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    Just to be sure, are your cords real cords? Like 128 cubic feet when split and stacked or some kind of wonky bush cord, logger cord, rank , Rick, or banana cord?

    30 real cords over 8 months is just about a cord per week. That would be on average with cold weeks likely seeing two cords per week.
     
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  13. UPmqt

    UPmqt
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    A logging truck showed up with 8 ft lengths 3 times.

    If 30 full cord is the norm then I just need to be done with wood. It's going to be twice as expensive if not more burning propane but I can't keep cutting this much wood.
     
  14. BoiledOver

    BoiledOver
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    It does appear daunting for sure. Until you know what your btu requirements will be, you will just be guessing. After an accurate heat loss analysis, you will know exactly what you need in terms of btu's per heating season. Once you have that information you can apply it to any heating fuel X (times) the appliances efficiency value to determine what direction you want to go. Could be pellets, solar, corn, propane, fuel oil whatever.
     
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  15. UPmqt

    UPmqt
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    Propane or wood.. so hopefully I can make this work.
     
  16. BoiledOver

    BoiledOver
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    There is a member of this forum located 200 miles due west of you @eauzonedan He heats with a Garn. See his post #10 in the linked thread. Maybe he can add some good info for you since you are in the same weather zone. Thread
     
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  17. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu
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    I'm confused.
    A logging truck came 3 different times with ~10 cords per load? Or a truck came once, with 3 stacks of 8' logs on it?
    Probably the first, I don't think a semi can legally carry 30 cords worth of logs.

    If you are using 30 true cords per winter, you are using 3 times what most OWB owners use in a winter...heck some use 10 cords for the whole year...including making hot water for the pool and domestic hot water all summer.
     
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  18. maple1

    maple1
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    If they are, they are doing it with the best underground piping, dry wood, and a good boiler. There's those 3 primary things again.

    Seriously, if nothing can be done about the green wood thing, you might as well give it up & go fossil.
     
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  19. peakbagger

    peakbagger
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    Don't go the whole log option, it means you are doomed to burning green wood. Green logs can have darn close to negative BTU content. Logs take years to dry. Long splits are better than logs but still far worse than standard length firewood. Wood loses most of its moisture via the cut ends of the logs followed by the interior faces of the splits, the bark acts like a vapor barrier and limits vapor flow so the only way to water escapes is via cracks in the bark from the interior faces of the cracks. I used to have access to hardwood birch log ends from a dowel mill. They called them lily pads and were 4 to 10 inches long rounds from a log, they dried very quickly due to the large amount of cut surface area. Start looking at solar kilns, the biggest bang for the buck is get the wood drier as even a pound of water in log eats up a minimum of 1000 Btus.

    The other thing to so is see if your utility offers an energy audit, many do for free or cheap. I am guessing you have significant infiltration issues increasing your heat load. Just because its recent construction doesn't mean its tight or well insulated. The cheapest heat is the heat you don't need because you eliminated the need to do it. Given its fall and the weather is getting colder, its good time to do thermal scanning to see if you have major gaps in insulation where it has settled.
     
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  20. UPmqt

    UPmqt
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    Yes 10 cord on a truck 3 times.

    As for the deficiencies in the zones im working on putting in circuit setters so I can measure the flow through my zones to see if my pumps are matching my heat load.

    I keep getting responses stating why my system isn't working now. I know it's not working, I also don't plan on keeping the system that was the point of my original post, I'm upgrading my boiler and the outside lines, Im not looking to fix any of that, I was hoping for options that I may or may not have already known about.

    I understand I need a heat loss done and will work on that. As for a whole log boiler as long as I could make it through a winter burning a max of 30 cord I would probably buy one tomorrow. I don't care about the efficiency if I'm not doing labor for it, I could just sit in the cab of my tractor and push a button. 30 cord is still way cheaper than propane.

    If im doing the labor for it then I need to be around 10 cord. I know I need dry wood, I just don't have the space to be 3 years ahead. If I do a boiler I would be looking to kiln dry it over the summer as previously stated.

    If the reality is that my house won't allow for me to burn less wood then yes I will just have to do propane. But its newer construction with good windows. Other than the squirrels I don't think insulation is a major issue, within the design. But the house has dormers with bathrooms in them, I have a 21 foot cathedral ceiling in my living room and almost 30 ft of french doors wall to wall with windows above that and an open loft on the other portion. You can only insulate so much, that is just a lot of wasted space and a ton of glass. It doesn't matter how much the squirrels ate. I pretty much need to size for a 10000 sq ft house. An educated guess should put me in the ballpark if this is possible. If im barking up the wrong tree then there is no reason planning on an upgrade.

    I don't think this is a daunting task in any way. It's just math, I hate math, but I hate cutting 30 cord more. If the reality is I can upgrade everything and burn 20 cord, then that isn't a win for me. We are limited to wood or propane, I don't think I could heat my home with less then 5000lbs of propane, so I'm hoping to make wood work.
     
  21. Dutchie84

    Dutchie84
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    So regardless of what you heat with you are having issues with keeping rooms warm. Tell use about you system. How it’s plumbed. Pictures are even better, everyone like picture.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  22. UPmqt

    UPmqt
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    This is the plumbing.
     

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  23. Dutchie84

    Dutchie84
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    Do you have a way to measure temperatures for each zone, both leaving and returning? An inferred gun would be good for this.


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  24. UPmqt

    UPmqt
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    I already did that for the major zone im worried about. It went out at 165 came back at 142. That is for my little ones. I can measure the rest of the zones later.
     
  25. maple1

    maple1
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    That is a healthy dT. Ideally all zones would be about the same. It could be possible your zones aren't flowing enough. A symptom of that would be good heat at the start of the zone but then the heat doesn't make it around to the rest of the zone. But, i just checked your pics and i see zoned by circs, which should mean adequate pumping ability.

    Could also just need hotter supply temps.

    Likely lots of maybes & could bes to come from all of us.
     
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