Indoor boiler advice needed

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
142
Hicksville, Ohio
About the piping. I would likely stick with whatever the boiler tappings are, between boiler & storage. In my case, that is 1-1/4". You should have storage as close as you can get it to the boiler, as directly connected as you can get it, and if possible storage as high as conveniently possible. That is all to help in convection flow should the power go out while your burning. (But don't rely solely on that for that - build in other contingencies also). And if you wanted to optimize that as much as possible, you could up the size of the piping. It actually likely isn't a bad idea anyway, the cost of bigger black iron between boiler & storage will be negligible when compared to the rest of your costs.
Agreed. Does the return to the boiler have to remain close to the floor? In other words can I run both lines across the ceiling to the other side of the room? All the diagrams make it appear like that's how it's always done.
 

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
142
Hicksville, Ohio
I have an Effecta and am also a very low tech guy. Sadly the person I purchased my boiler from passed away while I was in the middle of upgrading to a larger boiler, he was supposed to handle everything. This left a hairdresser in Michigan with my boiler, me in Connecticut and a manufacturer in Sweden. Luckily the manufacturer was great (this was prior to Tarm carrying the line) and I learned a lot:). Assuming you are like everyone else here, this will become more of a hobby/lifestyle and you will keep pushing for more.......just a guess:).
It's already a lifestyle for me. It's the only reason I enjoy winter. Few things are better than running a chainsaw on a cold clear winter day. I pity the guys who sit inside grumbling about the cold and watching the gas meter spin.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,297
Northern NH
As a counterpoint, I got a used 15 to 20 year old boiler for free if I could get it out of the basement and out of the prior owners yard. These deals come up on occasion you just need to keep an eye out and recognize a quality unit that still has some life left on it and have the rigging and truck to move it. It took us 6 hours to disconnect it, salvage all the piping, rig it out of the basement and drop it back in my basement. Even though its getting to be a 40 year old boiler, it was well built. I redid the controls from scratch using relay logic and bought an American Solar Technics unpressurized tank so my money is in my storage tank and all the piping associated with it. I ike the AST design as it takes up less room since its square and could be installed by myself and moved in the future if needed. The system is not state of the art but I would guess I get 90% of the benefits of a new boiler with all the fancy controls. I batch burn and at full bore its not that hard to get a boiler to burn clean. I do end up with higher stack temp as the heat exchanger is far more open than modern designs. The tough part is part load combustion and I don't need to worry about it. I know it burns clean as I inspect my interior chimney every year and have only swept it 3 times in 30 years (about 15 years on the boiler) mostly out of guilt as it didn't really need it. (I am not advocating that everyone can avoid cleaning a chimney but in my case I can)

If I dont need the heat I just don't fire it as often. The AST design is made out of thick high R value foam so it doesn't loose much heat over two or three days. The only downside with my boiler is its coal/wood design with a refractory pit and a bottom grate. The net result is a firebox that is not huge and requires a bit of planning on loading. I tend to split my rounds a bit smaller. I have 1" copper piping for my coil and piping from the boiler to and from the coil. It does fine with standard Taco circulator. I have NOT bought oil for 5 plus years and my only backup is 12,000 btu cold source minisplit for shoulder seasons.

Someday when the Burham start leaking and is unrepairable I will start looking for replacement. Not everyone loves burning wood and some just age out, so the deals pop up on occasion and I hope to get one. If one pops up early I may just get it and store it.
 
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Woodman1

Burning Hunk
Jan 15, 2018
124
Michigan
Agreed. Does the return to the boiler have to remain close to the floor? In other words can I run both lines across the ceiling to the other side of the room? All the diagrams make it appear like that's how it's always done.
That sounds like a recipe for an air trap. When I plumbed mine I tried to make it so simplicity, gravity, and convection were my friend
 

Woodman1

Burning Hunk
Jan 15, 2018
124
Michigan
It looks like Hicksville is only a couple of hours away from me. It might be worth your time to look at a few systems in operation. It might help with your decisions.
 

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
142
Hicksville, Ohio
It looks like Hicksville is only a couple of hours away from me. It might be worth your time to look at a few systems in operation. It might help with your decisions.
I may take you up on that at some point. Most of the unknowns at this point are in the hydronic part of it. Mine should be pretty simple but I'm still trying to understand all necessary components.

What kind of boiler do you have?
Is your storage pressurized?

I noticed someone on one of these forums also from NW Ohio.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,147
Northern Maine
That sounds like a recipe for an air trap. When I plumbed mine I tried to make it so simplicity, gravity, and convection were my friend
No problem with air getting trapped on mine. 2 supplies and 2 returns across the ceiling. Air vents on the top of both tanks. Air vent on the top of the supply to tank on boiler.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,147
Northern Maine
Wouldn't it make a difference if it is pressurized storage? How could air get trapped except when filling the system?
I was always told to put as many vents in the highest fittings when building it. Thankfully my boiler guy feels the same way. He goes one step further and puts a ball valve just below it for the simplest of changes if needed. I'm sure I could close the valves now with out having any issues.
When we started the system I was shocked at the amount of air that bleed off and I still had to force out some trapped air.
 

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
142
Hicksville, Ohio
I was always told to put as many vents in the highest fittings when building it. Thankfully my boiler guy feels the same way. He goes one step further and puts a ball valve just below it for the simplest of changes if needed. I'm sure I could close the valves now with out having any issues.
When we started the system I was shocked at the amount of air that bleed off and I still had to force out some trapped air.
Good to know. Depending on where I locate the storage tank(s) I may need to route them overhead.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,462
Nova Scotia
Agreed. Does the return to the boiler have to remain close to the floor? In other words can I run both lines across the ceiling to the other side of the room? All the diagrams make it appear like that's how it's always done.
I would not run returns high. I would keep them low. Even better if they can drop some between bottom of storage and boiler return. That is from a convective point of view. These things can get real hot in a hurry if burning when the power goes out, that is one area I like lots of redundancy. Just my thoughts. With my boiler and system.
 

Woodman1

Burning Hunk
Jan 15, 2018
124
Michigan
I may take you up on that at some point. Most of the unknowns at this point are in the hydronic part of it. Mine should be pretty simple but I'm still trying to understand all necessary components.

What kind of boiler do you have?
Is your storage pressurized?

I noticed someone on one of these forums also from NW Ohio.
Eko 60 with 1000 gallons pressurized storage sitting next to boiler in dedicated boiler/wood shed
 

Fred61

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2008
2,442
Southeastern Vt.
I love driving through Duluth on my way to visit family in Ontario. I think I could handle living in the land of 10,000 lakes
AND ONE WALLEYE>>
 

hobbyheater

Minister of Fire
Nov 14, 2011
1,132
. A few companies, Dumont and Jetstream tried to sell them but some shortcuts in the typical thermal storage attached to them doomed most of the installs. There is at least one Hearth.com member that has a Jetstream. Still they were at the time the most efficient and cleanest wood boilers built and still would give a run on efficiency and air emmisions to modern boilers. I expect they would be competitive with a typical gasifer installation today
Yes I'm one of the ones with a Jetstream had three of them at one time but sold the third and installed the new one in2014. When they arrived on the scene in the early 80,s just had to have one. I remember only to well what it was like to having a smoldering airtight and the chimney fires that went with them . When the refractory is cured properly and a generous amount of storage ( 1,045 Imperial gallons) they function very well !
 
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Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,147
Northern Maine
I would not run returns high. I would keep them low. Even better if they can drop some between bottom of storage and boiler return. That is from a convective point of view. These things can get real hot in a hurry if burning when the power goes out, that is one area I like lots of redundancy. Just my thoughts. With my boiler and system.
I would be tripping over the piping. Chimney in center of house (planned from the start of design) and the tanks had no choice on location.
Big powerless dump zone on floor joists but house has auto start generator that has both boilers wired into it.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,233
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
It's already a lifestyle for me. It's the only reason I enjoy winter. Few things are better than running a chainsaw on a cold clear winter day. I pity the guys who sit inside grumbling about the cold and watching the gas meter spin.
Don’t move to my area then! All winter/spring/fall is mud season, we have to process wood in the summers which in this area are very nice. 9 month burn season.
 
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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,462
Nova Scotia
I would be tripping over the piping. Chimney in center of house (planned from the start of design) and the tanks had no choice on location.
Big powerless dump zone on floor joists but house has auto start generator that has both boilers wired into it.
Auto start gennie can be a big plus.

We had a bad weather day Monday. I suddenly decided in the morning I should do a burn early in case we lost power later. I got it going good and just loaded it up - when the power went out. Plugged the boiler circ into the UPS, but the UPS wouldn't power up without power going into it. First time I experienced that. I have had to hit the power button on it a couple times before, when the power was out, to get it to kick in. But it wouldn't this time. I should have got it up & going before I lit up & still had power, but I was in a hurry to make heat. Opened all my zones but the heat climbed in the boiler real quick - takes a little while for natural flow to get itself going, and storage wasn't cold with an early burn start. By the time I drug the gennie out & got it fired up to only have to plug the UPS into it to get it to send power out, the boiler & piping were starting to make ugly noises. Even after shutting down the air intake. That was my first & hopefully only episode like that. Virtually all other gassing boilers would have the added safety of the combustion fan shutting down when power goes away, but this thing just keeps on chugging full blast until the fuel gets used up. Anytime I have to leave the house with a fire going, or burn with ugly weather outside, I bring the UPS on line. Didn't bother doing that first, this time.
 

Woodman1

Burning Hunk
Jan 15, 2018
124
Michigan
Id probably rather find someone a little closer, but I'll keep it in mind. Let me know when the fish are biting!
Hopefully you can find one close to look at. Even though these are relatively simple systems, there are many little details that can make the difference between being very happy and being very frustrated.
 

ExxWhy

New Member
Dec 6, 2019
10
Ohio
You can feel free to look at mine any time, but I live about 3 hours away.

My piping goes up across the ceiling and back down to the tank. Without crawling inside the pipe to be sure, I don't think there is any way air can get trapped in there with 12 GPM flowing through an 1 1/4 pipe. I assume it's like a garden hose, turn the water on and it pushes the air right out.

Just to be clear andym, your house system is a hydronic system with baseboard heaters etc ?

Agree on the lifestyle concept. Wife and I were out splitting firewood for winter of 2024 yesterday. :)
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
879
South Central Minnesota
Auto start gennie can be a big plus.

We had a bad weather day Monday. I suddenly decided in the morning I should do a burn early in case we lost power later. I got it going good and just loaded it up - when the power went out. Plugged the boiler circ into the UPS, but the UPS wouldn't power up without power going into it. First time I experienced that. I have had to hit the power button on it a couple times before, when the power was out, to get it to kick in. But it wouldn't this time. I should have got it up & going before I lit up & still had power, but I was in a hurry to make heat. Opened all my zones but the heat climbed in the boiler real quick - takes a little while for natural flow to get itself going, and storage wasn't cold with an early burn start. By the time I drug the gennie out & got it fired up to only have to plug the UPS into it to get it to send power out, the boiler & piping were starting to make ugly noises. Even after shutting down the air intake. That was my first & hopefully only episode like that. Virtually all other gassing boilers would have the added safety of the combustion fan shutting down when power goes away, but this thing just keeps on chugging full blast until the fuel gets used up. Anytime I have to leave the house with a fire going, or burn with ugly weather outside, I bring the UPS on line. Didn't bother doing that first, this time.
My power failure boiler protection consists of an 1000W pure sine inverter with built in charger/transfer switch and a group 27 marine battery. It provides seamless transfer from line power to battery power in the event of power failure and back when line power comes up again and then will automatically recharge the battery. More than enough capacity to run the boiler and circulator for a burn cycle or two. Yes not a solution for a several day power outage but great for boiler protection for the power failure that happens during a burn cycle. It is the blue box mounted on the wall to the right of the boiler. Inverter/transfer switch/charger combo at zoro.com - less than $300, battery ~$100

The other boiler protection concern would be the failure of the circulator itself during a burn - my solution is to use the European solution that we seldom use in the US, the boiler overheat connections provided in nearly all European manufactured boilers. That plumbed through a Watts STS20 thermostatic valve and connected to domestic cold water will run cold water through a loop internal to the boiler for protection during an over heat situation. (note I don't have it installed yet in this pic). IMO (Assuming domestic cold water is available) this is much simpler and compact than running a bunch of tube and fin above the boiler somewhere to provide a gravity overheat loop and not to mention powering a Normally open valve all the time to keep the valve closed in normal operation. I found the Watts STS20 valve for ~80 shipped from an ebay seller in Germany, they are available for a bit more from US suppliers. The rest is just cold water piping and a drain to out the back of my boiler building.

Different solution that works for me - I didn't want a bunch of tube and fin blocking the view of the TV :)
IMG_1252.jpg
 
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TCaldwell

Minister of Fire
Doubt a garn style boiler could overheat on a power outage! If power goes out, unplug motor cord from receptacle on control box, temporarily plug into generator to finish burn.