New House, New (to me) CB e-classic 2400

Shimanok2 Posted By Shimanok2, Feb 26, 2019 at 1:34 PM

  1. Shimanok2

    Shimanok2
    Member 2.
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    Oct 19, 2012
    27
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    Loc:
    New Hampshire
    Hi all,

    As the title implies we just moved to a new house and with that came a Lopi Liberty woodstove and a Central Boiler E-classic 2400. We've been using the woodstove with moderate success but I have never operated or even seen a wood boiler before.

    From all of the documentation it appears that the boiler was purchased from and installed by the Somersworth Stove Shop (New Hampshire) around 2012 or 2013. The boiler is located about 100' away from the house and 30' away from a barn. The piping runs into the basement where it heats a 4th zone off the boiler (oil fired, fhw) via a heat exchanger. I'm guessing this will provide heat to the house as well as hot water via the built in coil, but not positive on the latter though. The house itself is 2 stories with a partially finished basement and 1 zone per floor. The piping also runs to a small Modine heater in a finished room in the barn.

    We just recently closed on the house but it was listed back in November. Since then I don't believe the boiler has been run. It may have not even been run at all this past fall.

    So my questions are...

    1. I can likely crack one of the drain valves in the basement to see if the lines still have fluid in them, but since it's not being used should it be drained if it currently isn't?

    2. What type of fluid do they typically run? I'm assuming it's not water given the heat exchanger and the fact that the lines in the barn haven't frozen. Or maybe it's already been drained.

    3. We've heated with wood for the past 6 years (mostly with a BK Princess) and will continue to do so, but the woodstove in the living room would manage that fairly well, especially if we decide to upgrade to a new CAT stove. My thought here is we likely don't need the OWB for heating the house, but I want to evaluate it first. What would be your recommendations for checking the boiler, lines, etc. and subsequently starting it up to test it out? We only have about a 1/2 cord of wood leftover from the house purchase but I think that should be enough to run it for a couple days to test it out. I was also thinking it could be a good idea to call the installer and have them test fire the unit. Can these be fired in the warmer weather to test them out or are colder temps a must?

    4. I know this is very dependent on wood condition, house condition, house size and climate, but how much wood am I looking at using every winter to keep this boiler running? To eliminate some of the variable I would likely burn wood seasoned for 1+ year (Cut in fall for next winter). 2 year seasoned wood is possible but would take me a while to get there. The wood would be stored in a covered shed adjacent to the boiler. The house was built in 2000, 2x6 construction and seems fairly tight. There's a few air leaks around doors and such but I'll be working on those this summer. It's 2400 sqft across all three floors but we would (do) keep the basement @ 50 or 55. The rest of the house would be upper 60s. The location is central NH, so highs 20-30 with lows single digits to teens. Obviously a few colder and/or warmer weeks in there every winter it seems.

    5. What is the normal reloading frequency? I've read that these boilers will eat wood if overloaded without adding any direct heat to the house and that it's best to load them twice a day with smaller loads as opposed to once or less a day with larger loads.

    There's a lot of questions here so I apologize. Thanks in advance for any and all input provided!
     
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  2. E Yoder

    E Yoder
    Feeling the Heat 2.
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    Jan 27, 2017
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    Loc:
    Floyd, VA
    The heat exchanger is there because the OWB has no pressure, the indoor oil boiler does.
    The OWB typically runs either treated water or a water/glycol mix. The glycol is typically a sticky pink color. You could open the drain on the OWB to see.
    Reloading is normally morning and evening, adjusting the amount loaded according to the weather.
    If you have a number to call a dealer it would be worth having them come out to look it over, give you some pointers. If you advertise it, fall or winter is much easier to sell than summer.
     
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  3. 3fordasho

    3fordasho
    Minister of Fire 2.
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    Jul 20, 2007
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    Loc:
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    Couple random thoughts - Like mentioned the heat exchanger is to separate the open (unpressurized system) from the pressurized system. The CB 2400 could have glycol in the unpressurized loop but at 340 gallons capacity I kind of doubt it ($$) As far as wood use that would be tough for anyone but the previous owner to estimate, but the 2400 does have a 23.5cuft firebox and if you are filling even 1/2 of that once or twice a day, well you can see it's going to use far more than your free standing wood stove. Another thought is if you can heat your place with a woodstove, that 2400 is going to run in idle mode a lot - a recipe for creosote choking problems on these units.
     
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  4. Shimanok2

    Shimanok2
    Member 2.
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    Oct 19, 2012
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    Loc:
    New Hampshire
    Thanks for the information guys. I will likely call the installer and see how willing they are to stop out and review/test our installation.

    I believe the previous owners were running the boiler from fall to spring and used the woodstove rather infrequent. If we plan on heating with the stove, or a better stove, it doesn't seem worth it to run the boiler too just for basement/backup heat and some hot water. I'm not familiar with how these boilers work but if they have an idle mode I understand the creosote issue.

    If it was loaded half full, assuming 10 cuft of wood, twice a day, wouldn't that be over 4 cords a month? Can you load them lighter and still get a longer output or is it more of a hot fire for a few hours followed by some coals?
     
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  5. E Yoder

    E Yoder
    Feeling the Heat 2.
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    Jan 27, 2017
    274
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    Loc:
    Floyd, VA
    It would only open the draft and burn if there is a heat load in the house that drops the water temp in the OWB. So wood consumption varies a lot from house to house and with the weather.
    The OWB is going to heat the whole house evenly. An indoor stove is doing a few rooms sometimes. A different animal.
     
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  6. SuperSpy

    SuperSpy
    New Member 2.
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    Oct 12, 2017
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    Those boiler units don't run constantly like a fireplace, they have a control system that's trying to keep the water at a certain temperature (usually 175F to 185F) and will have the air supply closed off when they aren't calling for heat.

    I can't find specs on the 2400 (CB doesn't sell it anymore), but if it was running hard enough to empty it's firebox completely in 12h, it will be outputting quite a lot of heat.

    The E-Classic product page shows a nice graphic of its operation.
     
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  7. Shimanok2

    Shimanok2
    Member 2.
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    Oct 19, 2012
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    Yeah I understand this. The woodstove in centrally located in the house though and seems to do a decent job of moving the heat around when the blower is used. I've had great luck using the stovetop fans in the past too so may pick up another one of those as well.

    I guess something I didn't ask originally is how are Central Boiler OWBs in general? Are they a good company to work with? Is their e-classic line a good one? Any known issues?
     
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  8. Eureka

    Eureka
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    Feb 4, 2018
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    Central Boiler has had it's fair share of issues. Bad stainless, bad design, bad parts, etc. But no manufacturer is truly immune to all of that. It is also a very large company with lots and lots of units out there running, so naturally you will hear about more bad than other brands simply because there are more out there. I'd say that most of what I hear about the brand is positive, especially in recent years. They seem to be concentrating more on keeping customers happy than just trying to get as many people as possible to buy their units. The E Classics like you have were the earlier gasification burners that I think had some issues. Look around some of the other firewood/burning forums out there for more info about them. They aren't brought up too much around here.

    That being said, I did a lot of research and went with Heatmaster SS.
     

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