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Standoff Wood Burning Boilers and the Environment


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In answer to a question in another post about programmable thermostats Chad wrote:

I have one of those ..sort of... when it's real cold out, I put a lot more wood in the boiler.
Chad's weight maintenance program. Chad, isn't your boiler like a zillion feet from the house out in a snow drift or something? Do you construct an igloo style tunnel to go back and forth from the boiler to the house this time of year? [;)]

I saw one of those monsters down at the home show last year that was designed to burn both oil and wood. One stokes it with wood and then when the wood burns down it fires up an oil burner so that one doesn't have to get up in the middle of the night to re-stoke the thing. My Dad had a setup like that but he didn't have to worry about the trek to the boiler 'cuz it was in his basement. It was a Buderus unit and computer controlled. He could stoke it with wood and walk away from it. Three days later, the oil burner would kick on and he knew he had to re-stoke it.

I was browsing my hometown news online recently and saw where some folks were making a stink about those standoff boilers and wanted to outlaw them because of the wood smoke and the fact that they burn wood. Jeez, we burned wood and coal and dung for thousands of years before the modern industrial revolution and never placed the planet in danger. Now the enviro pansies are convinced that a few folks with wood boilers are going to create too much greenhouse gas. Guess they forgot about the 2 (or is it 3) billion Chinese - many of whom still heat their homes the old way.

I swear, the friggin' global warming loons will be the death of us yet.

Chad, is yours one that was made commercially or is it that monster you were welding up a few years ago? Let's have some pictures!



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I dug a basement under my barn, poured some nice walls and a floor and I put the boiler in there. I fill my farm pick-up truck with wood until it grunts and park it next to the boiler. Depending on the weather it's enough for four to six days.

The boiler heats a big drafty old house and all the hot water you want. It still sucks going out at 10 or 11 but it beats the enormous heating bills that I used to have. If the weather is in the high 20's or above it's a twice a day load, below that it's three times a day.

I put up a sign near my blueberries that says "Tree Surgeons, Dump your chips and Wood Here! Thanks!" And they do, which is awesome because I need the chips for the blueberries and I get 40-60 face cord of wood as well. It's never "easy wood" though and I frequently use a 100 CC chainsaw with a 48 inch bar. It's a nice job for cool fall days.

If we didn't have a skidsteer or if we had to pay for the wood it wouldn't be all that great but getting out for some exercise and then having it save me 4 or 5 grand a year, well that's a no brainer.

If I posted pics of the boiler now you wouldn't know what the hell it is because it's buried under 4 or 5 layers of insulated door window cutouts; it looks like a blob of six panel doors with soot stains. I posted pics before but here's the link to building process. It's 1/2 inch plate, the fire box and stack are schedule 80 S (1/2) pipe.

I'm still playing with controls and when I'm happy I'll post a link with the final compilation. Currently, combustion air is a 350cfm fan fed through a cavity in the door to keep the door cool. The fan is controlled via an aquastat that turns the fan on at 120, off at 160 and off below 100 (below a hundred means the fire is out and there's no point in blowing zero degree air through my hundred degree boiler). There's a manual overide timer to get the fire going. I'm working on a damper mechanism that responds proportionately to water temp. That'll probably be in place next year.

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Looks like a lot of fun building it. My father & I built several carports and other stuff for our siblings when I was younger using double X tubing and sucker rods (plunger rods from pumpers) that we got free from an oilfield my father worked at.

Those are good weld beads in those pictures.

Are you a professional welder?


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Those are good weld beads in those pictures.

Thanks for that but vertical stick welding on heavy steel really isn't my forte'. I didn't have any leaks after burning in a couple hundred pounds of rod so I guess the welds fall into the "good enough for a boiler" category.

I am pretty good with MIG and TIG though.

Are you a professional welder?

Nah, I'm a building science guy.

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