Keep the water jacket on the boiler no more than 3" thick and store the heated water in a separate hot water storage tank, minimum 250 gallons, preferably in the basement of the building you intend to heat. Surrounding the boiler with sand or fine gravel will aid heat retention and produce a more efficient fire. Placing too much water in the water jacket will only produce a cold fire and lots of creosote. I've seen many outdoor wood fired boilers and very few successful ones which all incorporated the design elements I suggest.
Also the glycerin from biodiesel production makes an excellent antifreeze; mix it 66% with water for maximum freeze protection.
Very neat could you please visit our site http://www.greenmauiguide.com and post some of this info on our green dedicated site we would love to provide thread to talk about this there!
Thanks Green Maui Guide!
Would this idea work? Thanks
wood_boiler.bmp (42 Kb, 381 downloads)
I don't think that would be very efficient at all because there isn't enough area for the fire to transfer heat into the water. You need to have a water jacket around the fire box or at least on the top and sides. Your extra resivior can be located anywhere and have a circulation pump move the water. I've also thought about using a boilermate tank to store the extra water capacity and also to seperate the wood system from my gas boiler having the boilermate heat the return water for the gas furnace. I haven't built my stove yet but have been pondering the thought of a design that's got good height/mostly verticle to take advantage of the higher temps of secondary combustion but the disadvantages of using shorter wood and door construction may be more difficult so the project is off for now until I do more research.
Ok what about this?
boiler_2.bmp (32 Kb, 333 downloads)
what happend to all the new posts?
Did someone start a new thread?
I dont know what happened to all the new posts, but I am glad you brought this back up. I am working on a boiler for my shop, and have made some observations and design improvements while I am working on it.
Mine will have an interesting heat source. Since I know I have lots of winter, and I might not have lots of fuel/heat sources, I decided to combine some.
Im building a windmill to power DC electric water heater elements, also building a methane digester, a waste oil heater, and of course wood heat. If I can get enough sunlight I might have some solar as well, depends on how warm the air and water get on cloudy days. They will all put heat into the same water system, some for maintaining a certain amount of heat, some for boosting the temp.
Hopefully between all of them I can keep my shop warm enough to get something done between October and May. If it works good enough, the house will be getting a similar system but most likely with only one or two heat inputs.
I go through 30 face cords per winter using wood heat. Propane would be $600-$1000 per month, so the wood is far cheaper and the house stays much warmer. The wood is a bunch of work and I cant go out and collect it myself, so its still an expense.
What is that in real cords? Is that for the house and shop?
A face cord is 8'x4'x2' up here. That is the house only, and wood heat is the only heat I have in it. Propane costs me way too much and it burns through it way to fast to keep the house at 55F.
I had 3 face cords for the shop, and I would only start the heat if I was doing something that required it to be warm, like building a transmission or doing body work. Fillers dont like to set up if the sheetmetal isnt at least 55F, 60F or warmer is better, but its tough to get that when its colder than 20 outside. I still have some wood left from last year, but I want it warm almost all the time so I can get more done.
I want to get 10 full cords, that is an 8' x 4' x 10' and will be enough for a year and a half. Its cheaper still doing it this way, just had some issues with the loggers who bring firewood like that. Most of the land I live on has had the hardwood logged, and its only pine, spruce, and hemlock. That leaves me buying it.
I am building a waste oil heater similar to the one Mother Earth News built, it will heat the air as well as water in the shop. I have about 200 gallons of used oil right now, and its supposed to burn 6 oz an hour. I should be good for this winter even if I run it continuously.
Im still working out the water heater part, but it will probably be pipes wrapped around the oil heater flowing into a tank. Then pipes connected to it and radiators from cars for heat exchangers. I figure with the 15psi radiator caps I shouldnt have much issue with steam explosions, but its still something to consider.
Im trying to get it to flow on its own, so I wont need a pump. Hot rises - cold descends sort of thing. Also the radiators will be close to the floor, and laying horizontal to allow the same principle to work with the air.
The complete system will have 3 tanks, one heated by wood/oil, one with electric elements in it (driven by the windmill), and one simply for volume. I might add another for volume if I have a problem retaining enough heat, or making too much. Depends on what it wants. I have 5 radiators I can use of the brass copper variety, so getting heat out shouldnt be a problem. The first configuration will have only one as a test run.
All of this is being built from junk and parts nobody wants or can use for its original purpose. Im trying not to buy anything new, and getting stuff I dont have from a junk yard. Im not so much cheap as poor.. Poverty is the mother of ingenuity.
So, your 'face cord' is about half a cord. Fifteen cords of wood to heat a house seems like a lot. That must be a huge leaky house. Is the interior air so dry that one strikes static sparks? By comparison I heat my 2000 sqft house with about 4 cords of spruce/pine/poplar/willow in a winter climate that averages about 0°F and routinely gets to the minus 30s and lasts from Halloween to Easter. Interior humidity stays between 30% and 40%.
Plugging the hot air leaks and cold drafts will likely save way more wood than trying to generate more heat with other sources. It's like getting a bigger pump instead of plugging the leaks in the boat. Wind powered heating is about the least efficient way to generate heat. How efficient is the wood stove that heats the house? How often does the chimney need cleaning?
Im on the other side of the really big lake from canuckland. Superior has an interesting moderating effect on the weather, but it still gets cold here, the trees help with the wind.
While the house does need work, I am trying to heat the shop. The boiler with multiple heat sources is for the shop, because I need something to keep my mind occupied during the long winter months.
The windmill is more of an experiment to find out what works and what doesnt with a design I am working on. It drives alternators and outputs DC at the moment, its a nice battery charger. Its not a main source, just something I am working on with no money input. At this point I have welded a bolt to it, the rest has been junk layin around that I am reassembling into something useful.
The house is unfinished, the floors in the addition need done, currently its only 3/4" plywood, monetary issues prevent me from doing much with it, so I burn more wood. Right now the wood is cheaper and easier to afford than new carpet or floor covering. Not trying to getting into my financial issues, but VA disability is just enough to live on, makes it tough to fix up a house at the same time. So I do what I can.
Interior humidity isnt an issue, they unknowingly built the house above a spring and the crawl space is always wet. The wood heat actually helps keep the mold down, its just another issue that needs attention. Perhaps when I win the lottery, or I could just move back to Nebraska and live in my parents quonset. Its tough to argue with a nice setup for little cash outlay because the father in law owns it.
Everything I do is on a threadbare shoestring budget, the bonus is I have plenty of free time to mess with things. If my ideas and projects dont work, its a learning experience provided I am not spending money on them. That is also why I am working on a persistent reliable and passive heat source for the shop, so I can go out there and DO stuff in winter.
My 110v welder decided to cease function last night, so now that needs to be remedied before I can continue with the oil burner. Such is life, at least winter wont be over before I get it done.
The interior humidity is a big issue. A plastic ground moisture barrier is cheap, lumber wraps can usually be got for free at building supply yards. The moisture gets into the walls saturates the insulation, decreases it's Rvalue and rots the structure. Plugging holes where warm air leaks out and cold air leaks in is cheap. My house is also unfinished with painted floors. One can do a lot with little money if it's done smart.
I see what you are saying John, and conservation is a big part of what I do to live. There are issues I have to work around with anything I do, and it isnt making excuses, or saying "I cant" it is simply another issue I need to find a solution for that I can accomplish with the least expenditure possible, in money, resources, and the time I have where I can be mobile enough to get things done.
Indeed, the plastic is a good idea, getting it done is the tough part. I already have two rolls of 2mil sheet, problem is getting it under there and making it work. I cant do it myself, and I cant pay anyone to do it for me. So its difficult to fix it at this point. Living on a fixed income sucks, I wish I was still active duty, I made 3 times as much as I do now.
Additionally the amount of water that needs to be pumped out is rather impressive. The big problem with the house is getting it done. I do what I can inside as I can get the supplies, but still its a slow process. I will get it done, it just takes time and someone who can move around ok.
Opening up some money by utilizing what others throw away, and keeping the old stuff working is my big focus. That is why I am working on a heater made from junk and parts I am not using on my car projects. The idea of water is to retain heat longer and provide multiple sources of heat around the shop. heating the air means I have to spend more time attending to the wood, while heating water means I have heat over a longer period of time.
Sure it takes longer to heat water, but it also takes longer to cool it, and less energy to keep it warm than it does to initially heat it. So conserving part of the heat that is also heating the air, and temporarily storing it in water, should help me stretch my resources and allow me to get more done. Not having to spend money on certain aspects of survival and transportation will open up more for other important things. I am in the position of needing to figure out how to make my own energy simply because I cant afford to keep buying it.
I hear ya. I have similar goals and manage to live quite comfortably using what others would discard. 2mil poly is way too thin, you need something like the used lumber wrap woven poly. You know what I'm referring to yes? I've done the dirt floor of a crawlspace I had to literally crawl around in; reminded me of the obstacle course in boot camp, at least there wasn't bullets flying overhead. Get one or two young kids to help, it's an adventure for them, they'll happily work for next to nothing, and they can easily pull the covering around. The edges don't have to be sealed just a foot or more overlap. I can't stress too much that a ground moisture barrier is the single most important component in a house both in terms of energy conservation and the health of your family and the health of the house. Nothing else you do will be as important.
Has anyone built a boiler using Sash's design. I have been looking at the few efficient outdoor furnaces on the market and none of them look user friendly. I've been thinking about boulding my own and I stumbled onto this sight. I guess while I'm at it, I should do the right thing and make it as efficient as possible. Less wood = Less work. Well, at least making wood. What I'm wondering about Sash's design is the plate between the burn box and the secondary chamber looks to be steel. If that is the case and this burns the secondary gases it should reach about 2000*F. Wouldn't that warp steel. I'm tired of making a mess in my basement so it's time for an outdoor woodburner. I've been looking at various designs for the last 4 months. Nearly all are the basic burn box with either another pass or straight flue. I'm trying to drum up new easy ideas in my head on how to build this thing. We have a 600hp sawdust high pressure boiler at work and it has proven to me that secondary gases are the way to go. It's a hybrid watertube to firetube design. There's really no way to make this design smaller for my house because 90% of what makes it work is computer controls. I'm wondering if anyone else has design ideas. I'd love to hear them. I would really like to follow up on Sash's design.
i built a wood boiler once i didn.t get a chance to use it a second time it burnt to the ground
That's cuz you didn't fill it with water first
He's making a joke...
I have to ask. How? This sounds interesting.
I keep getting updates on this thread and noticed Thumpin455 -you're from Marquette? Also guessing from the 455 that you're into cars? And from Nebraska? it's a small world...I think I met you awhile back, can't remember your name but if I'm right you're into Pontiacs and live in Roger's Classic Cars old place? I'm a little west of you in Champion and also restore old muscle cars. I'd like to see your heating setup after it's sorted out. If I can be of any help give me a shout, I have some good connections for junk and parts. Bob Hollinshead http://community.webshots.com/user/bblock104?vhost=community
I've lived a similar lifestyle and have found that for every problem there is a solution if one is willing to put up the time. It may be a little slower than we're used to but other benifits show up like a heathier body and a sustainable, more reliable life that ends up with a greater degree of satasfaction and happiness than following the modern lifestyle.
sharing these ideas and projects helps others achieve the same and with the economy going out the window I see a lot more people getting involved in their own energy production and conservation to survive.
Don't let obstacles
get you down, your way ahead of most on the learning curve and stand a better chance of getting through this situation we all are finding ourselfs in now or will in the near future.
And If I can be of any use feel free to give me a call in here as well
21 years off the grid and counting
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