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Alaska boiler/stove idea?
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Hi,

Been thinking of trying to follow in some footsteps and making up a boiler to heat my home using an Alaska/military burner. I've done a rough sketch of my idea and before I spend any money I just wanted to get some thoughts and see if it's feesible.

The idea is to use a heat exchanger from a Baxi Bermuda heater and heat the water. I would make the housing for the whole thing from scratch. It would be fitted outside under a covered area. Been told I would have to use twinwall flue which will be the main cost I'd imagine.

Cheers

Vijay



 
Registered: October 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm not sure you will need the twin wall, just depends on your installation location. If no one will see it you can wrap it in some fire proof material.
 
Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: September 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was thinking along the same lines, although I was thinking of just mating the burner to an old 90 or 100,000 BTU boiler I have sitting around. I see people dumping old boilers for free on craigslist every couple of months.

The thing I don't like, though, is the amount of maintenance it requires. It sounds like there's quite a bit of crud buildup in the form of carbon solids and tarlike goo when burning wvo and motor oil, which would require regular shut-downs and cleaning. I would sure like to see a solution to that.

My thought is to build a tiny shed --big enough to house the burner, boiler and a fuel tank (to keep the wvo liquid)-- far enough away from my house that it will not burn the house down if disaster strikes and then run well insulated tubing into my house, hooking it into the existing hydronic baseboard heating system, for my downstairs loop only. Then set the upstairs thermostat so that my existing gas boiler only kicks in if it gets below, say, 68 degrees F. That way, most of the heat would come from free fuel.

If I could adjust the burner right, it could always be on --on high in the winter and low in the summer (I suppose I would have to turn it off on the really hot days. Even in Alaska it gets above 70 sometimes).

I think if you were to mate the burner with the right size boiler, you would not need expensive stainless stovepipe. You should be fine with the much cheaper galvanized pipe. Even the double wall galvanized isn't too expensive. A much bigger expense would be the oxygen barrier pex, copper, or galvanized pipe you would use to carry the water to and from the heat exchanger(s) in your house.


Two tank system on an '89 F250
Working on an 81 Chevy Chevette
Attempting to resurrect a rusted out 85 Ford Tempo
 
Location: Alaska | Registered: April 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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restrurants are required by law to have a filter over the stove tops in the vent. These are mounted at a 30 to 45 deg. angle with a gutter to drain off any oil that works its way down.

These filters are made of metal screen layers you might say. completely washable (and require washing for fire standard).

One of these between the output of the oil stove and the heat exchanger should make maintainance much easier. Take one out, put one one, clean dirty one at your nearest convinence.


_________________________
If you believe you can't YOUR RIGHT;

But equally so.... if you believe you can, YOUR RIGHT as well.
 
Location: North Tx | Registered: November 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I looked at a couple of floor standing boilers with the idea of putting the Alaska inside it but the problem was the heat exchanger would be too near the flames which I believe would cause soot. That's the reason I wanted to make the stove, so I could have the heat exchanger high enough to be heated by the combustion and not the flames Wink
 
Registered: October 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You design looks promising, and you are right about keeping a reasonable distance between the burner and the heat exchanger. You want to extract heat from fully combusted gas, not cool the vaporizing process. hewever if you move it to far away you might suffer some loss of output.Is there some way the distance can be changed so that you can experiment to fing the optimum position.
As regards maintenance there is no way round it. A pot burner burning wvo will need to be turned off and cleaned at least every 2 days.
I turn my burner off at 11 each night. In the morning I open the burner clean it with a vaccuum cleaner and light it. The whole job takes 5 minutes and there is no mess. having lived with a wood burning stove for the last 13 years I find it no trouble at all.
The secret is to design easy access to the burner. My burner unplugs from the bottom of the boiler using a simple bayonet mount. It takes about 2 seconds to remove it for cleaning.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Being able to change the distance of the heat exchanger shouldn't be a major issue as it's all being done from scratch. I would look into it first but I'd imagine 6-8 inches from the tip of the highest flame?

I've no intention of running it at night anyway so I'm the same as Imakebiodiesel, I'll clean it every morning or two. I'll take into account being able to remove the pot in my design Smile
 
Registered: October 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Right, taken a few pictures of where I'm thinking of putting the boiler:








Where the water butt is is where I would like to put it and then I could run the flue straight up. I'd be looking at a run of 5-6 metres of flue which would take me past the gutter line of the pitched roof.

Right behind that water butt is my kitchen where my gas boiler is wall hung. I'd be looking at the pipes going straight through the wall and connecting into the pipework, so I'd have no major runs of pipework outside. My boiler is a conventional boiler but was converted to a sealed system as my loft is converted and it had to be done in order to get a radiator up there. I also have a solar hot water system (you can see the tubes on the pitched roof), so I have a twin coiled hot water cylinder in my bathroom. Would having a sealed system create any issues?

Vijay
 
Registered: October 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That position looks fine, but if you have 6 metres of vertical flue you will need to use insulated pipe. In such a long flue there is a danger of the exhaust gas cooling too much so the burner will not draw strongly enough. The ordinary 5" galvanized type is ok.
I dont know enough about sealed systems to advise you but if Copper 12 or Crazyhorse are reading this perhaps they might be able to tell you. they are both plumbers.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Been advised that I have to use twin wall for solid fuel which I believe is stainless steel (and about £100 a meter). And for the exact reason you've said, it may cool and not draw enough air through and not get a clean combustion, then giving off black smoke Frown The last thing I want is to have anything unsafe or annoy the neighbours with black smoke. What's the galvanized stuff you mention?
 
Registered: October 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The stainless twin wall flue for solid fuel would be overkill for this job. The temperature of my flue as it exits the boiler is 90degrees C. Ordinary galvanized twin wall for oil fired boilers is good enough and half the price.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'd obviosly love you to be right Smile Any idea what the difference is for having to use stainless over galvanized?

Vijay
 
Registered: October 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Stainless steel can handle the much higher flue temperatures produced by solid fuel burners, sometimes 3-400 degrees C in a badly designed wood burner.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Woodstove chimneys in N.America must withstand 1000°F [Canadian S-629M standard UL 103 HT standard in the United States].



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The 4 inch I use with my Efel has a SST inner tube and a galv outer tube. I just bought a TEE with a clean out and the area where the three legs join is sealed with some sort of silicon. The four inch is mostly used for pellet stoves I think so they must not produce that much exhaust heat.
 
Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: September 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I thought the temp would be more than 90C, is that because your not running your burner on max? The reason I ask is that I made a small stove out of a beer keg so I could heat some drums of WVO and the temp on the top of the drum was 135C at one point and the burner wasn't on max.

Vijay
 
Registered: October 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I haven't installed the TEE and won't for awhile so have no idea how the sealing will hold up. I'll see if I can check some temp numbers.
 
Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: September 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The flue for a wood burner has to be very high temp rated because of the risk of a creosote fire in the flue. That could produce at temp close to 1000 C. That is not going to happen with a pot burner, and flue rated for use with an oil fired burner will be enough. My workshop stove has a flue temp of 120 but in the the burner/boiler the heat exchanger cools the exhaust gas, hence 90C.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Getting clearer now in my head Smile

Are they the temps when the burner is on max?

Also what temps are the galvanized safe for? and does it mean I couldn't burn wood or paper logs if I use galvanized?

Cheers

Vijay
 
Registered: October 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Maybe not at max but a good high clean burn.

If galvanized flue is overheated, say 400C it may decompose the Zinc and give off poisonious fumes so no to wood or paper logs.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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