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Convert steam boiler to use with rocket stove?  RSS feed

 
Jessica Gourieux
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Does anyone know if it is possible to convert an existing steam boiler (roughly 80 years old, 192,000 BTU output) from gas to be able to use with a rocket mass stove? I am sure that the rocket mass stove would be able to heat the water enough to create the steam for the system, just curious if it has been done or how we would go about doing it...
 
John Elliott
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That's a lot of BTUs. If that's a per hour rate, that's at least 20 pounds of coal per hour, more if the efficiency is low. Figure that wood has half the energy density of coal, and you are talking 40 pounds of wood per hour. I can see why they would pipe in gas to fire it; someone would be real busy trying to feed it 40# of wood per hour.

You could probably figure out a way to remove the burner ring that distributes the gas under the boiler and replace it with the business end of a rocket stove, but that's the easy part. How are you going to keep feeding it? Big hopper of pellets that is gravity fed?

P.S. And Allen is right wondering about the integrity of an 80 year old pressurized tank. You put a rocket stove under it and you are going to have a lot less fuel control than you have with gas, and if it gets too much fuel, whoa, watch out.
 
allen lumley
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Jessica Gourieux : Wow, I am amazed that there is on this Planet, in this day and age any Boiler Inspector who would Not Immediately Condemn such a visually out-of date
boiler ! Is this boiler presently actually in use ?

I expect that it has not seen or been seen by such an Authority Figure in 20 years ! Look for a signed inspection tag ! Probably it was shut down for cause, requiring a fix by
a Certified Boiler Tech Before re-lighting, and someone neglected to report the repair > And why inspect a boiler that has been Condemned and is no longer in use !

Before you proceed any farther on this path, I would strongly suggest going to U-Tube Land And Searching for/Viewing the Mythbusters video 'Exploding hot water Heater' !

Think Boston Marathon Bombing with many more 2nd and 3rd Degree Burns !

ernie and erica Wisner, who are the Moderators for these Forum Threads have even made a DVD on this subject ! It is called Boom ! Squish ! the boom is the boiler, the
Squish is you !

I would strongly recommend that you mentally prepare yourself for being told that The Inspection that you should have done will result in your being told "It would cost me
my license /badge to certify such a piece of equipment for use as a low pressure boiler !''

Do not take my word for it, but this should be the theme of other peoples responses to this Thread ! I feel bad that I have to be the one who rains on your Parade !

For the Craft! questions,comments, are solicited and welcome ! Think like Fire, Flow like Gas, Don't be the Marshmallow ! PYRO - Logical Big Al !
 
Jessica Gourieux
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It is working, we had someone look at it before we bought the house in January and had to replace a couple of parts, but it works quite well I just don't like the gas bill that comes with it. It is sized slightly larger than what we actually need, the house was built in 1892 and is just over 3300 square feet, it is a brick two story farm house. Based on a calculator that I did when buying the house we only need 150 or 160,000 BTU out put. I am not sure if that is an hourly rate or not. I am still learning the ins and outs of steam heat. The nice thing is that since it is a radiant heat we can keep it set at 60-65 and the house is very comfortable in the winter (I live in Michigan, so it does get quite cold), compared to the house that we moved from that was only 700 square feet with forced air that I had to keep set between 75 and 80 to stay comfortable. We are just looking to see if there is a way to make the boiler more efficient because I don't want to pay $500 a month for gas in the winter, and would rather not pay $5000+ for a new boiler. Any thoughts?
 
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Jessica Gourieux : Please believe that I have your best interests at heart. Knowing (now) that you have accepted this challenge, the only positive things I can offer you are,
go to Wikipedia and check out the article there on 'Boiler feedwater', you wil have to be come an expert on pH , Cations, Anions, the Corrosive characteristics of O2 and CO2,
their special effects when allowed to be present in Boiler Water, And dealing with HARD Water- and Fouling and Scaling, and Caustic Embrittlement ! !

I would check with your local Community Collage to see if they can help you with text books and immediately take on the responsibility to KNOW how much 'make-up'
water you are using and how to feed the boiler water by hand, and how to deal with a stuck feed water valve !

I would also sign up for a boiler inspection service twice a year, with yearly testing ( which should agree with your baseline tests ! )and tune up/Cleaning !

I am being very careful to avoid any use of a certain A * word, but you should also be concerned with what kind of Coating, Blanket you have on your boiler ! Good Luck !

For the Craft! As always, your questions and comments, are solicited and Welcome, Think like Fire! Flow like a Gas, Don't be the Marshmallow ! PYRO - Logically BIG AL !
 
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