Jim Fisk

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since May 28, 2014
Been designing and building since I was 14. Been a natural (Organic is now meaningless) farmer for 45 years. I specialize in backyard recycled living on a shoe string designs from a high rate (2 weeks) in vessel composter to efficient wood gasifier stoves for air and water heating as well as aquaponics designs that save time and money and produce lots of fish and veggies year round. HHO, etc. Just loving life!
Smoky Mountains of E Tennessee
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Recent posts by Jim Fisk

Tim Malacarne wrote:Yeah, me again... Jim, there's lots to read on thermosiphoning on the internet. I grew up in a 2 family flat in the city. We had a hot water system, was the most even heat ever. No pump, all thermosiphoning.


Hi Tim, I always go thermo if possible but this radiator is 60 feet from the "boiler" and only one floor up so although it does a little it is way too slow. I am left using a circ to get the heat there in a timely manor.
3 years ago

Gordon Claridge wrote:Something to think about is that 140degF is 60degC and is right on the borderline for preventing the development of Legionnaires Disease bacteria from breeding in your tank. If your planned operating max temp is going to be 140, this means that a lot of the time the T is likely to be below this, or conversely, there will be days when you do not reach this temp.

You need to look carefully at the longest recommended time a system can be without reaching 140 or above. In some jurisdictions it is a requirement that hot water systems stay above 140, in others 140 needs to be exceeded for a given time in any period of X days (X depends on the jurisdiction).



I wonder if there is an anti-bacterial chem that can be added to avoid such. My system is only vented thru a commercial bleach barrel vent cap that allows for expansion changes thru a fine filter so I am not sure where the bacteria would get in and other than working on the system like adding a HW coil to the IBC there is no contact with the water. I have been playing with the idea of adding metal protection such as exists in automotive antifreeze but once the O2 is used up the water runs clear. I could just as well add an anti-bacterial if anyone has any suggestions. I was under the impression that legionaires was only bred in air conditioning systems. There is also the fact that the heat exchanger does boil the water during gasification phase and the flue at the exchanger runs at about 700F at the 8" T during gasification.
3 years ago
Well I have the stove all built and online since my last post. It has been about 3 wks since the first burn and I just keep improving on it and getting to know it's unique personality. Every new design has it's own for sure. A slideshow can be seen on G+. It is set in reverse order so you might want to start at the bottom first. She is a real honey for the money and my favorite build yet. We are toasty at last in this big unfinished house. The 330 IBC is doing great and the stove doesn't seem to have any bad habits. Like any true gasifier it likes DRY wood so I included a drying polishing rack to season the next days load and that has been great since I am way behind on firewood harvesting due to a blown appendix a few months back. Here is a link to the photos that are not yet complete (too many cameras involved but there are about 225 with some captions as well. Still not sure my way around on here so not sure how to make it active but you can cut and paste.
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/100723918717226979447/albums/6111320016293960913
3 years ago
Trout have been wonderful for us here in NE TN. 70 cents a fingerling right nearby. Our cats did lousy as well but one has lasted for 3 yrs so who knows. I would guess it depends on your source. Trout are the best meal ever anyway and have proved very hardy. Start with 4" and up as the bigger they are the tougher they are in terms of die off. Also make sure your PH is right before you intro the little guys. Your bigger ones can look just fine but the babies can all die in the same water over night if too acid and mature AP systems will go acid. I use ashes from the GH wood stove to sweeten the water the day before and I place about half a cup at the fill side of each (5) grow bed.
As to bell siphons, I have now sold over 600 in all sizes and all over the world and I am here to tell you if your design is nice and simple you don't ever need no stnkn snorkel tube. You don't want any traps either. The 2-1 Bernoulli top funnel and 2 90's is all you need assuming you you make a nice clean and sealed bell. You can see all my designs at my FB page under Smoky Mountain Aquaponics. If you have basic tools you can make one easily. I have a bunch of tools all set for production now from 2 drill presses to belt sanders and chop saws and templates but I started with a saber saw and a chop saw. Personally I would start over with my simple design and you will be amazed. KISS always wins the race. Over 3 yrs online and never a problem if plumbed in correctly and that means an air gap or a vent right after the 2nd 90. Have fun. Jim
3 years ago
I checked out the article you posted and I feel he needed a center surround support as well as that is where the tank or liner will push out the hardest by far and not at the top and bottom where he did all the bracing. There is no substitute for years and years of experience with bootstrap engineering
3 years ago
Hey thanks for the fast reply. Yes I have plenty of room to use insulation panels and I plan on at least 2". Some loss is acceptable as I heat the garage and basement workshop from the heater as well.
3 years ago
All great answers so I have only one suggestion and that is NEXT time you should consider making a barrel GASIFIER wood stove. I have built them with cooktops, water heaters and even ovens that will cook a 12lb turkey. A gasifier burns far cleaner and saves a lot of wood. You never know when your father-in-law will get out of the wood business and you will have to supply your own wood like the rest of us Woodies. An automatic thermostat and a very small blower like from a dishwasher (the "air dry blower" will also make a great improvement that you will love. I will try to post some of my plans on here soon or you can purchase a full set at my Ebay store under Fiskfarm cheap. I am always creating new and more efficient designs since the 70's and each one has been an improvement and a blast to use. Barrels are a great way to go and if you use the thin firebrick like Tim said, you should never see any burn thru. The only time I got a few small rust holes was running the aquaponics water thru a ss loop in the greenhouse stove too cold and creating liquid creosote (a very strong acid). Simple solution was a valve to slow down and therefore warm the coil. In your case just set a used HW tank next to it and thermosiphon thru a loop of 3/4" pipe in and out in one pass and attach it to the drain and a T at the top. Free hot water is a wonder to behold!
Hey have fun and use good common sense and you will have no problems. Been heating with wood for nearly 50 years now without a single problem BUT as a fireman in Maine I saw a lot of stupid. Don't be stupid and remember that "if your going to be dumb you'd better be tough" That was our favorite expression when we were pulling bodies out of the lake. Sad but true.
3 years ago
I am in the middle of building my latest design wood gasifier "boiler" for heating our house and I came upon a number of articles stating that an IBC will handle heat to 150F with no problem. I just happen to have a spare 330g (1000L) IBC left over from our 2500gal aquaponics system build so I plan on mounting that on a sturdy platform about 4' above the garage floor for heat storage. I will be placing it that high to assist gravity thermal flow from stove heat exchanger to the "heat sump" in case of a power shortage and from this storage "sump" I will have a circ pump assist to the upstairs radiators spread thru the house which should also thermaflow in case of power outage. The 2 circulators will be digitally controlled to the sump for one and of course the room temps above.

My question here is has anyone else had experience using an IBC in this manner? Storage tanks are of course available but costs are high indeed. Wood fired "boilers" (they are actually never hot enough to boil by design) run most efficiently at full tilt so thus the storage. Otherwise they should just idle awaiting the next call when the sump temp drops to say 120F just like any oil fired "boiler". Let me know if anyone else has done such. Love to share notes. BTW in the AP GH we have 2500gal in the system which stores the heat in that instance but only to 60F where the bacteria are happy as well as the trout.
3 years ago
We got caught last Winter with enough dry wood to last about til December and then had the worst Winter here in the Smokys in years with temps at 20 below on more than one occasion. We spent months dropping 80-100' trees, cutting, splitting and drying the days wood on racks above the stoves. We run 4 woodstoves with 2 in the main house and one in the cabin and one in the aquaponics greenhouse. Somehow we made it and the drying wood gave off lots of moisture which always helps in the dry heat of Winter. Had a few logs get a bit glowing on occasion but the smoke gave them away in time for no flare-ups. The 2 homemade gasifier stoves will get a welded up drying rack for just this purpose in the future and that will assure the wood never makes contact with the actual stove surface. Not that I plan on ever going thru that again but who knows with this crazy weather we have had. The year I broke ground in January for the AP GH it was 60F here while last year, just 2 yrs later, we were at 20F below zero during that same period. Makes it a bit hard to judge just how much wood we will need per year going forward. The Native Americans around here are calling for a "black squirrel" Winter this year which means a whopper and I am still building the new gasifier boiler and hydronic heating system for the new house. Yikes!!
3 years ago

kent smith wrote:Dale, glad to hear about the maples. Most of our wood lot is covered with maples and I need to thin some out. The crowns are so thick that on a sunny day it is dark and damp while walking around. Maples are the predomenent new growth on our place in the woods, but out in the pasture it is black locus and sumacs.


I hope you cherish and foster those locusts as we do. One of the most important trees on any farm. I hated to see them lumped in with the sumacs
The guy we bought our homestead from took a saw along during our walkabout and proceeded to cut down every locust we came upon. Man did we give him an earful. He stopped that habit in short order.
3 years ago