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Messages - savebigmny

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General DIY remodeling without Hydronics / Re: Best type of closet door?
« on: February 25, 2020, 01:57:48 PM »
I made my own sliding doors at our previous house from reclaimed boards from the barn on the property that I had an Amish guy rebuild for me.  They were from the haymow floor which was cedar 3/4" thick, about 8" wide ship lap.  They turned out really awesome.  Hopefully this link works, there are a few pictures and one shows the doors.


I made all of the doors for the house like that, some were swinging and some sliding depending on conflicts of space.

There are also some pics of the rebuilt barn.  The "haymow" floor is about 13' up because I was going to use the bottom as a shop.  The Amish guy put all of the screws in for the steel with a hand crank drill.  His only power tool was a DeWalt chop saw retrofitted with a Stihl trimmer engine.

Plumbing / Re: Flat plate and sidearm water heater heat exchangers
« on: January 23, 2020, 01:29:54 PM »
For reference I have a 3x8 30 plate HX on the incoming line.  With 170-180 boiler water temps it heats well water to 150 when running 1-2 GPM.  You can run the shower, washing machine, etc endlessly and the heat never slows down.  I don't have a mixing valve so it requires mentioning to people visiting that the water is very hot.

JB weld is holding fine.  I'm loving the wood heat.  My house is from 2013 and is all 2x6 walls and well insulated.  I have the basement floor running on medium speed with the mixing valve as low as it goes which is about 90F.  We typically need 2-3 windows cracked open to keep the house below 75.  I've never needed the furnace blower to run although some radiant comes from the furnace HX anyway because it constantly circulates.  Conveniently it is directly under the master bathroom so the floor is nice and toasty.  And the potable water is super hot as well.  The plate HX heats the well water to 155 on the way into the tank at a flow rate of about 2-3gpm, that brought the electric bill down significantly.

I have been burning a bunch of white ash that was standing dead.  It burns for a long time.

Still no problems.  It sure uses a lot less wood now...  Which makes sense.  About 10 gallons of water x 8lbs is 80 lbs of water.  970 BTU/lb to flash into steam means almost 80k Btu's a day wasted.

So far so good.  I filled with water and started a fire last night.  No leaks so far.  I stuck my arm down the chimney when it was burning hard and the spot with the JB weld was only about 330 F so well within the 550 F rating.  Actually all over inside the firebox the metal wasn't that hot.  I think the firebox is 1/4", the water just pulls the heat away well.  I turned down the temp just a little, it's on at 170 off at 180.  Which my White Rodgers aquastat numbers are useless because it indicates about 30 degrees low compared to my drywell thermometer and temp gun readings.

Found my leak, the sight tube was leaking so I addressed that.  The clear tubing that was used was not good enough at high temperatures so it got hard and brittle.  I extended the sight tube away from the water jacket by 4" with some pipe nipples.  And then also used silicone tubing which should be much more heat resistant.

Then i found the real leak.  On top of the baffle near the back was a rusted spot that was just dripping but once I cleaned it up with a wire brush I found one tiny hole and one about 1/4" and an area that was about 1"x6" that was rusted down pretty thin.  It looks like it started at least 1/4" thick steel.  It had no cover on the chimney when I bought the house so it was getting water in the top and this is right where it would puddle.

First I tried high temp JB weld that comes in a little jar that says good to 2400F.  It said cures in 2-4 hours at room temperature.  So I wire brushed it clean, wiped it down with brake cleaner and then smeared it on.  It is more of a paste which worked well and didn't drip through the holes.  I kept it warm for 4 hours until it felt hard and then refilled the boiler.  At first it held but within minutes it was leaking bad.   :bash:

I kept the fire going to get some heat back in the house and let it go out by next morning.  Once I got in there I discovered that the stuff "unset" I don't know what to call it.  It turned right back to the paste it started as and wiped right off.  So I cleaned it all off and used some original JB weld which says it's good to 550F and being on the water jacket up high I doubt it will get that hot, it does not face the flames.  Of course that drips through holes so i used some coated screws with a washer type head stuck through the two holes and then covered them with more.  I spread a decent layer in the rusted thin area.  And then kept it around 80F with a space heater  for 24 hours.  I'm past 24 hours now but I won't fill it and start it until this evening after work.

I'm sure others have done this.  Will it hold?  The only way to access for welding a new piece in would be to first cut a hole in the bottom of the baffle, or possible to take the roof apart and cut the chimney off and reach down from the top and then reweld the chimney on after.  Picture shows an arrow to where the leak was.

Thanks for the advice guys.  I did find that my water level sight tube is dripping.  I'm going to use some pipe nipples to extend it away from the heat a few inches and then use silicone tubing.  It seems to be a drip every couple seconds which could add up to a significant amount of water.  It was hard to see because it evaporates so quickly.  I'm going to let the fire go out on Saturday and use a bottle of CF205 cleaner from altheatsupply.com and then refill and add the right amount of their A200 Corrosion inhibitor.  So I will fix the leaking sight tube then and also look for any other possible problems.

What about instead of a few days i run it through the winter just keeping it topped off?

Yes I agree access might be challenging, depending on where I might have to cut off the chimney and reach down from the top and then weld the chimney back on.  No fun either way.

I filled the unit with water on Friday night and fired it up.  I saw a little water but thought it was condensation so I started the fire.  After a couple hours it warmed up, I have it set to on at 180 off at 190.  It seems to burn nicely with very little smoke, burning some white ash that has been dead standing I assume a few years.

I got the basement slab warming nicely, it took a couple days to get heated up. 

Bad news, I noticed the water was down a little on Sunday morning and added about 12 gallons to fill it back to full.  I'm pretty sure I can see a drip once in a while from the top baffle area inside the firebox.  The stove is only around 6 years old as far as I can tell.  But when we bought the house in June it hadn't been used for the whole previous season because the people got divorced and the lady just used the LP furnace.  Well it still had a load of half burned wood in it and the chimney wasn't covered so it was pretty much festering soggy mess for over a year.

How bad is it to just keep topping the water off for now?  I realize I am not going to be as efficient because I am losing 970 BTU for every pound of water leaked into the firebox evaporating.  But am I going to make it worse?  I need to let it go out and inspect with my scope camera to see exactly where the problem is.  I hope it isn't in some unreachable area up above the baffle thing.  :(

More pictures, I don't quite understand how the baffle thing in the top works.  There is a part that moves back and forth when I pull the handle out the front of the stove.  You can see the rod in the picture of top.  Also is water in the flat part that crosses the top?
I'm assuming it has a smoke baffle that slides open and closed. Closed sends the smoke the long way around to go out the chimney, pulling the rod let's it go straight out when loading.

Ahh, thank you.  That makes sense.

Last couple pics, and also 2 of my 3 little helpers  :)

More pictures, I don't quite understand how the baffle thing in the top works.  There is a part that moves back and forth when I pull the handle out the front of the stove.  You can see the rod in the picture of top.  Also is water in the flat part that crosses the top?

I got this fixed up last night, here are a few before and after pictures.  And some pictures of the boiler in general.  Next year summerization I will make sure it is dry inside and spray it down with some Fluid Film or oil.  The welding isn't beautiful, just a Hobart 120V with flux core wire.

Cadillac Outdoor Wood Furnaces / Helpful contact for Cadillac boiler owners
« on: September 19, 2019, 01:28:56 PM »
Northern Steel MFG is no longer around and I happened upon a boiler on Craigslist that looks EXACTLY like mine but had the name Johnson on it.  https://johnsonoutdoorwoodfurnaces.com/index.html

I called and Howard the owner answered, he was very helpful and shared some information on the unit which as it turns out was a former employee of his that left and began making his own that were pretty much identical.  He said the only things that changed for the most part was that later Cadillac boilers had digital controllers that were not that reliable and are not available anymore so he has done some conversions.  Mine is just basic aquastats so no issue for me there.  He must be a pretty small outfit, he said he sells 75-80 a year.

Anyway if you need a contact for parts or assistance with a Cadillac boiler he is a nice guy that took the time to answer my questions.

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