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Shaver steaming and water level solution...

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by fletcher0780, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. fletcher0780

    fletcher0780 ArboristSite Operative

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    I have a shaver 290 and for the most part it is great, but like some of you I have had a couple issues. My biggest concern is the water steaming off, I am down several gallons a day and steam constantly at all temps. My friend, who has the same furnace uses no water in a 2-3 week time frame and has basically the same installation with the same parts. I think I have discovered the difference in our boilers and why some Shavers steam more than others. I've attached an image depicting our installations. My boiler (Boiler B) has a slight lean to the rear, where my friends (Boiler A) has a slight lean to the front, and possibly an upward angle of the vent tube exiting the boiler.

    I believe the lean frontward lean and upward angle of the vent pipe on my friends boiler dramatically cuts down on the surface area of water exposed to the atmosphere. Boiler A's vent pipe is full of water, where Boiler B's is simply a passage way for the atmosphere to make contact with the entire surface of the water in the tank allowing much more steam to be created and exit even when the water is below boiling.

    I slid a 1" piece of pex over my overflow and and secured it with a hose clamp. Then added a short 90* and another 1-2" of pex vertically. The boiler water level is now raised slightly, but would still be vented and the surface area of the water exposed to the atmosphere would only be the area inside the vent pipe instead of the entire top of the tank. Another side benefit is I can see my water level in the pex, as I have a pink rust inhibitor additive that shows through the pex. If you run straight water clear flexible pipe attached to the vent, bent upwards and held in place with clamps on the side of the boiler should be an easy fix, just don't extend the pipe up too far or you may risk overflowing out the water coil cover.

    Here is a quick sketch of the two scenarios (boiler A and boiler B) as well as a diagram of my proposed fix (bottom right). I've been running this for a day now and have seen zero steam and have lost zero water. I don't think the water in the pex will ever freeze as mine is quite hot (160*+). Does anyone see any problems with this? I sent an email to shaver for their input and am awaiting a response.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  2. leon

    leon ArboristSite Guru

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    shaver troubles

    The scenario you have has solved the problem as it looks exactly like the interior of a steam boiler and its air gap to create steam would look minus the vent pipe to atmospere. with the water in the tube you have reduced the ability of the water to go to steam.

    leon:cheers: :givebeer: :agree2: :chainsaw:
     
  3. Dan-o

    Dan-o ArboristSite Lurker

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    I will have to try this

    It sounds very logical, my 165 has a slight lean to the rear as well and steams all the time.

    I will have to give this a try too.
     
  4. fletcher0780

    fletcher0780 ArboristSite Operative

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    It made sense to me, but I'm not really familiar with fluid dynamics. I did a few searches on my theory and many returned with steam boiler designs, so I though I may be on to something.

    What I really want is someone to poke holes in this idea and give me all the negatives. If it continues to work, than it was a very cheap fix and should make the Shaver much more efficient (I think). :)
     
  5. Butch(OH)

    Butch(OH) Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I am not familiar with the Shaver nor do I make any claim to boiler knowledge. I do own a Woodmaster and can tell you that it has an ordinary pipe for a vent. It is vertical and goes directly into the water chamber from above. The vent is about 1 1/2" diameter, has loose fitting PVC cap with a short length of 1/4" copper tubing shoved into it. In past years I have run my water temps to 190 to help an inefficient domestic loop produce more hot water. In doing so it would occasionally boil hard enough to pop the cap up off the pipe but I have never seen steam other than very small puffs (when VERY hot) coming from my vent. I am sure that I never added more than a few gallons of water per month back then. This year I have a new domestic system so the I lowered the temps down to 170. I have been burning since September 1 and really doubt if I have used more than a couple gallons of water. I add with a hard plumbed valve so it is hard to quantify. I am not bashing your Shaver just adding to the discussion that an open system can operate and not use large amounts of water. I don't think that the tricky tubing/cap subtracts much from my usage and there is nothing else fancy about the vent design or location. It is my opinion that usage is more of a matter of controlling boiling. Occasionally with my Woodmaster you can hear slight boiling when the temp isn't close to 212, seems like it is happening out by the door, away from the pumps. This has to be due to localized hot spots would you think? Anyway I hope you fix does the trick, just be vary careful about mods that could end up being a barrier to quick evacuation of steam if you ever have failure of controls or air inlet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  6. fletcher0780

    fletcher0780 ArboristSite Operative

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    Butch,

    Thanks for your insight. I am familiar with the Woodmaster vent pipe configuration. Other than the cap, it is essentially the same theory I used for my modification (limit the water surface area exposed to the atmosphere). The Woodmaster only has the area of water inside your overflow pipe exposed. Depending on the angle of the Shaver vent, and how level the pad is, I believe some Shavers (like mine) have the entire surface area of the tank exposed to atmoshere, and in cases like my friends Shaver, only the 3/4" ID of the overflow exposed.

    I was very cautious to not create a pressurized system and still allow venting in case of a boil over. Initially I had boiling problems, but that has been fixed with a new thermostat. Before my modification my overflow would steam at water temps from 130* all the way up to 200* and above. I believe this quick modification will solve a vast majority of Shaver steaming problems with the exception of a maladjusted thermostat causing boiling. Even on this forum, Shaver steaming issues are hit or miss, I attribute this to variances in installation (level pad, slight angle on vent pipe).

    I still believe a Shaver OWB is a rock solid well built boiler and will continue to recommend them. The great thing about the company is you can get suggestions right to the factory, and they actually implement them (that is when they're not working 24/7 to get back ordered boilers out the door). I've emailed this suggestion along with a few others to Shaver. I expect to hear back on this one shortly and have already heard about implementations of mine (and others) prior suggestions.

    Again, if anyone sees a safety issue with my modification, please post.
     
  7. ShaverFurnace

    ShaverFurnace ArboristSite Member

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    Hi!

    Yes, having the whole partially covered can help lower the amount of steam and water usage.

    Water usage is usually attributed to high temperatures, since water steams well before it boils. Water also forms steam-like 'vapor' at lower temperatures by a process called 'Evaporation' which can take place at any temperature. A shower steams but is well blow 212F. below even 150 usually.

    Humidity and atmospheric pressure play a role in the steam process too.

    Having the door/cover on the fan too far open, is the usual cause because the fire never smolders. It's always at full blast or close to it - overheating the water.

    As you wrote, we take suggestions well and welcome them.

    We have issued a modification, that is in the new installation manual that seems to solve this issue 100%, for those folks with a problem.

    Simply reverse the position of the pump and return lines, so that the how water returns to the top of the boiler and mixes better. This seems to lower the temperature on certain areas of the furnace and eliminates hot spots.

    The only issue here, is that you should probably add a filter to prevent the pump from picking up debris.

    Best regards,

    Ben
     
  8. ghitch75

    ghitch75 ArboristSite Guru

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    sounds like your damper isn't sealed tight when it shuts down....use 1/8" foam tape and put it on the damper so i gets a tight seal..
     
  9. projectsho89

    projectsho89 ArboristSite Operative

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    The Shaver doesn't use a damper.

    It uses a blower fan that has an adjustable cover on the side of the fan. The cover is to be adjusted to allow only a very small amount of draft airflow when the blower is off, just enough to keep the fire from smothering completely.

    Steve
     
  10. fletcher0780

    fletcher0780 ArboristSite Operative

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    Thanks for the reply Ben. I fixed my boiling issue with a replacement thermostat and properly adjusting the damper fan door. Unfortunately reversing the flow of the water would be a costly and time consuming project for me and would only help when the pump is running. My pump only runs when there is a call for heat. I now know of at least 4 people using my fix and none have had any problems. I urge you to push the factory to either put a very short 90* at the end of the overflow to keep it full of water, or install it at a bit of an upward angle (also to keep it full of water).

    The only thing people should be cautious of when adding this mod (that I'm aware of) is do not raise the water level more than 1/2" above the top of the overflow pipe, or you may overflow out the top of the domestic water cover.

    Any pricing yet on those ash pans Ben? I've got my card ready to order two :clap:
     
  11. ngzcaz

    ngzcaz ArboristSite Operative

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    I jut put my 165 on line today. I set the thermostat at 140. The aqua stat on my inside oil boiler says 140. For some reason the temp gauge ( small one for less than 10 bucks bought at a CB place ) installed just below the pump to the house reads 160 to 170 degrees. Obviously one or more is wrong. There is no steaming that I can see. A few gallons a months sounds like way too much. How about a setup that the steam simply condenses and goes back in the boiler ? And the steam vent can be anywhere, not just the overflow tube. Of course other than mounting it in the removable water coil lid cover should have been done at the factory. Steel shavings wouldn't be good mixing in with the water. I'll do an IR reading and see what I come up with.
    I'd be curious what others are doing to secure the rear door. No provisions were made or suggestions what to use came with the stove. Barrel dead bolts
    weren't long enough and thoughts of a simple wood tapered dowel came to mind. I settled on a 1/2 inch diameter left over piece of copper pipe. It just fit the both latches for lack of a better word ? I then soldered another piece making a T for leverage in removing and installing it. Nice tight snug fit. I made it long enough to fit past the corner by about 2 or 3 inches, just enough that it wasnt a knuckle buster. Almost looks good, wont rust or corrode............. By the way, the mounting for the factory thermostat is, ....................well....... less than optimal.. a way oversized ONE bolt, just enough to cock the thermostat requiring a wedge on the other side to secure it is not the way to do this. TWO 1/4 20 bolts would have been more than adequate and at least would have made the sensing unit flush against the steel. Its quite possible the problems with wildly fluctuating inaccurate temps can be attributed to this. I scraped the black paint off where the sensing unit of the stat was and used some di electric grease for heat transfer and rust prevention.
    I'd like to see these " ash pans " and how they go past the upward inside lip of the ash bin door.

    :confused:
     
  12. mistergreentree

    mistergreentree ArboristSite Member

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    Just wanted to say thanks Fletcher. I did this mod about 4 days ago and love it. I was "topping" off the water every day...I had to open the valve for about 20-30 sec daily to fill...I have yet to add water since the mod was made.

    Thanks for taking the time to post!
     
  13. LTREES

    LTREES ArboristSite Operative

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    Fletcher, good job on the mod. Maybe Shaver could give you a perk for the idea. seams like alot of people are benefiting from your idea.
    :cheers: :agree2: :cheers:
     
  14. fletcher0780

    fletcher0780 ArboristSite Operative

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    I'm glad this is working for so many people. I've been up and running for a week like this now, still no water loss.
     
  15. ngzcaz

    ngzcaz ArboristSite Operative

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    Ok, nice idea.. you wanted possible negatives. The one thing that comes to mind ( only because I wanted to do exactly the same thing as you ) is the fact that the pipe and extension is outside in the weather. In the winter, it can easily get to zero.. in effect, would the inside boiler water be significantly hotter than the outside unit ? ... One would think so especially since the water in the outside unit would be somewhat stagnant and only gets heat from radiation from the boiler. Now IF there are no hot spots it should work fine. If there are hot spots, possibly boiling, would you then have, in effect, a pressurized system ? Now I hope I'm wrong because the only reason I didn't do this yet is because of that possibility. If this turns out to be an ok setup ( I posted this before ) a possible improvement would be to have the steam condense back in the tube.. virtually zero water loss ( assuming everyone has caulked the water coil slide check thingamajig ) but thats another slight area to be improved..


    :cheers:
     
  16. Windwalker7

    Windwalker7 ArboristSite Guru

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    I got on of those rubber coated hooks you screw into the rafters of your garage to hang stuff. The hook I got was used to hang a bicycle by the tire,


    I wrapped the threads with electrical tape and modified the bend of the hook slightly, Works great!
     
  17. ngzcaz

    ngzcaz ArboristSite Operative

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    Just improved my design. I put a metal strap on the frame holding the tubing. This way it holds it in place when opening the door. Don't know if this will work for anyone else, but this is better than I hoped for. Really secures the door snugly, no slop or movement at all.. No we shouldn't have to find a way to secure the rear door but no suggestions are forthcoming from the factory.

    :greenchainsaw:
     
  18. fletcher0780

    fletcher0780 ArboristSite Operative

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    my door is racked a bit so it keeps itself shut. I'll let you know what happens with the freezing issue, but I don't think it will be a problem. At 25* outside the water in my tube is over 150*. Hardy uses a condensation collection method to keep water in the system, I just thought this was the simplest solution. Thanks for the input though.
     
  19. Dan-o

    Dan-o ArboristSite Lurker

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    insulation

    Did any of you guys pull the metal off of the back door and insulate the rear door?

    All I use is a small wire to hold the door closed, not the best thing but after wiring the fan I just used a left over piece to make sure the door stay closed.
     
  20. fletcher0780

    fletcher0780 ArboristSite Operative

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    I was thinking about hanging a "blanket" of insulation down the back of the boiler starting on top of the domestic water cover all the way to the floor.
     

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