21 November 2012

Lessons in Wood Pellet Heating at Check Point

PellX Pellet Burner with External Auger (made in Sweden)
... attached to a retro-fitted diesel  fuel boiler 

(Weil-McLain EnergyStar Gold Oil boiler)
 ... not sure why these pictures have reverted to the horizontal layout
(I'll try to figure this out & change it soon)

 close up of the PellX Pellet Burner with External Auger ... attached to a retro-fitted diesel  fuel boiler (Weil-McLain) 
See the yellow angled piece at the top (or right if the picture hasn't rotated) 
... the pellet auger is located inside this tube & pellets are transferred from the wooden hopper outside the building, into the boiler through the curved, articulated hose that feeds the pellets into the Combustion Chamber Tube found inside the bottom yellow plate.

Wayne showing us the minimal amount of ash that collected in the "Combustion Chamber Tube" after burning 
over half a tonne of wood pellets over a period of ~10 days
NOTE:  It is important to clean out this chamber & the small holes so that air flow to the pellets is maximized & pellets burn more efficiently.

ash Wayne removed from the PellX Pellet Boiler
 NOTE:  it is important to clean out the ash & "soot" from the bottom of the Wood Pellet Boiler at least once/week during the heating season.

"A layer of ash and soot that covers heat-transferring surfaces in the boiler means that less heat is transferred to the boiler water.  The warmer the flue gas, the more heat will disappear through the chimney."  (p.27 PellX Operating Manual)

Wayne showing us the Electricity Generating system 
- the smallest generator (20 kiloWatts) in the middle is all that is required during off-peak times of the year here at Check Point
The 60 kW (foreground) or the 35 kW (background) generators are used when a higher capacity of electrical power generation is needed, & as back-ups, should the smaller system fail.

bulk bags of wood pellets
night time sets in at Check Point 
(I'll post a daytime picture soon as well)

40 lb. bags of wood pellets, on hand to use inside 
in the wood pellet stove
 buying wood pellets in bulk brings the price down ... to just below $5/bag when you buy large quantities
topping up the wood pellet stove ... 
something we'll do at morning, noon , & night
So, although heating a building with a wood pellet stove or boiler can be simplified through the help of technology ( for example computer circuits, thermostats, & pellet augers) there is a basic level of daily/weekly maintenance that is required plus a certain amount of technical proficiency to trouble-shoot problems that arise as you get familiar with the system or as other situations might arise.
Pam feeding the wood pellet stove
TEACHABLE MOMENT #1 of our "off grid" experience:  hopper door for the WOOD PELLET STOVE can only be kept open for a MAXIMUM of 3 minutes at any one time before an ERROR message appears ... yippee, for us, we managed to get it sorted out eventhough we thought we'd need Wayne's help to trouble-shoot it :)

that's all for today ... all in all, we're off to a good start ... have a good night!


p.s.  oh yeah, I'll be posting links to related websites, such as the Arctic Energy Alliance & the Yukon Energy Solutions plus the energy saving Search Engine called BLACKLE ... did you know that to do one Google Search requires the equivalent of boiling water for a cup of tea?  to minimize the amount of energy used when you need to search for something on the Internet, feel free to try searching it out through www.blackle.com instead :)

please feel free to post comments to share related websites that you think would be of interest to people trying to reduce their energy use especially for living in remote locations.

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