Killers to Avoid While Burning Wood On Your Outdoor Furnace

Burning Wood For Outdoor Wood Furnace
Burning Wood This Summer?
3 Killers You MUST Avoid!

If you have an outdoor wood stove, this applies to you. Period.

Avoiding these three KILLERS will extend the life of your boiler an additional 20 years! (Not doing this may cut the life of your boiler by 75% or more!)

 

1. NEVER allow ash to accumulate more than 1-3 inches deep.

2. NEVER allow water jacket temps to drop below 140°F

3. You must follow the “Dry Burn” procedure. See below for the details.

 

First, ASH LEVELS. Remember that dry ash is harmless. But, if ash gets moist, it is caustic and will eat through steel. Deep layers of ash absorb moisture from your firewood, and from the humid summer air. 

NOT let your ash get deep in your outdoor wood furnace. I take out a shovel-full every day, and scrape it completely clean every week. Check our articles on how important ASH REMOVAL is.

 

Second, NEVER allow your water jacket temps to drop below 140°F. At temps below 140°F, your wood stove will build up creosote, and generate condensation that will destroy your boiler fast. You can also watch this video for more information.

I once ran a prototype boiler at my home to heat my pool. In just two years, I destroyed the boiler because it always ran below 140 degrees - it was too small to heat my pool! The condensation created so much corrosion that it was a total loss. It was such an expensive but valuable lesson. 

 

Solution: Do not adjust the Aquastat below 180 degrees. Add wood daily, but only enough wood to burn for 12-24 hours. And if you are heating a pool with a heavy heating load, call us for special instructions to protect your Outdoor Wood Burning Boiler.

Third, please, please, please ALWAYS use the "Dry Burn" technique.

These are the top three reasons you should “Dry Burn” your Outdoor Wood Boiler everyday:

  1. Longer Boiler Life - Condensation inside the boiler kills it. Short life costs money. Longer boiler life saves you money!
  2. Less Maintenance – Your time is valuable, isn’t it?
  3. More efficiency=lower cost – get the biggest bang for your fuel!

 

As wood burns, the moisture is slowly burned out of the wood. Unfortunately, that moisture is coming out of the wood for most of the burn cycle – it is only at the very END of the burn cycle when the wood is just dry hot coals that all the moisture is out of the wood. This is the DRY BURN state.

Dry Burn Procedure

Many outdoor wood burner owners never allow their boilers to reach this state. They load up their boiler in the morning with a huge load of wood, and by the end of the day, the wood is only half-burned. 

This wood has NEVER reached a DRY BURN state and is still giving the inside of your outdoor furnace a moisture bath. Then they “TOP OFF” their firebox burn chamber with more moisture-filled wood, adding even more moisture to the process. This boiler never experiences a DRY BURN.

 

The solution is simple! Only load into your firebox the amount of wood needed to get you to your next fill. You want your wood to burn down completely to coals and burn in that DRY BURN state for the last few hours of every wood load. 

Just because you only SEASONED wood, doesn't mean this doesn't apply to you. What you don't realize is that even the most seasoned hardwood contains about 20% moisture. That is a lot of moisture, and you got to deal with it, before it deals with you.

 

1. Unfortunately, boilers that don’t get a DRY BURN every day, will begin to experience damaging corrosion. The parts of the outdoor boiler that are cooler (such as the perimeter of the door) start to show corrosion damage.

The ASH will absorb this moisture and if not removed often, will form an acid paste that eats through steel. Steel in the corners can start to show pitting corrosion. This can lead to a leak if not addressed.

Dry Burn will potentially extend the life of your boiler by several decades. That is something worth learning about!

2. Also, boilers that don’t get a DRY BURN every day, will require cleaning much more often.

 This is because the DRY BURN will dry up and burn off accumulated creosote. Normal creosote forms while normal wood is being burned until it reaches the Dry Burn state. Then in Dry Burn, that creosote dries up and often flakes off. Without a Dry Burn, that creosote builds up thicker and deeper layers.

3. Finally, the Dry Burn method helps to conserve wood.  This is because it burns your wood fuel more efficiently and this saves you time and money.

 

DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!

The solution is simple! Only load into your firebox the amount of wood needed to get you to your next fill. You want your wood to burn down completely to coals and burn in that DRY BURN state for the last few hours of every wood load. 

This process will dry out all the components that may have become moist from condensation. This will protect your heating system – and your INVESTMENT! 

SUMMARY

Avoid these THREE boiler KILLERS and keep the high efficiency of your wood boiler, so you can SAVE MONEY ON YOUR HEATING BILLS and STAY TOASTY WARM AND COMFORTABLE for decades to come!

Visit OutdoorBoiler.com to browse more outdoor wood furnace parts and for more information!