LFarm wrote:Hello MarcC. Thanks for the reply. My MBW boiler is an upright oval shape with a flat bottomed V at the bottom The Flat bottom is the grate with the sides of the V the firebrick sides of the firebox.
The unit has sheet metal sides and top that are painted green. It is about 30" wide, 50" tall and around 50" deep. The firebox door is 12" wide, 14" tall with a hinged flap over the top 4" of the opening.
The boiler is very well made, but is just too small and the firebox to water surface area too small.
I am building myself a new, much larger boiler using a similar firebox design, but with much larger dimensions, mostly in depth and heigth so I can put in longer logs, as well as a higher stack of logs. I plan to still use coal to augment the long winter nights.
The current produced wood fired boilers use either a 'corrugated' roof to the combustion chamber of a bank of cross-tubes from side to side to increase the surface area for better heat conduction. I'm planning on using cross tubes and hot gas baffles to get more heat out of the fire than I'm getting now. It is frustrating to get up in the morning and see a nice 18"x 24" bed of red glowing coals with blue flames dancing above and only have 100* water in the water jacket.
I've looked at and conversed with the owners of big wood boilers that have the cross tubes and they are seeing 150* water with a bed of coals after an all night burn. The size of the combustion chamber compared to the size of their bed of coals would make me believe that the water should be cooler than it is, so it must be the increased surface area absorbing the heat. This 150*+ is what I need to heat my farmhouse and keep my propane supplier from affording another florida vacation home.
Thanks again for the info on the boiler, Take care, Greg
Thanks for the information. You sound like an engineer. I typed "menomonee boiler" into google yesterday because my father's menomonee boiler has been wonderful for him, and I'd like to purchase one. He purchased his boiler in approximately 1980 and has been using it as a primary source of heat since then about 50 miles north of Grand Rapids, Michigan. If I had to describe the overall unit in one word, the word would be "elegant". Dad has been heating his 28X48 ranch style house with no problem since that time. The boiler is in the basement which is also 28X48. The hot water as you know has a natural tendency to rise so it flows naturally through the hot water tubing in the house until the thermostat calls for the pump to turn on. Dad purchased it at the same time that another guy purchased his. The other guy got the next larger size, which took slightly bigger pieces. Maybe sometime I can send you a pic of it. I would like to purchase a used one, if I can find one, the next size larger would probably be perfect.
It seems like he had to replace the motor on the pump one time. Possibly the gasket on the door, and he had to add a bead of weld on the handle it seems a number of years ago where the cam action engages to hold the door closed. Other than that, it has been great. Last night I stopped at his house and looked at it. The temperature was 135 degrees on the gage on top of the boiler. He doesn't worry a bit about what the gage says, just builds a fire as needed. When it goes out, builds another. He has a schedule to go up and shear the creosote down the chimney, because he is deathly afraid of a chimney fire. He was on a volunteer fire department for a number of years and witnessed the effects of those. I'm in graduate school now and can't reply to this for at least two more weeks. Good luck. I'd like to take a pic though and send it. Sorry about the terrible rambling here, but just jotting some thoughts down as they come.