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Pellet boiler problems

 
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Had issues with a Kunzel pellet boiler
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No
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gavindave84



Joined: 15 Feb 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:17 pm    Post subject: Pellet boiler problems Reply with quote

My parents had a kunzel pk20 installed about 5 years ago. Since it was put in it has had issues running. But i'll not go into that as the rep has already got an ear full and it just irritates me.

It has needed the braizer replaced twice, the flame deflector replaced. It has gone on fire twice. The first time it burnt through the seal of the door and starting bellowing smoke. The 2nd time the flame travelled the wrong direction up the pellet down shoot. The boiler correctly turned itself off but there was thermoplastic tubing melted all over the place. The flame was also not small and as its right beside the pellet store it could have turned out much worse. Luckily my dad stumbled upon it.

The boiler has been regularly emptied of ash, brushed down, the cleaning lever used and the chimney swept since it was put in. When it works it is great. But based on the quantity of pellets we go through, part replacements and service costs it works out at the same price as running our oil boiler. So currently a significant amount of money down the drain unless it starts working. Otherwise it is getting ripped out.

My question is has anyone else had a kunzel boiler installed? If so what if any problems have you had?
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no experience of the particular boiler, but in general am a bit doubtful about wood pellet boilers.
The wood chips or pellets can be expensive, require a lot of technology to produce and may tie you to just one or two suppliers.

And as you have found out, they are not allways reliable, and extreme cases might even be a danger.

They also need electricity.

For domestic use I would prefer a low technology wood burning stove that burns any reasonably sized wood and with either gravity central heating, or none.

Wood pellet boilers MAY be more use in large buildings since the cost of call outs and repairs is spread over a much larger heating load. The reliance on electricity is less significant on a large building since there will either be a generator, or the facility will probably have to close in a power cut.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome gavindave84.

I agree with adam2. Passive systems have much to commend them.
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12469
Location: York

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The pellet stove at the CAT (in the strawbale lecture theatre) didn't work for ages, and we had to sit in 9 degC for our lectures. Not sure what brand it was, but rather put me off the concept. Plus doesn't work if the mains cuts out (as already pointed out).

For a house, I guess I'd recommend a Clearview Vision or somesuch and use the CH to just take the edge off the cold. This is what we've got. You can halve fuel bills that way, and you have a backup if the mains goes or if your oil system packs up.
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JohnB



Joined: 22 May 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My personal experience was with a rather crap product, made worse by a faulty batch of pellets, so I may be a bit biased, but I've also had a nose around one of the best products on the market. To me, they are a very complex product, that's expected to handle a fuel that has the potential to have problems caused by manufacture, transport and storage.

It's an attempt to maintain BAU, while trying to be "green". It depends on a reliable fuel supply chain, constant electricity supply, and quick response when needing maintenance and repair, plus lifetime rapid availability of spare parts.

I'm afraid we need to be rethinking how we live, by redesigning our homes to minimise the need for heating, and where heating is needed use simple (but clean and efficient) technology.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I have a neighbour who sells these things and they are intensely, unbelievably complex (at least, the ones he sells are); an unreal amount of technology is involved.

He is also an outright and very vocal climate change denier too. Just sayin'.
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JohnB



Joined: 22 May 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These photos don't show the real complexity, but here's a cutaway Okofen boiler. Even this bit wouldn't be easy to fix with a hammer and bits of string, if TSHTF and the engineer can't get to you.


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kenneal - lagger
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Joined: 20 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If that much complexity is a problem now just think what would happen when TSHTF. Simplicity is what is required.

Why buy anything at all when you can build a Rocket Mass Heater from scrap and burn four foot lengths of wood. Build a separate one for water heating from other bits of scrap and feed it into a large, well insulated cylinder so that you only have to run it once in a while.
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JohnB



Joined: 22 May 2006
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Location: Beautiful sunny West Wales!

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
Why buy anything at all when you can build a Rocket Mass Heater from scrap and burn four foot lengths of wood. Build a separate one for water heating from other bits of scrap and feed it into a large, well insulated cylinder so that you only have to run it once in a while.

Building Regs? I have the house to build them in, but don't need the hassle with them!
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're no hassle as our mutual friend, Michael Howlett, has found out with the one he built in his straw bale house, John. Just build one and if the Building Inspector complains ask him what is wrong with it. If it functions well, which it will, he will be hard put to it to find a reason why you should take it out.
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JohnB



Joined: 22 May 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
They're no hassle as our mutual friend, Michael Howlett, has found out with the one he built in his straw bale house, John. Just build one and if the Building Inspector complains ask him what is wrong with it. If it functions well, which it will, he will be hard put to it to find a reason why you should take it out.

Thanks Ken. I haven't seen Michael's houses yet. I'll get there one day.
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BritDownUnder



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
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Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could try a 'chip' heater that was supposedly in common use in Australia for heating water until the 1960s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chip_heater
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