Just fired up my Yellow Flame Stoker Warm Air Unit

Just fired up my Yellow Flame Stoker Warm Air Unit

PostBy: stockingfull On: Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:46 pm

Thanks to the advice I found here last week, :salute: I got it lit the first try today, using Match Light briquets. I've been a wood-burner in the past, but this is my very first coal fire.

My furnace is a Yellow Flame "W.A. 150" (Warm Air 150K BTU) unit. (I'm trying to upload a pic; hope it works.) From what I have been able to gather, it was installed in 1988 or 1989. (I just bought the house in August.) Yellow Flame is/was a product of "Southern Schuylkill Mfg Corp" out of Orwigsburg, PA. It burns rice coal, for which I just paid $190/ton. I have 6 tons inside, next to the furnace, but no conveyor system to the hopper. Guess it'll be my exercise program this season. :study:

My house is a straight colonial, 3700 ft, 4400 if you count the finished heated basement space. So far, the furnace is really just idling along. But it was really crankin' when first lit.

I'll be keeping an eye out here as the season progresses.

Happy heating to all.
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stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: stockingfull On: Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:21 pm

First day notes:

- about 70# of coal used in ambient temps in the 40's and low 50's, cost a bit less than $7.

- heat is extremely even for a warm-air system; this must be owing to (a) the lag between the stoker/blower shutoff and plenum cool-down, and (b) the fire never going out.

- calculated that my feed hopper holds 5 3/4 ft3, or about 316# of rice coal, which would carry me over 4 days in these temps.

- will ck ashes tomorrow. Anybody know the weight ratio between rice coal and ash? Volume ratio?
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: stockingfull On: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:47 pm

I'm now in the 4th day of all-coal heating. The only problem which has surfaced is that, when the furnace is idling (in warmer ambient temps), it appears that there is a good deal of unburnt coal reaching the ash bin. I may try sieving it and mixing it in for another run through.

But generally the system is amazingly adequate and easy to live with.

Am I missing something, or is there nobody yet who markets whole-house systems (dual-fuel stoker-furnace or boiler, controls, coal storage, auto-feed system, maybe even some system for civilized ash removal)?

I can't believe that, if we can make ice cubes automatically, there isn't some readily available way to get coal into a hopper. Or ash from a catch bin. Or, finally, some dual-fuel ignition and back-up firing system.

If Priuses are selling, why is all this still so obscure? (I wonder if I'll be answering this question when I add up the numbers next spring....)
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

PostBy: George-NJ On: Thu Nov 02, 2006 6:00 pm

You'll have to slow down the feed rate to not end up with unburnt coal.

Yes, Matchlite is great for getting them started...

Your gonna save alooooooooot of money running your coal furnace vs. burning oil or gas.

I do remember seeing augers mentioned for moving coal from a close bin into an appliance hopper, I don't see why the same can't be true for the ash. I'm gonna try google.
George-NJ
 

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:13 pm

We have an auger fed system, you still have to put coal in it though. but instead you fill up a 55 gallon plastic drum. Stockingfull , all those things can be accomplished but each thing you add will add to the overall cost of the system. Best sytem setup I've seen was a auger fed stoker, the entire bin was the hopper and it was big enough to fit 10-12 ton in. It was angled at the bottom and fed directly onto the worm. For something like you need a lot room, he had a 12 foot basement...

He still had to take the ashes out though although he did build a 2 or 3 block high base. If the ashes oveflowed the tub they just fall into the void below. probably go 2 or 3 weeks without removing them if you had too.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:46 pm

If you want to look into the feasibility of an auger to feed the hopper, check out farming suppliers. There are several augers made to move grain from a bin into a truck or visa versa.

In my area, the farm and fleet companies include TSC, tractor supply company. Family Farm and Fleet, and a few others I can't remember right now.

You might try stopping by a farm implement dealer and get some ideas.

Let us know what you found out.

Also, if you look into AHS, Alternate Heat Systems ? They show an auger feed for the hopper of one of their stoker boilers or furnaces. I don' know the price.

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: stockingfull On: Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:55 pm

My system was off from 11/8 to 12/16, primarily because the weather was so warm here in SE NY that I couldn't maintain enough draft to keep the fire idling when there was no call for heat. No forced air + no natural draft = no fire.

I'll check other threads for this but I assume there's a fairly narrow ambient temp range above which it doesn't make sense to try to keep the furnace running. My impression is that the range is around 55 degrees, +/-.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: stockingfull On: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:54 pm

Here's a mid(heating)season update:

I estimate that I'm only about 2/3 through the $1200 of coal (6 tons @ a bit under $200) I bought last August. I know that the degree days are lagging behind because of all the warmth we had here in the NE on the front end of this season. But I also know that we're catching up with this recent cold snap.

Happily so far, I have figured out that, even on the very coldest day, my furnace can keep my 3500 ft colonial-style house quite warm with roughly 150# of coal. That's $15 for 24 hrs in brutal cold (not counting electricity for the blowers, but with no need for supplemental heat from the superseded elec baseboards). On warmer days, like today, I throttle back the fuel feed so the firebox doesn't burn as hot and less fuel is wasted.

But I'm curious: as old Ed Koch used to say, "How'm I doin'?" How does about $800 for fuel so far this season sound for a 3500 ft house? (That works out to be about $235/1000 ft² up to now. Make it $250 to account for a couple brief absences.)
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:45 pm

Yesterday's posts in the "economy thread" have prompted me to sharpen the pencil on my data for the good of the enterprise here.

Because I'm new in my house and because of my curiosity about the coal system, I have been weighing the coal in and logging it daily, together with noting ash removals (which I haven't yet weighed but can estimate). My bin is 3 sections long; the impetus to post up was empirical: that I'd pretty much cleaned out two of those sections.

So, after yesterday's responses in the economy thread, I ran a "sanity tape" of my raw data to verify my ball-park representations. I should add the caveat that the furnace has been off 3 times this season: from Nov 8 to Dec 16 due to mild weather and travel, from Jan 4-8 due to mild weather, and from Feb 1-7 due to travel. However, having said all that, I'm pleased to say that the "tale of the tape" shows my actual total coal consumption to date to be just over 6900#!

This is half a ton less than I estimated yesterday! And the one thing I can say on the other side of the ledger is that we never touch the thermostat: the first floor is at a constant 70-72 degrees, upstairs about 3 degrees cooler for comfortable sleeping. As was surmised correctly by LsFarm yesterday, the house structure is well-built, well-maintained and seemingly well-insulated. The previous owner, an engineer (like I used to be), replaced the original thermopane windows with new thermopane windows a couple years ago. And there are storm windows all around to boot. So there's a lot of "belt and suspenders" here -- and I'm pleased to report that it seems to work.

Since this is a national forum, a note on our location is in order for climate perspective. We're just north of West Point in Orange County, NY. This is about 60 miles north of NYC and it's outside the band of warm coastal air which usually surrounds the city. Almost always 5 to 10 degrees cooler here. As a point of reference, our most recent bill from the electric supplier noted 1884 degree days this year through Feb 5, compared to 2044 for the same period last year. FWIW.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: e.alleg On: Wed Feb 21, 2007 5:42 pm

I would say that you are doing very good. My house is ~3000 sq. ft. and I use a LOT of propane to keep it at 60 degrees. I am switching to coal, the extra work of maintaining the stove is worth the reduction in heating bills.
e.alleg
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Feb 21, 2007 6:26 pm

Thanks. My coal supplier says that a rule of thumb is that coal will cost about half. The conversion chart in my furnace manual (based on unit BTU values and typical heating efficiencies) is more optimistic: it has coal at $200/ton being equivalent to oil at about $1.20/gal, electricity at 4.5 cents/KwH, or propane at $0.81/gal.

Even half price is nice. :thumbleft:
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:02 pm

I would say that half is pessimistic. I'm paying 1/3 the cost of propane to heat my sieve [aka farmhouse]. And it could be 1/4 if I kept the thermostat at the 60-62* like it was when burning propane. But I enjoy having a warm 68-70* house.

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: stockingfull On: Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:57 am

LsFarm wrote:I would say that half is pessimistic. I'm paying 1/3 the cost of propane to heat my sieve [aka farmhouse]. And it could be 1/4 if I kept the thermostat at the 60-62* like it was when burning propane. But I enjoy having a warm 68-70* house.

Greg L


:toothy7: So much the better! (And so saith tonight's posts in the "economy" thread.)
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: stockingfull On: Sat Feb 24, 2007 5:01 pm

For the sake of completeness in this thread, here's my stoker:

Lower level, from right to left: motor, centrif. blower, reduction gear, cam.

Upper level, left to right: drive arm, drive collar and clutch, feed tray arm.

(My fuel feed is by gravity onto a reciprocating burn grate, past a check plate. The whole grate moves back and forth. I can adjust the length of that throw.)
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Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:27 am

Reached 73 degrees here yesterday. Generally, we're in that (from a coal-burning standpoint, awful) season when the highs can get to around 60 and the lows are in the freezing range, sometimes lower.

The stoker does very little work all day -- and sometimes it's touch and go keeping it from going out. I'm nursing it along at about 60#/day, but I think this weekend is about all that'll be worthwhile.

Then it's back to closing doors and using the elec baseboard :cry: to take the chill off.

On the brighter side, I'm just scraping the bottom on the 6 tons I had delivered last August. 8)

It's been quite a successful season, thanks in significant part to this board. =D>
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

Visit Lehigh Anthracite