Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: mslisaj On: Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:11 am

I just read to my HUGE surprise that there is a possibility of bituminous coal spontaneously catching fire. While I have never heard of this before I did a little research and it seems when you have large storage piles this is an issue. I have just one ton stored in a 2'X2'x4' wooden bin in my garage. It's been there a year now and should I worry about this? I have to have a real good wood fire going to get this to ignite and burn in my stove so I find this fact hard to believe but any insight into this would really be appreciated. The last thing I want is to catch my house on fire with the storage of my coal. All advice and comments will be appreciated............

Lisa
Last edited by mslisaj on Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mslisaj
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Railroad Pot Belly

Re: Spontanious Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: Berlin On: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:41 pm

not a concern unless you're storing tens of thousands of tons of certain (such as powder river basin etc.) bituminous/subbituminous coal. not a concern at all for home heating.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: mslisaj On: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:47 pm

Thanks for the information. I live in Oregon and we usually burn wood. But I have a dear friend that brought me a ton of coal from Utah and delivered it when he visited. This is the first time I have used coal and really like it. But then I read about this spontaneous combustion business and I got worried. But as you have assured me the problem only existed with HUGE quantities. Thanks for your help.............

Lisa :)
mslisaj
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Railroad Pot Belly


Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: 009to090 On: Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:34 pm

Lisa, hows that burning in your fireplace? Do you have glass doors, or is it open? My FireplaceXtrordinaire is a completely sealed F.P., like a woodstove.
Whereabouts in Oregon are you? I used to have relatives in Bend.
009to090
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: mslisaj On: Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:00 pm

Hi Chris,
I have a Vogelzang Pot Belly Stove. It's a long story how I got the stove and why but suffice it to say it was my late father's wish that I have a coal burning pot belly stove in my shop. With that said it's enclosed and the coal burns pretty well once I get it started. I have been burning in now for three years and it took me awhile to figure out how to burn it and I have learned more this year from this forum. But it burns well. I don't bank the stove for hours of service as I only burn it for maybe eight hours at a time. But I put in big chunks and close all the vents to keep the stack temp down. It takes about 20 minutes for it to clear out the smoke from the fresh coal but then it burns hot and clean.

I live in Klamath Falls which is about 100 miles south of Bend. I only burn the stove in the winter months when there is snow on the ground and it's just nice to have. I make a big deal about the coal too as I mentioned above that my father thought I should have this stove and I got it and put it in and then I couldn't find coal. The only place I could buy coal was in San Francisco California. I drive a truck and would go down there once in a while and I would get four 50# bags at a time for $16.00 a bag. I mentioned this to my old friend from Utah who grew up in a coal mining town and he about died when I told him what I was paying for coal. That is why he brought me the ton when he came to visit. But coal is hard to get on the west coast but I love burning it. That is why when I read about this "spontaneous combustion" thing I got nervous. But I love my pot belly stove.......... works really well, last a long time as they say....................

Lisa
mslisaj
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Railroad Pot Belly

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: charlie On: Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:40 pm

From a sub-bit coal miner perspective...

Any amount of coal is combustible. Combustibility increases with exposure to water and air. If you do end up with hot coal in your bin, putting water on it is only a short term fix. It will cool it down but long term, it ends up feeding it. Smothering it is the way to go. If your coal is stored out of the elements like wind and rain and snow, you're in pretty good shape. I've kept a ton or so around for a long time without incident and have rarely heard of anyone around here having problems with it. With small fires at the mine, we'll peel it out of the pile and wheel roll to pack it in and starve it for air. Big fires take a dozer and a lot of dirt! You'll feel/see/smell smoke or steam coming off of it if there's a problem. I've never seen a ton of coal just "poof" into ash without giving notice that it was hot. Chances are that it won't be a problem for you!
charlie
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Prill and Tulikivi
Stove/Furnace Model: 200 BF and TTU 2700

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: mslisaj On: Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:03 pm

Hi Charlie.......

Thanks for the feedback with this important question. But now I have you saying it is a small concern and one other gentleman saying not to worry. So I'm stuck here. I might not see this bin for weeks at a time. So a hot spot could form without me knowing it. With a ton of coal in a 2x2 bin the ultimate question is "how would you store it?" I understand it needs oxygen to get going and I also know that it really takes a hot fire to ignite this stuff when I want to use it. So I ask the question again. Would you have this coal bin of Bit in football size pieces in your garage? IF I noticed heat or a heated smell I would move the whole lot out of the building but IS IT REALLY A RISK?? All comments are welcome and I want to hear your experiences. I rather not store it outside for a lot of reasons but if the risk of burning my shop down is real then it has to go.

Thanks Charlie for your comments.........

Lisa
mslisaj
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Railroad Pot Belly

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: Berlin On: Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:31 pm

subbituminous prb type coals are the ones most prone to it in the USA; even then in small tonnages, kept dry, it's not a concern. your utah coal is even less of a concern.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: rockwood On: Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:06 am

Hey Lisa,
I live in Utah and have been around coal all my life and never saw spontaneous combustion accept in huge (thousands of tons) stock piles at mines. I have read about bunker fires caused by SC on large steam ships but again you're talking many thousands of tons of coal. I know of large buildings (schools etc.) that have huge bunkers filled with stoker coal and never had a problem. Currently I have about 2.5 tons of lump coal and don't have any concerns about SC so I wouldn't worry.
rockwood
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Stokermatic coal furnace
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Rockwood Stoveworks Circulator
Baseburners & Antiques: Malleable/Monarch Range
Coal Size/Type: Soft coal: Lump and stoker (slack coal)

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: samhill On: Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:58 am

I grew up in a house with a interior coal room as most had back then, had a coal door on the outside of the foundation for delivery. Never heard of anyone having a fire & if you were lucky & didn`t use up your supply it would sit until next season. The large power plants around here put a coat of parafin on the piles to seal them but your talking thousands of ton.
samhill
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: keystoker 160
Hand Fed Coal Stove: hitzer 75 in garage
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker/hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: koker 160/ hitzer 75

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: Freddy On: Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:04 am

I did some Googling searches & from what I found, on the rare occasions that it happens it's when there's a HUGE pile so pressures are high, or when it's dirty and in large amounts...that is...it got mixed with other stuff and for some reason that makes it more liable to combust . I guess if I had some bituminous stored I'd worry more about fire from a cellphone charger or TV than I would from the coal. If the concern still bugs you, get some galvanized trash cans with covers & keep it in them.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: mslisaj On: Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:01 am

To all you fine gentlemen who took your time to respond to my question here I do appreciate it. You guys have put my mind at ease. I'm not going to worry about it any more and as it has been pointed out the "problem" only occurs with HUGE quantities of coal. It was also pointed out that my Utah Bituminous is really not a problem coal that I have to worry about either. So thanks to you gentlemen I will enjoy the coal that I have and not worry about it..........

I must also add that I love the smell of it and it brings back such wonderful memories. I used to love watching a black smith work at a forge or shoe horses and this coal fire smell was always there and now I can have it myself. Besides when it's really cold in my shop I can go out there and have a fire in the stove, boil some water and enjoy the heat.

Thank you guys very much for all the information and suggestions...........

Lisa :D
mslisaj
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Railroad Pot Belly

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: Duengeon master On: Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:29 pm

If you go south on Rt. 95 in Baltimore at the Ft. Mc Henry tunnel you can see the huge piles of coal. There are permanent fire hoses in strategic areas of the piles. Two weeks ago, they were spraying one of the piles.
Duengeon master
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harmon Mark III
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite pea and nut mix. Bituminous lump

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: charlie On: Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:48 am

Have been away from my computer for several days. Hope I didn't leave anyone lying awake at night worrying about their coal bins bursting into flames! Coal can spontaneously combust; it is a risk; it is not very probable. I would agree with Freddy to worry more about a cell phone charger catching fire! If it were me, I'd keep it in the shop.
charlie
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Prill and Tulikivi
Stove/Furnace Model: 200 BF and TTU 2700

Re: Spontaneous Combustion and Bit Coal Storage

PostBy: Duengeon master On: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:53 am

charlie wrote:Have been away from my computer for several days. Hope I didn't leave anyone lying awake at night worrying about their coal bins bursting into flames! Coal can spontaneously combust; it is a risk; it is not very probable. I would agree with Freddy to worry more about a cell phone charger catching fire! If it were me, I'd keep it in the shop.


THIS LOOKS LIKE A JOB FOR MYTH BUSTERS!!!!!
Duengeon master
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harmon Mark III
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite pea and nut mix. Bituminous lump


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