What an adventure this has been - I'm exhausted, but it sure is worth it!
Took our Liberty CRD (finally glad I haven't sold it yet), towing a 6x12 U-haul utility trailer down to the Knight Hawk Creek Paum mine yesterday and picked up 3500 lbs. @ $80/ton. It's a little daunting when a guy drives up to your little rig with one BIG loader....please don't bury me, mister!!! Evidently they are one of the only mines that will sell to the "home" user, but it sounds like they get a lot of people from even farther than me buying coal. It was a long day of driving, about 6 hours each way, and was about the only time I've thanked this state for being flat. 18 mpg isn't bad either.
Unfortunately, I found out what wet coal, a long drive, below-freezing temps, and a metal trailer does.
Most of the coal came off with a little breaking up, but there was a layer frozen to the trailer that wasn't coming off. Well, guess I'm not going to make the return time now..... I found the one garden hose that wasn't frozen and proceeded to use 50 degree well water to thaw out the frozen mess. Lemme tell you, that was a great time! It's 20 degrees out and snowing and I'm hosing around with cold water. Thankfully it worked and I filled up a wheelbarrow with what stuck to the bed. Next time I'll lay down some sheets of plywood or rent a dump trailer.
This morning I wired up the furnace and boiler and filled the system. I found a few more threaded connection leaks, two I was able to tighten and the others stopped when it heated up. I have it set up so the circulator turns on with the thermostat immediately and the furnace blower comes on 30 seconds later (I can adjust the time delay relay up to 60 seconds).
It was finally time to light it up. I'll admit I was a little apprehensive about firing it up - hoping it works as planned and I don't discover some bonehead error that requires serious rework or rebuilding. Fortunately, that was not the case and it did not take long before it was up to temp and I could engage the circulator relay and purge the rest of the air out of the lines.
I think the only thing I want to work on a little is the "Volumeter" damper - I had to replace the original damper because it had rusted apart after mice moved into the duct at some point. I had enough of it to see how it needed to work and the dimensions, but not how tight it fit when it was closed. I'd like to make it close tighter to bank the fire more aggressively when the stoker is off. I'm not having any overshoot during times when the fire is just idling, but it just seems to idle hotter than I'd expect.
Overfire draft is .04 to .05 whether stoker is running or idle. No baro is installed. Water temp. seems to hang around 160. I have the low limit at 140 and high limit at 180, but since I have a PLC handling the aquastat function, I cut the stoker off at 160 even if there is a call for heat. I may change it and maybe even run the stoker strictly on boiler temp and not fire it in conjunction with the circulator so it stokes less often but for longer periods.
Sitting in the house, the heating cycles seem very similar in length to the gas furnace. I am using the gas furnace thermostat for the boiler currently, but tomorrow I will install a separate thermostat for the boiler and let the gas be backup. Temperature delta of the water through the heat exchanger is between 17 and 20 degrees. I need to measure plenum temp after the heat exchanger and also flue temps. The stove pipe is too hot to hold during full fire but not burning skin hot. Overall, it is keeping a well insulated 16x20 garage at 68 degrees with a window open an inch or two (smelly new paint). I think most of the heat is coming off the 8 feet of stovepipe (10 foot ceiling).
Hopefully Berlin will chime in, as I have some questions as to "normal" fire appearance and amount of coke being produced. The coal is low in sulfur (1.3%) for Illinois and low in ash (5.5%). I do not know the coke button value, but it does tend to form quite a bit of coke in the pot, fusing into large clumps. My concern is to not run too much air and burn it down too far and damage the tuyeres, but the fire's appearance tells me the air setting is OK, maybe even a little low.
A few pictures and then it's bedtime.