Unburned nut coal in grate

PostBy: greg white On: Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:14 am

I have a Harman SF150 hand fed stove,it must be shook ,at least once a day maybe twice,you don't want to shake all your hots,but afew glowing pieces in ash pan are O.K.,air needs to get thru grates to keep fire hot,I have to (or choose to) poke at my grates from under neath with a L shaped 3/16 Dia. poker to get ash that gets jambed in grates,then maybe a little more shaking.this all of course is on a established bed of burning coal.
greg white
 

I can get it started but I can't keep it going

PostBy: Mark D On: Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:50 pm

I am a recent first time homeowner and the house which we purchased, has a hand fired Franco Belge Stove. The old owner made it seem that all you need to do is load it, shake it, and your good to go for the season - not really. I have a new routine every weekend - start to work on the fire around 2:00pm - nurse it during the day to the point by the time I go to bed (11pm) the coal is ignited and burning - I shake it & then hope for the best. The following morning I wake up 6am & the f--ing thing has gone out again :( I then inspect & try to figure out where I went wrong. I have noticed that there is a substantial amount of ash under the coal, ontop of the metal grates. Am I not ashing enough before I go to bed? Should the ignited coal be on the grate at all times?
This is like the Davinci Code for me - I feel like I am getting closer to cracking it but I am not there. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Mark D
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco Belge

Re: I can get it started but I can't keep it going

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:05 pm

Mark D wrote:the house which we purchased, has a hand fired Franco Belge Stove. The old owner made it seem that all you need to do is load it, shake it, and your good to go for the season - not really.


That's a good stove, you should have no trouble with it. Yes you should have a layer of ash, it controls the burn and protects the grate from the extreme heat that coal produces. If it's going good and goes out overnight you probably are not filling it. It must be filled to the top of the firebrick once you have a good fire going. It takes a lot of coal to start one of these anthracite burners, once you have a good deep bed you can throttle it down to run on a little. That stove should easily go 12 hours. Always open the ash door and allow a few minutes to rev the fire up before you shake. Then shake until you see several live coals fall into the ashpan. Then bank and reload. Repeat every 12 hours until spring. :)
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea


PostBy: JerseyCoal On: Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:39 pm

Hi Mark, and welcome.

I use a Franco-Belge stove from the mid 1980s and have had good luck keeping it burning for months at a time. Your problem may have to do with your procedure or perhaps the setting on the stove thermostat.

Twice a day (three time in very cold weather) I shake out the ash and load up the hopper. First I open the glass door a bit to prevent fly-ash from sticking to the glass. Then I slide both shaker handles to the left in order to open up the three small openings at the grate level. I insert into those small openings the flat metal stick and move it in and out, and side to side in order to clear ash and clinkers. After that, I shake the two rotary grates until I see the red glow of the hot coals shining down into the ash box. I close up the glass door and leave the ash door open a crack for a minute or two to breath a little life into the fire. Once the ash door is closed, I top off the hopper with fresh coal.

My stove has a bi-metallic thermostat knob on the side with markings from 1 through 8. Number 1 is the smallest air supply to the fire and number 8 is full open(that will probably overfire the stove causing warping and other damage. ) What number do you run your stove on? The stove I have now I run between 6 and 7, and I can get as much as a 16 hour burn out of it. The first stove I had in 1980 had a different calibration; I never ran it higher than 4, and that was pretty hot.

Just before the stove pipe turns into the chimney, I have a barometric damper which helps to maintain a steady, even burn on windy days.

After a nightlong burn, you should have a good amount of ash under the burning coals, but there still should be a fire going. If you are only getting a 6 hour burn, then you are probably burning too hot and too fast. Try turning the thermostat knob to a lower number. That will slow down your fire. If youo don't have a barometric damper, get one.

I hope some of this info is helpful to you. Don't give up, coal is a wonderful way to heat your home, or parts thereof. It just takes a little patience and time to learn the quirks and characteristics of your stove. When you do, the two of you will get along a lot better. Sort of like being married! Good Luck.

John
JerseyCoal
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Franco Belge model 10.1475

Thanks for the help.

PostBy: Mark D On: Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:22 pm

Hello All

I appreciate all of the feedback - it just reassures me that this can work and there is hope. I'm definitely sold on using coal. Hopefully with all the additional info I can apply it and finally get this baby going. I think my ashing technique / ritual definitely needs to be refined, and I will load the stove to the top. I have only been putting enough coal to go maybe a 1/4 of the way full, so that will have to change also.

Time to go to the basement & go for another round.

Thanks again
Mark D
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco Belge

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:30 pm

Remember when you're sweating bullets to change that signature line. :)
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

PostBy: dirvine96 On: Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:55 am

Hey Mark,

I'm also new to coal burning. My problem was I had a lousy stove. So all of my learning took place on a stove that could not burn anthracite worth a @#*#. Now that I've got a good stove in place burning coal in a real pleasure. Stick with it, you'll get the hang of it and have a great feeling of satisfaction. My wife thinks I'm nuts. I tell her about how great the new stove in burning and how much money were are not sending to National Fuel. I'm kind of a numbers nut, so I calculate the number cu ft. of nat gas we would have used and compare to coal. She thinks I'm insane. Maybe I am, but I'm enjoying myself.

Good luck and read as much as you can on some of the old threads, lot of great info that helped me and I also kept me from giving up.

Don
dirvine96
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer 82FA

PostBy: coal_kid On: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:09 pm

dirvine96
I know what you mean. My wife doesn't care, as long as its warm. She likes the $35 gas bill too (cooking, and hot water).

I only seen one season of natural gas heating bills for our house, we just moved in here Dec 05. So I do have somewhat of a baseline.

You think your nuts? I weight all the coal going into my stove, put that in a spreadsheet once a month. Then go to a weather website that shows the heating degrees, so I know my cost per heating degree(heating degrees don’t account for wind, just temps over time lower than 65 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heating_degree_day ). I'm hoping that my cost per heating degrees will be lower with coal @ about 180/ton, than my 92 efficient gas furnace. So far it’s too hard to tell with the warm weather we had last month... but it sure was warm in here. Oh yeah the gas furnace was set at 65 in the cold days, 65 is a sin burning coal… its been 73 all day inside.

On the natural gas, I don't figure in the taxes or any devilry charge, just the straight bill total / CCF used. Then I get cost per CCF, and go from there.

I do the same for my electric, and since mid 05 I've been tracking my gasoline mpg, gallons and price per gal for my autos. That’s nuts.
coal_kid
 

PostBy: Yanche On: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:58 pm

There is an excellent heating fuel comparison calculator at:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls

It's an Excel spreadsheet that allows you to compare all heating fuels, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, wood, heat pumps etc. You customize your fuel cost and equipment efficiency to your situation. I used it to predict my coal usage based on years of fuel oil records. It predicted somewhat less usage than my actual coal usage. I attribute that to higher thermostat settings with coal. Since it's much cheaper we live in comfortable temperatures now. :-)

Be sure to look at the other sheets of the spreadsheet, it has instructions and definitions of the various terms. Even has a geography input. Very complete.

Yanche
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

PostBy: coal_kid On: Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:56 am

Wow Yanche, thank you once again!
I wish I would have seen that heat calc spreadsheet 1 month ago. I did some of those calculations out myself, but my spreadsheet didn't look that nice. My calcs looked I should save even with my 92% efficient gas furnace. If I can get the coal in Pittston, PA in the summer for $110-$115 a ton, I’ll really be saving. Same goes if I had a newer more efficient burner.
coal_kid
 

PostBy: Yanche On: Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:37 pm

Yes, it's a very, very comprehensive objective comparison of heating costs. It should be required analysis for anyone thinking of switching heating fuels. I think it would be a good idea to host it on this site. It's not copyrighted because it was government developed. Admins what do you think? Perhaps it would be a good place to collect stove, furnace and boiler efficiency numbers.

Yanche
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Getting closer

PostBy: Mark D On: Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:04 am

With my new found information, I went back down to the basement to go another round with my Franco Belge stove. I started around 7 pm and was able to get a good fire going; I then started loading her up every 1/2 hr. with coal until I reached the top of the fire brick. Much to my wife's delight, (not), each time I opened the top of stove, a fair amount of smoke escaped while I loaded. I imagine that this is normal, but she basically boarded herself upstairs while I battled with the stove & smoke - with windows open & outside door open to get a little ventilation. By about 11 pm the stove was humming along - I had flames flickering through the coal bed & it was going better then my previous attempts. I couldn't really sleep, so I check it around 4 am - still had the flames but not as strong as before. Checked it at 6 am & flames were weaker - I then opened the ash door, let her fire up a little bit & then ashed / shaked. The ashing seemed to revitalize the fire & I noticed the flames burning much better. I throttled the stove back from 7 to 6. I went to work somewhat confident & was able to comeback around 2:30 pm to check - not good - no flames, just glowing coal - I tried to shake it again to resuurect it but she was too far gone. I left disgusted, with the coals still glowing - my wife came home around 7 pm & it was completely out. I think I am getting closer but this one hurt. I have already told my wife, to plan on spending Saturday out of the house, so I can have quality time with the stove. I'm going tostart early in the am & just work it through the weekend. Hopefully, before winter is over I can get this baby working.

Q: Is a fair amount of smoke normal during the loading / start-up process?

Q: I lost the flames in the coal bed - Should there be flames in the coal at all times, 24/7, when things are working correctly?

Q: How soon or long do you ash when you are starting the stove? I ashed approx. 10-11 hrs. after got it going.

Thanks everybody.
Mark D
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco Belge

Re: Getting closer

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:07 am

Mark D wrote:Q: Is a fair amount of smoke normal during the loading / start-up process?

Q: I lost the flames in the coal bed - Should there be flames in the coal at all times, 24/7, when things are working correctly?

Q: How soon or long do you ash when you are starting the stove? I ashed approx. 10-11 hrs. after got it going.


You should not have smoke at all with anthracite. Do you mean the when you open the door the spent gasses come out of the loading door? This should not happen. If it does, it is a draft issue. If your chimney is good, you should have enough draft. Give us the details on the smokepipe run, Baro? and chimney height and construction. Try opening the draft door all the way a little while prior to loading. If it has a by-pass damper you need to use it when loading.

You should see some flame when you reload, but when mature you may not see them well as the flame may be "non-luminous". Your problem could be the reload. The fire needs to be "banked" so you don't smother it with the fresh coal. Simply rake some of the coal from the rear toward the door until it is even with the firebrick and put the fresh coal in the depression in the rear. Anthracite is not happy unless it has a flame at the surface to breath. Simply adding coal over the entire surface generally kills it.

10-12 hours is about right. The key to shaking is a hot fire only, shaking when the fire is low will kill it. You want to open the ashpan door for several minutes prior to shaking, the coals need a vigorous glow prior to shaking. NEVER SHAKE A COLD FIRE, rev it up first. Shake down until you see several glowing coals in the ash pan. Don't stop at two or three, shake until you see a bunch, it could be adding an inch or more depth to your ash layer.

Keep at it and the wife will be complaining like mine, "it's too hot in here".
Last edited by coaledsweat on Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:54 am

Yanche wrote: I think it would be a good idea to host it on this site.


You can continue here with this, I created a new topic: http://nepacrossroads.com/viewtopic.php?p=6915

For future reference if you have any suggestions start a new thread. Not trying to be hard-ass but I don't read everthing that is posted here. I do however look at everthing posted in Feedback.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Barometric Damper?

PostBy: Mark D On: Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:39 pm

Thank you again for your help, it is greatly appreciated. The lightbulb is going on in my head.

DAMPER:
The damper which I have for my stove is 6" in diameter, and to open or close I have to do it manually by turning the handle. When I start the fire for the stove, I leave the damper open, light some newspaper, stick it inside, and let it burn - this at least confirms to me that the chimmney is drafting up. Once I get it going, I then close the damper & leave it closed for the duration. Perhaps I have an issue with my damper? When I checked on it in the afternoon, it seems like I lost my draft.

SHAKING:
Seems like I still need to refine the technique. I have to fire it up more then I normally do. I definitely don't think I'm shaking enough; I shake & at the sign of the first coal or two in the pan - I'm done.

RE-LOAD:
I need to refine this as well. Smothering the fire seems like something I may be doing. When I "load" the stove, I dump it in from the top of the stove, and it gets built up along the rear of the unit. This last time I must have had 2-3ft. of coal sitting along the rear wall in the stove, when I lost the fire. I noticed that I lost the fire, & lit coal, from the outter portion of the fire brick first & then the center was the last to go. The raking of the coal makes sense to me.

I'm slowly getting all of this - thanks for all the help.
Mark D
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco Belge


cron