it just won't stay burning !!!

it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: fireislander On: Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:17 pm

I'm new here and desperate....I'm almost ready to revert to wood...we live in maine and were given a crane coal stove by a person who used it for thirty years..In two months we've kept the fire overnight three times!! That's not acceptable here where it's SOOO cold. We have a damper on the stovepipe and we've never closed it for fear of carbon monoxide ( we do have a detector) would it help if that was closed? sometimes when I'm removing unburned coal to relight a wood fir base, some of the coal is actually cold under the burned stuff...Any help would be appreciated..PS the shaker is worn out so I take the poker and clean the ashes out before filling it to the top of the firebox for the night...we've set the dials at the bottom in every position imaginable...no luck
fireislander
 
Stove/Furnace Make: crane

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:23 pm

Welcome to the forum! 8-)

Can't say closing the damper will help without a draft measurement. If you have a strong draft, it will definitely help. If you have a weak draft, then that would be the root of the problem. If you can get your hands on a manometer & take a measurement, that would be very helpful

Your worn out shaker grates might be causing clinkers to build up & block airflow to the fire. Others will chime in with their thoughts.

Pictures help too. 8-)
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:42 pm

How is the fire running during the day? Do you have enough under fire air flow to really get the blue ladies dancing? It sounds to me as if you are not getting enough air through the coal and that's causing it to go out. That would cause the fire to smother on the weight of the ash and unburned coal. If you leave your ash pan door open (always put a timer in your pocket if that door is open), does you fire come back strong only to die again when you shut the door. If the fire roars back and then dies, you have a problem with the air input. Make sure the air intake is open far enought and that the fire has been shaken and poked really well. Some stoves have to be poked with a small rod to get all the ash out of it. Get it going good again, and see if what you've done makes any difference. What kind of coal are you using, pea will cut off the air and goes out easier. That's where I'd start eliminating things that could be wrong. Let us know, I'm sure some one has experienced the same thing. Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea


Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: Freddy On: Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:53 pm

What town are you in? Maybe someone could drop by & have a look-see. Can you post some photos? A pic is worth 1,000 words! It sounds like you have an air problem. Might be draft, might be the air isn't coming from under the coal. Air over coal is no good. Maybe the grates are the problem & that's why the last owner got rid of it? Pics! Pics!
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: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: fireislander On: Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:01 pm

Thank you all for the input...Actually I live on a small private island (2 families here) so getting someone out here isn't real practical...Why would I have success three times(at various times) then none. Should I fill the firebox up ,wait till it's roaring and then rake it down? sometimes I think I'm raking the life from the fire. We added another story to the house several years ago and extended the chimney..you can almost see the draw of the chimney and can certainly feel it.I really don't think the draft is a problem.....we are burning anthracite. I will try to get a picture of the stove,IF I can figure out how to include it
Last edited by fireislander on Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
fireislander
 
Stove/Furnace Make: crane

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:05 pm

Usually when you have a burn / won't burn situation, it's due to ash buildup under the fire. When my wife loads the stove, I never get the long burn times that I get because she isn't as aggressive in shaking/poking before reloading.

At least that's been my experience.
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: fireislander On: Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:08 pm

Smitty...is there danger of raking the coals too much so that I diminish the body of the fire?
fireislander
 
Stove/Furnace Make: crane

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:12 pm

If the fire is low, that is a valid worry. If you open the ash door & allow the fire to get nice & bright, and the bed of coals is fairly deep, then you should be able to rake away without snuffing the fire out. Just watch the coals as your doing it ... if you notice they are starting to get less bright, then stop & let it get hotter with the ash door open.
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: fireislander On: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:13 pm

Ok...today is cold and windy here in maine....very windy . I do have a bright fire burning, but it's just in the center of the fire box....the fire box is approximately 10" deep and 18" long. The coal to each side of the glowing coal isn't burning. Can I rake some coals over those areas or leave it alone and let the burn take over? Tonight I'm convinced it will go out because it always has no matter how I bed it, I can rake the ash out and it goes out...I can leave the dials in any position and it goes out....Maybe it's just a bum stove although it's a beauty and the olny thing that seems worn out (besides me) is the shaker rod. The fingers of the grate are about 1/2" and are about that much apart and I CAN bring the ashes down manually. The grate fingers just sit in their place and my husband says the shaker (should) act like a cam shaft ....rippling along the fingers to shake down the ash. is there such a thing as bad coal??? I said I was desperate !!!
fireislander
 
Stove/Furnace Make: crane

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: SMITTY On: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:24 pm

Last year I had a batch of coal that I would consider "bad" .... burned too much of it, & it produced A LOT of ash, with not-so-long burn times. This year with a different brand, it's 100% different ..... so that is always a possibility.

When I have sections of the firebox not burning, those are the sections that I will poke from the top. In the ash pan, you can normally see what's lit & what isn't, (after shaking) just by looking at the intensity of the orange glow. Any part that is dark, I poke with a metal rod, then I'll shake again to get the most ash out of those areas. Then I load it up with coal. If you leave too much ash in those areas, they will always go out, due to the ash restricting the air flow. Might just need to aggressively poke the unlit areas to force all that ash down to the grates.
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: RMA On: Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:01 pm

Checklist:
1-Draft
2-DEEP coal bed
3-Combustion Air from below coal *only*
4-Clean Ash compartment

No secrets here, the rules are the same

Can you comment further on *each* of the above so we know what you do and don't have.

Bob
RMA
 

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: coalvet On: Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:17 pm

Fireisland

By your description I believe you have the Crane model 404 which I also have. After using the Crane model 44 for over 30 years I found this model on craigslist and installed it last year. I must say while it is a much better looking stove it's not the coal burner my old Crane was. The shaker grates don't move much and ash buildup can be a problem. In my experience poor quality coal can make a mediocre coal stove even worse while a good coal stove can handle just about anything. It sounds like ash buildup and coal quality may be the factors your facing. I have the owners manual for this stove, if your interested I can scan it and send it to you.

Rich
coalvet
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane Model 404
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Other Heating: NG Boiler

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: fireislander On: Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:26 am

first ....to Bob...thanks for the input. As stated early on, the draft from the chimney is super ! Yup, it went out last night or early this morning, but the odd thing was, that this time (after 2 months) the entire bed was ash !!! There were about 6 chunks of patially burned coal...I had left the dials at the bottom open quite a bit because if we shut them up to tight there's no question but it'll go out. It was as pristine a picture of what the fire should look like when we went to bed, but zilch fire in the AM! We always make sure the ashes are cleaned from beneath ( we have to do it manually because the shaker is worn out) and then we fill it to the top with coal for a nice deep bed. ....

Rich....I don't know the model of the stove, George parker from Rhode island gave it to me...I think that's where crane originated from...anyway, It's 26"tall... 22" long and 12" deep...it has three glass window across the front in a bowed fashion, a large load door and at the bottom is a log narrow ash door with two dials that regulate air flow...any help?? It's a lovely well maintained stove, but that doesn't help in sub zero weather :x thanks for taking time...
fireislander
 
Stove/Furnace Make: crane

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: coalvet On: Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:04 pm

fireislander

I'm pretty sure this is your stove.
Crane 404.JPG
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It sounds like you're doing all the right things, I still think the coal may be part of your problem can you try a few bags from a different supplier just to see what happens?

Rich
coalvet
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane Model 404
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Other Heating: NG Boiler

Re: it just won't stay burning !!!

PostBy: RMA On: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:21 pm

Fire-islander,

It does sound like you have good "set-up". I can think of two reasons for the fire going out, both have to do with air supply.
Either you have air infiltration, meaning that air is entering the firebox other than from below the coal bed; or, the ashes build-up, as the fire burns, & choke-off the air from below the coal bed.
It may well be a combination of the two. Does this stove have any other air inlet points than those we can see in the posted pic???

Bob

ps magnificent looking stove..
RMA