Hopper Fire - Alaska Channing 3 with direct vent

PostBy: cheapheat On: Fri Mar 16, 2007 5:39 pm

Whats up everyone, I had the same thing happen to my Channing 3 earlier this year.... I dumped coal in the hopper on top of a few hot pieces of coal after work one night about 9 andthe next morning I went to check the coal level and had to drop the hopper lid it was so hot. What I had to scoop out(of thehopper) iswhat would say was 5 pounds worth of glowing red coal. I never called Alaska or posted it here thinking it was my own stupidity. I figured the cause was the two or three hot coals I loaded the fresh coal onto the night before I figured the pusher bar would just push those coal down the chute...not so. I was scared and mad at the same time and I have had no problems since that day. I make sure every time I add coal now that I check the bottom of the hopper and then push all the remaining coal to the bottom and I try never to let it get that low anymore...one more thing is the hopper lid restsnicely on the hopper but I wouldnt call it airtight as far as feeding a fire air comments are allways welcome, thanks Jim :o
cheapheat
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska Channing 3
Stove/Furnace Model: Bagging my own rice coal

PostBy: traderfjp On: Fri Mar 16, 2007 6:39 pm

Cheapheat: I'm not sure I fully understand. You let the hopper get too low and then added coal on top of a hopper fire? I guess you didn't fill the hopper since you said there was only 5 pounds of burning coal in the hopper? Is this so?

Leisure Line: How does a barometric dampner work with a power venter? Is there anyway to retrofit one to our units?
Last edited by traderfjp on Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
traderfjp
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3

PostBy: cheapheat On: Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:11 pm

Hey Trader, I was running later than usual and by the time I got home and remembered to load the hopper the hot coals from the grate had burned back to the front of the half moon pusher there were only a few hot coals in there in front of it so I figured that they would be pushed back onto the grate first butI was wrong and I put 2 bags of coal in on top of that. In the morning the hopper was too hot to touch with bare hands. The burning coal in the hopper was around 6 or 7 inches in diameter and 8 to 9 inches deep starting from the pusher bar up there was about 10 inches of coal in the hopper total. I turned the stove down to low because the grate still had a good fire on it andstartedscooping the hot coals into an old pan. I probably wasted about20 pounds of coal total cleaning it out. Jim
cheapheat
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska Channing 3
Stove/Furnace Model: Bagging my own rice coal


PostBy: Matthaus On: Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:17 pm

traderfjp wrote:Leisure Line: How does a barometric dampner work with a power venter? Is there anyway to retrofit one to our units?


I have an Alaska with a power vent. I have a barometric damper and manometer (see the pic in my ad for the stove which is for sale). I would never install any stoker coal stove without a barometric damper (as Jerry from LL stated). The only exception is the direct vent units on the Keystokers which mount directly on the stove and have calibrated air leak that acts kinda like a barometric damper. Also the Harman diret vent doesn't need one either.

My unit is regularly run out of coal wth the fire never getting any where near the hopper, but then I am sure of the draft and know that the baro will compensate when needed.

Bottom line for your own safety always follow the manual and check the draft! As others have said better safe than sorry. :)
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

PostBy: traderfjp On: Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:30 pm

Cheapheat: Wow! Your scenario sounds like it was a very dangerous situation. I wonder if filling the hopper to the top would have smothered the fire or made things worse.

Matthaus: Can you post the link to your setup. I'm curious to see how it's setup with the Baro. Alaska sells the Channing with their own power venter so I'm not sure if a barmoetric damper is possible. I'm also not sure if it would help if you let the stove go empty with coal still on the sides of the hopper. In any event I'l be sure never to let my hopper go so low again.
traderfjp
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3

PostBy: cheapheat On: Fri Mar 16, 2007 9:33 pm

Well trader it was pretty scary andnowmynormal routine consists of checking the hopper level nearly everytime I walk by The stove. The CO detecter never sounded and I pulled the batteries when I was cleaning the mess up. I would like to no more about baro dampers though because I thought the channing with the direct vent was a plug and play unit. With my daughter(9 Months today) 2great dogs and umm oh yeah my wives safety on the line I should have looked into it a little deeper. I know the guys in here will know about it butI will call the place I bought my stove tomorrow. take it easy, Jim
cheapheat
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska Channing 3
Stove/Furnace Model: Bagging my own rice coal

PostBy: traderfjp On: Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:43 pm

Cheapheat: Let me know what they say. The hopper sensor unit is also another option. It screws into the hopper and if the hopper exceeds 250 degrees it trips a breaker which shuts off the electricity to your stove. I just pulled out my manual and I couldn't find any warning about letting the coal in the hopper go low. It does have a section on a hopper fire but running low on coal is not one of the possible causes. It mentions a baro, crack in grate, and bad grate seal.

Keep us updated.
traderfjp
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3

PostBy: Matthaus On: Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:53 pm

traderfjp wrote:Matthaus: Can you post the link to your setup.......


Here is the link to the pic:



The power vent is a 4" Field Controls SS unit that is identical to the ones sold by Alaska dealers in my area. I purchased it from a local plumbing supply house for much less.

The power vent is located above where you see the pipe enter the ceiling above the stove. The 4" pipe is class B vent from Lowes and never gets hotter than 90*F.

The manometer is shown in these two pics and shows why you need both the Baro Damper and Manometer.
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Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

PostBy: cheapheat On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:27 am

Good morning trader and matt Im kinda surprised its just us going in here about this. I just got off the phone with the company I bought my stove from and the guy reassured me that the alaska vent doesnt need a barometric damper or a manometer. He mentioned in some cases where if the direct vent was pulling too much it could cause a hopper fire but he hadn't seen it. I would consider the over-temp shutoff on the hopper as a just in case thing. Jim By the way for any central new yorkers interested I bought my stove Kokes Coal and Stove in Ovid N.Y. Ive only had one other question other than this but these guys are small town friendly, knowledgible, fairly priced and always willing to help
cheapheat
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska Channing 3
Stove/Furnace Model: Bagging my own rice coal

PostBy: gambler On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:59 am

I am a newbie and I have not burned a single pound of coal yet but I was wondering if you have a barometric damper installed how do you know that you have it adjusted correctly if you don't have a manometer installed with it? I purchased a used leisure line pioneer and am going to install it it my dining room this summer and with you guys talking about hopper fires it makes me a little uneasy about installing it. The stove will be running at all times when the weather gets cold enough and there is nobody home all day to keep an eye on the stove. I was planning on installing a barometric damper and a manometer to set my draft. Do you think it will be safe to leave the stove run for 14 hours or so unattended or does the stove need to be checked every few hours?
gambler
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

PostBy: traderfjp On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:01 am

cheapheat: My delaer said to vacuum out the unit and that you always need to have coal in the unit so it doesn't run low.

I'm not sure I would have the room for a baro in my setup either. My flex pipe runs from the stove and snakes up and out through the outside wall. There is one 7" straight section where I could install a baro. Wouldn't a baro also allow a vent into the room if the outside section of my powervent ever clogged?

In any event, these hopper fires are real and are a cause of the hopper running too low. When the hopper runs low an opening is created between the grate and the hopper. The fire follows the fuel into the hopper and we have our fire. I believe it's a design flaw and should be addressed. If the people who sell these stoves want them to be more main stream they need to think about safety and conveninece. A hopper fire shouldn't be possible at all. Also, someone needs to come up with a way to dump the ashes so it's clean and healthy. I don't feel good about all the ash that I have to hold my breath for while it circles above my head.
traderfjp
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 2:08 pm

Gambler, I can't say I've heard of this happening before from any of my customers but it's not exactly something they would tell me either. The closest comparable event I've seen is a "hopper" fire inside a hand fired Franco Belge but if you saw the design you would wonder why it doesn't happen all the time. Hopper is in quotes because the hopper is actually part of the stove itself, it gravity feeds the coal onto the grates directly below it. The reason it doesn't catch on fire is because the heat is drawn away from the coal.

Anyhow you're in luck if you have a Leisure Line, just follow what ever advice Jerry gives you and you'll be fine. I think it's safe to say that he would know exactly what he's talking about since he's the guy that builds them. :wink:
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:23 pm

The Leisure Line design doesn't have a big gap where a fire could back up into the hopper. The Alaska 'paddle' leaves a much larger gap. [EDIT] : I'm wrong, there is a big gap, but the fire doesn't get close to the hopper or the opening, see later post.

BUT I still can't see the fire backing up into a hopper if there is a draft in the stove. If the cover was completely removed, and you had a draft, it still would pull air into the stove not out the hopper.

I have run my Leisure Line Pioneer stove out of coal and very low on coal so I could see the pusher block or shovel that moves the coal out of the hopper onto the grate. And I've never see any indication of fire backng up into the hopper. I do have condensation in my hopper, and this is from the lack of draft.

AND, I have virtually ZERO draft, I'm venting up about ten feet then a 90* out the side of my barn, the pipe ends 3' horizontally from the barn, not any added vertical section. I put a manometer on the pipe and I have between 0.00 and 0.005 WC. Nowhere near the recommended 0.05" WC. If the wind blows out of the east, I'm sure I have slight pressure in the stove.

I would not be concerned with a Leisure Line stoker, I can't see it having a hopper fire.

Greg L

.
Last edited by LsFarm on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:55 pm

Here's a what a cross section of a Franco Belge looks like. I think the Hitzers are the same way. As I said you would think the fire would easily ignite the coal in the hopper but it does not because the draft pulls the heat and flames to the front of the stove.
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Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: JerseyCoal On: Sat Mar 17, 2007 6:00 pm

Hi Admin:

Very accurate representation of the F-B models. In my unit, if I am not home for quite a long time and I don't shake out the ashes every 10-12 hours or so, it is quite common for the fire to work its way up into the lower hopper but, only about 2 inches.

Frequently, there are no visible burning coals to be seen through the glass door; it looks like the fire is dead. What a relief when, after shaking the grates a few times, I see a horizontal line of red hot coals dropping down from behind the lower hopper. In fact, the lower hopper is about three times as thick as the upper hopper, to avoid warping from the heat?? I suspect the manufacturers anticipated this sort of event and planned for it.

I have never seen the fire get any higher in the hopper than a couple of inches. Even if it did, the hopper is an internal hopper and completely encased in the same cast iron that encloses the firebox. Although the upper hopper is made of thinner metal and warping would be likely.

In my experience, the F-B is a simple yet very reliable stove. All the same, I do suffer from "stove envy" as all you stoker fellows can honestly boast "mine is bigger than yours"!!
JerseyCoal
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Franco Belge model 10.1475