Lighting nut coal

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: Richard S. On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:38 pm

coldcoal wrote: My plan was get the chimney sweeper in next fall, is more than once a year needed with coal? I read a lot about flyash, ain't seen any yet.


If you stick with the coal there probably won't be anything left for him to clean out, as I mentioned this will dry the creosote out and it will fall off the chimney flue wall. You really should get them here now if you haven't had the chimney swept in a while and if you don;t you need to be very careful to monitor the thimble area to make sure it doesn't get blocked.

Long term you really don't need to have the chimney cleaned anymore, maybe not such a bad idea every ten years or so if it makes you feel safer and don't want to do it yourself. Inspection is more important. The ash will settle only on the horizontal sections of pipe. Set it up right and you don't even have to remove the pipe* and can easily check how much fly ash you have. Take this setup for example:


Image

The t with cap on the right end and the cap on the left end gives you access to both horizontal runs of the pipe. Just open them and use the hose from a shop vac to suck it out. The only thing I see missing here is a cleanout below the thimble which is where most of the ash will accumulate because of the long upward length of the chimney itself. A cleanout is preferable since most of the volume is going to be there it will provide a lot of extra space for it.


*You will want to remove the pipe completely at the end of the season. Wash it down with some baking soda and water to neutralize the acids. Leave them in a dry place if possible until next year. You can wash the inside of the stove with same solution and leave the doors open to keep it as dry as possible.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: coldcoal On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:50 pm

Great info, thanks.

Fire is now dying. I have gray coals around a small glow of red. Maybe 1.5 turns was a bad idea. Id felt it cooling a couple hrs ago and went to 2.5, no change. Also my coal bags are stored in shed, so pretty cold, so the new coal I just added probably won't catch i figure. GRRRRRRR!

Ok I just stirred it to see what was underneath, nothing was catching anyways, and loads of ash under the pile. I'm going to seek you tube vids on how to shake it out or something, I did what was said, now on go the radiators again!
Last edited by coldcoal on Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
coldcoal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
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Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: PC 12-47E On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:51 pm

Take this setup for example:


Image

The only thing I see missing here is a cleanout below the thimble which is where most of the ash will accumulate because of the long upward length of the chimney itself. A cleanout is preferable since most of the volume is going to be there it will provide a lot of extra space for it.

We have a cast iron cleanout door in the basement for the flue. This is about 8-9 feet below the 7" thimble. :) :idea:

The chimney is about 37-38' tall. One 8x8" flue and one 16x16" flue. (center chimney inside the house.)
PC 12-47E
 
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Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: coldcoal On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:57 pm

Yep, she's out for the night. Might try to relight in the morn, might not, don't have it in me tonight to go find wood and do this all over.

Have a good night all.
coldcoal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: 3 warped grated useless beast

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: gerard On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:54 pm

coldcoal wrote:Gotcha, and I assume the high heat comes later too, maybe not until you shut the door for it to build? YES it is spreading and the blue was getting big, another crackling shovelful just hit it. Quite a mound I have in the middle now, almost up to bottom of door height.

In retrospect my earlier comment about "the top of the bricks" was stupid, obviously what was meant was the front door bricks. Man that's still about 4 inches deep!

Yeah air control, something I am the master of using wood... here no idea.


Not sure what your stove design is but my bed at the back is about 12inches deep and banked from back (deepest) to front. A full load first time takes probably 70 lbs of coal. Don't be afraid to go too deep. The more you can fit the better but I think you'll start figuring that out soon enough. (I add about 4-5 shovels each day at 630A and 630P and 7 of those shovel fulls fill a 5 gal pail). My first bed is two inches deep and that's just to cover the grates. You need to have a big mass to have it be self sustaining, don't poke it unless shaking down the ash. I shake it down every 12 hours until you get some red coals falling through, then top off with new coal as deep as you can go. DON'T WORRY ABOUT SMOTHERING THE FIRE - YOU WON'T! As long as you have some red coals at the bottom, pile it on, it'll catch.

In the begining err on the side of allowing too much air in. Worse that will happen is you'll warm the house up more than you want. Then back off slowly to fine tune. Better a too fast a burn rate than a too slow. Too hot it won't go out, too slow and you can lose the fire, then you have to start over. Don't give up yet. You're just like most of the people on this board who started out the same way but now start a fire in dec and let it go out in march :) :D
gerard
 
Stove/Furnace Make: yukon dual fuel
Stove/Furnace Model: husky

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: gerard On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:07 pm

coldcoal wrote:Titleist, thanks very much, doing it now. Here's after a minute of ash door open, pre shake, just to show what was goin on this morn.
Image

I found a fireplace poker handy to break the cooked gray edges up and get them through the rack. Shook first, that doesn't quite do it, then busted em up and got em through. It appears to be catching the new load nicely.

Just saw your second post, lol. Well I covered all the red but it's finding its way through so far, I'm not going to stir it, right?

No 2 is perfect, not too hot at all, there's a split lever here and this is the lowest floor, so it makes the house perfect.

edit: just added even more coals as that was catching fast, so full load now!


That picture helps a lot and you could add a LOT more coal to the back. Go right to the top of the brick in back and to the top of the opening in front. It'll take a lot the first time but you won't bee adding that much each time. Each time after you shake it down, add whatever it needs to get back to that level, then walk away until your next interval. You'll have to see how long you get out of a burn but I attend every 12 hours. 630A and 630P, shake, dump ashes, add fresh and forget about it. Takes me about 5 minutes start to finish. Found the less I tinker the better ;)
gerard
 
Stove/Furnace Make: yukon dual fuel
Stove/Furnace Model: husky

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: gerard On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:11 pm

Ashcat wrote:Hope you're still having success, Coldcoal. I'm happy to hear you stuck with it. Great advice above, but I wanted to emphasize the point about loading deeply enough, which prior woodburners seem not to really hear or believe, until they learn from their own experience.

You posted that pic this AM of your fire pre-shakedown, and to my eye your coalbed is right on the edge of being too thin. You've already seen the effect of not having enough coal depth when trying to start a fire, but a bed this thin also puts you at risk to lose the fire (or at least take much longer to get back up to speed after reloading) at shakedown time.

A standard firebrick is 9 inches long, and from you pic it appears about 4-5 inches of brick is still showing--suggesting your coalbed is only 4-5 inches deep. I'd call that a minimum to maintain a healthy fire--as a new coal burner you'll have a much easier time tending to a coal bed that's 7-8 inches deep. Also, a deeper bed will tend to help with ash removal during shakedown, as there is more weight above the ashes pushing them down as you shake the grates.

Not knowing how hot anthracite coal would burn in a stove (even having had MUCH prior experience burning soft coal in a mobile boiler, aka steam locomotive), when I first started I did exactly what you did: put a little on top of a good wood fire. Like all of us who have burned wood before, I assumed putting "too much" fuel on the fire would create a fire that was too hot/out of control. This is not at all the case with coal. Once you have a fire with a good bed of coal, the amount of coal placed in the firebox has ESSENTIALLY NOTHING to do with burn temp. Rather, burn temp is controlled very easily with the amount of underfire air you give the fire. The amount of fuel is the biggest factor determining how LONG the fire will burn, not how hot it will be.

A wood fire is like getting on and riding a single horse--pretty easy to get going by giving it some motivation with your feet, and to slow down by pulling back on the reins. Burning coal is more being a stagecoach driver with a team of eight horses: maybe a little hard initially to get going, but once they all get pulling in the same direction it will tend to keep running on its own with plenty of power to spare, and as the driver you control the speed, not by giving more or less motivation to the team, but rather by a steady hand on the brake. In the case of burning coal, the brake is limiting the amount of air for combustion.

Not having a deep enough coalbed is like having only 2-3 horses in the team--you need all 8 for it to work correctly, and you'll come to depend on the brake to modulate speed. This metaphor isn't a perfect one by any means, but communicates several differences from a wood fire in terms of management of burn temp, etc. (By the way, I have no idea if that's how to control a team pulling a stagecoach :) )

How is the post-shakedown fire going at this point?


great post, agree with everything in it. If you're having problems, re read :D
gerard
 
Stove/Furnace Make: yukon dual fuel
Stove/Furnace Model: husky

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: gerard On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:20 pm

coldcoal wrote:Great info, thanks.

Fire is now dying. I have gray coals around a small glow of red. Maybe 1.5 turns was a bad idea. Id felt it cooling a couple hrs ago and went to 2.5, no change. Also my coal bags are stored in shed, so pretty cold, so the new coal I just added probably won't catch i figure. GRRRRRRR!

Ok I just stirred it to see what was underneath, nothing was catching anyways, and loads of ash under the pile. I'm going to seek you tube vids on how to shake it out or something, I did what was said, now on go the radiators again!


You kind of answered your own question. Stirring it around will not work, just puts it out. If it's salvageable, shake it down, open the ash door, and pile some fresh on top. It'll either catch or it won't if it's too far gone but stop poking it around. 2.5 to 1.5 is a big change. Try more gradual changes like 2.5 to 2 and run it for a few days. Don't change things until you have a few days of good results. Then if you change things and don't like the results, at least you know what you did differently.
Pile the coal to the top of the bricks, as previosuly stated - it will not overfire if you control the air.
gerard
 
Stove/Furnace Make: yukon dual fuel
Stove/Furnace Model: husky

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: Richard S. On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:41 pm

gerard wrote: (I add about 4-5 shovels each day at 630A and 630P and 7 of those shovel fulls fill a 5 gal pail).


For the record a 5 gallon bucket is a little less than 40 lbs with nut.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: coldcoal On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:43 am

Well I'm still up so I figured I'd address a couple points. Gerard and Ashcat, the pic you are showing was just to show what remained in the morning. It was not 4-5 inches deep, it was about 2 tops, nor was it a pic after loading. I also didn't poke it tonight until after I was sure it was dead, and only to see how much ash was blocking what was trying to live. LOTS! The only poking I did today was to get dead gray coals down the grates as shaking them into pieces is impossible. So my trouble was probably...

1. Didn't put enough coal in on morning load.
2. Didn't get enough ash out from underneath before morning load.

AS you can see that picture does it look like there's lots of ash below that small glowing morning pile? I'd say no, I had hardly anything there as noted by Ashcat. My thoughts on shaking out so far is when you stop seeing ash fall, stop. So I go with not enough load this morning, and your thought of 2.5-1.5 being too big a drop makes a lot of sense. I was trying to slow the usage.

Either way it's been out since last post. I've left the main house to drop where it whatever ghastly temps it desires and retired in a radiated room. More tomorrow once I bust up another shelf and use 80 more pounds to start this thing.

The numbers, though, compared to wood look bad for the Black Rock. If 4 cold months of buying bulk is costing $800-$850, as stated previously, wood chimes in at a far more favorable $440 for the same amount of time. I use 2.5 cords a season, and had enough left for the fire pit in summer. So reality is you burn coal because you like coal better due to ease, low maintenance, etc. Not because it make a hotter stove or is more cost affective. Wood heats it the same, 3 logs atta time, 6 at night, and it's cleaner! Aside from washing black off your hands a lot from picking up a dropped piece of coal, the dropped piece of coal itself stains anything it touches! That would be fine and tolerable if it wasn't also twice as expensive, or like a wood fire that can be started quick and easy ...and burning within minutes at 1200 degrees. All kinda makes ya say hmmm. :|
Last edited by coldcoal on Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: Poconoeagle On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:59 am

well the too much ash thing is or was you next hurdle. its one we all went thru also! your not anaylzing the cost factor correctly ...yet. so you call the coal man and he comes with 4 ton and you pay him 800 bucks...

thats a season worth prolly. double that if you buy the bags.... with a baro and learned technique you will cut your use down significantly. you could take up curling on ice for excersise instead of chopping wood. carrying those curling gizmos to the lake is like chopping a cord or so.. :)

everyone looses a fire to ash choke out.....once! if you have to burn furnature use the lower drawers first. they never have anything good in them anyway! 8-)

start over tomorrow with cowboy charcoal and see how different it will be!! :)
Poconoeagle
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Buckwalter & Co. , EFM520
Stove/Furnace Model: No. 28 Glenwood 1880, Alaska

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: coldcoal On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:08 am

Poconoeagle wrote:well the too much ash thing is or was you next hurdle. )


Maybe, but again in looking at morning shot it didn't look that ashy laden, just around the edges. Not much fell when shaken. Do you jar the bar for 10 mins? No one mentioned how long to rock it for, but to break up what I did on edges if the same gray spent rock lies under the glow, well I didn't see it having any chance of breaking, it just bounces around atop the grates. This is why I poked, chopped, and got them through on the edges.

Ice curling eh? Lol. Yeah btw the 450 price for 2.5 cords in a season is cut already, no chopping there, it's even less if you find good seasoned rounds to split yourself!

I'll do a wood fire again to start it, the pine shelf worked well, and the smell of it burning brought back fine memories of wood shop in 9th grade.

Maybe I'm just old school and like flames and wood, lol, but twice the price doesn't help either. You agreed on the economics btw, yes $800. Also where would one keep 4 tons of coal? In a pile in the yard? I got vole holes enough as it is, them and the mice would love that hotel! No wait, you can't keep it outside as it freezes... so?
coldcoal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: 3 warped grated useless beast

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: Poconoeagle On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:19 am

the bin is 7 ft wide 5-6 ft hi 5 ft or so deep and 5 tons fits in it with spare room. an old window is gone and a door replaced it and now one just opens the door and fills the hod with a square point shovel which doubles as a ice chopping shovel!

you definitley didnt fill it deep enough....yet :)

wood is good but coal is king! you will see! :)
Poconoeagle
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Buckwalter & Co. , EFM520
Stove/Furnace Model: No. 28 Glenwood 1880, Alaska

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: titleist1 On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:35 am

If your preference is wood burning and it works for you, by all means "stick" with it. :)

If you are getting by on 2.5 cords then, comparing BTU output, you would probably only need 2.5 tons of coal or about $500 worth.

I stored my nut coal outside all winter in a semi covered pole barn, just piled on the ground and had no problems with freezing. I would bring it in via 5 gal buckets and never had a problem with cold coal killing a fire. After the pole barn collapsed in the third snow storm last winter I was shoveling coal mixed with snow into the buckets, the wet coal never killed a fire either.
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
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Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: coldcoal On: Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:36 am

Poconoeagle wrote:the bin is 7 ft wide 5-6 ft hi 5 ft or so deep


Yes, so this can stay outside and freeze? That or its on wheels and can roll into a garage that's about 40 degrees.

But back the the economics, lol, Here's a quote from another member from another thread... Big Bean I think
I go through 7 ton ish (bagged) also.I use a big wheeled wood cart to get it in the cellar,3 bags at a time.my local supplier sells coal right now for 299.00 a ton bagged


That's $2100 a season bagged. Now in my usage in 2 days, and seeing ya can't let up once it's going as evident tonight, is 60 pounds a day easily, should be 70 or more. Since I have no heated room for such a bin, nor such a bin, I have to be like most and get bagged. That's $1200 for 4 months, sure with barometers and experience might be $1100. Still $650 more than wood a year. I mean it's not a ton of money to most, didn;t used to be to me either, but you're again using coal due to low maintenance, not cost efficiency. Just stating the numbers as they are, don't mean to offend. :)
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