Lighting nut coal

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: Bear038 On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:51 am

Yea PE, I have not been a good boy this year, maybe Santa can put about 3 tons in my stocking. It will just be that big orange stocking with the four black tires, drawbar, high sides, angled bottom, and small door on the side.
Bear038
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: coalkirk On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:49 am

Wow I missed all the fun last night with this thread. Didn't read the whole thing but as a recovering wood burner, I can tell you to forget everything you thought you knew about burning a stove. Coal ain't wood. Someone may have already told you this but DO NOT STIR THE COAL AROUND WITH A POKER! Coal does not like to be messed with like wood embers. Glad you hung in there.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:26 am

titleist1 wrote:I'd open the ash door first for about 5 minutes to get the coals stoked up before shaking down and adding coal.

Short & choppy on the shake down so you don't get coal stuck between the grates and dump your hot coals into the ash pan. Stop when you see some embers falling into the ash pan.

Leave the ash door open after adding coal for about 15 minutes to get the new coal fired up.

Load it to the top of firebrick again and enjoy the rest of the day!

Each set up is a little different so your times may vary a few minutes here or there.


Yep, this is the way to do it. However, capturing escaping flyash is very important to me because my stove is in the family room so I never shake my stove with the ashpan door open. I did in the beginning but the flyash got all over everything. Now that you know that may be an issue, watch and see just how much flyash does escapes as you shake the stove with the open door. Because I shake with the ashpan door closed I've learned to look for other signs that I've shaken enough. Watch the air intake value. It will start to glow and once that glow is a steady bright orange, you are ready to move on. Or you can watch the depth your coal bed falls during the shaking. You can expect the coal bed to drop 3 or 3.5 inches from a thorough shaking. Sometimes the shaker bar will jam - don't force it. That means you are clearing more unburned coal then ash. Go away and come back later. What was blocking it generally will have burned up. Finally, wait 5 or 6 mins for the ash to settle before you open the door to empty the ash pan. Then look at the shadow of the coal bed in the ash pan. Are there any dark spots? If so take the 1/4 rod with a wooden handled you made at the local hardware store and gentle poke that area. Now you are done. Because flyash is my enemy, I always have my shop vac on in the general area when I'm emptying the ash pan.

Remember, this routine works for us but you may find something better for you. No worries, it's all coming together. Hey, you woke up to a warm house. What a concept! Take care, Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

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Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: Ashcat On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:57 pm

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?
Last edited by Ashcat on Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ashcat
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Blaschak

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: coldcoal On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:29 pm

Ashcat, still going strong! I indeed am not keen on 7 inches of coal as I have 2 missing firebricks in the front and one in the rear. I also am still in disbelief as to how much it uses. Frankly I went to coal to save on the 175 a month a cord for wood, this might be more, jury still out there. Yes it's easier than wood, sure, but I sorta liked maintaining the wood fire as the day went on. (I lead a quiet slow reclusive life and it gave me a mission, also why I like axing wood)

On the thin bed yes it was, but after 15 mins the new 'full' load was all red and cookin'. I have now gone down to 1.5 turns out instead of 2. It seems to be settled nicely there staying at 220 stack temp.

Hambden Bob wrote:Not bad,not bad at all,,,,I lay down for a nap,and I awake to you've got a coal fire going and you still have legs on your furniture !

Download the factory manual for your stove from Harman. Get all you can from here,and in no time you'll pay these guys back by contributing from your time on board.


Lol, and on the second line about the manual we don't really know what model it is. Frankly as I have burned wood in it for years it seems to be just learning the airflow, and loading enough. Not sure what else a manual would tell me that hasn't been kindly spelled out by ya'll today.

titleist1 wrote:Ya know....you learned in 9 hours what it took me about 2 years of trial and error to learn. (the second year was relearning what I couldn't remember from the first year) But that was before the internet and a great forum like this one! :D


And great days they were! When I grew up we called people on the phone, now the kids today text there way through life. The human element, the soul of life, all severely in trouble. Thanks for the praise!

Richard S. wrote: if you have a lot of creosote this same hazard exists until its been removed.

Last but not least get a CO detector.


All out and cleaned, yes, I said I had the sweep in and that's all good. I have a 24 foot chimney too, so always loads of draft. The coal, or wood, reacts audibly with big wind gusts.

On the co detector, soon! Yes, soon is the word. I had a splitting headache last night, but it's gone now, so I'm ok! :D

lowfog01 wrote:Start with 1 or just a smidgen more in the day and open it to 1 1/4 or 1/2 at night and see what kind of heat that gives you. It will save you on coal, too.


Lisa
Exactly right, at 1.5 now. 2 last night was ok as the house went to about 50 degrees, now holding steady at 1.5.
coldcoal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: 3 warped grated useless beast

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: Bear038 On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:02 pm

Here is a link to the harman page for coal stoves. If you have 3 grates it is most likely the Mark III

http://www.harmanstoves.com/products/pr ... oal-stoves

Click on your model, and you will find a link to the instruction manual. You have already learned most of this in the last day, but independant cooboration is nice to have. Harman requires a barometric damper for the stove to run properly. The baro works basically to keep the actual draw over the fire from varying with the wind and other factors. It also helps to hold the stack temp down.
Bear038
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:12 pm

You will burn too much coal in the begining...
As you throw off your wood burning ways...
You will learn the way of coal burning...
Get some bricks to replace the missing/broken ones...
Get a second thermometer for the front of the stove...
Deep fire bed...
top of the back bricks and mound from there...
Fill and shake every 12 hrs...
Get two bags of Cowboy for future restarts...
When you startup next time cover the grates evenly with Cowboy...
you will use the entire bag...
Once that is blazing hot add the coal slowly at first then double the amount each time...
1, 2, 4, 8, 16 scoops/lbs...
Sprinkle evenly...
if the air can get past the coal it will not burn as well...
Like making a layer cake you want the entire grate covered to the same depth until you hit the top of the front bricks...
Once you got the hang of keeping the fire going you can fine tune and bring your coal usage down...
Bulk coal is cheaper...
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: SMITTY On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:16 pm

Yeah, good point by Capecoaler that reminded me to mention: Keep each layer even & level -- in other words .... don't pile the coal in the center, or wherever there's red. If you do that, you'll only have that one section burning. If you keep it level & equal, the fire will spread evenly over time. When it's mounded in one spot, the fire tends to stick to that one spot. When your finished loading, it's ok to have a mound in the center. Actually it's better that way. So to clarify: keep it level until it's all lit & ready to go for the night (or day).

Glad you woke to a warm house! The hard part is done. Now it's all just a matter of fine tuning. 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: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: coldcoal On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:38 pm

Great advice all, can't tell you how much I appreciate the insight.

So Barometric dampers. Ok so I see the regulate the wind gusts that I hear sucking in air once in awhile by pulling house air into the chimney instead. This makes the coal last longer and burn more steadily. So, can they be placed on a horizontal pipe? I see them primarily mounted on verticals like this.

Image

Since my vertical is inside the chimney, and the elbow is close to the opening bricks, no way to mount one vertically. I'm sure the answer is yes, just checking. I imagine it would point sideways as opposed to facing up or down.
coldcoal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: 3 warped grated useless beast

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: titleist1 On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:47 pm

Yes you can put them in a horizontal or instead of a 90, you can put them in the end of a T like this...

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Which allows me to get a shop vac wand through the baro opening to clean out the fly ash quickly without shutting down the stove a couple times per season.

Lisa made a great point about closing the ash pan door due to the fly ash while shaking down the stove. After the fire livens up with the door open, I close the door and open the spinner knob all the way for the shake down.
Last edited by titleist1 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: JBorden On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:48 pm

You can mount them horizontal...thats how I have mine.
JBorden
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Chubby

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: PC 12-47E On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:52 pm

Fields Controls has pics of all the ways to mount the baro damper.
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PC 12-47E
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Estate Heatrola, Jotul 507

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: coldcoal On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:54 pm

titleist1 wrote:
Which allows me to get a shop vac wand through the baro opening to clean out the fly ash quickly without shutting down the stove a couple times per season.


Ok good news. Now you raised another question. You have to clean the pipe out 2x a season? 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. I'm probably not shaking the grates enough as it is, and again the gray spent coals on the edges you can shake all ya want but they don't go anywhere. Seems they need to need busted through with the poker. When I shook for the morning load about 5 shovel fulls of ash dropped, maybe 3.

Great pic pc12, thanks!
coldcoal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: 3 warped grated useless beast

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: PC 12-47E On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:10 pm

coldcoal take a look at this attachment pdf....
You have lots of options on baro placement.
Read down through...They have lots of pics for solid fuel placement.

Page 7 Instalation options.... :D 8-) :idea:
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PC 12-47E
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Estate Heatrola, Jotul 507

Re: Lighting nut coal

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:21 pm

coldcoal wrote:
titleist1 wrote:
Which allows me to get a shop vac wand through the baro opening to clean out the fly ash quickly without shutting down the stove a couple times per season.


Ok good news. Now you raised another question. You have to clean the pipe out 2x a season? 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. I'm probably not shaking the grates enough as it is, and again the gray spent coals on the edges you can shake all ya want but they don't go anywhere. Seems they need to need busted through with the poker. When I shook for the morning load about 5 shovel fulls of ash dropped, maybe 3.

Great pic pc12, thanks!


Remember, coal does not make creosote. There is really no reason to have the sweep in every year. What a coal fire does produce is flyash. Flyash does not burn. Flyash will however accumulate along the horizontal runs of black pipe or at T junctions. How much flyash accumulates depends on the strength of your draft. Some stoves with a strong draft never get a build up at all. If you don't remove the flyash it can block the draft in your stove. When you put your Barro on, put it on a T joint so that you have an easy access to the black pipes. Then just stick your vacuum down the Barro once or twice a season and you are good to go. You don't even need to shut the stove down for this operation. Be sure to use a "drywall" filter bag or you will have flyash all over the house.

There are some things you should do to the chimney after the season but a sweep is not necessary. I take care of it all myself from the ground. I wouldn't worry about that right now but if you want you can do a search for spring maintenance. There has been a lot of discussion on that topic. Take care, Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

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