New at this and VERY warm :)

Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: jschaefer7406 On: Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:03 am

Hello all,

I apologize in advance, but I don't know the first thing about burning coal. Always had oil-fired warm air heat (even growing up), so I know nothing of drafts, do's/don'ts, etc...

For a little background, my Wife and I bought our house in 2002. Two story victorian, approximately 1500 square feet. Had an existing Kogen coal furnace (not sure of vintage, maybe someone's heard of them?) in addition to the oil heat. Oil furnace is only 6 years old (Thermo-Pride too, real good unit), but the cost of fuel oil is driving us broke. Basement was flooded in '04 (hence the new Thermo-Pride), so the coal furnace was under water. Appears in good condition though, only concerns being the fan/limit control and blower motor were wet. Both still function, but not sure if the're safe...

I have been told that Chestnut coal is what I need, has a huge firebox and seems to be built well. I work nights though while the Wife and young kids are home, and don't want to risk using something of questionable safety/reliability without consulting the experts :). Seems like a good wealth of knowledge here, so here goes.

First off, there is currently warm air ducting already connected to the Kogen, but no cold air return. In the duct between the coal and oil plenums is a manual damper. If I open this, will the oil furnace still be able to keep up if we're away and the fire goes out, or do I need an automatic damper?

Second question is blower conrtol. I assume the blower in the rear is for circulation, not combustion air. Will the mechanical fan/limit control be sufficient to cycle this, or will I need a thermostat to control? My thought is, that since the coal heat is constant, the mechanical control will have the blower running non-stop. However, I am not sure...

Once I get this lit, how do I know what the draft settings should be? There is no barometric control in the flu pipe, just the manual control knob. Thoughts?

Sorry for being so uninformed here, just want to do this right. As said, never been exposed to coal heat before, so I know nothing :).

Thanks guys,

Joe
jschaefer7406
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Kogen
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoner

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: Freddy On: Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:07 am

Welcome to the Forum! I'm sure you'll get some help here. I'll start by asking a question or two. What does it have for a chimney? Is it separate from the oil fired chimney or do both go into one? Can you post a few pictures? Not only will that might help us figure things out.... we just love pics!

As with any house...what might you do to help make it use less energy to heat the place? New windows? Add insulation to the attic? Insulate the cellar walls?
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: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: blrman07 On: Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:10 am

Welcome to the road to being a burner. I tried to google the Kogen and all that kept coming up was reference to a city in China. I also found this little ditty: ....we take the name "Kogen" Taiko from a Buddhist Sutra, which means, "Light emanating from Buddha's Face." So maybe there are some hints about the origin of your stove.

If you suspect that your stove has been underwater there are some generic steps to take for any stove BEFORE you light that first fire.


First Post some pictures of your stove. It will save you and us a lot of typing to see it. Next make sure that there is no electricity going to the stove. Then open any electrical junction boxes and inspect the wiring connections. If there are wire nuts take them off one at a time inspect the connections and then put them back together before taking any others apart. If you find corrosion on the wiring, replace it one run at a time. Inspect the motors if you can. If you can't, pull them and take them to a shop and have them go over them. Now your ready to start on the stove itself. The goal is to replace any gaskets you see or can find. Water will cause them to be brittle and crack or break away. Inspect the flue pipe connection between the stove and the chimney. Make sure it's tight with no holes in it. Make sure that every moveable part on the stove moves freely. You need to ensure that you can open and close any dampers, doors, flaps, hatches, lids etc without any binding. Once the stove heats up, a stubborn joint or damper may become impossible to move.

Post some pics and welcome. Please fasten your seat belts and put your tray table in the full upright and locked position. We are preparing for light off.

blrman07
blrman07
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant Casting 2310
Baseburners & Antiques: rebuilding a 1906 March Brownback Double Heater, using a UMCO 1920's Pot Belly stove in the church
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Wood in the VC and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.

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Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: jschaefer7406 On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:31 am

Hello again,

Thanks for the warm welcome guys, means a lot. Here are some pics of the unit, sorry for the large file sizes and sideways pictures :)...

Front:

Image

Image

Firebox:

Image

Rear:

Image

Flue (both oil and coal use the same large chimney, as can be seen here):

Image

What do you guys think? Have had the blower running, not sure if theres anything internal to check. Other than mud residue, the limit control and blower motor shouldn't be damaged (weren't connected to any power during or any other time since the flood). Will inspect those connections and wire nuts though...

I am assuming that a barometric control is recommended to replace the manual draft control in the flue? I am going to attempt a trial run today, so any additonal insight is appreciated.

Thanks again,

Joe
jschaefer7406
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Kogen
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoner

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: WNY On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:37 am

Yes, a Baro Damper is a good investment and remove the manual damper. You can run without it, but it helps on the draft.
Field Controls RC type should work fine, Looks almost the same as your oil/gas burner baro.

Good luck. Just remember, coal takes time to respond and needs air from below. Make sure your pipes are good and you have a Working CO detector handy.
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:41 am

I see feathers and bird droppings! First task is to make sure all the pipes and the flue are unobstructed.
but the cost of fuel oil is driving us broke.

I just found out heating oil is at $3.19.9 right now in NW New Jersey. :shock:
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: jschaefer7406 On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:24 pm

Hello again,

Thanks guys for all of the insight. Was able to get a steady burn after only the second attempt (was kinda proud of myself ;)), started with charcoal and a couple of 2X4 scraps. Added a little at a time, waited 15 minutes in between. Had the ash door completely open, flue draft open, and feed door and it's draft were closed to prevent draft above the flame. All was well, fan was cycling and was getting decent heat. On the fan note, is there a recommended on and off setting for the fan control, or is it safe to assume that the previous owners have it dialed in okay?

Closed the bottom draft about half way and left the flue draft open. Stack temperature spiked @ just over 600F, so I closed both drafts completely to pull it down quickly. With both closed, the house is 73F (we only ran the oil furnace @ 68) and the stack temperature is currently 250F (not 100% settled yet I don't think, may drop lower). My coal supplier recommended at least 250F stack temperature, but didn't specify a maximum safe temp. Thoughts?

I guess my biggest concern is this. Is it okay to run this permanently with both draft controls completely closed? It's already very warm in here, not sure if it"ll be too warm if I re-open either one. If I do need to re-open either draft control, should one be adjusted before the other?

Overall we're extremely happy with it. Looking forward to the savings and warmth of coal ;).

Thanks guys,

Joe

P.S. - I do have a good CO detector with PPM readout and so far I see no reading, so combustion must be okay?
jschaefer7406
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Kogen
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoner

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:06 pm

Joe,

It sounds like you are dealing with the first fire syndrome. Upon lighting it, you kept the drafts open to get it going. However you didn't realize at the time how coal works. It is not an on off type deal. With both drafts open, it was heating up a bunch of coal. That will produce a bunch of heat. It will probably settle down over night.

Coal takes a while to heat up and a while to cool down. Enjoy the higher temps while you learn where to set the drafts. I think that for now you should keep the flue draft wide open and just open the lower draft a little. You will be regulating the heat output by the lower draft. If needed you can always use "window stats" to cool the house down.

The previous owner probably had the fan set properly but you will have to check it out. In due time you will learn where to set the draft controls based on heat load and outside weather conditions. You will also learn how to anticipate temp swings either way and where to set the draft. Keep a log. It will help you down the road.

A baro damper and manometer may be something to look into.

Enjoy the heat and welcome to the dark side.



Rick
Rick 386
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:08 pm

welcome to the dark side


:D :twisted:
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: Ashcat On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:35 pm

Glad you're warm! Given that you are learning about burning coal on the fly, and you are not real familiar with the status of your equipment (and chimney?), consider at least one CO detector for every floor of your house. CO density is similar to the components of air, so you can't bet your life on it reliably rising to the top floor or sinking to the lowest floor. Another investment might be hiring a chimney expert to look over your chimney and overall setup, with safety issues being the primary immediate concern.
Ashcat
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Blaschak

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:37 pm

Good advice!
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: jschaefer7406 On: Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:46 pm

Hello again,

Happy new year guys, thanks for the help. Burning real good, ran over 16 hours on the first fill :).

House is still too warm though, even with the draft completely closed. Was 80F in here last night before bed (1-2 AM), that was after running several hours with the draft completely closed and the flue damper completely open. Was just as warm with the flue damper closed as well. Stack temperature is running 250-350F...

Was around 72F this morning before filling, and ran there for about the first hour or so after filling. Steadily climbing though, now @ 78F and still climbing. How can I cool this thing down any further, being that the draft is already closed? Maybe sucking some draft past the ash door seal?

Help!! :)

Thanks as always,

Joe
jschaefer7406
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Kogen
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoner

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: david78 On: Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:56 pm

You could open the draft control in the loading door a little. Works on my stove.
david78
 
Baseburners & Antiques: Fuller & Warren Splendid Oak 27
Coal Size/Type: Nut

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: Short Bus On: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:27 pm

Sounds like an air leak,

Check gaskets on doors.
Grate shaker handle hole looks like a big leak.
Is KeyStoner a knock-off of KeyStoker ?
Information on your chimny would be good, it is possible you have to much draft, dare I say a baro would help this.
I'm still nervous about the bird droppings in the stove, even though it burns good be carefull about nests and small bodies in the stack, they could shift and plug things up.
Be safe.

Maybe this post should move to hand fired?
Short Bus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Kewanee boiler with Anchor stoker
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut / Sub-bituminous C
Other Heating: Propane wall furnace back up only

Re: Never burned coal before...advice?

PostBy: cabinover On: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:58 pm

Can't remember if you had a barometric damper installed, that may help you slow the fire by letting drafts pull air from the room instead of through the coals.

On my father in laws stove his stack temp when idling along is below 200°F with very little under air and manual damper closed before the barometric. Of course your situation will be different, your stove is about 4 times the size of his little Chubby. He runs his regular Chubby the same way though with the same results.
cabinover
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Hybrid Axeman Anderson 130
Baseburners & Antiques: Sparkle #12
Coal Size/Type: Pea, Buckwheat, Nut
Other Heating: LP Hot air. WA TX for coal use.

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