New (to me) Axeman 260

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: tsb On: Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:32 pm

Grant and Smitty sat around Vicksburg for a few months drinking, but that doesn't help much.
I agree that Sherman through Georgia would work.
tsb
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Binford 2000
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Pioneer top vent
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Saey Hanover II

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:22 am

Steve, if the weather that just arrived her in Michigan is the same when it gets to the coast, your AA is going to be able to 'flex' it's muscles again.
At noon it was mid 40's and rain, it's now 16* and about an inch of snow on the ground.

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:12 am

That's fine with me Greg. Should be picking up five ton on Thursday and I love that thermostat in the 70's.

Such decadence!!!! It's incredible, at probably 1/3 the cost of oil I'm staying completely warm physically, stimulated mentally and content spiritually. Its like hitting the lottery, graduating from college and listening to a fine sermon all in one!

God bless coal fired stoker boilers.
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:25 am

Hi Steve,
Yes it is just amazing.. and if you had paid someone to to the work for you, half of the fulfillment would be unrealized.

I'll bet you are still visiting the basement at least 4 times a day ! ??

Greg
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: Pacowy On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:38 am

Townsend wrote:Greg, here are a few pics of the house. The pics are a few years old but suffice to show the size of the 161 year old Victorian. Keep in mind that the very rear of the structure is a one car garage and a mud room that are both currently unheated. That will soon change in that I am planning a hot water leg off the Axeman to take the chill out of them. The estimate of the 80-90lbs is just that, an estimate. But I think it is somewhat close from marking the level on the interior of the coal bin and filling it back up to that mark while counting bags. Whatever it is I'm very happy with it!

Like we talked about, I think I owe the efficiency to a combination of things, namely the well sized and designed header, properly sized main pipe vents and the fact that the coal, while sitting in idle, keeps the boiler water near steaming temps. Also the fact that an AA has an uncanny ability to go from a dead idle to, as Coaledsweat puts it "the flaming gates of hell" rather quickly. It has been very cold here lately and I am amazed at the short run time to satisfy my thermostat. Even my good friend who is a steam guru was here over the weekend and he commented on how quickly the rads warmed up and the nice short run time. Greg, you brought up a good point in that unlike hot water a steam system does not have that drastic of a temp drop for return water, in steam's case meaning the returning condensate.

I will explain further along about the particularities about steam as I post more pics of skimming and blow down. But to answer your question, yes, after that first skimming I noticed a much cleaner sight glass and less surging while steaming.

I also installed the new gauge that reads from 0 to 3 lbs pressure. Thanks to the proper venting, especially those big Gorton main vents, the pressure on my system to run until the TT is satisfied has not gone over 4 to 5 ounces!!!!! I think that helps tremendously for efficiency. Also, the nice big cast iron steam radiators stay warm for a good amount of time and with steam they are 212 degrees not 180 or so as with hot water, so they put out some heat. Just think about that steam easing through the piping without the boiler having to break a sweat. And it was down to 11 degrees last night! I have posted some pics of the new gauge, as well as a corresponding view of the much larger older gauge. Talk about building them right. The thing was dead on when compared to the new gauge. That nice big hand stayed right at the quarter pound mark as the newer showed 4 ounces. Unreal. My friend who gave that to me, the steam guru I mentioned above, told me how the old gauge has a spring to take up the back lash in the gearing mechanism to aid accuracy. He said it looks like a watch in there.

Like I mentioned before, I'll probably do one more skim soon to make sure all the oils from the new piping job have cleared out and I will post pic and explain accordingly.

I appreciate the interest in steam boilers and I hope that what I have learned (and am still learning) on steam systems can help others who have this fine old method of heating.


Congrats on the excellent results from your careful planning and hard work. Over the years (don't make me count them!) I've owned a few old houses with steam heat, and have always been happy with it.

A few thoughts:

- I think a high idle temp contributes to the responsiveness of the system, but detracts from its efficiency. I wouldn't go out of my way to keep the boiler water "near steaming temps" beyond whatever happens at a normal idle in order to minimize unproductive heat losses.

- It sounds like your system is very quiet, but I think the steam may be tricking you a little bit into thinking it's not working hard. If you take the cubic feet of steam that it takes to move the output of a boiler like yours and divide that by the cross-sectional area of the pipes you're moving it through, I think you'll be surprised at how fast the steam is moving. That's part of how it gets the house temp to respond quickly as you describe.

- Another big part of the power of steam systems that sometimes is overlooked is the fact that steam radiators not only achieve a higher temperature than do hot water radiators, but also convey the btu's associated with the "latent heat of vaporization" of water when the steam condenses back to water in the radiator. If I recall correctly, the output of a steam radiator is about 60 percent higher than than the output of a hot water radiator of equal surface area.

Overall, I'm glad that the movement to hydronic heat hasn't taken with it all of the old steam systems. As you describe, they can be very effective at providing comfort in drafty old houses even in New England winters.

Mike
Pacowy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:49 pm

You are correct in that steam does move very quickly. My use of the term "easing" was meant to convey the lack of pressure the steam faced due to the efficient main vents. Since steam can occupy 1,700 times the amount of volume than water in it's liquid state, there certainly is some fast movement, especially with low pressure. I'm sure that is why my radiators get hot so quickly now that I addressed the near boiler piping and venting.

Mike, I'm not sure what else I can do in regards to my boiler water temps as to assist in efficiency. I have the aquastat set at 170 with a 20 differential, and I have never heard the boiler fire unless there was a call from the thermostat. Yet, whenever I check on the boiler it seems to be quite warm, almost like a simmer. My draft with the baro is fine and the ashing appears normal. I would like to calculate a more precise measurement of coal consumption. Perhaps I'm using a higher amount of coal as judged by other 260 owners, I do not know. It seems though that there will be an expenditure of fuel somewhere in the ball game, either being burned at a slightly higher rate keeping temps up and thus inducing a quicker steam and TT satisfied sooner, or running a cooler idle temp resulting in a longer firing to bring temps up to steaming which would make boiler fire longer. It seems that either way coal is going to get used. I guess figuring out the best rate is a goal but I'm at a loss at how to tweek it, and honestly I'm quite satisfied. Maybe it's the honeymoon period and I can't help but be pleased, but quick calculations show an estimated substantial savings over what I had for oil costs. Plus, it is one large warm house even though it is hampered by old windows and the need for better attic insulation.

I know you have some solid experience with steam and coal so any advice is much appreciated and keep the ideas and tips coming. Also, seeing that you are somewhat close geographically maybe you can head down sometime for a tour, some good food and beer. :)

Thanks,
Steve
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:52 pm

Actually, I'd like a look at that big Mills boiler and unique coal bin you have!!!
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: Pacowy On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:19 pm

Steve -

Thanks very much for the invite - I don't seem to get out much, but I'll try to take you up on it. And if your travels bring you this way, I'd be happy to give a tour. :D

I think the heat loss generally is proportional to the temperature differential, so it's somewhat more efficient to let the boiler idle at a cooler temp and then ramp up when needed. I have close to 0 familiarity with how the Axemans (Axemen?) work, so I'm not going to be much help with the details; maybe other 260 owners could chip in with ways they use to calm it down when it's supposed to be resting. It sounds like the aquastat settings currently are moot. Generally I'd go with whatever is needed for other uses you make of the boiler water (hydronic loops, DHW, etc.); it probably doesn't need to stay at 170+ if all it is doing is idling.

Mike
Pacowy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:05 pm

You really can't lower the idle water temperature below a certain point in an axeman. The amount of heat loss due to radiation will just about equal the idle fire heat output. The water will retain heat at a given temp, and you can only raise the temperature above this point.
In the summer, this stablized temperatur will rise, due to lower heat losses due to lower radiant heat loss, and temperature differential with ambient air.
I suspect this is why so few Axemans have the insulated boiler jacket. the heat loss is needed to control idle water temperatures..
and this is why the stoker/fan interupt high limit aquastat is needed to keep from running a 'keep fire' timer every hour if the water is already at say 220*.

You just cannot reduce the size of the fire in an axeman, so you have to control the water temperature with either a dump zone or what i'd suggest for Steve would be a
small circulator to run the domestic hot water through the pipes in the house, to get hot water up to the tap at the kitchen sink, and maybe a downstairs bathroom,
the heat loss from the DHW pipes may be enough to offset the lower heat losses in the summertime. a return loop of pex to the boiler would be needed.


Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:38 pm

Greg and Mike, thanks for that information and I'm pleased to hear that because that is exactly what I have planned, both the hot water loop for the garage and mudroom that I mentioned as well as the domestic hot water. Also, I'm very happy to have gone with the Axeman for my steam system because I think those traits mentioned are desirable for one pipe steam.

I purchased all the copper for the dhw and as mentioned before I have the mixing valve as well, so I am close to tackling that project soon. The directions with the valve describe keeping it between 8 - 12 inches below the outlet of the hot water exit at the boiler. Coaledsweat and Freddy have mentioned this too and I was hoping someone can explain the reasoning/need for it. I have invested a lot of time in learning about steam systems (albeit I am no expert by any means) but I think now I need to find some good literature for hydronic systems. The directions also indicated to have the "T" orientated so that the hot water comes in from top and cold from the bottom. See attached PDF for specifics.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q= ... Pg&cad=rja

Anyone have some good titles/authors for learning the basics of hot water systems?
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Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: crazy4coal On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:18 pm

When a full head of steam is up it travels about 70 MPH
crazy4coal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: buderus
Stove/Furnace Model: logana

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:36 pm

Townsend wrote:Anyone have some good titles/authors for learning the basics of hot water systems?


http://www.heatinghelp.com/products/Sup ... h-The-Flow

http://www.heatinghelp.com/products/Hot ... egenthaler

I own Dan Holohan's books and have found them to be an excellent resource. I recommend starting with those, if you read them and still want to know more...John Siegenthaler's book is probably the most complete and thorough reference for hydronic heating, and the one to get if you are the engineering type. If you just want to know the basics and hook up a few extra zones, Dan's books will certainly do the job.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice/buck
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: AA130FIREMAN On: Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:55 pm

Townsend wrote: The directions with the valve describe keeping it between 8 - 12 inches below the outlet of the hot water exit at the boiler. Coaledsweat and Freddy have mentioned this too and I was hoping someone can explain the reasoning/need for it.
That is how I set mine up, I would say it should help prevent ghost flow. http://nepacrossroads.com/download/file.php?id=15732&mode=view
AA130FIREMAN
 
Stove/Furnace Make: axeman anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130 anthratube

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: McGiever On: Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:33 am

Townsend wrote: The directions with the valve describe keeping it between 8 - 12 inches below the outlet of the hot water exit at the boiler. Coaledsweat and Freddy have mentioned this too and I was hoping someone can explain the reasoning/need for it.


Reason is to provide a *heat trap*...which eliminates a constantly replenished supply of buoyant hot water from traveling upward and being in constant contact w/ the valve body and would drastically shorten the life of the valve.
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: HARMAN MAGNUM
Hand Fed Coal Stove: RADIANT HOME AIR BLAST
Baseburners & Antiques: OUR GLENWOOD 111 BASEBURNER "1908"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE, NUT-STOVE / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: New (to me) Axeman 260

PostBy: Townsend On: Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:10 pm

Wow, did I learn some good lessons these last two days! :shock:

Started out simple enough in that I needed to replenish the coal bin. Had planned on taking trip to a Penn breaker but time did not permit so I headed out to purchase here in Connecticut. I had done business with a dealer called Household Coal in New Britain for years and the owner, Al, is always a great guy to me. Unfortunately I learned that he was going out of business after 56 years of family owned coal sales. I was also dismayed to learn that he had no more pea coal. I explained about how the Axeman would also burn buckwheat but that I hadn't tried it yet. He did have some buck and led me to it. Now, I had never seen buck before and was not really sure what size it would be. The buck coal looked a bit small for me but since I was not feeling like running all over the state I talked myself into getting some. Al suggested trying a few bags before committing to a big purchase. I was going to only get 5 bags but then I thought to myself that maybe I could strike a deal and get a decent price for some bulk. Al was receptive to a deal so I was going to get a ton but due to his loader having some issues I ended up only getting a half ton. Thank goodness.

Came home with the buck, or so I think its buck, (could be rice, see below for pic) and here is where I started to make mistakes. The coal was wet and I disregarded that. The Axeman has been handling wet pea (Hmmm, that just doesn't sound good...Wet Pea :? How about 'Pea sized coal that contained water) and the AA has had no trouble with it. So, I just started filling up that oil tank with it, arrogantly confident that my 260 can handle anything. I filled that sucker up! I figured that the coal would dry in short order, just like the pea, and all would be well.

Next day the buck must have made it to the auger still wet cause it wasn't feeding worth a dam. I had to hand load through the transfer head a hod full. Got it going well and then thought that maybe it'll be fine cause I started seeing small amounts of the coal coming through the tube, very slow still, but I hoped it would increase. I go to bed somewhat tentative about this foray into buckville.

I go downstairs this morning and the fire is tube/box is almost empty! :shock: At this moment I know it is not going to be an easy day.

Ended up emptying by hand the entire oil tank contents of mostly that buck and the pea that was on the sides of the doghouse. I learned that getting into and out of, as well as working inside the close confines of a 275 gallon oil tank is not something a 6'2" man can do easily. I never knew I could bend like that. I also learned that it's easy to get into the tank when it is nearly full of coal, but that getting out of the oil tank after emptying it is a bit more difficult when there is a no step stool or other device handy. In my case, a shovel leaned against the tank wall was improvised as a step.

I then went and picked up a pallet of Blaschak pea coal. Off loaded the truck and carried the bags into the basement.

I then cleaned the auger tube out as best I could and loaded a couple test bags of pea so as to see if the 'Pea sized coal that contained water' would feed. It fed nicely and the tinkling of the auger tube was music to my ears. I loaded a total of 45 bags into the bin. It's running wonderfully again.

So, its probably gonna be an ibuprofen morning tomorrow but as for tonight I will drink a couple of central nervous system depressants and watch some hockey.

Questions, comments, concerns? Oh, I have a couple questions,..What size coal is that? Can I still use it when it dries? I'm leery of even putting it into my bin again and think that maybe I'll just hand feed it every now and then.
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The contents of the 2/3rds full 275 gallon tank.
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Empty tank (bin) Notice the step ladder this time!!!
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Ahh, that's more like it. Pea coal making it's way into the fire tube.
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Last edited by Townsend on Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

Visit Lehigh Anthracite