From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: LudlowLou On: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:25 am

I plan on making the leap this heating season (2011-2012). My appliance is a Vogelzang, Norseman 2500 (pic)
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Norseman 2500
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. It is an add-on, forced hot air unit, which has custom ductwork on 1st floor, and uses central A/C ductwork to reach the 2cd floor. Works great and is everything I expected after a couple tweeks. I have burned cordwood mostly, and some bio-brick for the last 3 years.

For obvious reasons, I am now ready and fully convinced that coal is the way to go. I have done my reading and have enough experience with my appliance for support. I understand that firing a coal fire requires patience, and God willing, I will have that as well. I have done business with Squire in Monson, MA and the advice and service is great, price is competitive, if not lowest. They stock Blaschak in all sizes. I anticipate using "nut" (aprox. walnut sized ?). I am planning on placing a 3 ton order, but need some reassurances.

My only remaining question regards Vogelzang product warning: "Not for Anthricite Coal burning". I am aware of the differences between bituminous and anthricite, but once again for obvious reasons why even consider the bituminous, aside from this warning? I called Vogelzang and they say 2 things (1) anthricite is harder to fire and keep burning, and, (2) the higher BTU's risk over-firing which may damage the furnace. Good advice, no doubt. But is it a deal killer? The Norseman 2500 is actually manufactered in China, and is well made. I have also noticed that it seems like a generic design/build with other stove merchandisers offering the exact same product under different labels. Pretty sturdy, the firebox is cast with firebrick, and it drafts quite well. Again, I am impressed with it and it meets all my expectations.

My overriding concern is safety. First, I do not want to burn down my house, and when I decided 4 years ago to proceed with a secondary heating system, I accepted that using fire requires great respect and awareness. Secondly, I must protect my investment choosing not to harm my equipment. I am more that aware of the increased patience required for coal burning, and also know that over-firing can crack the best made stoves regardless of warnings. Ever see a warning about STUPIDITY?

OK now for my requested information. Does anyone have knowledge or experience with my equipment and or concerns? Anyone out there got a Vogelzang Norseman 2500 or similar unit, and burns anthricite? Anything similar? General coal burning suggestions? Warnings?

Thank you in advance. LOU
LudlowLou
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Norseman 2500

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: CoaLen On: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:12 am

Lou,
I did a quick search on Vogelzang Norseman 2500 and came up with this:
New Vogelzang Norseman 2500 wood/coal
That may be of some help to you. There are a couple of other references to your furnace on the forum. You can do a search in "Hand Fired Stoves" to find them.
Good luck!
-Len
CoaLen
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Coal Size/Type: rice

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: Freddy On: Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:15 am

Well..... Here's the skinny on your type of furnace: It comes under the heading of dual fuel. ANY dual fuel appliance that coal is one of the fuels, the coal efficiency is going to suffer. The best burning coal stoves & coal furnaces are those that are designed to burn only coal. (Of course any coal stove can burn wood, but a dedicated coal stove will usually demand the wood be cut to odd sizes.) Coal like a compact, deep bed. The shape of the "pile of coal" has a LOT to do with how well it burns. A round chamber and a deep chamber are the best. As you get further sway from that shape, you start having troubles keeping the fire going, and have more heat go up the chimney. Coal wants to be 5 or 6 inches deep minimum. If you try to burn coal that's only 2 or 3 inches deep, it might burn, but more likely it will not maintain a fire, or if it does, you'll wonder why you're not getting much heat.
Coal demands it's air come from under the coal. Air comes up through the grates, up through the ash, and makes the coal fire a happy fire. Air does not negotiate it's way through wood ash very well. It will, some, but if wood ash is too deep it slows the air flow.
With your furnace, I'd start with a wood fire. Get it so there is a shallow bed of red wood coals, then add 2 inches of coal. Let it roar until "the dancing blue ladies" are over the coal. Add another 2 or 3 inches. Leave one corner open to the flame so you don't bet a puff back (a boom). When the second layer has blue flame, repeat until the coal is up to the top of the firebrick. When the blue ladies are dancing on the final layer, now you can shut the air down, make it your favorite temperature, & it'll maintain that temp for the entire charge of coal..... 8 to 12 hours?

With wood, more wood means more heat. With coal, more coal mean more length of time it will burn. The heat output is controlled by the incoming air, not the amount of fuel.

After the 8 to 12 hours, shake down the ash, leave the red, repeat. You will have issues with ash collecting in the corners & not burning well. You'll need to make a poker to poke up from under the grates to clear the ash.
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: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: LudlowLou On: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:10 pm

Thanks Freddy.

My experience tells me your exactly right. While burning wood, I can get a nice even bed of red hot embers in the firebox. It is at that point to sprinkle in a loose layer of coal, let it start, then another shallow layer, etc. I do not expect to treat it like cordwood....load and lock. Sounds like a good coal fire requires a couple hours of regular attention to start properly, and starting is the key to keeping it going.

Since my unit is advertised as wood/coal, and with my experience so far, I always had the hunch it could be done. I already had to tweek stuff; vents, returns,
fuel. Whenever I attempt something new there will be a learning curve. I just worried about the warning about "Not for Anthricite". Safety concerns aand not to forget finances. After all that's why I got into all this. I do not want to spend $1000 on coal, drag it all into my basement, then not have it work. Last winter we had 4 feet of snow. It was no time to be stacking and hauling cordwood.

I just want to do my homework and be sure. Then settle in for the holidays knowing my home will be toasty warm this season.

Thanks. LOU
LudlowLou
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Norseman 2500

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: Pacowy On: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:39 pm

I'd suggest starting with a few bags of coal rather than 3 tons. Even with an appliance designed to burn anthracite, learning to hand-fire can be a challenge. Here, you seem to be starting with 2 strikes against you - little experience and appliance not for anthracite. I'd suggest a "test drive" before you make any type of commitment.

I'm also not overly impressed with the quality of materials that are being used in some new heating equipment, even that designed for anthracite. When they put in the warning about anthracite causing damage through overfiring, it may reflect sad experience that you'd be better off not to relive.

If you're sold on coal, my vote would be to think seriously about finding another appliance to burn it. There's a market for lightly-used wood stoves, as there is for coal stoves - you should be able to make a lateral move without losing your investment.

Sorry if this sounds like I'm hosing your stove. I'm sure it's good at what it was designed to do, but I think you and it would be happier if the anthracite is burned with the right equipment.

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

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:54 am

LudlowLou wrote: I called Vogelzang and they say 2 things (1) anthricite is harder to fire and keep burning, and,


Certainly harder to start, keeping it going is a cake walk in a stove that designed to burn anthracite. It might be that it's harder to keep going in their unit because of the design. ;) The trouble with many of these wood/coal combos is they are built to burn wood and the coal *might* work and/or it will work with soft coal well. Realistically you can burn wood in any coal stove, the efficiency with wood and meeting EPA regs is another matter. The EPA regs is one of the reasons they can't label them dual fuel. Check your grates, you need all the air coming from underneath across the whole bed with some deep vertical sides. This wood coal/combo from EFM is ideal for coal, note if you have to ask how much it's probably too much LOL.

The efm WCB-24 hand fired wood/coal boiler

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If you don't have a firebox similar to that you'll most likely have a lot of trouble.



(2) the higher BTU's risk over-firing which may damage the furnace. Good advice, no doubt. But is it a deal killer?


I should know this but I don't, bituminous has similar BTU's as anthracite however there may differences in contact heat. I'll PM Berlin our local expert on soft coal and he can give some advice on that.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:02 am

Pacowy wrote:I'd suggest starting with a few bags of coal rather than 3 tons. Even with an appliance designed to burn anthracite, learning to hand-fire can be a challenge. Here, you seem to be starting with 2 strikes against you - little experience and appliance not for anthracite. I'd suggest a "test drive" before you make any type of commitment.


Yes here's great thread from last year, 16 pages that ends with a happy customer:

Lighting nut coal
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: stokersmoker On: Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:29 pm

http://www.ket.org/trips/coal/agsmm/agsmmtypes.html

Bit has a lower BTU output than anthracite. I'd bet that your stove was not designed to withstand the higher heat of anthracite, and would overfire as a result of using it. I know that there is a lot more bit than there is anthracite, and it is cheaper because of the quantity and the lower BTU output, but its supposed to be much dirtier. You'd have to buy more of it than anthracite to get thru the year. But if your stove says not to use anthracite, I wouldn't. I would start thinking about the pros and cons of using wood versus bit and make a desicion.
stokersmoker
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Super Magnum

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: Pacowy On: Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:53 pm

I know basically nothing about bit, but doesn't it normally take some overfire air? Even if the btu's in the coal were similar, it seems like the anthracite stove temps would be higher if the bit uses overfire air. Maybe a bit person will have better info on this.

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

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: wsherrick On: Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:22 pm

Good quality Bituminous Coal has up to 15,000 BTUs per pound. I used to buy coal that normally ran in the 14,000 range. Bituminous also has a much lower ash content than Anthracite. Good Bituminous has only around 2% ash. The difference is that the proportion of hydrocarbons is much higher in Bituminous coal and it should have secondary air over the fire to burn the hydrocarbons. After the hydrocarbons are burned off it acts just like Anthracite. I'm sure Berlin will fill you in on the details. If I could get good Kentucky Coal I would certainly buy some.
wsherrick
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Base Heater, Crawford Base Heater
Baseburners & Antiques: Crawford Base Heater, Glenwood, Stanley Argand
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut, Stove Size

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: LudlowLou On: Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:15 pm

Thanks for all the responses.....this website is great!!!

Here is a sketch of the inside of my furnace (Norseman 2500).
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I will add the actual photos early this week.

Some thoughts I had about using anthricite in this:

1. Ceramic firebrick? Should it be masonry?
2. Sloped sides of the firebox?
3. 9" depth" Thoughts?
4. Looks like I could add another row of firebrick for additional protection. I believe there are some posts where others have done the same thing with success.

In any event, I will take wise advice and try a few bags on anthricite before buying bulk. I also intend to discuss with some local coal dealers, maybe they have knowledge from other Norseman 2500 owners who have tried.

For budgetary reasons I cannot consider new equipment. I will not be foolish, but I will not give up on coal. Thanks for everything.....everybody!!!!!LOU
LudlowLou
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Norseman 2500

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: Freddy On: Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:35 pm

LudlowLou wrote:1. Ceramic firebrick? Should it be masonry?The brick you have should be OK
2. Sloped sides of the firebox?Is going to make it harder to shake down the ashes. Also, the coal may not settle as it should during the burn, this could leave you having the fire be OK sometimes and go out sometimes & you'll wonder why.
3. 9" depth" Thoughts? For that size box I'd think 9 would be minimum.
4. Looks like I could add another row of firebrick for additional protection. Might help. I do think it won't hurt the stove to try, but I do think you'll have trouble finding the trick to burning coal successfully in this stove.
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: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: LudlowLou On: Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:50 pm

Freddy, How about squaring off the slope? 10" bottom and a 10" top, 9 inches deep. LOU
LudlowLou
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Norseman 2500

Re: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: Freddy On: Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:25 pm

Seems it would have to help.
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: From CORDWOOD to ANTHRICITE......help

PostBy: titleist1 On: Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:47 am

A friend of mine that has a similar stove (US Stove HotBlast) with the sloped fire brick like yours, had to put a fan on the ash door to improve the combustion air supply to get it to burn anthracite well. He can now get 10 hour burns pretty easily.

I found a link to the thread that may help a little....

US Stove Hot Blast Furnace Problems
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