Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: docmatt On: Sat Nov 03, 2007 6:50 pm

Hey guys,

I'm new to Pa and to coal stoves, but our new house has a big Alaska Stove. I am literally clueless to the terminology you guys are using so even reading the old posts is not helping me. So I thought I would see who really felt like being helpful.

This stove has a rear loading "box" as I call it with a screw on it that has a red "washer" that seems to adjust how much coal goes down the ramp onto the "stage" as i will call it. So when you look into the stove from the front, the "stage" as I call it or "ramp" feeds down into a bucket that is also full of coal. I just don't get it. Why is the bucket full of coal as well? I would think it would be burnt up before it got to that location. There is a dial on the switch that seems to turn on the blower, but does that too turn on the stove or feeder?

I have a whole closet full of coal in my basement and I would love to get this baby going, but I am not really comfortable that I know what I am doing. This is a great house with a great stove vented well. I just need to learn the details.

I would even be willing to pay someone to come give me some instructions.
docmatt
 

PostBy: gaw On: Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:01 pm

Your loading box is a "hopper", your stage is called a "grate" (it is full of little holes going through the surface). The bucket you refer to is your ash pan and yes it should be full of ash, not coal. If you run the stove without lighting the coal you will fill the ash pan with coal.
Hope this helps for starters. I'm sure someone with a similar stove will soon jump in to give you more detailed info.
gaw
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice from Schuylkill County

PostBy: jpen1 On: Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:26 pm

DocMatt,

Check you PM I sent you some info on the stove plus contact info. I sure you will recieve lots of help here.
jpen1
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler

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PostBy: Matthaus On: Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:31 pm

Welcome to the forum docmatt, from what you described I believe you have an older style Alaska stove. If you PM me with your address I can send you a copy of a manual that will help get you started along with Jpen's excellent advice and information he already sent.

In the mean time if you post a picture we can all know exactly what you are dealing with.

One other recommendation is to read the thread on lighting you stove. That has many points of view with regards to getting a stoker going.

Whatever you do don't give up, we will make sure you get the step by step information to be toasty warm in no time. :)
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

Re: Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: docmatt On: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:12 am

Thanks Jpen, and thanks everyone. I'm starting to understand things a bit. So here is a little more info you might want. The stove is an Alaska Stoker Stove Kast Console II, 60,000 BTU, 70lb hopper, 2,500 sqft heat capacity. It is located in our finished office in the basement. on tile with a two elbow vented pipe going out a brick wall behind it. Multiple power cords going to and from it, and a closet next to it with a wall built to store coal. The coal in it may be really old for all I know (I guess sort of like calling a geriatric patient wrinkled...expected perhaps!!) Our house has a main floor (approximately 1100 sqft, upstairs where all 4 bedrooms are located (another 900 sqft, and the basement with a family room and office both finished (probably 500 sqft). The stairs come out in the kitchen with a door that can be closed. Any idea what amount of coal I need to get to make it through the winter? I have that shoot in my wall that has maybe 6 cubic feet left in it. Can I expect this stove to be my only heat source, as I have natural gas central heat and floor registers in all bathrooms? To make matters more confusing, my upstairs living room has a Kodiak cast iron wood burning stove that I feel I can operate without a tutorial thank goodness!!

Also, anything specific I should do before I try and light this bad boy? I cleaned out the ash pan of the frsh coal and dumped it back in the hopper. I found matchlight brickets and some wood shavings in little bags with small perhaps coal chunks. How much coal should be on the grate to light it, and if I hear that fan does that mean it is blowing the heat into the house?

Thanks guys, and I would have uploaded the pics but they are too big and I don't know how to make them smaller files.

Matt
docmatt
 

Re: Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: Matthaus On: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:47 am

The coal being old won't hurt anything, as you said it is all old! :lol: :lol:

You didn't mention if it had a barometric damper (is a round piece that fits into a T in the pipe and has a door that can swing in on it). If it doesn't have one you need to install one, if it doe have one you just need to vacuum the fly ash out of the horizontal runs of stove pipe. Also from inside the stove vacuum the pipe where it leaves the stove and make sure the elbow is not filled with fly ash.

You may still have to supplement the heating with your natural gas unit, since it is a furnace there is very little extra cost related to starting and stopping it. I would recommend setting the Tstats at whatever temp you would like it to come on and then run the coal stove. As long as the coal stove can keep up your gas furnace will never run. :)

I would expect you will use 3 to 5 tons of coal if you run the coal stove continuously. All the power cords you see are pretty simple once you understand where they go. There should be a plate that is attached to the stove with a electrical junction box and a small fan on it. There should be one power cord that comes out to plug the stove into the wall. There also may be a power cord that goes to a metal box on the side of the stove. This is a fume switch to prevent overfiring the stove. There should be two power cords coming out of the junction box that can connect to items on the stove, one goes to the distribution fan (up by the coal hopper) and one goes to the stoker/combustion blower assembly under the hopper. These cords may have rheostat cords hooked into them so that each can be adjust separately, or there may be one rheostat knob on the junction box (older Alaska stoves had both configurations). If you hook everything up the way I described you should be ready to light the stove.

I would recommend picking one of the methods in the light your stove thread and then just plan on a couple hours to figure it out by trial and error.

One more thing, if you do not have at least 3 CO detectors in the house that are newer than 5 years old I would go and purchase them and install one near the stove and one at either end of the sleeping areas. I also highly recommend that you have the one near the stove be of the type that gives a digital read out for CO level. If you have existing detectors you should replace the batteries now (I do this at the beginning of each burn season).

Please do not light the stove till you have installed/verified CO detectors. :shock:

I hope all this rambling has helped a little. :)
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

Re: Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: stokerstove On: Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:08 am

Matt, It sounds like you have the same basic stove as I do. The first thing I would do before lighting it is to make sure the chimney and pipe are clear - you need to be sure your getting the proper draft.

Others have provided very good info for you. I use about 4 tons of rice per season for my 1500+ sq. ft. 2 story house.
The stove normally runs continually thru the season with the only exception being if we have a warm spell in Jan. I will shut it down and clean out the ash buildup.

I light mine with a pre-made starter bags purchased from the main Alaska store in Bloomsburg - this is the easiest way I've found. Don't know if anyone has mentioned it yet but go to the store in Bloomsburg and they will help you out with many of your concerns - very nice people to deal with and they stock all the parts needed for your stove.

Once you get the stove running I suggest sprinkling the coal with water if its dry to keep the black dust to a min. I do this regularly with no ill effect.

Bob
stokerstove
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Kodiak Stokerstove 1

Re: Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: docmatt On: Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:20 am

Oh boy, I am rocking and rolling now! I used those little bags full of shavings and black chunks (they sparkle at first and stink up the place a bit, but then all is good!). I think I have the barometric deal you speak of, as it is on the elbow and is a circular dealybob that moves as far as 90 degrees and you can see into the elbow. No dust or ash anywhere in the vents...I think this baby was rarely used. I have a CO detector, digital, plugged in about 8 feet away reading 19 ppm right now. Not sure what to think of that. But it is really getting warm!!

Also, the column of burning coal is working it's way back toward the Hopper instead of making it's way down the grate. Should I open the grate a bit more? Good times fellas...good times for this Texan doctor!! My wife is actually from Berwick, Pa and I am here finishing up my residency in emergency medicine. So if any of you see Lifeflight overhead, think about my Alaska Stoker!! Keep the advice coming!

Thanks again for the offer of assistance Jpen. I might have to take you up on it.


Matt
docmatt
 

Re: Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: Matthaus On: Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:52 am

Enjoy the heat Matt! :D Sounds like you are set to save some money and enjoy a nice even heat.

At maximum fire the coal should be burning all the way from the top down to within a half inch or so of the end, there should be no burning coals falling into the ash pan. At minimum burn the burning coals should be a inch wide or so at the top of the grate and the rest ash. Note: the fire should not go all the way up to the top, there should be a inch or two of fresh coal there.

If the CO detector stays at 19ppm, then check the draft to make sure that you have enough (or the door gaskets on the stove might be shot). Jpen can help you do that, he is a good guy. :)

Enjoy! :junmp:
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

Re: Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: jpen1 On: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:45 pm

Doc Matt,
I was certain you recieve good advise here as were are sort of like a family of sorts. We try to pull together our knowledge and most of the time collectively we can find solution to about any problem. I would as Matthaus suggests keep an eye on the CO level to see if it stays up around 19ppm or if it drops off. It could just be from the door being open during the lighting process. The door gaskets are something you may want to consider changing anyway considering you have no way of knowing when they were replaced last. I replace mine every 2 seasons as the gasket costs less than $10 at a stove shop or good hardware store. I have the same problem posting pictures but the solution for me is to just shrink the size of the image and let the pixels alone. :) Most of the time my camera takes pictures at 40 X 60 inch so if I shrink them to say 4x6 I can get the image to a size that fits the board's allocation. My guess is about 4-5 tons of coal per year and I think the stove will handlemost of the heating load but on hte really fridgid days you will need the furnace to assist. Feel free to give me a call if you need help or if you have any questions.
Jim
jpen1
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler

Re: Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: docmatt On: Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:11 pm

The CO level is averaging about 9 now. I have the stove burning at full blast now and have not opened the door for hours. One cool thing I realized is that I have this fan that is in the wall of the office to the family room that pulls the warm air from the coal stove room to the rest of the house. I have the same fan built in a wall in another room where the wood stove is . I'm a little concerned about the 9pm CO that doesn't seem to go away, but I'll worry more if it's still that way after I change the door gaskets. Should it really be reading zero all the time? Thanks you guys for all your assistance.
docmatt
 

Re: Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: jpen1 On: Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:59 pm

Mine reads 0 unless I have just lit the stove or I have the hanging door cover on the unit waiting for the glass to cool down so I can clean it. Only in one instance did I have a reading higher than 5 ppm. Is the barometric damper opening up at all now that you have it at a full burn?
jpen1
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler

Re: Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: coal berner On: Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:07 pm

Hi Docmatt yes you CO should always be at 00 keep an eye on it if you can move it around the stove and house to see what it is reading You should go and buy a few more and put them threw out the house just like fire detectors and make sure you buy some that are battery powered in case of power outage they make plugins with battery back up aswell take care and injoy the heat :D
coal berner
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Alaska Coal Stove, I'm Clueless!!

PostBy: docmatt On: Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:45 pm

It's down to relatively zero now most of the time unless I am lighting it. Yes, I le it go out last night because I accidentally lowered the carpet feed too much. It was a royal pain to get re-lit today. I think the matchlight charcoal I have is old. I can't get that crud lit with a direct flame for a minute. Finally up and running again tonight. One other question I have is about how comfortable I should feel cranking this baby up. Earlier I had a 5" orange column in my grate and the walls were almost too hot to touch. The closest sheetrock walls are about 3 feet away caddie-corner to the front and sides of the stove. The back is brick and the floor is tile. I lowered the column to where it is burning now about 3" of a column now.

Matt
docmatt
 

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