Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

PostBy: jefsboys On: Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:55 pm

Hello,

I have an old coal stove(Weil McLain Co, Series 5), not sure of year but the house was built in 1904. I have closely looked over the data plate on it and the Serial number space is blank.

I live in South West Illinois(zip code 62277)(just across river and south from St. Louis, MO about 45 minutes) and there are a lot of coal mines in the area, well use to be but I believe there are still some close enough that an hour or so drive would get me there.
The previous owners had a gas boiler installed and it is currently providing the heating for the water.
When the owner had the gas boiler put in he left the old coal stove in the plumbing loop but simply had shutoff valves put in place to keep it from the loop while not in use. This could be very handy for me as I really just need to open the valves and the water will be circulating through again. The circulating pump and everything is still in the loop.

I have included a pictures of this old thing.
It does have a significant crack in the front plate but I think a welder should be able to take care of that no worries. The gaskets between the plates would need to be replaced I am certain.

Just below are some pics I have of this. I can certainly take some more and dig up whatever is needed to assist.

I am not sure where to look for assistance on getting this old thing possibly going again. It seems a waste of a few thousand dollars to buy a replacement if I can get this one going again. As I said it is all plumbed in, just needs some fire going and to open the valves up.

Image
By jefsboys at 2011-10-31
Image
By jefsboys at 2011-10-31
jefsboys
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Weil McLain Co
Stove/Furnace Model: Series 5

Re: Old Coal Stove rebuild

PostBy: blrman07 On: Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:07 pm

I was a state and ASME licensed boiler inspector for 27 years.

I looked at the photo you posted and the this is an OLD cast iron sectional boiler. Each section is joined to the next one by push nipples which are like un-threaded pipe nipples. The sections are pulled together onto the push nipples by the threaded rod that connects the sections together at the top and the bottom. The boilers were made to be repaired by removing cracked or damaged sections and replacing them with new or in good shape used ones. There is no welding of the sections that is going to hold for any length of time and especially with the size of the crack you have.

The boiler could be usable again MAYBE if you can find a replacement front section. You would have to replace the front section and then do a hydrostatic pressure test of the boiler to see if any other leaks exist. If it has been sitting for a long time, the push nipples may have corroded and rusted badly. If you can't find a replacement front section then you have about $50-75 worth of scrap iron.
blrman07
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Leisure Line Econo 1 stove
Coal Size/Type: Rice in the LL and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.

Re: Old Coal Stove rebuild

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:00 pm

Is that a stoker unit placed below the boiler...
The boiler exaust looks like it dips down to the chimney...
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: Old Coal Stove rebuild

PostBy: rockwood On: Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:41 pm

It's rare to see a boiler with underfeed stoker still in position like that. Most commonly, decades ago, the stoker would have been removed and a gas/oil burner put in it's place. If it weren't for that crack, you would have a good set-up there :(
Edit: Looks like you have some original coal furnace tending tools hanging on the wall to the left of the old boiler too.
Last edited by rockwood on Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
rockwood
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Stokermatic coal furnace
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Rockwood Stoveworks Circulator
Baseburners & Antiques: Malleable/Monarch Range
Coal Size/Type: Soft coal: Lump and stoker (slack coal)

Re: Old Coal Stove rebuild

PostBy: McGiever On: Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:48 pm

Might he just take the scrap money and park another good used steel boiler over that stoker?
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: Old Coal Stove rebuild

PostBy: jefsboys On: Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:41 am

The boiler has been sitting for quite a while. If someone is reading this that might know where to find sections to this please let me know. Actually I would need 2 sections. The backside of the second section is cracked also.

Yes, that is a stoker unit, looks to be all there.

The exhaust does come out of the unit and then dips down before entering the chimney. Not sure why.

Yes, the old tools are still in there place and ready for use. :-)

If all else fails and if a new unit could utilize the stoker then I am certainly up for that also.

I am very thankful for the input on this.
If anyone knows where to get those sections I would appreciate any input there.

Also, if there is anyone here that is from the St. Louis/Southern IL area that I could have inspect I would greatly appreciate it.

Please keep the input coming on this as it will help me make a decision.
My goal is really to get something other than the gas in there by next winter if possible. The gas boiler still works fine but is costing a lot of money to operate.

I like the old coal boiler in the house, it is part of it. I am actually renovating this house right now and have kept it period accurate the best I can. I have learned how to 3 coat plaster over wood lathe and have updated a few areas where I patched the walls to metal lathe. Also refinishing back to the original oak hardwood floors keeping the old character to them(refinishing with Waterlox(tung oil)). Great old house and that coal burner is part of it, but if it has to go then I guess it will be.


Thank you,

Jeffrey
jefsboys
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Weil McLain Co
Stove/Furnace Model: Series 5

Re: Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

PostBy: Berlin On: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:10 pm

I would keep an eye out for the sections, but should you not find them I wouldn't worry. You can easily set any large coal boiler over the stoker and begin using it. Keystoker and EFM make boilers that, with some small modification, will work very well for this use and they're readily available used.

Here is one forum member that did just that:

EFM = Electric Fireman (new project alert)
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

PostBy: steamup On: Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:12 am

This boiler has not been made for decades. It will be very hard to find sections for it. Replacing sections on a cast iron boiler is not an easy task, especially on this old of a boiler.

If two sections are cracked, then some sort of major bad event happended to it. Chances are that there will be problems with the other sections. Note that the section gaskets are most likely asbestos.

The poorly installed flue pipe is another indication that this boiler will not be an cheap and easy fix.

I would recommend finding another boiler to set the stoker under.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

PostBy: jefsboys On: Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:42 am

Thank you all for your input.....
I am going to begin looking for a replacement boiler as I am throwing hard earned money out the window on this gas bill, actually leaving the house a little cooler than the family would like, me also.
I have 1900 sq. ft of finished space that this will be providing heat for.

I will look on ebay and would be grateful on any leads from members here if they are aware of any for sale.

I am in Illinois just on the other side of the Mississippi from St. Louis.

Looks like I might get to open that coal chute that was filled with concrete blocks.

I have been in contact with a local plumber/heating cooling company and he seemed happy to help out and can put a liner in the chimney.


Thank you,

Jeffrey
jefsboys
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Weil McLain Co
Stove/Furnace Model: Series 5

Re: Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

PostBy: Sting On: Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:56 pm

The Vessel is a lost cause -- but the IronFireman is a big prize

8-)
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas

Re: Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

PostBy: Berlin On: Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:25 pm

You DO NOT want a liner in the chimney. If the chimney is intact, you do not need nor want a liner with coal. Stainless liners do not increase safety and they fail rapidly with coal.
SS liner woes
Do I need a stainless steel liner for my chimney?


Good luck on your search. you might want to pm europachris and see what he has to say as he is close to you and can help you out with coal suppliers.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

PostBy: jefsboys On: Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:53 pm

I thought for sure he was referring to a clay liner.

Above the roof the outside of the chimney looks great, looks recently pointed.

I have left chimney exposed in a couple of the rooms in my house during the renovation for the look. There is some mortar that is nearly completely missing between a few bricks. I am wondering if I removed the walls all the way up and down the chimney what it would look like, but that is a lot of work when going back with 3-coat plaster.

When you said not to liner it were you just referring to a SS liner?

Thanks also for the reference to possible assistance in my area.

Jeffrey
jefsboys
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Weil McLain Co
Stove/Furnace Model: Series 5

Re: Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

PostBy: Berlin On: Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:46 pm

There are very few people who will re-line with tile any more. Stainless is just faster and easier with a nice big profit margin for the installer. A coal-burning chimney does not need a liner of any kind to operate safely (tile or stainless) unlike a wood-burning chimney with its associated creosote dangers. Is the chimney currently lined with tile? is the chimney one or two bricks thick? Post some pics of the areas where you mentioned mortar missing. A few joints crumbling on the outside are not a problem. With coal you have no sparks, creosote, or chimney fire danger; nothing will be trying to "exit" the chimney before the top as the chimney is under negative pressure - there is a prevailing myth (to the financial benefit of "chimney professionals") that smoke and/or gasses will try to escape the stack through a poor mortar joint or so - this is not true. Post some pics of what you've identified as potential problem areas and the stack as a whole and we will be able to make an accurate decision of what may or may not need to be done to ensure safety. Check your PM's
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

PostBy: jefsboys On: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:18 pm

Here are a couple images of the parts of the chimney in question....

Image
By jefsboys at 2011-11-21

When looking into the crack below I can see the end of the brick on the right but then I can't see past that as there is mortar blocking the view.
This one is a close up from above....

Image
By jefsboys at 2011-11-21

This is an exposed wall now.

Thanks in advance for input....
jefsboys
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Weil McLain Co
Stove/Furnace Model: Series 5

Re: Old Coal boiler and bituminous stoker questions

PostBy: Berlin On: Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:07 pm

It seems that the stack has actually separated in that area, that's not simply mortar being loose. does the crack continue above and below the problem area? Are there any cracks in the lower portions of the stack in the boiler room? If the crack is simply in that area and does not extend much above and below it, remove the cracked bricks and loose mortar and, using type n mortar, fix the problem area. hopefully the crack(s) do not continue throughout the stack or we will have to do further investigating to determine whether there is a foundation problem and whether or not this could continue or it is simply initial settling on a poor footer and has stabilized.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal