Frustration.

Frustration.

PostBy: Bluemax On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:17 am

Hello Folks, as I said in an earlier post on here, ive more or less been lurking for around two years on this forum, reading every bit of information that I could and then retreating to my basement of doom for trials.
I finally registered today as Im about at my wits end, and need some input.
warning.. This could be a big post with alot of rambling, my appologies!


I live in an almost 2.5k sq foot house, built in 1876. 2 livable stories, and then a sandstone lined basement, dirt floor, and an attic.
The interior of walls is wood slab and im pretty sure filled with horse hair and newspaper =p

Regardless, Im not in the $$$ zone to re-insulate an entire house.
The house leaks like a sieve but I CAN crank that furnace up on good days and keep the house around 78-80 degrees ( More or less out of spite as the wife constantly complains of being cold. So, I go above and beyond to make sure
everyone..is..nice...and..warm...heh )

I purchased a US Stove Hot Blast 1550 after I thought was some intelligent research.. apparently..I was wrong.
Im currently on my second winter with it.

Ive been burning bit coal 90% of the time, only now Im trying wood sheerly due to frustration and the frustration only continues.

1. the draft I have is immense. Im plugged right into the masonary chimney, and it has some serious sucking power. 6" pipe to chimney
2. I had a baro damper installed, (but is currently removed and capped off with the wood burning adventure)

People talk about clinkers. Some say they have a couple, some say they have none.. No matter what I do, no matter what draft settings:
1. I have to shovel that @#()!@#$ furnace out constantly as it is nothing but clinkers. Big chunks of spent @#()!@#$. Its hardly, rarely, ever ash. Of course there is ash..but it is 90+% solid material
I have to remove. At first I assumed it was the coal quality.

Living in coal country, I have access to many types and sizes and quality of coal. I have tried them all. This last attempt was fuel destined for a power plant,
nice, shiny, clean coal. No rocks. No metal. clean. pretty. Barely put out the heat and still left me with a clinker mess of doom.

And Im constantly feeding it. Constantly. Like every 2 hours Im going down and feeding this beast.

I can close the ash door, close the draft as tight as I can get it, matters not.

I can honestly say I have only had 3-4 times that I can think that I have had my coal burn all night.
And when I say that I mean it loosely, as Ill get up at 5am to get ready for work, rush to the basement and there will just be a faint orange glow,
which Ill then gingerly shovel out the mess and reload and cross my fingers it lasts long enough till I get home so the wife does not have to fool with it.

Is it me? is it the stove? is it the draft? The fuel?

Ive now gone wild with a chain saw, slaying the old locust trees around me which that furnace can burn through a 20+" by 10" log with an hour.
I spent hours cutting wood last night until around 12am. Filled the furnace with these gigantor locust logs, went to bed, up around 5, rushed to the furnace. coal. dead. nothing but fine white ash.
Im at a loss.

Im about to hire someone to sit in a chair by the furnace just to maintain it all day for me. =p

:(

The problems I had (apart from the stove being a monster..)
Bluemax
 
Stove/Furnace Make: US STOVE
Stove/Furnace Model: Hotblast 1550

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: freetown fred On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:37 am

If you live in coal country, pick up some anthracite ( nut I suppose) & see how it goes. As for blame--yep, you & the stove. Post some pix of your set up. It's a lot easier to give suggestions when we can see what we're dealing with. Later my friend. Sooo, you're burning green Locust, oh yea, you'll get some heat off of that in about 5-10 yrs. :(
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: Bluemax On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:45 am

freetown fred wrote:If you live in coal country, pick up some anthracite ( nut I suppose) & see how it goes. As for blame--yep, you & the stove. Post some pix of your set up. It's a lot easier to give suggestions when we can see what we're dealing with. Later my friend. Sooo, you're burning green Locust, oh yea, you'll get some heat off of that in about 5-10 yrs. :(


lol. Coal country as in, that is the majority of everyones livlihood. We have a plethora of coal mines. But no anthracite, or I would of jumped on that.
But there are numerous grades and types and sizes of coal, it just happens to be cheaply and readily available from just about everyone. I can think of 5-6 dealers in my county alone.

Green Locust? No. These thick trees have been dead for years. I live in the middle of a heavily forested area. Finally just went mad and went a wacking away on them last night.
At work at the moment, but will post pics when I arrive at home.
Bluemax
 
Stove/Furnace Make: US STOVE
Stove/Furnace Model: Hotblast 1550


Re: Frustration.

PostBy: Bluemax On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:57 am

Pittsburgh #8 is what they call it around here.
Bluemax
 
Stove/Furnace Make: US STOVE
Stove/Furnace Model: Hotblast 1550

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: musikfan6 On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:05 pm

Bluemax,

You sound like you have a temper similar to mine when it comes to stuff around the house! :) I get quite disgusted and angry when stuff like that doesn't cooperate with me, especially when it's something that affects the whole household!

My sympathies are with you. I wish I knew what to tell you, but I'm a novice here as this is my first year burning coal. But I can certainly give you my encouragement, to hang in there and you WILL find a solution to your coal burning woes. This is a great sight and there are so many people here who have AMAZING experience with coal and will set you in the right direction. I guarantee you will have it figured out before winter is over.

I lived in a 3500 square foot victorian farmhouse with walls that seemed to be about 4 inches thick, and old rope and chain windows that were worthless. I was burning oil and wood at the same time and barely kept my house at 68 degrees. I noticed that you said your house is between 78-80. That's pretty toasty. Could you back it down to the lower 70's? I don't know if that would make much difference in your coal consumption,though. That temperature just kind of struck me as on the warm side. We get up to maybe 74 in our house, and I know that personally, that is pretty warm for us - but everyone is different and has their own preference.

Anyway, best wishes to you and hang in there!
musikfan6
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco Belge
Stove/Furnace Model: 1475

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: Stephen in Soky On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:14 pm

What size bit are you burning?
Stephen in Soky
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: 500

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:22 pm

Hello Bluemax, what is happening is you are burning so hot that your Bituminous coal is reaching it's 'ash fusion temperature'.. that's when the ash is hot and molten, and fuses into those big clinkers.

I had the same problem using Bit coal in my 'big bertha' wood/coal boiler. In order to create enough heat to keep the water warm, I had a VERY hot coal fire. And on wood?? well I could eat a face cord of wood per day.. [1/3 of a full cord].

The problems you are having are many.

First, what is the original type of heat in the house? I'm assuming a fan-forced hot air system, since you mentioned a furnace, not a boiler.

The US Stove units are not really good at extracting much of the heat out of the fire and exhaust gasses. You can measure this with a 'laser' or infrared no-touch thermometer, available from Home Depot or Harbor Freight. I'll guess that you have temperatures in your 6" exhaust flue over 400*.. That's a LOT of heat going up the chimney..

The wood/coal furnaces have to be inefficient, because they have to have heated surfaces that are easily accessed from the fire side to scrape and clean the creosote off the firebox. If the stove was designed just for coal, then the design can be made to have more passageways,and extract more heat from the hot exhaust before it goes up the chimney.

You have a big advantage living in Bituminous Coal Country, and having ready access to lots of mines and breakers. So I'm going to concentrate on what to do with your 1550 burning Bit COAL.. not wood.

If your chimney has a very strong draft, that's part of the problem,, reinstall the baro, and also install a manual pipe damper right at the outlet of the furnace/stove. you want to try to keep more heat in the furnace, longer, [the MPD] and reduce the draft on the entire firebox with the Baro. You need to get or borrow a Manometer to KNOW and SET the draft. Otherwise you are guessing.. But if you have a very strong draft, if you set the baro's manual setting for the sliding weight on the baro's door, it will at least help..

Next, try to get the specs on the coal you are using, you want to have the highest AFT [ash fusion temp] you can get. this will help reduce the clinker formation, but unfortunately won't eliminate it.

Then, make sure your stove is sealed,, many of these US Stove units have poor fitting doors, loose draft control flappers an if you have an electric combustion fan that doesn't have a flapper over the air inlet, then you must install some kind of air control on the fan's inlet, or just remove the fan and plug the hole..
You have a runaway fire in your 1550, you need to slow it down..

So, by reducing and controlling the draft and exhaust gasses leaving the stove, and controlling and reducing the combustion air entering the firebox, you should be able to lengthen the burn time, but you will create less heat output.. the fire will not be a raging inferno, more under control.

The last suggestion, is the mound the coal as high as you can in the firebox, it doesn't matter if some of the mounded coal touches the firebox above the firebrick, it won't burn there anyway, it will burn down near the grates. Mound the coal as high as you can, all coal likes a DEEP fire, it will burn longer and possibly make fewer clinkers. DON'T stir the fire when hot, this shoves the molten ash together, then it stick together into those amazing clinkers..

Lastly, I'm going to move this thread to the Bituminous forum, since you are unlikely to try anthracite, and maybe some of the Bituminous Guru's can make some addtional suggestions..


OH, what I'd REALLY suggest is keeping an eye on Craigslist and your local papers, and buy a Combustioneer stoker furnace, or buy a stoker conversion unit like a Will Burt , Iron Fireman, or similar underfeed stoker conversion unit,, Both of these are designed to burn Bituminous coal, and do it well, you keep a hopper full of 'stoker' size bit coal, and you remove clinkers that form above and around the firepot, with 'clinker tongs' . The workload is much lower, the furnace is designed to work with Bit coal, and you will have a much better experience burning coal..

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

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: freetown fred On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:24 pm

Ahhhh, one of them thar Ohio burners. Maybe just a lousy load of Bit--I know with Anthra. there is some pretty crappy stuff out there some (very few) A-hole dealers, try to off on people.The biggest thing I love about this FORUM, is that I learn things--if a grumpy old fart like myself can still learn, by God, anybody can. ;) By the way, what Greg said above. :P
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: Berlin On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:54 pm

Greg gave some good advice. The hot blast stove you have is a MAJOR part of the problem. The clayton's are better, but not by a huge margin. What you need is a good appliance with NATURAL DRAFT. you don't want forced draft- this will give you clinkers. A stoker is nice, but hand-firing bit coal can be done with very good success and just as much ease as hand-firing anthracite - in the right stove. The hot blast will leave your house a dusty smokey mess.

To make what you have now work best:
-NO forced draft, you will get clinkers
-allow some air over the fire
-use the BIGGEST lump coal you can find
-use #8 or #6 coal
-Central fuels sells a very good #6 large lump
-fill the firebox as high as it can go; coal needs a DEEP bed
-install the baro and set the weight at -.04 to -.06
-DON'T use forced draft


(btw, do you have smoke spilling into the house when you re-load? ditch the 6" diameter pipe between the appliance and the stack and you will cut down on that substantially - go with a reducer immediately before the stove collar and neck it down to 6" only there - keep the rest at 7 or 8" to the stack; 8" is always best when burning bit coal)
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:10 pm

I'm not sure my suggestion of a MPD is a good idea with BIT coal.. I'd try Berlin's suggestion of an 8" flue with Baro to control the draft, and skip the MPD. A MPD in a Bit chimney flue will probably clog up within a day with soot, that 's why Berlin is suggesting an 8" flue, it won't restrict the airflow when a layer of soot lines the inside of the flue pipe.

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: Frustration.

PostBy: freetown fred On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:20 pm

My question, what will the soot do to the baro?
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: Rob R. On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:01 pm

freetown fred wrote:My question, what will the soot do to the baro?


It can collect on the backside and throw the calibration off. An occasional "tap" with the shaker handle should knock most of it off...or a quick once-over with a wire brush.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: coal bob On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:19 pm

freetown fred wrote:Ahhhh, one of them thar Ohio burners. Maybe just a lousy load of Bit--I know with Anthra. there is some pretty crappy stuff out there some (very few) A-hole dealers, try to off on people.The biggest thing I love about this FORUM, is that I learn things--if a grumpy old fart like myself can still learn, by God, anybody can. ;) By the way, what Greg said above. :P

Yea us coal burners in ohio are slow learners,but sooner or later we catch on lol
coal bob
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Ds machine basement#4 stove with hopper
Coal Size/Type: Nut anthracite
Other Heating: Propane
Stove/Furnace Make: ds machine
Stove/Furnace Model: basement #4 stove with hopper

Re: Frustration.

PostBy: steamup On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:04 pm

Let's approach this from a basic engineering prospective. I googled your heater and got the spec's off of tractor supply website.

First of all, you have a 2500 sq. ft. house. The heater you have is rated at 139,000 btuh. That's 55.6 Btuh per sq. ft. design. This is good number for a fairly poorly insulated house. However, your heat loss could be worse if you have a lot of air leaks.

Second, solid fuel heaters are rated at peak fire. When the fire is building and banking, their output is less. (This is why I like stokers.) You generally have to oversize solid fuel, hand fired heaters. So the 2500 sq ft number the heater is rated for is more likely a better insulated house than what you have.

Third, the heater holds 70 lbs. of fuel. Let's say you have good coal at 12,000 btu/lb. The best you can hope for is 80% combustion efficiency. So, 70 lbs x 12,000 btu/lb x .8 eff/139,000 btuh equals 4.8 hour burn time at full fire. Wood has less btu content per lb than coal, so it will burn quicker. In reality the fire will last longer because it will take time to build to full fire and time to idle down. Welcome to the world of hand firing- been there, done that.

Previous statements about ash fusion temperature where made. You are having clinkers because you are firing hot and long.

So, in conclusion, your heater is marginal for the size and type of house you have. The hopper fuel capacity is no where near what it needs to be to last all night. It will struggle with your house.

I understand the dollar limitations. First thing is to attack the air leaks with weather stripping and caulk when weather permits. This is the most bang for your buck.

Unfortunately, there is no quick solution to your dilemma. You will have to rely on you backup fuel to get you through the night or get up every 4 hours to feed the furnace until you get a different furnace or improve the energy efficiency of your house.
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: Frustration.

PostBy: Berlin On: Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:17 pm

Steamup is absolutely right. In addition to the hot blast just not being a very good or convenient furnace, it is undersized for your home.

You need either:
-A larger hand-fired furnace
-A bit coal radiant stove in the house like a big DS machine (first floor etc, much less losses than a ducted furnace)
-A bit coal stoker stove or furnace (tending required only once/24hours)
-To get up every 3-4 hours throughout the night and feed the stove :|
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal