Daily ritual with Bit Coal

Daily ritual with Bit Coal

PostBy: stipton On: Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:54 pm

Been buring bit for a couple of weeks now. Really like the heat but I cant seem to get into a routine. Most mornings the boiler temp (owb) gets low due to the coal is pretty much gone. Before going to bed, I load up a couple of 5 gallon buckets in the box. I'm not sure of what I am doing wrong.
When filling up at night, do I remove the 'crust' or chop it up and mix it in with the new coal? Should I shovel it out, do a daily clean up?
I have shaker grates and usually give it a good shake before adding a load. I clean out the ash box once a week and it does get pretty full, compared to burning wood only, but does not block the blower under the grates at the back of the box. I did adjust the blower to about double the air when burning wood, about 1" instead of 1/2". I adjusted the temp from 160 to 180 thinking increasing the temp would keep the coal alive because at 160 the blower would only come on 2-3 times a full day, letting the coals to go out since the heat would hold so well.

Any suggestions or tips are really appreciated.


Re: Daily ritual with Bit Coal

PostBy: ktm rider On: Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:47 pm

I have an indoor AHS multifuel boiler. I burn nothing but bit coal..
The "crust" you are talking about is called bridging. It will vary depending on the quality of the coal you use. Do not remove it just break it up and kind of stir it into the fire.

This is my routine when I load up my boiler at before going to work.
1- turn off the combustion blower.
2- Open the ash pan door and shake the grates until red coal start to fall into the ash pan.

Loading the Coal

This is the part that is tricky, I usally fill the firebox completely. sort of smothering the coal fire. ( this only works if you have a good amount of red hot coals in the firebox already.) I then use a poker and get a good sized hole in the middle of the fire all the way down to the grates. You know you have a good hole when the combustion air only comes through this hole. You will know you succeeded because the fire will blast up through the hole like a blast furnace !!!
This works very well in my firebox because my box is more deep than it is long, like in an outdoor furnace.

In the case of an outdoor unit where the firebox is long and shallow, I would "Bank the coal on one side of the firebox and leave some of the red hot coal visible on the edge of the firebox. This is the science of burning bituminous coal and I think just about all boilers burn it differently. You just have to experiment and see what works best for you.
I would start out by trying the hole method.
I found that I can get about a 16 hour burn time with the "Hole " method when it is really cold out.

Tip: I usually throw a few pieces of wood on top of the fresh coal. This seems to slow down the bridging to some degree. Bridging is the death blow of bituminous coal fires. if you can control that, you will have a very good fire that will last quite a while. Some bit coal doesn't bridge hardly at all , and some will bridge no matter what. It is hit and miss.
ktm rider
Stove/Furnace Make: AHS Multifuel
Stove/Furnace Model: CO 55 with oil backup

Re: Daily ritual with Bit Coal

PostBy: stipton On: Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:17 pm

Many thanks ktm rider. You get used to one type of fuel and changing is like a whole new ball game. I really appreciate you sharing your bit tips and hope to have it mastered before the big snow hits. :)
I use a hoe with a forked end on the other side. Works well breaking up the big chunks of red hot. I will try the hole method this weekend so I can monitor the burning. My FIL has the same setup as I do, he's waiting until I master it before he babysteps away from wood.
Thank again and have a good turkey day.

Re: Daily ritual with Bit Coal

PostBy: ktm rider On: Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:55 am

You will never really miss the wood burning once you master coal. If the Hole method doesn't work because of your firebox demensions, give the banking method a try.

I know LsFarm also has some experience burning bit coal. Maybe he can chime in with his tips also. There really is no "Right Way" it is just what works best for you and trying to keep the bridging to a minimum. Once you figure it out, it is a great fuel source.

Another tip I forgot to mention is to stay away from the "Fines" which is just really fine, almost like a sand. I personally like burning the fines, it will swell up and then it is easy to do the Hole method. But, when you are first starting out stick with the lumps, atleast the size of a golf ball and bigger.
ktm rider
Stove/Furnace Make: AHS Multifuel
Stove/Furnace Model: CO 55 with oil backup

Re: Daily ritual with Bit Coal

PostBy: Duengeon master On: Wed Nov 21, 2007 8:16 pm

Thanks ktm Rider :lol: I will also try that. It sounds like a good idea! :D
Duengeon master
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harmon Mark III
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite pea and nut mix. Bituminous lump