Woke up by the smoke alarm

Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: Smokeyja On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:18 am

About 30 minutes ago I was woken by the smoke alarm on the first floor. I previously loaded the stove about 2 hours ago and had the flue open about an hour to make sure the volitales burned off properly. Once I had the stove tame I shut the MPD, like I normally would, and layed down on the couch and watched stove . I only do this because I don't trust bit coal all that well still. So I finally felt comfortable with it and closed my eyes then I woke up to the damn smoke detector and at first I thought it was the CO alarm and with a baby and a wife upstairs I jumped up quickly and looked at the stove and it was
Kicking out smoke pretty good filling the first floor with that bituminous stench! I quickly opened the MPD all the way and the fire roured back up ... I have the windows open and I had to layer ash on top of the coals to keep it tame .

I know I should have just run anthracite this year but I wanted to try my hand at Bituminous . For whatever reason I'm not good at it and it doesn't seem to ever burn off all the volitales. It just always wants to rour and if I try to control the damper with out a routing fire it will just eventually back up and smoke on and off though. This is the second this has happened it happened to my wife last week during the day randomly. But after most of the bit has been coked the stove runs perfect and steady and burns to a fine ash but we are talking hours for it to coke.

What am I doing wrong? I know I have a slight air leak at the top of the door that I bought parts to fix but I don't know what is causing the flames to go out and the smoke to back up. I just don't have this problem with the anthracite in my 414a and the funny thing is , as you all know, it's supposed to be the super Bit burner with the flues that burn off volitales .

I think I'm just going to keep this stuff for blacksmithing and continue with the anthracite. I already picked up a pallet for the winter :) .

Now my house smells like a Smithy ! And my nose burns . I'm Just glad I got the smoke out before it went up stairs . I opened the windows at one end of the house and opened the door on the other and shot it right outside.


Now I finally have it where blue flames are coming out the flues and I am only closing the MOD 3/4 of the way and the stove is quiet and steady again. Now it will be good for the rest of this morning before I go to work . It just seems like such a hassel to wrangle this thing for so long . Anthracite is poke , ash, load , leave mpd open for 15 minutes, close , set bottom damper and leave and never have one problem.
Smokeyja
 
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood #6 baseheater
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Nut

Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: Lightning On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:32 am

My bit burning is quite limited but what I found was it needs a totally different air feeding scheme. The first time I tried it, I tried to burn in like anthracite. It puffed out black tire smelling smoke and took a long time for the odor to clear my house. It seemed like a 2 stage burning process to me. For the first 3 hours of a fresh load I would run 20% under fire air and 80% over fire air then I could go like 70% under fire air to 30% over fire air. This seemed to be the only way it would work for me, but maybe there is a better solution :lol: Hopefully some more bit burners will chime in. After the first few hours it kinda burned like anthracite, slow and steady with a controlled heat output. I still have a few hundred pounds of it to burn up. I had the best luck with the bigger softball size chunks. The smaller nut sized chunks would gas off fast and flash it seemed.
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: Smokeyja On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:35 am

Lightning wrote:My bit burning is quite limited but what I found was it needs a totally different air feeding scheme. The first time I tried it, I tried to burn in like anthracite. It puffed out black tire smelling smoke and took a long time for the odor to clear my house. It seemed like a 2 stage burning process to me. For the first 3 hours of a fresh load I would run 20% under fire air and 80% over fire air then I could go like 70% under fire air to 30% over fire air. This seemed to be the only way it would work for me, but maybe there is a better solution :lol: Hopefully some more bit burners will chime in. After the first few hours it kinda burned like anthracite, slow and steady with a controlled heat output. I still have a few hundred pounds of it to burn up. I had the best luck with the bigger softball size chunks. The smaller nut sized chunks would gas off fast and flash it seemed.


I have the same experience as you. I have about 700 lbs left but I will use it in a coal forge.
Smokeyja
 
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood #6 baseheater
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Nut

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Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: lobsterman On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:02 am

I think it is part of the joy of bit, needs more draft.
lobsterman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Glenwood
Stove/Furnace Model: Base Heater No. 6

Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: freetown fred On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:29 am

OK, here come the Grimm Reaper--what you did wrong was trying to fix something that weren't broke, thought that grass was greener on the other side of the fence. Josh, I am real grateful that this was not more serious then it could of been. I hate to get all paternal & scold, BUT ( oh hell I don't hate it at all, all my kids are gone) ;) Lesson learned! I've had the oppertunity to try some bit but passed because I don't understand it as well as anth. & the Hitzer has been doing great with anth for 4 seasons. Again, glad everyone is OK.
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: Freddy On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:16 am

I'm glad all is OK. I've never tried Bit, but from what I've read, anthracite has a learning curve and Bit has a curve, a twist, a nasty side, and a sore that slowly heals. Once you get past that, you're all set!
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: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: Lightning On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:24 am

freetown fred wrote:OK, here come the Grimm Reaper--what you did wrong was trying to fix something that weren't broke, thought that grass was greener on the other side of the fence. Josh, I am real grateful that this was not more serious then it could of been. I hate to get all paternal & scold, BUT ( oh hell I don't hate it at all, all my kids are gone) ;) Lesson learned! I've had the oppertunity to try some bit but passed because I don't understand it as well as anth. & the Hitzer has been doing great with anth for 4 seasons. Again, glad everyone is OK.



Hey man, thats respectable - its good to run with what works.. But in the event that we're forced to use bit for what ever reason, its good to have some of the learning done. Just don't try bit unless your home to monitor the progress and learn from it. :D
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: KLook On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:28 am

I started out with some free Bit. and you are correct in how it burns. It is more like wood in that it gives of volatiles and they need to be burned over the top. Anth. just doesn't have those volatiles.
KLook
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman (Back In Maine)
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000

Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: rockwood On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:48 am

Smokeyja wrote: Once I had the stove tame I shut the MPD, like I normally would

I suspect there might be soot build up on the MPD.
Soot build up on the MPD over just a day or two can really change the draft, even if you're doing the same method (setting the MPD the same position) when tending the stove each time. I don't use a MDP on my hand fired stoves for this reason. If you do continue using the MPD you will most likely need to clean the soot off of it every few days.
Is the damper in a position where it would be easy to inspect without taking everything apart?
What size coal are you burning? Typically with soft coal, the smaller the size the more smoke you will have and the burn will be more difficult to control, especially right after adding fresh coal.
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: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:02 pm

I will repeat what I have gathered from other forum members posts and some old books...if you want to burn bit, get the largest pieces of coal that you can. Second, load the stove on one side, let it burn off the volatile gasses, and then load the other side. If you've had your 'fill' of bituminous burning, get some nut size anthracite and enjoy.

Sometime last winter there was a post from someone experimenting with bituminous coal in the basement stove, apparently it "burped" and blew the cover off an unused thimble in the kitchen and blow soot & ash all over the place. I bet the Mrs. was impressed with that one!
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice/buck
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: nortcan On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:00 pm

Very happy to see that it ended in good condition.
I think that is what we call: experience. Never tried bit but looks like wood burning. Burning wood doesn't always make interior smoke but it can do if some conditions are there...but it doesn't mean to stop burning wood. Some will do and some will try by all means to find out WHAT IS WRONG.
To be honest we must remember some threads on the forum relating Co alarms from guys burning anth and nobody told them to swith to electric heating ;) or stop burning anth :!:
nortcan
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Stuart,Peterson/ Grander
Stove/Furnace Model: Sunnyside/ Golden Bride

Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: rockwood On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:07 pm

Rob R. wrote:I will repeat what I have gathered from other forum members posts and some old books...if you want to burn bit, get the largest pieces of coal that you can. Second, load the stove on one side, let it burn off the volatile gasses, and then load the other side. If you've had your 'fill' of bituminous burning, get some nut size anthracite and enjoy.

Sometime last winter there was a post from someone experimenting with bituminous coal in the basement stove, apparently it "burped" and blew the cover off an unused thimble in the kitchen and blow soot & ash all over the place. I bet the Mrs. was impressed with that one!
The way the warm morning stove is designed, you can't "bank" the coal very easily. The 4 flue design of his stove helps with that but you're right, using larger coal will make a difference. You can still fill in the gaps with smaller pieces of coal to some extent but dumping a bucket of pea sized soft coal on a hot coal bed will smoke like crazy, is susceptible to puffback and make your neighbors think your house is on fire.
Burning larger pieces, the coal will distill volatile matter more slowly unlike smaller sizes that heat up quickly, releasing flammable gasses all at once producing lots of smoke and sooting everything up.
That's why I'm wondering what size he's using.
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: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: Smokeyja On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:42 pm

Ok so first the only reason I'm burning but is for te experience an because it is local. I have 2400lbs of blashak in my garage and I know it works well because I burned with it all last season. I know the saying goes "bituminous burns like wood" yes that is somewhat true but at the same time it doesn't burn like a wood fire. I can burn logs of hickory in the WM and have a controllable fee all night long with my MPD fully closed and no smoke or draft issues. The hickory I burn is very stable the only problem with wood is you have to keep loading at least a log every hour to keep it constant. Wood isn't a problem at all for me. I have rather large bit coal I would compare it to stove size with a couple of bricks every so many shovels full. I can burn a bit fire perfectly fine with the top loading door open and then I keep low flue temps as well but as soon as you close the door even with the top damper wide open the fire goes nuts so I try to tame it slightly with the MPD but you just get really high flue and stove temps so you close the top damper and then the volitals lose fire and the smoke comes . Until the bit has gone through its coking process it's just Not controllable in this stove. Because it is so sensitive to air I am hoping that when I change the top frame and door of the stove out for the air tight one I bought over the weekend that I will be able to control it better but if that doesn't work then it's staying blacksmithing coal only.

I appreciate the replies and the words of warning/wisdom

But it is one of those lessons I hope everyone reads about. Smoke detectors and CO detectors save lives! No doubt about that.


Btw I loaded the stove with anthracite this morning so my family would be warm without worrying about the stove
Smokeyja
 
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood #6 baseheater
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Nut

Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: Smokeyja On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:46 pm

I will post more when I'm out of work this evening .
Smokeyja
 
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood #6 baseheater
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Nut

Re: Woke up by the smoke alarm

PostBy: Berlin On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:48 pm

I don't like an MPD for that reason and I have probably mentioned this in other posts - it is a very effective soot catcher with bit coal. Some guys have luck with a baro damper, which is much better, but still not a huge fan. When the volitiles are burning off bit coal, it is not always a smooth process - if you've ever watched a wood fired in a modern stove with secondary burn turned down low, you'll know what I mean - the gasses ignite on one side then the flame slowly fills the stove, then the flame becomes smaller, then it catches up to the volatiles being released and repeats. A mpd will create pressure inside the stove every time the flame gets bigger and you end up with some puffing - this happens on wood stoves w/ and mpd also under certain conditions. You have to be able to control the air on a bit fired appliance BEFORE it gets into the stove - mpd's do this by preventing air from leaving the stove and that doesn't work well on evey stove with every bit coal - you may have the problems you're having. If the stove isn't sealed tight, you won't be able to control the fire w/out a mpd, this isn't the fault of the coal, it's the lack of a properly sealed appliance that caused this problem.

There's no need to "babysit" a bit coal fire or keep adjusting the air throughout the burn - set it and forget it (but you have to get the setting right) You control the heat with the underfire air, the overfire air adjustment doesn't move, but is adjusted to get a partial burn of the volitiles (don't waste your time trying to burn off all the volatiles, it wont' happen and the attempt will cause you problems). If you have air leaks then all this is irrelevant. stop waiting for it to burn off the volatiles, do you sit around a wood fire waiting for the volaitiles to burn off? then don't do it with bit coal.

I've used bit coal for years in a hand-fired stove, and I've taught others (in person) how to successfully fire it as well. I know many who've switched to bit lump coal FROM anthracite because it's easier to use. It's not as complicated or scary as many make it seem to be. I haven't had a backpuff from my hand-fired stove in years and I have NO smoke, smell, or mess in my house burning bit coal, hand-fired. There's no need for anyone else to either.

The size of a brick is about the minimum size of good bit lump coal. If your fire is that hot, the problem isn't sealing the top, it's that your underfire air is not controlled or excessive. You will have smoke, a proper hand fired setup will always have some smoke, some coals and sizes more than others - do NOT adjust your fire controls from what smokes or doesn't smoke.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

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