New to coal stoves and could use some help!

New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: shredder_54 On: Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:05 pm

Hello,

I recently moved into a house that has a coal stove. They are not too common in the Philadelphia area so I'm trying to learn as much as I can to use it safely. It is an Alaska stove Channing III model that uses anthracite rice coal. I started it up last week and it is working great but I want to understand a few things better.

- This model has an "Auto Heat Control Box" numbered 1-5. The manual simply says that as you turn the number up the fire will get bigger and output more heat. I am curious to exactly what it does though. When I turn this up is it increasing the coal feed rate or increasing the air feed (or both)?

- There is a thermometer on the flue and it reads between 150-200 F when I have the heat box set to 1.5-2 setting (temperature goes up when the blower is off and down when it is on). The thermometer has a note that says "too cool" next to temps under about 180 F. Do I need to keep the temperature above a certain point? I am assuming that this maybe just applies to wood burning stoves due to wood not burning hot enough and producing creosote?

- What is the proper cleaning procedure? The previous owner told me he takes a shop vac and vacuums the inside of the stove and then removes the barometric damper flap and just vacuums the elbow below it in the flue. Is that all that is required?

- I have 2 carbon monoxide detectors. Where is the best location to install them relative to the stove? Is there anything that I need to avoid that could cause CO contamination (burning at too low of a temp)?

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!!
shredder_54
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: dcrane On: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:07 pm

I have not personally used this model but i can tell you that with any stoker you should clean the grate system well and this would include taking it off and also getting at all the moters and fans and crap to blow/vac clean of fly ash as well. I do remember one member commenting about a potencial hopper fire proplem in this unit (something about the connection between hopper and stove to check on). Im pretty sure that heat control does indeed do both feed and fan (but dont quote me on that) LOL
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: titleist1 On: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:44 pm

Welcome to the forum!! You are off to a great start since you already have the CO detectors and are concerned with maintenance!

I don't have a Channing so I'll defer to the guys that do, they will be along shortly I am sure. I do know that you will love the heat it produces. Coal stoves do require some effort with the loading, ash removal and some minor cleaning/maintenance, but the savings is well worth it IMO.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: plumb-r On: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:47 pm

Welcome to the site and to burning coal. There are lots of things to ask and I'm sure others with more know how will chime in. Tell us everything about your set up. Do you have a chimney? Does your stove pipe have a draft regulator or barometric damper on it? Do you have or can you get a draft gauge(manometer). What "dcrane" is referring to is making sure the fan blades are clean,and that the fines are cleaned out from under the coal feed ramp or (carpet) as some call it. If you have the owners manual does go into detail how to clean it? :)
plumb-r
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 608 Energy Master I Stoker

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: michaelanthony On: Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:21 pm

titleist1 wrote:Welcome to the forum!! You are off to a great start since you already have the CO detectors and are concerned with maintenance!

I don't have a Channing so I'll defer to the guys that do, they will be along shortly I am sure. I do know that you will love the heat it produces. Coal stoves do require some effort with the loading, ash removal and some minor cleaning/maintenance, but the savings is well worth it IMO.

..yes indeed off to a good start. Welcome and enjoy the heat of coal :dancing:
michaelanthony
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310, gold marc box, vogelzang pot belly coat rack
Coal Size/Type: Pea, and a little nut
Other Heating: Very cold FHA oil furnace

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:48 pm

Shredder,

I sent you a PM or private message. Click on the little envelope at the top of the screen.


Welcome here. We'll get you up and safely running this thing in no time.




Rick
Rick 386
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: dcrane On: Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:19 pm

Home now and did some searching, this manual pretty much answers most your questions and their are many members here who use this unit and they can fill in any blanks for you.
C/O detectors would like to be in the area of your stairway (that leads to bedrooms), or if one story home in the hallway (that leads to bedrooms)... I always say more never hurts when it comes to these lil' life savers as well.
Last edited by Richard S. on Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: <removed dead link>
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: Badog On: Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:18 pm

Congratulations you will love it! I have a Liberty which is the same thing under the hood. I had the same control for the first 3 years but this year I received a call from the wife wondering why it was 80 in the house and the stove was set to 2. The reason was a failure of the control box and it was pushing coal continuously. I now have a Coal-Trol and love it. Anyway the box only controls the feed. The combustion fan does not change speed.
Don’t worry about the thermometer. You are right about that only applying to wood but it is helpful to see how hot your stove is running to heat the house.
As for cleaning I use a HEPA filter on a shop vac. Do not use a cheapo filter! Unless of course you like dust and the scowl of the significant other. As it was mentioned you want to do more than what the old home owner said but it is not much more. Look around the site for hints and other info. There is basic maintenance like new gaskets every few years and cleaning under the carpet. The biggest caution I have is that the “strong back” gasket, it is in the manual, is critical to prevent the dreaded hopper fire. This is most critical if you have a high draft situation when operating at minimum feed. Powerventers can be the culprit if you don't keep an eye on the draft. Get a manometer and read up. Great information on this site and great help. Enjoy the warmth!
Badog
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Liberty

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:28 am

So shredder................

You come on here asking questions and then vanish ???

Let us know how you are making out !!!!




Rick
Rick 386
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: shredder_54 On: Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:11 pm

Thank you for all of the replies! You have all been very helpful.

I believe Badog answered most of my questions. FYI my stove is installed toward the center of the room and has a flue that runs straight up through the ceiling. I do have a copy of the manual but in my opinion it is not very well written and doesn't go into much detail about anything. Luckily I have this forum!

There is an automatic barometric damper on the flue which I assume is set properly because the previous owner had been using this coal stove for years. It would probably be a good idea for me to confirm it is setup correctly but I need to research how that is done (manometer?)

I have only been running for a couple of weeks now but in a few more weeks I will probably shut the stove down to clean and get a better look inside. I will be sure to check the "Strongback" gasket as suggested (I was wondering all this time what prevented the coal in the hopper from igniting).

What can cause Carbon Monoxide to leak into the house? damaged gaskets? That is one of my primary concerns. I am also curious about the daily lives of people with coal stoves. Do you always have someone at home? I only work about 5 minutes from home so I go home on my lunch break to check the stove, refill, and empty the ash pan but it makes me very nervous to have it running when I'm not there. I'm actually so paranoid I bought an internet camera so that I can watch a live feed of the stove when I'm not there haha!!

I can probably post a pic of the stove later tonight.

Thanks again
shredder_54
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: WNY On: Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:46 pm

Yes, check the draft to make sure the Baro is set correctly.

yes, CO COULD leak from faulty gaskets, clogged chimney, low draft, etc....make sure you have working CO detectors.

As for running unattended, that will subside over time, it's like any other device, always worried about at first when your not used to it. As long there is no combustibles and your chimney is in good shape, shouldn't be any problems. I don't think I slept the first night with my new coal stove. LOL.

Most of us let them run 24/7. I usually lite mine in Nov and run it thru April.
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: New to coal stoves and could use some help!

PostBy: titleist1 On: Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:02 pm

Regarding the nervousness about it burning when you aren't around.....that is a normal reaction, you'll get over it soon! Guess what...you aren't the first to set up the webcam on your stove!

You should get a manometer to check the setting on the baro. I leave mine connected all the time and glance at the reading whenever I am tending the stove. If it not showing the normal numbers I know to start looking further. It can be an early warning that fly ash is building up in the horizontal sections of flue pipe or, as happened with me one time, the cap fell off the bottom of the T at the base of the chimney!

If you want a little better temp measurement than the magnetic thermometer you can get a bar-b-q grill temp probe with the dial display. These are threaded and have about a 2-3 inch probe. Drill a hole in the flue pipe at the desired location just a bit smaller than the probe thread and screw it in there. I do use a magnetic on the stove itself, but that has a flat surface versus the curve of the pipe.

CO could also come back through the hopper if the combustion blower is pushing more air into the firebox than the flue pipe can exhaust.

You'll get into a routine of stove tending before long. Probably morning and night sessions where you'll give it a quick look and fill the hopper and swap out an empty ash pan for a full one as needed.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Visit Lehigh Anthracite