Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

PostBy: yorkie8shu On: Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:48 am

Hi everyone and anyone who can help us!

We bought a home that has a Franco Belgo Coal Stove (gravity fed hopper) that is only about two years old. I had no problem getting the coal going using the Matchlight Charcoal. However I am have trouble keep it going! I cannot figure what to do or try next. I feel like we have read every post on this site! Any advice would be so great. The previous owner (who passed away), her daughters said she heated the whole house with the coal stove. We haven't quite expereienced that type of heat yet. It will glow for a short while and then die out.

Thank you so much for reading this post and posting any advice!

The Family
Last edited by Richard S. on Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changed to more appropriate title
yorkie8shu
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco-Belge

Re: New Coal Stove User-HELP-Won't stay lit!

PostBy: watkinsdr On: Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:11 am

Coal needs air (oxygen) to sustain combustion. With coal fired applicances, air typically flows up through grates, through the coal, combustion occurs, and hot gases (exhaust) flows up your flue. Ensure you have enough draft---based on your description, it sounds like you're starved for air. Bear in mind, controlling draft on a coal fire is very important. Once you've sustained combustion, throttle the air to control your fire; or, you'll risk "over firing" your stove---causing red hot glowing metal, damage, cracks, etc. Cracks could potentially allow CO (carbon monoxide) to leak and kill you and/or your family.

Get that fire roaring brother! Baby it's cold outside!!
watkinsdr
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S260 Boiler

Re: New Coal Stove User-HELP-Won't stay lit!

PostBy: yorkie8shu On: Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:23 am

I think you are right, that sounds logical. I am not even sure how to control the air/oxygen to sustain the coal burning. I have never used a coal stove until about 1 week ago...so i am entirely new to this. Could you explain more? Thank you!

There is not hany overheating of the metal or anything like that...we have co2 detectors in the basement/family room where the stove is and upstairs too, so far nothing like that has been triggered. I think we are okay there. We can't even sustain the coal going for a long period of time...so we are producing little heat.
yorkie8shu
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco-Belge


Re: New Coal Stove User-HELP-Won't stay lit!

PostBy: watkinsdr On: Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:41 am

I'm not familiar with your specific stove; but, there should be some mechanism around the base/bottom of your stove which allows you to throttle the stove's draft. Common sense would dictate having this control on the lower front area of your stove. Ever seen a Harmon Mark I/II/III??? On Harmon stoves the draft control is the round gizmo that spins on threads which accurately controls the stove's draft! If all else fails, check out a stove shop close to where you live; perhaps, they could kindly show you the ropes---even without making a purchase...

I was only warning you about carbon monoxide in the event of your leaving the stove's draft control "wide open" causing an over draft/over fire situation---especially since you're not familiar with stoves. Proper draft control is critical on hand fired stoves like yours.
watkinsdr
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S260 Boiler

Re: New Coal Stove User-HELP-Won't stay lit!

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Dec 15, 2007 12:47 pm

If I remember correctly there should be a inlet on right side on the back near the bottom with a dial for adjusting the draft. Turn it wide open, you may also want to open the ash pan door as well a crack when lighting, once it gets going well close the ash pan door and turn the dial down.

You do want to be careful to not overfire a Franco Belge because of the design, the fire will go into the "hopper" behind the large cast plates you can see when you open the top of the unit and cause them and the one on the back to warp or even possibly destroy them, they are not easy to replace and hard to find.

Also make sure to thoroughly clean out the outlets found on in the front/bootom of the stove when you open the glass door. This is where the exhaust escapes and again due to the design they get packed up with fly ash pretty easy.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: New Coal Stove User-HELP-Won't stay lit!

PostBy: Dutchman On: Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:34 am

I used to have an old Surdiac hopper-fed, which is a somewhat similar design to a Franco-Belge. My technique for lighting was similar to what Richard suggests, open that air dial all the way, and I also opened the ash door after the charcoal was going but before adding coal.

Does the fire get going good and die after a long while (hours++)? Check to make sure the grates are open and clear- as the coal burns down into ash, the ash will choke off the air supply if not shaken or raked down periodically. How often depends on the grates, your burn rate, quality of coal, etc... Also, the exhaust pathways can collect fine fly ash, which will also smother the fire if they get too blocked. Some guys use a vacuum from time to time, some use a brush of some type.

If you have a good fire going, and the fire starts to look sick even with the dial open, open that ash door up and see if she takes off again within a few minutes. If so, I would guess the air inlet might not be open properly in the back or is in want of a cleaning out. Just don't try to run the stove this way for long, else overfiring is in your future.

Just take heart- burning coal is part science, part art form, and part religion. But once you get the hang of it, your patience will pay off. :)
Dutchman
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum
Coal Size/Type: rice/anthracite

Re: Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

PostBy: JerseyCoal On: Sun Dec 16, 2007 6:09 pm

Hi Yorkie:

Another member had a similar problem with a F-B stove- check out the discussion at
Hand FIred Coal Stoves; Franco Belge: can't get coal lit/draft problems. see my comment on 12-04-07 at 12:40 AM.

I hope it helps a bit. Good luck.

John C.
JerseyCoal
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Franco Belge model 10.1475

Re: Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

PostBy: flintlok On: Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:26 pm

I have a Franco Belge coal stove, and it is cooking as I type. It runs great, but there a few things that you need to learn about it. First, what type of installation do you have? Is it going into a fireplace chimney, or something else. Do you have a barometric damper on it? There should be one. It regulates the draft to the stove by opening if there is too much draft in the chimney. The stove likes to operate at 0.03" of water column draft. The barametric damper should start to open if this value is exceeded. This prevents over firing of the stove. It admits room air to the pipe above the stove to keep the draft constant in the stove, and keep it firing evenly. The very first thing you need to do is look at your installation and make sure all your pipes are in good shape. The second thing is to pull the stove out and clean it. Use a shop vac to vacuum out the heat exchanger in the back of the stove. I adapt the hose on the vac to a smaller one, and stick it in the back to the left and to the right. Quite a bit of fly ash can accumulate in there in a year. Then open the glass door, and do the same to the left and right discharge points. Stick the tubing right in there and suck out all of the fly ash. If you really want to get thorough, take the metal over off of the back, and you will see two removable covers on the sides of the heat exchanger (left and right) near the corners. These can be taken off and you can vacuum the heat exhanger out there. I don't usually do that, as there are gaskets there, and if you destroy them, you will have to replace them. You can clean it very well without taking them off. If you do take them off, put antisieze high temperature on the studs, so you can always be able to get them off. (you can get this at an auto store).

I light my stove using charcoal bricquets, and add about two or three coal shovels into the middle of the empty stove. I add coal around it (both sides) then start the charcoal using lighter fluid. Close the front door, and open the ash door slightly. This will give unlimited draft and get the charcoal going in 10 min. Then, close the ash door, open the lid slowly on the top of the stove and add a shovel of coal. Put the lid back on, and open the ash door again. When the coal you added is going well, repeat and add another shovel. The third time, add two shovels of coal, and in about an hour you can dump in a whole bucket. The output of the stove is controlled by the dial on the right side of the stove. I usually set mine on #6, but it can vary with the stove. Between the fire glass door and the ash door are two little tabs sticking out about an inch with a hole in each one. These are for shaking the ashes down. There is a cast iron handle with a hook on it which goes into the hole. You then shake the tab left and right to shake ashes down into the ash pan. This has to be done about two to four times per day, or the fire will go out.

When you open the ash door, there should be a large pan in there with a handle on it, and a tab on the front. The cast iron handle iits into the tab, and is used for pulling the pan out until you can grab the large handle. The ashes must be emptied once per day. I put a metal ashbarrel outside of my front door, and empty the ashes into it.

Good luck with your stove. Once you learn how to use it, you will like it. By the way, don't use anything but pea coal in it. If you have any questions drop me a line at flintlok@verizon.net

Rob
flintlok
 

Re: Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

PostBy: wvanlieu On: Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:02 pm

Franco Belge stove going out!!!
Installed my franco belge in '87, still working fine. Rob seems to have some of the best advice for you. My experience for what its worth, set thermostat on right side of unit to # 6 when first fireing it up. I'm lazzy so I use about a third of a bag of matchlight charcoal. Cover the inside of the glass with alum. foil to reflect the heat back inward and also keeps the glass from getting sooted, remove foil after coal starts.Let the charcoal burn for 20 - 30 minutes then add a half dozen handfulls of coal about every 15 minutes. ( its like adding ice cubes to a fire) After an hour - hour and a half go ahead and dump half a bucket in the top.
Best way to check draft is to hold a lit match at heat port on left and right side inside glass door. Match flame should almost do a right angle turn out port. Buy quality coal, the correct size helps (pea coal in this case) shake usually just 3 times a day, morning, evening and before retireing. Be sure to leave the shaker grates in the right hand position facing unit after shaking down to prevent draft leakage.
Treat your coal stove like a mature women, start out very slow and methodical till she gets going , when she gets hot leave her alone....WVL
wvanlieu
 
Stove/Furnace Make: franco belge
Stove/Furnace Model: 55000 btu

Re: Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

PostBy: franco b On: Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:18 pm

Set the hopper to the highest position. This is the only way to get a deep enough coal bed for a long burn.

Chimney should not be too large since adequate draft will be too hard to maintain.

Richard
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

PostBy: jhrdflemming++ On: Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:57 pm

I also have a similar problem. I have an old Franco Belge (About 30 yrs). I have purchaced a flex pipe and put the stove on the fireplace hearth. I have years of experience running coal stoves effectively but this beast is maddening. When it is cooler and a high pressure system is aloft it runs great, however if it snows and a low pres system comes in it goes out unless I baby it and tend it all day. So I tried an experiment figuring I do not have enough air intake. I placed a 3 inch pipe from my windo tow the ashpan air intake on the stove for about an hour on a low pres day. This made no difference in the fire quality or intensity. From my research, I understand there may be a problem with the chimney I have since it is made of 8X10 inch flue (masonary). This may not get hot enough to give me the appropriate draft. One possible solution is to get a an insulated stainless steele flex pipe all the way to the top of the chimney to create a better draft. This looks like a costly endevour. Are there any other suggestions out there that may help.

Thanks
DTF
jhrdflemming++
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco Belge

Re: Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

PostBy: franco b On: Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:11 pm

I have successfully run one of these stoves in a very large outside wall fireplace by running ordinary 5 inch smoke pipe to the top. Two 45 degree fittings just fit through the damper area. An inexpensive thing for you to try.

With an inside wall fireplace two sections of pipe into the chimney worked very well.

Richard
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

PostBy: jhrdflemming++ On: Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:41 am

Thanks Richard,
I have thought of such a system;however, will it stay warm enough. Some kits are available for a 1K$ do this and they come with insulation. Did you find the pipes stayed warm enough to help with the draft? Did you try is without the pipes all the way to the top? And if so did it improve once you extended all the way to the top? How high was your chimney? mine is 2 stories or about 20 ft.

Thanks
DTF
jhrdflemming++
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco Belge

Re: Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

PostBy: franco b On: Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:41 pm

jhrdflemming++ wrote:Thanks Richard,
I have thought of such a system;however, will it stay warm enough. Some kits are available for a 1K$ do this and they come with insulation. Did you find the pipes stayed warm enough to help with the draft? Did you try is without the pipes all the way to the top? And if so did it improve once you extended all the way to the top? How high was your chimney? mine is 2 stories or about 20 ft.

Thanks
DTF


The large outside fireplace was about 12x12 and made of stone and lined. I did not consider not running all the way to the top as the chimney was so large and stone being even colder than brick. It was about 16 feet.

Try it with 26 guage galvanized pipe which will last a couple of years. You will get your feet wet and familierize youself with the problems involved. Galvanized will last longer than black pipe and stack temperatures will be higher than with black pipe though well under temperature needed to vaporize the zinc coating. The tricky part is getting past the damper area. I don't think it needs to be insulated, but you can improve things by using a sheet metal plate to seal the top of the chimney and to centralize the smoke pipe. In this way the air surrounding the pipe will be trapped, and be warmer. I did not do this and it worked just fine.

I would not even consider spending $1000 on a chimney kit especially if the kit contained a flexible type of pipe which has internal ridges to impede draft and retain fly ash. Much better to buy single wall stainless pipe in sections (5 inch pipe) which should be much cheaper. Bear in mind that coal is very corrosive at the low stack temperatures that most stoves run at, and only masonry can be considered permanent, with an inside chimney the best. Stainless will still corrode in time. Any thing you can do to make cleaning and replacement easier should be considered. An ideal installation would have a steel plate sealing the damper area with a hole for the pipe to go through and straight up. One section of pipe straight back (galvanized) from the stove with one ell to go up the chimney. For a quick installation which was in a rented house, I just stuffed the the damper area with fiberglas insulation.

Stainless steel has the property of work hardening, so for any drilling for screws you need heavy low speed drilling pressure with a sharp drill. If it work hardens a carbide drill might work best.

Richard
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: Franco Belge Coal Stove -Won't stay lit!

PostBy: edd On: Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:25 pm

these posts reminded me of the same problem I had installing my surdiac.works okay for me now.dismantled front of fire place.fire bricks and all, sealed the lower portion up right to the smoke chamber I installed a 6 inch dia thimble in the 8 x12 flue.top of flue sealed of to a 4inch opening.That gave me all the draft needed. chimney is 12 ft. high.this may work for you or not.but since the fire place is of no use to you might as well give this a try
before you commit your self to inserts.
edd
edd
 
Stove/Furnace Make: surdiac 512