Struggling with Bituminous Again

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: LDPosse On: Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:29 pm

Matt328 wrote:My question now is what is the best way to start a fire using bituminous? Normally, I will use one piece of paper and really really dry wood. I will get the wood burning nice and hot and fire it with wood a few times to get a good fire established, then start adding coal. I leave the bottom ashpan door wide open until it gets really cranking.


That sounds like as good a method as any. An established wood fire will easily ignite bituminous coal.
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, WM 400-A, 523

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Lightning On: Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:15 am

Matt328 wrote:My question now is what is the best way to start a fire using bituminous? Normally, I will use one piece of paper and really really dry wood. I will get the wood burning nice and hot and fire it with wood a few times to get a good fire established, then start adding coal. I leave the bottom ashpan door wide open until it gets really cranking.


Put it on in layers, try not to smother the fire underneath by leaving some of it exposed when adding coal. You don't wanna loose flame when loading, otherwise a billowing of yellow bit smoke out the load door will ensue :lol:
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Matt328 On: Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:35 pm

So far, removing the cap and burning differently seems to have solved my issues. I'm able to open the firebox door the whole way without having any smoke or anything coming out. This gives me more time to more carefully work with the fire instead of just opening the door, flinging in a shovelful of coal and slamming the door back shut. I've been able to keep a decent amount of flame in the firebox by working the fire from one side to the other. Usually one side will have some lumps with flames and the other will be burnt down to red coals. At that point, I can add more coal on top of the red coals, and after a few hours they'll switch sides. Here's hoping I can just keep this going all winter.

Thank you guys for all your help! Would not have been able to figure this all out myself through trial and error!
Matt328
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Van Wert Simplex Multitherm
Coal Size/Type: Large Bituminous
Other Heating: Mendota Propane Stove
Stove/Furnace Make: Van Wert
Stove/Furnace Model: Simplex Multitherm


Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Berlin On: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:12 pm

on rainy days, when you've burned the fuel to the point that it's mostly red coals, open the ashpan door for a few minutes and burn it HOT; this will get a good roar going through the stove and pipe and blow all the soot out the stack (and more importantly the connecting pipe).

Trying to heat a whole house with a hand-fired furnace gets old though. Keep an eye out for a stoker furnace or "stove" such as a combustioneer 77 (which can be used as an add-on furnace) these will burn inexpensive small bituminous sized stoker.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Matt328 On: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:04 pm

I can see where it might get old, I have to fire it 3x a day, and take a few shovels of ash out once a day. Right now though, I'm still feeling like it's a great alternative to paying over $6000 a winter for oil. I'm 31 and this is only the 2nd winter in our house, I'm sure my thoughts will have changed 20 years from now. My grandparents had a Keystoker in their basement, and I'm now realizing a stoker would be nice since my grandma was able to take care of it herself into her 60s.
Matt328
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Van Wert Simplex Multitherm
Coal Size/Type: Large Bituminous
Other Heating: Mendota Propane Stove
Stove/Furnace Make: Van Wert
Stove/Furnace Model: Simplex Multitherm

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Lightning On: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:19 pm

Matt328 wrote:I can see where it might get old, I have to fire it 3x a day, and take a few shovels of ash out once a day. Right now though, I'm still feeling like it's a great alternative to paying over $6000 a winter for oil. I'm 31 and this is only the 2nd winter in our house, I'm sure my thoughts will have changed 20 years from now. My grandparents had a Keystoker in their basement, and I'm now realizing a stoker would be nice since my grandma was able to take care of it herself into her 60s.


Kudos to ya partner! Good luck burning the bit :D
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: carlherrnstein On: Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:24 am

Or you could get a combustioneer or other underfeed soft coal stoker and burn cheap and plentiful bituminous coal with very little fuss. I remove a clinker twice a day and add coal once. :D
carlherrnstein
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: combustioneer model 77B
Coal Size/Type: pea stoker/Ohio bituminous

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Matt328 On: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:33 pm

carlherrnstein wrote:Or you could get a combustioneer or other underfeed soft coal stoker and burn cheap and plentiful bituminous coal with very little fuss. I remove a clinker twice a day and add coal once. :D

After I just got this one figured out? Maybe in a few years heh.
Matt328
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Van Wert Simplex Multitherm
Coal Size/Type: Large Bituminous
Other Heating: Mendota Propane Stove
Stove/Furnace Make: Van Wert
Stove/Furnace Model: Simplex Multitherm

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: titleist1 On: Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:10 pm

Matt328 wrote:After I just got this one figured out? Maybe in a few years heh.


its the natural evolution of heating....

thermostat with oil / propane / electric resulting in heating bills that make you go :fear: :eek2:

gives way to....

wood stove resulting in dirt, bugs, chain saws, splitters, chiropractor appts, advil addiction, 4am loading :whip:

gives way to.....

:idea:

the enlightenment of coal burning - first in a hand fed

some stall in this phase of evolution and get addicted to collecting stoves insisting they can quit any time they want.

then the move to the girlie man stoker world and back to a thermostat :punk:

we need a bumper sticker illustrating this like the darwin evolution bumper stickers!!
Last edited by titleist1 on Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Lightning On: Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:53 pm

titleist1 wrote:its the natural evolution of heating....

Nice!! :lol:
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Matt328 On: Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:45 pm

After a couple days of not having the chimney cap on, and basically only firing half of the firebox at a time, I gotta say this thing has been burning awesome, it will throw some serious heat when it opens up. It also seems to cool off nicely when it needs to, my release valve hasn't popped once and I've yet to see water temps above 180. When I fire it, I close off all the air to the bottom of the fire, and can take my time banking it up and adding coal without getting any smoke coming into the basement, it's all getting sucked up through the heat exchanger. I've got a tiny little bit of soot buildup near the front by the door, but nothing like what I had before. That makes sense since the entrance into the heat exchanger is at the back, and the front by the door probably tends to stay a little cooler. I could probably eliminate this by burning front to back instead of side to side.
Matt328
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Van Wert Simplex Multitherm
Coal Size/Type: Large Bituminous
Other Heating: Mendota Propane Stove
Stove/Furnace Make: Van Wert
Stove/Furnace Model: Simplex Multitherm

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Lightning On: Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:01 am

Good job :D Its all part of the learning curve 8-)
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Matt328 On: Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:46 pm

Ok bro, how about you hook me up with one of them 'girlie man' stokers?

I thought I had this licked, but it's been pretty warm here the last 2 days and my fire hasn't been able to be all that hot without overheating. I think it's been producing a lot of soot over the 2 days, most times when I've gone down there, there hasn't been much flame in the box, only half a box of red coals. The other side would be burnt all the way down and the remaining lumps would be pretty much extinguished, exposing the grates.

When I open the ash pan door to get the temp. up before I add any new coal, I get smoke puffing out from the over fire vent. Also, the baro has been wide open. If i close/cover it, it helps with the smoke coming out the over fire vent, but opening the firebox door (even with the all the under fire draft closed) I get some smoke out of there. With the baro being wide open, I feel like that indicates there is good draft from the chimney down to that point, and probably the airflow through the heat exchanger isn't the greatest. It only takes a minute to vacuum that out, but I can't very well open it up while there is a fire burning.

Its not to the point where its filling the house with smoke, nor is it unmanageable, I'm just hoping it doesn't get any worse. I don't mind the cleaning process, I can clean out the chimney, connecting flue pipe and heat exchanger in about 45 minutes, but taking 24+ hours to cool everything down enough to do that isn't really going to be an option when its 15 degrees for a high. I'm going to try later today covering the baro and opening the under fire draft wide open for as long as it will take without overheating the boiler to see if I can get any of the soot to burn off.

How do you guys deal with burning bit when it's still not quite cold enough all the time? After I first cleaned everything out there, it was low 30s during the day and low 20s at night. It seemed to do really well then, I was able to keep a pretty hot fire, and wasn't noticing much soot buildup. The last 2 or 3 days, it's been creeping into the mid 50s during the day, and only mid-upper 30s at night. The way my house in insulated and where its situated in a valley, it seems around 35 is about the warmest I'm able to maintain a hot enough fire. Warmer than that, and the draft flap control never opens, and the fire just sits and smolders, and is a machine for turning coal into soot. I have my basement configured as a dump zone as it has 2 of the big old cast iron radiators, when those draw heat, they're capable of dropping the boiler temps about 40 degrees. I was considering jumping across and making all 3 zones dump zones, and adjusting the draft control flap to let the fire get a bit warmer. Having the house get too warm and having to open windows in November is a good problem to have right?

Kind of off topic and it'll be a few years before I make a change, but what is the general consensus on outdoor boilers here? At a glance, they seem great, you don't have these draft and chimney issues, nor any ash and coal dust in the house. I assume there are tradeoffs, can anyone enlighten me?
Matt328
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Van Wert Simplex Multitherm
Coal Size/Type: Large Bituminous
Other Heating: Mendota Propane Stove
Stove/Furnace Make: Van Wert
Stove/Furnace Model: Simplex Multitherm

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Berlin On: Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:12 pm

outdoor boilers are horribly innefficient and a waste of money and effort.

Burning bituminous coal happily:
-Good, lump coal with a low coke button (low FSI)
-mild weather leave ash on the grates to insulate fire
-8" flue, chimney I.D. and min. connecting pipe size, if it's 6" it'l be a pain
-a decent coal appliance
-no chimney cap
-proper baro setting/draft
-secondary air
-tall chimney
-regular "burnout" of soot buildup
-banking fire
-probably a few others, but for now, that's it...


As far as some soot buildup in the appliance, see my post above on "burning" it out every once in a while. It's not wood-creosote, you're not going to burn your house down, but blowing the soot out of the connecting pipe and heat exchanger periodically is important.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Struggling with Bituminous Again

PostBy: Matt328 On: Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:08 pm

Berlin wrote:As far as some soot buildup in the appliance, see my post above on "burning" it out every once in a while. It's not wood-creosote, you're not going to burn your house down, but blowing the soot out of the connecting pipe and heat exchanger periodically is important.


Just did this after I posted, seems to have made a huge difference. I had probably on the smaller end of amount of coals, maybe a 4" bed with no yellow flame, just a small amount of blue. I sealed off the baro, and gave it all the under fire draft I could for about half an hour, checking the water temp periodically. The coals burned bright yellow, I left it this way for about 15-20 minutes, until it seemed to be cooling off a bit. Then I piled all that up on the one side and added about 3 shovelfuls of maybe baseball sized lumps on the other side. Before I added any coal, I uncovered the baro and sealed up the under fire draft and it seemed to be back to where I could have the firebox door open pretty wide without smoke coming back out in my face. So I think that worked.

*When I mentioned about overheating, I was more concerned with actually boiling the water in my boiler and popping the release valve. It makes a real mess when that happens, and it takes about a day to work all the air out and it sounds like Niagara Falls every time the pump kicks on.

Can you explain a little more about leaving ash on the grates to insulate the fire? Do you mean just don't shake it down as clean as I normally would? Is the idea here to choke it off a little more so it doesn't burn as much and therefore doesn't produce as much soot?

How does one adjust a baro? The only changes I see that could be made with mine are the whole T part of the pipe can be rotated a few degrees from horizontal on the flue pipe. I think I asked this before, and the first step was purchasing and installing a manometer. Which I admittedly have not done and probably should.

I think I've got good secondary air, the vent on the firebox door is wide open, its a circular one with the 3 triangle pattern of holes. I'm also probably pulling in some air to the top of the fire through the oil gun on the back of the unit. If there is smoke in the firebox, I try poke it up and rearrange things to get an abundance of flames.
Matt328
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Van Wert Simplex Multitherm
Coal Size/Type: Large Bituminous
Other Heating: Mendota Propane Stove
Stove/Furnace Make: Van Wert
Stove/Furnace Model: Simplex Multitherm