new to coal burning

new to coal burning

PostBy: J F Graham On: Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:27 pm

Just joined the forum and am looking for some guidance. I recently installed a Harman SF 160, and hooked up to my existing oil boiler. Going from wood to coal was a real learning curve. Got the boiler running pretty good but seem to be using a lot of coal about 70lb of nut per day. Have 1400 SQ FT ranch with boiler in full basement. live in upstate NY, and temps have been pretty cold. I've figured the boiler out pretty good, except for the loading. Is it better to load a heaping load, say 12 inches deep, or would this be a waste of coal compared to a shallower bed of coal( 6 or 7"). I'm sure there is an explanation of proper burn rate per depth, and would genuinely appreciate any and all input.
THX
Jim
J F Graham
 

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: Greyhound On: Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:58 pm

Welcome to the Forum. You may get more replies by moving this to the Boiler section. Perhaps one of the moderators will happen along and move the post for you.

Rick
Greyhound
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 105
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Lenox Oil HA, Heat Pump

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: lsayre On: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:01 pm

The almost universal advice I've seen on this forum is to fill it to the top of the firebricks.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (if I ever get it fixed)

Visit Hitzer Stoves

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: Dennis On: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:10 pm

I have found that having a 6" or 12" thick bed of coal it will burn the same amount of coal,but if you get caught at work and can't make it to tend the fire ,with a 12" deep bed you have another 8 hrs of burn time,but still try to tend in 12 hrs cycles, and welcome
Dennis
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: AHS/WOC55-multi-fuel/wood,oil,coal
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/stove size

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: Lightning On: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:24 pm

I run a 10-12 inch deep coal bed. Gives me a steady heat output for 15 hours in really cold weather and still has plenty of life to take a fresh charge. The only thing that makes coal burn faster is more air. I don't think it matters how deep it is.

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

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: rberq On: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:29 pm

J F Graham wrote:Is it better to load a heaping load, say 12 inches deep, or would this be a waste of coal compared to a shallower bed of coal( 6 or 7").

Always fill it as deep as you can, and control the rate of heat by opening the air intake less or more. If you look at a hopper-fed stove, you see that as soon as the coal level drops due to fuel consumption, the hopper immediately feeds more coal to maintain a full firebox.

J F Graham wrote:Got the boiler running pretty good but seem to be using a lot of coal about 70lb of nut per day. Have 1400 SQ FT ranch with boiler in full basement. live in upstate NY, and temps have been pretty cold.

70 pounds sounds maybe a little high, but not outrageous. A lot depends on the tightness and insulation of the house. Do you know how much oil you would have burned in comparable weather, before the coal boiler installation? That would provide a good measure of BTU usage to compare to the coal. A picture would help (we LOVE pictures) and description of your setup, stove pipe, dampers (manual and/or barometric) and chimney.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: J F Graham On: Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:26 pm

Thanks for all the info.Going to try loading boiler up with 12" bed of coal .Will keep you posted and will try to get some pictures on as well.Thanks
J F Graham
 

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: J F Graham On: Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:31 pm

For 20 yrs. we used wood boiler 1 1/4 cord plus a month .
J F Graham
 

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: DennisH On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:56 am

70lbs of coal per day, in cold weather, is not unusual at all. I'm using at least two bags per day (80lbs) here in the U.P. of Michigan, sometimes three, where it's been really cold the past couple of weeks. As the others have stated coal burns happiest when it has a nice, deep bed to burn in. So load it up, just don't go over top of the firebrick. A trick I've learned with my hand-fed dragon, is that if re-start is slow after shake down and reload, toss a couple handfulls of Matchlight or other charcoal in and get them burning. Not only do they provide an ignition hot spot for the fresh coal, but it appears (to me) that their burning also enhances the updraft through the new coal bed to get it burning quicker and hotter.
DennisH
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Yukon-Eagle Klondike IV
Other Heating: Propane

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: Lightning On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:13 am

I agree that 70 pounds per day is a hair on the high side for 1400 square feet but insulation and temps outside must be factored in.

I'm using around 55 pounds per day for 2000 square feet. 2400 if you wanna include the basement that gets radiant heat off the furnace and duct work.

Does your appliance have independent primary and secondary combustion air controls? And are you measuring draft pressure? What are you using to control draft. Manual Pipe damper or barometric damper?
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: J F Graham On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:04 am

Lightning, Just using the stove as I got it, with aqua stat draft control; however I did add a MPD. And no I didn't check the draft. After 40 years and pushing a total350 to 400 full cords of wood this is a major learning curve, as only started burning coal Dec 8th. I think what part or most of my problem was that being afraid of the boiler going out, as it has in the past, I had a tendency to over shake it, and was losing too much un burnt coal. This morning I had a very active bed of coal so I only shook it until the ash pan was completely but only slightly illuminated. when I reloaded only used about 3/4 of a bag or less and it's now burning fine. Thanks for the input.
J F Graham
 

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: BPatrick On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:33 am

Welcome to the forum. I too was a veteran wood burner. Over a year into it and it's a piece of cake. Coal is easier to manage once you get the art of shaking down the stove. The key is getting enough ash out of the stove but not too much that your damaging the grates. After a season of this you'll be an old pro. Ask questions, I'm still learning and running an antique stove built in 1904. There are more resident experts here running my type of setup than I could have imagined. William gave me great advice; coal is completely different than wood. Tending to a wood stove translates into trouble with a coal stove. Instead of taking a few moments and thinking about what to do to get a coal stove going, my wood burning experience took over and cost me more time trying to get the stove going.
BPatrick
 
Baseburners & Antiques: 2 Crawford 40 Baseheaters
Coal Size/Type: Stove Coal
Other Heating: Herald Oak No. 18

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: J F Graham On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:22 pm

No truer words were ever spoken.
J F Graham
 

Re: new to coal burning

PostBy: titleist1 On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:39 pm

Welcome to the forum. You will get the coal burning figured out for your stove / chimney set up before long. The deep coal bed is a must as others have mentioned.

You'll get the air settings dialed in to maximize heat output and burn times, a couple temp gauges for the stove and the flue along with a manometer will help a lot there.

The shake down process is a bit of an art form to get just enough but not too much. Also you may find you need to scrape the sides of the firebox with a poker once in awhile to clear out ash that the grate shaking doesn't clear well enough.

welcome to our addiction!! 8-)
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: new to coal burning

PostBy: J F Graham On: Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:40 pm

Thanks for the reply, I am finding out tons of info, in short order thanks to this forum!!! I think my only issues at the moment are not adding enough coal, and getting the shaking process down. And I feel strongly, that you are correct, when describing it as an " art form". So far today all is going good; mounded up the coal, and only shook it moderately. I don't feel draft is an issue, as I have about 20 FT of chimney above the thimble. No baro damper only have MPD. Aqua stat set on 170 and appears to be holding fine according to gauges
THX.
J F Graham
 

Visit Hitzer Stoves