What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: leowis1 On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:44 pm

Hi All,

I've read over and over on this forum about guys going through 4.5-6 tons per year. Some houses are smaller then mine and others are larger. This is my second year using coal and I'm on pace to burn around 9 tons each year. 9 TONS!? I heat around 1600' sq ft. The house was built in 1884. Its a single house, 18" thick stone walls all around, the attic has blown in insulation. But the 3rd floor is unheated.

I have an EFM coal stoker. Its settings are 6 teeth, or 15lbs per hour. I have the t-stat set at 67 day (6:30am - 7:30pm) 66(7:30pm - 10:00pm) 64(10pm-6:30am). I do have r30 insulation draped over the boiler to keep the heat in the boiler. The settings could be reduced to 5teeth (12.5lbs per hour), 4 teeth(10lbs per hour). But I fail to see how changing these settings would alter the result. If I use less coal, then the stoker will run longer to raise the water temperature. Am I running at optimul settings or am I doing something wrong? :(

Thanks.

Leo
leowis1
 

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: Devil505 On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:05 pm

leowis1 wrote:Hi All,

I've read over and over on this forum about guys going through 4.5-6 tons per year. Some houses are smaller then mine and others are larger. This is my second year using coal and I'm on pace to burn around 9 tons each year. 9 TONS!? I heat around 1600' sq ft. The house was built in 1884. Its a single house, 18" thick stone walls all around, the attic has blown in insulation. But the 3rd floor is unheated.

I have an EFM coal stoker. Its settings are 6 teeth, or 15lbs per hour. I have the t-stat set at 67 day (6:30am - 7:30pm) 66(7:30pm - 10:00pm) 64(10pm-6:30am). I do have r30 insulation draped over the boiler to keep the heat in the boiler. The settings could be reduced to 5teeth (12.5lbs per hour), 4 teeth(10lbs per hour). But I fail to see how changing these settings would alter the result. If I use less coal, then the stoker will run longer to raise the water temperature. Am I running at optimul settings or am I doing something wrong? :(

Thanks.

Leo


Hi Leo,

I'm not a HVAC proffessional by any means but it sounds to me like you would benefit from an energy audit of your house. Most local heating utilities offer a (sometimes free) energy audit where they will come out to your house & see where your heat is going. I heat about the same area as you but my house is alot newer (1975) , pretty well insulated & weather-tight. I use around 1.5-2 tons of nut coal per year which keep us around 68* in Massachusetts. I have a hand-fired stove so I cannot inform you about your stoker settings but I suggest that your problem is more likely your home itself, rather than your stoker.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:16 pm

New(er) windows? Insulation in the walls? When I say 5 tons for a average for a 2000 sq. foot home that's assuming insulated to some degree and new windows. As one example I had one customer that burned 20+ tons a year in a home that was roughly 2500 sq. foot but they live on top of hill, no insulation and very old windows, half the basement walls were exposed... and very poor heat distribution.

Lastly how you get a 3 story home in 1600 sq. foot. :P You live in a tower?
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

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Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: WNY On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:17 pm

Check your baro damper and draft, make sure you are not loosing more heat up your chimney and then it takes more to heat up the boiler unit.

Check your zones, pumps, etc...maybe something not circulating properly or you have air in your lines or the thermostat control system is not sensing properly to circulate the water?

What's you water and stove tempertures you are running at? maybe too low and it takes a lot longer to heat everything up.
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: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:47 pm

Wow! 9 tons for 1600', That is nuts.
My first thought is the baro.

You mention 18" stone walls, is there any insulation between the interior walls and the stone? If your interior wall temperature is cool to the touch, that is were its going.

It could just be a combination of all these things, insulation, windows, drafts, stone walls, baro, etc. nickle and diming you together.

Its way too much coal for what your heating. :(

If you at one time used a conventional heating appliance, what was the other source of heat and how much fuel was used? If that was more in line to reality then the problem is in your heating source, not the house itself.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: leowis1 On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:13 pm

Thanks for your replies. The house has all newer windows. There is no insulation in the walls. I do not have a damper on the chimney. The smoke runs straight out. But the boiler does have an air intake setting. I guess this is like a damper? I believe the aquastat is set to turn off at 200 degrees. Maybe 210? The lower setting is around 170 degrees. I'll double check tonight.

The 1st floor and 2nd floors are around 800sq ft each. The first floor has 12 windows and 3 exterior doors. The 2nd floor has 10 windows and 1 exterior door. (2nd floor porch). The 3rd floor (which is unheated) is around 350sq ft. Then there's insulation blown in over the 3rd floor.

Are my aquastat settings wrong?

p.s. I installed the coal boiler after 1 winter in this house with natural gas. In that winter, I was only heating part time. No kids. Now its full time.
leowis1
 

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: Devil505 On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:22 pm

leowis1 wrote:Thanks for your replies. The house has all newer windows. There is no insulation in the walls. I do not have a damper on the chimney. The smoke runs straight out. But the boiler does have an air intake setting. I guess this is like a damper? I believe the aquastat is set to turn off at 200 degrees. Maybe 210? The lower setting is around 170 degrees. I'll double check tonight.

The 1st floor and 2nd floors are around 800sq ft each. The first floor has 12 windows and 3 exterior doors. The 2nd floor has 10 windows and 1 exterior door. (2nd floor porch). The 3rd floor (which is unheated) is around 350sq ft. Then there's insulation blown in over the 3rd floor.

Are my aquastat settings wrong?

p.s. I installed the coal boiler after 1 winter in this house with natural gas. In that winter, I was only heating part time. No kids. Now its full time.


Just for starters I'm guessing that if you had insulation blown in your walls & made them as weather-tight as you could, that you would save enough coal next winter to pretty much pay for the work.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:29 pm

leowis1 wrote: Are my aquastat settings wrong?


Actually, that is kind of high if you ask me. Try setting the low at 160* and the high at 180* and see if you lower your consumption. Do you have a thermometer on the stovepipe? If not, get one fast, probe or magnet it doesn't matter. Pick up a draft gauge or manometer and set the baro properly.

Can you touch the stovepipe and if so how long? If you can't touch it, thats where your heat is going.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: WNY On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:30 pm

What happens with NO Baro damper, it can't adjust for temperatures or atmospheric conditions (Wind, etc..) or stove temperatures....So, as your stove temp increases, so does the exhaust gas velocity up the chimney and it will burn more to keep up since you will be loosing it up the chimney.

Once the heat starts going up the chimney it draws even more out of the stove, A Baro damper will limit the heat out of the stove, and draw air in from the room to maintain the constant draft on the stove. When it's colder outside (below 20-25 degrees), heat rises much faster and will draw even more heat out of the stove.

The baro will also reduce the stack temperatures, therfore slowing down the exhaust gases and keep it from drawing all the heat out of you stove.
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: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:30 pm

leowis1 wrote: I believe the aquastat is set to turn off at 200 degrees. Maybe 210? The lower setting is around 170 degrees. I'll double check tonight


Try 180 and 160, and 160 140 in the summer.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:31 pm

coaledsweat wrote:Can you touch the stovepipe and if so how long? If you can't touch it, thats where your heat is going.


Just to add when it's idle for while you should be able to touch and keep you hand there. That is at least the case on ours.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:34 pm

If you have a three story house and chimney and no baro, thats where your heat is going. Up the chimney.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: leowis1 On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:36 pm

Shouldn't the air-intake setting take care of this?

I googled dampers and I found this page. https://chimneysupply.com/chimney_dampers.htm

I do have cage thingy ontop of the chimney, but I'm not sure if its a damper. Should the baro/damper be installed next to the boiler? Or on top of the chimney?
leowis1
 

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:08 pm

The baro Damper goes on the flue pipe, those have nothing to do with a coal stove.:
Image

The "flapper thingy" tilts, allowing air to be pulled out of the basement instead of the furnace.

--------------
I'd strongly sugggest adjusting your aquastat first, that's way to high. Here's the scenario, first you have a small house so its not going to require a lot of effort to keep it up to temp. You have high setting on your furnace now so you're burning extra coal during idle times to maintain that temperature. When you do need heat its going to stoke until it reaches 210, by the time it hits that temp you have already made enough heat a long time ago. You now got big ball of fire that is just getting wasted..
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: What am I doing wrong? Too much coal being used

PostBy: e.alleg On: Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:11 pm

You need a barometric damper, no question about it.
http://cgi.ebay.com/FIELD-CONTROLS-8-RC-DRAFT-CONTROL-FOR-OIL-OR-COAL_W0QQitemZ110134019672QQihZ001QQcategoryZ41987QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQ_trksidZp1638.m118.l1247QQcmdZViewItem
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.


This is what you need, shop around though I just bought a new one for $10. With a 3 story house the draft will burn up all your coal even with the stoker off. It's easy to install, to set it you'll need a manometer, look at the manometer loaner program or spend the $30 and buy one and permanently mount it on the boiler. Coal usage will probably drop in half unless something else is going on like you are also heating a garage or shed or something.
e.alleg
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

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