carbon monoxide problem

carbon monoxide problem

PostBy: aliceme On: Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:31 am

I burn coal in a Harmon Mark 3. Yesterday I came home to a fire that was nearly out and my carbon monoxide detectors were sounding their alarms. My ash pan was on the full side but otherwise I couldn't see any problems. I had my chimney cleaned earlier this year, so I don't think blockage is a problem. I have trouble buring coal on a warm day (above 50) but it was cold out when this occured. I am at the bottom of my coal bin and the coal may be of a different or mixed quality. Not sure if that matters. Any suggestions as to what the problem might be would be appreciated. (And this is a good reminder to check your detectors. I would never have known there was a problem; there was no smell in the house at all.) thanks!
aliceme
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harmon
Stove/Furnace Model: mark III

Re: carbon monoxide problem

PostBy: Dallas On: Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:53 am

aliceme wrote:Yesterday I came home to a fire that was nearly out


My guess, the fact that the stove was nearly out, was the problem. That will allow the chimney to cool and the draft will become minimal, and may even reverse. The positive side being, the same as the possible cause, .. "the fire was nearly out".
Dallas
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
Other Heating: Oil Hot Air
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35

Re: carbon monoxide problem

PostBy: gambler On: Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:56 am

I would check all elbows and horizontal sections of pipe for ash build up.
gambler
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

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Re: carbon monoxide problem

PostBy: Devil505 On: Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:05 pm

I agvree with Dallas in guessing it was more of a draft problem than anything else. I used to have an old Dutchwest Federal that would give of CO with low burns. As soon as I would open the ash door & increase the fire/draft the CO went away.( By the same token, this is my 3rd year with a TLC-2000 & have never had any CO readings no matter how low the fire or draft.)
You know that CO is nothing to fool with. If you dont have one already, I suggest you get a digital readout type of CO detector so that you can see what the levels are & if they are rising or falling.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: carbon monoxide problem

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:48 pm

It's possible that a poor quality coal may have been responsible for your stove burning to a low fire, but not for the CO level inside the house. I agree that you should check all the elbows for ash build-up. The design of the baffle in the Mark series lends itself to high amounts of ash building up in the outlet of the stove where the first elbow would attach. I have a tee with a cap on one end installed at this point. I have let the stove go out and cleaned it 2 times this season, in addition to the cleaning before the first fire in the fall. The most recent time the tee was about half full of ash, and a reduction in draft was evident before the cleaning.
Better to let the stove go out and check for ash build-up in the pipes then to ignore it and wake up dead one day.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: carbon monoxide problem

PostBy: titleist1 On: Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:05 pm

As previously mentioned, check your 90's and horizontal sections. We have a Mark III and I clean ours 3 - 4 times per year depending on the amount of coal used. When you clean make sure you vacuum off the top of the baffle inside the stove. The ash builds up in there also. I can usually tell when it is time to clean by the lack of draft when loading or starting up a fire.
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: carbon monoxide problem

PostBy: aliceme On: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:31 pm

Thanks to you all for your help. It was a clogged elbow which was causing a poor draft. Everything got a good cleaning and now the stove is working well.
thanks again.
aliceme
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harmon
Stove/Furnace Model: mark III

Re: carbon monoxide problem

PostBy: titleist1 On: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:18 am

Glad to hear it was an easy fix.
I don't know if you can do this on your installation, but a 'T' that is capped off instead of a 90* will make it much easier to clean out the ash. Watch the draft on the stove closely when loading and shaking down, I think you will be able to see a difference when the 90* starts getting clogged so you can tell when its cleaning time.
I can tell when shaking down that mine needs cleaning because some ash will puff out the ash pan door. Also when loading more smoke will come out the door than usual. Before doing each of these I will have the ash pan door open for about 5 minutes to get the coals going or it will happen a little even with a clean flue pipe.
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: carbon monoxide problem

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:36 am

That's correct, a tee makes things a lot easier, if you can install a tee with a cap on one end cleaning out fly ash is a quick task.
HARMAN 03-21 #2.JPG
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Tee on the back of the stove with a cap-removable for clean outs.
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Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

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