Questions on Coal Gun Basics

Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: tmbm50 On: Sat. Apr. 16, 2016 10:11 am

Hey Everyone,

First some background:
I've been burning coal for many years in a LL stoker with good success. Its hacked into some duct work and provides a more even distribution of heat in our house than a typical stove setup. Its our main source of heat.

Now we are in the planning stages of building our new house. NG is not available so I'm looking to stick with coal options if possible. Due to some design and budget concerns, hydronic heating isn't an option so I'm looking at what type of setup can be done to get a boiler fed forced air. So here are some questions I have.

1. Has anyone used a boiler like the coal gun with a heat exchanger. If so, how well did it work?
2. How is the coal gun lite? Is it the same as a stoker (I start a charcoal fire in mine).
3. Can the coal gun be used with the Coal-Trol thermostat or similar? We love how our current setup is regulated by the upstairs temp.

I was hoping to find the manual for the coal gun online but could not.

Thanks in advanced.
tmbm50
 

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Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Sat. Apr. 16, 2016 3:43 pm

Yes I do the same thing. The AK 180 is in the basement and the coaltrol is on the first floor. It all works perfectly and none of that oxygen dihydride stuff to rust things up. It's all about to die and I just had to take a photograph to carry me through until the fall. Hah, and they call me hard core.
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14" take off
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Only one stoker .. goodbye little stove
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coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 180K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Invader 2
Baseburners & Antiques: Wings Best, Glenwood #8(x2) Herald 116x
Coal Size/Type: Rice,
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: plumberman On: Sat. Apr. 16, 2016 3:54 pm

don't see why it wouldn't work with air exchangers. lights off super easy, fill up, turn on fan, stick turbo torch in flapper door in couple of minutes your going!
aquasatat maintains boiler temp, t-stat controls zone temps. the time is now, money well spent if you can go with baseboard heat over a ducted system if at all possible.
plumberman
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: coal gun 130
Coal Size/Type: pea
Other Heating: solar dhw/samsung mini split/oil

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: tsb On: Sat. Apr. 16, 2016 4:04 pm

I assume you are going hot air for the air conditioning in the summer. The heat exchanger will work fine if you
like hot air heat. If the Coal gun will be in the basement, you could do a loop of fin around the perimeter as a
dump zone. It will give enough heat for shoulder months and keep your floor warm.
tsb
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Binford 2000
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Pioneer top vent
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Saey Hanover II
Baseburners & Antiques: Grander Golden Oak , Glenwood # 6
Coal Size/Type: All of them

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: lsayre On: Sat. Apr. 16, 2016 4:54 pm

The Coal Gun is in my opinion the easiest boiler to use on the market. Although it is technically classified as a stoker it does not operate anything like a stoker, so it will not be started like one, and it will not interface with a Coaltrol.

The Coal Gun basically functions like an automated hand fed boiler with a hopper (albeit a roughly 260 lb. capacity hopper), with a fan to induce rapid heat. It gravity stokes from its hopper above via ashing below, and it ashes itself automatically via a temperature sensor mounted on (or near) the ash sled (which it uses as opposed to ash grates). Load it up, jam a few pieces of charcoal into the anthracite at the location of the flapper port, and light it with a Burn-O-Matic type torch. It is easy to get going.

About the only control you need to adjust is the ashing temperature set point. It monitors its own internal temperature and initiates the fan accordingly, so wiring it is probably easier than wiring up any other stoker boiler. It comes pre-wired. Bring power into it, wire up the dump zone (to an aquastat that is set up for this at the factory), plumb it up, and it is ready to go.

Run your circulator and zone valves off of a completely separate zone valve control module, or alternately run multiple circulators off of a completely separate zone circulator control module. It couldn't be easier to operate. These control modules are where the homes T-Stats tie in.

The firebox and hopper combined hold about 320 lbs. of coal. That will be your initial fill quantity.

It uses no timers, as it doesn't need any to sustain a fire. No pins or timer or blower settings to mess with. No pushers or gears to worry about or adjust on the gravity coal feed.

I run mine year round.

Do not get the direct drive fan model. Get the belt drive fan model.
Last edited by lsayre on Sat. Apr. 16, 2016 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: tmbm50 On: Sat. Apr. 16, 2016 5:54 pm

Thanks for all the answers. As I read more about it, I think I understand that the boiler operates very differently than a stoker with a coal-trol.

If I understand the difference, a stoker w/ coaltrol changes the feed rate (and circulation blower) to adjust output. But a boiler is always maintaining a set water temp with no direct thermostat connection....all the time. The thermostat is only controlling the circulation pumps which in turn makes the boiler increase burn rate to keep water temp up....is that a correct understanding?

We need to use a coil because we plan on A/C and the cost for both a full duct and hydronic setup was way too much for the budget.

So another question: How much coal does it burn when its in "sustain" mode...ie not calling for heat. Our current LL does pretty well at maintaining a sliver of a fire when we have a 3-4 day stretch of warm whether where no heat is being called for. When its real cold we will go through the whole 110lb hopper in a day, but when its not calling for heat, it will last a full week on a single hopper.

Does anyone know of a current AHS dealer in the Lancaster PA area?
tmbm50
 

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: crazy4coal On: Sat. Apr. 16, 2016 7:24 pm

Check your PMs
crazy4coal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: buderus
Stove/Furnace Model: logana

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: lzaharis On: Sat. Apr. 16, 2016 7:40 pm

Is there any reason you could not use steam radiators with one pipe steam
or gravity hot water heat with hot water radiators?

Both one pipe steam and gravity hot water are very simple to plumb and control with
thermostats on the steam radiators and a central thermostat for the gravity hot water system.

Neither heating method interfere with a ducted air condition system if you use the high speed
insulated fan tubing for your air conditioning. You can buy used hot water and steam radiators
that have been tested and cleaned from architectural reclaimed goods stores.
lzaharis
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KAA-4-1 dual fuel boiler
Coal Size/Type: rice
Other Heating: kerosene for dual fuel Keystoker

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Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: Yanche On: Sat. Apr. 16, 2016 10:26 pm

The coalgun and the AA boilers are unlike any other anthracite coal appliance. They burn coal in a vertical pipe. There are three states of coal the (1) bottom layer is burnt coal (ash). Above it is (2) burning coal, then (3) unburnt coal. The entire stack rests on a movable solid steel grate. Combustion air is sucked up through the burning coal and ash. The combustion blower fan blades are internal in the boiler water to flue gas heat exchanger (boiler tubes). Half of the path is suction, the other path is pressure. The pressure path exhausts the flue gases thru a cyclone fly ash separator and then out the flue pipe.

A water temperature aqua-stat controls the combustion blower on/off power. Ash is removed by moving the steel grate, effectively slicing off some of the ash letting the entire stack to fall down. When there is no demand for heat the burning coal just idles, because there is no combustion air. It still produces some heat but a small fraction of the boiler's capability. My boiler will hold fire for 2-3 days. The coalgun and the AA boiler differ on how they feed coal and how they sense the need to remove ash. Both are very good boilers. If you want domestic hot water from your boiler I would recommend a indirect hot water heater tank. This is just like another zone on your boiler water distribution piping.

I've posted extensively on all aspects of my coalgun installation. Use the search feature on my name to find them.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: plumberman On: Sun. Apr. 17, 2016 7:14 am

diffidently get the belt drive blower!!
plumberman
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: coal gun 130
Coal Size/Type: pea
Other Heating: solar dhw/samsung mini split/oil

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sun. Apr. 17, 2016 7:45 am

coalnewbie wrote: The AK 180 is in the basement and the coaltrol is on the first floor. It all works perfectly and none of that oxygen dihydride stuff to rust things up.


That is true...when the furnace is in operation. When it sits idle over the summer, that is a different story. Then you have moisture and oxygen on both sides of the heat exchanger. As you know, proper maintenance is important, and you must take steps to prevent corrosion in the off season. If you treat a boiler the same way, it will easily last as long or longer than any hot air furnace.

For a long time I was not a big fan of the Coal Guns because of the the problems they had with puff backs. However, AHS listened and make some improvements to the design, and to my knowledge no one has had issues with puff-backs since upgrading to the new controls. Coal Gun's are pretty flexible when it comes to coal size. Most guys burn pea size, but buck burns very well also. You can even hand-feed larger sizes if necessary.

Are you planning to install an air-handler? Or just a water to air heat exchanger? Pipe the boiler to allow for easy addition of zones at a later date. A big cast iron radiator in the basement would make a great dump zone.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Sun. Apr. 17, 2016 9:18 am

I will be the first to admit that my success with this system is just partial luck, but it works for me. I am pleased that the Coal gun folks have resolved the puffback issues. As far as length of service, I am not convinced.
coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 180K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Invader 2
Baseburners & Antiques: Wings Best, Glenwood #8(x2) Herald 116x
Coal Size/Type: Rice,
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun. Apr. 17, 2016 10:17 am

Length of service? There are plenty of 1947 Axemans in service today. Puffbacks are an operational issue, any design can have them when run out of the sweet spot.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Sun. Apr. 17, 2016 11:53 am

I am not aware of any stokers being retired as old and useless. My base heaters at the top part of the house are at least 120 years old. However, this is not a competition, those AAs are so cute (and efficient) I would put one in the basement as an ornament right alongside my hit and miss. Hmmm, now you have given me an idea - an hydronics museum .... hmmmm. My wife will kill me.
coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 180K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Invader 2
Baseburners & Antiques: Wings Best, Glenwood #8(x2) Herald 116x
Coal Size/Type: Rice,
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

Re: Questions on Coal Gun Basics

PostBy: tmbm50 On: Tue. Apr. 19, 2016 1:07 pm

Yanche - When you say it will hold a fire for 2-3 days, do you mean the fire just dies after 2-3 days without a load or it burns through the whole hopper in 2-3 days? Doesn't it have a timer that kicks on the combustion blower every now and then to keep it running?

I can't imagine it would go through the entire hopper of 320lbs at idle in 2-3 days. My LL can go 7 days on a 110lb hopper at idle.
tmbm50
 

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