Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: Bobs86GN On: Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:36 pm

I'm a coal newbie-I admit it. But, I installed this boiler 27 or 28 years ago when I built this house myself. I think I tried to burn coal in it just 1 time but I didn't really know what I was doing. Since I had access to oak from trees on my lot that is what I burned in it for most of these years. The boiler is plumbed in parrallel with my oil burner. With a wood fire burning in the boiler the system worked flawlessly- oil burner never has to turn on even in the dead of winter. I have to admit that I tended to get away from using the boiler in recent years as my wood supply had to be purchased from other people. I still have way more trees on my lot than anyone in my neighborhood :D . I tended to use my Tempwood downdraft stove in the living room which did a fine job heating most of my house (1500 sq ft 1st floor plus 1000 sq ft. 2nd floor with a large open foyer where the stairway is located. I teach carpentry in a vocational school and I have plenty of kindling that I can burn-the kids are great at making sawdust and kindling ;) and that's mostly what I have been burning recently. After calling for cords of wood and not getting my phone calls answered - started to look at coal as an alternative. I have to say that this web site is unbelievable :o I have spent hours upon hours reading all the threads and I am amazed at the info and the camaraderie that people have simply because they burn coal! Pretty cool. Anyway, this boiler is 27 or so yrs old ad made by a company in Mansfield MA called Hytec Systems Inc. No longer in business. I just located the paperwork on it when I was cleaning my cellar. The literature is pretty interesting (oil and gas price spiral, freedom fom gas and oil, heat for 1/2 the cost of oil,etc). The literature says that it is designed and tested to burn anthracite coal and wood and is adaptable for bituminous coal and waste materials-not sure on how it is adaptable. It was marketed as an ADD-ON Coal/wood boiler. The heat exchanger makes up the sides of the unit and top too I think, and the jacket holds 2 gallons of water over a 13 sq. ft surface area. It had a fuel capacity of 60 lbs (but I replaced the firebrick and I'm sure it will now hold a good 80 lbs. It rated fuel consumption of coal between 2- 20 lbs/hr. :shock: and a btu output of 20,000 to 140,000 BTU/hr. It has worked very well over these yrs. using wood but I will try to see how well she does on coal. I bought 3 tons of bagged Blashack nut size at 279/ton and that is all stored under the stairwell. I'm sure I will have plenty of questions and probably wil be kicking myself for switching to coal until I get the coal burning routine worked out. Wish me luck.There seems to be a lot of good ,down to earth people here. I have been intrigued by all of the info and even videos I have recently seen on the coal mining industry and the huge part it and it's people have played in our own American history. I sure hope it can make a comeback-but I also fear the escalation of costs to the consumer that could result if demand skyrockets. At least its helping Americans here at home. And I mean no offense to some of you folks outside our borders-This is just my home,my country, and I love it here-even if we're not perfect because-who is?? BTW the pics don't show the large handle on the front of the boiler that is used to shake the grate. Also, the refrigerator is only used as a storage cabinet so heat is not an issue.
Bob Avellar
http://bavellar.home.comcast.net/~bavellar/
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Two 1/4" holes on door for over fire draft. There is a steel plate behind the entire door but this air can get to the firebox.
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Honeywell aquastats above the boiler control air inlet damper, circulator pump, and overheat dump.
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Last edited by Bobs86GN on Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Bobs86GN
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydra Fire
Stove/Furnace Model: Hitzer 50-93

Re: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: Bobs86GN On: Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:42 pm

A few more pics
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@ Grundfos pumps. One in front is circulator-1 in back not used right now.It used to circulate DHW in a loop to a storage tank. Found out I didn't need it.
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3 tons of nut under the stairwell-it is L shaped.
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Bobs86GN
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydra Fire
Stove/Furnace Model: Hitzer 50-93

Re: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: Freddy On: Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:29 pm

It sure looks good for it's age! Yup, I'm sure it'll take a while to get the hang of it, but from what I've read you'll wonder why you ever burned wood. Get a couple of CO detectors if you don't have them already. Just yesterday we had a bunch of people get poisoned by CO from a gas furnace. Chimney came loose in an apartment house. Sadly, it looks like one may not recover.
Welcome to coal!
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Visit Hitzer Stoves

Re: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: Bobs86GN On: Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:58 pm

That's awful and I'm sorry to hear that! I've been burning wood in my 2 homes for close to 35 years. I did have a relatively small chimney fire in a metal chimney in my old house about 30 yrs ago but It did no damage. Other than that I haven't had any problems - unless you want to count the time My oil burner backfired and set a jar of acetone, the floor, my tools, and my arm on fire. (I had cleaned my oil burner nozzle and after I fired it up the open container of acetone about 2 ft. in front of the burner caught fire,broke the glass and created a huge bonfire right in front of the oil burner. After I put the fire out on my arm, I went upstairs and let the 3 dogs outside, gave the cat a glance, grabbed a fire extinguisher, went back downstairs and hit the fire with a quick blast. It blew it right out but I had a mess of soot, burned plastic, burned cardboard box that I was kneeling on, and dry chemicals from the extinguisher. I guess the burns I had would be called 2nd degree but it healed pretty quick with no scars. I was lucky. :oops: I do have 2 fire/smoke detectors in the cellar. One is also a carbon monoxide detector. I also have 2 Co detectors on the first floor and 2 on the second floor. I screwed all the joints in the pipe together (I never bothered previously). The pipe sets into the masonry at least 1 ft. I put a baro damper on it which I never had but I have not adjusted it yet. Still looking for a manometer. The boiler does have a slightly tapered firebox but not as much as some I have seen so I hope that will be ok. I'm thinking of adding another row of brick on top of what I have-4" more in ht. but I'm not sure how I could hold them securely in place. They will sit on top now but I would need to secure them by some method.
Bobs86GN
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydra Fire
Stove/Furnace Model: Hitzer 50-93

Re: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: Rob R. On: Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:11 am

You did a wonderful job getting that boiler cleaned up, it looks new. Did you get that gasket cement out of your eye yet? Make sure you have at least three screws in each joint of the stove pipe, if you ever get a "bump" from coal gas in the boiler you will need them.

Off topic: I clicked on your website, that is a beautiful Grand National.
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: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:16 am

Your firebox and brick look good, you will be able to mound the coal in the center to get an over 10" deep bed of coal... But I'm currious, you mention a shaker handle, but I don't see any way that the grate can move, rock or slide?? Am I missing something?? Usually the grate has interlocking 'fingers' that mesh together to allow the grate to rock and shake the ash down through the gaps..

Greg L..
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: Freddy On: Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:46 am

The CO issue with coal is that it makes CO constantly and if the chimney get's a down draft it can push CO into the house even though there is no problem with anything. Also, coal makes fly ash that will settle on any horizontal surface. If not cleaned when needed things will get clogged and then the CO has no chimney to get into. I'm glad to hear you have plenty of detectors. Modern technology....gotta love it!
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: titleist1 On: Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:33 am

The sloped firebrick chamber in your stove looks like what is in the US Stove models. Others on here have been able to get them to burn coal adequately with some tweaking, you may want to look through those threads to see what was necessary if you run into problems keeping the coal fire hot and giving you a long burn time. I remember some adding a blower on the ash pan door to improve combustion air to the bottom of the fire. I think there were some other tweaks, but I can't remember.
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: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:56 pm

WOW, that thing is a twin to my Steel King, even the color matches. :)
Can you still get grates for it? I might get lucky and they will fit.

You are going to want to plug those holes up and check the airbox in the back for holes too. No overfire air with anthracite.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: Bobs86GN On: Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:04 pm

markviii wrote:You did a wonderful job getting that boiler cleaned up, it looks new. Did you get that gasket cement out of your eye yet? Make sure you have at least three screws in each joint of the stove pipe, if you ever get a "bump" from coal gas in the boiler you will need them.

Off topic: I clicked on your website, that is a beautiful Grand National.


Thanks,it did clean up pretty good. My eye is fine now-no lingering effects although I have 1 more appointment with the eye doc in a few weeks.
The Grand National is my baby. I just don't get the use out of it any more like I used to before I restored it. Now I'm afraid to get it wet or dirty. I have to get over that.

Freddy wrote:The CO issue with coal is that it makes CO constantly and if the chimney get's a down draft it can push CO into the house even though there is no problem with anything. Also, coal makes fly ash that will settle on any horizontal surface. If not cleaned when needed things will get clogged and then the CO has no chimney to get into. I'm glad to hear you have plenty of detectors. Modern technology....gotta love it!

Doesn't anything that burns produce CO? Is the danger with coal more significant because there is little or no smoke associated with it so that a downdraft doesn't produce the smoke and smell of a wood fire?
One CO detector is in the cellar and another on the first floor in front of the cellar door,plus there is another on the first floor and 2 on the 2nd floor. That should be reasonably safe. Maybe I will go by a canary to augment the system. :)
LsFarm wrote:Your firebox and brick look good, you will be able to mound the coal in the center to get an over 10" deep bed of coal... But I'm currious, you mention a shaker handle, but I don't see any way that the grate can move, rock or slide?? Am I missing something?? Usually the grate has interlocking 'fingers' that mesh together to allow the grate to rock and shake the ash down through the gaps..

Greg L..

The shaker handle is on the right ,front and shakes the whole grate back and forth. There really is no scraping action. I found that it worked best with quick, sharp movements. I'm sure I may need to use the poker from underneath to help sift the ash through. I might actually make something that I can sort of "comb" through the grate from the bottom. Like a" poker comb".UUUUU---------------
I might be able to raise the firebrick another 3" if I cut the brick and and rest it on top of what is there now except I need to come up with a system to help hold it in place.

titleist1 wrote:The sloped firebrick chamber in your stove looks like what is in the US Stove models. Others on here have been able to get them to burn coal adequately with some tweaking, you may want to look through those threads to see what was necessary if you run into problems keeping the coal fire hot and giving you a long burn time. I remember some adding a blower on the ash pan door to improve combustion air to the bottom of the fire. I think there were some other tweaks, but I can't remember.

I have read many posts on the US Stove and Big Bertha but I'm going to read all that again. I think the brick in mine is just a little steeper (more vertical) maybe?? The air inlet is in the back and is probably about 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 with the flapper wide open. I suppose I could add a blower to that inlet if I just box all around the inlet so as not to interfere with the flapper door. We'll see how it goes on its own first.

coaledsweat wrote:WOW, that thing is a twin to my Steel King, even the color matches. :)
Can you still get grates for it? I might get lucky and they will fit.

You are going to want to plug those holes up and check the airbox in the back for holes too. No overfire air with anthracite.


Hydrafire is long gone I guess. I can't find a single reference to it on the internet. I'll have to scan the pamphlet that I have with the specs and sales jargon. Its pretty funny reading because it could have been written exactly the same way today and yet it was written 28-29 years ago. Some things just haven't changed the $$$ is just higher. :mad: So, no. Can't get any parts for it other than the pumps and electrical stuff made by others. The only over fire air is te 2 small holes in the frontdoor. The pamphlet says" Secondary air ducts: Wood and bituminous coal burning produce highly volatile gases. Secondary air permits more complete combustion reducing both emisions and creosote." It also says that it is designed for anthracite and wood but can be adapted to bituminous and waste materials-but it doesn't state what is needed. I may just tap the holes and block them but I will probably experiment with and without to see what affect they have.Easy enough to do. I hope I can get this beast to work with coal. At least with the Blashack I should have a decent coal to experiment with.

Well, more for me to read. Thanks for the input guys. I do really appreciate it.
Bobs86GN
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydra Fire
Stove/Furnace Model: Hitzer 50-93

Re: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: Bobs86GN On: Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:12 pm

Oh BTW, Titleist1. I live in Acushnet, MA where Titleist made their golf balls although most of that production is now done in a new plant 1 town over. They still have their test range in Acushnet, however. Don't ask me anything about golf though-That was about the extent of my knowledge on the subject. Of course I am assuming your nickname had something to do with the Titleist company. :?:
Bobs86GN
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydra Fire
Stove/Furnace Model: Hitzer 50-93

Re: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: Freddy On: Fri Aug 08, 2008 7:10 am

I'm guessing CO is more of a concern with coal because the fire is always burning. Every other type of heat cycles off and on. If you get a downdraft it's pretty likely the burner is off. Plus with coal the speed of the gas up the chimney might be slower so it's more likely to downdraft? And then the idea that fly ash is constantly building up in the stove pipe. Every day you have less room for the gas to escape until it's cleaned again. Maybe a combination of all things? I don't know, I just know that you want to be a bit more concerened than with other types of heat. No fear, just concern and forethought for safety.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Pics of my boiler cleaned up and my 3 tons of coal

PostBy: titleist1 On: Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:43 am

"Oh BTW, Titleist1. I live in Acushnet, MA where Titleist made their golf balls although most of that production is now done in a new plant 1 town over."

Well, unfortunately for my golf scores, your neighbors that work there can thank me - I have been doing more than my part to keep them employed since I lose more than my share of golf balls!! :D
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

Visit Hitzer Stoves