"Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

"Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

PostBy: BM-80 On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:05 pm

Hello everyone...
I'm brand-new to burning coal (well, almost) and brand new to this forum. (I had a Vigilant coal stove for 2 months in a previous home). I now have a Hitzer 983 insert.

The stove works GREAT except for one thing. Not all the coal burns completely. I end up with a little "half burned" coal chunks after each burn. I have been leaving them in the insert in the hope that it will burn the "next" time....but then I end up with a little more incompletely burn coal. It accumulates and, after a day or two, it seems to choke out the fire. I then remove all half-burned coal and start fresh.

This half-burned coal is gray in color but if it is broken open there is unburned black coal in the middle.

Admittedly, I'm very new at this and I am probably doing things wrong. I'm very pleased with the quality and design of the Hitzer 983 insert, but as anyone who owns one will say, the manual that comes with the stove leaves a LOT to be desired.

Any help (or just general 983 info) will be appreciated. Thanks.
BM-80
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 983 insert

Re: "Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

PostBy: Uglysquirrel On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:14 pm

I'll add my newbie comments based on one burn where I let the fire die on purpose. After everything was out, the coal near the top looked grey like yours, seems reasonable to say that this coal to some degree was not fully burnt since the temp at the top of the bix is not as hot as the coal neat the bottom, if I added more new coal over that top coal before the fire died, that grey coal would continue to burn. Thats my swag, still have some to learn.
Uglysquirrel
 
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono

Re: "Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

PostBy: BM-80 On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:39 pm

Thanks for the reply..... It's a small world, I live in Plainfield, Ct. I'm still experimenting and I'm still reading all the posts I can. Maybe some day I'll know what I'm doing (LOL). I'm sure the problem is my lack of knowledge and not the equipment or the installation.... I've got plenty of draft (I can hear it going into the intake). Also, my first burn threw TONS of heat (I ended up opening some windows) and glowed bright cherry red. Maybe I'm not adding coal at the right time...or I'm adding the wrong amount....or I'm not shaking enough or too much, etc.
The perplexing thing is that I also had this "half-burned" stuff with a Vermont Castings Vigilant (note: I only used a VC Vigilant for a very short while in another house)
Any input is still most welcome and appreciated. Thanks Bob M
BM-80
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 983 insert

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Re: "Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:17 pm

Are you letting the fire go out and restarting it?? If so, try keeping the fire going,, load the coal as deep as you can, all the way to the top of the firebrick. Coal likes heat from the adjacent coal pieces.. just a handfull of redhot flaming coal will go out when scooped up in a shovel..

So fill it up, and keep it burning the partially burnt coal will keep burning from the heat of the constant hot fire..

Just an idea,,
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: "Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

PostBy: BM-80 On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:57 am

Thanks, Greg...

I was talking to a co-worker today and he used the term "clinker". So my question now is are these half-burnt coals really "clinkers"? (What actually is a "clinker"?)

Also, I am now wondering if I am shaking it wrong. The stove is a Hitzer insert with three full-length (running front to back) grates. These grates will rotate on thier axis (the axis running front to back) completely around a full 360 degrees. (this is a lot different from the back and forth motion of the Vermont Castings Vigilant). What I have been doing so far is to just "rotate" the grates just a little (10 or 15 degrees) so that only powdered ash falls into the ash tray. By doing it that way nothing but powder falls through. But maybe I should rotate it enough so that these half-burnt coals (again, are these called clinkers?) can fall through the grates and into the ash pan.

In other words, even I know that the fire in a coal stove starts at the bottom and works it's way UP. So, if these unburned pieces are directly above the grate, the should be "dumped" into the ash pan because since these pieces are now "below" the fire they will not burn (they will not be re-ignited) and they will just be in the way of efficient combustion. This is only my latest theory...I welcome all comments and opinions. Please respond.
BM-80
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 983 insert

Re: "Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:47 am

A clinker refers to a fused mass that has a lava type look, these can be quite small or can be very large. Much larger than the coal produced them. I've seen them the size of softballs. This is usually caused by coal with a lot of other minerals in it and can be exacerbated if you fire the coal too hard. Generally red ash will do this becuse it has a higher content of volatile materials.

....however some people may refer to unburned coal as a clinker too because like a clinker it can jam the stove up.

Post a picture of what you have.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: "Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:02 am

BM-80 wrote: I end up with a little "half burned" coal chunks after each burn. I have been leaving them in the insert in the hope that it will burn the "next" time....but then I end up with a little more incompletely burn coal. It accumulates and, after a day or two, it seems to choke out the fire. I then remove all half-burned coal and start fresh.


It sounds like you are examining what remains in the insert after the fire has gone out. If that is the case, what you are describing is normal for a coal fire that is allowed to go out. Once it gets cold and you are burning the insert continuously (and hot!) you shouldn't have a problem. As for the shaking technique, I discovered that I can shake the grates in my Hitzer just enough to crunch up any large pieces of ash that are sitting on the grates. It takes some practice so you learn not to go to far and jam the grates/dump the fire.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: "Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:46 am

A clinker is fused together ash.. it looks like lava/molten glass/ ash.

There are a few photos here: red ash or white ash top of page 4..

You have to burn a fire up to the ash fusion temp to get the ash to melt together.. that temp is 2700-2800*, if you were burning your stove that hot, you would know it.

Greg L

Here is a big clinker, that's a spray can in the background,, the clinker is 12"+
Clinker.jpg
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LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: "Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

PostBy: BM-80 On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:40 am

Thanks for all the help. I have been scrolling thru the old posts (all 30 pages!!!...I'm half way done) looking for info. I realize how little I know at this point, but I'm encouraged by seeing that pretty much everybody started out the way I am. If everybody else had a learning curve, so will I. I now think that the "half-burned" stuff is do to my various errors in operating the stove. I've only burned about 60 or 70 lbs total..... not really enough experience.

So far, I realize that I need to fill the stove to make a "deeper" bed. I will start there.

Next, I will try a better shaking method, maybe rotating the shaker grates 30-40 degrees rotation instead of the 15-20 degrees I have been doing.

Thirdly, I will experiment with different brands of coal. Presently, I have 3/4 of a ton of unknown brand of coal (it MAY be good quality, who knows?). I purchased the coal in bulk/loose and had it loaded in the back of my pickup. I then transfered it to a bunch of 55 gallon drums that I scored for free. Price: 13 cents per pound

Fourth, I may call the Hitzer factory and talk to someone there, once I know a little more what I'm talking about. I had called the factory once, while trying to decide between a Hitzer and a Harmon insert. The guy from Hitzer was a very knowledgable and friendly worker from the factory floor. He was a great guy.

Finally, I will be seeking advice from any Hitzer 983 owners in this forum. I'm basically looking for basic operating instructions from someone who runs one of these stoves. Once I finish scrolling thru the threads, I'll put a post looking for 983 owners and 983 operating advice. If someone can help me in the meantime, please respond.

This is an AWESOME forum. Now that I'm playing with this stove a little, I can understand the enthusiasm for coal. It's quite addictive. Iknow when I say I'm "hooked" a lot of you understand (LOL) I'll be a coal burner yet!! Thanks everyone!
BM-80
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 983 insert

Re: "Half burnt" coal in ashes in Hitzer 983

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:03 pm

I'd start with just filling the stove up, controlling the heat with the air controls.. I wouldn't change the shaking method too much. If you change too many things at once, you can't tell what 'fixed' the problems.

Shake with short choppy motions.. you want to shake the powder down out of the fire,, leaving the partially burnt/burning coal to finish burning to powder.. leaving the 'half-burnt' coal in the stove with the hot fire will get it to finish burning.. Shake untill the powdery ash has some red pieces of coal in it.. you should see a red glow in the ash pan area.

The powdery ash doesn't always fall evenly.. sometimes there will be part of the fire on the grate that is stubborn, and is clogged with ash that needs a 'poke' from below. a piece of steel heavy wire,, 3/16" or so with an 'L' bent on the end makes a great poker... I like to use the wire frame from the Political signs that are everywhere right now..

Hope this helps.. 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

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