First burn! Chappee boiler

First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: twainer On: Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:43 am

Last night I started the fire in my Chappee boiler. Since I've never burned coal before, this was quite a trial for me. I used about half a bag of charcoal to start the fire (I have no wood handy to burn) and it seemed easy enough. Once I had good red coals from the charcoal, I shoveled in the bit coal until I covered the entire shaker grate at the bottom. Things got smokey for a while, but with 10 minutes I had a pretty good fire roaring in there. Then I got impatient and shoveled in too much coal I think because the flames went out and all I had for half an hour or more was smoke--lots and lots of smoke.

After that got going again, I used a poker to level the coals out and filled the firebox up as the manual indicated, banking it up in the rear. It ran fine through the night, keeping the whole house nice and toasty. This morning I poked at the chunks in there and broke them up somewhat, then added 4 more shovels to the top of the fire. Its a learning experience, but I'm really liking this whole process so far--even the oder brings back memories I didn't know I had. :roll:
I can see now however that even though the boiler is out in the unfinished garage, I'm going to need a fume hood over the boiler I can turn on when I get ready to stoke the fire--it really fills the place up with smoke when I'm first loading new bit in to it! I'm glad this forum talked me out of installing a baro in the chimmney, that would have added greatly to the smoke inside. . .

John
twainer
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bermuda (Chapee) solid fuel boiler
Coal Size/Type: bituminous lump
Other Heating: Natural gas boilers

Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: BigBarney On: Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:34 pm

Twainer;

I burn all bituminous coal and have found a way to eliminate the smoke you get,this coal

requires a different process than the Anthracite coal used by most on this forum.When I

start I let it burn off some of the volatiles then push all the fire to the back and stack

the new coal in the front only putting a small amount over the hot coal in back so as to

keep from covering completely so a hot flame is there to burn off the volatiles instead of

them going up the chimney unburned and wasting that heat.I add coal to my boiler in bags

of 20-25# in the front of the chamber they stay stacked and burn in a controlled manner with

maximum heat and little smoke,they stay in a stack and as burned fall into the heat of the fire

and burn.When you put a large amount of coal on the hot fire the coal volatiles are released

and cannot be burned and are wasted,you need a slow steady burn to get the best results.

What type of coal are you using? How much volatility?

I burn bit coal 24/7/365 in my boiler for heat and hot water.

BigBarney
BigBarney
 

Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: twainer On: Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:01 am

Well, that sounds better than what I've been doing the last two days. The coal is from a PA, they (Chess Coal co.) call it "Pittsburgh Nut" coal. Since I work at an engineering school where one of the things they do is test various types of coal, I'm bringing in a sample to have it tested. The supplier had a couple varieties of coal, this type looked the better to me (shinier, cleaner). They told me it burned cleaner and hotter so I paid the extra price and got it instead of the cheaper coal I'd planned on ($80/ton opposed to $110/ton).

Anyway, I'm going to try making the logs as you suggest by stuffing the coal into bags. At least I will have the door open less time that way. Today I've got myself into another problem though. It was warm yesterday so the heat load was almost nil. The house was still getting pretty hot, so I started dumping the hot water into a small zone I have setup in the garage. Ended up with the damper closing down entirely and the fire smothered and went out. Now I have about 100 pounds of solid lump coal in the firebox that is not even hot by now.
Any ideas how to get that started up again? Short of busting it up and pulling it out lump at a time--that would be pretty messy! I was able to dig a hole down the center to the grates underneath, but couldn't really get it fired up using a hand torch. Not sure how to go about it next. Its going to be warm today and hot tomorrow (70) I hear so I've got a couple days to come up with a plan for this dilemma.

John
twainer
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bermuda (Chapee) solid fuel boiler
Coal Size/Type: bituminous lump
Other Heating: Natural gas boilers


Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: BigBarney On: Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:52 am

Twainer:

You can start a new fire on top of that mass and the fire will migrate down into the unburned coal,just don't put too much coal

on top only enough to restart, give ample air to get a hot fire going.Usually it will burn down thru on one side and then burn

across the entire bed, when it burns well over half way put a bag 20-25# bag on the burning side and the fire will go in both

directions and your on your way.When you do this make sure the coal does not smother the side that is burning,a little later is

better than too soon. I start my fire with about a cup of wood pellets soaked in diesel fuel and a lot of newspaper.I make a

package of the pellets and some small pea coal wrapped up in newspaper and put the crumpled newspaper in the firebox and

light it up with a lot of extra draft to get a good hot fire going.This will take a while but easier than cleaning out all the coal.

BigBarney
BigBarney
 

Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: LsFarm On: Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:51 pm

If that lump doesn't have a lot of air passageways in it, it probably won't burn from the top down,,

If you can, flip the big chunk off to the side of the firebox, make a new fire, and once established lean the big chunk over the fire, and eventually it will burn up.. or break it up into smaller chunks so it can burn like large pieces of coal.. One huge chunk won't get enough air through it to burn very well.. [been there, done that :mad: ]

Or break up the big chunk and build the new fire on top of it,, but just realize that it will impede the flow of air untill it is burnt up..

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: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: twainer On: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:38 pm

Thanks guys. I dug out a hole in the center and added a layer of charcoal to startup when I got home from work. When I got home it had restarted by itself and was hungry for more coal. Must have been hot down there somewhere I didn't find!

I had the coal tested here at school and it looks pretty good. The average value is 13,780 Btu/lb which sounds pretty good. This is bit coal, but I get no sulfur smell; just a lot of smoke when first loading the stove. I only purchased half a ton so I can try various types (my little trailer only holds 1000 lbs anyway) as I use this up.

I still need to plumb in a couple zones to heat the garage--I really need somewhere to dump excess heat when it gets back up to 50 degrees like yesterday!

John
twainer
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bermuda (Chapee) solid fuel boiler
Coal Size/Type: bituminous lump
Other Heating: Natural gas boilers

Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: twainer On: Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:25 am

Ok, I've had a few days to work on my coal burning skills but things are not working too well for me. I can't seem to get the fire to burn overnight, or at least 6 hours without using a poker on it to open some holes in the hot pile.

I've tried two types of coal now. The first was pricey, $110 per ton, but they thought it was hotter and I could see it was cleaner. It is best described as nut coal, average size chunks were just a bit larger than golf ball size, some the size of grapefruits. This coal smoked an awful lot when I put it on a hot fire, and it seems to get soft and gooey while burning. If left alone for more than an hour, it congeals over the top and pretty much quits putting out enough heat. It stays hot inside and if poked, flames erupt out of the mass, but so does lots of smoke. It also filled my chimney with soot to the point where I had to remove all the pipes and clean them out. I couldn't keep a hot fire burning with the stuff unless I tended it every hour.

The next load of coal I have was called Pittsburgh nut coal, $80 per ton. This stuff is much larger chunks, average around grapefruit size, some even bigger. Lots of small pea size mixed in with it. It chunks together also, its sort of sticky when cold. I can get a very hot fire with this coal, only smokes when I first add the coal, and the hot coals are hard, not gooey when I poke at them. Still, the fire won't stay hot enough unless I poke holes in the mass about every two hours. When the boiler burns this coal, there is nothing left but ash, no clinkers like the first coal left.

The firebox is a bit more than 3 feet from front to back and about 18 inches from left to right, maybe 30 inches from grate to roof. There is a nice ash pit below the grate that is easy to clean out. I've tried loading just a small amount of coal on the grate. This works well but won't last very long. The best fires I've had were when I stuffed the box really full and then poked at it every couple hours. I really don't like getting dressed and going outside every night at 3 am and 6 am to poke the fire. Am I doing something wrong here, or is this what others that use boilers do also? I'm on my 2nd 1000 lb load of coal by this time and I'd thought have this figured out by now.

John
twainer
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bermuda (Chapee) solid fuel boiler
Coal Size/Type: bituminous lump
Other Heating: Natural gas boilers

Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: BigBarney On: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:09 pm

Twainer:

If you have true Pittsburgh Nut Coal it is very hard and burns real well with a hot

and bright flame and very little soot.If your grate is that large you have almost a

2 million btu boiler which is really huge,how much space do you heat? With that

grate you need about 200# of coal on it at all times to burn properly.When you load

it you have to load side to side or front to back leaving a hot burning fire on the

unloaded area or you will create a lot of smoke and your efficiency goes way down.

This is an outside boiler so the heat loss is great,and probably not pressurized so it is

vented to atmosphere and heat is lost there too.

What color is your flame,bright white,yellow dusky,orange,blue with yellow tips,or other?

Is there a forced draft under the fire or above it?

How high is your chimney,and size?

BigBarney
BigBarney
 

Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: Berlin On: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:45 pm

hopefully you have firebrick sides, otherwise the coal will be cooler on the sides of the bed and not "fall down upon itself" and thus the poking. also you should fill the firebox up as far as you can go. if you still have trouble the boiler wasn't well designed for coal.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: twainer On: Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:07 pm

I may have over stated the dimensions of the firebox slightly, but it should hold 140 pounds of coal according to the manual. There is no firebrick, its a boiler so the sides of the firebox are the water containers. Made like a traditional sectional boiler, each section encloses the fire box completely and the sections are bolted together to give it depth (see the diagram at http://cemrweb.cemr.wvu.edu/~mathews/boiler/page11.jpg). The whole thing is buttoned up in fiberglass and a nice outer jacket that barely even gets warm to the touch while the fire is raging inside. Its designed for 130k btu/hour, so with my current coal testing at 13.7k btu, that would be about 10 pounds per hour, or 60 pounds for 6 hours??

If I could get that length of burn I'd be a happy camper, but the box seems to just go dead unless I keep getting out there and poking it every couple hours.
Berlin, do you know what your chimney temps should run at normally? I'm thinking it could be a draft problem, although if it is I don't know what steps would make it better.

The chimney I made is 6 inch steel pipe, a 45 out of the boiler, up 2 feet, a 45 to get to vertical and up 2 more feet, then a 90 into insulated double wall for 2 feet, a last 90 back vertical again and then up for 6 feet. I had a chimney roof on top but removed that thinking it could be causing soot buildup.
If its lack of draft, a fan forcing air into the bottom should help, but it didin't seem to make much difference. :?
twainer
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bermuda (Chapee) solid fuel boiler
Coal Size/Type: bituminous lump
Other Heating: Natural gas boilers

Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: Berlin On: Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:35 pm

you're seeing a lack of draft with that setup. positive pressure doesn't work as well as negative pressure for encouraging coal fires to burn properly.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: twainer On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:47 am

Hmmm...
I used a fan last week to help burn the first type coal I got. That helped, but over the weekend I looked into the chimney pipes and they were absolutely packed solid with soot. I took it all apart and cleaned everything, (huge, huge mess, I've only started to recover from out in the garage!) and then started the fire with some split wood.
I think the original coal I used just plugged my chimney with soot. I talked with an older friend who has a a coal furnace in his basement and buys coal at the same place I'm getting it. He told me he had the same soot buildup problem with the first type coal I tried and he uses run-of-mine coal now. His furnace has a deeper, brick lined firebox and he burns lots of wood with his coal. He thinks the wood helps keep the soot buildup down, and that seems likely to me, but I don't have a stack of wood, or any way to obtain it other than buying it.

I'm wondering if I'm just trying to get too much heat from the boiler? Last night, it was pretty warm outside, so I turned the calorastat down quite a bit from its normal setting. While the fire didn't get real hot, it was comfortable inside, and this morning I still had some heat coming from the boiler. All I had to do was stir up the fire and load more coal. Its like I'm setting the house temps not with the zone thermostats, but via the boiler temperature.
But when its 13 degrees outside, that fire needs to be raging, not sleeping along.

Anyway, still trying to get things worked out here in Morgantown.
twainer
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bermuda (Chapee) solid fuel boiler
Coal Size/Type: bituminous lump
Other Heating: Natural gas boilers

Re: First burn! Chappee boiler

PostBy: Tamecrow On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:55 pm

twainer wrote:I'm glad this forum talked me out of installing a baro in the chimmney, that would have added greatly to the smoke inside. . .


Not if you "jam" the flapper with a matchstick whenever the door is open ;) . It would however, greatly help you control the fire. I know most guys burning bituminous coal don't use a baro but my chimney draft is so strong, if I didn't use a baro, the stove pipes would turn blood red when burning the volatiles.

Terry
Tamecrow
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Warden King Ltd.
Stove/Furnace Model: Viking Jr. Boiler/Will-Burt 30