Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: CoalInNH On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:00 pm

Hi, I have an old Chappee boiler which is hand fired. This boiler is set up with a calorstat (a non electric damper control which opens and closes the damper door based on boiler water temp- @ 190 it closes the lower damper door almost completely). The upper damper is always completely closed unless I burn wood. I do have a barometric damper installed.

I am having a couple of issues. The first is unburned coal or at least what I think is unburned coal. I have included two photos. One shows just four pieces of coal that come out of the ash pan. They are light in color and real light in weight. I am assuming this is half burned or unburned coal. The second photo shows the amount of coal that is leftover from approximately 2 days of burning. (I use an old rocker type ash sifter to get what you see in the photo.)

Is this unburned coal or debris (shale etc.)?

Second question-If this is unburned coal what am I doing wrong? Am I not shaking enough or shaking too much? I have read that you shake until you see the first hot ember fall through the grates (this is what the manual says). I have also seen that you should shake vigorously before loading.

Lastly, the manual says to bank the fire towards the back of the boiler leaving a spot of red hot embers in the front. I understand what they mean, but how can I always leave it glowing in the front? When I load I eventually end up with a large pile in the rear, and low in the front. Should I always bank this way or should I alternate? (loading new coal in the front one time and then loading new coal in the rear the next) It just seems that I am not running it as good as I should be. When I add new coal it takes hours to bring temp back up. It will usually drop from 180-190 to 130-140 when loading new coal and take a couple of hours to bring temp up sometimes leaving damper wide open. I am using nut sized coal I believe. Lasdt photo is fire right after loading. Please help! Thanks in advance.
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Unburned coal
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Unburned coal total after ashes sifted out 2 days worth
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Coal fire after loading
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CoalInNH
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Chappee Bermuda CN-28

Re: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: packard bill On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:25 pm

Hi CoalinNH.

Looks like pea coal.
I had that problem once,my regular coal supplier(an elderly gent at the time)got sick and was closed for 2 weeks,leaving me to purchase my coal from another dealer.
This otheer dealers coal was a dark gray in color and sounded VERY HARD when you dropped it. I only had them put about a thousand pounds on my truck,and was I glad I did. It burned lousy. It took forever to get going and the only way I could get it to burn was high fire. I don't like that.
Try another supplier (just a small amount if you can) I would use nut coal, and make sure it's a nice deep black color and shiny like good ole Pennsy Blaschak anthracite.
Here's another tip, see if you can write on concrete with a piece of coal, I couldn't do that with the lousy stuff I bought several years ago. I mixed that crap in with my blaschak a little at a time when I got "the good stuff".
One bad load of coal can be a real pain.
Good luck, packard bill
packard bill
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: DS Machine and homebuilt
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Franco-Belge
Coal Size/Type: Nut,pea
Stove/Furnace Make: Franco Belge 40k
Stove/Furnace Model: D.S. Machine boiler

Re: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:56 pm

The coal you have in the first picture, if you break the pieces in half are they black inside?

How hard are you running the boiler?
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

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Re: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: CoalInNH On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:29 pm

Some of them are black inside and others are same color throughout (whitish/redish). The ones that are the same color throughout crumble into ash so I am guessing it is not rock. It has been unseasonably warm in NH lately (50's to mid 60's) so heat demand has been low. I have been adding about 50 #'s of coal a day. Heating a 2000 square foot New England style home. When I got it up and running 3 weeks ago, it was in the 20's for a couple of days and then became warm for the last 3 weeks. Is this just due to low demand for heat? It is chesnut coal, not pea. It is real shiny anthracite. Thanks.
CoalInNH
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Chappee Bermuda CN-28

Re: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:16 pm

The pieces that are white/red throughout are burned, no worries there. The other pieces you see that are more black in color might be "bone" (shale), or coal that is simply too hard to burn at low temperatures. As for the shaking, I use the 'shake until you see red embers in the pan method' and it works well for me.

The reason the manual recommends you bank the coal and leave embers exposed is to help burn off the volatile gases released by the fresh coal. Once the coal you piled in the back is burning good you should then fill the front to the top of the firebricks/firepot. You say that it take a few hours for the boiler to come back to temp after adding fresh coal, have you tried opening the ash pan for 10 minutes or so after adding the coal to help it get going? I read that you tried it with the damper open, but wasn't sure if you meant the flue damper or intake air.

-Robert
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: CoalInNH On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:27 pm

Thanks for the info Robert. I did mean the ashpan air intake-that I was leaving open when filling. I am thinking that I had poor draft with the warm weather perhaps? This afternoon the temp dropped to the mid 30's and is extremely windy. Fire got up to temp (actually running about 200 degree water temp right now)and is blazing. Thanks again, any input is always helpful!

Shane
CoalInNH
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Chappee Bermuda CN-28

Re: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:33 pm

I agree that it sounds like a draft issue, my stove is also sluggish to return to temp. after reloading in mild weather.

When the weather finally gets cold and you have a strong draft the slow response and unburned coal will probably correct itself.

-Robert
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: DavidL On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:46 pm

I had the same issue when it was warm out. I openned the draft a bit more and that solved my problem
DavidL
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Energy King
Stove/Furnace Model: 480EK

Re: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: CoalInNH On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:04 pm

Thanks to all that replied. I appreciate the help.

Shane
CoalInNH
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Chappee Bermuda CN-28

Re: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: odin On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:20 pm

We are also having the same issue. I checked our coal with the concrete trick and yes it does write but I wonder if by using a barometric damper and also closing approximately half way the manual damper if I am losing to much draft? It also looks as if the coal is rusty sometimes and then other times it looks ashen like a white/gray color and is lighter in weight. This is what we thought were clinkers but these unburned pieces are black inside and when I relit the fire they burned so I have not figured out how.I recently posted a no luck burning blog but I am still having the same issues. So I am back to the theory of I am either getting too much or not enough draft.

odin
odin
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman trident boiler
Stove/Furnace Model: sf 160

Re: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:56 pm

Odin, I'd leave the manual damper open,, it slows the passage of air up the chimney,, it really doesn't change the actual draft or vacuum, the barometric damper limits the max draft in the boiler..

Use the air inlet controls in the ashpan door to control the air flow rate through the boiler.

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: Unburned Coal in hand fired boiler-

PostBy: rockwood On: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:56 pm

What is the benefit of having a manual and baro damper on a lone boiler connected to it's own flue?

The only time I have seen manual dampers (until I got on this forum) was on systems with multiple boilers connected to a breaching with one large baro and each boiler having a manual damper set to control it's individual draft better.
rockwood
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Stokermatic coal furnace
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