ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: mrpete64 On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:48 am

I think that I am...coal retarded!! After using my vermont casting wood stove, for 35 years, maybe I am not "cut out" to use coal. I keep getting coal ash build up in my Vermont castings coal stove. I shake the hell out of it...clean it twice daily...and still cannot get it to work correctly. Some times it works great...and top stove temperature is around 450.
Any suggestions on what I am doing wrong?
Thanks!
Mr. Pete--->
mrpete64
 
Stove/Furnace Make: vermont casting coal stove

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: rewinder On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:52 am

HI Mrpete

. I have a Vigilant and resolute from the early 80's running now, I used them till the late 80's and then put in a new heating system. After all that time I had to do something to cut the oil bill so I put them back in service this year.

Your's is a Vigilant???????????? I put barometric dampers in both this year and made up an extra pair of gaskets for the front door where they meet the lower grate. It burns way better than I remember from the old days

Here's a thread about the same problem. Vermont Castings Vigilant I down... :( for now... :) See if this describes your situation.

If you need a pic of the added gaskets, I'll gladly post them.

I just did a bag count, and I've burned 40 bags already this year, Raining and 48* at the moment, I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, do you have the slicer knife thing that came with it? I use that all the time, hardly ever shake the grates, just a few small bumps to settle it after a good slice down.

I'm burning Reading bagged coal, not the best reviews I've read here, but my stove likes it, makes a lot of ash tho compared with Lehigh Vally I used to get in bulk delivery back then,

Paul
rewinder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: BM-80 On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:08 am

mrpete64 wrote:I think that I am...coal retarded!! After using my vermont casting wood stove, for 35 years, maybe I am not "cut out" to use coal. I keep getting coal ash build up in my Vermont castings coal stove. I shake the hell out of it...clean it twice daily...and still cannot get it to work correctly. Some times it works great...and top stove temperature is around 450.
Any suggestions on what I am doing wrong?
Thanks!
Mr. Pete--->


I had a Vermont Castings Vigilant coal stove about 3 years ago. I tried and tried but had only very limited success with it. I thought that burning coal was a joke and could not understand how the whole country used to rely on coal for so many years... Then I got a REAL coal stove (Hitzer) - what a difference!!
I'm not trying to anger/insult any Vigilant fans out there. But I have also known others who had the same difficulty with the Vigilant (as well as some who have had great success). It's just that I have heard/seen more complaints about the Vigilant than all others combined.
Good Luck!! If you get it to work properly, you're a better man than me.

Bob M
BM-80
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 983 insert

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Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:31 am

If you can find a 'regular' coal stove in a showroom, or even take a look at the Harman, Hitzer, or Baker websites.. you will see the 'rocker grate' system that works so well in these designed-for-coal stoves... The Vigilant doesn't have an aggressive grate-shaking mechanism.. And this creates the issues with the stove..

Burning coal requires a lot of air coming through the coal fire from below,, and if the ash is allowed to build up,, the air flow is cut off, and the fire either dies or doesn't produce much heat..

There are a lot of folks who successfully burn coal for years or decades in the Vigilant stoves.. they just have figured out a technique for breaking up the hard ash and getting it to fall through the grates into the ashpan.. That is the 'secret'.. ' get the ash out ' :) ..

Learn to use the slicer-knife/or a similar tool, and get the ashpan to have some red coals dropping from the fire.. then you know you have opened the fire to the airspace in the ash pan area..

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

Shaking does very little for my Vigilant...

PostBy: eelhc On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:35 am

I find that slicing across the grates and poking from the front all the way back, I get the ashes to drop with less coal/ember loss. After I slice/poke, I lightly shake (back/fourth so the connecting rod moves ~1" or so) until small pieces of embers begin to fall in the ash pan. Using this technique, I can sustain the fire. I slice/poke 2~3x/day and empty the ash pan 1~2x/day. Here's my routine.

6:30AM~7:30AM open the damper and air inlet all the way, slice/poke + shake lightly. Empty the ashes if necessary and fill the hopper full. After breakfast, shower, dress and get ready for work the fire is strong enough so that I can close the damper and adjust the air inlet to where I want to run for the day before heading off to work.

7:30AM~6:00PM my wife shakes lightly (no more than little taps) from time to time and adjusts the air inlet if necessary

5:00~6:00 M when I come home from work, the fire is usually weak so I open the damper and air inlet all the way, slice/poke + shake lightly, fill the hopper and empty the ashes if necessary. After Dinner the fire is usually strong enough so I can close the damper and adjust the air inlet.

~10PM slice/poke + shake lightly, top off the hopper and empty the ashes if necessary.

I open the damper and the air inlet all the way The fire begins to pull back from the edge an bit after a ~10~12 burn, but comes back strong after a good slice/poke.

My Vigilant I was a basket case for burning coal until I replaced all the gaskets and sealed up all of the firebox with Rutland furnace cement. I too get a deeper, more consistent burn with pea vs nut but I do lose some through the grates. The problem with nut coal is that after a good slice/poke + shake, the gaps between the larger pieces are open so this allows the combustion air that is coming from the bottom to travel through these gaps without going through the coals. The air will travel through the path of least resistance.

Altogether I'd say it's about 20~30 min work/day (with cleanup) vs something like 10-15 min/day for a modern hand fired stove. A friend of mine has a Hitzer and He has got it down to less than 10 (2 ash pans, dump the ashes in the woods/driveway...).

I like the coal heat so much I bought a stoker stove to restore over the summer for the 09-10 heating season. Then I'll be down to like 10 minutes every 2 days.
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: eelhc On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:40 am

BM-80 wrote: I'm not trying to anger/insult any Vigilant fans out there. But I have also known others who had the same difficulty with the Vigilant (as well as some who have had great success). It's just that I have heard/seen more complaints about the Vigilant than all others combined.


As a Vigilant I owner... Not insulted or angered...

If a stoker is girlie man and a hand fired stove manly man, I'd put the Vermont Castings Vigilant in the He-Man/Cave Man category :D :D :D That said... I did buy a girlie man stove to replace the Vigilant... (been there/done it with the He man stuff).
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: rewinder On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:41 pm

No feelings hurt here either--LOL

In my case I had the stoves already, and didn't want to spend for newer technology.

I got to admit tho that using baros keeps a lot of heat from going wasted, and sealing off the door/grate air space has made them respond to a load up way faster than before.

Keep us informed on how your new stoker works eelhc, I like the idea of re-furbing one! Ya I'm a cheapskate!!!

In the mean time I keep scouting around for coal kits for these old girls for spare parts. New grates are available but pricy! The grates in the Vig are fine, but one of the last few times I used the resolute 20 odd yrs ago, I was too lazy to dump the ash pan, and i warped them some.
rewinder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:13 pm

mrpete64 wrote:I think that I am...coal retarded!! After using my vermont casting wood stove, for 35 years, maybe I am not "cut out" to use coal. I keep getting coal ash build up in my Vermont castings coal stove. I shake the hell out of it...clean it twice daily...and still cannot get it to work correctly. Some times it works great...and top stove temperature is around 450.
Any suggestions on what I am doing wrong?
Thanks!
Mr. Pete--->


Hi Mr Pete, I can show you how I do a full recharge of my 2310. It is easy once you learn the stove. Maybe the Vigilant does fall into the "He-Man/Cave Man category" as eelhc states :D - I love it :D :D but it does the job reliably for me. I burn pea. Did try about a half ton of nut but found that with my chimney's draft, I can easily burn pea. Some have better luck with nut because the larger air spaces in the load doesn't restrict the draft as much I guessing.

I'll (hopefully) post a two part video of how I do the "full recharge". It's not the greatest but I'm using a Sony DSC-P100 that's more than a few years old and the conversion software gets balky, not to mention its old too. The fist part is attached below. It shows how I wake up the fire, set the first charge and what the old ashes look like. I'll follow up with the second half if I can get the old software to run all the way through.
Attachments
Pt1_RecharfeMatureFire.wmv
Part 1 of how I recharge a 2310
(4.72 MiB) Viewed 1457 times
Select:BBcode:
[nepafile=8762]Pt1_RecharfeMatureFire.wmv[/nepafile]
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: rewinder On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:00 pm

Nice movie there VigIIPB!
You have a nice looking fire after 12 hrs. What was the surface temp at that time? Also, being a batch loader, can you run it at a low temp when it's warmer outside? (say 200deg surface temp?)

Looking forward to the next episode!
rewinder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:39 pm

rewinder wrote:Nice movie there VigIIPB!
You have a nice looking fire after 12 hrs. What was the surface temp at that time? Also, being a batch loader, can you run it at a low temp when it's warmer outside? (say 200deg surface temp?)

Looking forward to the next episode!


The time was actually closet to 13 hrs and the surface temp was 640 before I started. At six ft above the stove, the surface temp of the pipe measured 178. I've played a lot with the low temperature burn and run the stove while it's in the low sixties. That can be found at Reducing Grate Area for Spring Burning

I'll try to up load the second part of the video that shows the complete and thorough recharge. It's a large file. I do not always do the poking through the front doors but included it to stay with the thorough theme. If you're wondering what the stove top temp was, after 19 minutes it was ~ 440F. Hope this answers some Qs.
Attachments
Pt2_RecharfeMatureFire.wmv
Part 2 of recharging a mature fire in a 2310.
(13.56 MiB) Viewed 950 times
Select:BBcode:
[nepafile=8763]Pt2_RecharfeMatureFire.wmv[/nepafile]
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: rewinder On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:25 pm

Great part 2! I enjoyed that very much.

I never looked over the new VigII, and didn't realize it held such a deep coal mass. My routine on the older model is similar time wise, but I don't shake near as much, cause the knife does most of the ash clearing. I'm impressed with the way your's works. I'll have to read thru your thread on warm weather running next.

I can run mine low enough to put my hand on the griddle and not leave my skin. less than 200. But don't run it much higher than 600 max, as the 2 stoves on opposite ends of the house feed the center section with enough heat. UNLESS it's 20 below and the wind's blowing! At that time, I need to stoke it every 6 hrs or so. My coal bed depth is much less. At zero, how often do you have to reload and stoke?

When you said it was 640deg surface, was that after 12 hrs? Am i right thinkg you don't have a baro?

I might consider looking for a used VigII after seeing you video!

Thanks again for posting your demo--- good stuf!

paul
rewinder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:49 pm

There isn't a hopper in this model, so the fire box measures ~10.5H x ~19W x ~10D. I don't have a baro installed, the manual stated it didn't recommend one, I assume because it's got the internal damper and the thermostatic control. The T control acts to diminish the draft much like a baro does, just not by the same mechanism. Whit the T control, you don't sacrifice warm room air to regulate the draft, it just physically closes off the air hole as it warm or the draft surges. I think your's is the same way.

Yes, 640 after ~13 hr. Without a baro, the skin temp of the pipe measured 178. That's a really rough 72% transfer of the heat.

Does the hopper keep the flame off most of the top? As you saw, the entire firebox has flame access to the top so it can get hot quickly.
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:54 pm

rewinder wrote:...88..paul


Forgot to answer this on my last post. It got down to near 0 last year and I pushed the little bugger hard and it did the job. I went thru nearly 90 Lbs a day which works out to nearly 50,000 btu/hr, the stove's design limit. I too needed to tend it three times per day.

Dave
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: rewinder On: Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:14 pm

Thanks for the reply

That's a good heat after 12 hrs. I don't think I can do that, I don't remember now as it's my first season back to using the stoves, and I forgot (25 yrs ago and old age!). I know last week when it was in the teens nights i went to bed with it at 500deg and 8hrs later it was 400., took 16lbs to fill the hopper back full. I know the hopper holds about 25-30 lbs. I know better when it ges bitter cold.

Quote"Does the hopper keep the flame off most of the top? As you saw, the entire firebox has flame access to the top so it can get hot quickly."

Yes no flame ever gets near the top, and when I close the damper the long blue flames lean to the right towards the exit ports.
rewinder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Re: ash build up in my vermont coal stove??

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:06 am

Hey Mr Pete...How did you make out with ash removal today/tonight?
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

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