Gray coal in morning

Gray coal in morning

PostBy: MidnightMadman On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:10 am

This happened to me twice now.
I had an awesome burn going all night. Full at about 11:00
When I wake up in the morning I have a stove full of gray coal and soot with a little orange glowing in the middle. I lost the fire once this way in the morning and couldn't get it back.
This morning it happened again... I was burning at 600 all night. Checked on it at 4am and it still was fine.
MidnightMadman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: GIBRALTAR
Stove/Furnace Model: SCR

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:42 am

Cut the air down, sounds like you are burning a little to hot and using up the coal, If I let the fire in the hand fed go too long or let it have too much air overnight the same thing happens here. What's the stack temp before the baro?
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: MidnightMadman On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:36 am

Wood'nCoal wrote:Cut the air down, sounds like you are burning a little to hot and using up the coal, If I let the fire in the hand fed go too long or let it have too much air overnight the same thing happens here. What's the stack temp before the baro?


Ok. But there is so much that looks like full peices of coal that is gray and rusty colored. I thought it was going out for some reason.
I have it going again good.
What is the max temp I should burn? We're at 10 degrees right now and I have the stove running at 650
MidnightMadman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: GIBRALTAR
Stove/Furnace Model: SCR

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Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:46 am

What happens when it's really cold is that as the fire starts to die down the chimney cools off and the draft begins to drop. After a while the warm gas flowing up the chimney loses the battle with the cold, heavy air outside the top of the flue. After that it's curtains for the fire. I almost lost the fire in the Harmon this morning, I shook it and added coal on the sides of the firebox. The coal was outside, there was a lot of snow mixed in and stuck to the coal. After 15 minutes or so I saw the fire wasn't building. I wedged the baro shut, placed some cardboard and firewood in the stove and saved it. Everything with a coal fire happens slowly, except the fire going out!
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: MidnightMadman On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:52 am

I had to do the same. I used some split wood and got it fired up real good and saved it.
MidnightMadman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: GIBRALTAR
Stove/Furnace Model: SCR

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:58 am

Most of the chimney for that stove is on the exterior of the house. When the stove's burning it drafts like all hell, got up to -.16" WC once when I held the baro closed and left the ash door open. I got scared and let the baro open and closed the ash door. It probably would have gone higher. In the cold weather the fire will die out fast if I let it go too long, I end up with the same grey and unburnt coal. Learning how to save the fire is another must for the Manly-Man coal burner.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:20 pm

Sounds like you are at the end of the fires fuel, you are losing it. I would try and get more coal into it or burn it slower. When I go to refuel, I want to see some black coal left that hasn't really started to burn. Otherwise, you are living on the edge. ;)
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Cheat!!! go buy a bag of pellets or charcoal

PostBy: eelhc On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:05 pm

This happens to me after an extended burn without poking/slicing/shaking down in my Vermont Castings Vigilant.

go to bed at 10:00PM and get up at 6:45AM to tend the fire
leave for work between 7:30~8:00AM and sometimes do not get back till ~6:30PM.

I have gotten good enough with slicing/poking/lightly shaking down so I can get the fire to come back without a problem. But if a fire looks really weak, just throw a scoop of pellet fuel or lump charcoal on the fire (spread evenly). A $6 bag will last a month.
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: rewinder On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:24 pm

Cheat??? Sounds like a plan to me! can you explain that trick a bit more?? I forgot to load one of my stoves after shaking it (an old age thing I think!), And had to trenderly bring it back to live.

Had the grey coal syndrome too at times, when it went out cause there was no coalin the hopper,I forgot to load one of my stoves after shaking it (an old age thing I think!), And had to trenderly bring it back to life. or re start it.
rewinder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 4:00 pm

You burn more coal when it is cold and windy.
It was 10* with 30 mph winds last night!
Had the stove up to 500*.
Add coal every 4 hours and do a little shake every 8 hours.
Keeps the temps up and the air flowing.
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: eelhc On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:35 pm

rewinder wrote:Cheat??? Sounds like a plan to me! can you explain that trick a bit more?? I forgot to load one of my stoves after shaking it (an old age thing I think!), And had to trenderly bring it back to live.

Had the grey coal syndrome too at times, when it went out cause there was no coalin the hopper,I forgot to load one of my stoves after shaking it (an old age thing I think!), And had to trenderly bring it back to life. or re start it.


Really not that much of a trick ... With careful slicing/poking/shaking down and loading I find that even a weak fire will come back given enough time. But... if I forget to load or been away from the stove for a while (8~10hrs) and the fire is really weak and I don't feel like waiting an hour or so for heat, I'll "cheat". Just do the slice/poke/light shake (short quick back/fourth on the handle), spread what's left of the coal embers evenly across the grate and throw on a scoop of pellet fuel, lump charcoal... whatever to get a quick flame and re-establish a strong draft, I've even used dead-drop from my maple trees but nothing is more convenient than pellet fuel. Leave the door open a crack to get the pellets to to burn strong and throw in a layer of coals. Once the coals catch, load up the hopper. Works great!

Now... in the spirit of full disclosure, I'll admit that I've "cheated" even worse. If I feel too lazy to even bother with the above procedure, I'll just do the slicing, shaking, throw in a GENEROUS amount of pellets/lump charcoal, load the hopper up and keep the door cracked open for 5~10 minutes. A little more hit and miss with this technique. It even works when the hopper full with a weak fire, just throw a generous amount of pellets across the front of the stove.

Continuing with the full disclosure bit... I've only have had to do this a few times (like 5~6) over the last couple of months. Once I got the hang of slicing/poking, I rarely lose a fire. I just use this technique if I want quick results.

Last night was really cold here in the Hudson Valley. I loaded the hopper full at ~11PM. By 7:30AM the hopper was almost empty and the fire was weak (embers in the middle with ashes on the edges). I just threw in a couple of shovelfuls of lump charcoal (what I have around for now) to bring the fire back in a hurry.
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: rewinder On: Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:49 pm

Great tip eelhc, I going to get a bag for just juch occasions!
rewinder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:35 am

Lump charcoal is great burns hot with little smoke, I used it to start all the stoves this year.
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: UpStateMike On: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:46 am

Good info all around. I think I may be waiting too long to add more coal.
UpStateMike
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Elmira Oval (in house)
Stove/Furnace Model: Round Oak d-18 (workshop)

Re: Gray coal in morning

PostBy: eelhc On: Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:39 am

rewinder wrote:Great tip eelhc, I going to get a bag for just juch occasions!


I got the pellet fuel idea from a friend who has an old coal stove that wasn't completely sealed. He was actually mixing a small amount of pellet fuel with pea coal to keep his fire going strong. Since, I've told him to spend $2 on rutland cement to seal up his stove and he's been running without the pellets for a while now.

It occured to me that pellet fuel could be used to help a weak fire. Pellets are better for this because of the small, regular size. It's easier to shovel/scoop up vs lump charcoal which is irregular in size. If you let your fire go too far a couple of times/week, a bag will probably last more than a month. Really no magic/trick here... just using wood to establish fire/draft.
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

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