Fireplace inserts

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: topper On: Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:03 pm

Sharpfocus - here are a few more thoughts. Be sure to check out this forum as there is a bunch of great information from people with much more coal experience than me.

But I also wonder, just how “hot” does the coal fire in an insert burn?
I am not quite sure what you mean with this question. I can say that it burns as hot or hotter than a wood fire. Like wood, you can warp pieces of the stove if left "open" and unmanaged. Plenty of heat to keep the family warm through the winter so far - and we have see plenty of very cold and windy days already. Be advised that my 1600 sq ft ranch is about 1/2 open floor layout - it makes it a bit easier to move heat "around".

Could my current wood burning insert be modified to burn coal?
Everything that I have read on this forum is that a coal stove needs shaker grates that allows the air to feed into the bottom of the coal fire. And, ash must be shaken out of the coal fire or the ash will "smother" the fire/burn. The shaker grate(s) allow for the ash to be shaken down into the ash pan. So, can your stove be modified - I have never read of anyone offering suggestions as to how to do that. With the ashes needing to be removed from underneath the coal fire/burn I suspect it would be difficult to do in most wood stoves. But if it can be done there are some real pros in this forum.

Based on the comments in the blog, the Hitzer 983 seems like it would be a nice unit for my purposes. And the option to burn wood is nice too. I will have to do some more research and look at pricing and availability but I will look at the workmanship of the Harmen as well.
Numerous forum members have talked about burning wood in the fall or spring in their caol stove when it is a bit too warm to burn coal. Others dont worry about it as they open their windows a bit periodically to cool their house down. Coal burns so much more consistently/evenly than wood (no comparisopn really) there is, in my mind, no reason to burn wood in the winter. When it is warm I do not use my blowers and I burn smaller fires - coall bed not as deep...

You mentioned that your unit has “gravity feed”, is this method something that automatically feeds the fuel down to a burning chamber as the coal is burned?
Yes, the hopper (or so it's called) is really just a coal holding area that is diretly connected/above the burning coal fire. As the coal burns and ash is shaken down out of the coal fire gravity simply takes over and drops coal down onto the existing burn. The feed takes place during the actual fire burning (coal to ash - less volume). But the vast majority of the feed takes place during the time when the stove is being shaken down- ash dropped into the ashpan. The coal fire chamber and the hopper feed are the same "system". You do not get a coal fire in the hopper area. It does not burn up into that area above the fire. I am sure there is a good reason as to why - but don't ask me why...

My only experience with a coal stove involved an experience in a small shack up in Canada and after getting the fire going I stacked up some fist size pieces into a little mound and I awoke to 95 degrees and a “cherry red” coal stove.
With coal you manage the amount of air/draft that feeds the coal fire. That management of air provides for the heat output you desire. Too much air/draft for too long - warped shaker grates, stove, etc... Very bad.

As you probably know, there isn't a flame over a coal fire like there is a wood fire. You get the strong orange glow from the burning coal itself and very low blue flames - depending upon your air/draft flow.

Like the other 49 - Maine is a great state. Particularly here in The County - the other Maine.

Again - best of luck.
topper
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: sharpfocus On: Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:49 pm

Hello Cape Coaler,

There I go again assuming!
I thought the 983 as a higher number unit would be more of it's little brother.
Thanks for clearing that up.
Now you have me wondering if they might off a hopper feed as an option... hmm
I have jury duty this week and will look into more of this as soon as I'm off.

Thanks for the advise!

Paul
sharpfocus
 

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: sharpfocus On: Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:21 pm

Hi again Topper,

Re: my comments about the “hot fire” and the” insert conversion”:

I wasn’t sure if the construction of my current fireplace would be up to burning coal. It is pretty sturdy and would probably take the heat! The insert currently has a number of fingers lifted above the bottom of the fireplace floor. These raised fingers are connected and hold the firewood about 2-3 inches high so that shuttered air could come up through the logs to burn from the inside out (fingers not shown).

(
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* ^ *
> ~~> ~ ~>I

This makes it very easy to light.
A conversion to coal would have to make it so that the coal would not fall through the fingers currently 2”-3” apart. An ash pan (or two) would have to be constructed that would fit under the fingers and a hopper would need to be acquired.

Your descriptions about gravity feed and the hopper were very good!

I think I need to just go see one! That would probably answer 99% of my questions instead of clogging up this blog. I bet you guys get tired of hearing so many dumb questions from nubes!

I’m going to just try to find someone around here and buy a bag of anthracite from them and experiment a little.

You all have been very friendly and knowledgeable.

Thanks again,

SharpFocus
sharpfocus
 

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Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: coal berner On: Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:41 am

dtzackus wrote:What type of coal do you burn in the Harmin Elite and the Hitzer 503 Insert?

Hmm, like I women, lol....the wife just loved that comment. Also, do I really need to deal with another women? lol

Dan

Remember buddy Gibraltor made inserts to and you know who has one We will take care of that in the spring unless you want to put one in now ;)
coal berner
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: coal berner On: Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:46 am

dtzackus wrote:Hello Everyone!

This past fall I upgraded from junkie propane heater down in the basement to a hand fired coal unit. I must say the coal unit was a GREAT idea and even my wife agrees with me that coal is the way to go. Plus I got to meet some people at the fall meet and great and a great friend named J.C.

We have a propane gas fireplace insert upstairs. I only had to use it twice this year, last night and about a month ago when the temps got too cold and the wind picked up. My two car garage is underneath my bedrooms and I have to see how I can seal off the doors better, but that is another story.

I am considering getting a coal fireplace insert, but since I am a newby on coal. I have a few questions. I guess in the spring I will have to take my propane insert out and get the measurements of the fireplace it self. But how long of a burn can I get out a coal fireplace insert. Anyone out there who has one and wants to brag about their unit or heck even give me the cons of theirs or even better, the "what I should have gotten" comments.

Thanks again everyone.

Dan

insert are the same as your freestanding stove You will loose a little more heat out the chimney with a insert but it will
keep you upstairs warm expecially with blower on it . you will burn the same size coal as you do now
coal berner
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: dtzackus On: Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:29 am

J.C. - thanks. I figure I would burn all the propane that I have now. Ugh, do I really have to deal with those idiots again? lol I guess I will have to bring you just to make sure their "experts" have it put together right again. Keep warm, I know you will we burn coal!
dtzackus
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Gibraltar LCC
Stove/Furnace Make: Gibraltar
Stove/Furnace Model: LCC

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: Pete69 On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:33 am

Nobody has mentioned the Baker insert as of yet. After looking at the Hitzer and Harmon units I decided to buy a Baker insert this year, and am very pleased with it. First I might mention that it was almost twice the price of the Hitzer 983 and maybe that is why they are not as popular. The Hitzers are an excellent stove for the price and the Harmons are nice too, but in the end I was willing to pay more for the Baker because I like the design better. If you like the hopper feature the Hitzer 503 is the way to go. The Baker is like the 983 in that it has no hopper to get in the way for burning wood on mild days in the fall and spring. The things I really like about the Baker is that it has an external shaker grate handle like the Harmon, the Hitzer does not, it has the secondary air control knobs on the door to open when loading fresh coal to let the gases go up the chimney instead of leaving the loading door open ajar, or for burning wood although not UL listed for wood. The Harmon does not have the door air inlets and to get them on the Hitzer 983 you have to get the double doors. The flue on the Baker is 7" as apposed to the 8" flue on the Hitzer 983 If you plan to line the chimney with stainless steel to the top instead of just to the top of the smoke shelf you better have a big chimney, or compromise and reduce the flue. You can also order the Baker with the flue at the top for recessing the unit in the fireplace, or out the back, like I did so the unit sits on the hearth outside the fireplace like a freestanding stove to let the radiant heat off the top and sides into the room instead of being absorbed into the fireplace masonry. The thing I like most about the Baker is the heat exchanger. It has a double wall behind the firebox made of 1/4" steel that leads to a rectangular box above the fire that extends from the rear half way to the front like a flame deflector. five 1 1/2" heavy steel tubes come out of the the heat exchange box and extend to the front of the stove where all the heat blows out, an excellent design I believe patented by Baker. I was told their design puts the stove in the 90s% efficiency. I've seen other stoves with similar heat exchange. All in all an excellent stove built like a tank. The company also gives excellent, worm and friendly service. Just my over winded two cents.
Last edited by Pete69 on Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
Pete69
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Baker/Vermont Castings/Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: fireside /VigilantII/Chubby

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: gambler On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:56 am

Pete69 wrote:Nobody has mentioned the Baker insert as of yet.


Where can I find images and specs on the baker insert?
gambler
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:59 am

Going to be burning coal till May/June and then it will be shut down. The 503 will never see a lick of wood. There is a dedicated wood burner that can take the chill off if need be. Wood will leave that nasty stuff in your pipes and I do not want to be brushing that out of a liner of a COAL stove!

Not much on the Baker...
http://www.bakerstoves.com/stoves5.htm
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: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: Pete69 On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:13 am

Baker does not have the best web sight, not many pictures but it is no indication of there stove quality.
If I have my way I will never burn wood again but it is nice to have options. I burned wood for three days while waiting for my coal delivery. Been burning Blashak nut since, except for the last two days I've been burning coke I got out of the port of Indiana about 10 years ago when I was driving truck. bought it for my blacksmith forge and never used it. just thought I'd try it out.

And then who knows maybe our new administration will tax coal producers or suppliers out of the market and I'd be like one of those guys sitting on one of those corn burning stoves. If times get too tough I'll burn my furniture :lol:
Pete69
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Baker/Vermont Castings/Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: fireside /VigilantII/Chubby

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: WoodButcher On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:12 am

gambler wrote:
Pete69 wrote:Nobody has mentioned the Baker insert as of yet.


Where can I find images and specs on the baker insert?


ask and you shall receive my friend. . . just installed and riding at 425 with rock maple as its typical diet...


click images to supersize...
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color is RUSSET from stovebright. 2 coats. its a lot darker than it looks. more brown with a red tinge. some people like, some people hate, but i love it .
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block off plate almost final with Kaowool layered on top of the plate. . . this is before it was sealed on the edges with fireblock silicone.
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of the heat baffle/blower pipes on roof of firebox.
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WoodButcher
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Baker
Stove/Furnace Model: fireside

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: NOPEC On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:53 am

Hi, I just wanted to play devil's advocate here. I just went from wood burning stove/inserts in two "living area" rooms to central wood/coal in the basement. The house stays 1000% cleaner without tracking fuel in and ash out. I'm no neat freak. But I hated seeing nearly new carpets age before my eyes. I even traded one wood stove for some labor installing a whole house fan. The remaining wood stove is purely for backup should the power go out in the winter.
NOPEC
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harmon SF-260 Boiler
Stove/Furnace Model: no-name Lowes woodburner

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: Pete69 On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:56 am

Woodbutcher has a older model the new ones have the fan on the left and the shaker handle on the right otherwise they are identical. Also if you would like a different color baker offers several options. They will also make the shroud custom to the size of your fireplace opening. PS. got to love that heat exchanger!
Pete69
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Baker/Vermont Castings/Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: fireside /VigilantII/Chubby

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: Pete69 On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:07 am

NOPEC wrote:Hi, I just wanted to play devil's advocate here. I just went from wood burning stove/inserts in two "living area" rooms to central wood/coal in the basement. The house stays 1000% cleaner without tracking fuel in and ash out. I'm no neat freak. But I hated seeing nearly new carpets age before my eyes. I even traded one wood stove for some labor installing a whole house fan. The remaining wood stove is purely for backup should the power go out in the winter.

The whole house basement furnace was my first choice but I wanted the Harmon witch was on back order until spring of 09. So I decided to do the insert as my second option and am not sorry. I cant imagine anybody congregating in the basement to feel the heat off the furnace but I get a lot of asses gathering to hang over the insert. Not that the house is cold but everybody loves hanging over that heat. The stove is still doing a good job heating 3900 sq ft of house all by it self. I would still like to do the basement furnace as well just because I'm hooked on coal stoves. Then maybe a smaller radiant stove for the kitchen. I think one will look nice in the office too. I need some more chimneys anybody know any good masons
Pete69
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Baker/Vermont Castings/Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: fireside /VigilantII/Chubby

Re: Fireplace inserts

PostBy: tstove On: Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:04 am

Just remember a insert in the living room where you watch tv and spend alot of time is nice but you'll probably get roasted out of the room if you fire it hard.When I have my gibralter insert fireing around 300 to 350 it's not too bad but if I crank it up higher temps in the room easily go over 80deg. +.I sometimes need to have it burning that hot when temps. outside are really cold 20 deg. or below, to get more heat to the rooms farther away from the stove.Even with fans sucking heat out of the liv. room and sending it to other rooms I have to open windows in the liv. rm.I hate opening windows to let cold air in when you have always tried to keep cold air out of the house :x
tstove
 
Stove/Furnace Make: russo,gibralter
Stove/Furnace Model: c-55,cfi

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