clogged grates

clogged grates

PostBy: joeq On: Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:44 am

Well, it appears the writing is on the wall people. After 1/2 a dozen attempts, or so, I've come to the realization that my Surdiac 513 only has the capacity to burn no longer than approx 5-6 hours, before the grates clog themselves with ash, and the fire begins to wane. I've played with intake and exhaust damper settings, and have woken to an intake damper wide open, and a very ugly bed of a 1/3, dull red, coal fire surrounded by 2/3 full pile of klinkers, and a hopper loaded with waiting to light fresh coal. Once I clean the grates of powdered and packed grey ash,(which allows the fresh coal to drop onto the cleaned grates), and leave my ash pan door open for about 10-15 mins, the bed becomes the highly desirable color of yellow and orange, and enough heat to make global warming look like an after thought.
I originally was under the impression I was losing the draft, but now because I've found the ash covered air pockets through and around the grates are just choking off the air supply., and the intake damper is wide open, then I can only assume if the grates aren't manually cleaned every 3-4 hrs, I will be rewarded with a wasted pile of waiting to burn Blaschak anthracite pea coal, laying inside my Surdiac hopper, with no chance of ever finding a healthy burning bed of coals. My only glimmer of hope is to either find some type of coal that will produce less ash, or peel off some sections of my glass door gasket to allow a little more "controlled(?) bleeding of fresh air.
To any and all who have already known about this stove, I appreciate you allowing me to lavish in the thoughts that I could be heating my home the entire heating season, without ever needing to deprive myself of an 8 hr sleeping session. That being said, I guess I need to accept the fact, this stove is good for daytime weekend heating only, where someone can tend to the coal bed every couple hrs or so, and clean it out Sunday morning, reload, and refire . Or if you have a weak bladder, and need to visit the john every so often in the wee hrs of the nite, (morning?), then it could also prove beneficial. As for me, I'll live with it this season, and maybe look for one of those "really cool" looking nostalgic Kenwoods, or such, to occupy my new stove surround and piping I just fabricated and installed last season. Now, as my stove has begun to act in a manner we all all know and love, with a clean set of grates and a fresh supply of incoming air providing a proud looking bed of coal, I will attempt to recover a few lost hours of Sunday morning sleep. Take care all.
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: blrman07 On: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:45 am

I had a Surdiac that I picked up grossly used for $100 and your correct. I got to the point that every time I walked by it I got the slucing knife and did a quick de-ash. It put out a crazy amount of heat when it was firing good but when the ash started, you could feel the house temp dropping. Night time was a problem so when I got up to go to the bathroom at night, I would make a trip to the stove, sweep the knife across the ash bed a few times and go back to bed. That was the only way we could keep from waking up to a cold house.

Your right, It was an excellent daytime and evening stove where you could pay attention to it but it would be out by morning if I didn't knife it when I went to the bathroom in the wee hours. If we were going to be gone from home longer than 5-6 hours it would go out from being clogged with ash. And it was clinker city if I had to fire it hard. I tried burning wood in the moderate days but that was worse. It gobbled wood. For someone who has the time to spend with their stove it would be a good stove. Our life style and the Surdiac were incompatible.

I found an OLD very rough looking Leisure Line Econo1 stoker stove with a hopper for rice coal for $50 out of a guys basement. He said he couldn't remember the last time they used it and was going to take it to the scrap yard. The glass was cracked and the the stove was a mess from zero past maintenance. I gave him $50 which is about what he would have gotten as scrap. I rebuilt it, replaced the cracked glass, replaced all the gaskets with ones I already had and it works just fine now. It's rusty in spots and needs a paint job but that can wait till next summer. I got my money back when I sold the Surdiac for $100 bucks and used that money to rebuild and install the econo 1 stove. Now life is good. I can get 24 hours + from a not completely full hopper of rice coal. The best part is when I get up to go to the bathroom that's all I do now!!
blrman07
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant Casting 2310
Baseburners & Antiques: rebuilding a 1906 March Brownback Double Heater, using a UMCO 1920's Pot Belly stove in the church
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Wood in the VC and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: Dennis On: Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:55 am

I'm not sure if nut coal will go thru your hopper,but if you can get a bag of nut and see if that helps.It really sucks having to babysit a stove.
Dennis
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: AHS/WOC55-multi-fuel/wood,oil,coal
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/stove size

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Re: clogged grates

PostBy: franco b On: Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:49 am

Your stove is the smaller of the two sizes available. The hopper should be as high as possible to get the most coal burning.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: Ross On: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:14 am

Hi, I have a gotha 713. I'm also using blaschak peak coal. What size pipe are you using and how tall is your chimney? I wonder if you are getting enough draft. I run 5" pipe and my chimney is probably 20 ft. I run the temp control on the side between 2 and 4. I have a magnetic thermometer I stick to the top and it stays between 100 and 300. I have left the stove unattended for as long as 24 hours and come back to burning coals! Ideally I shake the ashes down and add coal twice a day. I realize I run my stove at the bottom of temp range but find it requires a lot less attention and I get diminishing returns and I turn the heat up.
Ross
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 713
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Stove/Furnace Make: Surdiac
Stove/Furnace Model: Gotha 713

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: joeq On: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:12 pm

Mr. Ross, does your stove have a baro damper on it? My pipe is double wall Metalbestous 6", approx. 4' out the back to a 90, then up about 15'. I put in a MPD, hoping to be able to sometimes slow down the draft, because my house would go way over 85 degrees at times. My theory at one point was that even if my intake damper was set at a low setting, if there was a strong draft, it would tend to keep the coals burning hotter. I too put a thermometer on my stove, but on the top of the heat exchanger. normal temp with the coals red orange is about 400 degrees. But when the grates are cleaned, and the ash pan door is open for too long, (which I try not to do),it'll go over 500. Funny thing is, when I close my pipe damper about 45-50 degrees, it seems the draft gets stronger, and the coals burn hotter. Like i said, I'm still playing. I need to start reading about a manometer, to get some more data.
Some-one I work with said he had a different Surdiac yrs ago, and stated the installers said it was "mandatory" he had a baro damper. Still trying to decipher if this is the case with this stove.
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: joeq On: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:16 pm

Dennis wrote:I'm not sure if nut coal will go thru your hopper,but if you can get a bag of nut and see if that helps.It really sucks having to babysit a stove.

I tried mixing to satisfy this recommendation from last season. I used about 30% nut with the pea, and over nite, the fire went out, because the nut coal was so big, it clogged the bottom feed opening of the hopper, not allowing anything to feed the coal bed. I awoke with plenty of coal in the hopper, and nothing below, feeding the fire.
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: ramblerboy2 On: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:03 am

When I bought my Surdiac, the folks I bought it from (they had two, a large one and the small one I bought) said to get a barometric damper, they also said that the big one needed to be shaken down twice a day. They also said to run it at low settings. Mine came with all its original paperwork from 1980 and the manual says to keep the thermostat set between 2-3 for normal operation, up to 4 for colder days, and only higher than that for short periods. The manual also says that 15 feet is the minimum height of chimney acceptable for the stove.

A friend of my parents had one for years and said that they found it best to not light it 'til late in Fall when the temperatures were consistently cold day and night. They said that the stove got fussy when it was warm and the draft was slower. Also reiterated the same as above, that the stove worked a lot better at moderate heat settings.
ramblerboy2
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac MCK 508
Other Heating: Embassy Ambassador BMS natural gas boiler

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: Ross On: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:11 am

Hi, yes I am running a baro on it. I still think I could force it closed and not get temps as high as yours. The only time I've seen my stove get up over 400 is when I left the ash pan door open too long. I wonder if you have an air getting in somewhere and driving the temp up so it's burns faster and clogs the grates?
Ross
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 713
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Stove/Furnace Make: Surdiac
Stove/Furnace Model: Gotha 713

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: blrman07 On: Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:17 am

I disconnected the auto operation of the damper and put the flapper that fits over the air inlet back with a long threaded screw. I would regulate the stove by spinning it open or closed manually. It kept the stove from swinging on its own. It had a tendency to run too hot. When it got above 45 outside the stove draft gave me fits. Run it too hot and it was clinker city. I could only get burns longer than 6 hours when it was in the 30's outside. But when it was burning in automatic operation it would put out enough heat to turn the house into a sauna.

That's the breaks with this stove. It's a nice daytime and evening stove for times when you can watch it and make sure you can de-ash with the slicing rod about every 3 hours or so with a full de-ash every 6-8 hours. Go much longer than that and I had all kinds of babysitting problems with it. With our life style we would leave home with every intention of being back and then someones family emergency would call us away meaning we would go with my wife and I usually not getting back home for 10-12 hours. The stove would either be out or so far gone I dumped it and started over.

My stove and my lifestyle were incompatible. I sold it, got a Leisure Line Econo 1 with a hopper and life with my coal stove got simple.
blrman07
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant Casting 2310
Baseburners & Antiques: rebuilding a 1906 March Brownback Double Heater, using a UMCO 1920's Pot Belly stove in the church
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Wood in the VC and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: Lightning On: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:58 am

Just curious.. How many pounds of coal does the firebox hold, not including the hopper?
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Stove Size Mix

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: joeq On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:29 am

Sorry for the delay people, but just got back from the forced family vacation in the Caribbean. Went from 85 degrees this morning to 32 in CT. this evening. Even tho it's midnite, I just gutta get 85 degrees back so the Surdiac is a flamin once again. Thanx for all the info from all above, and what I gather at this point, (from the responses above), is that everyones stove acts a little different, but I can find some similarities from your experinces to mine, and will try some of your advices.
Lightning , you asked about the amount coals my bed will hold, and altho I'm guessing, comparing the 40lb bag sizes, i wouldn't think more than 10 lbs. The hopper may hold 20, but that's being optimistic.
Well, now that I'm home, and the rest of the week I've taken vacation, my experiments will continue. I'll try to run the stove a little cooler tonite by reducing the intake damper opening, but leaving the MPD wide open...again. (think I've already tried this.) See if this thing will run from 1AM till 6.30 without petering out. Out for now. (and good morning to all who are reading. Have a productive day.) :)
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: joeq On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:16 am

Well i woke this morning about 5am, (to visit John), and checked on the beast, (my Surdiac iI mean :oops: ), and the thing was still burning OK.Of course it had only been 3-4 hrs, but I was still excited. I didn't touch a thing, and crashed for 2-3 more, and she kept right on burning. By 8.30-9, i gave the coal bed a good scraping and cleaning, emptied the ash pan, refilled the hopper,(which was down to the bottom almost), and will now try and turn down the temps a tad. I'm closing the MPD from about 20 degrees shut, to about 45. And the intake damper setting from 2 to 3/4s. It's been about an hr since these adjustments, and the stove still appears to be consistent. Coals are a dull orange, and heat exchanger temp has come down a tad from 400 to 300. :gee: Maybe there's hope for this thing yet. time will tell.
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: clogged grates

PostBy: joeq On: Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:27 am

[quote="Ross"]Hi, I have a gotha 713. I have a magnetic thermometer I stick to the top and it stays between 100 and 300. I have left the stove unattended for as long as 24 hours and come back to burning coals!

You say your thermometer is on the top. Are you talking on the long hinged tin cooling grate above, or the top of the cast iron of the firebox itself? My thermometer is sitting directly on the top of the metal heat exchanger behind the tin. I believe it's the hottest external part of the stove, maybe 2nd to the glass on the door.
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

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