Longer Burn Time, Load It up or Add Over Time?

Modern and vintage hand fired coal stove are similar to a wood stove and in some cases can burn either. They need to be regulated and fed by hand usually every 12 to 24 hours depending on your usage. They require no power to operate making them ideal for rural settings with long power outages.
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l40knocker
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Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Biasi 3 Wood/Co
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Post Wed. Feb. 18, 2009 4:56 pm

I have a hand fired boiler and was wondering what experience people have with loading their boiler full with coal or putting coal on the fire a few times throughout the day. Which method will give you a better burn as fire as using your coal as efficiently as possible.
Last edited by l40knocker on Thu. Feb. 19, 2009 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cap
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Post Wed. Feb. 18, 2009 5:21 pm

I believe the more you add, the hotter the fire will become and more you burn. If I layer 6x over a 24hr period, I can maintain good heat but not overheat the stove. But of course, you chance cooling off if you let this thin layer burn off.

I hear many say, "top it off". It won't burn any hotter. I disagree. My results prove, the greater cubic inches of coal in the box, the hotter the fire. At some point within 2hrs after topping off. the entire box is engulfed. Unless I really cut back on air and simply simmer. My results. Yours may vary.
Cap
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Northampton Co., PA

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Devil505
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Post Wed. Feb. 18, 2009 5:59 pm

I can only speak to coal stoves but I think the principle would be the same with a boiler: I fill my stove up fully at every shake down PLUS add coal during the day. Except in frigid weather, this allows me to get by with one shake down per day.
Last edited by Devil505 on Thu. Feb. 19, 2009 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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lowfog01
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Post Wed. Feb. 18, 2009 6:47 pm

I personally don’t believe there is a difference in the long run. I’m in and out of the house all day long. If I know I’ll be gone for a few hours I load the stove up and get a steady burn at 350* stove top and a room temperature of 85* which lasts for up to 12 hours. If I am around the house I’ll tend the fire a little more closely – adding coal and shaking more often - maintaining a thinner coal bed with a steady burn at 350* stove top and a room temperature of 85*. At the end of the 24 hour period I’ve still only burned 40lbs of coal while maintaining my temperatures. It all boils down to how much effort do I want to put into the stove on any given day? Lisa
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coal berner
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Post Wed. Feb. 18, 2009 9:14 pm

Devil505 wrote:I can only speak to coal stoves but I think the principle would be the same with a boiler: I fill my stove up fully at every shake down PLUS add coal during the day. Except in frigid weather, this allows me to get by with one shake down per day.
a stoker stove or boiler does it by itself set it forget
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Heating house & water with a 1986 electric furnace man DF520 using buckwheat Anthracite coal

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oliver power
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Post Thu. Feb. 19, 2009 9:14 am

lowfog01 wrote:I personally don’t believe there is a difference in the long run. I’m in and out of the house all day long. If I know I’ll be gone for a few hours I load the stove up and get a steady burn at 350* stove top and a room temperature of 85* which lasts for up to 12 hours. If I am around the house I’ll tend the fire a little more closely – adding coal and shaking more often - maintaining a thinner coal bed with a steady burn at 350* stove top and a room temperature of 85*. At the end of the 24 hour period I’ve still only burned 40lbs of coal while maintaining my temperatures. It all boils down to how much effort do I want to put into the stove on any given day? Lisa
I'm with you Lisa. I don't think it really matters in the long run. I'm guessing at this: My uncle tends his Mark 111 every 12 hours. If he's going to be home during the really cold days, sometimes he'll throw a little coal on, 3 or 4 times during that 12 hours. He claims his fire stays hotter. No matter how he tends his stove, he uses about the same amount of coal year after year. My thinking would be; what's the difference? Run a smaller fire hotter, or a bigger fire lower? BTU's are BTU's, right? Maybe I'm just spoiled by my gravity fed hoppers.

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Devil505
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Post Thu. Feb. 19, 2009 9:18 am

coal berner wrote:a stoker stove or boiler does it by itself set it forget
l40knocker wrote:I have a hand fired boiler and was wondering.....
He says his boiler is hand fired so wouldn't that work the same as a hand fired stove?.
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CapeCoaler
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Post Thu. Feb. 19, 2009 9:49 am

Which method will give you a better burn as fire as using your coal as efficiently as possible.
I think key words are better burn.
Loading coal more often and in smaller amounts would offer a more even burn.
Loading a large amount of coal at once would lower temps for a while.
This is a boiler so water temps might go down while there was a demand for heat so...
A better burn would be achieved by loading more often...
I am not an engineer, train or otherwise!
I stay at a Holiday Inn at least once a year!
Most of all I do have common sense and a practical application of logic.
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l40knocker
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Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Biasi 3 Wood/Co
Coal Size/Type: anthracite nut
Other Heating: oil fired hydro air system
Stove/Furnace Model: 3 Wood/Coal
Location: Seymour CT
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Post Thu. Feb. 19, 2009 3:28 pm

Thanks for all of the great input!! I seem to feel like the boiler uses the same amount of coal whether I tend more often or just 2 times a day. The water temp does go down when you first shake it and load it back up. What seems to work for me is to put some fresh coal on the fire about an hour before I shake it down and then the fire stays fresh when I load it back up with coal. I am happy to say that I have gotten down to shaking 2 times and loading 2-3 times in a 24 hr period. A far cry from when I was burning wood!!
Proud to be an American!! Burning American coal!!Its never to late to learn something NEW!

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