Minor Explosion in Coal Stove

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.
ThinKnot
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Joined: Sun. Jan. 16, 2011 3:53 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Waterford
Stove/Furnace Model: Erin Coal Stove

Post Sun. Jan. 16, 2011 4:17 pm

I'll add my two cents. First time I used Blaschak I got my first little boom. Hadn't know about leaving a red hot spot showing back then,
but had a normal reload to do. Raked it, got the bed warm, and filled the stove front to back, side to side, and heard the familiar snap,
crackle and pop of the new load. I liked the strong crackle of the new Blaschak load. I think the first load or two I was lucky, but on reloading
one afternoon, followed the same procedure as above, but my luck must have run out as I had erringly blanketed the whole hot coal bed.

..sitting and watching thru the stove glass of the load door (about 4 inches away) of my Waterford Erin Coal Stove, waiting the arrival of the blue flames, and BAMMM! I didn't know what happened. When I came to my senses in about a second or so, I was starring into blue flame and red coals and smoke as the blast blew out the ceramic stove glass. Had to think real quick, grab two buckets, and unload the hot coals fast and run outside the door (fortunately inches from the back door) and dump all in the snow. I think I had 2-3 really fast load, run and dump trips with those hot coals. No one else was home, and I'm glad I was right there. It would have really been potentially a bad fire if I wasn't there, as the stove with broken glass has no fire door. I guess it would have died down, but there could have been hot coals flying about the floor.

I try to always await the blue flames now, and always leave a little red showing. If it's a reload onto a slow much cooler burn I'll load it and continue the slow burn with primary air set for slowest burn and not await the blue, especially if it's a bedtime loadup. Slow burn and red showing allows me to feel safe to set it and forget it.

I guess stove glass is a good flue and baro protector as it gave out first. Was fun tracking down replacement glass and getting it cut to size.

Uncentral Heat Only:
Waterford Erin Coal
Waterford MKII Wood stove
Dutchwest Direct Vent - propane (comes on at 46 deg F if not home and stoves go out)

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I'm On Fire
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Joined: Thu. Jun. 10, 2010 9:34 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machines DS-1600 Hot Air Circulator
Location: Vernon, New Jersey

Post Fri. Mar. 11, 2011 8:31 pm

One for the record books ladies and gentlemen!!!

Now, since installing the DS-1600 I've had some minor puff-backs...nothing to write home about but tonight....really took the cake for me.

I had it idling at 290* all day because of the warmer temps. MPD open all the way, baro foiled closed. I noticed the stove didn't really consume too much coal throughout the day so I bypassed my 12 hour schedule and opted for 14 before shaking down for the night.

I recharged, didn't rake the coals just left the coal from the hopper fall where it may and walked away. I gave my daughter a bottle and sat down to watch Young Justice, Ben 10, Generator Rex and Star Wars with my son. As the three of us sat watching the TV I forgot about the stove as I do every night. My daughter fell asleep on my lap and out of the blue.

BOOM!!!!

The house shook so violently it scared the three of us to the ceiling. I put my daughter in her crib and went to check on the carnage.

The Manometer was blown from the wall.
The MPD was now closed when it was opened prior.
The "T" coming out of the back of the stove is now cocked to one side (luckily it is screwed in).
The foil on the baro now has a giant hole in it.

Needless to say, that was unpleasant.

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CoalHeat
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Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Fri. Mar. 11, 2011 10:55 pm

Sorry to hear, must have been quite an event! I hate when that happens...
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

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freetown fred
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Posts: 21422
Joined: Thu. Dec. 31, 2009 12:33 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut
Location: Freetown,NY 13803

Post Sat. Mar. 12, 2011 9:21 am

nothing like all that,but I had a little pop yesterday--I shook,topped off, filled & opened my glass door which I never do & shut it real quick--which I know better--shortly after :blowup: If I back track I can usually figure out where I screwed up---be safe my friend ;)
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

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titleist1
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Joined: Wed. Nov. 14, 2007 4:06 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Sat. Mar. 12, 2011 12:56 pm

Dang....quite the wake up call!! :shock:

Just a suggestion that works well in my setup, I always leave a corner of glowing coals and the ash door spinner wide open when reloading and never had a problem. After about 10 minutes when the timer goes off, I'll close up the spinner knob to the operating level and cover that corner with a shovel or two of coal since by then the blue flames are consistent throughout the firebox.

And here I thought I've read somewhere that the "warming" of the coal while in the hopper was supposed to take care of that BOOM thing!
I drive a VW TDI, heat my home & workshop with two coal stokers and have two vintage JD diesel tractors....
The EPA just loves me!!

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11357
Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Sat. Mar. 12, 2011 1:00 pm

I bet your wife was pleased with the flyash removing feature of the DS.

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freetown fred
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Posts: 21422
Joined: Thu. Dec. 31, 2009 12:33 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut
Location: Freetown,NY 13803

Post Sat. Mar. 12, 2011 2:48 pm

It does if you don't open the glass door & then slam it shut 2 seconds later ;) Did I mention that any problems I've had w/ the Hitzer has been due to a lack of experience or my own stupidity. toothy
titleist1 wrote:Dang....quite the wake up call!! :shock:

Just a suggestion that works well in my setup, I always leave a corner of glowing coals and the ash door spinner wide open when reloading and never had a problem. After about 10 minutes when the timer goes off, I'll close up the spinner knob to the operating level and cover that corner with a shovel or two of coal since by then the blue flames are consistent throughout the firebox.

And here I thought I've read somewhere that the "warming" of the coal while in the hopper was supposed to take care of that BOOM thing!
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

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I'm On Fire
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Posts: 3920
Joined: Thu. Jun. 10, 2010 9:34 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machines DS-1600 Hot Air Circulator
Location: Vernon, New Jersey

Post Sat. Mar. 12, 2011 10:52 pm

titleist1 wrote:Dang....quite the wake up call!! :shock:

Just a suggestion that works well in my setup, I always leave a corner of glowing coals and the ash door spinner wide open when reloading and never had a problem. After about 10 minutes when the timer goes off, I'll close up the spinner knob to the operating level and cover that corner with a shovel or two of coal since by then the blue flames are consistent throughout the firebox.

And here I thought I've read somewhere that the "warming" of the coal while in the hopper was supposed to take care of that BOOM thing!
My DS does not have the spinner knobs. Well, it does, but they are decoration only. :)

My wife was not at home when it happened. She was at work.

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smithy
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Posts: 204
Joined: Sat. Oct. 09, 2010 8:31 am
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Columbia
Baseburners & Antiques: Chicago Stove Works home perfect 214
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Stove/Furnace Model: Home perfect 214
Location: nw Indiana

Post Wed. Sep. 14, 2011 8:50 pm

how will all this figure in with an old base burner type stove especially with a magazine installed . wont the gas go up into the magazine chamber and leak out or build up in the top of the stove
"The Anvil" mother of all tools

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dlj
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Posts: 1267
Joined: Thu. Nov. 27, 2008 6:38 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Baseheater #6
Coal Size/Type: Stove coal
Other Heating: Oil Furnace, electric space heaters
Location: Monroe, NY

Post Wed. Sep. 14, 2011 10:56 pm

smithy wrote:how will all this figure in with an old base burner type stove especially with a magazine installed . wont the gas go up into the magazine chamber and leak out or build up in the top of the stove
Nope. Just like smoke... goes out the chimney...

dj

Op4_camper
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Posts: 25
Joined: Mon. Feb. 28, 2011 7:02 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: hot blast burning hard nut.
Stove/Furnace Model: us stove
Location: 15935 Hollsopple pa Summerset Co

Post Sun. Nov. 27, 2011 8:45 am

Got new load of coal. First time useing it I put way to much on. The furnace fire chamber instantly filled with pitch black smoke. Mixed in were strands of maybe green/yellowish smoke. Im color blind. I knew I was in trouble. Drooped shovel. Tried to close door with my knee when......a loud long whoos with a whoomp like sound. I blew pipe of the stove and split the one seam.

Crap using gloves I half way got the pipe hooked up.

So I shovel in as much ash on top of coals. Shut dampners opened outside door and went to bed.

What a mess threw the house.... lol...

This last batch burns like pitsb. seam. I swear you could almost light it with a match. Burns hot and fast I have to keep draft cut down and even closed.

Anyways thats my funny story..
Sticking it to OPEC one ton at a time. plus the money stays local.

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vmi1983
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Posts: 233
Joined: Mon. Mar. 28, 2011 1:55 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Godin Large Round/ La Belle Epoque
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Anthracite
Location: Wadhams, NY

Post Mon. Jan. 09, 2012 8:53 am

LsFarm wrote:What happens is the fresh coal has an amount of 'volitiles'. Think of this as if the coal had trapped flammable gas inside. These gasses are released when the coal is heated.

If you add a large enough quantity of coal that it covers the whole firebox and covers the entire existing burning coalbed, then there is no open flame to ignite the gasses when they are released from the fresh coal. The gasses build up in the firebox, and eventually a little flame makes it's way up through from the hot coal underneath, and ignites the gasses. A small explosion is the result.

To prevent this from happening, when you add fresh coal, leave a corner or end of the hot coal uncovered. The flame from the hot 'old' fire will act like a 'pilot light' and burn off the fresh gasses slowly, as they are released, instead of explosivly, all at once.

This is 'banking the fire'. Once the new coal has caught, and is burning red, you can rake it level and top off the firebox with additional coal.

Hope this makes sense.

Greg L
I have not had any puff-backs in the Vigilant II yet. I suspect the front grill/ fettle helps. When I recharge, I see a flame "like the pilot light" exit the front of the
bed through the grill. The lick of flame shots upward. I keep the internal damper open until the blue ladies arrive. I have even closed the internal damper at times, and it takes longer for the ladies to arrive, I wonder if I am chancing fate here...? :?

Matt
'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

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VigIIPeaBurner
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace
Location: Pequest River Valley, Warren Co NJ

Post Mon. Jan. 09, 2012 1:12 pm

vmi1983 wrote:I have not had any puff-backs in the Vigilant II yet. I suspect the front grill/ fettle helps. When I recharge, I see a flame "like the pilot light" exit the front of the bed through the grill. The lick of flame shots upward. I keep the internal damper open until the blue ladies arrive. I have even closed the internal damper at times, and it takes longer for the ladies to arrive, I wonder if I am chancing fate here...? :?

Matt
You're correct about how the flame licking up over the front grill helps light off the methane coming from a new load of anthracite on top of the fire bed. I avoid closing the internal damper until there are some blue flames across the new bed of coal. I've had a few - very few - puff backs doing so. I'll crack the ash pan door --never walk away-never-- until the flame licks upward above the grill. Depending on how large the existing burning bed of coal is it will usually happen in as few as 10 seconds but never longer than a minute or two. As soon as I close the ash pan door, if they haven't already, the gasses will often ignite with a gentle whoosh sound but no back pressure.

Sometimes if I don't employ the ash pan routine, I'll wait about five minutes for the new load to heat up and the flames to appear. If the methane gasses haven't caught I'll then lift the top loader (griddle) door. The air introduced by opening the lid is often enough to allow the blue flames to ignite. If it isn't, I'll blow into the firebox and that does the trick. Dragon breath :lol: Then I'll close the internal damper.
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captcaper
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Super Magnum
Stove/Furnace Model: Super Magnum Stoker
Location: Northern N.H.

Post Wed. Apr. 04, 2012 4:27 pm

Mine will do it every time I throw a bunch of fresh coal on and open her up..Bang or I should say Puff Stink O.
Current Stove Harman Super Magnum
Owned before
Harman Mark III Wood Parlor stove Scandia Wood Stove 2 Chubby Coal Stoves Small Pot Belly Cast Iron

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Smoker858
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Posts: 208
Joined: Tue. Nov. 03, 2009 1:29 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Baseburners & Antiques: Reading Stove Works Penn circa 1900
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Other Heating: nat gas
Stove/Furnace Make: HITZER
Stove/Furnace Model: 50-93
Location: Parsippany, NJ

Post Wed. Nov. 14, 2012 10:53 am

Wife is now a coal pro.. 11:30 is PM she awoke with a BOOM. The details are sketchy. The house and stove are all fine. Sue watched the stove until 1:30 AM.

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