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.
pcnorton
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503
Coal Size/Type: nut
Other Heating: gas

Post Mon. Jan. 13, 2014 7:02 pm

Just had a explosion as well. Hitzer 503 with nut coal. had shook it down reloaded, you could see a glow down at the bottom but it didn't seem like the coal was burning. I gave it some more air but had the manual damper almost closed. out of nowhere a explosion that threw the hopper cover a foot and rung everyone ears .

I guess I will keep the damper open till I see blue flame on top of the coal. Any other suggestions? I have a 2 year old and that cover could have hurt her.

Paul

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scalabro
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Baseburners & Antiques: 2 Crawford 40's, PP Stewart No. 14, Abendroth Bros "Record 40"
Coal Size/Type: Stove / Anthracite.
Other Heating: Oil fired, forced hot air.
Location: Southwick Massachusetts

Post Tue. Jan. 28, 2014 6:57 pm

It just happened for the first time to me :shock:

For all the right reasons, covering the coal bed completely etc, etc.

I had my baro wedged closed with a piece of wood shim as usual when I load to increase draft, when it went off I was standing looking at the glass going hmmm, I probably should not have loaded it like that.....

Then foof, she puffed a cloud out the secondary air(around the glass) and primary wheel....it kind of looked like it sneezed, and farted at the same time, too funny !

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CoalHeat
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
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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 Tue. Jan. 28, 2014 10:18 pm

Exactly the same here, I use the wooden wedge too.
And my stove blows up the same way. :D :blowup:
It's that "extra shovel" of coal that does it every time. When I add it I end up kneeling there and opening the loading door a bit, sometimes I can get a nice "Poof".
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
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"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

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Lightning
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Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Awesome Size
Location: Olean, NY

Post Wed. Jan. 29, 2014 8:09 am

pcnorton wrote:I guess I will keep the damper open till I see blue flame on top of the coal. Any other suggestions? I have a 2 year old and that cover could have hurt her.

I wish I would have seen this sooner.. The best way to stop puff back is to keep the gases baking out of the coal, diluted.. There are a couple ways to dilute them.. If you have adjustable secondary combustion air inlets, they should be left wide open along with the MPD wide open until the blue ladies show up. If you don't have adjustable secondary air inlets but instead have fixed then prop the load door open about an 1/8th inch till the blue ladies show up.. The blues need to stay lit. If you close the load door or close the secondary air inlets and the blues go away then you need to leave them open longer.

The key here is keep the volatile gases diluted so they can't make the proper proportions to flash..

I was a pyromaniac in my previous life... :lol:

franco b
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Coal Size/Type: nut and pea
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Post Wed. Jan. 29, 2014 12:03 pm

Too much air at too high a velocity can also prevent ignition of the gasses by cooling them. Often a freshly shook coal bed can pass too much air if the ash door is left open for too long a time. What is needed is to watch how the stove performs under different load conditions. Never a bad idea to provide a red coal spot in the bed even if you have to dig down a bit with a poker to provide it as Doug Crane advises.

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Ctyankee
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503 insert
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea
Location: Danbury CT

Post Wed. Jan. 29, 2014 5:13 pm

The hopper cover is HEAVY! That had to be one forceful explosion :eek2:

With the hard burning going on with these cold temps, I find it a bit difficult to fill my unit thru the hopper and keep a spot of red hot coal. The bed drops so much with shaking that I am filling by had sometimes up to the hopper then after that layer burns, filling the hopper. That seems to keep a flame burning to take care of the gases .

If I do fill up with coal and there is no blue flame, I completely open the damper and intake vents and crack the door open for a few minutes and sit infront of the stove until they do appear. Then I close start closing the damper and the door while still keeping the flames going. That seems to work and no CO seem to vent into the house with the door open.

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titleist1
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Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Wed. Jan. 29, 2014 6:34 pm

Ctyankee wrote:If I do fill up with coal and there is no blue flame, I completely open the damper and intake vents and crack the door open for a few minutes and sit in front of the stove until they do appear. Then I close start closing the damper and the door while still keeping the flames going.
:up: this is what ya have to do....keep the blue flames going.

in extreme weather you may need to adjust your normal procedure a little or tend more often....like Freetown Fred says, you have to be smarter than what you're working with.
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!!

pcnorton
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503
Coal Size/Type: nut
Other Heating: gas

Post Thu. Jan. 30, 2014 9:32 pm

Thanks, I have been doing a lot of what was said. I'm waiting to see the little blue fairies. I like the idea of pulling up a red coal.

I keep the damper wide open so the gas can go up the flue, and if it does explode it has a place to go quickly.

Deep down inside I'm trying to figure how to do it again...lol

As for it being a forceful explosion, I said 10gauge shotgun or better.

Paul

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I'm On Fire
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Post Wed. Mar. 05, 2014 9:00 am

Had a minor one last night. I don't have many anymore. But I found this one particularly entertaining as my 4 year old daughter's favorite place to sit is right in front of the stove. She takes all that heat and puts it in her little body. So, as she was sitting there last night the stove poofed. A huge plume of ash came out of every known hole in the stove and she just turned around and looked at the stove. She smiles then starts giggling and turns to me, "The stove pooted." and then she went back to playing with her toys in front of it.

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Vangellis
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Olix Air Flo
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Stove/Furnace Model: Hudson Wood/Coal Burning
Location: Factoryville, Pa.

Post Wed. Mar. 05, 2014 11:47 pm

I'm On Fire wrote:Had a minor one last night. I don't have many anymore. But I found this one particularly entertaining as my 4 year old daughter's favorite place to sit is right in front of the stove. She takes all that heat and puts it in her little body. So, as she was sitting there last night the stove poofed. A huge plume of ash came out of every known hole in the stove and she just turned around and looked at the stove. She smiles then starts giggling and turns to me, "The stove pooted." and then she went back to playing with her toys in front of it.
Thanks for the chuckle. POOTED. :lol:

Kevin
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Jared43758
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hotblast 1557
Coal Size/Type: Run of the mine

Post Sat. Oct. 04, 2014 5:04 pm

So I had a puff back and would like to clarify what I should of done different. Burning BIT, I started a a fire this morning, around 12 I shoved the little pile of burning coal burning to the back of the stove and dumped about 40 pounds in the middle and front. It burning great, slowly worked forward, low smoke. Well I'm getting ready to go to work tonight so I was going to top it off. I opened the door and it was still black and sticky a little. I kinda hoed it to level everything out. It was still full so I decided not to add anything. I closed the door and it was running a little to warm about 400 so I shut the damper down some. Well hoeing the coal level must of exposed some fresh spots and it was burning wild right before I shut the under fire air down. Well the fire just went out. No more flames. I thought all crap and was worried about a puff back. Well I cracked the feed door open a half inch and held it then all of a sudden flames and puff!!!! Smoke everywhere. What should I done. ?

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Lightning
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Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Awesome Size
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Post Sat. Oct. 04, 2014 5:07 pm

Its the nature of the bitty beast my friend..

You gotta keep A LOT of secondary air over it..

Jared43758
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hotblast 1557
Coal Size/Type: Run of the mine

Post Sat. Oct. 04, 2014 5:18 pm

There's got to be a better anwser than that. Like left feed door close and opened up bottom damper. Something besides ur anwser of yea just live with it and ur house stunk up

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Lightning
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Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Awesome Size
Location: Olean, NY

Post Sat. Oct. 04, 2014 5:30 pm

I'm sorry man, I had the same problem. I toyed with bit for nearly two weeks. I tried hard to control and pamper it. If you stave it of secondary air, that's what happens. My last straw was a puff back that sent billows of yellow tire burnt reeking smoke into the basement that made its way all thru the house. I dumped the rest of my bit coal over the bank and said thats enough. Then to top it off, my flue pipe had nearly sooted shut. If you can tame that stuff successfully, kudos to ya..

Jared43758
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hotblast 1557
Coal Size/Type: Run of the mine

Post Sat. Oct. 04, 2014 6:03 pm

I also shook the grates down around the same time too. The shaking and stirring fresh coal got me I really wanna figure out how to prefect avoiding puffing back all together

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