Too Much Ash

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.
clarnp49
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Stove/Furnace Model: 7.1

Post Sun. Jan. 20, 2008 5:30 pm

I have a Clayton V7.1 Wood/Coal Stove and I have just gotten it to burn coal. After turning on the forced draft fan and letting it run for about 2 hours I have to shake the **** out of it to get all the ash out so that I still have a fire. After that I can put some more coal on and get it burning. I have yet to get it to run all night because of the ash that is accumulated. If I let it naturally draft I have to leave the baffle rod out and let it get sucked direct up the chimney.

Questions are:
1. Why so much ash? Bad coal? Burning to hot? - I get all the ash with a natural draft as well, just not as fast.
2. Would a triple wall chimney help with the draft.
3. Do I absolutely need a barometric draft, I also burn wood in the stove when I get frustrated with the coal, almost out of wood :-)

Thanks for the help.

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steinkebunch
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Post Sun. Jan. 20, 2008 5:51 pm

I burn western bituminous (wyoming) coal with some of the highest ash content God makes (20% or better). I get 12 hours burn time no problem. I do have to shake the grates pretty good every 12 hours. But the stove is still 200+ degrees even after 12 hours of ash accumulation.

It's possible your draft is too weak as you mention. A little ash could slow the draft considerably with weak draft. If you don't have a triple-wall or insulation-pack chimney, what do you have? Masonry? Is the chimney on an exterior wall? If it's not in an insulated place (like house interior), then you may be losing draft to cooling of the flue gases. The warmer you keep the chimney, the better draft, in general.

Most on this forum would recommend a baro damper. I don't use one, but few do with bituminous coal due to backpuffs. Depends on your setup. Lots of discussion on other posts about that. Can't hurt to install one.

Good luck

Steinke

clarnp49
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Post Sun. Jan. 20, 2008 7:57 pm

Thanks for the information so far. I guess I should say I am burning anthracite coal.
The chimney is a terracotta lined mortar chimney. It's on the exterior of the house, it's 8" and the stove has a 6" flue. I was thinking of changing the setup to a triple wall chimney and redo the ductwork, not existing, just temperary for the winter.

Hope this helps others help me figure this out.
If it's the weak draft that causes the fire to go out, then what can I do until I install the new chimney to allow the fire to keep burning through the ash. I thought about a liner but I am tearing the chimney down in the spring to make room for the new chimney.

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coaledsweat
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Post Sun. Jan. 20, 2008 8:06 pm

How tall is the chimney above the appliance?
Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.

coalcrazy
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Stove/Furnace Model: clayton 1800 wood/coal furnace
Location: chester county PA

Post Sun. Jan. 20, 2008 9:15 pm

i currently burn anthracite in a clayton 1800 wood coal furnace. the first year of using coal was rough. my lessons learned list as follows.
1. have lots of patience!
2. follow the rules everytime.
3. barometric damper is mandatory.
4. don't rely on one coal supplier try different coals fire. (experiment)
5. your kindling fire may be the most critical step because it does two things,
a. it heats the chimney quickly for good draft
b. it provides the intense heat needed to start coal.
6. wood should be very dry and not bigger than 2'' dia.
I use oak pallet wood (no nails that jams the grates)
7. once wood fire is completly burning start adding coal a little at a time, one to two rocks deep
then close feed door completly,open draft slider(top pull knob),open ash pan door and let all that good
air do its job(ash pan and grate must be clean before you do anything).
8. after 5-10 minutes you may add more coal. small amounts at a time follow step 7 again.
9. follow steps 7,8 until coal bed is at the top of bricks
10. adjust draft as low as possible without losing fire. experiment.
I've had fires go 36 hrs on one load. my current fire is 9
days old, no relights.practice+patience=solid fire.
Last edited by coalcrazy on Sun. Jan. 20, 2008 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

coalcrazy
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Post Sun. Jan. 20, 2008 10:40 pm

now that you have a nice deep bed of coal, lets talk about long burn times. my clayton 1800 seems happy when its in full swing. there aren't many in betweens because its hand fed w/ basic controls. stokers are better when the weather is up and down. my secrets are easy. don't skip chores, you must tend to coal fires regularly.in the morning before work I go to the basement, assess the fire,shake the grates clean add coal, draft for 10 min then add the rest for the day.the fire is normally stong in the morn because of the deep fire the night before. when I get home from work its the same deal.
it only takes 5 to 15 min per day and the payoffs are great! saved over 1000.00 bucks last year on propane. shooting for close to 1700.00 this season. I live 1hr south of NE penna. coal region. i'm getting anthra. coal at 125.00/ton pick-up price

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Berlin
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Post Mon. Jan. 21, 2008 2:24 am

1st, chimney has nothing to do with your problem. terra cotta lined masonry is the best you can get for coal, although it's too bad that it's an exterior chimney. sounds to me like your grate setup is poor thus not allowing the ash to drop or your not shaking it enough, or you have really, really high ash anthricite, which is doubtfull.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

Salemcoal
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Post Mon. Jan. 21, 2008 8:07 am

Coal Crazy Where are you getting your coal for 125 a ton? I'm thinking of going to NEPA from the Albany area and buying some in bulk. I'm paying 240 ton shoveling into bags myself and I think my local supplier got a bad batch. I bought bagged Kimmels from local agway and that is burning much hotter with less ash, but not doing that to long at 7.99 a 50lb bag. Thanks

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CoalHeat
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Post Mon. Jan. 21, 2008 8:16 am

Once again, how tall is the chimney? Unless it is way too short or falling apart, I wouldn't replace it. It's the best for coal burning, even though it's outside the house. 2/3 of mine is. When I first started burning coal I had similar problems, I almost spent $1800 to have the chimney lined.
Your problems are caused by one or more of the following:
Poor quality coal (very important) Quality can vary from excellent to practically non-burnable.
Too much draft (check with a manometer-install a barometric damper)
Too much air going into the fire (once the fire is up, cut the under fire air vent back)
Over fire air (secondary air-works great for wood, no way for coal)
Poor shaking/blocked air flow from too much ash (shake until embers start to fall into the ash pan, also poke a bent rod of some sort up through the holes in the grate from below until you see the reflection of the fire in the ash pan.

I'm sure there are other reasons as well.
Get some coal from a different vendor, build a really hot, blazing wood fire to heat that chimney up and try again.

If there is just a little area of embers left when you get to the stove, dump the fire, empty it completely, and start over. Trying to bring back an almost dead fire won't work, the ash will never allow a vigorous new fire to develop.

All my problems were caused by really bad coal, I was new at coal burning, didn't know any better. Being on this forum and the help of those on it educated me.
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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Devil505
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Post Mon. Jan. 21, 2008 8:36 am

Wood'nCoal wrote:Once again, how tall is the chimney? Unless it is way too short or falling apart, I wouldn't replace it. It's the best for coal burning, even though it's outside the house. 2/3 of mine is. When I first started burning coal I had similar problems, I almost spent $1800 to have the chimney lined.
Your problems are caused by one or more of the following:
Poor quality coal (very important) Quality can vary from excellent to practically non-burnable.
Too much draft (check with a manometer-install a barometric damper)
Too much air going into the fire (once the fire is up, cut the under fire air vent back)
Over fire air (secondary air-works great for wood, no way for coal)
Poor shaking/blocked air flow from too much ash (shake until embers start to fall into the ash pan, also poke a bent rod of some sort up through the holes in the grate from below until you see the reflection of the fire in the ash pan.

I'm sure there are other reasons as well.
Get some coal from a different vendor, build a really hot, blazing wood fire to heat that chimney up and try again.

If there is just a little area of embers left when you get to the stove, dump the fire, empty it completely, and start over. Trying to bring back an almost dead fire won't work, the ash will never allow a vigorous new fire to develop.

All my problems were caused by really bad coal, I was new at coal burning, didn't know any better. Being on this forum and the help of those on it educated me.
Agree on almost everything except...."Trying to bring back an almost dead fire won't work, the ash will never allow a vigorous new fire to develop".....
I would change that to trying to bring back an almost dead fire will be time consuming & can't be rushed, but can be less work (& dust) than restarting. I have saved many a fire over the years because I didn't want the hastle of cleaning out the stove & restarting. Once you get your fire (even a small section of it) going well, just keep adding coal to it, a little at a time & dig out as much ash as you can with your shovel, without disturbing the good section. (Don't try to shake the whole fire down until it is all going well again or you will almost certainly smother it)
Once it is all going well (can be a few hours) you can shake it down & you are back to normal.
Last edited by Devil505 on Mon. Jan. 21, 2008 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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CoalHeat
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Post Mon. Jan. 21, 2008 8:44 am

Devil5052 wrote:
Wood'nCoal wrote:Once again, how tall is the chimney? Unless it is way too short or falling apart, I wouldn't replace it. It's the best for coal burning, even though it's outside the house. 2/3 of mine is. When I first started burning coal I had similar problems, I almost spent $1800 to have the chimney lined.
Your problems are caused by one or more of the following:
Poor quality coal (very important) Quality can vary from excellent to practically non-burnable.
Too much draft (check with a manometer-install a barometric damper)
Too much air going into the fire (once the fire is up, cut the under fire air vent back)
Over fire air (secondary air-works great for wood, no way for coal)
Poor shaking/blocked air flow from too much ash (shake until embers start to fall into the ash pan, also poke a bent rod of some sort up through the holes in the grate from below until you see the reflection of the fire in the ash pan.

I'm sure there are other reasons as well.
Get some coal from a different vendor, build a really hot, blazing wood fire to heat that chimney up and try again.

If there is just a little area of embers left when you get to the stove, dump the fire, empty it completely, and start over. Trying to bring back an almost dead fire won't work, the ash will never allow a vigorous new fire to develop.

All my problems were caused by really bad coal, I was new at coal burning, didn't know any better. Being on this forum and the help of those on it educated me.
Agree on almost everything except...."Trying to bring back an almost dead fire won't work, the ash will never allow a vigorous new fire to develop".....
I would change that to trying to bring back an almost dead fire will be time consuming & can't be rushed, but can be less work (& dust) than restarting. I have saved many a fire over the years because I didn't want the hastle of cleaning out the stove & restarting. Once you get your fire (even a small section of it) going well, just keep adding coal to it, a little at a time & dig out as much ash as you can with your shovel. (Don't try to shake the whole fire down until it is all going well again or you will almost certainly smother it)
Once it is all going well (can be a few hours) you can shake it down & you are back to normal.
Agreed. I've done it as well. But for someone who is still learning it's easier to dump it and start over, esp. when it's really cold out.
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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LsFarm
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Post Mon. Jan. 21, 2008 5:38 pm

Another isssue may by the firebox design. Is the firebox ' V ' shaped at the bottom, that is are there firebrick on a slant acting like a funnel for the ash to concentrate them to a center grate??? A real coal stove that is really designed to burn coal, and not be a compromize coal/wood burner has vertical brick sides to the firebox and the entire bottom of the firebox is shaker grate.

With the ' V ' the ashes are concentrted onto the single center grate, clogging it so that the air can't get through to the coal. More frequent shaking is the only answer. The other wonderful feature of a ' V ' shaped firebox is the redhot coal and ashes are funneled together and cause them to create more clinkers than would otherwise happen in a vertical sided firebox.

Unfortunately the above comments come from months of frustration and burning experience with a ' V ' Shaped firebox.

Greg L

.
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

coalcrazy
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Post Mon. Jan. 21, 2008 7:20 pm

direnzo coal co in minersville pa has great prices.

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CoalHeat
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Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Mon. Jan. 21, 2008 7:31 pm

LsFarm wrote:Another isssue may by the firebox design. Is the firebox ' V ' shaped at the bottom, that is are there firebrick on a slant acting like a funnel for the ash to concentrate them to a center grate??? A real coal stove that is really designed to burn coal, and not be a compromize coal/wood burner has vertical brick sides to the firebox and the entire bottom of the firebox is shaker grate.

With the ' V ' the ashes are concentrted onto the single center grate, clogging it so that the air can't get through to the coal. More frequent shaking is the only answer. The other wonderful feature of a ' V ' shaped firebox is the redhot coal and ashes are funneled together and cause them to create more clinkers than would otherwise happen in a vertical sided firebox.

Unfortunately the above comments come from months of frustration and burning experience with a ' V ' Shaped firebox.

Greg L

.
Agreed, Greg. I was unaware of the firebox design.
Devil, I started a tread awhile back about saving a dying fire. It's quite easy to do, yes, it does take time and patience.
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."

clarnp49
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Post Mon. Jan. 21, 2008 7:54 pm

To answer a few questions:
The chimney is 22' and all outside. The black pipe that comes from the chimney is 3' at the most, 1.5' up and 1.5' to the right through the wall and up the chimney. I was thinking of installing the new chimney on the opposite side of my house, to move the stove into my basement and out of my insulated garage that doesn't stay warm, that is why I am putting up the new chimney. Will the triple wall work better or will I still have some more problems. I don't have a barometric draft control, don't know if I have enough room for one to be installed.

The firebox design is somewhat what was described, the bricks are at a slight angle, the shaker grates sit on a frame and when I put coal in the stove, they always get stuck and I have shake like a bad *** to get them to work again, this causing the grates to pop out of the slots they are in.

The unfortunate part of burning coal as a newbie, not reading the forums like crazy and thinking I know it all is, buying 2 ton of coal from a very reputable source, so you think. I have been told more then once that it could be bad coal. The source I purchased the coal from says NO WAY! It's been tested to have the highest BTU output, if so then I am doing something really wrong because I can't keep my firebox hot.

The stove also had the air deverters in the front and back, I have covered them with sheet metal so that all air is directed under the fire, this has helped conciderably! I know it's modifing the stove but I can at least if I tend the fire every hour keep it going enough to maintain some heat.

Hope this has answered some questions, I have pictures of the setup if anyone would like to check them out and see what else I could do. Also how would I know if the coal is bad? Without of coursee trying other coal, I did try about 100lbs of some other coal, that burned better but not great.

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