Been burning wood for years and I'm trying coal. I have a few questions.

lcback
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Post By: lcback » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 1:49 pm

Im sure these have been asked before, So I apologize in advanced for not finding these on here.

I have a DS Mashine Ecomiser furnace. http://www.messickstove.com/products/ds-machine-s ... index.html

For the last few years My wife and I have been happily heating our home with this and wood. Last summer my job changed, and I just don't have the time to cut, split, stack, wood anymore. So The last two week ends I have tried switching us over to coal.

here are my questions. how much shaking is enough?
1 I just wiggle it back and forth as much as I can without hearing coal fall through the grates.

2. How often do you shake it? manual says at least once every 12 hours. that seems pretty long to me.

2 how do you know when to add more coal? if i let it go until it looks like it needs more, the fire is dead. :|

3 is there a resource for finding bulk coal around you? I have been buying the 40lb bags of nut from tractorsupply but $315 a ton seems a little steep. I live in westmoreland county PA if anyone knows the area.

4, I dont usually see much blue flame like in the heading on this site, unless I have the air fully opened and am cranking the heat out. Otherwise its big bed of glowing rock. Is that normal?

3. this one is just for information. the Manufacture says to burn Hard coal only. That they see to many issues from people burning soft coal with volatiles in it. That seems to go against popular opinon, as every old timer insists that wood/ coal stoves can burn soft only. ( and most furnaces i read seem to agree with that). Everyone insist that hard coal burns to hot for a wood furnace to handle.


Any info I would appreciate. It seems I can start the fire sunday morning, and it have the house 80* all day and night. Then by the time i get home from work monday the fire is dead. :oops: MY wife insist she is doing everything I do. Shaking, putting a 15 lb bucket of coal on every so often etc.

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grumpy
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Post By: grumpy » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 2:03 pm

how do you know when to add more coal? if i let it go until it looks like it needs more, the fire is dead
Keep it full, the more the better...shake it down and then add more coal, I'll let the others answer the rest..

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windyhill4.2
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Post By: windyhill4.2 » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 2:32 pm

lcback wrote:
Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 1:49 pm


I have a DS Mashine Ecomiser furnace. http://www.messickstove.com/products/ds-machine-s ... index.html
coal.

here are my questions. how much shaking is enough?
1 I just wiggle it back and forth as much as I can without hearing coal fall through the grates.

2. How often do you shake it? manual says at least once every 12 hours. that seems pretty long to me.

2 how do you know when to add more coal? if i let it go until it looks like it needs more, the fire is dead. :|

3 is there a resource for finding bulk coal around you? I have been buying the 40lb bags of nut from tractorsupply but $315 a ton seems a little steep. I live in westmoreland county PA if anyone knows the area.

4, I dont usually see much blue flame like in the heading on this site, unless I have the air fully opened and am cranking the heat out. Otherwise its big bed of glowing rock. Is that normal?

3. this one is just for information. the Manufacture says to burn Hard coal only. That they see to many issues from people burning soft coal with volatiles in it. That seems to go against popular opinon, as every old timer insists that wood/ coal stoves can burn soft only. ( and most furnaces i read seem to agree with that). Everyone insist that hard coal burns to hot for a wood furnace to handle.


Any info I would appreciate. It seems I can start the fire sunday morning, and it have the house 80* all day and night. Then by the time i get home from work monday the fire is dead. :oops: MY wife insist she is doing everything I do. Shaking, putting a 15 lb bucket of coal on every so often etc.
Tend the unit every 12 hrs. Tend = Shake until the ash pan has a very strong glow & some hot coals are in the pan.FILL with coal,to the top of the firebrick.
Forum member Coaljockey is in Loysburg,he is a coal dealer & hopefully he chimes in or you can PM him.
Pretty blue flames are nice to see,but if the coal is burning & heating your house,it's good.
If the manufacturer says hard coal,burn hard coal,anthracite is much easier to control than is bituminous coal. Bit coal is MUCH more likely to overheat your furnace than anthracite. In actuality burning wood is more likely to overheat your unit than anthracite.
There is lots more to be said, but i will leave it for the experts.

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titleist1
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Post By: titleist1 » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 2:50 pm

Basics of a Hand Fired Coal Stove

Here is a link to the basics of a hand fed stove, it may have some useful tips for you.

Basically fill it to the top of the firebrick with coal, control the burn by limiting the underfire air, minimize over fire air and shake until you see glowing coals reflecting in the ash pan area. 12 hours between tending may be stretching it until you get the ash clearing figured out real well.

lcback
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Post By: lcback » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 3:11 pm

Thanks guys, Ill start shaking more and opening the ash door to watch what falls through, and adding it deep.

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Richard S.
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Post By: Richard S. » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 4:02 pm

lcback wrote:
Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 1:49 pm
2. How often do you shake it? manual says at least once every 12 hours. that seems pretty long to me.

2 how do you know when to add more coal? if i let it go until it looks like it needs more, the fire is dead. :|
This is where the learning curve comes in and each stove is different. People know how wood burns but they don't know how coal burns. The burn rate is controlled by the amount of air, much more controllable than wood and much longer burn times. You want to fill the stove with as much coal as possible. Assuming you want to make as much heat as possible you need to find that happy medium for the air setting where most of the coal is consumed in the 12 hour period but there is plenty left to keep the fire going for the next load. Generally speaking, don't poke it, prod it or even look at it funny between loading's.

That 12 hour cycle is not set in stone but just a matter of what is practical for average use. If you are home and want more heat you put some more air on it and do it in 6 or 8 hours. If you wanted to do a 16 hour cycle for the day idled down and crank it up a little overnight for 8 hours you can do that with most stoves. If you expect to be away for longer period of time you can idle it down to almost nothing. There is couple of members here that can almost get two day burns, of course they are not making a lot of heat either. .

3. this one is just for information. the Manufacture says to burn Hard coal only. That they see to many issues from people burning soft coal with volatiles in it. That seems to go against popular opinon, as every old timer insists that wood/ coal stoves can burn soft only. ( and most furnaces i read seem to agree with that). Everyone insist that hard coal burns to hot for a wood furnace to handle.
Most Appalachian soft coal has just as many BTU's in it as anthracite or very close. The primary issue is there is a lot BTU's sitting there, by volume it's about 3 times the wood. If you crank it up it's very easy to overfire a stove with coal. For example some people will open the ash pan door when loading to give it boost. If you leave that open for an hour you are going to have a cherry red stove. About the only way you are going to slow it down is with some sand. If you leave the ash pan door open after loading do not walk away from it or at least set a timer/some type of reminder.

If you are buying a wood/coal combo you want one from established manufacturer of coal stoves and DS machine certainly fits that bill. Most of the issues with wood/coal combos revolve around them not being able to burn anthracite coal well.

lcback
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Post By: lcback » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 4:35 pm

Richard S. wrote:
Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 4:02 pm
This is where the learning curve comes in and each stove is different. People know how wood burns but they don't know how coal burns. The burn rate is controlled by the amount of air, much more controllable than wood and much longer burn times. You want to fill the stove with as much coal as possible. Assuming you want to make as much heat as possible you need to find that happy medium for the air setting where most of the coal is consumed in the 12 hour period but there is plenty left to keep the fire going for the next load. Generally speaking, don't poke it, prod it or even look at it funny between loading's.
A lot of good information, thank you. So far the first day I load it I keep it burning hot as I am afraid to cut it down and the fire die. Meanwhile the house is 80* will the fire survive if i turn the air down until it cools off?

My furnace has the box temp regulator that opens and closes by its self. so if i get it good an hot, and turn the dial down It will almost completely close for quite some time. I have been worried it will kill the fire.

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Lightning
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Post By: Lightning » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 4:41 pm

Yeah, turn that dial down a notch and wait for the stove to respond. When it cools enough according to the new setting, the flapper will open again to keep the fire going and hold the new lower heat output.

Coal fires are very hard to kill on purpose. They usually die more by accident.

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titleist1
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Post By: titleist1 » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 5:29 pm

One thing to keep in mind is the changes are not instantaneous. When you make an adjustment give it a couple hours to see the effect.

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Post By: CoalJockey » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 5:38 pm

ICback

I figure $315.00 may be a bit dear for anthracite even as far away as Westmoreland County. If you want to trim your price tag a bit, perhaps look around your area for a bulk dealer. You should be able to buy high quality bulk anthracite in your area for $250.00-$280.00 per ton I would think. We are at $230.00 here but I would be a pretty far drive for you.

There are multiple yards in Cambria County, several right in the Johnstown area that would be closer to you. Look up HWZ Coal Co in Cassandra, Dallas Coal in Sidman, Harper and Gallo near Ebensburg or perhaps there is one even closer to you than these. Any of these bulk dealers will have a loader or high lift of some kind to load your pickup truck or trailer. Most likely they will do delivery to your door for an extra fee.

If you come up empty handed, send me a private message or email, I will get you hooked up with someone. Good luck and welcome to the forum! :yes:

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Post By: rberq » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 7:07 pm

lcback wrote:
Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 4:35 pm
My furnace has the box temp regulator that opens and closes by its self. so if i get it good an hot, and turn the dial down It will almost completely close for quite some time. I have been worried it will kill the fire.
A couple people have mentioned this, but I will repeat for emphasis:
Unlike with wood, almost all the combustion air for coal should come from under the grates -- that air comes in through what you call the box temp regulator. That means the air intakes on the loading door should be open only a tiny bit, to let in a little air above the burning coal -- a little.

Killing the fire comes from letting too much ash build up so the grates are clogged and the air can't get up through. Killing the fire also comes (per your first post) from waiting until it "looks like" it needs more coal. Again, unlike with wood, you don't put on less coal to get less heat -- the automatic regulator just lets in less air.

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Post By: oliver power » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 7:54 pm

Lightning wrote:
Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 4:41 pm
Yeah, turn that dial down a notch and wait for the stove to respond. When it cools enough according to the new setting, the flapper will open again to keep the fire going and hold the new lower heat output.

Coal fires are very hard to kill on purpose. They usually die more by accident.
I like that saying Lightning.

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Lightning
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Post By: Lightning » Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 8:59 pm

oliver power wrote:
Mon. Feb. 05, 2018 7:54 pm
I like that saying Lightning.
Thanks Oliver, before I submitted that post I thought, "Really?!" :lol: Then I realized how true it is.

Icback - during the shoulder month warm days I have fun seeing how low and slow I can run the fire. There has been times that the fire goes into suspended animation with 170 degrees over the load door and draft hovering -.01 The convection blower cycles become nonexistent due to the lack of heat output. The view thru the load door window shows nothing but a black abyss with no evidence of any coal combustion other than a faint red glow deep within the fuel bed. The fire will sit like that, dormant, for 12+ hours then roar back to life within minutes of opening the ash pan door. It's one of my favorite coal stunts. My record burn time with a revivable fire is 66 hours. Coal is fun!

So long story short, provided ash gets cleared properly at tending and you can keep draft, that fire will idle down without dying.

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Post By: coalchuck » Tue. Feb. 06, 2018 7:16 am

icback
Don't know where you are at in westmoreland. I used Hildenbrand stone he has Lehigh Anthracite bulk this is the address
141 Hildenbrand Ln, Ruffs Dale, PA 15679

lcback
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Post By: lcback » Tue. Feb. 06, 2018 8:28 am

I got home last night to a small glow in the bottom, and a real shallow coal bed. So i dumped a bag on and opened the ash door. 15 minutes and it was roaring back to life. I let it get good and hot, then shut the air damper down some. That seemed to be a winning combination. the house was 73 when I woke up this morning and there was still a nice sized bed glowing. Dumped another 20lbs on top, emptied the ash pan and came to work. I seem to be getting the hang of this with you guys help.

My problem now is I only have 2 bags left, And tractor supply is out. So If I'm going to keep this coal burning I need to find delivery. Id go pick it up my self but I wont have time for that until the weekend.

Thanks Coalchuck, Hildebrand supply is withing range for me. My neighbor gets her soft coal delivered from there. Ill call them, and I was suggested to call Kingston supply also in Latrobe.

Do you guys see a price hike in the middle of the season? I sure do with LP. Ill pay $2.25 a gallon before the season starts, but by February its $3.85. One of the biggest reasons I hate burning it.

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