Has Anyone Ever Gotten Bad Anthracite Coal?

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creggh
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Post Sun. Dec. 11, 2011 1:04 pm

I just picked up a bag of coal which was in a basement in Detroit. A friend said a guy down the street has about 2 ton of coal in his basement. Probably been there for years. I wanted to know if it was anthracite or Bit coal. He have me a 70 pound gunny sack full. It turned out to be lump or stove anthracite, about the size of tennis balls or a little smaller.I got it started and filled up the hopper. I couldn't get the fire going hot at all. This Morning it was still going, but he firebox read 120 degrees. The coal is putting out little or no heat. I have never had this happen? I burned call last year, nut sized, with no issues. I'm using my Hitzer 503. I was hoping really to get a good deal from the guy, but maybe this could be a bad batch of hard coal. Its Definitely anthracite, looks just like the pics online. Any thoughts. I'm at a loss on this one. thanks


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freetown fred
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Post Sun. Dec. 11, 2011 1:09 pm

If you've got enough energy to break up them tennis balls w/ 2 lb. sledge, you probably got something there. ;)
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theo
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Post Sun. Dec. 11, 2011 1:11 pm

i got some bad coal last year from the better-half for Christmas ,,,, I think I was a bad boy that year :rofl:
The first half of your life is runied by your parent's and the second half of your life is ruined by your kid's!! " I wondered why that frisbe was getting bigger, Then it HIT me!! " The early bird may get the worm,,,, but the second mouse get's the cheese!!

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freetown fred
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Post Sun. Dec. 11, 2011 1:17 pm

So theo, how are things looking this year? ;)
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CoalHeat
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Post Sun. Dec. 11, 2011 2:34 pm

It could be "bad" coal. It's out there. Here's a photo of a piece after about 3 days in the stove:
Coal I Gave Dave.JPG
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
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blrman07
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Post Mon. Dec. 12, 2011 8:34 am

Lookinf to me like you got some coal from an unknown basement mine. Coal does not go bad sitting around. It's rock. You may need to adjust the air flow for more air depending on the type coal you get. I have a handfired and depending on who I get the coal from determines how much air I have to set for the fire. UAE Harmony mine coal requires less air, coal from Lenigs coal requires more to burn right and coal from Spit Vein requires wide open air vents to get it cranking. Play with the air flow and let us know how it goes.

Remember coal reacts slowly so wait about 45 min to an hour before making changes again.
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Rob R.
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Post Mon. Dec. 12, 2011 9:03 am

I have never gotten any "bad" coal, but some loads have been better than others.

A friend of mine got a bunch of free stove-size anthracite from an old barn (new owner wanted it gone), and he tried burning it in his Chubby stove. The air comes up through the coal really easily, and seems to take most of the heat with it. He had a tough time keeping the stove going, and said it didn't put out much heat. He started mixing the stove coal with nut size, and now the stove operates normal again. There is probably a reason my old coal books recommended stove-size for stoves with large firepots...15" or more if I remember correctly.

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freetown fred
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Post Mon. Dec. 12, 2011 9:55 am

I'd say my buddy Rob hit the nail on the head--I'd still break some of them tennis balls up to see if it would be worth it. There is a big difference between rock & coal just by looking at it. I think if you can get the broke up tennis balls going--mixing with nut would be the game plan ;)
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creggh
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Post Mon. Dec. 12, 2011 12:03 pm

I was able to get it going a little better last night. I had to open the shaker door wide open to get it going. The stove got around 200 degrees on top, and was blowing decent warm air, but Definitely not real hot. Problem is I think all he has is large stove coal, and I really don't want to crush up 50 lbs everytime I load the stove. Thats to much like chopping and burning wood. I was hoping to get a reasonable price on the coal, maybe $150.00 ton, bagged up. It might be worth burning if the price was right. I am trying to get another 4 bags and try playing with it. I really wish we could get bulk coal in the Detroit area for a reasonable price. Thanks

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spiker
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Post Mon. Dec. 12, 2011 12:25 pm

Like Rob said, try mixing with nut size, make your own 'range' coal. Worth trying.

thehogman
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Post Mon. Dec. 12, 2011 6:13 pm

I mix 1/3 nut to each bag of stove size and get a complete burn in my Hitzer 55. The coal is from Pottsville PA. This was recommended by the sales guy when I bought it last summer. The sales guy, Tony said nut would not completly burn in the corners and there would be some work to move the unburnt coal out of the corners and into the center and so far it has worked for us.

We have been to Pottsville once. Riding along 209 on our way to the WV state HOG rally back in 07. Stopped at this Indian run hotel on a hill because the price fit the other couples budget at 50 bucks (last time that happened). After settling in we walked down the hill to a diner. While eating the young waitress comes over for a chat and after a while the cook comes out who happens to be her husband. She asks "Where you all from". I said "New England". After a long pause she says "What part of England is that". Nuff said but keep in mind. This is gonna happen where ever you go in this country now.

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CoalHeat
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Post Mon. Dec. 12, 2011 8:38 pm

The stove got around 200 degrees on top, and was blowing decent warm air, but Definitely not real hot. Problem is I think all he has is large stove coal, and I really don't want to crush up 50 lbs everytime I load the stove.


In a hand-fed stove size will burn faster and hotter, chestnut size gives you a medium burn and heat output, and pea size gives the least amount of heat and the longest burn time.

Assuming your appliance is in proper working order and it is drafting correctly--sounds like you have poor quality coal.

Look online for a dealer in your area that sells Blaschak, if you can get some try the nut size.

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theo
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Post Mon. Dec. 12, 2011 8:57 pm

freetown fred wrote:So theo, how are things looking this year? ;)

freetown, you can teach a old dog some new trick's ! It looks to be the same as last year ! :cry:
The first half of your life is runied by your parent's and the second half of your life is ruined by your kid's!! " I wondered why that frisbe was getting bigger, Then it HIT me!! " The early bird may get the worm,,,, but the second mouse get's the cheese!!

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SMITTY
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Post Mon. Dec. 12, 2011 9:59 pm

I used to burn Kimmels bagged nut, which when compared to Blashack bagged I guess you could call it "bad".

Kimmels had double the ash - at least -, it smoked a little & smelled like bituminous when you first tossed it on a hot bed, lots of clinkers in the ash, lots of trash mixed in with the bags ( wood, wire, rocks, mudballs, etc...) , and no matter what methods I used the ash buildup would limit me to 12 hour burns. When I switched to Blaschak it was like night & day. Half the ash, 24 hour burns average, very little "trash" (only wood - no rocks or wire), more heat, & on top of all this, it was CHEAPER! Seems to take a bit longer to get lit than the Kimmels, but I gladly accept the tradeoff.

Seems like nobody else on the board has experienced this with Kimmels, so my former supplier may have been buying cut-rate rejects ??? Who knows. All I know is he went up $40 a ton one year, which is why I ended up with Blaschak. Had that not happened I might not have ever known what I was missing!
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Post Tue. Dec. 13, 2011 7:37 am

I got what I can truly say was "bad" screened rice coal. The coal itself was sub quality but the coal was so loaded with fines and dirt I couldn't burn it. I got it at Split Vein Coal in Weigh Scales Pa. outside Shamokin Pa. It was water delivered and when I pulled away I saw that it appeared to have a lot of dirt in it. When I got it home I shovled it into the basement window and then checked it. It was loaded with fines. I tried hand screening it and once I cleaned it the rice size burned just fine. Tried putting it in my stoker without screening it and it would clog the grate every time. I have hand screened about 200 pounds of fines so far that I am going to burn in my handfed one shovel full at a time. It crackles and pops and spits but one shovel full at a time will burn, just not very well.

A BTU is a BTU.

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