Alaska Channing III refurb and hearth install

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Thinker
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Joined: Tue. Jan. 04, 2011 12:02 am
Location: Gardiner, ME

Post by Thinker » Wed. Jan. 12, 2022 2:45 am

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to share my recent project. We bought an Alaska Channing III used last year to heat our ~1350 sqft ranch (plus ~800 sqft of the basement).

The stove was in a bit of rough shape when we bought it, all the gaskets were worn out, the hopper had rusted through in some spots, the plate under the paddle was warped (carpet plate?), and I don’t think it had been greased in a while. Between last year and this year it was torn completely apart. I brought it to a local auto body repair shop for it to be sandblasted and repainted, replaced all the gaskets, bolts, carpet plate, hopper, greased and oiled all the mechanical bits appropriately (after reading information from the forum, and talking to Alaska employees), built a hearth for it, bought / setup the coal trol system, installed a baro damper and draft gauge.

We love the stove. It’s located in our basement, it uses about a bag of coal a day since we set it to be pretty toasty (73 during the day and with the recent single digit nights 80 at night). Which results with the upstairs being between 67 - 72 depending on location/ what doors are open/ how the air is being circulated. Our home is pretty well insulated, we had the attic re-insulated last year to R-50 and the house was pressure tested.

I’d have to say the only thing I found frustrating when putting the stove back together was the door hinges, the holes were not drilled centered. I didn’t notice this when I was taking it apart so I spent over an hour shuffling through different combinations to find the best match so the doors would shut and seal well. I really don’t understand why they were not all machined centered. If you look at them straight down two of them have their holes extremely forward and to one side while the other two are decently centered. Some of the combinations I tried you can’t even get the doors to close, not to mention some of the combinations resulting with a massive gap at the top with and an extremely tight fit at the bottom. In the end I found a combination that resulted with decent uniformity, though I am tempted to go a size larger for the door gaskets in the future to compensate for the non uniform alignment.

I noticed this year with the gaskets replaced on the door glass, the gaps around the door hinge supports sealed, and a tighter seal around the base of the burn grate we have an excellent draft. I’m guessing it’s from the better seal around the base of the burn grate making more of the combustion air flow through the coal? I ended up having to add paper clips to the baro damper to get the draft down (it’s set to about 0.035 at full burn).

Overall, it was a fun and interesting process and we look forward to using the stove for many years.

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Twisted shackle
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Post by Twisted shackle » Wed. Jan. 12, 2022 6:22 am

Very nice 👌

 
Pacowy
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Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
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Post by Pacowy » Wed. Jan. 12, 2022 8:51 am

It all sounds good except for maybe the part about the draft and adding weight to the baro. It seems like you might have too much draft, which can suck heat out of the stove and use excessive amounts of coal. The manual I've seen says to start with an initial baro setting of .04, which should produce a lower over-fire draft (like .01-.02). Are you measuring the .035, and if so, where?

Also, if your house is tight, it is important that you provide adequate make-up air to the stove. This prevents things like bathroom exhaust fans from drawing flue gas into the house, and can help to moderate the draft where it is unnecessarily powerful. Can be achieved by cracking open a window near the stove, or some kind of air inlet vent.

Mike


 
Thinker
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Joined: Tue. Jan. 04, 2011 12:02 am
Location: Gardiner, ME

Post by Thinker » Fri. Jan. 14, 2022 12:47 am

Pacowy wrote:
Wed. Jan. 12, 2022 8:51 am
It all sounds good except for maybe the part about the draft and adding weight to the baro. It seems like you might have too much draft, which can suck heat out of the stove and use excessive amounts of coal. The manual I've seen says to start with an initial baro setting of .04, which should produce a lower over-fire draft (like .01-.02). Are you measuring the .035, and if so, where?

Also, if your house is tight, it is important that you provide adequate make-up air to the stove. This prevents things like bathroom exhaust fans from drawing flue gas into the house, and can help to moderate the draft where it is unnecessarily powerful. Can be achieved by cracking open a window near the stove, or some kind of air inlet vent.

Mike

We are using a Dwyer Mark II Manometer connected to the stove pipe (17" below the baro damper and 24" from the connection to the stove). I set it to 0.035 (at full burn) because I was told that the 0.04 setting is a bit aggressive by another member of the forum.

At max burn (99 feed rate on the coal-trol) the stove reaches 500 degrees with a chimney temperature of 140 degrees. When we had the house pressure tested they told us that we were in the goldilocks zone, that we had the ideal amount of air leakage so that the house wasn't considered too tight / that we wouldn't need to take any action to facilitate more air exchange.

I suspect that the reason I had to add weight to the baro is because the T it connects to isn't perfectly level/square, despite my best efforts but, maybe I'm wrong. I wonder if the draft is excessive like you mentioned, but then I don't understand why we had low draft issues when we use to have our large woodstove (it was in good condition and it had weaker draft even when burning the compressed sawdust bricks and seasoned firewood, we would have a hard time getting its temp up).

Is a bag to a bag and a quarter excessive for heating ~ 2150 sqft to a higher temperature? (76 morning, 74 day, 76 evening, 80 night in the basement, which keeps the upstairs ~ 67 - 72) The outside temperatures here lately have been in the 20's with single digit nights.

 
Jerrybro
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Other Heating: Harman P61 Pellet Stove

Post by Jerrybro » Fri. Jan. 14, 2022 9:08 am

That amount of coal usage does not sound excessive.

 
Pacowy
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Joined: Tue. Sep. 04, 2007 10:14 pm
Location: Dalton, MA
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

Post by Pacowy » Fri. Jan. 14, 2022 11:42 am

AFAIK make-up air for combustion appliances is a building code matter that is not satisfied by the presence of enough leakage that air exchange is not needed to prevent the buildup of contaminants. Sorry, Goldilocks, but it's in the manual because it's important.

Of even greater importance, from your second pic, it looks like you are getting a positive 0.035 rather than negative. The function of draft is to avoid positive pressure over the fire or anywhere in the flue gas stream. If you confirm I'm reading your manometer correctly, please take the weights off the baro, give it some make-up air, and adjust so you are getting a negative value on the draft. And make sure you have a functioning CO detector.

Mike

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