Hopper Fire - Alaska Channing 3 With Direct Vent

A Coal stoker furnace or stove controls most operations including automatically feeding the coal. They are quite similar to any conventional oil and gas units and easily operated for extended periods of time. They commonly use rice coal but may use larger sizes like buckwheat. They can be used as primary heat, supplementary heat or have a dual set up with your existing oil/gas furnace.
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traderfjp
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Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3
Location: New York

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 12:55 am

If you let you stove run low on coal you could have a hopper fire. The coal with stay on the sides of the hopper and air will get into the hopper and ignite the coal. I need to check my manual to see if there is a warning or not for this issue. This is very dangerous and should be part of a red label warning on the manual. This started to happen to me but luckily I caught it in time.
Last edited by traderfjp on Fri. Mar. 31, 2017 11:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: added make to title


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LsFarm
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 9:56 am

Thanks for the safety heads-up!!

Please refresh my/our memory: what type of stove, type of coal, type of chimney etc??

In general, if a stove has draft, and the cover is on the hopper, there should not be any way that heat and oxygen can flow through the hopper to support a fire.

Now if the cover was left off, and the chimney draft was low, then I can see a fire backing up into a coal hopper.

My LL pioneer stove in my shop has VERY low draft, I basicly just vent it to the outdoors, the combustion fan pushes the air outside. Not a setup I'd use in a house with living, breathing creatures residing. This stove has moisture in the coal hopper, but I have run the hopper low, to the point of running out of coal many times, and never had even a hint of a fire backing up into the hopper. But, I always keep the cover on the hopper.

Let us know the details of your stove and setup.

Greg L

Thanks again for letting us know about a potential safety issue.

.
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?

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traderfjp
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Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3
Location: New York

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 12:47 pm

I have a Alaska Channing 3 with direct vent. The hopper cover was on and it was getting real hot when I saw what was happening.
Last edited by traderfjp on Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mwcougar
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Posts: 136
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Stove/Furnace Make: ahs 130 heating 3700sq ft
Location: central Bradford county pa

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 12:49 pm

Hi all

My new AHS 130 has a hi temp. cut out for the hopper. in case the hopper overheats it kills the combustion motor. asked jeff about this when I visted the factory he said they have had one or two get hot enough to peel the paint on the lower part or the hopper. sooooo just in case... they put a high temp kill switch interlock on it. cougar.
center of Bradford county pa

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WNY
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon
Location: Cuba, NY
Contact:

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 12:54 pm

I have run our Keystoker low quite a few times (not on purpose, but really cold and it stoked alot overnight), but never had a problem, if there is no coal by the stoker unit, and no combustion air coming in from underneath, I wouldn't think you would get any fire or embers towards the back where it feeds...

Our stoker actually closes off the coal feed hole in the bottom of the bin and if it stops in a certain position, it would actually block off the bottom of the hopper. Plus, The combustion holes in the burn plate are only on the front half of it, so it normally it has no fire the farther back you go on the grate.
- Dave
Hyfire I & Keystoker 90K heating an 1890 Victorian
- Amsoil Authorized T1 Certified Dealer

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LsFarm
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 1:07 pm

Hi Trader, is the inside of the hopper damp with condensation? If so, I think you need to turn up the direct vent fan speed, or if it is at full speed, check to see if it needs fly ash cleaned out..

Does the cover on the hopper fit well? The fire could back up to the bottom of the hopper, but it shouldn't be able to get into the hopper. There is no air flow with the cover on it.

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?

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traderfjp
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Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3
Location: New York

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 1:11 pm

Cougar: Do you have a number for the guy who sold you the shutoff and stove? Maybe I can buy that part and retrofit it to my stove.

WNY: On the Channing the auger sits in the feed hole and when the coal gets too low it creates an opening from the coal in the hopper to the grate. Even when there is little coal on the auger and feeder hole there is still plenty of coal that hangs on the sides of the hopper. I could see this starting a fire and causing problems. The Keystoker seems to prevent a fire if what you say is correct and the fill hole is shut when it's done feeding. On the Alaska the grate has holes that allow air to keep the coal lit. These holes are on the front of the grate to keep the fire away from the coal in the hopper. It wasn't a windy night so there wasn't any back draft and the stove was venting fine before it ran low. Keeping the hopper filled, I believe, does not allow air to enter the coal that is in the hopper so it can't ignite. I'm wondering if there is a problem with my stove or a design flaw.

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traderfjp
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Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3
Location: New York

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 1:15 pm

LSFarm: I vacuumed it all out about 1 month ago. The cover fits real nice and tight. I'm a little confused why this would happen but I would like to buy a heat sensitive shutoff so I'm covered.


mwcougar
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Stove/Furnace Make: ahs 130 heating 3700sq ft
Location: central Bradford county pa

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 1:45 pm

hi Trader

the phone number for AHS is 717-987-0099 you can ask for jeff or one of his other techs. they may tell you what to buy. I know they use mostly off the shelf parts for controls. good luck. cougar
center of Bradford county pa

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coal berner
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520
Location: Pottsville PA. Schuylkill County PA. The Hart Of Anthracite Coal Country.

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 3:16 pm

HAY traderfjp the first step is to contact alaska to report your problem I would never try another manufacturers part that would definitely void any warranty that you might have on your stove and could cause you more problems. give them a call here is there # 1-570-387-0260 & or e-mail them. http://www.alaskastove.com they should take care or help you with the problem they are a good company. good luck and be safe
J.C.

Heating house & water with a 1986 electric furnace man DF520 using buckwheat Anthracite coal

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traderfjp
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Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3
Location: New York

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 5:06 pm

I called Jeff and there is a heat sensor that they sell which would allows us to plug our stoves into them and then it would turn off the power to the stove if the hopper reached a temperature of 250 degrees. I don't see how it would void our warranties since the device is a safety switch and not hard wired into the stove in any way. Jeff said that all the boilers they sell have this device installed to prevent hopper fires. I think it should be standard equipment on all stoves. My dealer told me to vacuum out the stove and to make sure it doesn't run low. I'd also love to find a sensor that would turn my stove off if the temp in the room reached 88-95 degrees. There is only the manual thermostat that controls the firing rates. If there is a short or failure these stoves could fire at full tilt. My stove is over sized for my house so while it should be safe I wouldn't want to do this since at 3-4 dots my walls are very warm if not hot.

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jpen1
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Stoker Coal Boiler: LL110
Coal Size/Type: Rice/ Buck
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler
Location: Bloomsburg, PA

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 5:06 pm

All Alaska stoves except for the 140 auger feed use a half moon shaped "paddle" as Alaska calls it mounted on a shaft and bearing to push the coal across the grate. There is about 3/4" to 1" gap above the paddle. The manual states that a hopper fire is possible if your draft is poor and you don't keep the hopper full. I questioned the salesman at their factory showroom when I bought the stove about the gap and he said it was to prevent the feeder from jamming and as long as you keep the hopper reasonably full you won't have a problem. I have never left my hopper go below half but even when it is really cold I only burn about 40 to 50 lbs a day.

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Yanche
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Location: Sykesville, Maryland

Post Thu. Mar. 15, 2007 10:28 pm

mwcougar wrote:Hi all

My new AHS 130 has a hi temp. cut out for the hopper. in case the hopper overheats it kills the combustion motor. asked jeff about this when I visted the factory he said they have had one or two get hot enough to peel the paint on the lower part or the hopper. sooooo just in case... they put a high temp kill switch interlock on it. cougar.
It happened to my AHS S130 two years ago. I just finished adding coal to the hopper and emptying the ashes. I got interrupted by a phone call. I forgot to put the lid on the coal hopper and turn the automatic grate motor back on. When I checked on it the next morning coal was burning several inches into the hopper funnel. The CO detector was sounding and there was a strong combustion gas odor. Scared the hell out of me. My boiler is an outside shop/garage so there was no human health hazard. I ventilated the shop, removed the unburnt coal from the hopper and the burning coal through the flapper door. I now use a check list when attending the boiler and do not shut down the ash grate motor when removing the ashes. I just time ash removal to when it's normally off. The temperature interlock on the hopper is a good idea. A double careless mistake on my part. Safety devices are GOOD things.

Yanche

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coalstoves
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700
Location: Mt.Carmel Pa. Located on The Western Middle Anthracite Field

Post Fri. Mar. 16, 2007 11:14 am

I would think this type of thing is more prevalent in the carpet type pushers than the ones like Harman that use a pusher Block .

Jerry & Karen
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Post Fri. Mar. 16, 2007 12:36 pm

Hi,
I would first find out how the draft pulled into the hopper. It doesn't matter how low your hopper is with coal, your barometric damper over rides excessive draft. Now if you don't have a barometric damper, what is there to over ride the draft ? Leisure Line will not install or sell a stove, power vent or chimney without the use of a barometric damper. This isn't the first thread in here about hopper fires without the use of a baro.
Jerry


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