Surprise at Cleanout

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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Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant Casting 2310
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Wood in the VC and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.
Location: Girardville Pa.

Post Thu. Mar. 20, 2014 10:59 am

Since it warmed up today I decided to do a mini cleaning on my LL Econo1. What I found when I got into it alarmed me and I decided to do almost a complete teardown. I had been seeing some flyash dust appear on the coal hopper lid and I couldn't figure out where it was coming from.

I took the pipe from the thimble and there was a slight accumulation in the thimble but nothing to get hinky about. After all this was my third mini tear down and cleaning this season. Then I looked in the elbow going into the thimble and found it 1/4 full of ash. I decided to pull the entire pipe and found the 90 elbow coming from the bottom of the stove 80% clogged with fly ash. I then decided to go ahead and pull the hopper and check the gasket at the base and found the hopper had worked loose and the gasket was hanging about 1/2 out between the chute and the bottom of the hopper.

The stove has been running hard all season just like everyone else's equipment. Looks like my twice a season cleanout will have to go to three times a season and space them no more than about every 6-8 weeks now.

Rev. Larry
New Beginning Church
Ashland Pa. 17921
Pipe removed, thimble relatively clear
looking down into the 90 elbow at rear bottom of stove about 80% clogged after only about 6-8 weeks
second photo of elbow at bottom of stove
Rev. Larry
Ashland Pa.

1 John 1:9... If we sin and we confess that sin He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11344
Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Thu. Mar. 20, 2014 11:07 am

The 90 at the back of the unit is always the first to become restricted. Replacing it with a capped tee would simplify the cleaning.

Did you change coal suppliers or notice a chance in the coal characteristics? Some coal produces more fly ash than other coal.

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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Thu. Mar. 20, 2014 11:22 am

Yikes!! That looks like my arteries after a double cheese and sausage/bacon pizza. :D

I think we need to remember to go by tons burned rather than time passed during these cold winters.

Much like oil changes for vehicles, generally they're done by mileage rather than time.

Although if enough time has passed without burning much coal it would still be a good idea to clean the pipes. That's the same as oil changes in my old truck, it only gets driven less than 1000 miles per year but I still change the oil once a year.
I drive a VW TDI, heat my home & workshop with two coal stokers and have two vintage JD diesel tractors....
The EPA just loves me!!

Posts: 6196
Joined: Sat. May. 24, 2008 4:26 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 180K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Invader 2
Baseburners & Antiques: Wings Best, Glenwood #8(x2) Herald 116x
Coal Size/Type: Rice,
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22
Location: Chester, NY

Post Thu. Mar. 20, 2014 11:31 am

My AnthraKing AK 110 is bottom exhaust vented. I put a cleanout T there and I don't even put the required screws in the cap. The Powervent takes care of any slight leak. Every Sunday morning I add to my 2 minute daily tending of the stove by putting the Powervent on max and placing a damp small face towel over the baro. I then remove the cap and quickly vacuum out any collected ash. Easy to do and I think it keeps some ash out of the Powerent too. I then readjust the vacuum with the Dwyer, push the CO test button on tester one and read the digital scale to assure zero reading on CO tester two, done and up for coffee. The stove then operates better in my opinion. I need regimentation so I don't forget. Not much to clean in the shoulder months but this winter it was really worth it. These photos just reinforce my need to keep that up.
Posted by an unreasonable adult.

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Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ & V-Wert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks,Itasca 415,Jensen, NYer 130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska, EFM, Keystoker, Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska, Keystoker-2,Leisure Line
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska, Gibraltar, Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Ford, Jensen, NYer, Van Wert,
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwoods
Coal Size/Type: Barley, Buck, Rice ,Nut, Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB
Location: Central NH, Concord area

Post Thu. Mar. 20, 2014 11:40 am

Larry, I thought you found Jimmy Hoffa curled up in there.....................I did 2 clean-outs this season already and you re-affirm why I did. I tapped the pipe back in December and it sounded 'solid', so I took it off and found it 1/3 full. Scary to see, so I did it again on Feb 16 and found the same thing. The AA has been humming all winter, and still is, but I feel confident that I am safe and good to go until April 15th. A simple 'rap' of the knuckles on the lower half of the exhaust pipe will answer any questions about whether any build-up has occurred. 'Safety is no accident' as the saying goes, please follow that advise. Check your smoke and CO2 detectors for battery life, and test them as advised. If they are 6 years old or more...recycle at your earliest convenience.

Yesterday I received a call from an Alaska radiant Stoker girl who claimed she could smell CO from her stoker. We all know about odorless, colorless, no need to go there........
It was a restricted stove pipe that was causing the issue. 15 minute removal, vacuum and replace...problem solved and everyone sleeps well for another couple months. Don't put it off, it can and will kill you! Wake with a horrible headache? First 'easy' time it could be the fearsome "Dirt NAP"
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a 'piece of human solid waste' by the clean end." More true today....

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Richard S.
Posts: 12710
Joined: Fri. Oct. 01, 2004 8:35 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
Location: NEPA

Post Thu. Mar. 20, 2014 12:10 pm

coalnewbie wrote:My AnthraKing AK 110 is bottom exhaust vented. I put a cleanout T there and I don't even put the required screws in the cap.
The screws should be there in case you have a Minor Explosion in Coal Stove :)

That said we don't have any screws in our T either. It appears only the AHS is prone to any gases exploding, I don't recall it happening on any other stokers.
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franco b
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea
Location: Kent CT

Post Thu. Mar. 20, 2014 12:21 pm

Rob R. wrote:The 90 at the back of the unit is always the first to become restricted. Replacing it with a capped tee would simplify the cleaning.

Some coal produces more fly ash than other coal.
Fly ash and stokers are such a problem that I think Rob's suggestion should be standard installation practice.

Many use tees to gain access for cleaning, but I think tees could be also used as fly ash traps with the bull portion facing down.

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Posts: 115
Joined: Thu. Mar. 08, 2012 12:36 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska 140 Auger
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Russo #2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice/Nut
Location: Victor, NY

Post Thu. Mar. 20, 2014 12:37 pm

franco b wrote:I think tees could be also used as fly ash traps with the bull portion facing down.
I do exactly that. Connect the tee to the stove directly and the pipe goes straight up from there. The bottom has a cap on it that I pull every time I empty the ashes. There's always a quart or so of ash.

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Posts: 1844
Joined: Wed. May. 20, 2009 8:09 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90 Chimney vent
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Buderus Oil Boiler 3115-34
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoker 90 Chimney Vent
Location: Wynantskill NY, 10 miles from Albany

Post Thu. Mar. 20, 2014 1:14 pm

Great! Now I am nervous about the thimble in my masonry chimney, will go home tonite, bull baro flap and use flashlight and mirror to be sure there are no restrictions. Better safe than sorry. Thanks for the warning.

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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing III/ '94 Stoker II
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Location: Canterbury Ct.

Post Thu. Mar. 20, 2014 9:35 pm

Yes that bottom exhaust with a 90* I can see could collect flyash at a rapid rate. I've a 2-1/2 almost (more like 3* deg.) horizontal run and would prolly never see a build up like that.
A clean out Tee would definitely work for your set up.

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Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KAA-2
Location: Morgantown ,Penna

Post Fri. Mar. 21, 2014 8:18 am

I have the Tees where they should be for my installation and they are the only possible way to go. Every new month requires that I pull the tees , insert the homemade tool and drag the pipes clean. I also put a drop or two of turbine oil in the Fasco constant run fan motor and recalibrate the Dwyer. Not too many things left in this round world that cost so little to do and return such a huge benefit. The one that continues to amaze me are the 007 Taco pumps. The one that pushes between the oil boiler and coal boiler runs 24/7 and has for the last 5 heating seasons without complaint. That's approx. 18,000 hours!!!! I sometimes feel bad for it because I can't even offer it a drop of soothing oil. That's a well designed little piece for certain. Mike

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Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (SOLD!)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler
Location: West-Central Mass

Post Fri. Mar. 21, 2014 8:31 am

My pipe on the Mark III used to look just like that at the end of every season, before I learned to keep the ash door shut while shaking. No cure for that with a stoker, though ...

I cleaned my pipe after 2 months of straight running - wasn't too bad inside. Definitely a good coating, but not several inches deep.
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Posts: 4678
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Sat. Mar. 22, 2014 10:32 pm

Can't say enough good about the capped T's. You can use a shop vac to clean out the fly ash in about 30 seconds without any shut down. Maybe it's the coal I burned this year or the fact that the boiler had to run hard a lot, but I have had tons of fly ash this year too. I've cleaned mine every month this season.
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Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

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Stove/Furnace Make: leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer
Location: MA, South Shore

Post Sat. Mar. 22, 2014 11:10 pm

I get that build up with my bottom vent Pioneer. I just vac it out couple times a season and a "good"
vac at the end.

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Hambden Bob
Posts: 6469
Joined: Mon. Jan. 04, 2010 10:54 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman 1998 Magnum Stoker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Blower Model Coal Chubby 1982-Serial#0097
Coal Size/Type: Rice-A-Roni ! / Nut
Other Heating: Pro-Pain Forced Air
Location: Hambden Twp. Geauga County,Ohio

Post Sun. Mar. 23, 2014 2:28 pm

Rev,You've had one Hell of A Season! First the Flu,now this! Nothing I can offer,as my Colleagues,Cohorts And Associates have more than nailed this one ! That was too close of a call,and it would be nice to keep this one Hot for a while so Others can get the Good Word on clearing up their own situation. Thanx Again For Sharing This Smasher Of A Hazard,Rev Larry! :gee: :up:
Remember,There's No Sight Like Anthracite !......Hambden Bob

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