Worst Puffback I Ever Had...

Hand fed coal boilers and furnaces using bituminous coal to heat your home or business. Hand fed stoves as the name implies require manual feeding and air adjustments.
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Posts: 100
Joined: Mon. Dec. 28, 2009 12:52 am
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Norseman 2500
Location: South Eastern Montana

Post Sat. Jan. 26, 2013 11:37 pm

Well, I've been burning sub-bit in my Vogelzang Norseman stove "basically a hotblast" for a couple of years now and have had really good luck. I've had a few puffbacks but haven't had one for almost a year now until the other day... It all started when I woke up and the house was a little cool which was strange as I have built a damper that is thermostatically controlled that controls the temperature of the house. I went downstairs to investigate and make sure the damper was open. To my surprise it was. I then opened the stove door to see what was going on in there and saw that a large chunk of coal had not burned much. It just looked like the grates needed to be shook a little and all would be well. I then proceeded to close the door and then I gave the grates a couple of shakes and closed the ash door. I saw that I had some coal crumbs on the floor in front of the stove so I swept them up and then stood up to go back upstairs. I started walking towards the stairs when "BOOM". It was like a shotgun had went off. The barometric damper flew out of the stove pipe and just missed my head and hit the wall about 12 feet from the stove. I looked at the stove pipe thinking that it was surely going to be split at the seams. Luckily it had not. I was sure glad I had all joints screwed with three screws. I then noticed that the ash door had been blown open and there was ash and hot coals everywhere on the floor in front of the stove. I quickly shoved the barometric damper back in and closed the ash door and then proceeded to sweep the hot coals close to the stove away from objects that could catch fire. Thankfully I'm very opinionated about keeping things well away from the stove that could catch fire. Thankfully, other than a huge mess and one ear that was ringing, all was well. This incident has put a little fear into me about burning coal. I thought about letting the stove go out but we were using it to heat our water as our tankless water heater had croaked and we haven't got a new one installed yet. This all happened a couple of days ago. I since have decided to keep burning coal. I will fabricate a more positive latch for the ash door and I will now screw in the barometric damper. The reason the baro was not screwed in is because I occassionally burn a little wood and I remove it then. I am really glad that I took my time to install the stove correctly and safetly and always kept things away from the stove. I'm not sure what would have happened if we were gone, but thankfully we were home.

I'm not trying to preach to any of you, but PLEASE do make sure your stove is installed correctly and keep ANYTHING that could possibly burn well away from the stove.

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Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal
Location: Buffalo/Adirondacks, NY

Post Sun. Jan. 27, 2013 2:22 am

got to keep that secondary air cracked open. Also, if you're opening the ash door with any green fuel in the firebox that isn't engulfed in flames, you need to have the loading door open or cracked untill you get some flame. Banking the coal also helps a lot and will help eliminate back-puffs.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

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freetown fred
Posts: 21415
Joined: Thu. Dec. 31, 2009 12:33 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut
Location: Freetown,NY 13803

Post Sun. Jan. 27, 2013 7:18 am

Ditto w/ what Berlin said----bw, nothing wrong with preachin when it comes to safety issues :)
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

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Posts: 1066
Joined: Sun. Oct. 30, 2011 5:44 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: AHS/WOC55-multi-fuel/wood,oil,coal
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/stove size
Location: Pottstown,Pa

Post Sun. Jan. 27, 2013 7:52 am

bverwolf wrote:Thankfully, other than a huge mess and one ear that was ringing, all was well. This incident has put a little fear into me about burning coal. I thought about letting the stove go out but
bverwolf wrote:I since have decided to keep burning coal.
We all have some type of issue's.Glad everything is now safe.And in this incident,you have learned and moved on,lesson learned.
I had one of those huge puffback/explosion and sounded like a m-80 or 1/4 stick and the percussion lifted the floor boards up,and I also learned my lesson of what not to do.

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Posts: 926
Joined: Sun. Nov. 27, 2011 8:45 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker Ka 6
Coal Size/Type: Casey Junk Coal :(
Location: Tannersville Pa

Post Sun. Jan. 27, 2013 7:54 am

Besides the messed and quick trip to the bathroom, glad to see nothing else happened.
If you have time to make a post looking for free advice, then show some appreciation and say thank you.

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Posts: 6604
Joined: Fri. Apr. 11, 2008 2:54 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Sun. Jan. 27, 2013 8:56 am

Yowza! I'm glad it was just a scary lesson and not a horror story. Sorry it had to happen, but glad you're OK.
Orrington, Maine

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

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