EFM 520 Feed Rate/BTU Output

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e.alleg
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Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
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Post Sun. Aug. 12, 2007 11:57 am

I have the chart from EFM that describes the feed rate (and air setting) vs. the BTU output and coal/hour input. Say I need 5 lbs/hour to keep the water up to temperature: I don't understand the difference between setting the feed at a high rate, say 20 lbs/hr. and running it for 15 minutes per hour, or setting the feed at 5lbs/hour and having it run the full hour. I talked with the previous owner and he just said his plumber set the feed rate once and never touched it again. :?:

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LsFarm
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Post Sun. Aug. 12, 2007 2:22 pm

I had the same thoughts with my IronFireman underfeed stoker. It is pretty much the same as an EFM stoker. I have an EFM stoker unit as well,[no boiler], so I have put them side by side for comparision.

What I found was that if you use a slightly higher feed rate, and let the coal burn without the combustion fan forcing air through the coal bed, you get a bit less unburnt coal and a bit finer ash. If your chimney has plenty of draft, it will pull air through the coal bed and burn pretty well.

Plus, if you have the rate setting low, there is no added margin to increase BTU output if it gets really cold and windy and your heat requirements increase drasticly.

When I had my boiler set near maximum, the outer 1-2" perimeter of coal on the burn pot was still glowing red under the surface, but once it reached the edge and fell off into the ashpan it went cold/black right away. Takeing a sample from the pan showed the ash to be very well burnt, with little unburnt coal.

I tried rice and buckwheat coal, I liked the increased heat output from the buckwheat, but it had a bit more unburnt coal in the ash. This could have been from the poorer quality coal, or it may have needed more time to burn all the way through the larger pieces of coal. I also burn some 'reclaimed fines' which were probably rice and barley size pieces. It didn't let as much air up through the coal bed so the heat output was lower than rice or buck. It piled up to a much deeper coal bed, maybe 6" deep instead of 3-4" for buck/rice.

I'd set your feed to a setting that had the stoker run at about 50%. Approximately 15 min. on then 15 min off. This will give you plenty of burn time from natural draft, and provide extra feed available for colder weather.

However: half the fun of getting a new stove or boiler is to learn it's characteristics. So I'd suggest trying several settings with different weather and see what works best for your setup.

There was a new member who had just installed an EFM furnace in a shop and was inquiring about setting the feed rate, I think he was burning buckwheat coal, and had a continous setting [no thermostat] of 5-7#/hr.
He was very happy with the heat output.

Greg L

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coaledsweat
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Post Sun. Aug. 12, 2007 4:03 pm

e.alleg wrote:I have the chart from EFM that describes the feed rate (and air setting) vs. the BTU output and coal/hour input. Say I need 5 lbs/hour to keep the water up to temperature: I don't understand the difference between setting the feed at a high rate, say 20 lbs/hr. and running it for 15 minutes per hour, or setting the feed at 5lbs/hour and having it run the full hour. I talked with the previous owner and he just said his plumber set the feed rate once and never touched it again. :?:
Its about recovery. If you set it to run for the hour and the temperature drops it will not keep up. The reason for the adjustments is to balance what you have, draft coal quality and temperatures both outdoor and boiler. I would start with the settings as recieved and make small changes and record what happens. It's a balancing act, occasionally you want the fan to blow, but if it runs constantly more heat will go up the chimney then with the natural draft. Like Greg said, the ash will tell the story.

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e.alleg
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Post Wed. Aug. 21, 2013 6:37 pm

Old post but I have new insight. Depending on the coal quality during the coldest days if someone is taking a shower and the feed/air rate is too low the boiler water drops enough to not simultaneously heat the house. So my extensive scientific research taught me that if I'm cold and the boiler is running (or the ash pan looks like black coal) I need to either (1) adjust the feed & air rate, (2) buy coal from somewhere else, (3) fiddle with the aquastat settings, or (4) drink more and put on another blanket. At this point I don't fool with the boiler as long as it heats I don't worry about it. After 6 years of coal burning I learned my house eats the same amount of fuel regardless of what I do.

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Rob R.
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Post Wed. Aug. 21, 2013 8:16 pm

The S20 stokers do best at 4-6 teeth of feed. I have experimented also, and as it turns out, having the right controls to keep the boiler just warm enough to do the job saved me far more coal than any feed rate adjustments.

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