Can't Get Enough Heat Out of VF3000

Stoker Coal Boilers automatically feed the coal and have controls and pumps just like any conventions boiler. They are intended to be used as a primary heat and often have domestic hot water coils as an added bonus. They can be set up independently or in dual sytem with your existing oil/gas boiler. They can accommodate both hot water base board or steam plumbing.
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KLook
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Posts: 3636
Joined: Sun. Feb. 17, 2008 1:08 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Other Heating: Gas boiler backup/main
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000
Location: Chattanooga, Tenn

Post Wed. Nov. 21, 2012 6:31 pm

That sure does seem like more sq. ft. then mine in Maine. :shock: However, it still seems it could do better. You have some excellent minds at work for you, I will step aside. Your problem will be solved if it is possible to solve.

Kevin

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Scottscoaled
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Posts: 2597
Joined: Tue. Jan. 08, 2008 9:51 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520, 700, Van Wert 800 GJ 61,53
Baseburners & Antiques: Magic Stewart 16, times 2!
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck
Other Heating: Slant Fin electric boiler backup
Location: Malta N.Y.

Post Wed. Nov. 21, 2012 7:09 pm

I'm not a Harman expert, but if I remember what the grate system looked like, seems to me that its real possible his area under the carpet is filled with fines. At full, extended fire no air gets out the end of the bed. At lower demand, the coal has time to go out before being pushed off the end. He should pick up the plates and clean that area out???????
I think a man does what he can, untill his destiny is revealed. Right now that is trying to sell my EFM plate boilers in 520 and 700 sizes.

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11346
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 Wed. Nov. 21, 2012 7:23 pm

The manual shows a lever for the fines cleanout...make sure it closes tightly.

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coalkirk
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Posts: 4679
Joined: Wed. May. 17, 2006 8:12 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 8:17 am

Well your house certainly sounds well insulated and with good windows. You need to go back to square #1. First of all as has been suggested, your home looks to be larger than 1500 sq. ft. You should do the math including a heat loss calculation. (Also please don't call your oil or coal burning appliances a furnace. They are boilers. ;) ) After last season, did you remove the grates and clean out all the fine flyash? There is a lever under the grate holder accessible from the ash door that should be pointing toward the ash door. Throughout the heating season you should swing that lever open and closed a few times to allow flyash to fall out. Very important it be in the closed postion or it won't perform well. In the ash compartment there is a metal door on the side where the flue gases go out. The door lifts up to allow access into the flueway. That area gets full of flyash and needs to be cleaned. Many of us now use T's instead of elbows on our vent pipes so that flyash can quickly and easily be cleaned out without shutting down. Any horizontal sections of vent pipe need to be cleaned a few times a season also.

You said you have a Baro damper and that it is set per the manual. The only way to know for sure is to install and use a manometer. Over fire draft is checked via the tiny hole with a set screw in the combustion chamber door. .02 is good. When on high fire the vent draft as checked between the boiler and the baro should be no more than .04. Otherwise you are sending lots of heat up the stack.

The combustion blower shuts off on this boiler when there is no demand for heat. Myself and some others with this boiler have added a fan dimmer switch to allow that fan to run 24/7 at a lower speed when there is no demand for heat. Makes the boiler perform much better in my opinion.

Then there are the settings for how much coal you are pushing, the timers for the maintenace cylces etc. I'm sure we can get you dialed in. Start with the basic steps outlined above and let us know the actual numbers. In the mean time, Happy Thanksgiving!
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

Hillside
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Post Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 8:54 am

I completely dismantled the BOILER at the end of the heating season to make sure it was clean. The boiler hasn't really functioned as I would of thought it should since installed. Just to kinda eliminate a heating system with the baseboard turned t-stats back to 50 and still won't keep up. There is very little flame or heat rising (I am sure there is a better way to explain it) in the firebox. No matter how it is adjusted. So I am thinking there is a problem based in the boiler. I will apologize there is 1802 sq ft in the house. Only heating the first floor there is enough heat rises to heat the second floor the thermostats are completely turned off. The handle on the bottom of the grates is closed, I recleaned everything since trying to operate for the past month..THe BTU rating on the oil burner is 120,000 was told by several dealers this (VF3000) should be big enough to heat with for the house I have..

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11346
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. Nov. 22, 2012 9:30 am

If the boiler can't get up to temperature with no zones calling for heat, something is definitely wrong. Are you sure that the blower housing and fan is clear? Perhaps it has had a wad of insulation stuck in it since you took delivery of the unit! I'd pull the blower off and have a look. If the blower is clear, and the fan spins in the right direction, I am all out of ideas.

Have you talked to the dealer that sold the boiler to you? They said it would heat the house...it clearly doesn't.

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lsayre
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Posts: 12193
Joined: Wed. Nov. 23, 2005 9:17 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)
Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 9:42 am

How much coal are you burning per day at this time?
-Larry

Democracy rests upon the principle that collective wisdom arises from a pool of individual ignorance. A Republic rests squarely upon objective law, and fundamentally upon those laws which restrict the scope and actions of government.

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coalkirk
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Posts: 4679
Joined: Wed. May. 17, 2006 8:12 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 11:33 am

OK, now we are getting somewhere. It's not that the boiler is undersized for the home. There is a problem with the boiler. That's actually good news because it can't be anything too tough to fix. I wish you lived closer. I'd be glad to come over and have a look. You said you disassembled it after last season and put it back together. I think something is not back together as it should be.
So your fire doesn't look like this?
vf fire.jpg
Is the combustion fan running? Is the flange on the combustion fan slid all the way into the slot under the stoker? A friend with this boiler had this issue last season and could get no heat out of the boiler. You didn't mention if you verifed the cleanout lever is in the correct (closed) position. When you disassembled it after last season, did you remove the metal door in the ash compartment? That will pack in with fly ash. This is a pretty simple boiler. You need adequate coal, air under the fire and draft.

Please don't be offended by the correction of boiler rather than furnace. :oops: But it's an important distinction.
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

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

Post Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 11:43 am

Some pictures of your boiler might help also. Maybe a simple over look on the install that a picture could help resolve the issue.
Randy
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McGiever
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Posts: 5997
Joined: Sun. May. 02, 2010 11:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek
Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 7:50 pm

Some questions regarding your "Vert-i-flow Stoker"

How many DOTS are you pushing?

Does the "Y-Fork" measure 1-3/4" inside? They will widen if the pusher block has ever became bound up.

Some reading here>>>> Harman Magnum Stoker Feed Mechanism Tip
Last edited by McGiever on Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

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KLook
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Posts: 3636
Joined: Sun. Feb. 17, 2008 1:08 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Other Heating: Gas boiler backup/main
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000
Location: Chattanooga, Tenn

Post Thu. Nov. 22, 2012 9:56 pm

As the picture Coalkirk posted shows, you have an issue if there is no heat rising. When I opened the door and it was firing, it made you squint and it was HOT. :shock: Something is blocking the air or it is going around the coal or the fan is blocked or it is not turning up fast enough or the squirrel cage is loose on the shaft or the cage is plugged...... you get the idea. ;) That thing should make your eyes hurt when you open the door.

Kevin

Hillside
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Post Fri. Nov. 23, 2012 7:28 am

Coalkirk, no I can't get a fire like that even if I adjust the rod that I get hot coals going into the ash bucket. I was getting about a 4 inch flame before. Yesterday removed the fire and grates there was a lot of fines in the area under grates swept them out restarted the fire is better it will now hold 140 degrees at night but still not happy with it.. I will take a photo tonight and post so you can see it.. THanks everyone for the information...

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coalkirk
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Posts: 4679
Joined: Wed. May. 17, 2006 8:12 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Fri. Nov. 23, 2012 7:50 am

Ok, you've got a combustion air problem. Fan is not fully in its slot under the grates, is not running at full speed, cleanout lever is open, etc. Look forward to seeing your pics later.
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

User avatar
KLook
Member
Posts: 3636
Joined: Sun. Feb. 17, 2008 1:08 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Other Heating: Gas boiler backup/main
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000
Location: Chattanooga, Tenn

Post Fri. Nov. 23, 2012 8:06 am

it will now hold 140 degrees at night but still not happy with it..
Does this mean it is running all night and only holding 140 or is it getting up to 140 and shutting down?

Does this unit have the Johnson controls on it? I had to remove mine. For anyone that wants them by the way, I'll will sell them cheap. 2 dump controls

If you don't have the same flame, there is still is not enough air getting under the coal or it is lousy coal.

Even when it was brutally cold out and the wind was blowing, mine would eventually catch up and shut off at whatever temp I set it at. Usually 180 to 195.

Having said that, my system had an aquastat that changed the flow of water to the gas boiler and allowed it to fire and the coal to catch up. Maybe mine would never have caught up either. BUT, this was before I learned about reducing the flow of water to allow only enough out to satisfy the demand and giving the coal some time to ramp up. I think the famous Sting(not the singer) would call it balancing the system.

Your supplier told you it would heat the house, and maybe it will. But BTU's are funny things with coal. It will produce a bunch and it is probably underrated at PEAK output, but oil and gas are "instant on" btu's, the coal takes quite some time to get up to maximum. This is the problem with bed type stokers.

SO, if you have not cut down your flow yet, I would advise some pictures and the pro's in here, not me, will tell you things about your system you didn't need to know very likely.

Kevin

Hillside
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Posts: 20
Joined: Mon. Mar. 07, 2011 10:02 am

Post Fri. Nov. 23, 2012 9:16 am

The boiler is running constantly to stay at a temp of 140 the aquastat is set higher but the water temp doesn't get there because I would assume the lower flame in the combustion area. I am going to research the blower because I can change the flap on the side with very little effect to the flame or heat in the combustion area.. I can open the door and look in without any problem,, no extensive heat or glow as coalkirk has in his photo..

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