Smoke in Coal Bin

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.
User avatar
Scottscoaled
Member
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 Tue. Apr. 23, 2013 9:39 pm

There is something else wrong there. You are the only one who continually is having that problem. The auger flighting shouldn't be able to pack the fines into the top of the auger by the time the coal has come all the way up the auger. Something else is wrong. Is your auger bent?
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.

Visit Alternate Heating Sytems

User avatar
Rob R.
Site Moderator
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 Tue. Apr. 23, 2013 9:43 pm

He had problems with a bent auger when the boiler was first installed, I asked several times if it was replaced but don't recall if it was.

I have never had those holes plug on any of the four 520s we have running.

User avatar
Scottscoaled
Member
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 Tue. Apr. 23, 2013 10:17 pm

I use wet coal all the time. the only time I had problems was when a clay ball/mud ball went up the tube.
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.

User avatar
Lightning
Member
Posts: 8290
Joined: Wed. Nov. 16, 2011 9:51 am
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Awesome Size
Location: Olean, NY

Post Wed. Apr. 24, 2013 7:35 am

I don't have any experience with these other than helping my uncle with his, but thought I would suggest something for consideration. Is it possible his combustion blower is pumping too much air into the fire chamber OR could it be possible his chimney isn't drafting enough and creating a positive pressure condition in the fire chamber when the blower runs??

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Wed. Apr. 24, 2013 8:46 am

In the 2 years and 4 months I have been burning my EFM I have never had this problem, and I have a short run from the boiler to the bin.
As was mentioned before, combustion blower set too high, not enough draft, etc. What is the draft reading under full fire, both in the breech and over fire?
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

daluds
Member
Posts: 282
Joined: Fri. Jun. 20, 2008 9:27 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EMF
Stove/Furnace Model: DF-520

Post Thu. Apr. 25, 2013 10:54 pm

The auger was bent when I bought the unit, but the dealer straightened it. I will buy a new upper and lower auger and replace the pipes. Draft is fine since it runs great until the holes get clogged. I am an expert at cleaning the holes now. Maybe the auger is creating excessive fines that clog the holes. Smoke smells.

Any other alignment to adjust.

Thanks

User avatar
stoker-man
Verified Business Rep.
Posts: 2063
Joined: Mon. Nov. 19, 2007 9:33 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: 1981 efm wcb-24 in use 365 days a year
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Chestnut
Other Heating: Hearthstone wood stove
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA

Post Fri. Apr. 26, 2013 5:23 am

I think you'll be disappointed if you buy new augers. Are you sure the holes in the upper pipe are blocked with coal? It looks like aluminum oxide to me. Are the pipes tight together inside the coupler? Are you using stainless steel pipes? You probably should be, with all the wet coal you burn. Do the fumes actually come out of the pipe in the coal bin?
‹(•¿•)›

daluds
Member
Posts: 282
Joined: Fri. Jun. 20, 2008 9:27 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EMF
Stove/Furnace Model: DF-520

Post Fri. Apr. 26, 2013 8:10 am

Upper pipe is stainless, but the lower is SCH 40 pipe. The holes in the upper pipe get clogged. I have to pull the upper pipe, and punch out the hardened fines. They do not brush out. The fines dry like soft cement in the holes. I also have to clean out the chamber above the holes to make sure its clear.

The fines dry inside the lower pot opposite the feed inlet, and it builds up into this cement like material which blocks the upward flow of coal. This causes the coal in the pot to burn uneven since the coal on the opposite side of the pot does not rise properly. I have to shut down the boiler, and chisel out the dried fines. It does not brush out since its very hard material.

Either the coal is filled with fines or something is creating fines as it feeds into the pot.

Right now, the coal is burning uneven and smoke is filling the bin. So I am 100% certain the holes are plugged again, and the pot is filled with cement like fine deposits. I'm going to shut it down this weekend and fix it again. I have done this many times now.

The bin fills with dense gray smoke. When I open the lid its filled with gray smoke which smells. This only happens when the blower run during heating cycle. It does not seem to occur during idle.

I'm going to talk to the place where I buy coal and find out if there is a way to purchase coal which is not so wet. I cover the coal with plastic when its delivered. I do let the coal sit in a 2nd bin to dry, and this helps alot. But sometimes I don't keep up with it, and have to put some less dry coal in the bin.

I thought about adding the air tube from the blower to the upper pipe so I don't have to keep pulling the upper pipe to clear the holes.

Thanks,

Dave

Visit Alternate Heating Sytems

User avatar
Rob R.
Site Moderator
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 Fri. Apr. 26, 2013 8:45 am

How about some pictures of the coal on a sheet of paper?

That steel bin pipe might be corroded and rough on the inside...which can cause grinding. It is time to pull it all apart and carefully look at the augers for wear and the inside of the pipe for pitting.

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Fri. Apr. 26, 2013 8:52 am

I agree, coal fines don't do that, wet or dry. When I fill the bin the coal is soaking wet, I don't have this issue.
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

daluds
Member
Posts: 282
Joined: Fri. Jun. 20, 2008 9:27 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EMF
Stove/Furnace Model: DF-520

Post Fri. Apr. 26, 2013 12:24 pm

I'll take photos of the coal bag, coal texture, smoke in bin and the buildup inside the pot this weekend to show you. I have posted photos of the holes clogged in the upper pipe in the past. The coal I poured out of one bag last night was a black mud gloppy like texture. The dryer bags are like pouring small stones out of the bag which is what I would expect.

Dave

User avatar
stoker-man
Verified Business Rep.
Posts: 2063
Joined: Mon. Nov. 19, 2007 9:33 pm
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: 1981 efm wcb-24 in use 365 days a year
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Chestnut
Other Heating: Hearthstone wood stove
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA

Post Fri. Apr. 26, 2013 2:23 pm

I've never heard of anybody having so much trouble like this. Are the two pipes butted tightly together inside the coupling? What do you set your air and feed at? How much draft is in the chimney and at the front door after the unit is firing a few minutes?

If it doesn't smoke at idle but it smokes when stoking, I would think that there is too much air being supplied and the chimney can't take it away fast enough because of poor draft. I could see if the underside of the plates are blocked up, the pressure would go down the pipe to the bin. That's why we need draft measurements.

I remember a guy in New Jersey who was ordering shear pins by the hundreds. He would break one or two per day. It was all because the steel pipe had rusted and pitted, inside the coupling, and the coal was being ground up. If you are having so many fines, why aren't you breaking shear pins?
‹(•¿•)›

User avatar
Rob R.
Site Moderator
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 Fri. Apr. 26, 2013 6:11 pm

daluds wrote:I'll take photos of the coal bag, coal texture, smoke in bin and the buildup inside the pot this weekend to show you. I have posted photos of the holes clogged in the upper pipe in the past. The coal I poured out of one bag last night was a black mud gloppy like texture. The dryer bags are like pouring small stones out of the bag which is what I would expect.

Dave
Make sure you pull the bin pipe apart and check inside and in the coupler area.

User avatar
Scottscoaled
Member
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 Fri. Apr. 26, 2013 8:58 pm

We need to visit that coal thing again. You get a muddy ball of glop? That's the same thing that happened to me when I had the problems. I have gotten several boilers in the Tamaqua area that had the fines built up like concrete in the pot. Very hard to clean. The owners said they got a load of bad coal and they didn't want to deal with the trouble again. Those were older units and harder to get apart. Must have been one pain in the butt! This guys unit is pretty new and it probably is still easy to get apart. Still a major pain in the Butt. Bet it's the coal.
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.

daluds
Member
Posts: 282
Joined: Fri. Jun. 20, 2008 9:27 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EMF
Stove/Furnace Model: DF-520

Post Sat. Jan. 25, 2014 11:11 pm

I cleaned out the 7 holes at the end of December to fix the smoke in the bin issue, and it ran smoke free for 25 days until this morning. Ugh...

Since it was too windy to go have fun flying with the skis on the Piper Cub, I decided to tackle this problem with a friend. After many beers and a few trips to Home Depot we found a good solution. Per a previous post on this thread (thanks!), I added a 1" inner diameter tube from the top of the blower to the top of the upper pipe. We drilled seven holes with same diameter as the original in the upper pipe, and used 3/4" MIP fitting at the tube and blower.

Bin is smoke free, and the coal ring is even and bright. It appears to be a success, but will keep monitoring it tonight. I can pull off the top of the air coupler, and clean out the holes in the pipe if they get clogged without shutting down the boiler.
Attachments
Air 1.jpg
air 2.jpg

Visit Alternate Heating Sytems

Post Reply

Return to “Stoker Coal Boilers Using Anthracite (Hydronic and Steam)”