Fire in Coal Hopper - Keystoker KA6

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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CoalHeat
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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 Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 11:52 am

jcw265 wrote:First let me say again thank you all so much for your very very quick replies to my issue. What a very great and well run forum , I am so glad the Lord led me here. Now I have called the mine where the coal came from because I am not sure what coal I have and let me make sure that I understand that I can ONLY burn anthracite or is that what is recomended because my fear is that if I have bitmous coal I have got alot of coal I cant use !! ( great ) !! Now I see this talk of lid on the hopper , mine has no lid ? does this mean I am missing something ? I am going to check out the thread on the meter and will post back shortly , I have shut the boiler down and waiting for some calls might be a lil cold but beats burning my house down ! :) thanks again to all of you

Love in Christ Jesus

Jay Williams
No lid, No burn. You need a tight fitting lid with no holes in it. Air will be drawn in through the hopper without a lid!
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."

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jcw265
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Posts: 124
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker. KA 6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Location: Southern Ohio
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Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 11:58 am

First sorry for the type O on bituminous and just for my own knowledge why cant you use this type of coal, Second I have shut boiler down only had the thing 2 days and had 2 fires ahhh aint worth it for sure. Yet now I am cold !! hehehe , Now on the hopper lid should I have one ?? also the way the fire acted do you think it is a draw issue ? any information on how I should check it , stoker lit or not ?? running or idle ?? etc... Ae keystokers good boilers ?? can you get rid of the hopper and just stoke it yourself , at least I know the fire cant get out of the heat chamber ! Just looking for information , !!

Thanks so very much

Love in Christ Jesus

Jay Williams
Jay
"What color is the coal your burning?"

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Matthaus
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite
Location: Wilkes Barre, PA

Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 12:02 pm

Wood'nCoal wrote: No lid, No burn. You need a tight fitting lid with no holes in it. Air will be drawn in through the hopper without a lid!
Actually John (hate to disagree but have to do it :) ), you don't need a lid if the stove/furnace/boiler is set up right. I just rebuilt my Keystoker A90 furnace and it has no issues with the hopper even getting warm. I can burn it with the door open all day and it won't have any issues either. A lid as stated by some of the other folks on here are not the answer to this kind of problem. The design of a stoker depends on proper draft in the fire box as well as the flue stack to operate. Also leaks from the plenum will always cause problems with combustion gases coming up through the hopper, in some situations this might not be notices.

There is one thing all of my junk collecting has taught me. Hoppers will rust, burn, melt and otherwise self destruct due to problems, none of which are the lack of a lid. :D
Matthaus
Leisure Line Stove Company
http://www.leisurelinestoves.com/

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gambler
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Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 12:05 pm

I know that this is a different brand of stove but this is a reply from the Leisure Line forum regarding the hopper lid.


Jerry,

Is there any reason to keep the lid on the hopper, it is much more convienient without it on. Are there safety issues or anything? To be honest, I have used it with it off for several years now, but if it should be on, I'll do that.

Thanks
Philewcsretired
Member


Hi Phil,
No need to keep the lid on. We have the lid to prevent coal dust from flying around. It's your preference to go topless.
Good question,
Jerry LLS
I am not familiar with other stoves but I think most of them don't have a sealed hopper anyway. With a properly set draft you should not have an issue with air being pulled or pushed through the hopper.
Last edited by gambler on Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Take Care and God Bless
Rick

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gaw
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice from Schuylkill County
Location: Parts Unknown

Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 12:14 pm

jcw265 wrote:First sorry for the type O on bituminous and just for my own knowledge why cant you use this type of coal, Second I have shut boiler down only had the thing 2 days and had 2 fires ahhh aint worth it for sure. Yet now I am cold !! hehehe , Now on the hopper lid should I have one ?? also the way the fire acted do you think it is a draw issue ? any information on how I should check it , stoker lit or not ?? running or idle ?? etc... Ae keystokers good boilers ?? can you get rid of the hopper and just stoke it yourself , at least I know the fire cant get out of the heat chamber ! Just looking for information , !!

Thanks so very much

Love in Christ Jesus

Jay Williams
Bituminous coal burns much different then anthracite. These boilers were developed for using anthracite only. I think the Keystoker is a good boiler. All American made and time tested design. This said most all coal boilers are American made and time tested BUT they all have their little quirks and temper tantrums if something is a bit off. Proper setup is critical. Two fires in two days sounds to me like way too much draft (installers fault) or improperly sealed grates (Keystoker's fault if new)

No, you do not need a lid with this boiler, they do not come with lids from the factory.
Check this link
**Broken Link(s) Removed** notice in the cut away drawing the mound of coal rising above the hopper. They never had lids on these boilers. You can fashion one if you wish but this is not the source of your problem.
Some people make the world happen;
More watch the world happen;
Most wonder what happened.
Its your choice, Which group you want to belong to….

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CoalHeat
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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 Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 12:28 pm

Matthaus wrote:
Wood'nCoal wrote: No lid, No burn. You need a tight fitting lid with no holes in it. Air will be drawn in through the hopper without a lid!
Actually John (hate to disagree but have to do it :) ), you don't need a lid if the stove/furnace/boiler is set up right. I just rebuilt my Keystoker A90 furnace and it has no issues with the hopper even getting warm. I can burn it with the door open all day and it won't have any issues either. A lid as stated by some of the other folks on here are not the answer to this kind of problem. The design of a stoker depends on proper draft in the fire box as well as the flue stack to operate. Also leaks from the plenum will always cause problems with combustion gases coming up through the hopper, in some situations this might not be notices.

There is one thing all of my junk collecting has taught me. Hoppers will rust, burn, melt and otherwise self destruct due to problems, none of which are the lack of a lid. :D
I agree, sir. I see the reasons why the lid is not necessary.
I was just going by what others have said about having a top cover on the hopper.
If the mechanism is properly assembled and installed there should be no reason why the fire should burn into the hopper, lid or no lid.
I always try to see both side of a topic before making a decision.
The manual for the Alaska does require a gasket on the bottom of the hopper, but it states a air tight seal is not necessary.
Feel free to disagree when it will nullify incorrect information!
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."

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LsFarm
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Location: Michigan

Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 1:25 pm

I stand corrected on the hopper lid!! I didn't realize the unit didn't have a lid. I agree that IF the draft is set right, there is no need for a lid, but if the draft is too strong, a lid would reduce or eliminate the extra air drawn through the hopper and coal. Hopefully preventing another hopper fire.

So with this unit it is critical to have a barometric damper and have it set correctly.

Thanks guys. learned something today.

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

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LsFarm
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Location: Michigan

Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 1:34 pm

Hi jcw265, bituminous coal is very different from anthracite. Bituminous coal from ohio, WV, Maryland and Kentucky has several characteristics that make it difficult to use well in a stoker.

Anthracite coal when heated turns red, has clean blue, blue/white flames with no smoke, and has granular ash that is actually clean, nothing black in the ash. The ash is like grape-nuts breakfast cereal.

eastern bituminous coal when heated swells, gets soft and gooey, each piece tries to stick to it's neighboring piece, the coal gives off gasses that when they burn has black sooty smoke, yellow flames and won't burn with a blue flame for several minutes [at least].

Since you describe your coal as buckwheat, and this is a size used for anthracite coal, there is a good chance that you have imported anthracite from eastern PA. Not Ohio coal. Most bituminous coal is not cleaned, sorted and washed to a buckwheat size. Buckwheat is about the size of a navy bean up to a small olive. Your stove is designed to burn rice size anthracite, which is smaller, about the size of a green pea or a kernel of corn.

Check your PM's

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

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jcw265
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Posts: 124
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker. KA 6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Location: Southern Ohio
Contact:

Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 3:40 pm

Well I have learned alot in the last few hours, I can not thank you all enough for your support to this ole newb !! I am in search of Anthracite coal for my keystoker ka6 boiler ( rice or buckwheat ) I live about 45 minuted north of Cincinnati or about 1 hour south of Columbus off I-71. I have got someone coming to do a draft measure on Monday but I think I am going to get a manometer just so I can keep an eye on things. I have learned alot about coal and also now know that I have bituminous coal for sale 2-tons fresh out of Jackson Ohio selling it cheap !! Special special thanks go out to Greg for the phone call. However special thanks go out to all of you for your time and concern !! I will keep you up to date as this moves forward along with some pictures of things I adjust in hope that I can help someone else like I have been helped here . God Bless each and everyone of you .

Love in Christ Jesus

Jay Williams
Jay
"What color is the coal your burning?"

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Richard S.
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Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite
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Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 4:41 pm

I'm not that familiar with Bit. but I'll take a guess that's the problem. It burns more easily than anthracite. Might also be combination of the coal and something else that would only occur with the bit.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

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traderfjp
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Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3
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Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 5:53 pm

Just a thought but maybe you can call the company that sold you the coal and see if they will buy it back for a reduced amount or even trade for anthracite coal. good luck with the boiler. You can also buy a snap disk sensor and wire it to the side of the hopper. If the hopper gets hot due to a fire the snap disk acts like a switch and will turn your stove off. It has to be wired as a switch. I actually bought one because I had a hopper fire but since I installed a barometric damper I have let my hopper get low on several occasions without any problems. If you are interested PM me.
Disclaimer: I'm not an expert in any coal or plumbing related field. I only post my own experiences, research and common sense. If you choose to use any of the information in this post or any other post you do so at your own risk.

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jcw265
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker. KA 6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Location: Southern Ohio
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Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 5:57 pm

Well I am going to be a little cold until I get some coal soon. I guess I could burn a lil of the bit coal and put the fire out before I goto bed. Yet I want to get the draft set first then maybe I will burn a lil of the bit coal , I will let you know , I think I am going to pull of the hopper and check for the seal you all have told me of and make sure no issue there as well as checkin the measure of how close my pusher is to the trapper door . Thanks again everyone Pics coming soon .

Love in Christ Jesus

Jay Williams
Jay
"What color is the coal your burning?"

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CoalHeat
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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 Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 5:58 pm

Here's a photo of the installed stoker assembly. I sealed the edge of the gaskets with furnace cement.
GRATE INSTALLED 01-13-08.jpg
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."

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jcw265
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Posts: 124
Joined: Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 4:52 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker. KA 6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Location: Southern Ohio
Contact:

Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 6:06 pm

when you say seal do you mean at the top of the grate where you can see the finger prints ?? I think I see the cement in the pic. Am I correct ???

Love in Christ Jesus

Jay Williams
Jay
"What color is the coal your burning?"

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traderfjp
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Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 3
Location: New York

Post Sun. Jan. 13, 2008 6:08 pm

My grate is sealed with a rope. Do you had cement to the top of the rope and then set the grate in place?
Disclaimer: I'm not an expert in any coal or plumbing related field. I only post my own experiences, research and common sense. If you choose to use any of the information in this post or any other post you do so at your own risk.

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