KA4 Project (Pic Heavy)

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.
Qtown1835
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Posts: 206
Joined: Sat. Nov. 08, 2014 11:47 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker '81 KA4 (online 1/16/17)
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: EFM SPK600
Location: Quakertown, PA

Post Fri. Mar. 03, 2017 2:23 pm

Rob R. wrote:Is this happening to all zones or just one?
2 zones of the 3 that I have. Both zones are on the main floor. I was thinking maybe a little persuasion from a hammer on the flocheck to see what happens.

My circ pumps are on the return side and are not noticeably warm such that water is fully circulating. Heat seems to be staying "close" to the supply side and not heating the entire zone like when on a call for heat. Its odd that I don't recall ever having the baseboards warm when not calling for heat when I would run the oil boiler. It may be that there is debris in the lines from the Keystoker install that found their way into the flochecks.

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11343
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. Mar. 03, 2017 3:26 pm

I think you are correct about the debris and the flow checks.

I would give them a few taps.

Qtown1835
Member
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat. Nov. 08, 2014 11:47 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker '81 KA4 (online 1/16/17)
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: EFM SPK600
Location: Quakertown, PA

Post Tue. Mar. 21, 2017 11:28 am

Tried persuading the flochecks but still getting bypass when the boiler temp is at or above 195*. Oh well I will mess around with it over the summer when I shut it down. I have a small drip from one of the return nipples that I need to get tightened anyway.

Side note:
Just checked my coal usage. Day 0 was on Feb 14th. I am 36 days in as of last night 3/20 and I put in 32 bags @ 40#/ea. 1280# total over 36 days = 35.5#/day. I did have the feed rate increased by 2 turns to see if my recovery rate would be better. While it seem to recover faster, im not sure it is worth the extra coal. Bigger coal bed but also more unburnt coal in the ash. I guess its a catch 22.

Qtown1835
Member
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat. Nov. 08, 2014 11:47 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker '81 KA4 (online 1/16/17)
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: EFM SPK600
Location: Quakertown, PA

Post Tue. Mar. 28, 2017 8:44 am

Sooo... I figured out what was happening with my zone getting warm without a heat call. I checked and rechecked the flochecks to no avail. So I looked again at my dump zone and lo and behold, I have it wired to the zone that has been getting warm :oops: I thought when I wired it up I put the dump on the basement zone, guess not...

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StokerDon
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Posts: 3252
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 11:17 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood
Location: PA, Southern York County!

Post Tue. Mar. 28, 2017 8:43 pm

WHOOPS!!!

At least that one sounds like an easy fix!

-Don
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved by lighting something on fire.

Qtown1835
Member
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat. Nov. 08, 2014 11:47 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker '81 KA4 (online 1/16/17)
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: EFM SPK600
Location: Quakertown, PA

Post Mon. Apr. 17, 2017 3:26 pm

Things really died off here.

The boiler is still motoring along and I have 17 bags left to put in before I shut it down for the season. At this rate I will be into May before I burn up the 2 tons that I started in January.

Burned about 3,360# since January 16th @ 36.92#/day. See how the rates fare with the remainder of the bags I have and the warm weather.

Anyone else shut down for the season or does everyone burn 365?

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lsayre
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Posts: 12191
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 Mon. Apr. 17, 2017 4:51 pm

Qtown1835 wrote:Anyone else shut down for the season or does everyone burn 365?
I'm burning year round with an AHS S130 Coal Gun. 6th year.
-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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StokerDon
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Posts: 3252
Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 11:17 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood
Location: PA, Southern York County!

Post Mon. Apr. 17, 2017 7:23 pm

Qtown1835 wrote:Anyone else shut down for the season or does everyone burn 365?
Although I hate to do it, I will be shutting one down and running the other for DHW.

If you shut down for the Summer, pull the stovepipe, clean it and store it in a dry place. Brush all the fly ash out of the boiler, put a cap over the flue outlet and put a 40 watt light inside. That should keep the humidity at bay.

-Don
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved by lighting something on fire.

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Qtown1835
Member
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat. Nov. 08, 2014 11:47 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker '81 KA4 (online 1/16/17)
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: EFM SPK600
Location: Quakertown, PA

Post Mon. Apr. 17, 2017 8:43 pm

StokerDon wrote:
Qtown1835 wrote:Anyone else shut down for the season or does everyone burn 365?
Although I hate to do it, I will be shutting one down and running the other for DHW.

If you shut down for the Summer, pull the stovepipe, clean it and store it in a dry place. Brush all the fly ash out of the boiler, put a cap over the flue outlet and put a 40 watt light inside. That should keep the humidity at bay.

-Don
That's a good idea about the light bulb. I usually run a dehumidifier in the basement during the x
Summer but it would probably be a good idea to add the blub. Although, I'm planning on draining it down to tighten up one of my return nipples so it may be all for naught running a bulb over the summer.

Qtown1835
Member
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat. Nov. 08, 2014 11:47 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker '81 KA4 (online 1/16/17)
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: EFM SPK600
Location: Quakertown, PA

Post Sat. May. 06, 2017 8:52 pm

Well I am down to the last 2 bags for the season and a full hopper. I will be hooking up the electric water heater Wednesday and turn it on once the last of the coal has burned. It's been a fun season with a new boiler and I am looking forward to getting my coal vac built over the summer so I don't need to deal with bags anymore.

Qtown1835
Member
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat. Nov. 08, 2014 11:47 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker '81 KA4 (online 1/16/17)
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: EFM SPK600
Location: Quakertown, PA

Post Tue. May. 23, 2017 12:43 pm

I was able to make it until 5/17 on the remainder of the coal. Summary for this season was 4320# burned over 122days. 35.4#/day. The last few weeks i was burning about 32#/day just for DHW. I could not justify trying to run the boiler through the summer using that much coal. The amount of coal used per day, plus the ambient heat put off by the boiler did not make economic sense to run it throughout the summer.

I switched my DHW needs over to the electric tank heater. I will light the coal back up once i need heat in the house, probably in the middle or end of October.

Coal Heat and DHW average cost/day: $3.54
Coal DHW only cost/day: $3.24
DHW Electric cost/day: $1.75

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11343
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. May. 24, 2017 6:14 am

Your DHW-only coal consumption seems pretty high to me - there is probably room for improvement with the timer cycle and feed rate.

I agree that the electric tank makes the most sense for the summer. Come back with an update in the fall. 8-)

Qtown1835
Member
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat. Nov. 08, 2014 11:47 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker '81 KA4 (online 1/16/17)
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: EFM SPK600
Location: Quakertown, PA

Post Wed. May. 24, 2017 11:10 am

Rob R. wrote:Your DHW-only coal consumption seems pretty high to me - there is probably room for improvement with the timer cycle and feed rate.

I agree that the electric tank makes the most sense for the summer. Come back with an update in the fall. 8-)
I agree about the usage. I messed with the feed and timer and i could get it down more, but the recovery times were VERY slow. Plus the additional cooling required to compensate for the passive heat put off by the boiler did not make fiscal sense. Frankly Im not sure that I could even get the stoker down below 17# a day to match the cost of the water heater and power required for A/C to offset the passive heat BTU.

Qtown1835
Member
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat. Nov. 08, 2014 11:47 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker '81 KA4 (online 1/16/17)
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: EFM SPK600
Location: Quakertown, PA

Post Mon. Oct. 09, 2017 11:27 am

So its almost time to think about firing the boiler up for the season; however, the current weather forecast does not agree and it looks like it wont be till November before its time to start it up. I have been running my 80gal electric WH all summer and it has cost me about $29/mo to run, much more cost effective than running the coal boiler over the summer. All in all, im happy with the switch to electric in the summer.

I had some time this weekend to get my coal vac in order. Im using 2" SCH40 conduit with a 3/4" air bypass. I was pleasantly surprised how well it actually worked. After a few tweaks here and there it is working nicely. I think there is still room for improvement as i would like to maximize the 'feed rate' into the hopper without collapsing the barrel because as of right now it takes about 10ish min to move about 10gal of coal. I am going to try and reduce the bypass air a little to see if i can increase the suction some and see what happens. *Tried posting a short video of the suction but the forum does not like it for some reason** Ideally i would like to try to get the transfer to about 5min if possible.

I need to pick up a toilet flange for the bottom of the barrel and add some lateral support to the frame.
20171007_144720.jpg
I also tried putting a dust deputy between the vac and the drum and that killed the performance reducing the suction too much. I will probably roll with the dust bag on the filter instead.

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hotblast1357
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Posts: 2655
Joined: Mon. Mar. 10, 2014 10:06 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1984 Eshland S260 coal gun
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh anthracite pea
Other Heating: oil furnace
Location: Peasleeville, NY

Post Mon. Oct. 09, 2017 3:17 pm

Awesome! How far of a run is it for your sch40?

What size shop vac?

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