Wet Coal

General topics about using bituminous coal for residential and commercial heating. Pros, cons, and where to get it.
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vinconco
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Post Sat. Feb. 20, 2010 3:25 pm

I just bought my first coal last week after a major snow storm here in Appalachia. The bituminous coal is from the Big Vein deposits near Frostburg Md. and man it was WET!!! How does this affect the burn? After reading some of the posts on burning this type of coal I find myself having the same problems but wonder if the excessive moisture content could be complicating matters.

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Berlin
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Post Sat. Feb. 20, 2010 3:50 pm

wet coal won't affect the burning characteristics of the coal too much. In a stoker it can cause some problems due to feeding, but otherwise does not make much difference. What kind of problems are you experiencing? The coal you're getting in maryland is likely a high coke button coal which will cause no end to your headaches in trying to burn it; if that's the case then the only solution is different coal.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

vinconco
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Post Sat. Feb. 20, 2010 4:53 pm

Berlin;
Thanks for the reply. I've only been burning for less than a week so I'm Definitely a FNG. The problems I'm having are establishing a proper burn, keeping heat going overnight, clinkers etc. I've read several posts and it seems that most of what I'm experiencing are the usual problems with bituminous. You mentioned "high coke button". Could you explain what that is and the types of headaches I can expect.


coalrunner
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Post Mon. Feb. 22, 2010 10:16 pm

vinconco wrote:I just bought my first coal last week after a major snow storm here in Appalachia. The bituminous coal is from the Big Vein deposits near Frostburg Md. and man it was WET!!! How does this affect the burn? After reading some of the posts on burning this type of coal I find myself having the same problems but wonder if the excessive moisture content could be complicating matters.
check your pesonal messages

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Berlin
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Post Mon. Feb. 22, 2010 11:20 pm

"most of what I'm experiencing are the usual problems with bituminous"

well, that means you're not using decent bituminous. the "usual problems" are usually from bad coal. High coke button means that it tends to stick and swell together shortly after it's loaded and form black porous carbon- usually in a giant chunk. Clinkers are fused ash and are completely different. The key to burning bituminous coal is to load the firebox full, use decent large sizes of coal, and "bank" the fire- fire the fresh coal on one end of the firebox and then on the next loading, fire the fresh coal on the other side of the firebox, all while maintaining a deep bed. a min. 8" flue is reccomended and forced draft is not, it tends to develop clinkers. It is likely that you have bad bituminous coal, as I mentioned, the maryland area is known for it's high coke button coal which will make your experiance miserable. I can point you toward some very good and inexpensive sources of bituminous coal, but you'll have to drive a little bit to pick it up, or pay to have someone deliver it to you.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

vinconco
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Post Tue. Feb. 23, 2010 7:06 pm

Berlin wrote:" The key to burning bituminous coal is to load the firebox full, use decent large sizes of coal, and "bank" the fire-
The coal I have is all sizes from very large chunks down to fines.... a lot of fines. What is your suggestion with this type of coal
Berlin wrote: fire the fresh coal on one end of the firebox and then on the next loading, fire the fresh coal on the other side of the firebox, all while maintaining a deep bed. a min. 8" flue is reccomended and forced draft is not, it tends to develop clinkers.
So then you let it burn from one end to the other like a cigar...? I've noticed that the more coal I put on the heavier the crust gets and the cooler the fire. I have to stir it up to get some heat but then I've heard that is a no no. Please bear with me on this as I have only been burning coal for a week or so and I'm still confused. One other problem I might have is the flue which is a 6" square masonry about 40' and extends above the roofline by at least 2'


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Berlin
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
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Post Tue. Feb. 23, 2010 9:19 pm

If you're burning coal that has a lot of fines and different sizes mixed together, you're burning "run-of-mine" coal and it tends to create three issues: 1. In a coal with a mid to high coke button it will make that "crust" you speak of much harder to break apart. 2. It tends to create clinkers as there's more garbage and unburnable minerals in it - it hasn't been sized, screened, or washed. 3. It tends to create more ash.

my suggestion with that type of coal... is to get better coal.

outside of redesigning the firebox about the only thing you can do with that coal is try to bank it - like your analogy of the cigar; this tends to allow the "crust" to burn along with the coalbed more smoothly from one end to the other. If you have clinkering issues, use less underfire draft or remove the draft fan altogether and allow natural draft to feed air to the fuelbed. Ideally you would get better "lump" size coal. lump coal will generally run around $80-$100/ton, but it's WELL worth it for the improvement in burning- a good lump coal burns longer, more evenly throughout the firing cycle and will have little "bridging" or "crust" production. As far as your chimney goes, you're fine - when I say 8", I mean 8/8 tile, which can be anywhere from 6.5" to 7.5" ID.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

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markc
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Post Tue. Feb. 23, 2010 9:25 pm

you are in the coal belt buy some eastern ky coal 13900,btu 2% ash black gold baby
markc
once you burnt black you never go back
burning ky bit 13,900 btu

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