Soot Question

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Post By: cHAM85 » Sun. Oct. 18, 2015 8:40 am

I'm currently away from home for work this week, so the wife has been enjoying running the stove and keeping the thermostat at 90(she actually enjoys working the stove). Last two nights with this first cold snap she threw a few shovels on top the wood. She sent this pic this morning of the firebox asking if she was ok to burn with the sooty strings in it. Is it common to have soot buildup like this with coal ? Will it burn off with a good hot wood fire today ?

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Post By: SWPaDon » Sun. Oct. 18, 2015 9:03 am

Yes, it is safe have a fire in the furnace, a good hot wood fire might make it disappear. If not, you can scrape it off later. Be sure to check your flue pipe after you get home to be sure it isn't getting plugged up with soot.

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Post By: franco b » Sun. Oct. 18, 2015 9:30 am

With soft coal one third of its heat value is released all at once when heated which is very hard to control because if you burn it the stove overheats and if you don't you get smoke and soot. Wood is about half gas. A large log releases the gas more slowly and large lumps of coal (softball size) will also slow it down. Feeding smaller quantities more often is also helpful.

To burn that gas you need hot over fire air until the gas is burned off and the coal is in the coke stage and air is best fed from the bottom. The antique stoves designed for that coal had very hot air directed just above the fire to burn the gas much more efficiently.

Yes if you get the fire box hot enough the soot will burn off, but keep in mind that the smoke pipe and chimney are probably even worse. When clogged and restricted enough there is increased danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Please get a CO detector. A soot fire is not as bad as a creosote fire but still nothing you want in your chimney, so get it inspected and cleaned. There are several members burning soft coal in your type of stove so read what they are doing to burn cleaner.

If you can get anthracite coal please do as all of your troubles with soot will go away. All that smoke and soot you are getting is heat value you are just throwing away so the difference in cost of anthracite is not as great as it appears if you burn more efficiently and cleaner.

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Post By: Lightning » Sun. Oct. 18, 2015 9:59 am

Keep in mind also that the soot build up acts as an insulator and will inhibit heat transfer. I always do a quick once over with a wire brush at every shake and load. Nothing elaborate, maybe 30-60 seconds worth.

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Post By: cHAM85 » Sun. Oct. 18, 2015 10:18 am

Thanks guys. Its the first year burning coal for us. Shes got a good fire going now with locust and said most of the soot burned out of the stove with it.

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