Keeping coal burning all day and night.

 
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Lightning
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Post by Lightning » Thu. Dec. 23, 2021 8:09 pm

Nor’easter wrote:
Thu. Dec. 23, 2021 7:26 pm
Is it best to just back the boiler down and let the house get a little colder to keep it going or try to get the house warmer or a hotter fire going in there.
Do a thorough shake and load as much coal in as you can an hour before bed.. Setting back your thermostat a few degrees, maybe 67-68 during nighttime hours will help.


 
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Lightning
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Post by Lightning » Thu. Dec. 23, 2021 8:11 pm

Nor’easter wrote:
Thu. Dec. 23, 2021 7:26 pm
I’ve had a hot fire going all day with the boiler staying at the temp it’s set at but just struggling to keep the temp up in the house.
This could be a sign that you don't have enough radiation in the house.

 
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Post by franco b » Thu. Dec. 23, 2021 9:28 pm

Lightning wrote:
Thu. Dec. 23, 2021 8:11 pm
This could be a sign that you don't have enough radiation in the house.
You could also raise water temperature.

 
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BunkerdCaddis
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Post by BunkerdCaddis » Fri. Dec. 24, 2021 8:50 am

Nor’easter wrote:
Thu. Dec. 23, 2021 7:26 pm
So we are having a really cold spell... I’ve had a hot fire going all day with the boiler staying at the temp it’s set at but just struggling to keep the temp up in the house. ...the boiler itself is being kept at the setppint by the coal fire so the fire is hot enough.
So... I'm no expert, and there could be several things to consider and not knowing the specifics of your situation but it boils down to a few basic things; 1) btu input (heat source size), 2) btu output (heat emitters, radiators) 3) btu conservation ( insulation, weather tightness, heat loss).

You can have the biggest heat source but if you are losing heat faster than you can make it you're not gonna win the game, Wind can suck the heat right out of a house that is not tight and insulated. It would be interesting to note whether or not the house stayed warm under these conditions when you were burning wood because you will get more heat energy out of the coal fire than the wood fire in that boiler. Unless something has changed I would look to tighten up and insulate the house more so before making drastic changes to your system and again not knowing the situation on site, at the least by doing so you will save on coal used in the long run. I would not do stuff by guessing, do a basic heat loss/requirement estimate on the house, Use a simple IR gun thermometer to "look" for hotspots outside where you might be losing heat from the house, simple sleuthing to figure a plan :yes:

 
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Post by Nor’easter » Fri. Dec. 24, 2021 1:07 pm

BunkerdCaddis wrote:
Fri. Dec. 24, 2021 8:50 am
So... I'm no expert, and there could be several things to consider and not knowing the specifics of your situation but it boils down to a few basic things; 1) btu input (heat source size), 2) btu output (heat emitters, radiators) 3) btu conservation ( insulation, weather tightness, heat loss).

You can have the biggest heat source but if you are losing heat faster than you can make it you're not gonna win the game, Wind can suck the heat right out of a house that is not tight and insulated. It would be interesting to note whether or not the house stayed warm under these conditions when you were burning wood because you will get more heat energy out of the coal fire than the wood fire in that boiler.
I think you are right. This house is old and big and not insulated extremely well, it’s not terrible as far as insulations but it’s not great so I know that’s a factor. I bought this house a little over a year ago and it already had the NewYorker WC 130 in it and 6 cords of wood so I burned that all last winter. My previous house was much smaller and just heated with oil.
And unfortunately I can’t compare burning wood since last winter was my first year using the wood boiler and we had a very mild winter. Temps rarely dropped to single digits and mostly stayed in the 20’s and 30’a which is very abnormal here especially in January and February. So it was rather easy to keep the house warm then.
I have a close friend who has his own plumbing and heating business. He has helped me a lot with the boiler the last two winters since it is new for me and he suggested turning the temp up on the boiler which I did and it seems to help. He also has a coal boiler but his is an auger fed system very different then mine so he knows a bit about coal, although he doesn’t use it much. He gets propane so cheap he uses that mostly to heat his house.
Anyways, The coal was still burning this morning just in a couple spots and the house was cooling down. But there was enough coal still burning that I just cleaned the ash out and threw some fresh coal on and was going good in no time.
It’s going to be -3 tonight with windchill as low as -17 so I’ll get another crack at it.

 
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Post by Nor’easter » Fri. Dec. 24, 2021 1:09 pm

Lightning wrote:
Thu. Dec. 23, 2021 8:11 pm
This could be a sign that you don't have enough radiation in the house.
As other suggested I will try turning the thermostat down a bit tonight.
And yes there are some rooms that need more radiators.

 
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Post by Lightning » Fri. Dec. 24, 2021 2:31 pm

franco b wrote:
Thu. Dec. 23, 2021 9:28 pm
You could also raise water temperature.
Excellent suggestion franco b :)
I didn't think of that.


 
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Post by waytomany?s » Sat. Dec. 25, 2021 7:12 am

Nor’easter wrote:
Fri. Dec. 24, 2021 1:09 pm
As other suggested I will try turning the thermostat down a bit tonight.
And yes there are some rooms that need more radiators.
How'd that go? I'm guessing that if boiler kept up but house cooled down, reducing house temp made house cooler yet. I'm not a boiler guy, but how hard to add 1 or 2 slant fin roads to help out?

 
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Post by BunkerdCaddis » Sat. Dec. 25, 2021 8:23 am

waytomany?s wrote:
Sat. Dec. 25, 2021 7:12 am
but how hard to add 1 or 2 slant fin roads to help out?
Definitely not a project I would start the afternoon before facing a windy -3 degree night... :what:

 
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Post by Nor’easter » Sat. Dec. 25, 2021 11:29 am

waytomany?s wrote:
Sat. Dec. 25, 2021 7:12 am
How'd that go? I'm guessing that if boiler kept up but house cooled down, reducing house temp made house cooler yet. I'm not a boiler guy, but how hard to add 1 or 2 slant fin roads to help out?
Surprisingly it worked pretty good. The house did not get as cold as the previous night and the outside temps ended up being colder than expected. -7 with windchill of -25. So by turning the the thermostat down and loading up with coals before bed, it worked out decent. There was enough coals still burning to throw some more coal on and get it going good again. The challenging part is the ash, there are quite a few dead spots on the bed by morning just piles of ash. Mostly on the edges and front, which makes sense cuz it’s not as deep there.

 
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Post by waytomany?s » Sat. Dec. 25, 2021 7:29 pm

BunkerdCaddis wrote:
Sat. Dec. 25, 2021 8:23 am
Definitely not a project I would start the afternoon before facing a windy -3 degree night... :what:
Duh, it wasn't meant as a quick overnight fix, rather a maybe if your on vacation and have the knowledge, $, and ambition sort of fix. :roll:

 
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Post by BunkerdCaddis » Sun. Jan. 09, 2022 8:10 pm

How's it been going Nor'easter? :yes:?

 
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Post by Nor’easter » Sun. Jan. 09, 2022 11:09 pm

It’s been going pretty good, thanks for asking! Still at it heating my home with coal. Had a few hiccups here and there and still learning a lot but I am able to keep a constant fire going around the clock and keep the house warm, for the most part.
I am still trying to fine tune the overnight burns as far as thermostat, boiler temp and blower settings to get the best results especially when it gets down in the single digits or below zero. But overall it has been going good!

 
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Post by Nor’easter » Thu. Jan. 13, 2022 7:12 pm

Another issue I am having is that when the coal is left to burn for a longer period of time there is a lot of ash built up along the edges. So it’s like the coal burns up and then sits there in big chunks in some spots and then fine ash in other spots. Not sure if this is because there is no where for the ash to fall when I shake it due to the edges being concrete angles and not over the grate. I end up having to shovel out the ash on the edges before I load it.
This also may be because the coal is not burning efficiently due to draft being too high or low or maybe the design of the bed….not really sure.

 
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Post by coalder » Fri. Jan. 14, 2022 10:20 pm

Just read this thread thru & hopefully can shed some light on the subject, since have been burning a hand fed harman sf 160 boiler for quite some time. Now understand that both our boilers are similar, however all situations are different. You said you burnt wood last year with reasonable success. So even though it was milder, things worked OK. Yep coal is a different animal.
First thing I would do is get a poker & use it. Really sounds like with your V shaped firebox that you have some serious ash build up going on. Take that poker and rake it around the edges, then plunge it over the rest of it and give it a little wiggle. You will see the coal bed settle. Only do this after the fire is ramped up good by opening the ash door. Doing this with a sluggish fire will put it out. Also poke real good along the front, as that is where the bed is the least & you want to make sure that is as full as possible with fresh coal. Now when you shake you should clear the WHOLE coal bed, & not just the center. Ifn it happens to jamb up, stop , load up & shake it out on next reload. Load it deep as you safely can. A good 8 inch. Sounds to me that you are only using a part of the bed presently. how often the poker is needed, only time will tell. I use mine EVERY reload. Had a friend who had a Vogelzang furnace with the same box configuration. He would use a 4Ft poker & would look like he was mixing cement. Raking that thing to clear the ash.
Also the reason the front of your coal bed is burning out is because the secondary shutter on the load door is open too much. Had the same problem. Front would burn out... back wouldn't burn. Had to keep gradually closing the spinners till I got an even burn.
Now assuming that your baro is set properly, it sounds like that you need some sort of idle air. Mine is on the primary flap & is adjustable. The opening is almost equivalent to a dime. I use an IR gun & set the idle so that door temps maintain about 200deg.
If clearing the ash isn't enough, you might want to think about drilling a 3/8 hole in the plate on your ash door. You can always bolt a small plate to swivel enough to open or close that hole.
See how this works.
Jim


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