Tarm 500 Series Coal Burning w/o Baffles

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rswanson330
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu. Mar. 08, 2018 11:42 am
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Tarm 500
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Other Heating: Oil

Post by rswanson330 » Thu. Mar. 08, 2018 2:14 pm

Hi.
I burn coal in a Tarm 500 constantly from November thru April every year without coal baffles. Its easy, it only took me a couple years to perfect it.

1) Coal draws from the bottom, so I close ALL my dampers except the thermostatically actuated damper. I have that set so it will close at around 185 degrees.
2) I cut and drilled a 3/8 plate for the front of the shaker grates. This plate is (working from memories of long ago here) about 6 inches long, three inches wide. it I drilled copiously with 3/8 holes. The plate sets inside the firebox, right behind the door grate just inside the bottom door. Its purpose is to keep the coal from falling into the ash bin when you rake the coal forward or dump fresh coal into the firebox.
3) I start a wood fire and let it get going. I then start adding coal. First I add enough to cover the wood while still maintaining a fire. Let that go for 45 minutes or so and then add more, eventually filling the fire box.

Now you have fire. The box should be full of coal up to the door, the pile will be pitched toward the back of the firebox. DON'T fill is so that you block the draft out the back of the firebox.

After you fill it, check it again, the wood will burn down and the firebox will need to be refilled again in a couple hours.

OK, now its time to maintain it. This is my system and it works, if you have a better one please share.
The following is what I do when the days are moderate (above freezing)
I leave hot ashes in the ash pit until they are cool. So the first time you shake down the grates the ash pit will be empty. I'll take this from the second time so as to go thru the entire ritual.
1) Clean out the ash pit. I shovel the cool ashes out of the pit and bring them outside. I'm careful not to stir up any more dust than I have to because it gets everywhere. I bring the ashes outside and sift them through a 1/2" hardware cloth screen that I made into a lined garbage can. I then go through the stuff that doesn't sift through and get rid of as much of the "non burnable material" as I can. This is the stuff that is burned through but didn't break down enough to go through the screen. I find that cleaning this stuff out helps the fire to keep going, otherwise you're using heat to heat up this non-burnable crap instead of generating heat with the coal that should replace it.
2) Dump the salvageable stuff into a bucket and bring it back into the house. I usually have to make two or three trips from the furnace to the garbage pail before I'm done.
3) Shake down the furnace. I give it about 10 good shakes. More than that and you start losing a log of coal thru the grates.
4) This is important, I would have fires mysteriously go out after a week or three until I started doing this.
Open the bottom door of the furnace
Stick the poker rod (metal 3/8 or so bar) through the door grates along the top of the shaker grates (beneath the coal bed) and lift up. Do this in every hole in every grate. Basically you're sticking a stick into the coal pile and stirring it up. Shaking alone is not enough to get all the ashes out of the firebox, eventually the ashes accumulate/get hung up on the sides of the firebox and your fire goes out.
5) Close the bottom door and open the top.
Take your rake and rake the coal as far towards the front as you can get it. Clear the airway at the back of the fire box, bring all the coal to the front of the box.
6) Using your grate, make a pocket at the front of the coal pile. You're going to burn from the front back, so you want hot coal in front, but only enough to get the new coal going.
7) Fill the firebox with your salvaged coal from sifting and fresh coal. Fill to the opening at the top door.
And let it go.

In moderate weather (days above freezing) I let this go for the night, then simply add enough coal in the morning to top off the firebox (to the bottom of the door). If its real cold I go through the entire procedure twice a day, emptying and sifting morning and night. If its real real cold (high in the low teens) I also leave a pail of coal (probably 8 lbs or so) for my wife to dump on the fire around noon; I have had it go out.

I burn 3-4 pallets of Balshack a year, depending on the winter. I have a 2000 sq ft house, and a heated garage. The garage is maintained at roughly 45 degrees unless I'm going to be working in it, when I bring it up to 60.

The trick is to keep the firebox full and keep the ashes off the coal. I had nothing but problems until I started stirring up the coal after shaking it down.

I hope this helps somebody.


 
Mr.Ark
Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun. Nov. 11, 2018 7:59 pm
Location: Western WI
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Royall 6250

Post by Mr.Ark » Sun. Mar. 24, 2019 10:47 am

rswanson330 wrote:
Thu. Mar. 08, 2018 2:14 pm
Hi.
I burn coal in a Tarm 500 constantly from November thru April every year without coal baffles. Its easy, it only took me a couple years to perfect it.

1) Coal draws from the bottom, so I close ALL my dampers except the thermostatically actuated damper. I have that set so it will close at around 185 degrees.
2) I cut and drilled a 3/8 plate for the front of the shaker grates. This plate is (working from memories of long ago here) about 6 inches long, three inches wide. it I drilled copiously with 3/8 holes. The plate sets inside the firebox, right behind the door grate just inside the bottom door. Its purpose is to keep the coal from falling into the ash bin when you rake the coal forward or dump fresh coal into the firebox.
3) I start a wood fire and let it get going. I then start adding coal. First I add enough to cover the wood while still maintaining a fire. Let that go for 45 minutes or so and then add more, eventually filling the fire box.

Now you have fire. The box should be full of coal up to the door, the pile will be pitched toward the back of the firebox. DON'T fill is so that you block the draft out the back of the firebox.

After you fill it, check it again, the wood will burn down and the firebox will need to be refilled again in a couple hours.

OK, now its time to maintain it. This is my system and it works, if you have a better one please share.
The following is what I do when the days are moderate (above freezing)
I leave hot ashes in the ash pit until they are cool. So the first time you shake down the grates the ash pit will be empty. I'll take this from the second time so as to go thru the entire ritual.
1) Clean out the ash pit. I shovel the cool ashes out of the pit and bring them outside. I'm careful not to stir up any more dust than I have to because it gets everywhere. I bring the ashes outside and sift them through a 1/2" hardware cloth screen that I made into a lined garbage can. I then go through the stuff that doesn't sift through and get rid of as much of the "non burnable material" as I can. This is the stuff that is burned through but didn't break down enough to go through the screen. I find that cleaning this stuff out helps the fire to keep going, otherwise you're using heat to heat up this non-burnable crap instead of generating heat with the coal that should replace it.
2) Dump the salvageable stuff into a bucket and bring it back into the house. I usually have to make two or three trips from the furnace to the garbage pail before I'm done.
3) Shake down the furnace. I give it about 10 good shakes. More than that and you start losing a log of coal thru the grates.
4) This is important, I would have fires mysteriously go out after a week or three until I started doing this.
Open the bottom door of the furnace
Stick the poker rod (metal 3/8 or so bar) through the door grates along the top of the shaker grates (beneath the coal bed) and lift up. Do this in every hole in every grate. Basically you're sticking a stick into the coal pile and stirring it up. Shaking alone is not enough to get all the ashes out of the firebox, eventually the ashes accumulate/get hung up on the sides of the firebox and your fire goes out.
5) Close the bottom door and open the top.
Take your rake and rake the coal as far towards the front as you can get it. Clear the airway at the back of the fire box, bring all the coal to the front of the box.
6) Using your grate, make a pocket at the front of the coal pile. You're going to burn from the front back, so you want hot coal in front, but only enough to get the new coal going.
7) Fill the firebox with your salvaged coal from sifting and fresh coal. Fill to the opening at the top door.
And let it go.

In moderate weather (days above freezing) I let this go for the night, then simply add enough coal in the morning to top off the firebox (to the bottom of the door). If its real cold I go through the entire procedure twice a day, emptying and sifting morning and night. If its real real cold (high in the low teens) I also leave a pail of coal (probably 8 lbs or so) for my wife to dump on the fire around noon; I have had it go out.

I burn 3-4 pallets of Balshack a year, depending on the winter. I have a 2000 sq ft house, and a heated garage. The garage is maintained at roughly 45 degrees unless I'm going to be working in it, when I bring it up to 60.

The trick is to keep the firebox full and keep the ashes off the coal. I had nothing but problems until I started stirring up the coal after shaking it down.

I hope this helps somebody.
I am in a similar situation as you.
I have a few questions that I hope you can answer.
#1 does your stirring technique cause you to get clinkers. It seems like it does for me and they build up over a week or so. I have forced draft so my fire might be burning too hot. I’m going to try to run a cooler fire so I can poke the ash pile some and not get a big melted klinker,
#2 what is the shape of your firebox? Mine is a real deep V shape and the ash does indeed build up on the sides. My shakers can’t seem to get it all to come down so I will have to try the stirring method as well.
#3 what size coal are you finding works best?
Thanks in advance.

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