Yet another "OWB on Anthracite" thread

CapeCoaler
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Post By: CapeCoaler » Tue. Jan. 01, 2019 7:46 pm

Looks like an improvement...


lzaharis
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Post By: lzaharis » Wed. Jan. 02, 2019 11:20 am

Hello OTR,

You will have a great burn when you add the coal now that you have added that firebrick. all you will need to do now is shake the grates a tiny bit every couple of hours. You may want to add a little more under fire air when you start again after you have a deep bed of wood coals just be sure to throw all the coal to the back to bank it deeply and it will drop by itself pretty much as it burns.

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Post By: OTR » Thu. Jan. 03, 2019 12:07 am

Well, first 24 hours of coal in the new setup went swimmingly. Burned all night and the boiler water was still at full temp in the morning. Burned all day without issue despite the relatively warm weather. My first two-ton order of stove coal showed up and the boiler sure seems to like it.

Shaking the grates has become a lot easier now that I've finally listened to you guys and stopped being so aggressive with it. They just need some jostling, not a rocking like I do with wood.

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Post By: lzaharis » Thu. Jan. 03, 2019 10:03 am

Hello OTR,

The term for mild grate shaking is "tickling the coal grates" can you see the ash pit while shaking the grates?

The "OLD" basic rule of thumb is to the stop tickling when you see your first hot coals pass through the grates with a hand fed furnace or boiler.

When I had my hand fed Switzer CWW100 which I sold I stopped tickling the grates when I had an inch of coal drop in the firebox and then I added more coal as needed.

I am glad that your 2 ton load of stove coal has arrived and that the first night of serious coal burning went well for you.

Are you filling the boiler with a garden hose or are you using a fill valve plumbed in to the cool water return line to the boiler sump using a back flow preventer and a separate ball valve?

You may want to call Rockford Chimney Supply and ask about a chimney extension for your boiler as they did have round ones with chimney caps that would work well for you. that would keep out any rain water and snow as it would melt and evaporate off the cap.
I had a 3 foot by 8 by 12 chimney extension with a spark arrestor mesh installed on my 16 foot tile lined chimneys concrete collar and I am glad I did it as it has made a huge difference in my draft

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artbaldoni
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Post By: artbaldoni » Thu. Jan. 03, 2019 10:31 am

Use caution when opening your stove after long periods of idling. I just had a minor incident last night. Went for my pre bed check, not because I have to, but because I like to look at the pretty blue flames, and opened the door and had a nice wall of blue flame exit the doorway and up the front of the boiler. It looked like a scene from "Backdraft". I normally open the ash door for 30 seconds or so prior to opening the main door. I did not do that this time. I am assuming the stove had been idling for a long time and building up some gases. When the open door introduced the air...woosh! Just a little heads up. And yes, I still have my eyebrows...lol

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coaledsweat
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Post By: coaledsweat » Thu. Jan. 03, 2019 10:37 am

Always rev the fire up before you attempt to service it. If you don't, it will bite you.

lzaharis
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Post By: lzaharis » Thu. Jan. 03, 2019 10:39 am

Hello Art,

I have had multiple incidents with the blue smurf lighting the flame thrower and blowing it through my under fire air door in the ash pit door.


It is amazing and not fun to watch/a bit scary; as the solid blue flame thrower inches toward the back wall of the laundry room.

I never got around to installing a reversed dryer vent in that wall to add more fresh air for combustion to the laundry room.

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Post By: OTR » Thu. Jan. 03, 2019 12:03 pm

lzaharis wrote:
Thu. Jan. 03, 2019 10:03 am
Hello OTR,

The term for mild grate shaking is "tickling the coal grates" can you see the ash pit while shaking the grates?

The "OLD" basic rule of thumb is to the stop tickling when you see your first hot coals pass through the grates with a hand fed furnace or boiler.

When I had my hand fed Switzer CWW100 which I sold I stopped tickling the grates when I had an inch of coal drop in the firebox and then I added more coal as needed.
I can see the ash pit and have been shaking until I saw a fair bit of hot coal drop. I'm wondering if the ash is building up somewhere as I haven't pulled a lot out, but I'm still getting plenty of hot coal drop when I tickle the grates and the entire bed is burning nicely, so maybe I'm just being paranoid. We'll see over the next few days, heh.
lzaharis wrote:
Thu. Jan. 03, 2019 10:03 am
Are you filling the boiler with a garden hose or are you using a fill valve plumbed in to the cool water return line to the boiler sump using a back flow preventer and a separate ball valve?
The buried pipe has three lines - supply, return, and domestic water. The domestic comes out of the bottom of the boiler to a valve that I attach a 6ft garden hose to fill the boiler with. I don't boil away much water, though - every couple of weeks I might add 5-10 gallons, well before it even reaches a level that shows on the indicator.
lzaharis wrote:
Thu. Jan. 03, 2019 10:03 am
You may want to call Rockford Chimney Supply and ask about a chimney extension for your boiler as they did have round ones with chimney caps that would work well for you. that would keep out any rain water and snow as it would melt and evaporate off the cap.
I've got six feet and a cap on there now, have been debating adding another 3ft for draft purposes. It certainly doesn't have the draft my indoor stove does. That thing sucks like a vacuum.


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Post By: lzaharis » Thu. Jan. 03, 2019 12:30 pm

Do not shake the grates too much or knock the unburned coal down you only need to see a few glowing coals as you tickle the grates. if you have unburned coal on the top toss in more coal in the back of the boiler to keep it fed.

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Post By: OTR » Fri. Jan. 04, 2019 2:30 pm

2nd 24 hours and all seems well. I remained concerned that ash only seemed to be falling from one section of the grates. The entire bed was burning, but I was concerned that there was an ash buildup or I was growing clinkers. I saw one person say they used a poker from underneath the grates to combat similar issues. I built an L-shaped poker with a T-handle on the end to do the same. Poked up under the areas I'm not getting much ash and was able to shake some loose to the point that I could see an orange glow through the grates. Did not feel any clinkers, though the poker is not the most tactile device. Did not get a lot of ash out.

I feel much more assured that things are operating well after poking around a bit, though I'm a bit concerned about the lack of ash. I keep reading everywhere that coal "produces 4x the ash of wood" - maybe I interpreted that incorrectly? I assumed that meant that if you were taking out one pound of ash a day with wood, you could expect to take four out with coal. But maybe that was meant on a by-weight basis - pound for pound, coal will produce more ash, but since I'm burning so much less coal by weight than wood, I should net less ash?

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Post By: lzaharis » Sat. Jan. 05, 2019 1:52 am

Hello OTR,

Just be sure the fire and ash drops down as you feed it and bank it in the back of the boiler with the fresh stove coal and tickle the grates everyday . make sure all the grates move and that you have adequate under fire air for the fire. With good coal it is pure carbon and it will burn well for you and not make a lot of ash.

You will be surprised how much really fine ash drops down on its own while the fire is burning.

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franpipeman
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Post By: franpipeman » Sat. Jan. 05, 2019 8:29 am

doesnt poking around hot coal embers produce clinkers?

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Post By: OTR » Sat. Jan. 05, 2019 2:11 pm

franpipeman wrote:
Sat. Jan. 05, 2019 8:29 am
doesnt poking around hot coal embers produce clinkers?
That is my understanding, yes. What I'm trying to do is loosen up anything that tickling the grates isn't taking care of.

I let it die down today and shoveled everything out to see what is going on. There's definitely some ash/small clinker buildup going on under there - everything should be able to go through the grates. I think it's a matter of making sure all of the grates are dropping hot cinders when I tickle 'em, and maybe using my under-grate poker to loosen up anything else.

There are some other possibilities. Been kinda warm lately, so I might not be getting timely enough airflow due to there being no need for more heat. I have my wife tickling the grates in the morning, and one day she set the temp differential setting too high, resulting in a fair bit of time with no air.

So for this next coal burn - starting tonight - I'm going to police the grates real well and make sure all grates are getting sufficiently cleared. And I'll turn up the target temp on warmer days to hopefully give it more regular air.

All of that said, if burning coal means I have to shovel out ash every 3-5 days, I'm down. It's way less work than all the firewood processing - maybe an hour per week and I'm set. And I can definitely time it for convenience - I deliberately let it die today to investigate but I could have probably maintained as was for 2+ more days.

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Post By: artbaldoni » Sat. Jan. 05, 2019 3:08 pm

I empty my ash pan once a day. No big deal. No shoveling involved.

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Post By: OTR » Sun. Jan. 13, 2019 1:52 am

So what I've learned over the past week is that after the first day or so of burning, I need to use my L-shaped poker to prod up from under the grates and loosen things up. Otherwise ash keeps building up underneath, preventing sufficient loading of coal and at times limiting airflow.

Doing that once a day, I've been able to keep the fire going since Monday, with large daytime gaps in servicing while I'm at work. House has been nice and toasty throughout this cold snap.


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