Hitzer 254 - Why do I only sometimes get "blue ladies"?

 
FOilCompanies
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Post by FOilCompanies » Sat. Mar. 18, 2023 11:41 pm

I've finally figured this thing out well enough to keep it running as long as I want it to stay running. (I'll post another thread about this at some point when I think I have all of the details ironed out just right so that it can be true advice to less experienced people.)

But some things still confuse me. For example, we had a run of about a day and a half in the 50's. I failed to check the stove when I got home the day prior to it getting up that high, and my wife must not have maintained it well enough because it died out completely in the middle of the night. No biggie... didn't really want to run it on those two days anyway. In the morning, I shook it out and got every bit of 1 1/2 pans full of ash. Obviously, that's why the fire died even though it had quite a pile remaining. I moved stuff around to the point that it could be considered a bit of a clean-out instead of just a shakedown, and we burned some of our cardboard stash occasionally for an extra heat boost.

I restarted the coal fire this morning after the temperature dropped, and right now I'm looking at it. With the ash pan door vents open at about a circle, and the rear thermostat damper closed, there are clear blue flames dancing all around, several inches high. My guess is that this is because there's very little ash in the pile.

This only happens after a fresh restart with clean-out. No matter how hard I shake everything down after it's been running for a while, I can never seem to get back to this point. It'd be nice to make the blue flames happen a lot, because then I would know that I have a healthy fire. I guess the question is this: Is there any way to get rid of all the freaking ash without killing the fire, so that the pile behaves like a freshly built and started pile rather than a pile that is perpetually in some degree of being ashbound even if I can keep it burning indefinitely?


 
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Lightning
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Post by Lightning » Sun. Mar. 19, 2023 9:54 am

Coal is mainly carbon but it also has a percentage of a variety of hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons bake out of the coal when it's initially heated and produce the blue flames. You should be able to get blue flames upon putting in fresh coal, it's a matter of getting the heating and fuel/air mixture right. Before shaking ash, open the ash door for about 5-10 minutes and rev up the fire. Then shake out the ash, add fresh coal back to the top of the fire brick. Continue to leave the ash door open until the fresh ignites and produces the blue flames. You should also introduce some secondary air while the ash door is open to help prevent puffback. You can do this with secondary air controls, or by propping the load door open an 1/8th inch. Once the blues are dancing you can shut both doors and set the primary air for the heat output you want.

 
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Post by waytomany?s » Sun. Mar. 19, 2023 10:23 am

You want some ash on the grate to insulate it from the intense heat of the burning coal. It's impractical and probably impossible to remove all ash as you would end up dropping a large portion of burning coal to do so.

 
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davidmcbeth3
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Post by davidmcbeth3 » Sun. Mar. 19, 2023 11:32 am

waytomany?s wrote:
Sun. Mar. 19, 2023 10:23 am
You want some ash on the grate to insulate it from the intense heat of the burning coal. It's impractical and probably impossible to remove all ash as you would end up dropping a large portion of burning coal to do so.
Best to have ash on the grate after shaking. Overshaking can also result in grates getting stuck.

I figure OP is not handsome enough and blue ladies are hiding.

 
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freetown fred
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Post by freetown fred » Sun. Mar. 19, 2023 6:37 pm

Couple things--you are NOT in any way MAKING the blue lady's, that's God stuff!! As far as knowing how the fire is doing--- open the doors on occasion & LOOK. Are you tending once or twice a day? It's not MAGIC my friend. And, just curious---are you worried about the blue lady's or staying warm??? :)



. It'd be nice to make the blue flames happen a lot, because then I would know that I have a healthy fire. I guess the question is this: Is there any way to get rid of all the freaking ash without killing the fire, so that the pile behaves like a freshly built and started pile





I

 
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Post by FOilCompanies » Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 7:21 am

@Lightning: That's generally what I do when I rev it up, save for "propping the load door open 1/8 of an inch" which I'm not sure would be easy to pull off given that once it comes free of its latch, it'd prefer to be propped only beyond that latch which would be, in my estimation, close to an inch. I usually do the rev-up in stages - rev it, load it with 1-4 shovelfuls depending upon how healthy the fire looks, let it rev again until the stack thermometer starts rising, repeat. I'll usually get short blue ladies when I do this, but I was hoping to achieve the tall ones. I've always preferred tall women. :-D

@waytomany?s: That's been the issue all along. How to get enough glow without losing too much burning coal. I can get enough that it can keep going, but as far as making it uniform like I can get after a fresh restart, that seems near impossible.

@davidmcbeth3: I dunno about that. The older I get, the gauge I use is whether women flirt with me of their own free will. So far, though my peak is ancient history, I haven't completely aged out of it. :-D

@freetown fred: I'm an ATHEIST. I tend MULTIPLE times a day because I have to keep my house WARMER than pretty much everyone else DOES. I'm simply looking TO make this as easy AS possible.

 
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Post by freetown fred » Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 7:43 am

F,, try tending 2X's a day uniformly--morning/evening. Just give that a shot. I keep my 200 yr. old farmhouse ( all broke up)
at 72-74*--stove room's about 80* with my 50-93 it heats my whole 2000 square ft.----biggest problem was movin the warm air---fans placed properly takes care of that.


 
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Post by davidmcbeth3 » Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 2:43 pm

FOilCompanies wrote:
Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 7:21 am



@davidmcbeth3: I dunno about that. The older I get, the gauge I use is whether women flirt with me of their own free will. So far, though my peak is ancient history, I haven't completely aged out of it. :-D
Remember as a kid you'd say "Aww, girls ? They got cooties. Phew, yuck !" You were right.

 
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Post by ColdHouse » Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 4:17 pm

If I had something I was trying to figure out, I would want everyone else to leave it alone. I would take care of it myself and get to know what works. When more than one person is participating it complicates things.

 
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Post by davidmcbeth3 » Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 4:27 pm

ColdHouse wrote:
Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 4:17 pm
If I had something I was trying to figure out, I would want everyone else to leave it alone. I would take care of it myself and get to know what works. When more than one person is participating it complicates things.
Yeah. When I work on a project by myself and it goes south, I blame "the other guy" anyways.

 
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Post by ColdHouse » Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 4:37 pm

davidmcbeth3 wrote:
Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 4:27 pm
Yeah. When I work on a project by myself and it goes south, I blame "the other guy" anyways.
Yes. It gets complicated with multiple personality disorder type individuals.

 
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Post by davidmcbeth3 » Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 5:57 pm

ColdHouse wrote:
Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 4:37 pm
Yes. It gets complicated with multiple personality disorder type individuals.
That's what he said.
.MP4 | 259.2KB | 8018905b-1d4e-48ec-9a8b-35424a62d302.mp4

 
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Post by BigT » Mon. Mar. 20, 2023 6:23 pm

Lots of good info here: Hitzer 254 and New To Coal Heating
If that doesn’t work try searching for, Hitzer 254 and new to coal.
I can tell you how to get the blue ladies dancing but it’s a waste of heat really. As I tend the fire, I let the coal catch and let them flames dance a bit just to burn up fumes then set to what these pros call, “cruise control.”

 
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Post by hank2 » Tue. Mar. 21, 2023 1:04 am

Well, you want to burn off some of the volatiles (blue ladies) on a shake and reload to avoid the big bang. Running fairly high on a mature fire, the volatiles will be pretty much all gone long before it's all ash. Of course, Anthracite coal can vary a lot on how much volatile content it has. From almost none to "kerosene coal".

 
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Post by Hoytman » Tue. Mar. 21, 2023 5:53 pm

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