Trying Coal for the first time today.

Lcback Posted By Lcback, Mar 14, 2017 at 4:15 PM

  1. Lcback

    Lcback
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 21, 2016
    364
    91
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    So I used about 1.5 cords this year and got into the wood I bought last winter. As always it was still wet 26% and it just wouldn't burn right. Call me spoiled seasoned or else now I guess. So I went to tractor supply and bought a few bags of anthracite nut coal to try in this most recent cold spell.

    So far it seems pretty good. Tough to get started and a little spendy but it beats burning my wood before it's prime and filling the chimney with crap.
    Bagged it's $300 a ton. So I'd take that any day over the $250 a cord price here for "seasoned" cherry and locust.

    I don't quite know what I'm doing yet. But it looks like it's burning to me. b9be1b07241a16b1607c113bb2c6db38.jpg

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
     
  2. Dtcryan

    Dtcryan
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 20, 2016
    16
    9
    Loc:
    Upper peninsula
    What are you burning it in just curious I've been mixing some with wood in my bio mass 40 not using much seems to be doing pretty good
     
  3. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 17, 2008
    4,874
    889
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    Never saw anyone burn coal in a wood stove.
     
  4. Lcback

    Lcback
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 21, 2016
    364
    91
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    I bought a DS machine ecomiser this summer. It's done well for me. It's not epa cert. But it has secondary combustion and is built like a tank. I use way less wood then I did with my old drafty jensen, and the house has stayed warm. I can get about 10-11 hours on a burn load of silver maple. I haven't filled it up on cherry or the harder stuff yet.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
     
    Dtcryan likes this.
  5. Lcback

    Lcback
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 21, 2016
    364
    91
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    It's a wood coal combination. The company makes lots of coal only products. This model is basically shaped to be a coal stove. Large flat bottom, vertical walls, shaker grates, optional air below the fire. But they add wood features to like the secondary combustion and a primary air regulator that adjusts the the temperature of the fire.
    Most will say that combination units don't do either fuel well. I normally agree with that. Depending on the shape of the box, ash pan size and other features. But this company pretty much specializes in making coal stoves that burn wood well. They are in the heart of coal country but being Amish understand the need for self reliance. Thus wood burning.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
     
    Seasoned Oak likes this.
  6. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 17, 2008
    4,874
    889
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    That sounds great ,is that hot water or, hot air?
     
  7. Dtcryan

    Dtcryan
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 20, 2016
    16
    9
    Loc:
    Upper peninsula
    I have been using the coal wood mix just to get through the next couple of weeks running a little short on good wood this season but supposed to start warming up around here has been a crazy last 2-1/2 months warm one week single digits the next.
     
  8. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 17, 2008
    4,874
    889
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    Try scrounging where they are tearing down a house or other wooden structure. Its hard to get drier wood than 100 year old wall studs and floor joists. I have more of this stuff than my trademark, seasoned oak!
     
  9. Lcback

    Lcback
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 21, 2016
    364
    91
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    Hot air, it has a 965cfm blower.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
     
  10. Dtcryan

    Dtcryan
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 20, 2016
    16
    9
    Loc:
    Upper peninsula
    I have enough, supplementing with the coal and I have a big crate full of cutoffs and ugly stuff that didn't split that wel. We'll make it through. I don't have my storage hooked up yet so we shut it Down early and burn that evil propane.
     
  11. Lcback

    Lcback
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 21, 2016
    364
    91
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    Are you using hard coal or soft coal?

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
     
  12. Dtcryan

    Dtcryan
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 20, 2016
    16
    9
    Loc:
    Upper peninsula
    Anthracite nut coal
     
    Lcback likes this.
  13. saewoody

    saewoody
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 15, 2017
    170
    52
    Loc:
    CT
    I took down a few walls this winter. All the studs went into the wood stove. That wood from 1938 sure did burn nice.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  14. E Yoder

    E Yoder
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 27, 2017
    104
    9
    Loc:
    Floyd, VA
    We can get big lump bituminous coal delivered for $120 a ton down here in VA. Burns very very hot, like hard locust except even more. Half the price per BTU than firewood.
    I burned some in a grated OWB and loved it. Doubt I'd want to do it indoors due to the smell. A lot worse than anthracite. But unbeatable heat.
    I stopped by DS Machine a few years ago. They know coal stoves. Impressive.
     
  15. Lcback

    Lcback
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 21, 2016
    364
    91
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    We can get bit coal up here for about $80 a ton if you go pick it up. I haven't had a good experience with it smelly and smoky, pops and fuses together. I know guys that swear by burning bit coal if you find a good supply. But I don't want to do that in the house. This anthracite barely has any smoke. If I had an out door burner I'd probably run bit coal all year long.

    If I ever venture to that side of the state I would really like to take a look around The DS facilities. I have called them multiple times and they are very friendly happy to talk for hours about their products.
    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
     
  16. E Yoder

    E Yoder
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 27, 2017
    104
    9
    Loc:
    Floyd, VA
    Totally agree. Huge variety in quality of bit coal. But for indoor anthracite is the way to go.
    But I've met some folks up in the "hollers" of WV that know where to get good bit coal and have burned it all their lives indoors. And most of them have mined it themselves. Worked all day shoveling coal bent over shoulder against their knee.
     
    Lcback likes this.
  17. Bootstrap

    Bootstrap
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 4, 2013
    88
    20
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    I used to burn coal. I would burn a coal stove long before I would burn a pellet stove. Dollar for dollar its cheaper to heat with coal, its cleaner and you can get a stand alone stove that heats like a wood stove and has zero electronics to fail. Someday when I get sick of wood I will probably go back to anthracite coal.
    Bituminous coal isn't the same, by the way.
     
    E Yoder likes this.
  18. leon

    leon
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 3, 2013
    428
    17
    Loc:
    Southern Finger Lakes Region of New York
    Here is an easy way to start a coal fire if you want to do it in this manner.

    You can use cowboy charcoal or charcoal briquettes, myself I use charcoal briquettes.

    This helps a lot and a fire is quick for a coal or wood stove or a coal stoker
    and you can use paper towel tubes or toilet paper tubes or newspaper to do this.

    I pour enough Briquettes in large steel coffee can and then soak them with lighter fluid.
    I spray enough lighter fluid in the can coating the briquettes and then let them soak for
    a few hours.

    I pull out five or six briquettes and lay them on the floor or on a newspaper and crush them
    with a 4 pound hammer by using the broad top of the hammer by just using very little force.

    When the briquettes are broken up really well you can fill several toilet paper tubes with the
    crushed briquettes and then wrap the tube with some newspaper and tape it. You can use a
    cut down paper towel tube as well and by doing that you can keep several of them made up
    in a steel coffee can and use them as needed. Its less expensive than the boxed coal mice
    and the bagged fire starters which I could never get to work well at all.

    I put two of them on the fresh coal that is on the fire bed and start the stoker and light my
    Bernz-O-Matic fat boy torch and then start burning the cardboard tubes wrapped in newspaper.

    The soaked broken up briquettes start burning and then I let burn for a while and after a few minutes
    I put a taped up tube of rice coal on the fire to add fuel to the burn and then the fire takes right off for me.
     
    Dtcryan and brenndatomu like this.
  19. Lcback

    Lcback
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 21, 2016
    364
    91
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    I will have to give this a shot. Getting a fire started with this stuff is miserable. I got it going the first day with a chimney of lump charcoal. I didn't have any briquettes on hand. I let the fire go out overnight. That was dumb, but I was hoping to save some fuel. Next day I couldn't get that coal going to save my life.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
     
  20. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 17, 2008
    4,874
    889
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    I use charcoal too but a much simpler method. I break up charcoalbricketts with a hammer to about rice coal size. Then place the charcoal on the grate where the unburned coal meets the ashes and light with a soldering torch. The whole process is just a few minutes. Been doing this for 15 years. Any kind of charcoal works ,no lighter fluid necessary.
     
  21. coaly

    coaly
    Fisher Moderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    2,851
    388
    Loc:
    NE PA
    I've always started Anthracite Nut with just paper and kindling. (Amish built stoves) If you sprinkle some fresh coal over the top before lighting, then keep the flames ripping up through it, not a lazy fire, it should take right off. No section of grate can remain open that allows air leaks up through grate, even if you have to cover it with coal. The key is getting all the air up through the fire where the coal is. It will spread across grate with lots of air. As soon as it starts, sprinkle more on top until you can cover it. Coal fire should be established in 15 minutes.

    The picture of your fire looks like a very rough fire. If you cover it fully with coal so it is the same thickness, then set air to about 1/4 you should get blue flames on top and a glowing mass under it. The more air, the more blue flames. I'm not sure what your stove uses for secondary air, but as oxygen comes up through the fire bed, oxygen is consumed and coal gas that emits from fresh coal ignites on top when given just a little air. Some stoves will have a secondary adjustment, others have a predetermined leak around grate. You don't open the top much if you have a secondary inlet. Too much allows cool air above the fire to slip up the chimney slowing draft. Once you get the hang of it, you'll appreciate the long steady burn with much less work. If it has a banking plate across front, fill it right to the top of the plate. Most companies sell in bulk with your own containers for closer to $200 / ton.
     
    brenndatomu likes this.
  22. Bootstrap

    Bootstrap
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 4, 2013
    88
    20
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    I used to start a coal fire with charcoal. Super easy. Dump about 2-3" worth of charcoal in the stove. Dump some lighter fluid all over it. Wait 1-2 minutes then light it. When the charcoal fire is going good, dump about 1" of anthracite in. When that layer of anthracite starts burning add another inch. When those two inches or so are burning, then load the stove up all the way.
    Getting the air control set properly can be a learning curve.
    Remember, anthracite required under fire air only. DO NOT leave a top vent open at all. And when you open the door, open it slowly.
    With that starting process I would have my stove going and no longer needing attention in under 30 minutes.
    Once you get your process down, its super easy and in a lot of ways, easier than wood.
     
  23. Hesta

    Hesta
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Mar 21, 2017
    66
    6
    Loc:
    Idaho
    We do it in my area of Idaho a lot. Just have to make sure that you have a good base (firebrick and/or sand) so you don't screw up the stove metal.
     
  24. coaly

    coaly
    Fisher Moderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    2,851
    388
    Loc:
    NE PA
    Once burning, you absolutely DO crack the secondary air over the fire to allow coal gas to ignite. Many times the fire will consume all oxygen coming up through the fire bed preventing the ignition of coal gas formed. The gas is expelled as fresh coal heats, and the flames from it adds to the BTU output of the stove.
    If you don't, you're allowing coal gas into the atmosphere, allowing a very flammable gas to fill the stove and chimney, and opening the door can result in an explosion. This is a violet lighting off of gasses, with more bark than bite, unless the stove pipe is not secured. You should always allow one spot of the fire a little thin on top like a well that has an open flame. This acts as a pilot light to ignite coal gas as it develops. If you cover a hot fire too deeply with no small spot to burn through, it lights violently. Most coal stoves will have an upper air adjustment called secondary air inlet. European stoves do not use solid glass, instead they have separate panels that grow in length more than width to allow air leakage between the panels right through the glass. Other stoves will have slots in the grate behind the glass / door to allow oxygen to the top of the fire. (Hitzer, Gibralter styles) it doesn't take much, but you never run the secondary closed. Some are built when closed to have a metered leak, not sure if all newer stoves have that safety. I can tell you Fisher Coal Bear can be closed tightly.
    Cook stoves use the secondary inlet OPEN partially over night to slow draft through the fire bed, extending the burn time with smaller firebox.

    Once you learn how the stove reacts, you'll find every pound of the same coal has the same BTU content, no matter the size, but the larger the pieces, the more air gets between them to burn faster. So colder nights you want all large pieces. Warm days when you don't need much of a fire, the "fines" from the bottom of bin are used to slow the air coming through the coal even more. So the smaller the pieces, the less air between them and the slower it will burn.
    For more coal burning info; http://nepacrossroads.com/

    This thread will ease your concerns over minor explosions as well as answer over-fire air questions;
    http://nepacrossroads.com/about2130.html
     
    brenndatomu likes this.
  25. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 17, 2008
    4,874
    889
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    Lighter fluid can be very dangerous ,not recommended ,i once tried to get a coal fire going with charcoal starter many years ago and it started smoking thick white smoke,when if lighted off there was a mini explosion. burned half the hair off my face,never again.
     

Share This Page