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Wood or Coal Burning Furnace

Wood or coal burning furnace questions:
  1. What should my limit control be set on?
  2. Why do I have smoke spillage when I refuel my stove or furnace?
  3. What is creosote? How is it produced? How can I prevent it?
  4. How can I prevent grate burn out and warpage of cast iron parts?
  5. Is it necessary to hook up my solid fuel furnace to a system of ductwork?
  6. Which coal is best to burn?
  7. How do I get my Anthracite coal to burn?
  8. How do I get my Bituminous coal to burn?
  9. Why should I make provision for a cold-air return?
  10. What is draft? What is combustion air?
  11. My furnace's forced draft blower is not coming on. What could my problem be?
  12. I understand that you manufacture a water heating coil for most furnaces. If I purchase a coil do I need a hot water tank to store the hot water?
  13. I have a 1300, it calls for logs up to a 24 inch long, but the grate is only 13 inches, do I have the wrong grate?
  14. How do i install a thermostat inside my house for a furnace?
  15. When our furnace was installed, we added the forced draft kit. The fan for the forced draft never shuts off. Do we need to replace something or could there be a problem with the wiring?
  16. When my furnace needs heat, the distribution blower cycles on and off rapidly until the furnace gets hotter. When the thermostat no longer calls for heat, it starts cooling down and the distribution blower starts cycling on and off rapidly until the furnace cools enough for the blower to go off completely.




1. What should my limit control be set on?
 

An excellent starting point is to adjust the settings to 100 degrees as the OFF, 150 degrees as the ON, and 200 degrees as the limit. Note: By adjusting the OFF and ON settings, you will alter the time the blowers will run. To lengthen the run time, spread the OFF and ON pointers further apart. The opposite will shorten the run time.
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2. Why do I have smoke spillage when I refuel my stove or furnace?
 

Smoke spillage is attributable to a problem with the chimney or connector pipe - relating to poor draft. If you want to absolutely prevent smoke spillage you should do the following: 1) Check the chimney and connectors for obstructions, and clean the chimney as necessary. Bird nests, animals and creosote are possible causes of blockage. Over hanging trees may also cause down drafts. Remove limbs within ten feet of the top of the chimney. 2) Make sure the connector pipe to the chimney is not inserted too far into the flue. 3) Make sure all openings into the chimney, such as a clean out doors, are tightly sealed. 4) Try to eliminate elbows in the connection from the flue collar to the chimney. The more elbows, the less potential for draft. 5) Consider increasing the height of the chimney. Remember the higher it is, the better it will draft. 6) Your flue, inside the chimney, may be too large for the appliance. The chimney flue should be sized to the flue collar on the appliance and should never be more than 33% greater than the flue collar size. For example, a flue liner diameter should never be more than 8" for use with a 6" collared appliance.
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3. What is creosote? How is it produced? How can I prevent it?
 

Creosote is a natural byproduct of the incomplete combustion of wood. It is a truly hazardous substance; it is flammable and when ignited can burn violently and produce extremely dangerous temperatures in the chimney - in excess of 2,000_F. Creosote has many forms - from a watery consistency, to a sticky tar-like substance, to the final form which is glazed, baked-on and difficult to remove. Creosote is produced by having large fuel loads with low air settings and a failure to have the appliance properly vented. The home owner needs to make sure any creosote he may produce is carried away from the home and not allowed to condense in connector pipes or the chimney.
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4. How can I prevent grate burn out and warpage of cast iron parts?
 

All grates are constructed of cast iron which can "burn out" or oxidize rapidly - or warp so severely the grate becomes immobile. There are two ways to prevent such problems: 1) never over fire your furnace or stove, by leaving the feed or the ash door open during operation. 2) Failure to empty the ash pan and allowing ashes/cinders to accumulate to the point of contact with the grate can quickly warp or burn out the grate. To function properly - and endure for years as intended - grates rely on the flow of cooling air to prevent warpage or burn out.
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5. Is it necessary to hook up my solid fuel furnace to a system of ductwork?
 

Yes.  For your furnace to be efficient and work properly it needs to be connected to the appropriate sized duct work and have an adequate cold air return system.
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6. Which coal is best to burn?
 

Your Wondercoal or Hot Blast is capable of burning both Bituminous and Anthracite coal. Anthracite is perhaps the best coal fuel because of its long even burn time, high heat output, and cleanliness. However, keep in mind it is a much more difficult fuel to use, requires more care and patience, is not so widely available, and is usually much more expensive than Bituminous. Most sizes of Bituminous Coal will work in your Hot Blast Furnace or Wondercoal Circulator. You will have more MAINTENANCE with bituminous than with anthracite coal as more soot will collect on heating surfaces and in pipes, requiring more frequent cleaning.
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7. How do I get my Anthracite to burn?
 

When burning Anthracite, use coal the size of an egg or broken egg with sizes between 2-5/16" thru 4-3/8". Before starting the fire, open the stove pipe damper, turn the automatic thermostat to high, open the ash pit door and feed door, place newspaper and finely split kindling on the grate, light the paper, then add larger hard wood. Now, add a thin layer of coal to the wood fire, being careful not to disturb it too much or cut off the draft. Then, add a second heavier layer after the coal is ignited and burning well. If necessary, add a third layer to bring the coal up to the top of the front liner. Before adding further fuel, be sure you leave a red spot of glowing coals in the center of the firebox. A deep charge will give a more even heat and a longer fire. When the fire is well established and the room is becoming warm, partially close the dampers. Adjust the stove pipe damper to reduce the draft on the fire. Only when the coal is burned down to half its original depth is it time to add fresh coal. When doing so, open your stove pipe damper and turn your thermostat damper to high. Then, open the feed door, and with a small rake, hoe or hooked poker pull the glowing coals to the front of the firebox. Next, add a fresh charge to the back, being careful not to seal off the top. Close the feed door but leave the spin damper (or thermostat) open for a few minutes until the volatile gases have burned off. For extended operation, such as overnight, you will need to bank the fire. To do so: heap coal up along the sides and back of the firebox so that the fire gradually burns it over a long period of time. Then close your damper and automatic control to the point where the house does not become too cold.
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8. How do I get my Bituminous coal to burn?
 

With Bituminous coal, use large nut coal to small egg coal (1-3/4" diameter to 4" diameter). All coal fires should be started with wood, which will allow the fire to get hot enough to ignite the coal. Use soft woods as kindling, and add hard wood to increase the heat prior to addition of the coal. Once your kindling and wood fire has produced a bed of well established embers, start adding coal in layers allowing each to ignite before adding more. Once the fire is WELL ESTABLISHED add coal to the center of the firebox forming the cone. Burning in this fashion allows heat to drive off the volatile gases, and turbulence created increases the burn efficiency. Allow enough secondary air to enter the firebox and keep your stove pipe damper open so that volatiles are properly burned. Before refueling, take the time to break up the cone a little with a poker. The objective is to remove a small amount of the ashes without disturbing the fire. For overnight operation, shake the fire and add coal, retaining your center cone. Then adjust your thermostat to the desired heat level.
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9. Why should I make provision for a cold-air return?
 

A cold-air return will greatly increase the efficiency of your furnace. Refer to the diagrams in the Owner's Manual. Not only does the return air provision allow a furnace more efficiency, but it also builds a safety margin by preventing a negative pressure (vacuum) in your furnace room. Your furnace is pulling up to 1100 cubic feet of air per minute from the furnace room and sending it to heat other parts of the home. If that room is shut off from the rest of the house, a partial vacuum will result, which could pull smoke from the chimney back into the furnace, preventing the chimney from staying hot, causing creosote to form, and promoting smoke spillage.
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10. What is draft? What is combustion air?
 

The draft of a chimney is created when the air temperature inside the flue is greater than the outside flue temperatures. Since hot air rises, the greater the difference between the inside flue temperatures and outside temperatures, the faster the gases flow or stronger the draft. 90% of all wood and coal burning problems can be traced to draft and chimneys. Combustion air is the air that a solid fuel appliance needs air to support combustion. A house that is too tight may not allow enough air to feed the fire, and a smoking stove or fireplace can result. Adding a fresh air vent or simply cracking a window may correct the situation.
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11. My furnace's forced draft blower is not coming on. What could my problem be?
 

The wire from the plug on the front (1600/1800) to the junction box may not be connected, the wall thermostat may be defective, or the wire from thermostat may be bad or disconnected . Have an Electrician check all the wiring and parts.
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12. I understand that you manufacture a water heating coil for most furnaces. If I purchase a coil do I need a hot water tank to store the hot water?
 

Yes, you will need a tank. The coil is a u-shaped tube that circulates water through it and back to the hot water tank.
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13. I have a 1300, it calls for logs up to a 24 inch long, but the grate is only 13 inches, do I have the wrong grate?
 

The fire box will hold a 24" log in length. You have front and back liners that set at an angle to make the bottom of the firebox smaller so ash and embers to fall to bottom of unit. The grate you have is correct.
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14. How do I install a thermostat inside my house for my furnace?
 

You will need to buy a forced air draft kit, part number 11DIKl.
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15. When our furnace was installed, we added the forced draft kit. The fan for the forced draft never shuts off. Do we need to replace something or could there be a problem with the wiring?
 

Yes, there is something wrong with the wiring. This draft blower should only come on when it is calling for heat. Once the room temperature is met, the wall thermostat will turn the unit off making the coil drop out from the transformer thus killing the voltage to the draft blower. Have an Electrician check the wiring.
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16. When my furnace needs heat, the distribution blower cycles on and off rapidly until the furnace gets hotter. When the thermostat no longer calls for heat, it starts cooling down and the distribution blower starts cycling on and off rapidly until the furnace cools enough for the blower to go off completely.
 

If you do not have a cold air return, this will happen. When the fan kicks on, it pulls air off the floor and blows heat away. Then it pulls cool air across the thermodisc causing unit to shut right back off. You might also have a faulty thermodisc.
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