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Banked fire ?


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  #1  
Old 06-21-2007, 02:42 PM
Pete LaBelle Pete LaBelle is offline
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Default Banked fire ?

I know the term, and know the purpose, but how is a fire banked to keep itself, and the boiler, warm till the next day?

Still learning........

Pete
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Old 06-21-2007, 03:05 PM
Shawn Perkins Shawn Perkins is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

Pete,
I was always told that when i was to bank a fire I had to pull or push all the coals to a side or corner. This would cause all the heat to stay in one spot making the coals stay hotter. The next day I would spead the coals and give a little coal on top and within 5 mins. it would re-light itself.

Hope this helps,

Shawn
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Old 06-21-2007, 03:15 PM
1911_75_CASE 1911_75_CASE is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

bassicly a banked fire is a fire starved of oxygen, but not to the point of going out.

There are two types of banked fires, an banked fire in a case of an emergency, and a banked fire too keep things warm over night.

To bank a fire in case of an emergency, you take whatever you can thats not flamamble (dirt, soil, sand, etc...) and pile as much as you can on top of it evenly.. about 3 inches thick, and drop the damper.

To bank a fire to keep things warm over night, you get the fire burning evenly, and then put about 4 inches of slab wood over the fire, and drop the damper. It'll be pretty somkey, but it should burn over night.

one thing about keeping things warm over night, be sure to check the local codes about what pressure you can leave 'em at... (I think it might change depending on which state your in?) and have your water high! I usually take it up over the top of the glass, and you'll have about half a glass in the morning.

hope that helps-

John
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Old 06-21-2007, 03:51 PM
Casemaker Casemaker is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

This thread reminds me of a story that was printed several years ago in
IMA or E&E. It told about a fellow that was hired to fire a engine in a sawmill. The first day on the job, he started beating up dirt so that it was a powder consistencey. He then cut boards that would completely block all of the flues in the smokebox. He then took the dirt that was powder and scooped the smokebox full of dirt which in effect held the boards against the flues and blocked all air circulation thru the smokebox. The next thing he did was drop the damper snug so as to have a minimum of air intake. He then proceded to fill the firebox every nook and crannie with wood to the top using every available space for wood. The next morning he came to the mill scooped all of the dirt out of the smokebox - took the board out of the smokebox, opened the damper door. Checked the firebox which had a nice bed of red coals in the bottom, cleaned out the ashpan, put fresh wood on the fire, turned on the blower (he had 35 pounds when he arrived). After greasing up he was ready to saw in about 25 minutes. I might not have all of the details but this was what I remembered. Has anyone tried this ? I would like to see this done....
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Old 06-21-2007, 04:16 PM
PTSideshow PTSideshow is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

On stationary jobs you fill er up with H2O, clean the side fires some times dumping the grates to start clean in the morning and not be rushed. Then run in a wheelbarrow or 1 1/2 of green coal. Shut as much air going in to the fire box as you could. Some stack dampers were cut down on some of the boilers. Due to the fact over the years and repairs they wouldn't open enough. So they would trim a little more off the edge to get draft. You also would place a plastic garbage bag over the force draft fan air inlet after closing it shut. Then place the metal cover over it to keep the stuff on. The cover would generally be a cover from the fiber boiler compound drums that would fit 9 out 10 fan intakes with out modification.
After you had been at a plant for a while you could bank em for the whole weekend. And have em start up on Monday morning and have steam up, and the building warm before the first bell rung in the morning.
Some you had to run all the coal out of the stoker hopper shovel a half barrow of clean ashes into the hopper slightly damp. No coke, klinkers or coal.Then when the plug was in you could fill the hopper up so you wouldn't kill the boiler operator on Monday early start up.
Some would burn back no matter what you did to stop the air. The setting brick work had so many leaks. You could here a whistle on a winding day as the air was drafted into the boiler by the stack pull.
The hardest ones to bank and keep a fire burning in where the hand bombed water grate boilers in the 60 and late 70's as they required head sized chunks of hard coal and they wouldn't buy anything but Kentucky top soil (small chunks and dirt/mud)
grates were 2 to 3 Inches a part. A real pain in the seat cushion to fire and keep steam up for the engines let alone bank em over night or for the weekend

Glen R Perye Jr
1st license stationary engineer ret.
I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only
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Old 06-21-2007, 08:54 PM
Chuck Sindelar Chuck Sindelar is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

My father worked in a small water powered electric generating plant during my youth--my first memories of this likely date from the mid, to late 1940s. When the plant was operating, the turbins and generators gave off enough heat to keep the place from freezing in the winter--but when they had to shut down due to lack of water, they had a hand fired, coal burning boiler to keep the plant from freezing--I was way to young to remember much in the way of details, but I do remember that when dad said he was "banking the fire", he'd shovel ashes on top of the fire. Banking the fire is obviously a trade off--You can make a given amount of fuel burn slower and last longer (overnight), by starving it for oxygen,(by closing draft doors) and reduce the draft (by closing dampers in the stack), by adding less volatile fuel to the fire, (green or large chunks of wood) and non-burnables on top of the fire (as ashes)--But by so doing, your fire will be putting out less heat in a given time period. (maybe even go out if you do not guess quite right on some part of the equation), but hopefully last all night by burning at a slower rate.
chuck
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:39 PM
Jeff Smith Jeff Smith is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1911_75_CASE View Post
.......................To bank a fire to keep things warm over night, you get the fire burning evenly, and then put about 4 inches of slab wood over the fire, and drop the damper. It'll be pretty somkey, but it should burn over night................
John
John,

I was wondering why you say to use slab wood only? I have banked fires on both coal and wood and just used the fuel that I was firing with at the time. You have me curious as to the use of slabs only; I may be missing out on something that works better than what I was taught by an elder of the steam community.

Thank you,

Jeff Smith
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Old 06-22-2007, 12:19 AM
John G. Simpson John G. Simpson is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

Its not a problem for me, my fires been banked for years.
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Old 06-22-2007, 06:44 PM
Shawn Perkins Shawn Perkins is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

I don't get it?
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Old 06-22-2007, 07:31 PM
PTSideshow PTSideshow is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Perkins View Post
I don't get it?
Anything you don't understand just ask!

What part of it don't you get.

The idea is to have a quick start the next day, when you want to get steam up. Starting a fire each morning is a PIA and most times with out the use of a very good starter fluid. High heat output to get the wood, coke coal straw burning. as you will have to bring up the green or raw fuel to temp for combustion.
Mainly drying it out till it will ignite and continue to burn. on it own. When in a stationary building heating ventilating deal. you want the steam up and cooking good. If you have or had engine driven fans. Heating steam is mostly reduced to the level of 1 to 3 pounds at the appliance. For safetey, blown seals, broken stolen air relief valves or section gaskets of the cast iron rads giving up the ghost. But the engines needs to be warmed up all the assorted scrap iron between the boilers and engines need to be warmed up and then you have to have enough to steam to keep the flywheel spinning.
30 years plus of firing boilers and engines for heating schools.
Coal,and gas hand fired, under and over stokers, and double shovel and buggy and barrow fill dump. By the time you open the boiler up in the morning, plug the coffee pot in,take the alarm off. Learning to bank the fires and easy start up before coffee. was learned fast.

Glen R Perye Jr
1st license stationary engineer ret.
I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only
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  #11  
Old 06-22-2007, 08:05 PM
Farquhar Farquhar is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

PT sideshow, I think Shawn "didn't git" what John G meant, when he said his fires had been banked for yrs.
Shawn, John meant that he's gittin along in yrs, and startin to slow down some. Nuther words, his fire aint as "hot" as it once was. You'll understand this much better a "few" yrs from now.
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Old 06-22-2007, 08:39 PM
PTSideshow PTSideshow is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

k i guess that's what happens when we start to turn the corner,
I'm just happy each day when I get out of bed that my feet hit the floor before my face does And all the parts still function with out to much pain or stiffness I guess I weren't paying attention
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Old 06-23-2007, 07:21 AM
INDIANA DAVE INDIANA DAVE is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

A fellow I know who banks his fire,always cleans the grates and then, pushes all the remaining burning fuel up against the tube sheet. Followed by fresh coal. He then closes the damper and then, placeon the stack cover. Have never seen it personaly but, have read that you should never open the fire door after banking the fire with fresh coal as, the heat from the existing fire underneath is causing volatile gasses to be distilled from the fresh coal. Basically,opening the door could give these gasses which, are (close to combustion temprature anyway) , a big gulp of fresh air and and, could flash back! Especially in the first hour or so after banking. Have had this experience with sraw one time , assisting a fellow with a 1/3rd scale. Be careful!
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Old 06-25-2007, 01:08 PM
Pete LaBelle Pete LaBelle is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

Thanks for the advice guys. I'll put it to use here in a couple weeks at my local show.

Pete
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:44 PM
Pete Deets Pete Deets is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

Pete,
Here's a bit more from a locomotive perspective. At North Freedom the fire is banked at night not only for easier morning start-up but to reduce thermal & physical stresses on the boiler. The hotter you can keep her the less the boiler steel will shrink & expand.
Our normal procedure for the Chicago & Northwestern 1385 is to let the fire calm down but leave the ashes on the grates. This is our way of sealing off that much of the grate area to create the oxygen starved condition. The boiler should have already been stuffed full of water as the crew was bringing her in to tie up to again lessen the changes in pressure/temperature. After all the appliances are shut down the fireman shovels 20 to 30 scoops of coal just inside the firedoor but just past the back grate which is a dump grate, close enough to reach with the ash hoe but not so close as to be hard to spread in the morning. There should be enough fire left that the bank begins to smoke & gas off but not enough to light. This is the first place you can get your eyebrows shortened if you're not careful as stated in an earlier post. The last actions are to close the firedoor, windows, cab curtains and place the cap on the stack. A gap of about 2 finger widths is left at the cap to allow a slight air flow and not completely smother the fire.
In the morning you pull the cap from the stack & open up the cab. Next you shake the grates to dump the ash. The 1385 has 3 sections of grate front to back and they are 2 sections wide. The front sections can be dumped completely and if the bank was properly placed the back grate (only 1 section deep) can be dumped. The back section is not on a rocker, the hinge is at the back edge so it will dump easily into the ashpan. The middle section can now be carefully rocked which will work the ash down to the ashpan as well as release the dead ash from under the bank. After the firebox is clean you can spread a light layer of green coal over the grates. If you don't have enough steam for a fairly healthy amount of blower the next action is your second chance to shorten your eyebrows. With the shaking & greater airflow the bank should be waking up & smoldering pretty well. Take the long handled poker and break up the bank. Normally the first poke that breaks the red hot mound of coke will allow a rush of oxygen in that the fire & fuel will just love. As a matter of fact it can reach right out of the fire door and try to give you a big 'ol kiss. That's what I really call Hotlips! After you physically break the pile up you start to play pool with the burning chunks of coal. You try to distribute it over a fairly wide area to create small pockets of fire that will consolidate over the grate area. From there you can continue your normal fire-up routine of cleaning, oiling, greasing & stocking supplies.
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:21 AM
1911_75_CASE 1911_75_CASE is offline
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Default Re: Banked fire ?

Jeff, I made the mistake as if everybody fired with wood...

I forgot about coal being on this forum too...

when fireing with wood you'd want slabwood becuase it was the most surface area and would take longest to burn..

-John
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