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  • FIRST POST
    • Nellbags
    • By Nellbags 8th Jan 18, 5:55 PM
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    Nellbags
    Parkray 111 advice
    • #1
    • 8th Jan 18, 5:55 PM
    Parkray 111 advice 8th Jan 18 at 5:55 PM
    I'm looking for some practical advice about using the Parkray 111 roomheater in the house I'm renting. I just can't get my head round it!! I have been using wood or multi fuel stoves most of my life to heat my homes but this is different as it is designed to transfer heat through the back to activate the boiler. The problem I'm having is that it's a bit hit & ,miss whether I'll actually get the boiler to kick in & stay in. I am trying my best to bank most of the heat right at the back so there is plenty of heat, filling the firebox to the top bar at the front. I am using a combination of well seasoned wood and smokeless ovals, using mostly the latter as they produce more heat but I have free access to wood also so am trying to keep my costs down. Right now the boiler is working, but the last few days it has been starting & stopping. Other times I have got it going well but mostly it does this starting & stopping thing, even if I have the fire loaded & going as well as it is now with most of the fuel stacked right at the back. It also seems to take a good few hours for the boiler to kick in, but once it started up after just 30 mins. The radiators, once the boiler is working properly, don't seem to get very hot, they are a bit more than lukewarm, & the water is either not quite hot enough for washing up or tepid. Once I managed to have a bath from the water it heated. The temperature was adequate but not piping hot. I contacted the housing association & they sent out their boiler people. After looking at all the gubbins in the cupboard where the boiler is they found all to be working as it should & suggested that I may have been not loading it with enough fuel & not getting enough heat to the back. This was a few weeks ago now. I have been practicing & sometimes succeed & other times I fail!! Does anybody who is familiar with these have any practical advice? Thanks in advance.
Page 1
    • TC56 803 9
    • By TC56 803 9 24th Sep 18, 6:28 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    TC56 803 9
    • #2
    • 24th Sep 18, 6:28 PM
    • #2
    • 24th Sep 18, 6:28 PM
    Hi Nell, I don't know if I am a bit late for you but perhaps for anyone else that searches and comes to this thread this might be useful. I wrote it a couple of years ago and it might be worthwhile. A bit of a long read but hopefully covers a lot of ground.



    Part 1 of 2



    Living with a lovely Parkray fire.

    Aim
    The aim of this piece is to provide information on running a solid fuel appliance and in particular a Parkray with thermostatically controlled air valve. It applies to those who are thinking of installing a solid fuel fire or who have recently moved into a house fitted with a solid fuel fire. Hopefully I am going to provide useful advice on how to get the best from your fire. A coal fire is not like a gas or oil boiler and there are several factors that need to be managed to achieve the different results you need for effective heating. Understanding these fairly straightforward things will allow you to get the best from your fire.

    Introduction

    Two generations ago, domestic heating via solid fuel was commonplace. Now I find that people who ask me about our coal fire and how my wife and I manage it, come from families, often where there is no experience of running a solid fuel appliance. Some of them are somewhat intimidated by what they wrongly perceive as the challenges of doing so.

    I have lived in my house for over 33 years. The main source of heating for both the central heating and water remains an enclosed Parkray 111 room heater. Around 18 years ago I had to replace the Unit. I removed the old unit and fitted the new unit myself. I thought I would write up some notes about living with and managing our Parkray. Needless to say, they will be relevant to other types of solid fuel burning fires.

    People visit us and admire the fire burning in the grate. Compliments are passed on how attractive it is and how it generates such a welcoming and homely ambience. They then express the view that maintenance must be vastly time consuming and it must be such a bother having to relight it all the time. They are somewhat staggered to learn the truth that it is lit in late October and goes out in either late March or April and is attended to once and only once every day in a simple routine. Many years ago my son or daughter used to help me. 25 years on and “once a day”, is still the routine. And what happens when you go away ? – I am asked. Well the fire, virtually always, stays in. Our record is 5 days without tending, a weekend is no problem.

    In this article I will explain that routine and how to keep the fire in and how to run it economically.

    Application

    Our family lives in a detached house in a rural location. When we moved here, there was no mains gas in the village and so energy choices were, electricity, bottled or container gas, oil or solid fuel. Our neighbours in the village, used a variety of all types. Around 18 years ago, mains gas was introduced to the village. Most people have converted to this energy source. A few remain with oil and even less with solid fuel. Our house has 4 bedrooms and a lounge/diner that, across its longest dimensions is 19’ x 27’. The Parkray is the centrepiece of that room and stands in a column on an internal wall with chimney passing through the centre of the house. Even should we have any desire to change to mains gas, which we do not, getting the supply to this point in the house would be highly disruptive. With 10 radiators and the hot water, all being run from the fire and the house in an exposed location, 2 miles from the coast, the Parkray is probably right at the limits of its capacity. Certainly it is easy to increase coal consumption dramatically with poor direction of the fire, via the thermostat fitted to it. To supplement any heating need, we have a single bottle gas fire and a single electric fan heater. Typically, as I write this in February, the last time the fan heater was used was in the very cold period of December. Some years it goes unused. All radiators except one, have thermostats controlling flow of water to them, dependent on room temperature. There are no temperature switches that are there to stop the central heat pump running if the immersion tank is not up to temperature. It is just common sense; run the central heating with a low fire and the immersion tank will cool as it is warmer than the pumped water. The fire needs to warmer than the immersion for the thermo siphon effect to warm the tank. If it is the other way around the tank heats the water jacket of the fire.

    To supplement the hot water, I have a timed electrical immersion heater. This is used in the summer when the fire is not burning. Using “economy 7”, this comes on for half an hour early on after midnight and again just before the cheap electricity period ends, plus 10 minutes around 12 noon and again for 15 min at around 5pm. There is a manual boost switch if needed in either summer or winter. Typically last winter the boost was used just once when we had both snow and visitors. We always have lots of hot water. We never run out. It was lagged when we moved in but we bought a far better and mor insulating jacket in recent years. Previously we would have had to run the electrical heater on a number of weekends during the winter. Now we do not need to do that at all.

    Coal
    It might seem obvious, but resolving the issue of the supply of a quality fuel, is critical to your successful and efficient operation of your room heater. If the coal does not burn well, or creates too many clinkers, tell your coal merchant. Universally I have found the 2 coal merchants we have used, helpful in this regard. They are embarrassed about a poor quality of coal they have delivered. On one occasion they came and collected the supply and replaced it. Do not suffer in silence. Change coal type or supplier if you need to. A giant clinker in the fire will downgrade its efficiency no end. Poor quality coal will cause you to have to tend to your fire more than once a day, as it burns away too quickly, or not at all! Get the fuel right and your problems are mainly solved.

    The daily routine

    Experience has shown that it is easiest and most fuel efficient to tend to the fire when it is quietest. That is first thing in the morning, 24 hours after it was last tended and after it has also had a whole night to cool down after running at heavy load the previous evening. Everything is as cold as it is going to get for the day. Sometimes, due to morning commitments the schedule is changed to first thing upon return after the working day. Either will suffice – the main plan is that the fire is burning at its lowest and therefore the ash is coolest to deal with.

    Riddling the fire.
    This starts straight after breakfast – riddle the fire as much as is needed. How much did you burn yesterday? The more you burnt, the longer you need to riddle. In general, you riddle until you have as much ash in the pan as the fire produced in the last 24 hours. Do you suspect there is a clinker in the grate ? This is evident in that there is a shadow area in the pan where little ash falls through the area of the grate with the clinker above it, no matter how long you riddle the fire. If this is the case you may need to use the poker before riddling. You will notice this shadow zone become enlarged over several days or, with particularly bad coal, over a single day. Next factor to consider, as you decide how long you are going to riddle the fire is - are you going to need the house heated today, like normal or are you going away for several days? If you are going away, you want the fire to stay in, so you want it to burn slowly. In which case give it the most modest of riddles or maybe not even at all. You will riddle it when you get back. That it is chocked up is what you want. You need to keep the fire burning at its slowest. Restricting the supply of oxygen will do this.

    Removing the ash.
    I have a routine where I don’t want to take the ashpan out of the house directly after I have riddled it. Red hot cinders might be blown into my face when I exit the house and of course, the ash has heat within it, which I would much prefer went into the house before I threw the ashes away. During a working day, I do other daily routines like having a wash and shave and then come back to the fire. At week-ends I leave it longer, such as after I have been to the shop for a paper. All this gives the ash a chance to cool down. However, after a short time I take the ashpan out and throw the ash into the bin. A bin that is only used for ash. Having a never ending supply of field entrances where the farmer is grateful for ash to be sprinkled at the gateway, solves my ash disposal problems. Generally we end up taking the bin to a field, about 3 or 4 times during the year. I do close my eyes as I exit the house as a precaution against the wind. Only twice in 25 years have I got ash into my eyes and it has then caused me mild discomfort. I am confident our H & S advisors would have us all don safety specs.

    Replacing the empty pan. Now here is a critical element of good husbandry. The Parkray, like some other solid fuel room-heaters, features a thermostatic air valve. Ash and other debris can fall against the closed flap and, over several days can build up so that when the flap opens, they can fall out and form an obstruction that prevents the flap shutting to form an air tight seal against the main casting. This build up must be removed. Every day I observe for this build up and if anything is seen, I vacuum it out instantly. About twice a week I stick the nozzle of the vacuum into the flap aperture and suck up any debris there, regardless of whether I can observe anything. This prevents the build up and causes the flap to function as it should. Similarly, ash will build up at the sides of where the pan fits. Again, about once a week I slide the pan vigorously down each side to scoop up this debris. I use the vacuum nozzle to suck up other debris I cannot scoop up with the pan. Finally after pushing the pan fully home, I withdraw it about ½” so that it will lie near the cover. This way I ensure no ash falls between the pan and the bottom cover plate during the next 24 hours operation. When I take the pan the next day, I start off by pushing it forward to collect the ash from the very back of the fire.

    Placing the lower cover back on
    Seems a statement of the obvious, but again, just a small particle of ash can prevent an airtight seal between the cover and the main body of the fire. It needs to vacuumed out before fitment and care taken to ensure the cover has made full contact with the body.

    Restocking the fire.
    Many years ago we changed from multiple fillings per day to a single fill. I do it only once each day, and I put on as much coal as I can get on. I jam it full. It will take several hours for a low fire to warm the new coal through, until it is ready to burn. This warming is most easily achieved during the day, whilst you are out of the house, after you have loaded the fire in the morning. Loading the fire in the early evening will reduce its output during this time, just when you want it to be performing at its best. Collect a bag of small coal/coal dust. When you go away, do not fully restock the fire but leave a little space at the top. Then cover this space in the small coal/dust. If it is wet, it is fine. It will take time to dry out and stop the fire from drawing, maybe for 6 or 12 hours and thus extend the period in which the fire can be left alight whilst you are absent.

    Wiping the glass
    No special cleaners or goo, just a small piece of dampened cloth. A vigorous rub of the glass will take off the soot and any other discolouration. I do this about once a week, unless some primeval urge to burn something has generated excessive soot or blackening of the glass, in which case I wipe the glass as it needs ! 1 small segment of cloth lasts about 4 weeks and then goes on the fire.

    I have put plenty of newspapers down around the fire for the coal bucket. I pick these up carefully and shake them over the hearth. The hearth and surrounding carpet area is vacuumed.

    The fire is now tended until tomorrow and tonight, as every night, it will look absolutely pristine.

    Heating up the house.
    Our routine is then that we go out for the day and the first householder returns around 4.00pm. First thing is to go and look at the fire. Generally it is now reddening at the lowest coals visible through the grate. The thermo-siphon effect will have ensured that when you come home there is a full tank of hot water ready for the evening. If there is no reddening visible, the thermostat is turned up a little without the pump being turned on yet. Sometime around 5.00 pm the heating pump is turned on for heating the house for all who will be back in for 6.30pm. The trick is not to go for a single hit. If you just turn the thermostat on the fire, to the “hot” setting, that you want for later, AND turn on the pump, at the same time, the whole system overshoots. The pump blasts the fire full of cold water and the flap remains fully open for a long time whilst the water comes up to temperature. All this time the fire roars through, burning coal at a prodigious . This can be done, but it burns up coal (and in effect your money) at a very quick rate. Far more economic is to do it in stages, maybe one additional one, or even two or three, depending on the wind and outside temperature. Basically you are trying to get the fire to the burning condition that it will assume in steady state conditions, later in the night, without overdoing it early on. What we tend to do is initially turn the control until you just sense the cam is about to open the flap. You have now asked the fire to maintain the current water temperature. Next turn on the pump. This pushes cold water into the fire, the flap opens as it maintains the warmish water temperature. About 30-45 minutes later, after the water has come to this temperature, turn up the thermostat on the fire, to the mid point between where it is now and where you want it to be for the rest of the night. This causes another incremental rise in water temperature and airflow through the fire. About 30 minutes later move the thermostat to where you want it to be for the rest of the night. Endlessly fiddling with the thermostat is not productive. This changes demand on the fire and will result in rapid burning of coal to recover the consequent, under/overshoot.

    On cold days, it will be about 90 to 120 minutes before all the radiators are up to temperature. This longest period, is when all of the thermostats on all of the radiators are fully open and demand is at its maximum. On less cold days, this time may be reduced down to 30 minutes as demand in the various rooms reduces. In one bedroom, through which the chimney runs, the thermostat is only open on very cold days.

    You can then settle down for hours of trouble free warmth from your lovely, burning fire. As the house heats up, generally the thermostats on the radiator cut the flow of water through the radiator down and the fire then runs less aggressively. It will look beautiful.
    • TC56 803 9
    • By TC56 803 9 24th Sep 18, 6:30 PM
    • 4 Posts
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    TC56 803 9
    • #3
    • 24th Sep 18, 6:30 PM
    • #3
    • 24th Sep 18, 6:30 PM
    Part 2 of 2


    Closing down at the end of the night.

    At around 10.00pm the fire is still burning well and all radiators are hot. We then shut down the thermostatic valve on the fire. The exact timing and amount, depend on whether we are staying up or not. However, basically the idea is that the pump still runs and extracts heat from the fire as the rate of burning reduces. Shutting of the pump when the fire is on high load will result in a rapid rise in the temperature of the water jacket around the fire, before the thermo-siphon current has yet to establish itself. Once the thermostat has been turned right down, cooling down of the radiators will take up to an hour or 90 minutes depending again on demand and climatic conditions. But some time later, the pump is turned off. The fire then has time to cool down overnight ready for the maintenance cycle to start again the following morning. During this time the thermo-siphon effect brings the immersion tank up to full heat for the morning.

    Coal consumption
    With 4 or 5 of us in the house and the children turning on the heating when they came home from school, the highest rate of consumption in the middle of winter would be ½ a ton in 4 weeks. That would build out to ½ a ton in 6 to 7 weeks at the beginning and end of the period of the fire being on. Even in the most cold period of the recent winter, the coldest December for over 100 years, with just my wife and myself in the house for most of December, and a few relatives and visitors over Christmas, ½ ton lasted 5 weeks. The first ½ ton of the year lasted nearly 7 weeks. Last year we used 4 off ½ ton loads in total.

    Windy days
    When the wind is blowing our fire draws very strongly. There is little one can do about this. To preserve the coal put on in the morning and not needed to be vigorously burnt until in the evening, I tend to not riddle the fire so much that morning, if at all. When you come home you can quickly riddle the fire to move the ash into the pan. The fire then pulls through rapidly in the early evening and you can run on the thermostatic control of the air flap as normal for the rest of the evening. Just turning on the pump, without adjusting the thermostat up allows the maximum heat to be taken out of the flue gases and causes the fire to run as slowly as possible in these conditions.

    Fire bars
    By this I mean the moving bars at the bottom of the fire that hold the fire in place. These will glow red hot when the fire is under load. If the fire is then riddled, under these conditions, these bars can easily be bent. If they bend, they may then let some unburned coal through into the ashpan. This is wasteful. You will notice this unburned coal as you look at the ash each day. Even if you only riddle the fire each morning, and do no damage because the bars are relatively cooler then, you may find that during the year, some of these bar bend due to unequal burning when under load. As a routine, I throw away bent bars each April, when I clean out the fire and replace with new. New bars go to the outside, older bars move to the middle. I replace 1 to 3 bars each year. I do not have need to replace them during the year. Around February I notice some small lumps of coal dropping through and adjust my mix of using the poker and riddling to suit.

    Recovering a low fire.
    When you have been away for some days or for another occasion, you may have need to recover a very low fire. If there is only a glow in a few ashes, just throwing on cold coal, brought in from outside, may well be enough to put the fire out. Quite often I will come to the fire and just turn the thermostat right up and leave it for 15 minutes. Then, when you come back to the fire, you will have a clearer idea of where it is red. Now you can use the poker carefully to provide air channels through to the pan, around these red spots, and place on just a few coals around this red area. Leave again for 20 minutes and then hopefully, these few coals will be burning well and you can riddle the whole fire and remove the excess ash from the fire. Sometimes you can discern no red areas at all and it looks like the fire is out. In this case I remove the lower cover and ash tray and then gently riddle. At the first sign of red falling into the ashtray area, I stop. You can see the area where they fell and you can then use the poker around these areas to provide air channels through the fire. Again, a few small lumps of coal placed around this area allows the fire to pick up. Reload the fire with coal in a couple of stages and do not turn on the pump, until the chimney is warmed and the fire is drawing well. Better to delay the heating of the water until the fire is putting out useful amounts of heat, rather than keep everything stone cold for hours.

    Removing clinkers
    The key to having no clinkers is good fuel selection. Clinkers are material from within the coal that will not burn and often, fuses together when the coal around it was burning and then forms a solid lump at the bottom of your fire. However, even with the best of coal merchants you will occasionally have to deal with clinkers. During the week you will notice a degradation in performance of your fire and perhaps a shadow area in your ashpan created by the clinker above it. How you go about removing it/them depends on its size. If it has formed a single large entity, you may need to put some coal on the fire and get this burning well, before you remove the clinker. I have had some clinkers out of my fire that appear to be most of the fire ! Alternatively, smaller broken up clinkers can be removed in the morning maintenance period, as a routine, and put in the ahspan before it is taken out. A set of tongs is needed to remove the clinkers. Removing them is far easier when the fire is not under load. An occasional trawl through the fire with a poker, helps ensure that no undetected clinkers are degrading the performance of your room heater. I do this about twice a week. The key evidence to your success here, is when you observe even filling of the ashpan with ash, on the next day.

    Radiator arrangement.
    Unless you have no central heating, this is not an area that gives you much scope for choice. The only choice open to you, is in relation to the fitting of thermostats and the selection of the radiator to which you will not fit any thermostat but rather leave fully open all the time. I went for selecting a downstairs radiator as that to be left fully open with no thermostat. Despite being downstairs, it is on a pipe run such that it gets a good thermo-siphon effect This is in a room that has a shower, toilet and stores coats and shoes. When it is cold, in the middle of winter, the thermostats are open upstairs and they take all the thermo-siphon current from the fire. In October through to November and March April the upstairs radiators tend to close down and this radiator is on full time. I also have the thermostat in the upstairs bathroom on a very high setting, so that it runs virtually all the time. This is often draped with towels. Needless to say they dry out overnight and are warm in the morning and at when you come in from work.

    Extra heating
    The regimen I have described is useless on a cold Saturday or Sunday morning, in the middle of winter. You need some extra heat. We supplement our coal fire with a bottle gas heater. 15 minutes running in the morning and the kitchen is hot. On a very cold evening and you have come home late from work, when the lounge is freezing, despite the fire being on during the day, we might supplement the coal fire for a while before the radiators have come up to temperature. The gas fire provides instant heat which, by its very nature, the coal fire cannot. If there are to be multiple baths then the boost on the electric immersion heater is there at the push of a button. The coal fire provides base heating. It is fantastic to look at and economical in use but it needs to be supported with other devices if you need heat more quickly.

    Coal bunker and ash storage.
    If you are contemplating running a solid fuel fire you need to have somewhere permanent to store coal. Obviously the 111 uses up quite a lot so I need a bunker that takes ½ ton on top of a safety stock as I run down my previous 1/2 ton, probably about 1/5th of that. For smaller fires or where external space is at a premium, you may well be able to get away with a smaller coal bunker. For ash, I have a dedicated dustbin given over wholly to ash. You can get by with mixing it with household refuse but be careful of fires ! You have been warned. Also I am not informed as to quite what the rules are in various parts of the country about different bins for different types of rubbish. Please check local regulations.

    What can go wrong ?
    The main risk is of the thermostatically controlled air flap somehow failing to seal. The fires roars, burning with little control and the water temperature goes up. We had this happen a few times in our early years but these days we are fastidious about cleaning around the flap each day and it never happens. If it does, the thermo-siphon effect gives you some leeway in terms of reaction time. The corrective reaction, if this does happen, is to turn on the pump and start to cool down the water jacket of the fire. It might already be too hot to take the bottom of the fire off and investigate, but springing the flap open and closed a few times and wiping the mating face with another finger whist pulling the flap back, often does the trick until you can get the fire cold enough to get the vacuum in there and clean it all out properly. Another similar fault, is if the bottom plate is not put on the fire properly and it allows air into the ashpan area without control. Generally lifting up the lower cover and hitting the bottom plate with the poker does the job here. Again this problem only arises if you did not take enough care when putting the plate back on.

    Good practice is that the water supply to the radiator header tank is never turned off. This does mean that should the system spring a leak somewhere, it will continue to top up the system until you fault find and rectify. A domesday scenario could be a leak so bad that the system runs dry and the water jacket of the fire becomes empty. You will then run a great risk of cracking the casting of the fire if you burn the fire at a high rate.

    Chimney cleaning
    About 20 years ago I rebuilt the top of the chimney. 11 years ago I replaced the fire. We are fortunate in having a dead straight flue and on both occasions I was able to observe negligible carbon build up. Should you have a more traditional chimney with a bend, twist or ledge, where significant carbon deposits could build up, you will need to have your chimney swept. Please seek expert advice in this matter before drawing your conclusions.

    Re-sealing the front casting.
    Over a period of years the sealing compound between the front casting and the rest of the fire, breaks down. The evidence for this is that the fire continues to draw even when the thermostatically controlled flap is fully shut down. Evidence that this is happening is that, when left during the day, the fire burns at a faster rate than it should. Because this break-down in sealing efficiency takes place over months and years, this is a very gradual change to observe. Basically previously, one might go away and leave the fire for a week-end and come back Sunday night and it was still quite well loaded and ready to go. Once the sealing is poor, one comes back and the fire is burnt out. It is a messy job that takes a few hours but can easily be done with basic tools. Obviously the fire needs to be extinguished for you to do this safely so I elect to do this one week-end during the summer, when the fire is not on. Chipping the old sealant off the castings requires careful use of the hammer and chisel. I take it the modern sealant is more “health and safety” orientated and therefore lasts less time. Certainly the last pot of sealant we had only seems to last 3 years between re-applications.

    Lay up in April and re-start.
    When the fire is allowed to go out, every loose item is taken out an given a good cleaning. I wire brush off the excess carbon deposits and chip away rust if that is needed. I inspect and replace grate bars a necessary. New ones go to the outside and older ones move towards the centre. Finally I give the whole lot a very good soaking in WD40 to prevent it rusting during the summer. I always leave off the cover to the ash tray so that there can be a good draft up the chimney at all times so when it rains in the summer, the chimney will quickly dry out again. When restarting I take off the throat plate and remove any deposits that might have fallen down the chimney during the summer, before attempting to light the fire. Then it is just a question of using a bit of wood and paper and relighting the fire so that it can run for the next 6 months.

    Burning other objects
    If it is burnable, when put in a roaring fire it will burn. Our experience of burning wood in a Parkray 111 is not good. Chimney deposits build up along with those on the glass. The wood burns quickly and the fire needs to be reloaded several times a day to keep the water warm. If you want all that extra work for what appears to be no tangible gain, well good luck to you. Burning household waste is not allowed in smoke control zones.

    Finally
    I hope you found some of my advice helpful. If it was teaching you to such eggs I apologise. Our fire is a delight and always generates generous comment about its looks. Several visitors have been baffled to learn that it is burning coal! Some even suggest it must be some sort of magic coal/gas combo heater. All are totally baffled that we tend to it only once every day. I hope that by sharing this, you may get as much pleasure from your Parkray as my wife, my family and I have.
    • TC56 803 9
    • By TC56 803 9 23rd Apr 19, 9:00 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    TC56 803 9
    • #4
    • 23rd Apr 19, 9:00 AM
    • #4
    • 23rd Apr 19, 9:00 AM
    OK so at the year end and perhaps it would be useful to provide some facts for usage this winter. The last day I scrapped ice off the car windscreen was 11th April and by the 20th we were having an early heat wave !

    The coal fire was started on the 27 October which was 3 days earlier than last year and ran continuously without needing to be re-lit until the 18th April, which was 6 days later than the year before, making a total of 174 days as opposed to 165 for last year.

    During this time 1,752 kg (1,000kg is 1 ton) of coal were burnt making usage 10.07 kg per day or just over 1 bucket full.

    I paid a variety of prices for the coal having purchased 1 ton in the summer at a discounted rate against winter prices. The total price for the 2 tons puprchased was £656 but I still have more than half a bunker left so my cost for coal for this winter was £574.66 working out at £3.30 per day for heating.

    This year we never used the electric fan heater and we still have more than half of the single gas bottle we purchased for the gas fire. Undoubtedly we will use that in the comming weeks if there is a cold evening and then on colder early autumn evenings, so it would be approriate to add another £33 to the heating bill. No grate bars needed changing at the end of the year so, this year, there is zero cost there.

    The electric immersion did not run for any of those 174 days and there was always plenty of hot water.

    Apparently the calorific value of Stovesse, the smokeless fuel we burn, is 34,000 kJ/kg which means that energy usage for this period was 59,568,000 kJ which equates to 16,547 units or kWh.

    Reloading the fire and taking the ash is something that some people would class as a chore and the conveninece of gas or electricity being available at the flick of a switch might be somethign to be cherished. This summer I will put the brush set up the chimney and sweep it, which again, might seem an arcane activity to some but it really is quite easy.

    It is always a bit of a lottery who will be home first my wife or myself but always coming in and opening the door and the house being gently warm or waking up in the morning and the lounge and kitchen always being slightly warmed is something we both appreciate and that makes it practical for ourselves. But best - Friday, a dark, cold, wet night - early evening before evening meal, both kneeling down right in front of the fire as it roars, warming the room and house, talking about the events of the week and looking forward to the next two days, with a whiskey in hand. Not quite sure what price to put on that.
    Last edited by TC56 803 9; 24-04-2019 at 2:53 PM.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 23rd Apr 19, 9:43 AM
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    FreeBear
    • #5
    • 23rd Apr 19, 9:43 AM
    • #5
    • 23rd Apr 19, 9:43 AM
    One the subject of ash removal - Get yourself an ash carrier. Various sizes available from a number of sources. The cheap ones can be had for around £12.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
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