Fuel Waste. Leaks or wastes of steam or hot "water are always a direct drain upon the coal pile from which no benefit is received. The different ways in which steam is wasted, which were considered under Steam Waste, constitute a loss of fuel. The presence of scale on the heating surface of the boiler reduces the amount of heat which could otherwise be transmitted, thus requiring more coal to be burned, which is a waste of fuel. There are other large wastes of fuel in which steam plays no part, such as the generation of smoke and carbon monoxide, the emission of sparks, and the loss of coal which never enters the fire door.
Waste from Smoke. Of all the losses attending the firing of bituminous coal that due to the generation of smoke attracts the most attention since it is so readily seen because of its color. When such coal is thrown into a hot furnace the lighter hydrocarbons are distilled off first, and if an insufficient supply of oxygen is furnished to completely burn them, smoke will be observed coming from the stack. The actual heat loss in carbon contained in the smoke is small as compared to that in the carbon monoxide gas formed. Both of these losses are due to an insufficient supply of oxygen furnished by the air. The presence of smoke indicates a shortage of air and for this reason is a valuable guide to efficient firing. The temperature must be maintained sufficiently high to burn the gases as they are driven off the coal. No part of the fire-box should be permitted to become chilled, and in order to maintain a uniform temperature over the entire surface of the fire, the coal must be evenly distributed. To insure rapid burning, the large pieces of coal should be broken up so as to present a more nearly uniform size. An alert and efficient fireman will endeavor to take advantage of the physical characteristics of the road and will fire lightly and regularly, keeping the fire door slightly open for a few seconds, if necessary, to admit sufficient air to burn the lighter gases which are driven off. The steam gage should be constantly watched and the supply of air regulated as far as possible by the dampers. Much good will result from the engineer co-operating with the fireman in handling the locomotive in an intelligent, manner and informing him from time to time of his intended movements.
Waste from Sparks. The loss in cinders and small pieces of coal being ejected through the stack is quite large. In extreme cases it may reach 10 or 15 per cent of the total weight of the coal fired. The heating value of these sparks, as they are usually termed, varies between 70 and 90 per cent of the coal as at first fired. Sparks are not only wasteful of coal but are very dangerous to property in the immediate vicinity of the track. For these reasons the fireman should endeavor at all times to handle his fire in such a manner as to minimize the amount of sparks formed, and the netting in the front end should be kept in constant repair to prevent large holes from forming which would permit large quantities of sparks to be thrown out.
Table of Contents; Page 175; Page 177; Index