I've practically memorized this website with its great hints for burning coal. Here's our problem: We cannot keep our Vigilant 2310 burning more than 4 hours unattended before it goes out. I realize that air flow is key to keeping the fire going, but even with diligent slicing, shaking, and ash pan-emptying, including through the night, we restart the fire at least once a day. And I'm not a novice; 30 years ago I had a VC Resolute (smaller than Vigilant, with a removable coal hopper and dual coal/wood burning capability). Keeping it burning was a snap, and that's why I fell for another Vermont Castings coal stove. The new Vigilant, however, is a different critter. It's a filthy mess of ashes and coal dust and we are SO SORRY we bought it instead of a "real" coal stove. We are constantly struggling to keep it burning. When the stove is really cooking, the livingroom becomes an unbearable 90 degrees, even with a ceiling fan and floor fan going to push the warm air around, while the back of the house needs space heaters (we are a 1-floor 1,000 sq.ft. rancher). Other times, the great burn (lots of red coals and a nice blue flame) disappears shortly after we try to do something around the house besides mind the stove, and the fire is out. Again. We have experimented with both pea and nut coal; Kimmel's is the brand we use, and we burn 50 lbs. a day minimum in cold weather. There is a prodigious amount of ash, which builds up quickly on the grates despite our constant maintenance--and I do mean constant. Nut coal is particularly bad, because the size of the chunks (salt-shaker size) means the waste chunks can't fit through the grates and they block the air flow within an hour or so. If we don't mind the stove, we lose the fire. Pea coal is almost as bad, but at least the leftover clinkers can make it through the grates for better air flow. We have adjusted the damper and the temperature gizmo as we try to build up and maintain the fire, but they have little effect. After a couple of hours, we have no heat. This stinks--and I feel like a chump for wasting $1,600 on this dratted stove. We've used about 1.5 tons basically to overheat heat our livingroom. Any suggestions? We really need some help. Also, there's an odd little handle on the left rear side of the stove for what is labeled "air control" on the exploded diagram in the manual, but the manual doesn't contain a word about what this thing is for. We're tried it open and closed, but it doesn't seem to do anything. Can anyone explain this? Thanks!