hello from an expat coal-burning newbie (so please-go easy!),
my wife and I are heating our second story house with an antique stove. no glass, just two cast iron doors and a shell of cast iron and ceramic tile. the guts are cast-iron and the firebox is firebrick or rock and mortar. we've had an unusually cold winter this year, and really been putting the oven through its paces. we burn scrap wood that we've cleaned out from the property and have drying in a covered stack outside and brown/lignite coal briquettes (i know, not anthracite or bituminous!). brown coal is crushed, cleaned in a crude coking type process if my german serves me correctly, and than pressed into briquettes without binders. during this cold spell, we most-likely over-fired our stove and now the pipe damper isn't functioning correctly. Could it have been the heat? burning scrap wood leaves a residue on the damper?
i'm just an idiot photographer, but my gut is telling me the high heat was the culprit. without having disassembled it, it looks like the damper handle is a pin which would pass straight through the flapper. different masses expand and contract differently via heat and cold. if the mass of the flapper is different than the handle/pin, than they would expand and contract differently, thus causing warping, correct?
as for the safe working of the stove, even though the damper doesn't function correctly (open in the "closed" position or half-way between open and closed), i know i am getting a decent draft when:
1. smoke doesn't enter the room when i burn wood
2. both stove doors are closed, the air vent is opened all the way, and i fiddle the stove pipe damper until i hear a good roar in the firebox.
we have a co detector near the stove close to the floor. i don't want to tackle a repair job during the heating season if need be. we are in the process of renovating the entire house, and what seems not so problematic in the beginning, turns into an open can of worms.
for those interested, the kacheloven works like a champ. from a 1hr burn of wood, it heats beautifully for 12-18 hours. throw a couple of brown coal briquettes on the fire, and you've got good coal embers to get the wood fire going again. our wamsler oil stove, that is another story...
thanks for any help!!