The last few days I noticed the center section of my firebox was not dropping any embers down on shaking down, so I knew there must be a large mass of fused clinker blocking things. I got a good lively fire going first
...& then dug down to the shaker grates with my poker, twisted it & lifted out a large mass of fused together dead coal/clinker that was blocking the middle of my firebox. With the high stove temps last month, I suggest that you may want to check & see if you have the same problem. (If you aren't getting good embers uniformly across the whole grate, prod down & lift up with your poker. If a large part of the fire bed comes up, you have a large..dead mass to get rid of.....Just work it up & out & you'll be good as new!
Again....Make sure you only do this AFTER you have a lively fire going with the ash door open or you'll kill your fire.
Whatever space that dead mass was taking up is valuable firebox real estate that is robbing your stove of some heat output, so your stove will heat better after the surgical ..."Klinkerectemy!"
I ended up doing a pretty thorough cleaning out of the whole stove, which took me about 45 minutes but now my entire fire is lively again with a bright orange glow to the whole ash pan. I consider it my early spring cleaning & I guess I could have just shut down, cleaned out & restarted in myabe another 45 minutes or so. I hate doing that though *& this accomplishes the same thing in less time, less mess, less wasted coal & still let's me retain my "One Match Per Season" rating!