Help me optimize my coal burning.

PostBy: jpen1 On: Fri Dec 22, 2006 8:17 pm

I agree with blue duck I just in stalled my channing last week. It is a bottom vent and I have a 30' chimney. My pipe temp barley hits 200 degrees on the surface with a full burn. At normal burning when the thermo calls for heat I only get about 150 degrees at my mid point burn. At idle it about 100 degrees. When I looked at stoves in Alaska's home store showroom the top vent pipe were about twice as hot as the bottom vent on a power venter. They claim the bottom vent is 10% to 15% more efficient.
Stoker Coal Boiler: LL110
Coal Size/Type: Rice/ Buck
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler

PostBy: Philippe23 On: Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:23 pm

Typical ash from my ash bin.

I also picked up a pair of thermometers from Home Depot tonight. Stove's set at 4, and I'm getting 200° on the stack, and 475° on the stove. How's that sound?
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing III
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III

PostBy: LsFarm On: Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:23 pm

Hello Phillippe. I'm not sure about the required spacing to combustable surfaces. I believe there is a plaque on the back of the stove with those requirements.

An inch or more of foamboard will make a big difference in heat loss to the concrete and outdoors. I would also insulate the joist ends where they meet the outside of the house. [the joist bond].

In the photo the fire appears to be really going well, you should have lots of heat. The ash looks like there is no unburnt coal.

A neat tool for diagnosing these problems is a laser thermometer. has them for $40 the last time I looked. Napa autoparts stores have them too, but usually higher priced.

Your flue temps are reasonable, and your heat output is good, I'd concentrate on insulation for the basement.

Have a safe Christmas weekend!

Greg L
Last edited by LsFarm on Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: mjwood0 On: Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:45 pm

Leisure Line wrote:MJ,
If you have a power vent from Leisure Line, then it doesn't have a damper in the venter. That has been removed. It's only to be use for oil or gas. You will find that the damper is a trap for fly ash. The barometric is a very simple device, with a power vented LLS the baro should be set on 3 or 4 and the venter rheostat turn up or down enough to hold the baro open about 3/4" to 1 1/2 (at the bottom of the gate). I don't know what Alaska calls for, but it would be best to talk to them. Also, Phil23, I'm not sure of Alaska stove clearances on the smoke pipe, but national code calls for 18" of air space from the top of the smoke pipe to a combustable, just a word of advice because of insurance.


Thanks for that info. From the sounds of it, I've got everything setup perfect. I got my power vent with my Leisure Line Econo, but i do think it still has the damper (at least it has the damper adjustment screw and everything.)

I'll leave it as it is for now and see how it goes. I seem to be burning about what I would expect so I'm not overly concerned.
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Econo

PostBy: mjwood0 On: Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:05 am

Philippe23 wrote:Stove's set at 4, and I'm getting 200° on the stack, and 475° on the stove. How's that sound?

Sounds good. Looks like you're putting out plenty of heat. I would make sure that you have proper air flow and that you're not just soaking heat into concrete and out the walls.

For all the warm air that goes up the stairs or through the floor, you need to have a way for air to return to the basement. Getting proper air flow can be very difficult, especially if you don't know exactly which way you want the air to flow. Easiest way I've found is with a candle.

Good luck! Sounds like you are on the right track.
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Econo

PostBy: jimbo970 On: Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:24 am


I had similar problems with my mag before I used the duct option to send the hot air to 1st floor. the basment would be warmish-hot but that was it no air was getting to the upstairs instead was being sucked off from the stone walls in the basement. Since I ducted the stove to one register above the 1st floor stays about 70 and the upstairs & attic stay about 65. I have had the stove at 4 dots - 3 min feed - 15 0ff - distribution 24\7 and combustion 24\7 set at 1\3 opening. My barro is connected from the stove collar and I actually have 71\2 more feet of pipe from the barro angled upward to my chimney thimble that is in my utility room. ( I have a 35 ft masonry chimney with clay liner) This seems to be working well so far. I do not use the thermostat option may look into the coaltrol at some point when someone posts their experience with the mag stoker or that it works better than the control box that comes with the mag ( btw - if anyone knows what is the cost of the coaltrol)

PostBy: mjwood0 On: Sun Dec 24, 2006 2:58 pm

I have no idea of the cost of the coal-trol as mine came with my Leisure Line Econo. I will say that it's the best system I can think of. I just add coal and remove ashes. Really simple. I can't believe that burning anything but oil / propane is so easy!
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Econo


PostBy: Philippe23 On: Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:15 am

Back from a vacation. Sorry about the delay in response.

I moved the barometric damper up two feet, and the stack temp dropped about 40° (20%). That's pretty good and for barely any work. :P

Yesterday we insulated around the area where the ceiling joists meet the outside walls. We'll see how that helps once we get the weather to fall below freezing again.

Jerry pointed out that my horizontal stack is too close to the ceiling. Although those pictures (the wide-angle lens) makes it look much worse, I did find that national code is 3x the diameter of your pipe. As that black pipe is 6", I should have 18" of clearance, but I only have 12". The Alaska manual (and the sticker on the back of the stove) says I only needed 6" actually -- I though I was being safe with 2x that, but I guess not. Since I only need 3x the diameter, and the power-vent's pipe is just 4" -- it'll be easier to replace the horizontal pipe (and the elbow) with 4" pipe. But I'm going to head down to the town hall and make sure there isn't any local code that I need to worry about before I actually do anything.
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing III
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:53 am

You can put a piece of sheetmetal 1" from any combustible surface to deflect the heat. The real problem is over time the wood continues to dry more and more reducing it's flash point over the years. Wood exposed to high temperatures for years could catch on fire at a fairly low temp.

I probably play around to much with my toy I know but I have had my stack well over 1200F a few times. Anthracite can make very high temps and it is best to play it safe, 18" minimum no matter what the size stack.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

PostBy: jpen1 On: Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:52 pm

Alaska Stove Company home store sells pipe guards which from what they tell me and my Ins. Co. tells me cuts the distance to combustibles in half. I don't remember the cost but they weren't expensive. All the guards consist of is half section of 8" stove pipe which attaches to your 6" pipe. It gives you a 1" airspace between the pipe and the guard, which reflects the heat away from the wall and reduces the amout of clearance needed to meet national insurance code.
Stoker Coal Boiler: LL110
Coal Size/Type: Rice/ Buck
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: 110 Boiler


PostBy: Philippe23 On: Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:58 pm

Found Links to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code pages I found before:

Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing III
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III

PostBy: Yanche On: Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:16 pm

A word of caution about the referenced links. NFPA 211 is indeed the reference document for installing solid fuel appliances. This document is a dynamic document and updated periodically. The current release date for NFPA 211 2006. All other older versions are obsolete. Most building codes, local and national, reference 211 and make its requirements mandatory. In addition insurance companies have an out if you have flagrant code violations. The best source for NFPA documents is the official National Fire Protection Association web site. See:
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.
You cannot download the document for free. You can however view the complete document for free. Printing what you are viewing is locked out. As with all technical documents it has a lingo of its own. A chimney is called a "vent" and a stovepipe is called a "connector". The "chimney" is the outside outside part of the structure that holds a vent. Coal is classified a solid fuel and is lumped in with wood, pellets, etc. As we all know wood fueled chimney fires are too common. Many of the NFPA 211 recommendations for solid fuel appliances are based on the characteristics of wood burning and fire marshals analysis of real fires. In my opinion some of the requirements are overkill for coal fuel appliances. Follow the current NFPA and you will have a safe installation.

Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

PostBy: Matthaus On: Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:24 pm

Also one more word of advice regarding NFPA regulations and implementation. The "Authority Having Jurisdiction" (your local Fire Marshall) is the final word in interpretation. A review of your planned installation with this person is always a good idea. :)
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite


PostBy: stoveman On: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:59 am

set up with a draft meter is highly recomened, what size width is the grate that tells about what btu,s it will put out.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Efm,keystoker,leisure line
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman,keystoker,Efm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker, leisure line, EFM
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman,keystoker,leisure line ,reading,hitzer
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman, keystoker, hitzer
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: EFM, keystoker, harman
Other Heating: Wood,pellet,gas,electric
Stove/Furnace Make: all makes