I decided to burn a few loads of wood this morning. [Dec.23rd] I had let the fire go out yesterday because of the 50* weather and I wanted to clean out the firebox.
I have been burning a mix of Anthracite and Bituminous coal. So I cleaned out the few clinkers from the Bituminous coal, [see the 'clinkers' thread] and decided to fire it back up.
I use a hot wood fire to start my coal, once that was going, I decided to burn a hot wood fire instead of coal to bring the water up to temperature. So I loaded an armload of split red and white oak on the fire.
I had forgotten how fast wood burns!! I put the equivalent in bulk of 80# of coal on the fire, I had a 2'x2'x18" cube of wood. Not much air space, I wanted to leave it alone to burn. I went inside to wrap presents, and an hour and half later decided to take a look at the fire, IT WAS BURNT OUT!! I couldn't believe it.!! I remember going through lots of wood before, but this was a shock.
I had enough coals to scoop up with a couple of 1/4 splits and start the fire up again. I loaded the same quantity of wood to keep the water hot, and went back in one hour, to find only coals remaining. I tossed on about 25# of coal, came back in another hour, and the coal looked like it had just got going. I added another 6-8" of coal and am leaving for the evening, I'm sure I will have a good deep coal fire when I get home in 6 hours.
I'm sure glad I have a good stockpile of coal, I'd be burning two or three face-cords of wood each week to equal the ~500# of coal I burn in a week.
The wood is virtually free, just labor and a little chainsaw fuel and maintenance, but I'm sure glad I am burning coal instead!!
Merry Christmas to all!