Hitzer 503 Restrictor Results Thus Far

Hitzer 503 restrictor results thus far

PostBy: davemich On: Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:07 am

I have a Hitzer 503 insert and since there is no baro option on these stoves due to its design, I heard of a restrictor you could order from another user here on the site that attaches to the nipple leading out of the back of the stove where the SS liner attaches. I bought one for $10 from Hitzer and installed it and lit a fire for the first time in 3 weeks...the temperature outside finally fell below 40 for a high here in Michigan. Well immediately I could tell that the draft was amped down considerably...which is what I wanted. I also noticed that the stove temp is higher thus the efficiency is up...more heat going into the house and so far, it looks as if my coal consumption is way down...I only burned thru the night last night but so far is seems that the burn I normally see is less. Instead of the heat going up the chimney this restrictor seems to be holding it back for additional circulation in the firebox allowing the blowers to kick the heat into the house. Along with the lower coal consumption it is like I have a new stove!! Its 36 here this morning and I have 2 windows open and its 78 in the room where the insert is and still in the mid 70's in the perimeter rooms. It will be interesting to see what the performance is like when it get really cold. I wonder if that will happen this year???

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PostBy: Charlie Z On: Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:48 pm

Dave, I have a 1300sq' 2 story, L-shaped house that's half renovated (insulated). The fireplace is in the middle of one of the legs of the L on the 1st flr and the stairs are where they meet.

Do you think the 503 will blow us out of the 1st flr or can we damp it down and just make the burn last longer? It sounds like a great rig.

- Charlie
Charlie Z
Stove/Furnace Make: Coalbrookdale
Stove/Furnace Model: Darby

PostBy: davemich On: Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:20 am

Charlie, I say go for it. You can damp it down and if need be like we do...open a few windows. Its nice to get fresh air in the house anyway! Let me know what you guys do...Dave

PostBy: bigdog On: Tue Dec 26, 2006 3:35 pm

Hi Dave,

I have a hitzer 50-93. I was wondering with yours being an insert can you get the restrictor out easily?

I am in mid Michigan and with the tempurature fluctuations I have found if I don't shake my grates the stove will keep burning but at much lower temps. We don't even have to open the windows! I've gone for up to two days on 40 lbs. of coal this fall. It works well for us because then you still have the heat at night when it cools off. :)


PostBy: Charlie Z On: Tue Dec 26, 2006 3:47 pm

Dave, I'm wondering about the length of 'burning season' here. As I recall, you basically start and end when the daytime gets to be >50*, it being a pain to restart every night?

I figure it's going to be a month or 2 to order and install all this stuff and I'll be into Wx too warm to use it! (Then, I'll have to grimly stare at until November in anticipation. Right?).

Thanks for your comments. - Charlie
Charlie Z
Stove/Furnace Make: Coalbrookdale
Stove/Furnace Model: Darby

PostBy: davemich On: Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:43 pm

Dog, I can easily get at the restrictor plate in the back of my stove...no problem at all. I also shake the grates only once a day and it does keep the stove stifled to a point with ash but I still get about a 200-250 degree stove top temp. When I shake once a day, I get about 40 lbs/day...not the 2 days your stove gets! That pretty good efficiency for your stove.

Charlie, I only burn when the daytime temps average below 40 as it get way to hot in the house. The way its going this season thus far...it looks like a ton vs 2 ton year for me...Dave

PostBy: Charlie Z On: Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:22 am

Dave, I spoke with the lady at Hitzer yesterday and we discussed the 983 vs. 503.

She mentioned that the 983 has a huge firebox (3.5 cuft), which obviously shows consideration for woodburning. I don't believe that it is an "EPA" woodstove, but it obviously can do it pretty well. It has been made for 13 years and looks like it was designed as a coal/wood combo stove. They're in IN, so I can imagine that wood would be a good back pocket option. From the limited amount of info available, it also looks like it takes a little bit more experience to burn it well - compromise quirkiness.

Your 503 is a new design. (I found that the old hitzer website is still online and its not mentioned.) The lady mentioned that the 503 can burn wood if you remove the hopper, but it has a very small firebox so it's borderline practical. It is done. Does that idea look reasonable to you for the May-Oct time? I'd like to be able to take the chill out w/o going to dino fuel.

(My apologies for the newbie Q's and hijack, but once you consider coal, it's a slippery slope. "Why don't we just get a stoker furnace?" You're pulled in trying to fill a fireplace/windtunnel with something useful and wind up shovelling coal in the basement.) -Charlie

PS - Just to end on topic, I'll get the restrictor if we get the 503. :P
Charlie Z
Stove/Furnace Make: Coalbrookdale
Stove/Furnace Model: Darby

PostBy: davemich On: Wed Dec 27, 2006 2:48 pm

Charlie, either way you go you will be happy I believe. The 503 can burn would like they said with the hopper removed. The hopper is Definitely a fantastic design with relatively little tending of the fire once up and going. The 983 has the requirement of shoveling if you are burning coal and keeping it maintained. Not a problem if that fits into your day. I believe that the 983 also has a little more BTU punch due to the firebox size compared with the 503 so if your SF needs are there, then that one would fit the bill. Good luck on your purchase and keep me posted...Dave

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PostBy: Cap On: Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:22 pm

Dave and others. I still cannot understand the need for a baro damper or a restricting connector in the flue piping if you have a hand fired stove.

I wrapped alum foil around my baro and strapped it tight using a gum band. I use the ash door damper ( aka. throttle ) to control my air intake. A few hours after I load her, I realize a great consistent burn. My stack temps run about 40-50F warmer than the hot air out to the room. And this is with my firebox reduced 50%.

Stack temps will run at 200- 210F
Warm air 140-150F

With the baro leaking draft into my flue, I have a harder time maintaining a consistent burn. When I was using the baro earlier this season and last season, I had my ash door damper open at least 1 additional turn. This tells me I was compensating for the air the baro was pulling.

Also, I believe the baro was a primary reason why I have trouble burning on warmer or damp days.

Does any of this make sense or don't I get it? Fire away.
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:28 pm

Yes, it makes sense.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

PostBy: EasyRay On: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:37 pm

Those are just about the same numbers I get with my Harman TLC 2000. In warm weather I usually keep the stack pipe around 120* but when it gets cooler I jump the stack up to about 200*. We've only had a few 20* nights here and it was more than enough.
I do not use a damper of any kind. I strictly regulate the stove through the bottom air and I can still burn even if the weather is 70* out side.

I hate to restart!

Sorry for hijacking you post Dave.

Regards, Ray
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman TLC 2000
Coal Size/Type: Pea,Nut or Stove

Hitzer 503 restrictor results

PostBy: hgmd1 On: Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:16 am

I am glad you restrictor plate is working so well. To everyone else let me try to explain what was happening in our 503 inserts. Last year my stove never got hot. I could always touch the top of it. Decreasing the amount of air coming in at the bottom just had even less heat output. Without the restrictor plate most of the heat was just going up the chimney especially if you tried to get more heat by opening the inlets on the bottom of the stove. With the 983 insert there is a damper built in but it is not present on the 503 because of the hopper. When Hitzer made the damper for me to place behind the hopper my heat output dramatically increased. My stove has been as hot as 400 degrees F. It is not the same insert I had last year. I had been thinking about getting a second stove after last year but I will not need it. I am heating 3400 sf in a 2 level colonial with this stove (65,000 btu) and I suspect it will work down to about 5 degrees F. For those rare nights I can supplement with some gas. I am also going to add some insulated vinyl siding in the next year or 2 with some tyvek as the original aluminum siding is 37 years old.
There are 3 messages here
1) You can lose a lot of heat up the chimney
2) With a fireplace insert you do not have the ability to diagnose the same problems as with a stove as you do not have access to the stack to measure temperature or air movement.
3) If you have an excellent chimney with a lot of draft ( and want a fireplace inset)you might be better off with the 983 as you can control the damper and draft
Other than the Hitzer 983 I don't know of a coal foreplace insert with a damper
Overall Hitzer makes an excellent fireplace insert and their service to me has been superb.

PostBy: davemich On: Thu Dec 28, 2006 5:55 am

My issue for getting the restrictor initially was to see if I could get a more efficient use of the insert from a coal standpoint. I seemed to be burning more coal than what I should. My draft is too good. I could hear it when I got a fire started. I mean it would roar! I know some of that is expected but without a draft meter, my assumption was that it was excess. I never had a situation like HG's where I could touch the stove after ignition...no way. My stove got hot but I notice now that with the same settings, its getting hotter than before. Now I realize outside temps have a lot to do when comparing before and after but I will keep an eye on that. Maybe its all in my head but Hitzer built these simple plates to do just that...cut back on the draft if the situation warranted it. They have only sent out about 3 or 4 of these so they asked me to report my results back to them.

PostBy: Cap On: Thu Dec 28, 2006 7:27 am

I think I have a better understanding now after reading HGM's explanation.

On this Harman free standing unit I am using, I can't dare touch the steel near the firebox or even the touch the top for more than 1 second while she is fired up, at 50%. I have a probe in the firebox, it registers 750F. I guess it is all in the design of the stove. The Harman with a internal heat exchanger and accurate hand damper on the ash door holds the heat longer in the stove before dispatching the exhaust into the flue, thus less need for a baro unit for a typical cold day.

But the Hitzer insert sure is a sharp looking unit. If I had a fireplace, I'd probably have one too.

It's 25F this morning here in PA. Guess I am leaving the motorbike home today. Too bad, it's been a nice changeup lately.
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator

PostBy: EasyRay On: Thu Dec 28, 2006 10:45 am

I guess this shows everyone, including myself, that no two stoves or situations are exactly alike. There are to many factors involved. The most important of which, is to be able to solve individual problems. Its like having a general guide, but tweaking each individual situation.

I have been using hand fired coal stoves for 35 plus years, but always in the same house so my situation has remained the same. I just change stoves.

To bad Hitzer doesn't include a restrictor plate for the 503 as an option, and explain when and why it might be needed in their manual. But then again, thats what this forum was designed for.

Regards, Ray
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman TLC 2000
Coal Size/Type: Pea,Nut or Stove

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