I just bought my first home earlier this year and it is equipped with both a forced-air oil furnace (Thermopride) as well as a supplementary Wood/Coal Stove (Thermopride WC something). Long story short, the oil furnace had some issues and we called for service and felt we were ripped off...We decided that burning wood or coal would be more economical and in the worst case scenario we could kill the blower and warm the house through gravity feed. We burnt our way through a face cord of wood and then started buying coal by the bag-full at the hardware store. I do have a few issues though that I'm hoping someone can offer some insight on.
This particular furnace has a servo-motor of some sort hooked to a series of pulleys and chains to control the under-fire air feed as well as the flue. The chain for the under-fire door never seemed to work quite right so I try to manually adjust it by wedging something in the door to keep it open to some extent. I have a heck of a time getting the coal fire burning, but once I do it is BLAZING.
I had a much easier time getting it going when I have some wood-fuel, so my costs have been soaring because nearly everytime I stock up on coal I end up buying those $5 packs of wood to assist in getting her going...which wouldn't be a big deal if I could keep her going
and that's part 2.
I will usually wedge the under-fire hatch open and get a little fire going and start adding coal little by little until I have the bed built up all the way. I might get flamed for doing this, but sometimes I run a fan to pump air into said vent. If I'm really wrong for doing this, please let me know...like I said, never owned a home before, never had to worry about any of this stuff.
I have two over-fire ports that I unscrew almost all of the way. Again, once she's going and I open up the feed-door, it's like peering into hell. I get blasted by hot air and my air vents off of the furnace are uncomfortably HOT to the touch. These are all good things in my book.
Problem is, by the morning it's usually quite chilly in the house and the coal is usually dead. There may be some traces of red in the bed, but it's usually not anything that I can work with, without starting from scratch. I know what you might be thinking...If you leave that bottom door cranked open all the way than it's going to burn up all of the coal quicker...But here's the strange thing, I end up with big clumps of white coal and even other crap that looks like it could be bone material or something...I'll snap a picture if it will help any. I kind of figured maybe the coal melted together or something...I just read online today that the newer furnaces produce around 4 lbs. of ash per 40 lbs. bag of coal. I can actually sift out about half of a bucket full of SOLIDS from my ash. Yes some of the stuff is gnarley looking but I'm figuring it's still got some heat trapped inside. In any case, any help with what I should be doing / could be doing to maintain the coal bed better and make this economical and not so much of a pain in the butt would be a great help.