ChuckV309 wrote:The starting pile is about 2 feet thick and I am left with about 2-3" of decient coals.
What is the time frame for that result?
Can you check the temp. of the furnace itself when the pipe drops to 250°? If you find there isn't much difference between stove pipe and furnace temp. then I think the heat's going up the flue.
What does the fire look like after about 2 hours after you loaded up? If all the coal has settled and completely glowing bright to the point that it's kinda hurts your eyes to look at it then it's burning too hot too fast.
I know you said the fire goes out if you try to close off the air anymore but just be sure the fire is revved up enough before limiting air supply and it shouldn't go out. Just gotta keep experimenting with air control.