ohiocoalburner wrote:Trial and error sounds like the best plan. Actually that is half the fun of burning anthracite, playing around with the stove until you get it right! I'm sure you will find a happy medium between coal use and temperature. The ash pan spinners will give you alot better draft control than I have using only the combustion fan damper. To be honest, since I got the stove running well this year I have made very few changes to it other than just tweaking the amount of draft to compensate for outside temperature. I just shake it twice a day and add coal I really have no special procedure for the first 48 hours either, it is no different than starting any other stove. I use match lite charcoal with a small amount of coal sprinkled on it. I get a good, strong fire going with the charcoal and look for yelllow flames from the coal. A lot of draft will help keep everything moving along. I add more coal and when I see it start burning add some more. Keep going until your up to the top of the firebrick, then cut the draft down to where your going to want it to run at. Shouldn't take more than an hour from start to finish.
It sounds like you have made a great amount of progress so far, much more than the first time I tried to burn anthracite in mine. I had used my Brunco for around 15 years with wood and a little bituminous coal (Which was a smokey,smelly mess!), but had friends tell me about the virtues of anthracite. I tried several times to burn it in the Brunco with absolutely zero luck. I was firmly convinced that the stove just would not burn anthracite no matter what Brunco said. After some of my children grew up and left home, I had less of a need to heat the downstairs of my house so I bought a Hitzer 503 insert for my fireplace to heat just the upstairs area. I got a few years coal burning under my belt with the Hitzer and really enjoyed using it, but this year one of my kids needed to move back in with us. I started looking at another stove to replace the Brunco, but thought I would give the Brunco one more try on anthracite (I'm really just cheap and didn't want to spend the money on a new stove). To my suprise it worked fine! I have been using it all winter and am planning on using it from now on, or at least until my daughter decides to move out again. A little experience and help from this wonderful forum (which I didn't know about the last time I tried) and you should be able to get back spending time with your wife in no time.
"The ash pan spinners will give you alot better draft control than I have using only the combustion fan damper." How does that control the draft? You might as well crack open the ashpan door. The brunco's design flaw is their pre historic thermastat that takes forever to turn on and off. The draft blower should be turning on and off to keep the fire where you need it. This is why I install the switching relay so I control the fire with a digital thermostat. With spinners in the ashpan door and the huge firebox be prepared to buy a lot of coal.