Problems Keeping Harman Stove Burning

Problems Keeping Harman Stove Burning

PostBy: frontier woman On: Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:30 am

Hi.. new to this site, but hope someone can help.. I purchased a Harmon coal stove and had it installed by a reputable dealer.. all I know from a neighbor who got me onto the idea of buying this to increase the affordability of heating my large home.. It starts off well, get a good hot fire going and then after a few hours, goes out during the night.. I shake the shaker, add a bit more coal, and then have trouble getting the fire to stay lit.. either burns too fast, or goes out.. it's been three years and I'm so disgusted... can't understand how my neighbor only shakes the shaker twice a day, as I have a bed of white ashes too thick, and when I shake, there isn't enough fire to keep it going.. the dealer told me to burn the wood I had, and just keep adding wood and alternating wood and coal.. sure this isn't right.. now I am wondering if it was installed in my fireplace correctly.. they cut my damper knob off. and just use the dial on the front of the stove to add or close off air.. in very small turns, and the fire still goes out.. can anyone please tell me what to do.. Nice if I could get this thing to work correctly.. It takes me at least two hours to get it going good, and by dinner at night, it's ready to start all over again.. do I have too much draft, or not enough? Help!!!!
frontier woman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harmon
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark II

Re: Baro damper?

PostBy: freetown fred On: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:16 am

FW,welcome to the FORUM--I have a Hitzer 50-93 heating a 2500 sq ft old farm house--I'm rated at 95,000 btu--she's hand fed w/ hopper---there are a few people on here w/ the harmon MK II that I'm sure will give you some ideas---something ain't right--but you didn't need ME to tell you that :( ---some pix of your set up would be real helpful--what type & size of chimney--is it good & clean--what type of coal are you useing---any kind of damper in pipe--I can't imagine anyone cutting anything off your set up--but again--I don't have your specific stove--I'll check here later to see how this is progressing--my curiosity is peaked---again,welcome----I'm surprised your neighbor hasen't come over & walked you through the process, if in fact they are burning coal---do you have an operators manual for the stove???
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: Baro damper?

PostBy: sterling40man On: Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:00 am

You should move your post to the hand fed section of the forum for better exposure. Maybe one of the MOD's can do it for you. Don't worry, there are plenty of members that will chime in and help you get that bad boy working to perfection. :)
sterling40man
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

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Re: Baro damper?

PostBy: titleist1 On: Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:25 am

Hang in there FrontierWoman, you'll get plenty of help here. I bet you will be much happier with your stove in short order following the suggestions provided here, I have seen it many times!

My first guess from the limited info is that you are pulling too much draft and may not be filling the firebox enough - these are the most common issues. With some back and forth discussion we'll get you dialed in!

A couple questions to start with...Do you have a baro damper and or manometer to measure your draft? I would suggest a manometer reading of .04 is a good place to start. How many turns out is the draft knob on the ash door? On my Mark III I usually run at 1-1/2 turns and the most I ever have run is probably 2-1/2 turns. How far up the firebrick are you filling the firebox with coal? After getting the initial fire going good, fill it to the top of the firebrick. What size coal are you burning (nut, pea, stove)?

Sounds like your neighbor has theirs humming along well, can they give some on-site help to get you going too?
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: Baro damper?

PostBy: Poconoeagle On: Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:46 am

Hey there FrontierWoman. Welcome. Dont worry, your disgust will fade and your smile will increase soon enough.

how bout a few pics of the set up. it sounds like the issue is a common one.

what size coal? is there a barometric dampner in the pipe.

initially, it sounds to me like your not filling up the stove enough and also shaking it to late. Dont worry, you will master it soon enough. 8-)
Poconoeagle
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Buckwalter & Co. , EFM520
Stove/Furnace Model: No. 28 Glenwood 1880, Alaska

Re: Baro damper?

PostBy: rberq On: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:21 pm

frontier woman wrote:I purchased a Harmon coal stove and had it installed by a reputable dealer ... the dealer told me to burn the wood I had, and just keep adding wood and alternating wood and coal ...

If he's reputable he would not be giving you advice like that, unless he misunderstood your question. Agreed, we need pictures. Is the pipe out of the stove sealed to the fireplace flue so no air can enter the flue without passing through the stove pipe? And you WILL want a barometric damper.

My first reaction was the same as Pocono's -- not filling up the stove enough and also shaking it too late. Even when you want only a little heat, you still need to fill the stove to its maximum, then control the heat output by how much air you let in. It is not like burning wood!
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Baro damper?

PostBy: Chuck_Steak On: Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:00 pm

You say you get a good hot fire going, so that tells me anyway, that you probably have enough draft.
When you say you add coal... are you adding enough to get the bed about as high as your firebricks?
And is the coal covering the whole area of your grates?
It's important to:
1)Have the entire surface are of the grates covered..
The air flow will take the path of least resisitance, so if you have grates
showing, the air will flow through those areas, rather than through the coal.
2)Have the mound of coal as high as your bricks..
3)Don't expect your air intake adjustments to react right off.
4)Like titleist says, try about 1-1/2 turns on your air intake.
If your stove does work okay, that should make it pretty warm!
Maybe pick up a magnetic thermometer to put on the side
of your stove. Then you can report what your temps are,
that might help too.

When you first start your stove, you are going to probably use a bag at least
to get your coal bed established. (40-50 lbs. if you are using bulk).
Is that about what you are using?
Chuck_Steak
 
Coal Size/Type: mostly nut, sometimes stove, Santa brand
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark III

Re: Problems Keeping Harman Stove Burning

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:57 pm

You should move your post to the hand fed section of the forum for better exposure. Maybe one of the MOD's can do it for you.


Request granted!!!
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Problems Keeping Harman Stove Burning

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:50 am

Welcome to the forum! I have a Mark II. It sounds to me like you have a combination problem of too much air and not enough coal. Once your wood fire is established, slowly add coal one layer at a time. Don't add anymore until the layer is burning well. It will take time so plan to spend the day. A coal fire burns from the bottom up, that's why the ash can block the air. Coal likes a deep bed of fuel which is why you want to fill the stove to the top of the fire bricks - slope it down from back to front. With the Mark II you should plan on using 40 to 50 pds of coal just to get the fire bed established. Once it's burning well you shouldn't need to open the air value more then 1 or 1/4 turns to produce a fire capable of producing an average room temperature of 70* or more.

One thing to remember is that since coal burns from the bottom up a coal fire may often look as if it is dead. In that case, you may be tempted to open the air intake so that the fire is producing flames. Trust me, although it looks dead the fire is burning deep in the bed. Do you have any thermometers on your stove? That's how you can tell the fire is burning although it looks dead. At 1 turn a stove front thermometer should be reading around 250* or 300*. If that number falls, the fire is going out and you need to take action to stop it. A quick shake and opening the ash door for a minute or two will do the job. Then add more coal. If the stove front temp is higher then that you will be baking. If need be adjust your air intake value up or down. NEVER LEAVE THE ROOM WITH THE ASH DOOR OPEN. Get a timer and set it every time you are working with the open door. I have one I wear around my neck. It's saved me from over firing the stove many times. A second thermometer on the exit pipe can tell you how much heat you are losing up your chimney.

The art of firing a hand fed coal stove is learning the ratio of air intake to coal so that you produce the desired room temperatures. This balance takes time to learn. Once you learn that you will be tending your stove twice a day just like your neighbors. Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

Re: Problems Keeping Harman Stove Burning

PostBy: sterling40man On: Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:47 am

Wood'nCoal wrote:Request granted!!!


You da man!! :D Hopefully she sees the new posts.
sterling40man
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: Problems Keeping Harman Stove Burning

PostBy: jpete On: Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:46 am

I'm getting the impression you don't have a barometric damper. Getting one will make your life about a million times easier.

I have a Mk I and I can burn everything from pea to stove coal in it quite easily.

Even in the warmer weather, it will idle for 24 hours no problem.

Pictures will be great. We'll get you straightened out in no time. :D
jpete
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk II
Coal Size/Type: Stove, Nut, Pea
Other Heating: Dino juice

Re: Problems Keeping Harman Stove Burning

PostBy: freetown fred On: Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:38 pm

Is it me--or does F.W. seem to have dissappeared---hope she's OK :|
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: Problems Keeping Harman Stove Burning

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:41 pm

Maybe we scared her. Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

Re: Problems Keeping Harman Stove Burning

PostBy: freetown fred On: Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:49 pm

Jeeze,I hope not Lisa--there's some good info on this post :)
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: Problems Keeping Harman Stove Burning

PostBy: franco b On: Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:30 pm

Exhausting into a large fireplace chimney on an outside wall could also account for the burn problems mentioned. Hot starting fire with wood --good draft --coal ignites and burns hot--still good draft. Air turned down to maintain a lower heat output and draft and fire slowly die. The problem could easily be poor draft from oversize cold chimney.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

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