Shaking Down & Poking From Top

Shaking Down & Poking From Top

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:06 pm

I have been burning coal as my main heating source here in Massachusetts for many years & presently own a Harman TLC2000 which I love. After the coal fire has been running for a few days, I have always found I needed to lightly tamp down the bed of coals/ash from the top in order for it to shake down properly. I guess (if I remember my early readings on the subject of running a coal stove properly) that simply shaking the fire down with the shaker grate tool should be enough but, other than with a new, fire I find that it needs a little poking. Any thoughts?
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:16 pm

You really should not poke at an anthracite fire, but I have experienced what you describe. I believe you are talking about bridging, where the mass of coals does not settle after shaking and you need to knock the fire around to get the base of it to settle on the grate. Not sure what the issues are, but only experienced it when I first started to burn coal. I believe part of it is caused because of the taper in some fireboxes is a little to extreme. It could be from overfiring perhaps, are you getting a lot of fused ash?
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:19 pm

Thanks for your reply & yes, bridging is exactly what I mean. The bed does not sit down on the grates with just my normal shaking down. I do this very lightly & it appears to be mainly poking into air pockets (in the ash) that allows the ash to fall down with a bit more shaking. Perhaps, after all these years I have not been aggressive enough in my shaking the grates, but it does work very well for me. I am carefull to not shake down many more than a few red embers into the ash pan & I see no fused ash.
I wonder if anyone else can keep a coal fire going the whole heating seaon & never have this "bridging" problem?? I am on my 3rd coal stove & found it necessary to do this with every stove after the fire has been going for a while.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

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PostBy: blue83camaro On: Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:59 am

I think the amount of bridging depends on how hot you burn the fire and the quality of the coal you buy. I have had to break bridging up before when burning rather hot. The trick is to not stir the fire just poke straight into it. I only do it when I have a stubborn spot in the fire that wont shake down.
blue83camaro
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Us Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: 1600G

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