Wow, did I learn some good lessons these last two days!
Started out simple enough in that I needed to replenish the coal bin. Had planned on taking trip to a Penn breaker but time did not permit so I headed out to purchase here in Connecticut. I had done business with a dealer called Household Coal in New Britain for years and the owner, Al, is always a great guy to me. Unfortunately I learned that he was going out of business after 56 years of family owned coal sales. I was also dismayed to learn that he had no more pea coal. I explained about how the Axeman would also burn buckwheat but that I hadn't tried it yet. He did have some buck and led me to it. Now, I had never seen buck before and was not really sure what size it would be. The buck coal looked a bit small for me but since I was not feeling like running all over the state I talked myself into getting some. Al suggested trying a few bags before committing to a big purchase. I was going to only get 5 bags but then I thought to myself that maybe I could strike a deal and get a decent price for some bulk. Al was receptive to a deal so I was going to get a ton but due to his loader having some issues I ended up only getting a half ton. Thank goodness.
Came home with the buck, or so I think its buck, (could be rice, see below for pic) and here is where I started to make mistakes. The coal was wet and I disregarded that. The Axeman has been handling wet pea (Hmmm, that just doesn't sound good...Wet Pea
How about 'Pea sized coal that contained water) and the AA has had no trouble with it. So, I just started filling up that oil tank with it, arrogantly confident that my 260 can handle anything. I filled that sucker up! I figured that the coal would dry in short order, just like the pea, and all would be well.
Next day the buck must have made it to the auger still wet cause it wasn't feeding worth a dam. I had to hand load through the transfer head a hod full. Got it going well and then thought that maybe it'll be fine cause I started seeing small amounts of the coal coming through the tube, very slow still, but I hoped it would increase. I go to bed somewhat tentative about this foray into buckville.
I go downstairs this morning and the fire is tube/box is almost empty!
At this moment I know it is not going to be an easy day.
Ended up emptying by hand the entire oil tank contents of mostly that buck and the pea that was on the sides of the doghouse. I learned that getting into and out of, as well as working inside the close confines of a 275 gallon oil tank is not something a 6'2" man can do easily. I never knew I could bend like that. I also learned that it's easy to get into the tank when it is nearly full of coal, but that getting out of the oil tank after emptying it is a bit more difficult when there is a no step stool or other device handy. In my case, a shovel leaned against the tank wall was improvised as a step.
I then went and picked up a pallet of Blaschak pea coal. Off loaded the truck and carried the bags into the basement.
I then cleaned the auger tube out as best I could and loaded a couple test bags of pea so as to see if the 'Pea sized coal that contained water' would feed. It fed nicely and the tinkling of the auger tube was music to my ears. I loaded a total of 45 bags into the bin. It's running wonderfully again.
So, its probably gonna be an ibuprofen morning tomorrow but as for tonight I will drink a couple of central nervous system depressants and watch some hockey.
Questions, comments, concerns? Oh, I have a couple questions,..What size coal is that? Can I still use it when it dries? I'm leery of even putting it into my bin again and think that maybe I'll just hand feed it every now and then.