I've been reading around the forum and as far as I can see, I'm doing everything right, but I've been through seven starters so far and my patience is running pretty darn thin....
Long story short- The beast of a stove that sits in my living room is a Leisure Line. I'm not sure which model it is- It may be a Pocono. It's not very big but when it's running (grumble), it does crank out the heat, to the point that we normally use it as the main heat for the house, but only once the temps drop low enough so that the oil-powered furnace is running pretty much constantly, usually 30 or so. (The house is 200 years old. The insulation is non-existent in the first floor.)
Well, my ex, who was the main coal guy in the house, walked out about six months ago... leaving me with a stove that I have only a basic idea how to start, run and maintain. What I knew about coal stoves before this season was that you put a bag in the hopper every second or third day and emptied the ash pan. That was about it. I've learned a lot in the past week or so, both from reading around this forum and finding a manual online.
Last night my neighbor came down and we spent 3 hours disassembling, cleaning and reassembling pretty much the entire fan mechanism in the back. We freed the feeder plate which was rusted nearly solid from some very wet coal my ex bought last year (rice coal in plastic bags... UGH.). We cleaned the rust scale from the inside of the hopper, emptied the hopper entirely, cleaned out all the dust and crap built up in there and refilled it with a fresh bag. Vacuumed the space under the burn plate, sucking out all the ash that was clogging the holes. Started 'er up... And had a good burn going. I was impressed at how much better the coal burns when the holes are cleaned out!! I went to bed... And woke up to a cold stove.
Everything SEEMS to be working the way it should. The feeder is feeding, fans are blowing, we had a solid burn, but it keeps going out. I can't understand what's wrong? We've always had a fairly good draft in the chimney- We used to burn wood in a small wood stove (the chimney's been thoroughly cleaned since them- my ex is a fireman so he didn't take chances with creosote build up), and have been burning the coal for about six years with no problems. Today I even took the stove pipe off the top of the stove and the elbow that goes into the chimney and cleared out about an inch of ash that had built up in the horizontal pipe. Basically, I can't find a reason for it not working.
Does anyone have advice that might save me a $90 service call from the local dealer? As a single mom working full time and in college, that puts a pretty hard dent in my budget, especially with the holidays around the corner.
Thanks for any advice you can give, and thanks for this awesome forum. I've already learned that I have a lot of catching-up maintenance work to do come Spring to make this stove work better for a long time.