And JoeQ is worried about his hopper lasting for another couple of season??? Adam, it looks like you've got a real life monster pac -man in your house just chomping away at your hopper.
Yes coal ash is acidic. Something tells me that during the off season you didn't vacuum the inside of the stove, thoroughly. Is it really possible for bad coal with a higher ash content to eat up your left back plate and hopper like that? I've really have got to remind myself to vacuum the stove really well when i put her down soon.
I have been burning wood exclusively since my 30+ gallons of nut & stove coal was use. My Channing has the supply of rice, so I haven't gone to BT pellets to purchase some pea for the 715. I think I will have shorter burn times if I do decide to buy pea for it next season, simply because of the no hopper situation.
Thank You Adam for explaining how to shake (drop the ash) on this stove. Before I was just using a 20" pry bar and poking and scraping whenever I didn't see an orange glow in my ash pan area. I'd loose some unburnt pieces of coal that way. JoeQ photo of the dog handle like tool on the left port got me to think differently on how to drop the ash down to the pan. I am still not a big fan of how to get ash to drop.
"When riddling I noticed that you can riddle the ash underneath out, and the hot ash just below the bed will actually create a crust and keep a dome-like layer that prevents the hopper from feeding."
Why would you want to stop your hopper from letting more coal out?
"@2de : the reason your having trouble keeping the fire lit is because of the batch firing of the coal. I find that if I let my hopper run out by accident, and there is no coal above the bed to be pre-heated and drop on top, when I shake down the ash, the coals tend to get broken up from the mass it is in, and they mix with some ash, and begin to cool......airflow also tends to get jammed by ash filling the voids, and in shaking the ash, you shake out what's left of the hot coals. "
Yes, the stove & nut mix of coal that I was burning was crap coal. For about 25lbs of coal burning, my ash pans was nearly about 3/4 full.
That is highly unusual regardless of whatever size coal one uses. So the ash was reason for the dying fire. I even threw in some fresh coal onto the dull but still orange bed of coals without poking and it still died on me.