After over 25 years of coal stove operation, I think I am finaly getting it right!
AllL these years I have been shaking the stove down (on my 3rd stove now) every 12 hours & sometimes three times a day when I have had it running very hot on really cold days.
This year I find that I am able to cut my shaking down to once a day & thus saving some coal , halfing the dust output & putting less wear & tare on my shaker grates.
(saving coal in that I used to waste some perfectly good red nuggets in the shaking down process if I got to aggresive with the shaker grates)
There are two reasons why I am able to do this:
1. For the first time I added a blower fan to the stove (which is jacketed) & am able to get much more heat out of it at lower fire temps.
2. I am now semi-retired & available to check the fire more frequently & add a few shovel-fulls of coal when the top gets a bit ashen.
I'm guessing that I will save about 25% of my coal usage this year & have a warmer & cleaner home.
If you are around enough to regularly check your fire I suggest that you try just adding a thin layer of coal (rather than automticaly shaking it down based on the clock) & see how it works for you.