Kent wrote:I forgot to mention. My wife suggested building a smaller fire next time, but I do not think that will be the answer-- will make me work more often and still provide a similar amount of heat. Which of us is correct? -Kent
No matter how little heat you are looking for, you should always build the fire to the maximum the firebox holds. Trying to run a small fire will be frustrating a won't save you anything. You are much better off filling the firebox to the top of the firebrick, the coal will be happier and so will you. The heat output is controlled by the draft settings, it will only burn as much coal as the draft's airflow allows. The warmer it is the less you'll have to tend with it, a small fire will bite you sooner or later.
Any details on the automated draft damper? Electric or bi-metal control? Name on it?