grizzly2 wrote:Over in the "Coal" forum in the "One Match Club" thread, I see a few comments about doing or not doing their planned mid season cleanout. I was wondering why a person would let their fire go out to do a clean out if they were not experiencing any problems such as stuck clinkers.
Quick answer: To prevent problems later on.
My two Franco-Belge stoves taught me that some stove designs are more prone to ash buildup. I had problems in the spring months keeping the fire going with the stove throttled back, and it didn't burn as hot on a given thermo setting on the colder nights.
The Franco's exhaust exited the firebox via two ports on either side of the firebox, right at the front and just above the firebasket. There were rectangular exhaust chambers that ran horizontally back each side, then around the back, then they joined together in the center at the stove pipe connector. Exhaust made three 90* turns before the stovepipe. When I did my first few spring cleanouts, I found significant ash buildup at each turn in the exhaust chamber--as in a 1 to 1-1/2 inch buildup in a chamber 2" wide and about 5" high.
With spring temps causing reduced draft, especially with my chimney, I believe draft was being further restricted by the reduced passages in the exhaust chambers, thus causing my springtime burn problems.
Once I started regularly cleaning out sometime in mid-January, I had way fewer problems in March and April.
Now, the Franco was quick and easy to shut down and restart--took a day of not filling the hopper to burn all the coal in the firebox, then about an hour to clean out, and another hour to restart the fire. Where I live, we generally get a couple warmer days in January, and I did the cleanout then.
Since the DS 1500 has a direct path to the outlet, I don't see having that type of problem. I might consider a midyear cleanout if I continue to see ash buildup on the back grate next year. Hoping I find something correctable there, during my spring cleanout.