Gian4 wrote:Hi Coldhouse
I'm a former Conn. resident. I grew up in Stamford but now live in the wilds of upstate NY. Anyway about your question. I have a 503 Hitzer and have no problem heating by 200 year plus farm house. Because these are inserts they don't have the radiant surface area of free standing stoves so we have to use some tricks to max out the efficiency of these units. Here's what I do and I can reach stove temps of 600 degrees but rarely if ever need to run it at that temp. I usually run at surface temps of 200 to 450 degrees depending on outside temps and weather conditions. #1 damper setting: The dilemma is the stronger the draft the hotter the burn,but the more heat lost up the flue. My chimney has a very good draft so I only open the damper fully when tending the stove. I open it at shake down. I let the gases burn for a bit and when things seen quiet I refill the hopper. I then shut the damper halfway and empty my ash pan. I clean up around the stove then close my damper down. #2 over fire air: I open the door secondary vent while tending the stove and then partially close it after 15min.(about 1/3rd way) and leave it like that while running. If outside temps are warm like in early spring or fall I'll leave the secondary fully open to prevent coal gas build up during low fire conditions. i have had no puff backs following this method. #3 shake down: Its important to really shake down thoroughly to get the max heat out of these bad boys. You want to see fresh embers dropping not just at the front of the grates but also the rear. I also dump the ash pan after each shake down to allow max airflow under the vents. Now this is critical in my opinion, after shaking I take my poker which has a tip narrow enough to fit between the grate slates and poke up from underneath the grates the entire length of each grate to further clear ash and allow this baby to breath. You'll know its right when you see a nice red glow fairly uniformly under the grates. #4 filling the hopper: Before I add more coal to the hopper I take my poker and tamp the remaining coal down through the hopper opening. This redistributes the coal throughout the fire box. I do this until it piles up to the top of the fire brick on the right and left sides also the rear. It has a mild downward slope at the front of the fire box and I leave the coal in that area expose to allow enough burning coal to burn off the fresh coal gas. Its sort of like banking the coal in a non hopper fed stove. Filling that firebox fully really helps with the heat output of these units. #5 the ash pan vents: The posts you read about pencil size vent openings on other folks stoves apply to free standing units with bimetallic thermostat flaps that act as a thermostat and provide the majority of the burn air. Our units don't have these and rely on the ash pan door vents for all the primary air. I've learned over the years based on outside temps. what stove temp I need to keep to get the desired house temp and set my vent openings accordingly. Most of the time open the size of a carpenter pencil but it varies. Make sure after you tend the stove to let all that coal in the fire box ignite on a cold day then reset the ash door vents to where you want to run it. For example....Lets say I just tended my stove on a really cold day and I know to keep my house at 70 degrees I have to have a stove temp of 450. I'll keep my vents open until the stove reaches 400 the close them down to carpenter pencil size and she climb up to 450 and level off. By doing this I get all my coal bed burning maxing the heat output. Well that's all my tips your results may vary but it works for me.
Worried about heat loss when opening the dampener? Me too ... but I want the heat too dang it. Max coal usage..running as hot as it will go: 60 - 80 lbs a day
freetown fred wrote:I've never been convinced that projected BTU's are all that impt--if ya got a stove that you think should be doin more BTU's I'd find that pretty frustrating--my thoughts are getting the hot air circulated to where you need it--I'm still pushin for floor vents