Ctyankee wrote:I have found that when my insert starts begins to drop heat output, taking a poker and running it down down across the grates (front to back) seems to help. I do this after shaking and before reloading. It feels like on some of the passes that I am pushing sticky coal around. I figure that I must be breaking up something and allowing better air flow at the grates. After that, the next load seems to give a better output of heat at the same vents and damper setting.
Yes. After 10 - 12 hours of burn time, my coal bed seems to become very low-density and porous. I don't know if that's what people refer to as bridging. After shaking the grates, I shove a poker in and then move the top of the poker back and forth in a few spots to kind of stir the coal. It causes the coal in the firebox to compact together and allows lots more coal to drop down from the hopper. Same result as you, Yankee -- better subsequent heat output. Disturbing the coal bed like that slows the fire down for a while, and it may need a lot more air until it gets burning well again.
I am just finishing up two pallets of Kimmel that has LOTS of volatiles, so in a couple days I will be starting on a pallet of Blaschak. Don't know yet if it will require the same stirring.