wolfehunter wrote:Water accumulates on the bottom and I'm wondering if the coal never has a chance to "thoroughly" dry out in those barrels. We drilled holes in the bottom of them now so maybe coal will dry better. Will damp coal get hung up in the hopper or above the pusher block and mess up feeding?
Rice coal holds moisture and while damp coal is OK, wet coal does not feed well at all. Check the edges of your hopper outlet for corrosion too. I had a couple plastic buckets of coal at the end of one season sit in the basement and in July the coal in the bottom of those buckets was still very wet. The top few inches dried out but it seemed that top layer of coal kept anything below that from evaporating.
When I used the buckets I had about 10 of them in the basement near the stove at a time. I would fill the hopper with drier coal from the tops of the buckets and work my way from bucket to bucket letting them dry over a couple days. The stuff at the bottom was still damp by the time i got to it.
I did not have holes in the buckets, I didn't want the water draining onto the basement floor.