Ash: It's not that difficult to install the stove yourself but if you’re not comfortable then let your dealer do it. I have the Channing stove too. If the electricity went out the fire would go out extremely fast and if some fumes went into the house it wouldn't be enough to get anyone sick. It might smell a little. I use to turn my stove off when I did the ash pan and the fire would sometimes go out and I don't ever recall smelling fumes. Also, the baro will keep you safe from a hopper fire. If you're concenred about power failure as I am you can get yourself an inverter so you can use your car as a generator in case your stove goes out in the middle of the winter. I looked into a gas generator but they eat gas like crazy and I didn't see a safe way to store so much fuel. A propane generator is best but they are not cheap either.
1. Load rice coal into the hopper and make sure you always leave the top on the hopper. This is a safety concern.
2. Set the feed rate. The feed rate is controlled by the larger of the two boxes that came with your stove. You have a low, 1-5 and high setting. The feed rate controls how much coal is pushed on to the grate (the large, flat cast iron piece inside your stove with the little holes in it). The feed motor is a timer. If you listen closely when the stove is running you will hear it move and then shut off. Air is blown through the holes in your grate which keeps the fire going.
Coal is hard to light and without lots of oxygen it will go out quickly. Try this: Take a hand-full of coal and put it into a metal container and then use a torch to light it. The coal will not light. You'll get a few red pieces of coal but that is it.
Anyway, the coal is pushed on to the grate with an auger that is mounted where the hopper meets the grate. When you turn the feed rate to 5 you're pushing lots of coal on to the grate and thus you will have more heat. When you put the feed rate on 1 the frequency of how often the auger is engaged and loading coal on to your grate is diminished. So in essence the feed rate box is much like your thermostat. If it's 45 degrees outside you can probably run the stove at 1-2. If it is 10 degrees outside you be turning the feed rate up to 3-4 (depending on the size of your house and how it's insulated).
3. Once you light your stove you become a fire tender. This means that you have to make sure you keep coal in the hopper. I try not to let it get less than 1/2 full and you must empty the ash pan which is loads of fun. On very cold days you’ll empty the ash pan every 1-2 days and can go up to 5-6 days on low. Make sure you wear a respirator and not a cloth face mask when emptying the pan. Fly ash (coal ash) is very acidic and if you breathe it in it will irritate your lungs plus it has heavy metals and god knows what other thingies in it that you shouldn't breathe.
4. Maintenance: Your job is to make sure that the stove is working well. The nice thing with a baro is that I can stick the shop vac into the baro opening and suck most of the fly ash out of the DV pipe. With out it you need to remove the vent pipe and clean it out. I would say you should do a good cleaning twice a season and then summerize the stove at the end of the heating season.
5. Knowing your stove. The DV or direct vent unit is a motor that creates a vacuum inside the vent pipe and draws the exhaust outside your home. The hotter the fire the more exhaust gases you will produce. A low fire will have fewer fumes to exhaust. That is why a rheostat is nice to have on a DV. It will allow you to run the DV motor to match the amount of exhaust gases that need to be removed. The DV is setup so it's always pulling at full force since Alaska has to make sure that if you run the stove at high the DV can handle the evacuation of all the exhaust gases. A rheostat allows you to idle down the motor to match the fire. However, you can get into trouble if you turn it down low and then run your stove on high. A baro and a Manometer also allows you to set and monitor the draft so all is good. The draft is the amount of pull from the DV unit.
The other blower pushes the air from the room across the metal on your stove. It cools your stove and the heat is transferred to the air which heats the room. You’ll get a great amount of heat from convention too.
Make sure that you install your stove in a central location.
This all sounds intimidating because you're new. I had many sleepless nights running the stove because I was afraid of a fire or something going wrong.
Also, make sure you install the stove with the clearances suggested by Alaska, install the stove on a fire proof base, and have a fire extinguisher close by with plenty of CO2 and fire detectors around the house.
You’ll have to decide the best way to setup your stove. If you’re not sure then get a pro to do it for you.
Last edited by traderfjp
on Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.