Season Report

Season Report

PostBy: AL-53 On: Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:30 am

Well the season is more than half over for us coal burners....

So you first time burners and regular burners has your stoves performed...and what would you do different next year...

Did your stove perform as expected?

Do you still need to tweak your way of burning coal?

I for one have tweaked the setting on the Mag Stoker...seems alot better than last year...

I do more maintenance as in cleaning blowers out....brushing the fly ash on inside of stove off every 3 weeks make stove more efficient ( I use a bristle brush with bristles like the corn brooms ..plastic bristles will melt)

I run a poly brush down the flue once mid season then at end of season...

Do not run a wire brush down a SS liner as it can damage can leave iron particles in liner and start a corrosion process also some liners have a titanium coating inside and it will damage it...

So lets hear from others on this...


PostBy: mjb On: Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:26 pm

I'm very happy with the Harman stoker. Does a nice job of heating the house. The glass wash system leaves a lot to be desired. What causes the haze on the glass? It seems to grow like fingers up the glass. Clean it every couple of days. Vacuum out the fly ash from the fire bricks and heat chamber when I clean the glass. The cleanout lever under the fire grate that Harman says to clean once a month doesn't pull out a full 90 degrees. It hits the inside of the stove just under the top door. Does yours do the same? I love not having to shake the stove and knowing I can be away from home for a while without needing to load the stove with coal.

PostBy: AL-53 On: Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:25 pm

The haze on the Glass is called is a common is not will be cloudy after a few years...funny thing is my glass on the Alaska stoker is 16 years old...and clear as water....must be the type of ceramic glass Harman uses...gets cloudy....subject to crazing...

The clean out lever under the grates pulls out OK...I use a fireplace poker when it is hot....and by hand when shut it from the ash door..much does not hit the stove...

I think cleaning the stove helps it perform at tops...removing the ash off of the exchanger makes for a better heat transfer....


PostBy: davemich On: Thu Feb 09, 2006 8:14 pm

A second year user...I love my insert and I am one of those obsessed types when it come to burning coal. Being in Michigan, people just can't believe I burn coal...anthracite is not in their vocabulary and I just smile and go into my speil (sp?). I have received some advice from a forum user about shaking my grate once a day vs twice a day and it works...burn less coal! Looking at a Keystoker or Leisure Line or Alaska stoker for next season for the basement and venting into my ductwork. I clean my stove about once a month and run a metal brush down the liner then too. Al, where did you get your poly brush? I want one!! Dave

PostBy: AL-53 On: Thu Feb 09, 2006 8:51 pm

Dave...try this link....

do a goggle search for poly chimney brush

here try this also

Hope this helps....


PostBy: blue83camaro On: Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:08 am

My furnace has been working great. I use a steel brush to clean my liner. I have a homesaver ultra pro and they say a steel brush is ok to use. The liner is a ss titanium alloy. So I shouldn't have to worry about wearing Ti coating off.

My furnace is hand fired and I don't get much fly ash build up. Is it more of a problem with stokers?
Stove/Furnace Make: Us Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: 1600G

PostBy: wally61 On: Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:59 am

first year burning coal. I have an alaska channing 3 and love this stove. it takes a little getting use to setting the stove for out door temps. sometimes it gets 80 in living room and 72 upstairs.stove is in dining room and does a great job. I vacum out ash area once a month. it is also a direct vent. looking to get the themos stat for it next year. the coal trol looks like it may be the answer about the same price as the one from alaska. this year my friend had coal that was a little bigger than rice and I sift the rice size out. saved a lot of money. gas bill was $82 dollars compared to 250-300.1700 sqft house 2 story if it gets to hot open door love this site learned alot from everybody here.
Stove/Furnace Make: alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: channing III dv coal-trol

PostBy: WNY On: Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:16 am

First year also with our Keystoker 90 w/direct vent working great! Much warmer. So far, gone thru 2550# since Nov. 7th. for whole house heat. No gas furnance at all.

I do tweak the feed rate to 2.5-3 turns out and removed 15 secs off each cycle on the auto timer (idle/pilot) mode when it gets warm outside, just tokeep it barely burning. The Digital room thermostat really helps, sets back a few degrees while at work/night and starts cranking it up before we wake up or get home!

The Gas bill has been $30 or less (normally $200-300)!! each month, only the hot water tank. However, I am replacing my hot water tank (need to anyway, leaking and bad draft) to a "Tankless" heater this weekend. I will let you know how it works.
Last edited by WNY on Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

PostBy: bobkat On: Fri Feb 10, 2006 12:55 pm

Also a first year user. I have a Hitzer 50-93 Ez-Flo located in basement. So far this season just started using third ton of coal. Warm floors and short visits from oil man (use that for hot water) have been keeping the other half happy. Only shut down twice this season. Once because of 60 deg.+ temps, and the other because I was out of town and wife won't touch stove. used both occasions for good cleaning to unit. Tried the trick brought out in another post about using damp cloth and ash to clean glass...It really does work!! better that windex, or any other cleaner I've tried. This should be the priciest year for me, first two tons were bagged product, at $240-$275/ton. Finally put a transport bin together and now it runs about $165-$175/ton in South Jersey. Next project will be to remove some more ceiling insulation from the basement to allow for increased radiant transfer to main living area.
ps. Great forum I have learned a lot. Thanks to all
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 50-93

PostBy: kirk On: Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:32 pm

This is my third winter with the Harman Stoker boiler. It's performing very well. I did tweak it a bit this year. I cut the feed rate down to about 2 knotches and reduced the water temperature setting to about 155. The first two years, I was insistant that I had to maintain 180 as my oil fired boiler had done. The Harman would maintain that temperature but I was really buring alot of coal. This year my coal consumption is down and the house is just as comfortable. This unit also makes all of our domestic hot water. The oil fired unit has not been on since September. The oil man came in January and managed to squeeze 49 galllons into my oil tank. He did not look happy as he dragged the hose back to the truck. I have burned close to 3 tons since the beginning of November. My inside coal bin hold 3 1/2 tons and I have another ton in 5 gallon buckets. I heated with a wood fired boiler for many years. Coal is far superior for use in a boiler.
Let it snow.

PostBy: Pap On: Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:17 pm

This is my first year also. I have a Harman Mark III hand fires stove. It has really worked well. It is in the living room and keeps the house much warmer than the oil furnace. Much more even heat through out the house. For next year I am thinking about a fan of two to help push the heat back the hall. Thanks to all who helped me figure this stove out (See Harman Mark III out of control).

So far I have used about 1 1/2 tons of coal, will be going to get more real soon. I have also learned alot on this board, thanks for letting me hang out with you guys. Great bunch!!

Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III
Other Heating: Oil

PostBy: AL-53 On: Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:31 pm

I am glad every body is happy being a carbon burnt wood for over 22 years...never a drop of oil in all those years...This is my second year of coal...I played with it before in a riteway 37...but after a flash back..that was the last time...

I built a stove after I got rid of the riteway...and it worked great..but the wood scene got did much bother...

Coal is the way to much easier and the warmth is so even and using coal keeps americans working and the money stays home in the USA...

Next time your sitting around the stove enjoying the comfort and savings..say a prayer for the lost miners we recently lost...

Thank You


PostBy: wenchris On: Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:50 pm

First month with Harman mag stoker, so far very happy keeping the house 72-73 deg. These last few cold days burning about 40- 50 lbs in 24 hrs. Wife is very happy, she no longer calls me the heat nazi. Have a 6" duct out the top pumping heat into the kitchen. Stove is in the living rm. house is about 1800 sq ft. Using a programable thermostat to set temp down during sleeping hrs and waking up to a nice warm house. Only concern is the amount of unburnt coal, more than I would like. Could need to be tweeked some more. All in all I can't believe I humped wood for 20 + years. Thinking about a water coil to free my self from big oil at least during the heating season.
stove 1.JPG
Magnum stoker
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum stoker with water coil

PostBy: Cap On: Fri Feb 10, 2006 9:54 pm

This will be my 4th year burning coal. Year one was no more than a novelty, year two, I got serious, year three we never used emergency electric back-up heat and year four, I upgraded to the large handfired Harman SF-250 from the Harman Mark III. If you were to ask what I like most about the SF-250 over the Mark III, I would have to say I like the optional heat collector. Using the Mark III in my basement, I would waste half of the BTU's keeping celler warm. The heat collector allows me to pipe the warm air directly to the living area. This is also the first year I have complete confidence the stove won't let me down on a cold night and also the confidence I can light a coal fire with no more than some oak pallet wood. The addition of a ss flue liner proved to be a winner.

I find using a hand-fired coal stove has become a hobby more than a chore. Yes, a have 40 lbs of ash to dispose each week, but I have a simple method which only takes 15 mins of my time on the w/e.

When I bought my home 4 years ago, I never even knew I had an option to heat with coal. It was a fluke the stove was left in the house. If it dadn't been, I'm not sure I would have discovered the benefits of burning coal. Now, it has become a way of life. I only know of two co-workers out of many who use coal. I guess it's just too easy to turn up the thermostat.

Yes Al, life is wonderful ( and warm too ) in anthracite country PA. Sorry for rambling but thanks for reading.
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:21 am

First time burner here. Bought stove in August, brought home, set up and fired in October, and has been going since (except for a few times it went out on me--blame wife :roll: ).

I used to go thru about 4 tanks of oil/season, sometimes more. I filled the tank the last week of September, and right now I still have over 1/4 tank!! I use the oil to heat hot water, and a room that is too far away from the cellar door to get any heat from the stove.

Today, I have one bag left from 2 1/4 tons I bought back in October. It took me a while to learn how the coal burns--I ran it WAY TOO HOT at first, due to my experience with wood growing up. I wasted alot of coal this year. Due to my work schedule, I shake in the A.M., pile on the coal in a huge heap and it has to burn for at least 12 hours, sometimes 15 hrs!
When I first started burning, I had the intake open too far--It would be nice and toasty for about 6 hrs, then the rapid ash build up would gradually snuff it out before I got home (found this out one weekend). I didn't realize that I could turn the intake out just over 3/4 of a turn, and it would still burn!! Not as hot, but provides heat over a much broader time range, using MUCH less coal.

This morning it was 10* outside, and the house was 56*. This may seem cold to most of you, but if the stove were out, it would easily be in the upper 20's inside--not very comfortable! The house is 150+ yrs. old, and EXTREMELY drafty. On the weekends, I open the intake up over 1 turn out to heat things up more. It will usually get into the low-mid 60's. Just to maintain that temp with oil used over 4 tanks last season.

Stove is a Harman Mark I. I'd like to go to the next model up, due to the optional water coil that can be installed. But, just getting that little Mark I down my 100 year old cellar stairs was a nightmare. Not sure if I want to do that again!! I've got a year to make up my mind...
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (SOLD!)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler