I use a barometric draft regulator when firing Pittsburgh Lump Bituminous Steam coal. My barometric draft regulator did not build up any black soot on the flap but I have had it blow the damper right off the pipe during a few explosions of the gas before I learned how to fire the stuff. Since then I had installed the barometric draft regulator off the tee with a one foot extension of pipe, put some screws through it, and added the bituminous coal in smaller batches over about a half hour to the top of the firebox when refueling. This eliminated my explosions and a good amount of the black soot I had accumulating on the inside of the chimney pipe. I have a 37 foot chimney and if I only fire Pittsburgh Lump Bituminous Steam coal, I have to let the fire go out and clean the chimney every four or five weeks. I'll get a little more than a five gallon bucket of black soot out of the pipes and the chimney. What a real messy job! Wear a good mask, goggles, and have a shop vac ready.
That seems like a pretty good price for bituminous coal here in Pittsburgh. Twainer, you refer that here in the western part of Pa, where? Your location reads North Central WV. Were did you get it? The last batch I got in January at Kiefer Coal in Bethel Park, Pa was $95.00 a ton. It was good stuff though! Since then I've graduated to Reading Anthracite from Russel Bros. in Washington, Pa. at $223.00 a ton. The reason for the switch at first was to eliminate the messy clean job. Now I only have white fly ash to clean out every six to eight weeks. Much cleaner and a lot less mess. The second reason for the switch was I wanted to see how it compared. Then I got spoiled from the less dirt, cleaner burn, no sulfur smell, and the wife didn't have to wash the walls and blinds every month anymore. A happy wife = a happy husband. Then I spoiled her even more when I put in a stoker. Hand fired units are nice but a stoker is the only way to burn coal. Spend the money on one and you'll be glad you made the investment.
A for the use of the barometric draft regulator, I recommend using one. I got a much better and longer burn time from the Pittsburgh Lump Steam Coal than when I did not use one.