The flame 'beside the hopper' are OK. I think you would have had a quicker startup if you had left the ashpan door open for awhile between loading layers..
Agreed. I left the ash pan door open for the whole startup process and gave it about 10 minutes between layers. Might not have been enough time between layers....
BUT NEVER leave the room with the ashpan door open !!
Nope. I even set my watch timer to go off every 5 minutes to remind me that it was open (even though I never left the room).
The coal needs a lot of air to make the heat needed to spread the fire. But once burning, a lot less air will maintain the fire at a comfortable level.
Yup. I have the ash pan damper about 1/4 open and the restrictor at about 1/3 open, and it's purring along nicely with a good glowing bed just under the top layer. It's going to be windy here today, so I may close off the restrictor even more. I notice my draft improves considerably when the wind blows....
Just load up the hopper each day, shake the ashes down either once a day or once every 12 hours or so, depending on your burn rate..
I shook it down at 8:30 AM, but I don't think it needed it. I didn't get much ash before the embers started dropping. No need to empty the ash pan this time around. I'll probably shake it down again before we go to bed tonight. I think I might be able to go much longer than 12 hours between shakedowns, especially when the weather is warmer.
I did figure out that I have to use a poker to shove the coal towards the back of the hopper and level it out when filling it to get the hopper all the way full. I tried using a shovel, but the restrictor plate rod makes the hopper opening too small for a shovel.
Thanks for the advice, Greg!