Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: JafaDog On: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:15 pm

I've been playing around with the restrictor, seeing how it affects (or doesn't affect) the stove. I've been monitoring it every 30 minutes, leaving the ash pan damper at about 1/8 open. So far, I can't tell a difference when the restrictor is all the way in (about 1/3 of the flue open) or all the way out (flue totally open). We have some slight wind today (5-8 MPH); probably not enough to affect the draft all that much.

I moved my magnetic thermometer (probably not the most accurate thing in the world) from the right side of the stove to the front/center between the loading door and ash pan door. I figured I'd get more accurate readings since the front/center is closer to the burn layer, and the side temp probably fluctuates more, especially when the blowers are on.

Temperature readings immediately went from 150* to 250* when I moved the magnetic thermometer. That said, running with the ash pan damper at 1/8 open, having the restrictor fully in (1/3 flue open) or fully out (flue totally open) hasn't seem to make a bit of difference. I ran it with the restrictor fully out for about five hours and then with it fully in for the last two and a half hours. So far, the stove temp has stayed constant throughout the day regardless of the restrictor; the temps in the living room (where the stove is) has stayed at 76* and the master bedroom (farthest from the stove) has stayed at 71*.

Perhaps the restrictor will make more of a difference when the wind is blowing more. In my setup, the more wind we get, the stronger the draft seems to be. I don't have access to a manometer, so I don't know this for a fact, but it seems to be the case. If that holds true, then closing off the flue with the restrictor when it's windy should keep more heat in the stove and/or not let the draft increase as much as it would otherwise (and keeping the stove from burning more coal due to an increased draft).

I plan to fiddle with the ash pan damper tonight to see what settings correspond to what temps. It's supposed to get down to 28* tonight, so we'll see how things go when it's colder. I'll leave the restrictor all the way in for those tests.

Has anyone else with a 503 messed with the restrictor/flue setting? I know than VanBuren was told by Dean at Hitzer that he (Dean) leaves his all the way in (1/3 open) all the time (other than when lighting the stove). Any other results out there?
JafaDog
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503 Insert

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: LsFarm On: Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:59 pm

The Hitzer 503's didn't used to have a damper plate,, but many customers had such strong draft, and no place to install a barometric damper, they were loosing a lot of heat up the chimney.. So Hitzer came up with a fixed restrictor plate for the older 503 inserts.

Your new insert has the latest and greatest item, the adjustable damper/restrictor.. If your stove burns well with the restrictor closed, then this is the way to run it..
BUT you need to know your stove, the chimney and the weather.. if the weather is going to warm up, then you may need to open the damper to keep enough heat in the chimney to maintain the draft.. otherwise as the weather warms, the draft will diminish, and your fire may go out.

You can't really control the draft, only the flow rate of air leaving the stove,, these are not the same thing.. but as long as you have good gaskets on the doors and the hopper lid, and keep an eye on the weather, you will have a good experience with your insert..

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: VanBuren On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:01 am

hey guys

got my 4 tons of nut delivered last Friday all "nice and nice". Next job is to stack it on side and back of garage to allow for cars. If I can make it as neat a job as JafaDog did with his I'll be very happy !

hope to light up end of week. BTW, the dealer I got this from still has some stoves left in stock - they are in Carmel, NY

VB

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VanBuren
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

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Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: tfaath On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:54 pm

Hi all,

Well, I thought it’s time to bring everyone up to speed with regard to the installation and official startup of my 503 … in a word … great!!

I was away this weekend and had the thermostat in the house turned down to 50 deg. Needless to say, when we arrived home late Sunday, the inside temp was 55 deg, a bit on the chilly side.

Well I fired it up .. used match light to get it started. The one thing I’ve learned so far is that coal is slow, it took me some 3 hrs before the fans kicked on. I also think that sitting in a cool house made me a little impatient. I covered the matchlight with about 2 ~3 in of coal, before I struck the match. I left the ash pan door open, pulled the damper restrictor to full open, closed the glass door but opened the glass air wash vent. I continued to add coal as the fire box picked up heat, eventually filling the unit through the hopper opening. Like I mentioned before from match strike to heat production took about 3 hrs. The one thing I did notice is that I needed to close the damper before I got any serious heat production.

With the house as cold as it was, I ran the unit wide open … closing the ash pan door and leaving the air vent wide open. The unit took off and I had the “blue ladies” dancing on top of the coal. One think I did notice is that even with the air wash open, the glass became frosted until the heat was sufficient to “burn it off”, once the unit was up to temp, the glass remained clear.

It took about 6 hrs to move the temperature in the house to 65 deg .. and over night to bring it to 70 deg ( outside air temp over night was 28 deg). I think the lesson here is once the core temp of the house is stable at 68 ~ 70 deg. keep the stove running and maintain it there. The recovery time is just too long.

The temperatures moderated a lot on Monday, temps were up into the low 60’s. I throttled it back quite a bit … closing the ash pan air vents to about ¼ in. The fan cycled on and off all day and maintained a temp of 70 deg … One thing that did surprise me is coal consumption.. only about 25 lbs. I’ll have to see how this does over time … must be something wrong, I’m not using anywhere near what I thought I would. One other thing, I’m only shaking it down once a day, at night when I reload it with coal.

The only thing I am concerned about is that one of the fans seems to be making a lot of noise. I plan on letting it run for another couple of days, if it doesn’t quiet down, I’ll call Hirtzer and see what they think

So where I am now is that I am very happy with the performance of the unit. I’m still learning, my mistakes have been small to this point. My oil consumption so far this year has been 0 gal. I think I’m going to love this thing!! My wife hasn’t complained at all.

I’ll continue to keep you posted. Tom

PS. 3 tons of coal ..
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tfaath
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: VanBuren On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:01 pm

Tom

thanks very much for detailed run down on your first burn - this is a perfect blue print for my planned attempt end of week !
can you clarify a few items please when you have a moment :

1. How many layers did it take to build up to a full hopper ?
2. how long between each layer (Jafadog mentioned 10 mins for his first fire as I recall)
3. for the shake down every 24 hrs - do you shake this once, twice or how do you know it's enough ?

your consumption of coal is impressive - you'll have some left over end of season if that rate continues like that !

good job and thanks !
VanBuren
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: tfaath On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:13 pm

Hi VanBuren,

Regarding your questions, I completed the filling process in 3 layers, the first was only 2~3 in thick, give that about 15 min to get going. The 2nd layer was more aggressive, filled it up to the top of the fire brick in the front door and the 3rd I filled it right to the top of the hopper. I waited till I have a visible flame each time I loaded coal and made sure that the damper was fully open each time. As a matter of procedure now when I refuel, I open the damper all the way and then open the ash pan door, making sure I have a visible flame before opening the hopper lid.

As far as the shake down is concerned, until the real cold weather hits, I plan on playing with the fire as little as possible. What I did notice was that I only had to move the grates a little, basically just vibrating them back and forth to have the ash fall to the pan. I didn’t get a lot if ash either. I also found that if I moved the grates too much, I wound up getting a lot of burning coal in the pan and I had to force the grates back to the level position. Again, my solution was to move them as little as possible and as soon as I saw any red embers falling into the pan, I stopped.

You’re going to love this unit .. so far the only issue I’ve had is the fan .. which I called Hertzer today .. they’re sending me a new fan today. Nice company.. good people to do business with.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

Tom
tfaath
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: JafaDog On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:15 pm

Glad to hear things are going well, Tom. My own experience has been similar. At least using Match Light, it takes the stove a good three hours to get to the point where it actually starts throwing good heat. And adjustment times are long as well. You can, for example, open the ash pan dampers from say 1/4 to 3/4, but don't expect to see/feel the result of that adjustment for a good long while.

One thing that my setup does differ from Tom's is that my stove does not want to burn well unless I open the restrictor (flue damper) all the way and leave it there. If push the rod in and close off the flue (even 1/2 way in), my stove will die down to the point where it's no longer producing good heat, regardless of the ash pan damper settings. I have a (cheap) magnetic thermometer on the front of the stove between the glass door and the ash pan door. When the stove is producing good heat (with the restrictor open), this thermometer reads 220-230* or more. When I close off the restrictor, the thermometer will read 180* or less. It's just an indicator I use to help me know what the stove is doing. If I close off the restrictor, it will eventually drop the stove temp down to where it's not throwing enough heat to keep the house comfortable.

I had initially thought that I had a good draft, but now I'm starting to think it's just mediocre. After all, I've only got about 15' of pipe in an uninsulated brick chimney that's on the outside of the house. Not the worst setup for a good draft, but certainly not the best, either.

The restrictor/flue damper was originally designed to keep too much heat from escaping up the chimney for folks who have a good draft/too much draft, but in my case I think my draft is only so-so, which requires me to open up the restrictor all the way and leave it there. It's a Catch-22, of course. If I close off the restrictor, I might be keeping more heat in the stove and burning less coal, but the stove never gets hot enough to heat the house adequately. If I open the restrictor, I am probably losing extra heat up the chimney and burning more coal, but the stove now produces enough heat to keep the living room at 74-76* and the back bedroom farthest from the stove at 67-69*. I'm still experimenting with it, but I think this is how it's going to end up. I'm still only using about 10-20 lbs. of coal a day, which is less than I expected.

One thing that's new with the steady colder weather we're having is the burn layer position. When it was warmer outside, it seemed to me that the burn layer was pretty much near the bottom and covered with fresh coal most of the time. Now, the burn layer goes almost all the way to the top of the bed of coal with only a thin layer (if any) of fresh coal on top, including the area under the hopper. This lessens somewhat when I shake the grates and fresh coal drops onto the bed, but by the next shaking it's back up there again. It's starting to look more like the photos I've seen of hand-fired stoves where you have a full glowing bed of coals. Of course this may be due to me burning with the restrictor open rather than the outside temps; it just seemed to start when the daytime temps began to stay in the 40s and 50s (which is also when I figured out I had to leave the restrictor open).

Looking forward to everyone else's results....
JafaDog
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503 Insert

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: VanBuren On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:23 pm

Tom

that's really excellent summary - thanks so much for taking time to write it up. i'm going to have my laptop on hand when firing up to re-read all the excellent points on this thread. The process as you describe it seems reasonably straightforward - we'll see !! The shaking part is particularly useful as I thought it was a lot more vigorous but avoiding large bits of coal getting stuck is key.

JafaDog's scenario is indeed a dilemma - but at least the coal consumption with the restrictor fully open so far is not too bad so hopefully it will work out fine. Perhaps when the weather gets cooler your draft will improve. Fingers crossed for you though - I'm optimistic you'll get it down to an art with a few more burns. even without the restrictor it seems this model was very efficient and popular in the past so I can't imagine it will be a huge difference in consumption.

I have no clue yet on how good my draft is except to say it is a two story chimney 35 ft ~ and in the past I've had big ass flames when I burned wood in an open fire prior to the liner. We'll see very soon. Waiting on two CO2 detectors to arrive tomorrow and may give it a whirl on Thursday night. Feels weird to be hoping for colder weather - I'll bet that's a first for all of us !

On a side note, I had to order some oil today (I have indirect water heater) price was 2.68 a gallon - last time I filled up was April 1 and it was 3.40 but glad to have missed buying any in the absolute peak mid summer.

thanks again to both of you for updates and explanations - as always, much appreciated !

VB
VanBuren
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:31 pm

JafaDog wrote:At least using Match Light, it takes the stove a good three hours to get to the point where it actually starts throwing good heat.


If you want allot of heat quickly, build a wood fire & start the coal from that. Matchlight is cleaner & saves some startup coal but it doesn't throw much heat for a long time.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: JafaDog On: Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:51 am

VanBuren wrote:I thought it was a lot more vigorous but avoiding large bits of coal getting stuck is key.


Getting a chunk stuck in the grates is inevitable. It happens. You need to be forceful enough to break through the chunk but not so much that you dump the fire. Trust me, you'll get the hang of it quickly and easily.

JafaDog's scenario is indeed a dilemma - but at least the coal consumption with the restrictor fully open so far is not too bad so hopefully it will work out fine. Perhaps when the weather gets cooler your draft will improve.


I'm thinking the draft isn't going to get much better (but I've been wrong before). I'm started monkeying with the restrictor again, closing it to 1/2 this morning. I'm using a bit more coal than I was before deciding to leave the restrictor open (loading about 15 lbs at a time instead of 10, so maybe 30 lbs. a day rather than 20). I'll see how the stove reacts to the 1/2-open setting. I did some measuring and calculating and marked off the 1/2- and 3/4-open settings on the rod so I can gauge how much the flue is open by where the rod is positioned. I'm guessing stove temp will drop down to where it's not throwing enough heat to keep the house where I want it, but maybe I'll be proven wrong. Time, as it always does, will tell.

Devil505 wrote:Matchlight is cleaner & saves some startup coal but it doesn't throw much heat for a long time.


Apparently. I considered the 1/4 road flare trick but decided against it. I've used lots and lots of road flares in my life, and I have yet to use one that didn't stink to high heaven and leave a lot of residue when burned. Wood is certainly an option, although the Match Light is pretty darn easy (and the fact that I bought two big bags of it makes it more appealing). Too bad it takes so long to get the coal cookin'!
JafaDog
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503 Insert

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: tfaath On: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:29 am

VanBuren – Hi,

You’ve got to stop buying that expensive Arabian stuff!! Kick off the 503 and give it a whirl!! You will be surprised how easy it is in a very short while … I’m having a blast and learning a lot … fast!

Believe me, do not be concerned about lighting it off, I think the most important thing is getting enough coal on the first layer to give you a good bed initially .. remember at least 2” over the Match Light … then part the hard coal and light off the Match Light. You’ll see the flame thru the hard coal .. once it burns our and you see the glow, start adding more coal.

Regarding the shaking, I agree with some of the other contributors, it can be a little more of an art then a science. The one thing I remember is don’t move the grates too far or you’ll dump the fire .. I just vibrate mine and as soon as I see some hot coals falling into the pan, I stop.

As far as the draft issue that Jeff has, I just don’t have enough experience to give advice. I only have a one story chimney with a 6 in SS liner. My draft seems very adequate. I run my insert with the flue damper all the way in … all the time. I only open it when I’m going to shake the fire down and reload coal. The one thing I notice is that coal reacts slowly. Every time I make a change I wait at least 15 min before I make another. I’ve been running my stove continuously since Sunday. I have it throttled to where the air vents on the ash pan are only open about ¼ in. I don’t have the “blue ladies” dancing on the coal, but I do have a soft glow from down under. My fans come on about every 10 min and run for approx 3~5 min. Outside temp was 30* F inside temp 69* F .. not bad. My coal consumption today was one bucket (approx 20 ~ 25 lbs.)

LOL I guess I was one of the unlucky people who bought oil this summer at the absolute worst time … I paid .. are you ready for this $4.79 per gal .. 125 gals .. OUTCH! My goal is to have the same oil in the tank come July next year.

Keep us posted on your progress; It will be interesting to hear your experience.


Tom
tfaath
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: JafaDog On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:40 am

Overnight low temps were forecasted for 25* last night, so in anticipation of a cold night I opened the ash pan damper to 1/2 open and kept the restrictor wide open before going to bed (after shaking and loading). I woke up at 3:30 AM and saw the 503 cranking good and the living room at 78*, so I closed the restrictor down to 1/2. It only got down to 30* outside, and I woke up at 5:30 this morning to an 82* living room and a 72* back bedroom! Needless to say, I closed off the restrictor and set the damper to 1/8. The 503 calmed down and is idling now. Good thing, too. It's supposed to be 55* and sunny today.

It might take me all winter, but I will at some point figure out how to regulate the stove better (or at least what to set things at in order to keep the house temps in a comfortable range). Most of the time I've been getting it right, but there have been a few times now that I've either set things too low and the house has gotten cold, or I set them too high and the house gets too warm. It's those times that I want to try and avoid....
JafaDog
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503 Insert

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: VanBuren On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:16 am

tfaath wrote:VanBuren – Hi,

You’ve got to stop buying that expensive Arabian stuff!! Kick off the 503 and give it a whirl!! You will be surprised how easy it is in a very short while … I’m having a blast and learning a lot … fast!


Tom/JafaDog & folks,

it's a done deal - I made it to club Hitzer503 overnight ! - got home late but was determined to not burn oil this morning so at 8:30pm last night I put a bed of matchlight in and then a layer of coal. For some reason that did not go as easily as planned - must have been a bad bag of matchlight - I ended up adding more matchlight on top and more coal but after that I did as Tom did with the layers and I had it cranking heat out within 1.5 to 2 hrs. Haven't got a stove thermometer yet but heading over to HD to get one today. I think next time I'll light the matchlight first before adding coal. :idea:

I stayed up till 1am watching it and the house was up to 67 degrees on ground floor. I put the ash pan vent to 1/3 open. I got up to check on it at 3am and the stove had dropped a little in temperature (based on what I sensed from the blowers) so I set it to 2/3 open and that had a positive effect as this morning it was at 69/70 on ground floor and upstairs @ 66. Outside it dropped to a low of 29 so for my first burn that was a decent result. Those blue ladies are a handsome sight !! What a thing of beauty it is to see it glowing in the morning. No oil was burned and there is no better feeling than that !

Am envious JafaDog of your 70 to 80 degress temperatures that you achieved - I haven't got that good as of yet. ! Bear in mind though that for all of my figures above, I had the main damper closed i.e. fully in (apart from when I was starting the fire). I will experimient with the ash pan one first and then the bigger one. Also I have a main lounge and a hallway - the thermostat is located on the wall in the hall so it is probably 1 or 2 degrees warmer in the lounge by the stove.

hard to estiamte consumption yet but I am guessing I will get away with one bag a day or less.

some photos attached from the early hours of burning - will try to post a nice one from the morning -

super guidance and suggestions from you guys and very much appreciated ! Will add more details as I learn more in the coming days

hoo ha !

VB
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VanBuren
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: Centa On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:25 am

Finally, two months in the making! Congrats on the fueling your house with U.S might. :)

There nothing else to do but look for other coal suppliers, and snicker at opec during the cold winter days.
:D
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Centa
 

Re: Hitzer 503 Installation Photos

PostBy: bear creek burnout On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:51 am

:clap: VB.......Congrats on firing up the 503....you-da-man!!
bear creek burnout
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503 Insert

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