VanBuren wrote:I had restrictor fully closed and the ash pan vent fully open. The draft seems good. I did leave the blower on intermittent setting with the logic if the stove is hot enough it will blow and if not it won't - am I better leaving it on constant blower ?
Perhaps you should try adjusting the restrictor. I also thought I had a great draft (I no longer think I do), but without a manometer, it's hard to tell for sure. Remember that these stoves were originally designed and used without the restrictor. The flue was wide open. The first "fixed" restrictor was offered for people with excessive
draft who were losing too much heat up the chimney. Good does not necessarily equate with excessive. It was good that Hitzer added the adjustable retrictor, since everyone's setup is different.
At least in my setup, I've found that unless I have the restrictor open at least 1/2 way, I can't get the stove to get really hot. Fully-open is even better for me. With the restrictor in more than 1/2-way, I can't get a good glowing bed of coals like in that photo, regardless of the ash pan damper setting. It's certainly possible (even probable) that I'm losing more heat up the chimney than if I had the restrictor in all the way. But if the stove never gets hot enough to heat the house where I want it, what's the point in keeping it closed? If I open it, the stove gets hot and the house warms up. If I close it, the stove and house cool down. I may be losing heat up the chimney, but I'm apparently generating enough with the restrictor open that it doesn't matter. The house is warm--that's my goal.
Another trick I've learned to get the fire going good is to open the restrictor all the way (if it isn't already) and open the ash pan door for a bit. I'm talking 5-15 minutes max here, depending on how lively the fire is when you start. The fire will inevitably liven up, blue ladies will appear, and if done correctly, the stove temps will eventually increase (that might take more time). If you decide to try this, make sure
you don't leave the room, and set a timer (watch, etc.) for five minutes in case you get distracted. It's easy enough to over-fire the stove if you forget that the ash pan door is open.
As for the blowers, if the house is not as warm as you want it, I'd say leave them in the "always on" position. Otherwise you're only getting radiated heat (which, as my recent power outage showed, is good but not like having the blowers on). If the blowers are set to "auto" and are kicking on and off, it would stand to reason that the stove is not cranking (blowers are supposed to kick on at 110* and off at 90*). Therefore, you have two choices: 1. leave the stove alone and turn the blowers on "always on" to at least get more heat out of it (the stove temp will most likely always be warmer than the room temp); or 2. adjust the stove settings to make it burn hotter (where the fans will stay on even when set to "auto").
all told it is doing a good job of keeping the house far warmer than it would be with nothing but I think I'll have to burn some dreaded oil to supplement unless I can figure out why I am not getting the extreme heat others are describing.
Try the restrictor adjustment and/or ash pan door trick. See if they help. Remember that results are not immediate. And if it does work, and you're not used to seeing your stove like the photo I posted, it may scare you (or in my case the wife) at first. Just make sure the hopper lid has a good seal, and the burning layer shouldn't make it up into the hopper.
Also remember that if you're burning your stove harder, you'll have to shake more often (as well as load and empty the ash pan more often). And yes, you will use more coal. I've gone from using 10-20 lbs. a day to using 30-40 lbs. a day. That's the price of producing more heat....
Also look into your circulation. I have enough fans going in my house to lift it off the ground if I pointed them all up. And now I think I still might need a cold air return (floor register) in the back bedroom or bathroom to give the cold air there somewhere to go.
It's a lot of experimentation for all of us new coal burners. Unless the water pipes freeze and burst, it's all good!