Fired Up The Hitzer 503 (9/19/08)

Fired Up The Hitzer 503 (9/19/08)

PostBy: JafaDog On: Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:56 pm

It was 36.7* outside this morning, which was enough of an excuse for me to light up some Blaschak in the new five-oh-three. Gotta cure the paint, ya know. :D

I guess you could call my first coal fire ever a success, although it was about six hours in the making. I started out at 6:15 AM with a pyramid of a dozen Match Light briquettes on each grate about mid-way back in the firebox. After opening some house doors and windows in case the paint smell was bad, I added a layer of coal all around the Match Light and lit 'er up.

I had some action about 15-20 minutes into it, so I added another layer of coal. I kept this up, adding layers and waiting for them to catch, until about noon. I tried to resist the temptation to shake the grates, but I have to admit I succumbed and shook it a couple of times. As far as I could tell, it didn't help a whole lot, but it didn't seem to hurt it, either. I got frustrated a couple of times and threw a few Match Light briquettes on the bed. Didn't seem to help much, if at all. I knew there was a good layer of coal going on the bottom. I could see the glow in the ash pan through the damper holes.

At noon, I was up to the firebrick under the door with coal and up to my ears in frustration. It just wasn't getting all that hot. I had everything wide open until then--top damper (AKA new restrictor plate), ash pan damper and air wash damper all open. I could hear the air rushing in the dampers, so I knew the draft was good, but the thing never really got hot. It was hot enough for the blowers to kick on for a couple of minutes at a pop, but it certainly wasn't pumping out any real heat. I could hold my hand on the top of the stove but not on the hopper lid. Stove thermometer on the hopper lid read about 125*-150*.

Then I decided to really get things going and left the ash pan door open for about three minutes. I saw my first Blue Ladies dancing towards the back of the firebox, so I closed the ash pan door and PRESTO! The whole bed sprung up with Blue Ladies! I closed off the top damper as far as it would go and adjusted the ash pan damper to about 1/4 open. Now it's been humming along with the blowers running for about 45 minutes. Most of the Blue Ladies are gone--just a few near the back now. But the blowers are cranking out some serious heat. I was starting to wonder if it would ever pump out hot air--now I know it will. Stove thermometer on the hopper lid is reading about 225*.

Now I'll let it die out and wait until we get another cold morning when I have time to play again. The manual says 2-3 small burns before the paint cures, so I'll have to play again a time or two more before I get serious and load the hopper up and let it burn for the season.

It sure is a nice feeling! :D
JafaDog
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503 Insert

Re: Fired Up The Hitzer 503 (9/19/08)

PostBy: Dallas On: Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:04 pm

air wash damper all open


That doesn't sound correct. If the air wash is above the fire, I'd recommend that it be closed for max draft through the coal.
Dallas
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
Other Heating: Oil Hot Air
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35

Re: Fired Up The Hitzer 503 (9/19/08)

PostBy: JafaDog On: Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:45 pm

I initially started with the air wash damper closed (thinking along the same lines--max draft through ash pan damper), but after playing around with it, it didn't seem to have much effect on the main draft whether the air wash was open or shut. I left it open because it does do a nice job of keeping the glass clean. Without it open, the glass gets a milky film within five minutes.

Any other Hitzer 503 owners have any input on the air wash damper as it affects the main draft?

What puzzles me more is the top damper. It know it fully opens the flue when the rod is pulled all the way out and closes it off to about 1/4 open when pushed in. In the older model 503s, the flue was open (unrestricted) all the time. Folks with a good (or too much) draft requested and eventually got restrictor plates to reduce the draft and keep all that heat from going up the chimney. What is kind of annoying is that when the rod is pulled out all the way (the old model's "normal" flue setting), it sticks out almost 8" from the front of the stove--more than the door handle! And it just so happens to be crotch-level on my stove setup--just another thing for me to walk into and catch my n*ts on. I've been running it with the rod all the way in (damper 3/4 closed) since noon. It definitely slows the burn, and it also seems to keep more heat in the stove. I realize that Hitzer came through on this in a big way and redesigned the stove to incorporate an adjustable restrictor plate/damper, and the sliding rod looks like the easiest way to implement this. I'm sure a rod that pushes in to open the flue would have been more difficult to design and implement. I just wish mine wasn't crotch-level.... :oops:

The stove is still cranking along at 2:45 PM. The bed doesn't seem to have dropped much, and there's not much ash in the pan. Probably going to take a while to die....
JafaDog
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503 Insert

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Re: Fired Up The Hitzer 503 (9/19/08)

PostBy: Devil505 On: Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:16 pm

JafaDog wrote:I guess you could call my first coal fire ever a success, although it was about six hours in the making.



When I first started it took me a while to get the fire going too. (With experience, you be able to get to the point that you'll be able to clean out your stove, relight & fill it & walk away from it burning great (& full) in less than an hour.....Start to finish!

JafaDog wrote:I tried to resist the temptation to shake the grates, but I have to admit I succumbed and shook it a couple of times. A



Don't ever shake your stove when starting it up! You'll almost definitely put the fire out!



Read this thread which has some good tips on starting your coal fire: How to Light a Hand Fired Coal Stove
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Fired Up The Hitzer 503 (9/19/08)

PostBy: JafaDog On: Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:33 pm

Less than an hour, eh Devil? I'll have to trust you on that one. ;)

As for the shaking, I didn't really shake all that hard. Just a couple of wiggles, really. Next time I shall resist all manner of shaking! :D
JafaDog
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503 Insert

Re: Fired Up The Hitzer 503 (9/19/08)

PostBy: Devil505 On: Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:11 pm

JafaDog wrote:Less than an hour, eh Devil? I'll have to trust you on that one. ;)

As for the shaking, I didn't really shake all that hard. Just a couple of wiggles, really. Next time I shall resist all manner of shaking! :D


No exaggeration.....Less than one hour from a dead cold stove, filled with ashes, to a freshly lit stove...Burning perfectly & filled to the tops of the firebrick. (the key is opening & closing the ash door, to allow allot of air in, when needed...I don't even touch the air vent slider on the ash door until I'm done)

JafaDog wrote:As for the shaking, I didn't really shake all that hard. Just a couple of wiggles, really. Next time I shall resist all manner of shaking! :D


You wont need to even touch the shaker handle for probably 12-24 hours, depending on how hot you are running your stove. The less you "play" with the fire, the better your results will be. Fight the urge to do something to it....All it typically needs is time. ;)
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Fired Up The Hitzer 503 (9/19/08)

PostBy: JafaDog On: Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:12 pm

Sounds good to me, Devil! I'll certainly try to get things down. I'm sure I'll be handling it like a NASCAR pit crew in no time! :D

It was in the 30s again last night, so at around 9:00 PM I added a thin layer of coal to bring it back up to the top of the firebrick, opened the top damper all the way and left the ash pan damper at about 1/2 open. The thing burned all night and all day today without adding any coal. I did shake the grates at around 9:00 AM, just because it had been 12 hours.

We had a party to go to this evening, so I shook the grates before we left at around 5:00 PM but didn't add any coal. I also shut the blowers off and left the ash pan damper at 1/2 open. I left the ceiling fan on and a pedestal fan blowing down the hallway toward the bedrooms.

When I got home at 10:00 PM it was about 51* outside. The living room where the stove is was 80*, and the bedrooms were 72*-74*. And that was with the blowers off! I had to open a few windows because I was sweating. I had a nice glowing bed of coal, still dark on the top but with the top layer just starting to glow on the bottom half of the coal chunks.

Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I'm thinking that I may end up being warmer than I thought and use less coal than I thought when I initially tried to estimate things. Time and colder weather will tell for sure, but things are looking pretty promising at this point. I'll know more when the temps drop to 50* or less all day. I was planning on averaging a 40-lb. bag per day (more on colder days, less on warmer days). Might end up being less than that.

For tonight I shut the ash pan damper to 1/4 open to cool things off a little, even though I'm trying to let the stove burn itself out. It'll take longer, but maybe I'll at least stop sweating!
JafaDog
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 503 Insert

Re: Fired Up The Hitzer 503 (9/19/08)

PostBy: Devil505 On: Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:01 am

JafaDog wrote:Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I'm thinking that I may end up being warmer than I thought and use less coal than I thought when I initially tried to estimate things. Time and colder weather will tell for sure, but things are looking pretty promising at this point. I'll know more when the temps drop to 50* or less all day. I was planning on averaging a 40-lb. bag per day (more on colder days, less on warmer days). Might end up being less than that.


Sounds like your getting the hang of things great! As far as estimating you coal usage for the season , you really will need to experience a complete winter first. The amount of coal you'll use jumps exponentially when the real cold weather hits. (You'll probably find you daily coal usage will jump up 2 to 3 times what you normally use in milder weather)
No matter what though....It'll be allot cheaper & more comfortable than you old heat. ;)
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Fired Up The Hitzer 503 (9/19/08)

PostBy: Razzler On: Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:38 am

JafaDog wrote:For tonight I shut the ash pan damper to 1/4 open to cool things off a little, even though I'm trying to let the stove burn itself out. It'll take longer, but maybe I'll at least stop sweating!


Jafadog now is the time to play with the damper to see how low you can set it to get the minimum idle burn. That way you will know ware to set it for the warm days in winter with out waking up to a 50* house becuse you set the damper to low :oops: :lol:
Razzler
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman SF 250

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