Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:18 am

After reading a few posts where people will deliberately shut down/Clean out/Restart their hand fired stove once a week or so to unclog their stoves, I figured I would throw in my 2 cents. I never deliberately shut down during the heating season. With good quality coal, you should be able to keep one fire going all winter & keep your stove pretty clear of ash build-up in the corners too. (I have little fly ash build up so even a mid winter pipe cleaning is unnecessary for me. Other need to do it)

A lively fire is very strong & will take allot of abuse...A weak fire should always be left alone until livened up.

The trick to keeping your stove running well & relatively free of ash build up is to do the following:

1. Open the ash door & get a good, lively fire going...MOST IMPORTANT!! (maybe 5-10 minutes)
2. Add a thin layer of fresh coal (maybe an inch) but leave some flames still showing
3. After that new layer has caught (maybe 5 minutes or so) Shake down normally, until you see a few red embers in the ash pan.
4. Allow the fire to liven upo again
5. With the fire lively, dig down deeply into the corners of you firebox with you poker & twist it as you do so....Don't be afraid....a lively fire can take allot of abuse so just dig in & break up any areas that coal ash has accumulated in.
6. Now, shake down again........but only a few shakes to get rid of the crap you have just broken up
7. Add more coal, let the temp start to rise again & your done.


This technique works great for me & only adds a few minutes to a normal shake down. Depending on your stove & coal, you only need to do this maybe once a week or so.

Beats the hell out of shut down & relighting!
Last edited by Devil505 on Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: EasyRay On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:56 am

Those are all good tips for new coal burners with hand fired units.

Last year I didn't have to start my stove until November 2nd and it ran steady until around April twenty something.
This year we had some cold weather early so I started on October 6th and then it got warm again. No restarting for me. I just idled the stove as best I could and kept the windows open. Barring any circumstances that could change the normal operation of the stove. It will run until spring.

I'm on a once a day schedule until we get some steady, cold weather. Then its twice a day.

I'm a one match a year kind of guy. :D
EasyRay
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman TLC 2000
Coal Size/Type: Pea,Nut or Stove

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:08 am

EasyRay wrote:I'm on a once a day schedule until we get some steady, cold weather. Then its twice a day.



Same here...but I found that, since I'm around to add a few shovels full of fresh coal a couple of times a day, I can keep to a once a day shake down schedule straight thru the winter! (1/2 the dust & I may even be saving a little coal by doing that)

I still recommend shake down every 12 hours for people who are unavailable to add coal a few times a day & new coal burners until you get a real feel for your stove.
Last edited by Devil505 on Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Visit Hitzer Stoves

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: EasyRay On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:34 am

I been doing it this way for so long it has become an enjoyable habit for me.
This is the part of the year I get to watch TV in my shorts.
When all my neighbors are wearing outside cloths inside,and worrying that their next delivery will be there a lot sooner than their last one.
EasyRay
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman TLC 2000
Coal Size/Type: Pea,Nut or Stove

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: Richard S. On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:44 am

Well I'll tell you my Aunt's technique on an old pittston stove as the stove was right next to the couch downstairs and she'd wake me up if I was sleeping there. :mad:


Open the damper, SLAM SLAM SALM.... SLAM one extra time just in case she didn't wake me up with first three cause she knows I'm sleeping on couch working off hangover. :mad: Open lid, dump coal in.... Repeat in the evening. It's not rocket science.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:22 am

Richard S. wrote:t's not rocket science.


I agree Richard....but many new coal burners are overly worried about killing their coal fire & thus are afraid to really dig
into the firebox to clean it out...while it's running. As long as you have a lively fire going, you can be pretty aggressive with it! I have dug out whole sections of the fire bed, down to the grates & left the other 1/2 of the fire untouched, filled the cleaned-out section with fresh coal & then reversed the procedure the next day....All without stopping the fire.
No need to ever shut down to clean out ash.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: Richard S. On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:31 am

The key devil is to only do it once and leave it be IMO, too much poking and prodding is a bad thing.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:31 pm

Richard S. wrote:The key devil is to only do it once and leave it be IMO, too much poking and prodding is a bad thing.


I would say you can't make a "One size fits all" rule about poking in that so much is dependent on: the coal, the stove/chimney combination, the state of your fire & many other variables. My rule, is that I only get aggressive with a portion of the fire at any one time & leave the other part relatively untouched to be done tomorrow. While I poke a mature fire down every time I shake down, I rarely have to do the aggressive side cleaning out at all.

Edit: It's such routine that I didn't fully explain myself above....As part of my normal, daily poking down, I always poke/rake the sides a bit as the shaker grates don't extend full over to them & therefore they need added, daily attention.(just a few pokes/twists is all you need break up the side ash)
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: lewis On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:16 pm

Poking around in a coal fire is prolly the most disruptive thing you can do to the efficiency of the burn, the small amounts of ash that collect are part of the insulation that prevents the intense heat of the fire from destroying the stove grates body and fire bricks the most concern I have is on the initial fire up is keeping it running gently till a good bed of ash has developed on the grates after that its shake and fill till the end of the heating season.
lewis
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Old Model Magnum

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:39 pm

lewis wrote:Poking around in a coal fire is prolly the most disruptive thing you can do to the efficiency of the burn,


Told you there would be a controversy! :lol:

Let me ask you this Lewis.....When you shake down & can tell the fire top hasn't settled at all & you can feel that you are shaking down nothing but air, how do you break through the "bridging" to get at the air pockets below the bridges?

(that's why the real answer to many of these things is.........There is no "Universal" answer!!...You have to find out what works for your stove, coal, draft, etc.....What works for Lewis may not work for me & vice-versa) :lol:

Try them all & use what works for you!
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: SemperFi On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:52 pm

Lewis, im with you but not by choice. I would love to poke and prod my fire but I would have to let my stove empty past the hopper. With my stove I am best not even opening the door as coal can lay up against the bottom of the door at times. The weight of the coal in the hopper prevents bridging but allows ash to build in the corners. I have a cleanout in the back of the stove for fly ash that I check once a season. I have had many hand fired stoves over the past 40 plus years and have yet to warp a grate or burn out bricks or cast iron for that matter. It is nice to clear out the ash from the corners from time to time or even dig out clinkers when need be. Its not that your practice is wrong Lewis its actualy correct in the eyes of the purist, its that I like most others just like to tinker and play with there stoves and be the keeper of the flame. :P :P :P
SemperFi
 
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: H.F. hopper 90k btu

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: Richard S. On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:54 pm

Well let me put it to you this way Devil, I have a lot of experience with outdoor fires and in some cases some very undesirable situations. A wood fire should never be kicked prodded or moved around either especially when it's just starting, nothing would frustrate more than some idiot coming over and kicking a fire I just spent half an hour coaxing to life. Generally speaking I was aiming for and end goal of lighting some very large logs as fast as possible, but it takes some patience to do that especially if the wood is wet or really large and the initial fire will generally appear as not doing so good to your average person. When you kick or prod such a large fire without an adequate base of coals this disrupts the air flow and the areas that were starting to heat up. It's like going back to square one. Not big issue if you have a big bed coals but if it's cold/rainy and the fire was just started chances were you were going to get your teeth knocked out if you kicked the fire. :lol:

A coal fire is pretty much the same, the more you screw with it the more you disrupt the air flow and what you have had burning. When you shake it down you're concentrating all the that is left burning into a nice hot area. Once you put the coal on it should be left to just do its thing. Once you start poking and prodding you're only disturbing whatever fire and heat you have created.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: Devil505 On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:06 pm

Richard S. wrote:When you shake it down you're concentrating all the that is left burning into a nice hot area. Once you put the coal on it should be left to just do its thing. Once you start poking and prodding you're only disturbing whatever fire and heat you have created.


I never poke into a deep recharge of fresh coals Richard. Do any necessary poking (to break up bridging, fish lout clinkers, etc) BEFORE you load a deep layer of fresh coal on the fire. You should never fool around with the coal bed when it's been loaded with new coal. (poking into the very thin layer you put on when first shaking down is fine)
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: Uglysquirrel On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:46 pm

Man, this a Good discussion. More understanding for the newbies regarding where and when to poke. This thread is like, Grad School Coal Burning 301.

Talk about poking, the Viagra just kicked in, See ya.
Uglysquirrel
 
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono

Re: Dont Be Afraid of Your Fire

PostBy: tsb On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:23 pm

I have a chimney that could suck a golf ball through a garden hose. If I opened my ash door for 5 minutes, the stove would be a melted mass on the floor or in the basement. Which brings me to my question. Where can I get a 5 inch draft regulator ? Not the whole tee, but just the regulator.
Field Controls only seem to make 6 - 8 - 10 inch sizes and only with the tee.
IMG_4363.JPG
(201.33 KiB) Viewed 75 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]7349[/nepathumb]


This is my temporary Rube Goldberg setup. If I can't buy one I'll have to make one. Got any ideas ?

TSB
Last edited by tsb on Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
tsb
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Binford 2000
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Pioneer top vent
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Saey Hanover II

Visit Hitzer Stoves