how do you get a full fire box?

how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: greentjdude On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:33 am

ive been burning my stove for about 5 days now. my proceedure is to open the ash door for a few minutes and make sure the fire is all cranked up and then i shake the grates and poke underneath the grates to make sure i see a red glow through the grates. i then add coal and let it sit for a few minutes with the ash door still open to get the new coal fired up. the problem im having is a big loss of heat. if i just cover the top of the fire with coal it maintains most of the heat, but if i fill it to the top of the fire brick it suppresses the fire and i loose the heat until it catches back up. the heat loss is a lot. the temp on top of the stove is between 350 and 400 but it i fill it to the top it drops to 200. how do you fill the fire box all the way up and not loose so much heat? its not a big deal now but when it gets realy cold out i dont want to have so much lag in the fire between fillings. is it best to cover the top with a layer and then come back later and do another layer and repeat until full?
greentjdude
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: C-80

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: Cap On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:09 pm

Yep, same situation here. Can take as long as 2 or 3 hrs to get the temps back up, UNLESS I back off the baro damper. ( Foil it ). I can speed up the process with a closed off baro. I try and reload at 5p so by 8p, we are good & hot.

Adding coal in stages may help you keep your heat level up but obviously you have to be on hand to do it.
Cap
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:37 pm

I think you guys would benefit by keeping the ash door open for the entire process & only closing it AFTER you stove is full, at the temp you want to maintain & with the temp still climbing. The problems you are explaining show that it's taking a long time be cause you aren't giving the fire enough air.
I've been burning coal for 26 years & I think the books will tell you NOT to keep the ash door open. This is overkill from a safety standpoint, IMO. While loading with just the air controls open will eventually work, it will take much too much time (as you explain) to fully load your stoves.

That being said, one of the most dangerous things you can do is forget to close your ash door with a full load of coal!
Either stay at your stove until you close the door OR carry a little egg timer (like this one http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... age=search ) if you walk away from it. It' way to easy to get distracted & forget the ash door is open!
I think if you try this method you will be amazed at how fast you can fully load your stove. I typically shake down & fully reload my TLC in less than 15 minutes...between opening the ash door & closing it when done. The colder out & the hotter the fire....the faster for the shake down & reload, due to better draft.


Edit:

I missed this point when you said: "but if i fill it to the top of the fire brick it suppresses the fire and i loose the heat until it catches back up"
Try leaving a section of your fire uncovered & just load the the other side up. Always leave a section still flaming. When the newly covered side starts to flame...then cover the other side. Try doing 1/2 of you stove at a time till you get a feel for it....But leave your ash door open until you are done.
Last edited by Devil505 on Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

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Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:07 pm

You might try doing a lop-sided load.. just put a few inches of coal on one side, but fill the other side to the top. Let the coal get burning well, then top off the low side. Either way, you will lose some heat from the fire,, there is no way around it, if you add fresh cold coal to the fire, it absorbs heat to get up to burning temperature,, so you stove isn't as hot..

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
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Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:15 pm

LsFarm wrote:You might try doing a lop-sided load.. just put a few inches of coal on one side, but fill the other side to the top. Let the coal get burning well, then top off the low side.


That works just fine too Greg. If I'm reading the original post correctly though, it sounds like a complaint about the time involved to reload, which should be very quick with the ash door open. (I would never have the patience to reload without having the ash door open.......I'm WAY to impatient for that!! :lol:

I'll state a simple rule I follow for shake-down & reload:

First step: Open the ash door

Last step: Close the ash door.


(I'll always check my stove thermometer & make sure the temp is still rising b4 I close the ash door & walk away. If the temp is still falling (due to new coal being added) you could smother you fire by closing the door to early)
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: greentjdude On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:40 pm

i think ill try the lop sided method. i work from home so what ive been doing is every couple of hours i throw on 2 or 3 shovel fulls. that seems to have a low impact on the temps. the only time i fill it is before i go to bed to be sure its still burning in the morning. even then its still got another inch or so before its at the top of the fire brick.

the other day i did try loading the two sides and then when that started burning good i filled in the middle(a couple hours later) and alternated back and forth. it worked ok but i still had a big drop in temp.

this is great not having my electric heat on. i think its gonna be a wash savings this year between coal and electric but when the rates go up on the electric (coming soon!) i should come out way ahead if coal stays close to where it is.

EDIT: im not as concerned about the time it takes to load, just wanted some pointers on loading and keeping the stove temp up. maybe ill try a timer and see what happens with the door open for 10 or 15 minutes :shock:
greentjdude
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: C-80

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:54 pm

greentjdude wrote:i think ill try the lop sided method. i work from home so what ive been doing is every couple of hours i throw on 2 or 3 shovel fulls.


That's a perfect scenario greendude! If you just lightly "Salt" your fire whenever you see the coal getting a little white, you'll make life very easy for yourself! You should be able to keep that one fire going straight through the winter!!
What coal are you using?

Edit: Make sure you cram as much coal in there as you can.....To the very tops of the firebrick.
My stove (Harman TLC) will hold about 40lbs of coal & I typically shake & fill it once a day, in the late afternoon & keep it running fairly low (130*-160*) through the night, this time of year. When it gets colder, I obviously increase the stove heat & the coal loading.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:12 pm

greentjdude wrote:EDIT: im not as concerned about the time it takes to load, just wanted some pointers on loading and keeping the stove temp up. maybe ill try a timer and see what happens with the door open for 10 or 15 minutes :shock:


Your stove temp will always drop a little when you reload with coal, but it should just be a matter of minutes & there is no way to overcome that. I've never seen it as a problem as it is literally...only minutes of lowered heat output.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: greentjdude On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:21 pm

id like to keep the fire all winter but going away hunting and going to the office to work(every couple weeks i go to the office and crash at my parents or sisters for a couple days) i wont be around to keep it lit all the time :( my girlfriend stays with the dog for me but ill have to teach her the stove!

im using blashak, at first i wasnt sure i liked it. im learing the stove so im getting more heat out of it than i did the first couple days. i have some from agel that looks more uniform in size than the blashak did so im gonna try that soon. i think i have about 1000lbs on hand right now between the 2. didnt get any bulk yet because i have the might get bad coal jitters.

this whole shaking the coal thing is weird to me, the only experience ive had with coal was a surdiac stove that had a hopper that just needed filling and the grates were "raked" with a flat poker.
greentjdude
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: C-80

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: Cap On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:49 pm

Ok, I'm going off on a tangent again: :arrow:

Devil, what are the dims on TLC2000 firebox and how many lbs to fill bottom to top? SF250 unit will hold nearly 90lbs from start or about 44lbs with my 50% reducer. Current firebox is deep but only 12x12 square. No way to bank it. Fill the sucker & go.

And I have allowed it to pick up with the door open. Do this too long, shut the door and stand back and wait for the blast. It'll blow the foil off the baro. :lol: Like I have always said, every set up is different with different operating characteristics.

In addition, I still have a problem believing a baro saves me heat. Everyone insists it is necessary. Well figure this out.

Baro set at .06, ash pan door open 1.5 turns, stove temps ( hot air only ) 180F
Baro sealed off, ash pan door damper 1 turn, stove temps 195F.

Baro simply slows draft down BUT reduces heat output in the process. May be helpful on warmer days but I've waken to a slow simmering fire when I needed about 25% more heat.
Cap
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:00 pm

Cap wrote:Devil, what are the dims on TLC2000 firebox and how many lbs to fill bottom to top?


Just looked at the Harman site & they don't give a firebox capacity for the TLC but I estimate it holds 40-60 lbs of coal.

Cap wrote:And I have allowed it to pick up with the door open. Do this too long, shut the door and stand back and wait for the blast. It'll blow the foil off the baro. :lol: Like I have always said, every set up is different with different operating characteristics.



Quite right....Every set up is different. Learn your set up & then adjust your techniques to it. (in this case, it's just learning how long to keep your ash door open:

Good draw= Short time
Weak Draw=Longer time


(Like Richard said on another thread...."It ain't rocket science!" :lol:
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: Cap On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:06 pm

Learn your set up & then adjust your techniques to it.


Devil, I can't hear you, what are you saying?

I've been burning coal for 26 years

one of the most dangerous things you can do is forget to close your ash door with a full load of coal!

But leave your ash door open until you are done


I honestly disagree with this advice to new users. Be careful. I had some close calls with full loads of coal. Due to my own negligence and ignorance of how much energy is stored in 50lbs of coal as it begins the process of ignition.

No dims on the site as I had previously checked but 40-60lbs answers the question.
Cap
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:05 pm

Cap wrote: Learn your set up & then adjust your techniques to it.

Devil, I can't hear you, what are you saying?


I do tend to emphasize! :oops:

Cap wrote:I honestly disagree with this advice to new users. Be careful. I had some close calls with full loads of coal. Due to my own negligence and ignorance of how much energy is stored in 50lbs of coal as it begins the process of ignition.


While you have a good point about new coal burners Cap, I always try to emphasize safety but also reality when it come to burning coal. I think that if you try to burn coal strictly by the overly conservative safety rules that the lawyers put in stove owner's manuals, (to protect the stove companies from lawsuits) that you will never teach people how to really operate their stoves in the real world.

Example: I'm sure every coal stove manual warns against ever leaving your stove with the ash door open. In real life, we are all going to do something else for the 5-10 minutes that it takes to liven up the fire, other than just standing there & staring at the open ash door. That's why I give the "Real Life" advice of carrying an egg timer with you, to avoid becoming distracted. I always warn that forgetting an ash door is open is one of the most dangerous things you can do. A simple egg timer solves the problem & brings safety back into the advise.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: greentjdude On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:27 am

i covered the fire an inch or 2 last night and then repeated about 20 minutes later. that fire box was only about 3/4 full but burning great so i went to bed. i got up 8 hours later and it was still burning pretty good. i guess ill only have to fill it more if i go out for awile or it starts getting colder out. i do have the draft slider open about 3/4. i think im burning about 60lbs a day....is that too much? i may have been using a lot more when i first started but i think the last few days my useage went down but im not sure.
greentjdude
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: C-80

Re: how do you get a full fire box?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:58 am

greentjdude wrote:i covered the fire an inch or 2 last night and then repeated about 20 minutes later. that fire box was only about 3/4 full but burning great so i went to bed.


Why are you only partially filling it?? Fill it all the way up & it'll burn better & longer. You control the heat output by the amount of air you give it, so fill it up! ;)


greentjdude wrote:i think im burning about 60lbs a day....is that too much?


Sounds like too much. What temp are you running your stove at?
Do you have a blower or are you strictly heating by radiation?

This time of year, I burn about 20-30 lbs of nut coal a day in about the same size stove as yours. Stove temp is rarely above 140* & blower is on about 1/3 of the time.


Fill your stove all the way up! :lol:

(putting just a few inches of coal in at a time is like taking your car to the gas station & buying just 2 galllons of gas & then wondering why you run out of gas so often! :lol: ....or thinking that if you fill the tank...your car will drive to fast!

Fill it up man~!! :lol: :lol: :devil:
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

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