Hello, coal gurus!!
I am new here, but I have been lurking for a few days. Quite a wealth of knowledge here. My family has just purchased our first coal stove, and I have some questions. Please forgive any of my noobitude.
First, I am a bit if a young'un, at 21. However, I am making this post for my father, as it is his stove, and he is computer-handicapped. We have burned wood at our home ever since we moved here 20 years ago. Now that I am getting older, I will be leaving home soon, and Pops won't have anyone to help do wood, and he always wanted to burn coal. This fall, he he decided it was time, and bought a Wondercoal wood/coal burner from the local Tractor Supply store. I was not aware of this until he put it on order, so I didn't get to do any research, and he said he already did some. We got the stove, and installed it. Not bad up to this point, so we burned wood in it for a few weeks while my father found a local coal supplier. We ended up buying a ton of Anthracite nut coal from Geer Farm Service in Alexander, NY. $246 per ton, and we went and got it with our truck. We just started burning it this past week.
We had problems the first few days, as Dad would start it with a wood fire, then add layer after layer, and when it was loaded good, he would close it down. Too much. It would be almost out by morning, and we would start over. I found through many searches on here, that he wasn't giving it enough air with the vent control and shutting the stove down before the fresh layer ignited. Last night, I did it the way many have described on here and it worked swimmingly. I did not load it completely up to the top of the firebricks, but maybe 3/4 of the way. We left the vent control open about 2/3 and the stove maintained a lovely 78° throughout the night. This morning, it had a nice cherry red bed of coals and the stack was still around 320° or so. I gave the stove a few good shakes until some ember came through, then added another layer of coal, left the ash pan door open until the blue ladies came through, repeated once more, and then closed it back down to where we had it set for the night. This was at 6 a.m. and I monitored it until 11 and it was fine. We left to get a Xmas tree, and when we came back 2 hrs later, the temp was down to around 200, and the edges of the coal bed were dark. I gave it a few more shakes to hopefully get rid of the ashes and re-ignite it. No such luck. We now have wood in it on top of the smoldering coals to keep the warmth up. We are just now adding coal to hopefully start it up again.
I don't like the grate design. It's a sliding type with a handle in front. But it seems whenever we shake it, large chunks get caught in the back, and lock it up. This also prevents us from loading up the back of the stove and banking it down to the front. I did some more searches on Wondercoal's and the consensus seems to be they are no good. I don't particularly agree, as this stove was phenomenal yesterday evening, last night, and this morning.
What might you all suggest? I'm sorry for the novel, but none of the posts I found through searching had the specific answers I was looking for. I have some pictures of the stove and everything if need be.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for any help. Love this site!!