Newbie asks: How much coal to start a fire

Newbie asks: How much coal to start a fire

PostBy: chicgurl1974 On: Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:25 am

I'm switching from wood to coal because of all the snow and rain on the wood. I think stacking bags of coal would be easier for me. I have a harman II stove. I bought my first few tester bags of coal and i'm totally cluless

1) how much coal to use when first starting your fire - 40 lbs? 60 lbs? a few pieces?
2) when to add more coals (every hour? few hours?)
3) when to shake (flame is low?)
4) when to clean that bottom grate - is it safe to open and clean out excess coals while the fire is cooking above? Obviously if i Let the fires die it will be cold in the house when i clean
5) Is anyone using a coal starter gel?
6) what size coal? I bought the stove size huge nuggets
7) how long does it take to get the stove hot after u start it?

I'm having a hard time time because I'm clueless. I started the fire like a normal wood fire. I tossed in about 15 coals - but the temps just didn't rise well. I got to 63. So i added more wood - temps rose - I added more coals - seems like the fire is lasting longer before the next wood piece. Maybe the coal is kicking in? temps dropped a bit when the log was almost completely burned. I figured ok the coal can't be working because coal is supposed to keep burning and keep being hot for awhile. I added more coal. Nothing. Added wood - temps rose. Sighhh. I have no heat back up system and a 2700 square foot house - it gets to be below 46 degrees INSIDE my home haha HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP! Anyone live in the York area want to volunteer their expertise to me?
chicgurl1974
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: II (not sure haha)

Re: Newbie asks: How much coal to start a fire

PostBy: Rob R. On: Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:19 pm

What kind of coal did you buy? Does it say anything on the bag? I would guess that you purchased anthracite and not bituminous coal, if that is the case you should post in the hand-fired forum. There is a thread over there that discusses how to get a coal fire going: How to Light a Hand Fired Coal Stove
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Newbie asks: How much coal to start a fire

PostBy: chicgurl1974 On: Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:08 pm

anthracite coal is what i use - i'll check that forum thanks!
chicgurl1974
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: II (not sure haha)

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Re: Newbie asks: How much coal to start a fire

PostBy: chicgurl1974 On: Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:31 pm

markviii wrote:There is a thread over there that discusses how to get a coal fire going: How to Light a Hand Fired Coal Stove


Thanks! I didnt know it existed until u told me. I'm reading the posts now and at least i know i'm not alone in this problem hahah - i'm learning lil at a time - it's so exhausting to keep the first coals up - like a new born baby! u can't stop till it feeds on its own!
chicgurl1974
 
Stove/Furnace Make: harman
Stove/Furnace Model: II (not sure haha)

Re: Newbie asks: How much coal to start a fire

PostBy: Freddy On: Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:41 pm

Can you show us a photo of your stove?
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Newbie asks: How much coal to start a fire

PostBy: Westy On: Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:21 pm

I have a Harman Mark 2.

I get a wood fire going, and split up some hardwood nice and fine. and keep adding hardwood till I get three or four inches of wood embers.

I then open the ash pan door and add about ten pounds of coal evenly across the the bed of wood embers, and let that catch fire.

DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE UNATTENDED WHILE YOU HAVE THE ASH DOOR OPEN

You will hear a lot of crackling and popping as the coal heats up, then you should see red blue flames as the combo of wood and coal burns. Once the coal stops popping, I add another ten pounds or so of coal and let it catch fire. When this second charge of coal is burning well, I load another twenty pounds of coal, and shut the ash pan door and dial my draft to one turn open.

During this process, I try to keep the flue temperatures below 500F. I have a barometric damper installed 24 inches above the stove, and monitor the temperature half way between it and the stove.

I use chestnut or pea sized coal in this method, either size works well for me, with slight variances in how and when I load the each layer.
Westy
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Mark 2

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