I have been burning anthracite for about 3 days straight. It is mostly nut with a little bit of pea. I have a Brunco Hearthglow Insert. It's installed into an existing masonry chimney (30 ft.) which is clay tile lined and in excellent shape. I'm running an 8 inch liner up through the smoke chamber to the first series of clay flue tiles.
The past few days have been 48-50 for the high and 36-39 degrees for the low (NE Ohio). During the day, I have been running the stove with all the dampers/draft controls open (manual on top, bi-metal control, and 2 spinner knobs on the doors. At night, I have been turning down the dampers due to temps being colder. I have a few questions:
1. Running the dampers open during the day at the above-described temps my stove tops out around 450 degrees. Does this seem normal? In colder temps will the stove temp increase? I believe coal stoves run hotter in colder temps but I want verification.
2. Last night I shook the stove at about 9pm, fell asleep and failed to turn down the dampers/draft control. This morning around 8:30am I awoke and 80% of my coal had been turned into "clinkers." There was pure ash in the bottom of the pile and clinkers in the middle and on top. The clinkers were not hard and crumbled with slight pressure. Did the stove burn out because there was too much draft?
3. Has anyone used the following technique to light their stoves (fom hearth.com:
"I’ve been using coal for the past ten years. Finally, after five years I found out how to start a coal fire quickly. Take a coffee can (11 or 12 oz)and cut the bottom out. Place the empty can in the center of the grates and surround the can with coal. Then fill the coffee can with MATCHLIGHT CHARCOAL (ONLY).
Raise the can about an inch or more and add a few more pieces of charcoal. Now add more coal filling up the stove but first remove the can. Just make enough room to light the charcoal. I suggest you don’t walk away from it because it should start very quickly. Regulate the air and you’ll have a roaring fire in five minutes."
I have used this technique but my only concern is that the coal on the bottom will not be ignited sufficiently. With this technique the top of the coal bed is ignited first and that seems backwards from traditional coal ignition (bottom to top). Should I be concerned with the performance of this starting method, i.e., improper coal combustion and ineffciency. This is a very simple way to start a coal fire.