coal starters (mouse)

coal starters (mouse)

PostBy: stallardt On: Thu Oct 19, 2006 6:06 am

I have installed a efm coal/oil stoker in my 4800 sf farm house and it works great! The question I have is I start my fire with a propane torch
which works okay but I have seen in this forum a mention of a coal starter refered to as a mouse. how well does this work and what is it made of. Thank you for your help. Tracy

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Oct 19, 2006 6:35 am

I have Van Wert whic is simialr to the EFM stokers. It feeds from the bottom in a upside bell correct?

Anyhow this is how I start it. Get a 2x4 and cut two 4 inch lengths (you can of course use other wood). Split them with an axe into about 20 to 30 pieces. Make sure that they are no thicker than about 1/4 of an inch or so, preferably smaller but watch those fingers :wink: .

Wad up about 3 or 4 sheets of newspaper and place them in the bell (make sure the bell is void of ash if it was previously running). Place the smallest pieces of wood first, then the larger pieces on top of the newspaper. Try and keep them in the center.

Light it and wait, let it burn for about 3-5 minutes. You should now have a decent bed of fire. Shovel about 4 inches of coal onto the fire, close the door and turn the furnace on. Look through the peep hole and you will probably not see any fire, but the coal should begin to crackle in a few seconds. If you do not hear crackling you have not built a big enough wood fire. Be patient after a minute or two you should see blue wisps begin to emerge (if you do it right this can actually be pretty cool as they will shoot up better than a foot).

Let it run untill you start to see a decent amount of red glowing coal and turn the furnace off and let it sit for about 1-2 hours. The reason for this is because the water will take quite while to get up to temp. If you let it run until it doesou're going to have a huge fire and may prevent it from runnning for many hours in which case it might go out. Probably won't make much of a difference in the winter but during this time of the year with moderate temps it's possible.
Richard S.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite