New Coal Burner Needing Help

New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: jbirish On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:56 am

So I am burning coal, and by burning I mean I have a stove some red coals and a stove that won't go much above 200 degrees. I have a Hitzer 503 fireplace insert. Yesterday I had the stove burning at 350 degrees everything looked great and then I stepped in. I put new coal on top opened the ash door and let the stove run for about 20 mins. But the stove temp went down to 200 degrees so I decided to shake the coals must be too much ash. Shook the coal bed got a little ash and waited until I had blue flames coming up through the coal. Stove still at 200 degrees. Shut down the exhaust damper left the ash damper fully open went to bed. Woke up this morning to hear my radiators coming on with the oil boiler. What the heck! Went to the stove coals were kind of brown on top with glowing coal below. Stove at 200 degrees!!! UGH! Opened the ash door waited, waited got flames going shook down the base dropped lots of ash. Put a 3" layer of new coal and waited got flames over the whole coal bed that took nearly an hour! Closed the exhaust damper wife called an hour later stove still at 200 degrees. Her quote, "this should not be this hard, why did we get rid of the pellets?" I am afraid of fully loading the stove I have no coal in the gravity hopper for fear that I will have CO and VOC's backing up and not burning off and then boom. My draft is good on the stove when I have flames they angle to the back of the stove. The back of the stove burns well the front not so much. Could someone please help me by telling me how to properly load the stove, How long it should take to get burning? and How much coal are you putting in the stove at one time? I have burned it now for four days and have had one successful fire that got above 300 degrees. Looking forward to your responses. The only good news is the stove no longer goes out overnight it just never gets above 200 degrees.
jbirish
 

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: freetown fred On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:06 am

jb, go to the search box--top right corner--punch in--Hitzer 503 insert operation--see if that answers any questions or solves any problems---don't be scared of the stove--you have CO alarms in the house??? load her up & let her work the way she was made to
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: freetown fred On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:10 am

PS--not real familier w/ the 503--slowly fill to top of fire bricks & then fill hopper--this whole process may take 20 minutes for the first time--then with my 50-93--I shake every 12 hrs (5 or 6 quick jerky shakes till some red ash is in pan--then top off hopper--I'm sure some other 503 users will chime in here--by the way---welcome to the FORUM PS---what kind/ size of coal do you use?????
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

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Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:15 am

You must fill the firebox and hopper with coal, start with that. Does your chimney draft properly?
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: jbirish On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:28 am

Rob,

The chimney has a good draft. When I am starting the fire with wood and open the bottom door and the top damper the stove roars. I can see changes to the fire at most settings. I have not put a draft gauge but there many visual and audible clues where you can hear the air running through the fire that I have a stong draft.

JB
jbirish
 

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: freetown fred On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:31 am

Wonderful, now fill the stove up & get the house warmed up ;) It's really not rocket science ya know. :)
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:33 am

freetown fred wrote: PS---what kind/ size of coal do you use?????
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: jbirish On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:35 am

I have tried nut coal and this time I am using stove coal.
jbirish
 

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: freetown fred On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:42 am

How were the results w/ NUT???
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: SteveZee On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:46 am

You need to be patient and particularly with stove coal which is going to take longer to respond. Even nut still requires patience. The first mistake you made was not fill the stove and hopper. No matter what temps you want, always use a full load. Second mistake was shaking down the stove initially. Again patience Grasshoppah and let it do it's thing unless it had been burning for 12 or more hours. Once you get the stove going with a full bed at the temp you want and a full hopper, then and only then, do you set the draft and cruise. After that, you need not touch the stove for 12 hours at minimum, unless you want to crank it up or down. (and that is just a dial/primary adjustment)
SteveZee
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Modern Oak 116 & Glenwood 208 C Range

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: ONEDOLLAR On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:52 am

jbirish

If you don't mind give us an idea of where you live. There very well could be someone on this board who lives near you that would be willing to give you hand. :D
ONEDOLLAR
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: 2014 Chubby Prototype
Baseburners & Antiques: Crawford #2 Base Heater
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Anthracite

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: Gian4 On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:46 am

I believe that the 503 can only use nut or pea coal. I think stove coal is to big for the hopper. Check your Hitzer manual or call Hitzer. I agree that you need to fill the stove and hopper full to get good performance.
Gian4
Gian4
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: Hitzer503

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: Mike C. On: Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:59 am

Last year was my first with a Hitzer 503, too. If you have good draft, then don't worry about whether the insert will work properly, it certainly will. I had a few moments if concern, too, but everything was perfectly fine after I got the hang if things.

First off, where do you attach your thermometer? The insert is double walled, so you will see temperatures lower than others report. For example, I have my thermometer attached about halfway between the hopper door and the right hand side of the stove top, and my temperature had never exceeded 300 degrees, and my 503 heats the entire house. Last night, it was 20 here, and my stove was 200 degrees and the coolest room in my 2200 sq. ft. living space was 75 degrees.

When I tend my fire, I do these things:

1. Open the ash pan door and upper damper until the fire perks up nicely, usually about 5 minutes max.
2. Shake the grates until I see a nice row of glowing coals starting to drop in both sides while shaking.
3. Open the hopper and fill it to the top. I carefully brush all crumbs off the flange before I put the hopper cover back so I get a good seal. You don't want a fire in the hopper from a loose seal, CO would escape.
4. Leave the ash pan and damper open until a nice covering of blue flames are dancing all over the fresh coal, usually about 3 to five minutes for me, then close the ash pan door and push the top damper in fully.

I suspect that your problem is that you are not filling the hopper. The 503 likes a deep bed of burning coal, and works like a champ when it has one. I had a few problems, too, until I learned that.

By the way, make certain to have working CO detectors installed properly. I've never had a problem with CO, but detectors are a necessity.

Best if luck with your new insert. I love mine.
Mike C.
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503 EZ Flow Insert

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: Oldkingcoal On: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:13 am

jbirish,

There is a lot of good advice here. Coal burning is more of an art to burn correctly than any other type of fuel. As a result, there is a big learning curve when you first start. My wife was not too sure about coal when I brought up the idea a few years ago. She poo pooed it at first but now she loves it, and remarks how it was a great idea. Now, even when I’m gone for a few weeks for work during the winter, she can start it up and keep it burning nonstop. We don’t use our baseboard heat anymore!

Keep the faith, you’ll get it. Your wife may even start to like it too. :roll:
Oldkingcoal
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Vig II 2310
Coal Size/Type: Nut or Pea Anthracite
Other Heating: Oil for DHW only

Re: New Coal Burner Needing Help

PostBy: rberq On: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:38 am

jbirish wrote: My draft is good on the stove when I have flames they angle to the back of the stove ... The chimney has a good draft ... there many visual and audible clues where you can hear the air running through the fire that I have a strong draft.

My old Harman stove let some air in above the fire, through non-adjustable slots around the window glass. Before I installed a barometric damper, I had too much draft and you could hear the air whistling in through the slots. So much air that it carried the heat right up the chimney, it was hard to get the stove temperature to rise, and heat output was poor. I'm not familiar with your stove, but I wonder if you could have something like that going on? I have never noticed that flames angle to the back of the stove; there should not be that much air going through your stove to do that.

Edit: So, I just looked at some pictures of the 503 on Hitzer's web site. What is that knob above the glass door? Is it an air inlet? If so, it should be closed almost completely once you have an established fire. Very little air should be admitted above the coal bed for normal burning.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

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