maxpower_454 wrote:Mike, do you use a power vent on your stoker stove? I have a separate chimney on my house for the coal stove but I'm thinking about running a power vent also just for added safety. Is this ok to do? Will the stoker just regulate the draft regardless of whether there is a power vent or not? I'm looking at a Harman Magnum right now.
We no longer use stoker stoves - now just a stoker boiler. At our old house we used stoker stoves, including an old-type Harman Magnum. The Mag was my favorite from a collection of stoker stove and furnace units we used before installing a 1962 EFM 900 stoker boiler. The Mag had its own flue and never had any draft issues, so we never used a draft inducer (or powervent). It worked well enough that we brought it with us to our new house to serve as a backup, but we've never had to run it here.
I don't have any personal experience with draft inducers, but one of the other stoker stoves we used came from an installation where it had been powervented. That guy went on at some length about the maintenance issues associated with using powervents. My preference would be to use mechanical equipment only if it is needed; sometimes adding mechanical equipment just adds opportunities for things to break down or go wrong.
The stoker governs the supply of fuel and air to the fire, but I would think of the barometric damper as being the primary regulator of the draft. They work 24/7 and do not depend on electric power. I appreciate your concern with safety, but to me a natural chimney draft that meets manufacturer specs, combined with periodic monitoring and cleaning, is the safest approach. And of course it's good to have backup in the form of CO detectors.