Saving A Dying Fire

Modern and vintage hand fired coal stove are similar to a wood stove and in some cases can burn either. They need to be regulated and fed by hand usually every 12 to 24 hours depending on your usage. They require no power to operate making them ideal for rural settings with long power outages.
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CoalHeat
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Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 9:20 am

General opinion is that if the fire is not burning all across the coal bed, the fire is on the way out and the stove must be emptied and restarted. I have had this happen several times. Once the area gets too small, not much can be done.

This morning I had fire in 2/3 of the coal bed. I carefully added a layer of coal to the burning area and gave it plenty of air. I later added more coal. Once the fire was hot, I shook it down thoroughly and then gently scooped out the ashes in the dead section of the stove with a small shovel through the loading door. The burning section held together. Then I gently pushed some of the burning coal from the top of the bed over to the empty area. I added a little fresh coal and left it alone. Since then I have been able to fill the stove and it's cooking along. If the burning area is really small I have dug down to the grate next to the burning area and added charcoal (not Matchlight) and brought the stove back, but usually it won't last more then 1 or 2 hours.
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

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Dano
Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat. Dec. 01, 2007 10:02 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: harman mk1
Location: eastern mass

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 7:46 pm

wood'ncoal I have a mk I as well this is my third season with it I love it now but I have had problems with bad coal in the beggining and have been so determined not to dump the fire I brought back a fire that was a little more than have out once only to have it go completly out 10hrs later now I use blachak coal wich isn't as good as the deep mined I keep hearing about but I consistantly get 12 to 14 hr burns at good temps 200* on flue and 500* on side of stove I use nut with a little pea on the top

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 8:05 pm

Dano wrote:wood'ncoal I have a mk I as well this is my third season with it I love it now but I have had problems with bad coal in the beggining and have been so determined not to dump the fire I brought back a fire that was a little more than have out once only to have it go completly out 10hrs later now I use blachak coal wich isn't as good as the deep mined I keep hearing about but I consistantly get 12 to 14 hr burns at good temps 200* on flue and 500* on side of stove I use nut with a little pea on the top
Hi Dano,
I realize all the problems with ash and decreased burn times that I have been having are due to the coal I've been using. It's my intention to get the deep-mined coal at some point. Coalberner is waiting for me to make the trip.
If the bed is more than 1/3 out, the chances of saving it are very low. By late afternoon the fire was very low, I ended up restarting it. The problem is all the ash this coal creates, the coal doesn't burn as long and the ash blocks the air flow.
I've used Blaschak, it's very good as strip coal goes, the coal I'm burning now is from somewhere around Tamaqua, PA (strip-mined).
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

User avatar
Devil505
Member
Posts: 7110
Joined: Tue. Jul. 03, 2007 10:44 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000
Location: SE Massachusetts

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 8:13 pm

Wood'nCoal wrote:General opinion is that if the fire is not burning all across the coal bed, the fire is on the way out and the stove must be emptied and restarted. I have had this happen several times. Once the area gets too small, not much can be done.

This morning I had fire in 2/3 of the coal bed. I carefully added a layer of coal to the burning area and gave it plenty of air. I later added more coal. Once the fire was hot, I shook it down thoroughly and then gently scooped out the ashes in the dead section of the stove with a small shovel through the loading door. The burning section held together. Then I gently pushed some of the burning coal from the top of the bed over to the empty area. I added a little fresh coal and left it alone. Since then I have been able to fill the stove and it's cooking along. If the burning area is really small I have dug down to the grate next to the burning area and added charcoal (not Matchlight) and brought the stove back, but usually it won't last more then 1 or 2 hours.
Been there many time (trying to save a fire) but I wouldn't do this....."Then I gently pushed some of the burning coal from the top of the bed over to the empty area.".......Just add fresh coal to the hole you have created & leave the fire alone. The burning coals will eventualy ignite the new coal & fill it in just fine. Always works for me!
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
Shaking & Poking The TLC2000 Video

Dano
Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat. Dec. 01, 2007 10:02 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: harman mk1
Location: eastern mass

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 8:16 pm

i use bagged blaschak and it can vary from bag to bag sometimes I get lots of ash (empty tray twice a day) and sometimes just a little ash yes it is frustrating when you come home to a fire that is very low and a time consuming pain in the a** to nurse it back or dump it and start over I to would like to take a trip down and get some of that good stuff

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 8:22 pm

Devil5052 wrote:
Wood'nCoal wrote:General opinion is that if the fire is not burning all across the coal bed, the fire is on the way out and the stove must be emptied and restarted. I have had this happen several times. Once the area gets too small, not much can be done.

This morning I had fire in 2/3 of the coal bed. I carefully added a layer of coal to the burning area and gave it plenty of air. I later added more coal. Once the fire was hot, I shook it down thoroughly and then gently scooped out the ashes in the dead section of the stove with a small shovel through the loading door. The burning section held together. Then I gently pushed some of the burning coal from the top of the bed over to the empty area. I added a little fresh coal and left it alone. Since then I have been able to fill the stove and it's cooking along. If the burning area is really small I have dug down to the grate next to the burning area and added charcoal (not Matchlight) and brought the stove back, but usually it won't last more then 1 or 2 hours.
Been there many time (trying to save a fire) but I wouldn't do this....."Then I gently pushed some of the burning coal from the top of the bed over to the empty area.".......Just add fresh coal to the hole you have created & leave the fire alone. The burning coals will eventualy ignite the new coal & fill it in just fine. Always works for me!
I thought of doing that, but I was able to skim coal that had just ignited off the top of the bed, Since coal burns from the bottom up (as well as across) I figured this would work out better.
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

User avatar
Devil505
Member
Posts: 7110
Joined: Tue. Jul. 03, 2007 10:44 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000
Location: SE Massachusetts

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 8:23 pm

One thing that is a given when trying to save a dying fire......Plan on spending quite a bit of time at it! (There is no way I have found to rush the fire along. The most certain way there is to kill it dead is to try to rush things!
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
Shaking & Poking The TLC2000 Video

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 8:25 pm

Dano wrote:i use bagged blaschak and it can vary from bag to bag sometimes I get lots of ash (empty tray twice a day) and sometimes just a little ash yes it is frustrating when you come home to a fire that is very low and a time consuming pain in the a** to nurse it back or dump it and start over I to would like to take a trip down and get some of that good stuff
The quality always varies. Depends on where it's mined. One dealer I bought from last year was good, this year-no good. I burned Reading with good results, others say it's really bad. The only solution is the "good stuff". And it costs less too!
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

Visit Hitzer Stoves

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 8:27 pm

Devil5052 wrote:One thing that is a given when trying to save a dying fire......Plan on spending quite a bit of time at it! (There is no way I have found to rush the fire along. The most certain way there is to kill it dead is to try to rush things!
If the fire is too low, it's easier for me to just dump it and start over. With charcoal I can get it up rather quickly. I remember the hours with the stove when I first got it trying to get it going, Then I found this forum.
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

User avatar
Devil505
Member
Posts: 7110
Joined: Tue. Jul. 03, 2007 10:44 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000
Location: SE Massachusetts

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 8:27 pm

I thought of doing that, but I was able to skim coal that had just ignited off the top of the bed, Since coal burns from the bottom up (as well as across) I figured this would work out better.

I hear you but have always found the less I mess around with the fire the better my chances are of saving it. ( burning coal will ignite fresh coal regardless of it being on top, beside, next too...whatever)
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
Shaking & Poking The TLC2000 Video

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 8:38 pm

The worst thing you can do is poke into or start digging into the fire.
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

Mastiffman
Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed. Oct. 11, 2006 9:38 am
Location: Sch. County

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 9:04 pm

I almost lost the fire this morning.
Came down and opened the vent a turn and it came right back to life.
Here is where I usually shake it down, but today I forgot, and just added more coal.
At about 11 this morning I noticed my back wasn't warm, and the room was down to 72 from the low 80s.
The whole middle of the fire was dead, all ash. I had about a fist worth of glowing coal off to either side. I opened the bottom door for air. 15 minutes later I opened the top and scooped the ash out of the middle, and as it slowly came to life I'd spread the glowing pile slightly and drop and tiny bit of fresh coal on top by hand. I had the bottom door open for over an hour!
It took me until 2:00 this afternoon to get it going good again! - LOL
It would have been much faster to dump and restart, but after reading the whole "one match" thing I want to keep this fire going until Spring.
It's a sickness I tell ya!

User avatar
CoalHeat
Site Moderator
Posts: 8327
Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Wed. Dec. 05, 2007 9:14 pm

Mastiffman wrote:I almost lost the fire this morning.
Came down and opened the vent a turn and it came right back to life.
Here is where I usually shake it down, but today I forgot, and just added more coal.
At about 11 this morning I noticed my back wasn't warm, and the room was down to 72 from the low 80s.
The whole middle of the fire was dead, all ash. I had about a fist worth of glowing coal off to either side. I opened the bottom door for air. 15 minutes later I opened the top and scooped the ash out of the middle, and as it slowly came to life I'd spread the glowing pile slightly and drop and tiny bit of fresh coal on top by hand. I had the bottom door open for over an hour!
It took me until 2:00 this afternoon to get it going good again! - LOL
It would have been much faster to dump and restart, but after reading the whole "one match" thing I want to keep this fire going until Spring.
It's a sickness I tell ya!
A nobel effort, I might say.
I gave up on keeping the stove lit continuously after the first week.
Heating a circa 1832 farmhouse with a Harman Magnafire Mark I & a 1959 EFM 350 (heating DHW).
100% Oil Free!
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that counts."

User avatar
coal berner
Member
Posts: 3591
Joined: Tue. Jan. 09, 2007 12:44 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520
Location: Pottsville PA. Schuylkill County PA. The Hart Of Anthracite Coal Country.

Post Thu. Dec. 06, 2007 4:13 am

Wood'nCoal wrote:
Dano wrote:wood'ncoal I have a mk I as well this is my third season with it I love it now but I have had problems with bad coal in the beggining and have been so determined not to dump the fire I brought back a fire that was a little more than have out once only to have it go completly out 10hrs later now I use blachak coal wich isn't as good as the deep mined I keep hearing about but I consistantly get 12 to 14 hr burns at good temps 200* on flue and 500* on side of stove I use nut with a little pea on the top
Hi Dano,
I realize all the problems with ash and decreased burn times that I have been having are due to the coal I've been using. It's my intention to get the deep-mined coal at some point. Coalberner is waiting for me to make the trip.
If the bed is more than 1/3 out, the chances of saving it are very low. By late afternoon the fire was very low, I ended up restarting it. The problem is all the ash this coal creates, the coal doesn't burn as long and the ash blocks the air flow.
I've used Blaschak, it's very good as strip coal goes, the coal I'm burning now is from somewhere around Tamaqua, PA (strip-mined).
That would be south Tamaqua coal pockets inc. it is all stripping from all over the place they are 10 miles up the road from me ;)
J.C.

Heating house & water with a 1986 electric furnace man DF520 using buckwheat Anthracite coal

User avatar
coal berner
Member
Posts: 3591
Joined: Tue. Jan. 09, 2007 12:44 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520
Location: Pottsville PA. Schuylkill County PA. The Hart Of Anthracite Coal Country.

Post Thu. Dec. 06, 2007 4:15 am

Mastiffman wrote:I almost lost the fire this morning.
Came down and opened the vent a turn and it came right back to life.
Here is where I usually shake it down, but today I forgot, and just added more coal.
At about 11 this morning I noticed my back wasn't warm, and the room was down to 72 from the low 80s.
The whole middle of the fire was dead, all ash. I had about a fist worth of glowing coal off to either side. I opened the bottom door for air. 15 minutes later I opened the top and scooped the ash out of the middle, and as it slowly came to life I'd spread the glowing pile slightly and drop and tiny bit of fresh coal on top by hand. I had the bottom door open for over an hour!
It took me until 2:00 this afternoon to get it going good again! - LOL
It would have been much faster to dump and restart, but after reading the whole "one match" thing I want to keep this fire going until Spring.
It's a sickness I tell ya!
How do you like the new coal is better then the last stuff I bet it is a little hotter :lol:
J.C.

Heating house & water with a 1986 electric furnace man DF520 using buckwheat Anthracite coal

Visit Hitzer Stoves

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