Not New to Coal but Need HELP!!

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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Larry E.
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Joined: Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 4:41 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC2000

Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:07 pm

Hi All - I just switched from a 1920's Majestic cook stove in which I burned nut coal (it was not air tight and I was getting more and more nervous about the house burning down during mid day over fire situations when we are at work :( to a Harman TLC2000. I got nut coal again in August before I got this stove (because that's when the coal truck can drive to the coal shed without getting stuck in the mud) and filled the shed with 4 ton. My question is that I think I'm doing something wrong with the new stove because when I shake the ashes out in the morning and at night there are big chunks of partially burned pieces of coal that get stuck in between the grates or between the grates and the side of the stove and prevent me from moving the shaker handle. My remedy is to get a flashlight and a poker and stick my head almost in the ash bucket area to find the offending piece and pry it out. Last week I had to let the fire go completely out and empty many hard chunks and a few seemingly metallic pieces. The Majestic didn't have a huge fire pot but the grates rotated in such a way that this rarely happened. So the main difference I can see is that the old stove got REAL hot during each 12 hours of burn and this Harman I keep at a slow burn all day until I get home and then turn it up a tiny bit to heat the house and then back to a slow burn over night. So is my problem that I am not burning the fire hot enough to make mostly ash out of the coal and therefore getting big chunks? If not, what is going on? I'm getting my coal from the same place I have for the past 11 years......same size. Should I switch to pea coal next year??? Any help is greatly appreciated. I surfed the post archives and didn't find an answer to this specific question so am sorry if this is a repeat. L

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Dallas
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
Other Heating: Oil Hot Air
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35
Location: NE-PA

Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:12 pm

It sounds to me, like you said, the new stove isn't keeping the coal hot enough. Did the old stove have a manual pipe damper? Does the new stove? Can you put the draft to it, when you get home and get more out of the coal, without adding new?

bill4117
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Stove/Furnace Make: martin industries
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Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:24 pm

you probably just need to let more air through. whenever I try to turn my stove down to a simmer the damn thing either goes out or leaves a lot of unburned. try to open everything wide open and let it be for 15 minutes then refill leave it wide open for another 10 minutes then shake down.this may get it hot enough to relight the unburned from the top down.

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Larry E.
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Joined: Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 4:41 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC2000

Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:25 pm

Yes, the old stove had a manual pipe damper that, even if I shut it down almost parallel with the floor to close off the pipe, the fire would still suck air from between cracks around the ash pan and the door for the crank and it would get real hot.....so hot that I warped the cast firebox once and had to have it recast.....and the heavy metal plates that formed the top cooking surface would get bleached a sort of reddish after they'd glow for a while. An overfiring situation if even I've seen one :o The new stove only has a air control lever at the bottom at the front of the ash pan door.....nothing on the pipe....except this weird little swinging door thing to prevent back drafts or something....that's a new feature to me and I accept it but don't quite understand how it works and there is no way to shut it if it wants to swing open. I CAN fire up the coal that is there when I get home to burn it a bit but do you think that maybe I should set the fire to go a little hotter during the day (and experiment when I'm there obviously) because if I fire it up more when I get home, won't there be a layer already at the very bottom that burned slowly and the fire is now above that??? In other words, burn the stuff at the bottom hotter during the day because the fire won't go back down to reburn that when I fire it up later? Then leave that there for a couple of hours, shake it down, add some coal and reset to a higher setting than I currently am using for each 12 hour span. I clearly can afford that coal wise because when I get up or get home, the fire is not yet burning the top pieces of coal.....and I have about 8" of coal in the pot at a time. Thanks for responding!!! L

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Larry E.
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC2000

Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:28 pm

bill4117 wrote:you probably just need to let more air through. whenever I try to turn my stove down to a simmer the damn thing either goes out or leaves a lot of unburned. try to open everything wide open and let it be for 15 minutes then refill leave it wide open for another 10 minutes then shake down.this may get it hot enough to relight the unburned from the top down.


Hey thanks bill4117, I will try this tonight when I get home. Glad I found this forum for some ideas or this would have been a long, long winter!! This gives me hope. I'll write back tomorrow morning with the results. Many thanks. L

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coaledsweat
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Location: Guilford, Connecticut

Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:34 pm

Are you filling it all the way up? It is actually harder to run an anthracite fire down low if its small. Always build the fire to the fireboxes maximum level as you can damp down a very big fire and keep it going with little trouble. A small fire leads to trouble no matter what your doing. Pushing the unit hard with a small fire could overheat your grates. Burning coal is like growing corn, you won't have much luck unless there is a lot of it. :)
Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.

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Larry E.
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Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC2000

Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:39 pm

coaledsweat wrote:Are you filling it all the way up? It is actually harder to run an anthracite fire down low if its small. Always build the fire to the fireboxes maximum level as you can damp down a very big fire and keep it going with little trouble. A small fire leads to trouble no matter what your doing. Pushing the unit hard with a small fire could overheat your grates. Burning coal is like growing corn, you won't have much luck unless there is a lot of it. :)


Hi Coaledsweat - I fill it to within about 2" of the top of the fire bricks. So far I don't think I've overheated my grates but thanks for this information. I'll try burning it a little hotter than I have been over the 12 hour idle period with the firebox filled to the max. It's shocking how little air this unit needs to keep going.......and how quickly it fires up if I push the air intake far to the right (wide open). With my old unit I didn't have this luxury......so I appreciate this help.....it's a luxury with a learning curve!! L

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CoalHeat
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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 Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:41 pm

With the switch from the Majestic to a Harman you've gone from a Model T to a 2008 Mustang Cobra. The operation of the new stove will take a while for you to learn.
I have a old Andes coal/gas combo stove and I look at the coal section compared to my Harman...
Try burning it a little hotter, you may have a layer of ash by the grates, but unburned coal just above it. The Harman shaker grates rotate back and forth in the same direction, making shaking easy, but if you go too far with the lever unburned coal and clinkers can get stuck in between the grates. Try shorter strokes with the lever. If it gets stuck gently push it a little farther and then immediately back to center. If you push it all the way, it will get stuck for sure, dumping the fire in the process. It's something you have to learn over time.
ANDES STOVE 3.JPG
Still working on getting this into the kitchen...
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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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 Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:42 pm

Larry E. wrote:
coaledsweat wrote:Are you filling it all the way up? It is actually harder to run an anthracite fire down low if its small. Always build the fire to the fireboxes maximum level as you can damp down a very big fire and keep it going with little trouble. A small fire leads to trouble no matter what your doing. Pushing the unit hard with a small fire could overheat your grates. Burning coal is like growing corn, you won't have much luck unless there is a lot of it. :)


Hi Coaledsweat - I fill it to within about 2" of the top of the fire bricks. So far I don't think I've overheated my grates but thanks for this information. I'll try burning it a little hotter than I have been over the 12 hour idle period with the firebox filled to the max. It's shocking how little air this unit needs to keep going.......and how quickly it fires up if I push the air intake far to the right (wide open). With my old unit I didn't have this luxury......so I appreciate this help.....it's a luxury with a learning curve!! L


Fill it all the way to the top of the fire brick, just like the manual says. Then you'll have a nice deep fire that will last.
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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Larry E.
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Posts: 19
Joined: Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 4:41 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC2000

Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:44 pm

Dallas wrote:It sounds to me, like you said, the new stove isn't keeping the coal hot enough. Did the old stove have a manual pipe damper? Does the new stove? Can you put the draft to it, when you get home and get more out of the coal, without adding new?


Hi Dallas - In my search for answers to this subject I read a post about installing both MPD's and the funky auto flapping door thing that I have in my out pipe now.....was that you that wrote that? If so, I must ask the stupid question.....which ends up being closer to the stove, the MPD or the flapping door thing? And then how does the MPD effect the function of the flapping door? If not, sorry to bother you. L

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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 Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:51 pm

The flappy thing is a Barometric Damper designed to automatically regulate the draft to the stove. It takes the guess work out of making sure you have the correct draft to the stove. It takes the place of the MPD, but some on the forum prefer the MPD. The Harman manual specifically forbids the use of a MPD, and recommends a baro damper for their stoves.
BARO-TEMPGAUGE 11-18-07.JPG
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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Larry E.
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Posts: 19
Joined: Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 4:41 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC2000

Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:51 pm

Wood'nCoal wrote:With the switch from the Majestic to a Harman you've gone from a Model T to a 2008 Mustang Cobra. The operation of the new stove will take a while for you to learn.
I have a old Andes coal/gas combo stove and I look at the coal section compared to my Harman...
Try burning it a little hotter, you may have a layer of ash by the grates, but unburned coal just above it. The Harman shaker grates rotate back and forth in the same direction, making shaking easy, but if you go too far with the lever unburned coal and clinkers can get stuck in between the grates. Try shorter strokes with the lever. If it gets stuck gently push it a little farther and then immediately back to center. If you push it all the way, it will get stuck for sure, dumping the fire in the process. It's something you have to learn over time.
ANDES STOVE 3.JPG


Thanks Wood'nCoal - Which brings up my next question......when I figure this puzzle out I will still invariably get clinkers in there....with my old stove I'd open the grates and dump part of the fire out (I could see which part of the box had clinkers because the fire wouldn't migrate over to that side anymore due to blocked air flow) and keep on going. So with this new Mustang Cobra with all this coal in there, what do you think is the best way to get the clinkers or occasional large unburned piece of coal out of there through the grates???? Or shake it down the best I can and then fish around from the top for the offender? I realize that everyone else is rolling their eyes but I'm trying to zoom up the learning curve here so please bear with me.

Thanks. L

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Dallas
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Joined: Mon. Nov. 12, 2007 12:14 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
Other Heating: Oil Hot Air
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35
Location: NE-PA

Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:55 pm

The manual pipe damper should be closer to the stove, if you have both. IMHO, the manual pipe damper won't interfere with the intent of the baro damper (flapper), which seems to be to keep the total draft over/through the fire "governed", by keeping the stove pipe draft regulated.
Last edited by Dallas on Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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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 Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:56 pm

I still have questions about burning coal, not a problem.
Others may have a different method, but after shaking a hot fire I sometimes can fish out the clinkers through the loading door, usually when there is enough junk in the firebox I end up letting the fire go out and empty and restart. The "good coal" burns much better with less ash and problems.
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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Larry E.
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Posts: 19
Joined: Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 4:41 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC2000

Post Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 6:02 pm

Wood'nCoal wrote:I still have questions about burning coal, not a problem.
Others may have a different method, but after shaking a hot fire I sometimes can fish out the clinkers through the loading door, usually when there is enough junk in the firebox I end up letting the fire go out and empty and restart. The "good coal" burns much better with less ash and problems.


Oh great. I already had to let this fire go out after only two weeks of continuous burning because I had so many hard chunks I couldn't move the grates....a big piece was stuck. This is a big change from my other stove that last year I kept burning from mid December to end of April with NO outage necessary. Anyway, I guess if I improve my technique THEN I'll be able to tell if I have the "good stuff" or if I'll have to search the archives for discussions on where to get the good stuff close to Pottstown PA!! But I still have 4 ton of this stuff to burn so I'll have a long while to search for that if needed. Thanks....I'll report back tomorrow on my success or failure.

Lory

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