Our brand new Vigilant II 2310 was installed 5 days ago now, and we've had our challenges. To recap...
.We already had a load of anthracite pea coal, then realized our dealer hadn't removed the air restrictor plate. Luckily, my husband was able to tackle that with no problem, and he took out the plate.
.We built our first fire, using wood and charcoal. The fire burned bright and hot, and the anthracite pea coal caught. It was awesome! However, once we filled the stove, the red embers and blue flames petered out, never to return.
.At that point I started to question whether the "leftover" metal piece that the installers said didn't belong to our stove actually did belong. Turned out it was the right cleanout cover, and most certainly did belong to our stove. We had to let the fire go out entirely, and again, my husband went to work and put the plate in place.
.All along, I'd been reading the posts here and felt ready and confident that this time we'd have a success. Starting the fire for a second time, the kindling, charcoal and anthracite were kicking butt, and it felt GOOD! We added coal a little layer at a time, letting the layers catch. But alas, in the end the coals over the first bed of red never got good and hot. We were burning, but not brightly, and no heat. Tried damper open, damper closed, air inlet flap open a little, middling, and a lot.
. I stayed up late that night reading all the posts I could find. Came across a great post by VigIIPeaBurner (Vermont Castings Stove, Need Info) and followed the specific foolproof step by steps. When I got to the part that had me "poke down thru the fire from the top in three or four places", I knew I was getting somewhere. The all anthracite fire was finally burning with blue flames, although still not much red.
.However...STILL COLD IN HERE!!
We don't have a surface thermometer yet (very hard to find), but I am using a regular digital thermometer, and right now, although I have a decent red bed and blue flickering on top (see pics), damper closed, air inlet flap at 1/8", the temp is only 73 five feet away directly in front of the stove! I grew up with a coal stove in this house, so I know this just isn't right.
Please... any ideas???
What I've learned...
I thought I'd post a summary of what I've learned so far from the kind posters at nepacrossroads, so that anyone else with a similar problem can see it at a glance...
Reasons for low heat output
- Draft - low heat output is likely a draft issue
Pea coal - use nut or stove for better draft/heat, or mix it with pea - experiment!
Chimney not high enough - chimney must be about 2 ft higher than highest point of roof w/i 10 feet
Ash - need to really shake shake shake
Clean out plates - need to be properly in place or the air will bypass the coal bed (Vigilant ii)
Pipe Damper - may need a manual pipe damper (check your stove manual, as some, like the Vig II, do NOT recommend this)
Restrictor Plate - On the Vigilant II, the restrictor plate must be removed if burning Anthracite coal (see manual to DIY)