How to Light a Hand Fired Coal Stove

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swattley01
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Post Thu. Nov. 20, 2014 10:28 am

my last fire I used two hand fulls matchlight so not to deal with lighter fluid and on top of the one of the fire starter sticks in yellow wrapper found in any food store. once that fire starter was going real hot I put my first layer of coal in until blue flames and kept adding layers, until the fire box was full.
my problem has been keeping it going the next day after shaking down and adding coal, I came back to a dead fire full of ash and unburnt coal.

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Formulabruce
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Post Fri. Nov. 21, 2014 7:33 pm

After shake down and add, let it run wide open for 15 minutes. That gets the fire really stable and many more pieces of coal hot and burning that you may not see right on top. Then damp it down... just my 2 cents..

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ONEDOLLAR
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Post Mon. Feb. 09, 2015 1:02 am

Might also try 15 mins or so prior to shaking down add some coal. Let that ignite then shake down. Hope this helps. :D

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Seagrave1963
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Post Mon. Feb. 09, 2015 6:16 am

ONEDOLLAR wrote:Might also try 15 mins or so prior to shaking down add some coal. Let that ignite then shake down. Hope this helps. :D
Been doing that the last couple of weeks and it works very well! Again, I'm a coal noob, so take my observation with a grain of salt. :)

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Underdog
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Post Sat. Mar. 21, 2015 9:23 am

Question about temps...First time running the stove on coal. (It's a Herald similiar to the one in my profile) I'm still new here. I decided to run some coal in my stove this morning to get a feel for things. A small wood fire was enough to light the coal. I added 5 quart containers to the stove and it caught nicely. I dampered it down and it is running at a pretty steady state. I'm just not familiar with a coal fire (though I have read a lot here and watch's William's videos).
These are the temperatures on my stove running nut coal from Tractor Supply.
Stove pipe temperature 185 F as the pipe enters the chimney.
Stove pipe temperature is 340 at the location where the pipe exits the stove.
Top part of the stove measures 390F
The middle of the stove's cylinder is 550F
The fire box (area where the coal rests) measures 850F
The back brick firewall temp is 190F nearest to the firebox

Is that temp in the firebox (850F) too high? After about 30 minutes temperatures moderated down. But the firebox temp after 30 minutes is still 640F. The other temps have moderated too. But am I outside the acceptable range. Should I have shut the air down faster? What temperature are considered a good range to be in. Note: the firebox is not currently lined with a refractory material (a project for this summer). I don't plan running the stove again this season. I just wanted to get a feel for things. It is currently 29 F outside. The damper on the stove pipe to the flue is 3/4 closed. Running CO detectors in the house.

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Underdog
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Post Sat. Mar. 21, 2015 9:31 am

After an hour:
Stove pipe temperature 156 F as the pipe enters the chimney.
Stove pipe temperature is 300 at the location where the pipe exits the stove.
Top part of the stove measures 330F
The middle of the stove's cylinder is 400F
The fire box (area where the coal rests) measures 600F
The back brick firewall temp is 150F nearest to the firebox
Note: by slightly opening or closing the damper on the stove pipe (that leads from the stove to the chimney) I can raise the temp of that pipe easily. Normally when I burn wood in the stove that stove pipe temp is in 210 to 220. I never measured the firebox temp when burning wood (propably should have). But I did not believe that the firebox with my wood fires ever reached those temps. Could be wrong.

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Underdog
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Post Sat. Mar. 21, 2015 9:50 am

After an hour and 30 minutes:
Stove pipe temperature 160 F as the pipe enters the chimney.
Stove pipe temperature is 280 at the location where the pipe exits the stove.
Top part of the stove measures 300F
The middle of the stove's cylinder is 365F
The fire box (area where the coal rests) measures 530F
The back brick firewall temp is 145F nearest to the firebox
Note: while I know that my stove is sealed tight enough to have very good control of a wood fire (can almost put it out). I wonder if It is tight enough to control a coal fire. I'd like to be cautious.

After 3 hours the fire is really dying out:
Stove pipe temperature 90 F as the pipe enters the chimney.
Stove pipe temperature is 180 the location where the pipe exits the stove.
Top part of the stove measures 150F
The middle of the stove's cylinder is 200F
The fire box (area where the coal rests) measures 280F
The back brick firewall temp is 95 nearest to the firebox
Last edited by Underdog on Sat. Mar. 21, 2015 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sunny Boy
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Post Sat. Mar. 21, 2015 10:20 am

If it's tight enough that it'll slow down and control a wood fire, there'll be no problem controlling a coal fire. Coal burns slower, longer, and more steadily than wood in the same stove.

But they burn from opposite directions.

Wood burns from the top down so it needs more secondary air with the primary almost, or fully closed.

Coal burns from the bottom up, so it needs more primary air and the secondarys should be almost closed, unless the stove also has a fixed secondary air such as the gas ring in some base heaters. Then the secondarys can be kept closed fully once the coal bed shows blue flames.

Paul

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Underdog
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Post Sat. Mar. 21, 2015 1:19 pm

Is that 600F too high for the fire box?

buddyboy54
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Post Wed. Apr. 08, 2015 1:38 pm

the way I start a coal fire is ,first I start with a clean grate,no coal left from previous fires. I then open the manual pipe damper fully,open ash door completely,place several pieces of crumpled newspaper on grate,place a handful or 2 of small split wood such as left over furring strips or split 2x4 on top of newspaper.I then light newspaper with match and allow to burn until wood is fully burning. I then add about 1/4 bucket of coal evenly over the burning wood,at this point if you look at your chimney you will see a lot of whitish smoke. wait til the original coal is burning nice and hot, then I fill firebox to top and keep mpd open and ash door open until all coal is burning a nice blue flame over the entire coal bed. at this point I close the mpd and the ash door. This is the way my mother taught me to start coal fires more than 50 years ago and I always get it started on the first try.Growing up we started a fire in the fall and it burned all winter,our fires were never permitted to go out as that was our only way to heat and cook all winter

yolkie
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Post Sun. Oct. 25, 2015 11:55 am

I am new to coal stoves, and thus have a new Hitzer 50/93 that I am trying to use to heat our house. I have only successfully gotten this stove going once, I am having a really hard time keeping the coals lit. I have been starting a wood fire, and adding coal once it is burning hot, but once the wood is burned through the coal goes out. I am using nut coal, which was recommended by the dealer I got the stove from. Should I switch to pea coal? Or try a different brand of nut coal? The brand is Reading Premium Anthacite Chestnut coal. Or is it just me doing something wrong? I am open to suggestions!

RCMII
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Post Sun. Oct. 25, 2015 12:05 pm

The easiest way to light any hand fired or firebox type boiler is to use lump charcoal and with some charcoal lighter and when is glowing start adding your coal slowly not to smother the fire. It takes half the time of any other method. I have sold them used them all and this is the very easiest.

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Lightning
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Post Sun. Oct. 25, 2015 2:02 pm

Yolkie, how much coal are you adding to the wood fire? Like RCM said, the lump charcoal works really good. If using wood, make sure you use enough wood. Let it burn burn down a little, add a two inch layer of nut coal. Keep the ash door open. Once that layer catches, add another layer. Build up the fire in layers, to the top of the fire bricks. Then fill the hopper. Then you can close the ash pan door.

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Underdog
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Post Sun. Oct. 25, 2015 2:30 pm

yolkie wrote: having a really hard time keeping the coals lit.
Are you drawing a good draft? When temperatures climb my chimney does not draw a draft with the same force it does when temps are below 30 during the day.
This week In New England we are climbing up into the 60's
( dropping into the 30's at night). That is just not cold enough to sustain good bed of coals for me.
Last edited by Underdog on Sun. Oct. 25, 2015 6:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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ONEDOLLAR
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Post Sun. Oct. 25, 2015 2:33 pm

yolkie

Try watching this video. Why obviously this isn't your stove the basic concept is the same. Hope this helps! :D

https://vimeo.com/8506320

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