Novice Can't Keep Chubby Stove Going

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keegs
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby
Coal Size/Type: nut
Other Heating: wood stove and kerosene heater
Stove/Furnace Make: Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Coal Stove
Location: Bridgewater, ME

Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 7:07 am

So I'm on my 4th or 5th successful coal fire now but I'm having a problem each morning. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong and hope someone can give me an assist.

I have a Chubby in good working condition with new 6" pipe into a relatively new chimney with a good draft. I start off with a nice hardwood fire to lite the coals. They catch and soon after I have a nice coal fire going that burns all night.

In the morning, 7- 8 hours or so after I've gotten the coal fire going I check in with the Chubby. It appears that I have a nice amount of glowing coals remaining from the overnight. I open the air intake in the ash door and open the manual draft. After 10 minutes or so I add a few small shovels of coal to the top of what's there. The new coal sizzles and crackles. I run the poker through the slots of the grate to clear some ash out of the burn pot

Leaving the damper and intake vent open I watch the coal fire burn lower and slower until she goes out.

What am I doing wrong?

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RT Hauling
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Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 7:17 am

Try adding a smaller amount of coal. Wait a little bit for it to start burning before adding more coal.

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Lightning
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Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 7:44 am

Try this sequence in your morning routine.

First, rev up the fire by opening the MPD and ash door. Next, shake ashes until a few red embers fall and a healthy orange glow is radiating down thru the grates. Then, add fresh coal, continue to leave the ash door open until the new charge is burning. Finally, close the ash door and set your primary air and MPD for the desired heat output.

Be sure to never leave the stove unattended while the ash door is open OR set an alarm so you don't forget about it.

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keegs
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby
Coal Size/Type: nut
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Location: Bridgewater, ME

Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 8:01 am

Thanks RT Hauling and Lightning ... I may not have rev'd the fire enough but I did leave the manual damper and ash door vent fully open for 10 minutes or so ... maybe more, before adding new fuel. I added about 10-12 pieces of nut coal, aware that adding too much, too soon could put the fire out. I added the 10-12 new pieces of coal over 5-10 minutes.

I watched Larry's video a number of times.

How deep should the bed of hot coals be after burning overnight 7-8 hours?

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Lightning
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Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 8:10 am

To rev it up, open the ash door itself, not just the vents. But as mentioned earlier, don't leave it unattended.

Are you filling coal as deep as possible the night before?

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windyhill4.2
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Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 8:12 am

The amount of coal left unburnt after 8 hrs will depend on how hard the stove was fired during that time.It would be hard to put exact numbers to how much is left.
If i had to place the blame on 1 issue for your fire going out...

It would be my guess that you need to be more aggressive with shaking & poking,you want a strong glow in the ash pan .... then you can count on a healthy re-fire.

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Lightning
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Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 8:33 am

windyhill4.2 wrote:
Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 8:12 am
It would be my guess that you need to be more aggressive with shaking & poking,
I would vote for that too except I get the impression that each morning is after a new fire so I wouldn't expect the fuel bed to be ash bound yet. I'm thinking he either doesn't have enough fire left in the morning due to not putting in enough coal at night OR it isn't getting revved up enough before clearing ashes and it's getting killed.

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keegs
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby
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Location: Bridgewater, ME

Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 8:46 am

I shake the grate and run a rod up through the grates into the bed of coals. I have about 4-5 inches of hot coals after clearing the ashes. I add to this in small increments 10 -12 pieces of nut coal.

I don't fill the fire pot up to the very top with coal before I go to bed. I'm usually down a few inches from the top.

It could be that I don't have enough fuel left in the morning after shaking the coals or maybe I'm not rev'ng the fire up enough before adding new fuel.

Thanks for the feedback.

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Lightning
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Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 8:52 am

Yup, don't be afraid to fill it up at refuel time. You might even find you can get at least 12 hours or more between tendings during mild weather and easier recovery after loading.

Also, you shouldn't need to layer in the fresh coal. Provided the left over fuel bed is cleared of ash properly and it's burning healthy, just load it.

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keegs
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Location: Bridgewater, ME

Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 9:02 am

That's likely it. I'll poke around some more with it. Overnight temps here have been in the mid-high fifties so I'm staying warm while I learn.

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Lightning
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Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 9:08 am

keegs wrote:
Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 9:02 am
That's likely it. I'll poke around some more with it. Overnight temps here have been in the mid-high fifties so I'm staying warm while I learn.
Everyone has their own unique tending routine, you will find one that works for you. Good luck and keep at it :)

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Logs
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Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 9:37 am

I had some trouble with the chubby when I first started burning coal . Always fill the pot when rebfilling a hot fire.after I shake and poke , I put about 4 shovels full in around edge of pot and leave a glowing spot in the center. After that catches , about 10 minutes. I fill the pot and adjust the air and good to go for about another 12 hours. Always fill the pot when refilling!

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keegs
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby
Coal Size/Type: nut
Other Heating: wood stove and kerosene heater
Stove/Furnace Make: Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Coal Stove
Location: Bridgewater, ME

Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 10:27 am

Logs wrote:
Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 9:37 am
I had some trouble with the chubby when I first started burning coal . Always fill the pot when rebfilling a hot fire.after I shake and poke , I put about 4 shovels full in around edge of pot and leave a glowing spot in the center. After that catches , about 10 minutes. I fill the pot and adjust the air and good to go for about another 12 hours. Always fill the pot when refilling!
Thanks Logs,

When you go for a 12 hour burn do you have everything shut down (eg. side ports, ash door ports, manual damper)? On my overnight burns I keep the two side ports open and the ports on the ash door are open about half way and I close down the manual damper.

I've had the fire go out a few times and sense it's better to make more air available to the burn...but maybe not?? I replaced the door and top casting gaskets on the stove, so it's pretty air tight.

Might be getting ahead of myself but I'd like to be able regulate the temperature a little more. This is a small two story house, maybe 800 sq/ft. It doesn't take much to heat. The outside temps are such that it's just borderline that I need the fire at all. Overnight temps have been in the mid fifties. A slow steady burn is what I'm after given these conditions.

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Hambden Bob
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Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 10:58 am

These Guys are On 'Da Money with the Advice ! Every Coal Burning Unit,in conjunction with Outlet Piping into the Flu,along with the Chimney Type,it's Construction,Clearance above the roof,and atmospheric/area conditions causes You to have Your Own Burning Thumbprint/Characteristic. It's Yours. You're in the Period Of Discovery regarding how Your Set Up Operates...

You're literally cracking the code on this one... Stay with it. If You have to,document Your changes,giving You a defined pathway back to a known Operational Set Of Points. Also,Coal is an Animal that requires Patience after making a set point or operational change. It can be a slower,lagging closed loop that takes some time before it reports it's results to You. You're All Over This ! That's Good ! Stay with it,and stay here on this thread. These Guys Love Feedback. Hell,They Love Pictures. All are Tools to help You state Your Case and Dilemma's....

Just out of Curiousity,do You have any idea what the Chubby's Temp is compared to what Your Stack temp is ? Do You happen to have a Draft Gauge ? Both of those measuring tools can help dial in a stove so that You're not sending heat up and out of the chimney,using up Your Fuel on the Overnight.... I think You're very close to dialing this Little Stinker in !

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Lightning
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Post Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 11:01 am

keegs wrote:
Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 10:27 am
On my overnight burns I keep the two side ports open and the ports on the ash door are open about half way and I close down the manual damper.
Just to help you understand what is happening, the MPD ultimately controls how much air enters the primary and secondary combustion air openings no matter how far open you have them set. If exhaust is set to leave the stove slowly by having the MPD closed, then combustion air will enter the stove slowly to replace it. Exhaust out proportionately controls combustion air coming in, and vise versa.

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