Hand Fired Coal/Wood Stove Keeps Going Out

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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maureen
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Stove/Furnace Make: meradith
Stove/Furnace Model: coal/wood parlor stove

Post Fri. Oct. 17, 2008 11:06 am

Hi, I'm wondering if anyone else has this problem. I'm burning anthracite in a coal/wood parlor stove.....Fire is not lasting through the night. (I close the damper b4 going to bed) I wake up in the morning and the stove is full of rust and gray colored coal. I'm experimenting here and have read that the coal fire should last up to 36 hrs. I got to bed at 10pm and get up at 5am...coals are warm but not sign of red from glowing coals at all...needless to say...i have to start all over in the morning and it takes hrs to get a nice fire going. In the daytime...I burn it w/ the damper wide open and the bottom grate open (not the door). W/ both the flu and grate openings I'm having to add wood to the fire every 2 hrs and more coal. I relight the gray and rust colored clinkers w/ fresh as I cracked on open and its black in the middle.

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Dallas
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
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Location: NE-PA

Post Fri. Oct. 17, 2008 12:22 pm

It sounds as if you are totally smothering the fire at night. .... No air in. I would leave the bottom vents open a crack and close the pipe damper "most of the way" for night. I believe there are two different pipe dampers .. one style for coal , one style for wood. The coal damper should have some holes through the center and be somewhat smaller than the pipe, thus allowing air through, even though it might appear to be totally closed. The wood damper may not have any holes and fit tighter to the pipe walls.

I wouldn't expect to have a coal or wood fire last 36 hours, even if it was "nursed" through the entire 36 hours in mild weather.

maureen
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Post Fri. Oct. 17, 2008 12:36 pm

Thanks Tom....I will get one w/ holes in it...w/ wood only ..I'm able to run the fire nicely w/ the damper fully closed. Should the colder weather make it burn better and longer? I'm in Maine so at night it's sort of cold here at night already..lower 30's and in the day in the 50's. w...the damper 1/2 open...i'm afraid the mantle will catch fire it get so hot...Ideally....that seems like it would be the solution burning w/ the damper 1/2 open. Perhaps a peice of steal along the under side of the mantle would stop it from heating up...the paint is a bit charred from the fire.

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Dallas
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
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Location: NE-PA

Post Fri. Oct. 17, 2008 1:00 pm

You may not need a new damper, as long as you adjust it to allow some air through. The stove will probably burn better as it gets colder, however it won't burn longer. You need to experiment a little.

I would take steps, as required, to keep the heat from any combustibles in the area, including the mantel.

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Berlin
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Post Fri. Oct. 17, 2008 1:10 pm

sounds like your coal bed is way way too shallow. make the bed of coal as deep as you can, I can't stress this enough, then controll the fire with the underfire draft, try not to reduce it as much with pipe dampers or that stuff. simply get a hot fire going, load the stove up as high as you can without coal falling out the door then close down underfire draft.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

maureen
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Post Fri. Oct. 17, 2008 1:17 pm

Thanks for the feedback. Any suggestions on what to use to fireproof the mantle...the underlip of the mantle is 3" above an insulated thimble..fire dept said it meets regulations..however....the charred spot directly above the thimble tells a different story.....would angle steel work? ceramic or marble tile? (the charred spot is from burning wood only last year and coal burns much hotter.)

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LsFarm
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Post Fri. Oct. 17, 2008 6:16 pm

Safety first: take care of the chared mantle.. Charing is just a hundred degrees or so away from a flame!! A piece of steel, screwed in place on the underside of the mantle with spacers to provide an air gap will protect your mantle from most of the radiant heat..
you can use pieces of copper tubing or steel pipe over the mounting screws for the spacers.. as little as 1/2" air space will provide a lot of thermal barrier.

For the burning problems: leave the damper open, at least partially when you go to bed,, you are choking off the air flow through the coal bed.. A much better method would be to install an automatic barometric damper, but if your parlor stove is not airtight,, then you just aren't going to be able to control your fire to the extent that you are trying to. With either type of damper .

What quantity of coal does your stove hold, and how deep is the bed of coal?? You need at least 6-8" deep bed of coal to try to get through a 12-14 horu burn in an average airtight stove,, deeper if you want to burn longer.. Like 'berlin' said,, the deeper the better..

Greg L.
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

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rockwood
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Post Fri. Oct. 17, 2008 8:51 pm

LsFarm is right. Use steel with noncombustible spacers. Don't put ceramic tile or similar material directly on combustibles because they will be as hot on back side as the stove side. Tile really soaks up the heat.
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." -Goethe

maureen
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Post Sun. Oct. 19, 2008 10:25 am

LsFarm wrote:Safety first: take care of the chared mantle.. Charing is just a hundred degrees or so away from a flame!! A piece of steel, screwed in place on the underside of the mantle with spacers to provide an air gap will protect your mantle from most of the radiant heat..
you can use pieces of copper tubing or steel pipe over the mounting screws for the spacers.. as little as 1/2" air space will provide a lot of thermal barrier.

For the burning problems: leave the damper open, at least partially when you go to bed,, you are choking off the air flow through the coal bed.. A much better method would be to install an automatic barometric damper, but if your parlor stove is not airtight,, then you just aren't going to be able to control your fire to the extent that you are trying to. With either type of damper .

What quantity of coal does your stove hold, and how deep is the bed of coal?? You need at least 6-8" deep bed of coal to try to get through a 12-14 horu burn in an average airtight stove,, deeper if you want to burn longer.. Like 'berlin' said,, the deeper the better..

Greg L.


Thanks Greg...the hardware store came out to look and sold me a metalbestos pipe to go thru the wall....the way I had it was just stove pipe very close to the mantle.....it's all installed now and I feel much better.............am only able to get 3" or so of coal in as it will fall out the door....unless I pile it into the middle in a hill....haven't tried that yet...

Is it normal for the coal to "pop" pieces at the glass door when I put it in? Seems dangerous...I add a tiny bit and they shoot out...I close door....wait...add more...as I'm afraid I'll get shot in the eye. Am I doing something wrong when adding? I open the flu fully and wait ten seconds w/ it cracked open b4 opening door fully...add a shovel...close door as quick as I can...wait for the pieces to stop cracking..add more.

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LsFarm
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
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Location: Michigan

Post Sun. Oct. 19, 2008 11:02 am

Wear eye protection when loading your stove,, a full face shield is best, You can find them at most tool departments for use while using a grinder.

Several forum members have small scars on their face from the 'Popping coal' There is nothing that you can do to stop it,, the coal is just like a piece of glass when it is heated,, the heat causes it to crack, sometimes propelling a piece in your direction..

I would recommend mounding the coal as deep as you can towards the back of the firebox... This is the difference between a parlor stove and a coal stove meant as a full time heater.. The parlor stoves were meant to burn only for a few hours when the 'parlor' was in use,, they were not meant for whole-house heating for all night.. so the firebox doesn't hold a lot of coal..

Try making the coal as deep as possible,, every bit will help.

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

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