Stove Lights and Stays Lit for 30 Hours Then Goes 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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M1KEMASS
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby
Coal Size/Type: nut
Location: Uxbridge, MA

Post Mon. Oct. 20, 2008 8:41 am

I had no problems starting my efel montana stove - it was burning fine and got the room up to 75 degrees - the next morning it was not burning as warmly, only 68 in the room, but still lit - I shook it down and the coals appeard to burn brighter - after burning for 10 or 15 minutes - I added more coal - the coals were still bright red with blue flames, but the stove still did not produce much heat - got the room back up to 70 degrees. Before bed - I did the shake down, and the coals burned bright again - added coal and went to bed - I got up this morning and it was out. Any ideas what might be wrong? I purchased Reading pea coal, not sure of the quality of that brand coal. I've read that I'm supposed to do the shake down until red ambers just start falling, but how can I see that if I'm supposed to keep the ashpan door closed?

I'm really excited about burning coal, and have read as much as I've had time, and guess I might just need to experiment more.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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coalkirk
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Mon. Oct. 20, 2008 8:49 am

Mike, I'm not familiar with your stove but it sounds like you are a new coal burner. I'm guessing you are a recovering wood burner. :lol: Coal does not respond quickly to external stimulus like wood does. Adding coal, shaking it down changing air adjustments all take time to have an affect. Read some of the threads about shaking down a fire. It's got to be done carefully. Short choppy strokes and only until you are seeing live coal in the ash pan then stop. You can poke a coal fire alittle bit to help the process but that too must be done carefully. Coal fires when very low are fragile. Pea coal is not going to burn as hot as nut or stove. Less air flow.
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Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

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Devil505
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Post Mon. Oct. 20, 2008 8:55 am

M1KEMASS wrote:I've read that I'm supposed to do the shake down until red ambers just start falling, but how can I see that if I'm supposed to keep the ashpan door closed?


If you keep the ash door closed during shake down...you can't. (You have to open the door to see them if still glowing)
Over the years, I have tried it both ways & now keep the ash door open while shaking down,
Important thing it to open the ash door first & leave it open until the fire is really lively! (maybe 5-10 minutes depending on draft) That way most of the ash/dust will be sucked back into the stove instead of all over your floor.

Another thing I do (which always starts a debate among experienced coal burners) is poke a mature fire (say....a fire that has been burning for at least a few days) from the top lightly with a poker..... Often "Bridging" will keep the top of the coal bed suspended above an air pocket & by poking it, it'll fall like a cake & let you get good coal into that air pocket!
Last edited by Devil505 on Mon. Oct. 20, 2008 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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LsFarm
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Post Mon. Oct. 20, 2008 10:50 am

I'd say that you didn't shake hard or thoroughly enough, and the ash built up on the grate, blocking the air to the fire..

I'd 'disect' the cold coal bed.. remove the coal/ashes layer by layer from the top, and see what is on the grate.. you may have a brand of coal that needs really aggressive shaking to break up the burnt-out 'husks' of coal pieces.. my experience with Reading coal is that it left a lot of hard chunks in the ash,, as this accumulated on my grate, the air to the fire was blocked, and I had to let it burn out and I'd clean off the grate weekly.. O the coal brands didn't do this..

So see what is on your grate,, This will help you learn what your stove and shaker system likes and needs..

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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captcaper
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Post Mon. Oct. 20, 2008 7:02 pm

Also try to make sure you have a hot red coal bed of 3in. going then load it up on top of it with coal. I mean load it up full as it will take it without getting too sloppy. Turn the manual damper 3/4 closed. Bottom draft control at it's lower adjustments.
Current Stove Harman Super Magnum
Owned before
Harman Mark III Wood Parlor stove Scandia Wood Stove 2 Chubby Coal Stoves Small Pot Belly Cast Iron

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SemperFi
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Post Mon. Oct. 20, 2008 7:32 pm

Mikemass, Is your Efel a hopper fed? I was thinking the Montana was hopper fed. If it is the fire should never fail due to lack of fuel but will fail from lack of air. The grates are fine enough to burn pea in that stove which can allow them to clog easy. If burning pea you may have to skake the living daylights out of the stove to clear the ash. I think your stove is 40,000 btu, with nut I think you can squeez a little bit more out of it. I would stay away from stove coal as it would be hard to control in your stove. Good luck.
If you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs, you may have misjudged the situation.

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M1KEMASS
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby
Coal Size/Type: nut
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Post Mon. Oct. 20, 2008 8:40 pm

The Efel Montana is a hopper fed stove. When the stove went out it had plenty of coal in it, so I don't think that was the problem. I have been told this stove only burns pea coal, but I agree that if I burned nut coal I would get more air in the fire - do you think I should try it? I will try the shake down with the ash pan door opened and stop shaking only when I see some red ash falling. I was shaking the living daylights out of it when the fire seemed to die down, but it may have been too late at that point. Thanks for your feedback!

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Post Mon. Oct. 20, 2008 9:20 pm

How long are you letting the ash pan door open after you add coal .

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M1KEMASS
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Post Tue. Oct. 21, 2008 6:15 am

I was not leaving the ash pan door opened after adding coal. Also - do I add coal first (after ash pan door has been opened for 5 or 10 minutes) then shake down? Or do I shake down first, then add coal? Thanks Guys.

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coalvet
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Post Tue. Oct. 21, 2008 9:29 am

I always open the ash pan door to get the remaining coal to start burning hotter, this may take between 5 and 15 minutes depending on the draft. If there is enough live coal bed remaining I then shake the stove down. I then add fresh coal as needed, at this point I leave the ash pan door open to allow the fresh coal to catch and burn off any gases. Finally I close the ash door and adjust my air intake. This has done the trick for me.
Been cooking coal with the Crane for over 30 yrs.

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Devil505
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Post Tue. Oct. 21, 2008 9:40 am

M1KEMASS wrote:I was not leaving the ash pan door opened after adding coal. Also - do I add coal first (after ash pan door has been opened for 5 or 10 minutes) then shake down? Or do I shake down first, then add coal? Thanks Guys.


You definitely want to open the ash door first...liven up the fire.....shake down.....add coal......bring it back up to the temp you want....then close the ash door. (mush faster this way...leaving ash door open)
You should also be filling your firebox completely. There should be little room to add fresh coal b4 you shake down.
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
Shaking & Poking The TLC2000 Video

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rockwood
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Location: Utah

Post Tue. Oct. 21, 2008 10:57 am

Don't forget to close the ash door.

Someone here, maybe it was Greg L?? said they set a timer so they don't forget to close it.
I had never heard of this before but it's a very good idea and I must admit I have forgotten to close mine myself. :oops:
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." -Goethe

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M1KEMASS
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby
Coal Size/Type: nut
Location: Uxbridge, MA

Post Tue. Oct. 21, 2008 11:06 am

OK - I've been shaking for 3 minutes, and no red ashes are falling - the grey ashes are falling, but I don't see any red ones - how long does it usually take to shake down?

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Devil505
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Post Tue. Oct. 21, 2008 11:15 am

M1KEMASS wrote:OK - I've been shaking for 3 minutes, and no red ashes are falling - the grey ashes are falling, but I don't see any red ones - how long does it usually take to shake down?


STOP shaking
!!...Let the temp build up or you will smother your fire!
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
Shaking & Poking The TLC2000 Video

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Devil505
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Post Tue. Oct. 21, 2008 11:18 am

rockwood wrote:Don't forget to close the ash door.

Someone here, maybe it was Greg L?? said they set a timer so they don't forget to close it.
I had never heard of this before but it's a very good idea and I must admit I have forgotten to close mine myself. :oops:


That was me. I always set a timer whenever the ash door is open & I'm stepping away from it. http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... age=search

Way to easy to get distracted!
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
Shaking & Poking The TLC2000 Video

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