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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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Devil505
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Post Sat. Dec. 06, 2008 9:32 am

I just posted this on another thread but I think it works so well & makes life so much easier (especially in the colder months when your stove is running hotter) that is deserved its own thread:

What I have found is that if there's someone home during the day, just spreading a few hand shovels of coal across the top of the fire a few time a day will do wonders! Less shaking down necessary (I shake down once a day) able to run at higher stove temps all day & never having to "SAVE" an almost dead fire!
All it takes is opening the load door & spreading a few shovels of coal. No need to even touch the fire! (in fact....avoid doing anything to the coal bed at all) Whoever does it needs to know nothing about stove operation.

Just a look at the fire will tell you when to do it..........As soon as the fire is showing any "whitening" of the top coal.......throw some more in. (even if you make a big mound......Next shake/poke down will fix that)
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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grizzly2
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 30 - 95
Coal Size/Type: pea and nut/ anthracite
Other Heating: Jotul #3 wood stove in garage. Oil backup in house. Electric backup in house.
Location: Whippleville, NY

Post Sat. Dec. 06, 2008 6:21 pm

My grandmother had a potbelly stove with nickle plated trim on it and mica windows in the door. In the course of an evening she would have thrown a small shovel (one handed type used with a coal scuttle) of coal on the fire two or three times. I don't remember her ever shaking the grates while I was visiting her for the evening. Worked good for her too. :)
The only redeeming value of winter is that I can have a fire in my stove.

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Cap
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator
Coal Size/Type: Nut and Stove
Other Heating: Heat Pumps
Location: Lehigh Twp, PA
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Post Sat. Dec. 06, 2008 6:59 pm

I add one or two shovel fulls a few times throughout the evening beginning at 430p in order to keep fire at it's peak. If you bury the hot fire you will typically lose 50F or more for about 90mins. Been doing it this way for a few years. But I still have my 50% reducer in place so two shovels will add a solid layer of fresh coal.

Hand fired fireboxes have 3 stages of heat. I like to keep it in the middle stage when it's this cold. Currently 25F.
Cap
Lehigh Twp.
Northampton Co., PA

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siblay
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Post Sun. Dec. 07, 2008 7:26 am

Amen! I'm mixing pea and nut on top of this idea and it seems to provide the perfect balance all the way 'round.
Always keeps a nice, hot, glowing bedon top.

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Devil505
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Post Sun. Dec. 07, 2008 7:44 am

Cap wrote:I add one or two shovel fulls a few times throughout the evening beginning at 430p in order to keep fire at it's peak. If you bury the hot fire you will typically lose 50F or more for about 90mins. Been doing it this way for a few years. But I still have my 50% reducer in place so two shovels will add a solid layer of fresh coal.

Hand fired fireboxes have 3 stages of heat. I like to keep it in the middle stage when it's this cold. Currently 25F.
I'm not talking about burying the fire, just salting it. I have seen no temp reduction & the additional burn time & never having to save an almost dead fire make it worth it for me. Once a day shake down saves dust formulation too.
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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jumperjoe
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Post Sun. Dec. 07, 2008 8:20 am

I do this too, I have a USSC Hotblast and it works well.
Otherwise I lose alot of heat.

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Dann757
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Post Sun. Dec. 07, 2008 11:43 am

I'm new to this and learning from advice given here. I've had my third fire going for a couple of days and think I can keep it going. I have a 1/2" steel bar that I bent on one end about 5". I look under the grate and if I can't see any reds up through the holes I just put it up through and wiggle it a little. Nice fine ash has been coming down and I stop when reds start coming through. I go around under the grate this way and then look up top and can see the air flow restored. I add fresh coal once in a while, I may be adding it to frequently still, but I'm getting better at it! I hope to be able to judge the best draft visually also, by looking at the way the blue ladies behave. I have been able to damp down the fire so I see the blue flames just wavering back and forth, or dancing more vigorously if there is more air flow. What would be the optimum flow? I don't want to prevent the best combustion by cutting the air too much, and don't want to have too much draft. Still very much learning!!!

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Cap
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator
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Location: Lehigh Twp, PA
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Post Sun. Dec. 07, 2008 5:19 pm

Dann757 wrote: I hope to be able to judge the best draft visually also, by looking at the way the blue ladies behave. I have been able to damp down the fire so I see the blue flames just wavering back and forth, or dancing more vigorously if there is more air flow. What would be the optimum flow? I don't want to prevent the best combustion by cutting the air too much, and don't want to have too much draft. Still very much learning!!!
Dan,
I'm not sure you can properly set your draft using visual aids, maybe get into the ballpark but not to the point where you can walk away for 8 hrs. You really need to use a manometer and a barometric damper to set it up properly. Once you have performed this procedure, (or install a permanent manometer), you may open the damper wide for a short time (1hr or less)after reloading in order to get your fresh coal fired up. There is a ton written here which covers this topic.

The best tip I can give you until you set your draft up with a manometer would be to measure your stack temp. The stack temp should not be much over 200F-230Ffor a typical hand fired unit running on medium to medium high.
Cap
Lehigh Twp.
Northampton Co., PA

Dann757
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Post Sun. Dec. 07, 2008 7:10 pm

Cap thanks,
Next thing I'll spring for is a manometer and definitely want to install it permanent. That will be the way to tweak the system. My Rutland magnetic thermometer is reading under 200f and I have a fire going for days now! This is not modern heating where the thermostat is on the wall that's for sure. I already see the advantages of heating with coal over wood.

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