Open Ash Door - What Really Happens ?

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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Uglysquirrel
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Joined: Mon. Jan. 07, 2008 8:27 pm
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono

Post Tue. Dec. 09, 2008 10:56 pm

After reading the PARANOID thread, though it would be good to talk about what actually happens if a hand fired Harman or Hitzer's ash pan IS left open for a LONG time. The grates will bow of course but that may be a small concern. Does anyone have any real life experience or accurate second hand experience regarding what actually happens when one of these stoves overfires big time like with a open ash door?

These discussions may help all understand the importance of a properly secured ash door.

b

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coalvet
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Posts: 237
Joined: Tue. Feb. 27, 2007 12:48 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane Model 404, Harman MK I
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Other Heating: NG Boiler
Location: Rhode Island

Post Wed. Dec. 10, 2008 6:37 am

A few years ago I forgot and left the ash door open on my Crane, when the smoke detector went off so did the bell in my head. I ran into the living room and saw a cherry red stove glowing in the dark. Closed the door and shut the draft control completely. Then just sat and waited for it to cool down. After it cooled enough I checked everything and I didn't find any damage, got lucky! This is a steel stove so I can't speak for a cast iron stove. Cast might have cracked.
Been cooking coal with the Crane for over 30 yrs.

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Devil505
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Joined: Tue. Jul. 03, 2007 10:44 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000
Location: SE Massachusetts

Post Wed. Dec. 10, 2008 6:45 am

While I have no first hand experience with a serious overfire situation, I have had some minor ones & believe that, at the very least, a severe overfire situation would likely cause serious/expensive coal appliance damage like warping of shaker grates, shaker mechanism & even possibly the stove itself.
At worst, I can imagine an appliance or stove pipe failure resulting in a fire. (bottom line is an overfire is something you want o avoid! :fear:

I'd be interested in hearing any real experiences 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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japar
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Joined: Tue. Oct. 16, 2007 8:52 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hearthmate
Stove/Furnace Make: Hearthmate
Stove/Furnace Model: combo
Location: Seekonk MA

Post Wed. Dec. 10, 2008 7:28 pm

Last year which was my first year burning coal one night I woke up in the middle of the night sweating bullits, I ran to the stove I had left the door open a crack, I guess I was trying to save a dying fire and over time it just took off. The stove was puttin out intence heat , bright glowing reddish orange beamed out the glass and lite up the living room. I closed the ash door cut back on the air intake. I was able to open the top door breifly and to looked in I recall seeing like a glob of solid glowing lava yes extreamly hot. I didn't look but it must have been in the high 90's temp wise. This summer I took the grate out in 2 peices but was able the salvage it. It had numerous cracks.

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Razzler
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Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: rice
Location: Northampton Pa.

Post Wed. Dec. 10, 2008 8:26 pm

A buddy of mine got a call from his frantic wife while at work, she had left the ash door open for three hours on there Harman II and it was glowing orange! After he got it cooled down there was a 6" hole melted through the two warped grates. That was the last time she was aloud to touch the stove. That was five years ago, all he did was put new grates in he is still useing the stove today.

BeerMonley
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Lesiure Line
Coal Size/Type: rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Lesiure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono
Location: Lake Winola PA

Post Wed. Dec. 10, 2008 8:27 pm

i left mine open (just shook down) and forgot about it , I smelled something weird and went down stairs then rememberd I left the door open, I was smelling the stove pipe , might have been the paint burning off, nothing happend my grates didnt warp (they are brand new) the temp gauge on my pipe (about a foot above stove) was pegged. I just closed the door and closed the draft and when it got back down to normal I opend the draft back to what I normall keep it at.

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oliver power
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Joined: Sun. Apr. 16, 2006 9:28 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: KEYSTOKER Kaa-2
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93 & 30-95, Vigilant (pre-Vigilant-II), D.S. 1600 Circulator
Baseburners & Antiques: MANY (Mostly when burning wood)
Location: Near Dansville, NY

Post Wed. Dec. 10, 2008 9:32 pm

BeerMonley wrote:i left mine open (just shook down) and forgot about it , I smelled something weird and went down stairs then rememberd I left the door open, I was smelling the stove pipe , might have been the paint burning off, nothing happend my grates didnt warp (they are brand new) the temp gauge on my pipe (about a foot above stove) was pegged. I just closed the door and closed the draft and when it got back down to normal I opend the draft back to what I normall keep it at.

My extent of over fire matches your. Nothing happened , but scary. The fire can be almost dead. But , once it decides to take off , it's quick. Can easily burn the house down.

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grizzly2
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Joined: Tue. Feb. 12, 2008 7:18 pm
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 Thu. Dec. 11, 2008 7:54 am

Scary stuff :eek2: With my memory it is a good thing I have a good draft and hopper feed. I just don't need to leave the ash door open any longer than it takes to shake down the grates. Otherwise I would have the stove melted into a glob in a week. :|
The only redeeming value of winter is that I can have a fire in my stove.

SAU
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Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH
Location: Powder River Basin WY

Post Thu. Dec. 11, 2008 9:40 am

Just a couple of days ago I went upstairs to shower and left my 15 year old to watch the fire and close the ash door. That was a bad idea which I won't repeat. When I came back from the shower the stove was glowing near the exhaust, and my 775 degree laser thermometer was pegging out all over the top of the stove. Closed the draft and intakes to shut it down. Undewriters Laboratories has got to have a video of a runaway stove. Maybe I'll try to email them.
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Benjamin Franklin

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