Lighting a Stoker

A Coal stoker furnace or stove controls most operations including automatically feeding the coal. They are quite similar to any conventional oil and gas units and easily operated for extended periods of time. They commonly use rice coal but may use larger sizes like buckwheat. They can be used as primary heat, supplementary heat or have a dual set up with your existing oil/gas furnace.
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Joined: Mon. Oct. 16, 2006 7:59 am
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace
Location: Hudson Valley, NY

Post Thu. Nov. 13, 2008 1:21 pm

ckf wrote:I just fired my new Channing III for the first time today. I bought some Match Lite charcoal and broke it up with a hammer(about 7 or 8 pieces). I covered the grate area (where the holes are) with the charcoal and lit it. I waited for 10 or 15 minutes until the charcoal was a bright red, added a little rice coal to the top. Waited another 5 or 1o minutes and plugged the stove in. Stove has been running ever since.

Patience is key. I tried to rush it the first time I tried and it went out :mad:
Breaking up the MatchLight bricks to create a good, hot charcoal fire is step one. (I put some whole briquets on top once it gets going.) Then I jack it up with the blower, try to be patient in adding the coal and relax as coalkirk recommends and, in about 45 minutes, I'm able to clutch in the auto-feed and turn out the light.

BTW, I've also found that MatchLight does degrade. It must be kept tightly sealed and, when it's lost some of its starting potency, a little coaxing with a propane torch at the very beginning (when the fire's still "cold") can help get it going. I also keep a supply of "old bricks" aside for adding to the MatchLight fire before starting to add coal.

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Stoker Coal Boiler: KeyStoker KAA-2
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KAA-2
Location: Osceola Mills, PA

Post Sun. Nov. 16, 2008 12:23 am

I live in the same town as Stovepartsplus, and bought a couple of their coal mice. I've started my stoker three times so far this year and have yet to use them. Starting with wood scraps is so easy I really don't see the need for anything special. I just run the stoker until the coal is starting to cover the area on the grates with the holes. I then make a pile of lumber scraps - little pieces of plywood, and half inch wide 2x4 cuttings, etc right at the end of the coal. Hit it with a propane torch for about 60 seconds, turn on the stoker and close the door. Plywood and pine scraps burn very hot and fast - no problem getting the rice going.

Pocono Pete
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue. Nov. 18, 2008 6:58 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing 111
Coal Size/Type: Rice Anthracite
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing 111
Location: Gouldsboro,PA

Post Tue. Dec. 09, 2008 11:25 pm

I ordered those fire starters from Stove Parts Plus, tried two of them so far with no luck. The package says to light, close the door and start the stove. I thought they were mice, but they are not, it's a package that looks like it has a fuse but it's made out of paper. Is there something I not doing right, has anyone had any luck with these starters?

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Joined: Wed. May. 17, 2006 8:12 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal
Location: Forest Hill MD

Post Wed. Dec. 10, 2008 7:29 am

I can't believe this thread has now gone 11 pages. You don't need any coal rodents. Go back to the beginning of this thread and read about using lump charcoal. It's the cheap easy sure fire (no pun intended) way to start your stoker. ;)
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." —General George S. Patton

Burning rice coal in a 1981 EFM DF520, nut coal in a hand fired Jotul 507.

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Joined: Wed. Aug. 13, 2008 3:34 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Hyfire2
Location: Central New York

Post Wed. Dec. 10, 2008 9:25 am

I agree it takes me 1 minute to light my stove. I have a hyfire 2 and only burn one side at a time I swap every month 1 min flat

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Posts: 1055
Joined: Sun. Dec. 02, 2007 8:13 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III

Post Wed. Dec. 10, 2008 10:19 am

I used lump charcoal broken into small pieces and wrapped up in a little newsprint package along with one small piece of fatwood - worked like a charm.

Posts: 168
Joined: Tue. Dec. 09, 2008 8:44 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska, Harman, Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Stoker

Post Mon. Dec. 29, 2008 1:04 am

I don't necessarily look for the best and the easiest way to light up a stoker, I love challenges, so initially I was able to light up a stoker with 6 Charcoal pieces of the kingsford charcoal, then I tried 5, it was as easy as six, then 4 for sure no problem, three will work depending on how you stack them, of course I have been using only 2 recently, and as soon as the fire starts, I usually take them out, put them out, then use them a second time.

As I said, I love a challenge, and finally I was able to start my stoker by using only ONE piece.
:D It was tricky but I did it.

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Joined: Tue. Sep. 23, 2008 8:07 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Reading
Stove/Furnace Model: Lehigh RS-96
Location: Eagleville (SE PA)

Post Fri. Jan. 02, 2009 4:06 pm

Power went out the other day and I had no Mice, no Charcoal, and no Hope. I did get the fire to light after I worked on the heavy bag for a little to let out my frustration. Gave me a good chance to clean out the stove and turn the baro damper around.

My Technique:

Leave the motor off, with the ash pan /door open, and take some paper along with some twigs from the backyard. build a little pile on the grate and light them on fire with a torch adding a few pieces of larger dry wood as your fire gets going. Shut the ash door and turn the motor on high. At this point you should have a nice flame from the small wood fire going, take a metal shovel and dump some coal on top of this small fire. Keep adding some coal and little peices of wood and after about 10 minutes the coal should be nice and hot. :D If the feed doesn't catch up to you flame manually move the stoker to get the coal to the fire and leave alone. I wouldn't want to do it again but it worked.

Lighting without the help of any mice or charcoal is quite a challange but possible in a pinch.
"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty".
-Thomas Jefferson

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Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: Kast Console

Post Fri. Jan. 23, 2009 11:26 am

I use a mouse ... no muss, no fuss, paid $8 for 6 of 'em, and I use 2 a year ... 1 to start in the late fall, and 1 to start in January (after the mid-winter cleanout). Keep 'em in plastic, cause the do absorb moisture and no longer work. For the lower priced variety, get a road flare and some canon fuse; cut the flare into 2" pieces and stick the fuse into the end. Works just as well.

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Posts: 48
Joined: Thu. Jul. 03, 2008 1:58 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Stoker 105K BTU
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA

Post Mon. Feb. 23, 2009 3:27 pm

My first time: I had some coal on the grate and put some newspaper and some lump charcoal broken into pieces, A small bag came with the stove. I lit that, didnt work. So I remeber a few things I read here. Took a blow torch to the lump charcoal, I don't think it was a minute, it was turning red, took a handful of coal on top and turned on the blower and that was it, it was lit. Just beautiful!!

Thanks for the advise.
Pete (pclfal)

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Stove/Furnace Make: leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer
Location: MA, South Shore

Post Mon. Feb. 23, 2009 8:18 pm

I use a little cowboy charcoal, break up a handful. I put the dam on the end of the grate, a cup or two of rice coal, then
the broken charcoal. I hit the charcoal with a propane torch for about a min. Turn on stove, wait another min. Toss a cup
of rice on top of the burning charcoal, hit the feed function, I am making heat! Start to finish about 5 min, and most of that
is breaking up the charcoal! You can put a fire starter(mouse?) in the charcoal instead of the propane torch. But the starters
are stinky and slow.

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Posts: 1845
Joined: Wed. May. 20, 2009 8:09 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90 Chimney vent
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Buderus Oil Boiler 3115-34
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoker 90 Chimney Vent
Location: Wynantskill NY, 10 miles from Albany

Post Sun. Oct. 04, 2009 8:30 pm

Just hooked up the Keystoker 90 top vent last nite with a factory insatalled Coal-Trol. No lie I used a large hand full of Cowboy charcoal broken into small pieces, one sheet of newsaper, one match. Lit the paper, let it burn for minute or so, added another handful of coal, and that was it! Be sure remaining areas of grate are covered with coal so the combustion fan distributes the air properly to your burning little pile. The Coal-Trol did the rest. It was so easy, after dealing with lighting a hand fed for 27 years. These stokers are unbelievable. :P

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Posts: 5104
Joined: Fri. Jan. 30, 2009 10:02 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice
Location: Warrenton, NC

Post Sun. Oct. 04, 2009 10:58 pm

2001Sierra wrote: These stokers are unbelievable. :P
Yes they are, isn't technology great? :D
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520
Location: western ny

Post Wed. Oct. 14, 2009 12:54 pm

I had to relight mine this morning. Here's the routine: Put a few handfuls of coal in the pot. Add a few small pieces of cardboard on top and light it on fire. Put 10 matchlite charcoal briquettes on the burning cardboard. Throw another handful of coal on top of that once the charcoal is glowing. Close the door, turn on the stoker. Done!
Burning coal is definitely worth the extra work involved.
"Good enough" is not good enough.

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Posts: 65
Joined: Tue. Jun. 24, 2008 8:53 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Hyfire II with hot air jacket
Location: Lehigh Valley

Post Wed. Nov. 04, 2009 1:57 pm

Started my LL Hyfire II for the season this morning. Used 8" section(scrap) of stove pipe filled with newspaper on bottom, next a few chunks of lump charcoal(cowboy) and then topped off will a little rice coal. Set on grate, propped up one side with a chunk of lump charcoal for air supply. Lit newspaper and five minutes later started the combustion fan and stoker feed. Lifted stove pipe piece dumping glowing charcoal on grate and added a little rice coal on top and I was done.
**Fall 2008**Got fill of fuel oil...$4.54/gallon...$850 bill...OUCH!! Bring on the Coal!!
**Winter 2008-09** Burned 1000 gallons less fuel oil for season...Return on Investment for my LL Hyfire II - 1 year!!


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