"Summer" Storage- Cleaning Coal Stove

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Post Tue. Feb. 27, 2007 10:23 am

I've been burning anthracite for years, but have not been able to avoid extensive flaking of steel/iron from the inside of the the stoves (Glacier Bay insert- burning 20+ years and Harman Magnum stoker) during the humid summer months. Cleaning with bicarb/ water then oiling with WD40 does not help. Could someone give me a procedure(s) to minimize this flaking? Also, how do you clean out your Draft chamber motor system on the Harman Magnum Stoker and or DVC 500?

Thanks for your help


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Post Tue. Feb. 27, 2007 11:33 am

H Iggy, welcome to the forum.

In addition to the washing with baking soda, a thorough wire-brushing, vacuuming, there is another idea that I heard just last night.

Member EuropaChris was here picking up a Keystoker stove I brought partway home to him. We were discussing summertime corrosion. He suggested buying some of the small buckets of moisture absorbant from Home Depot or Lowes, And sealing the flue with plastic and tape, the inlets to the blower motors, and seal the doors real well: make sure the door gaskets are complete, with no gaps.

I think the surface of the steel gets impregnated with the acidic ash when it is hot, and the summer humidity is enough to activate it. The Baking soda wash helps, but doesn't stick around long enough.

If you want to coat the surfaces with an oil, WD40 is not the product to use. WD is a very good product for lots of uses, but months-long rust prevention is not one of them. WD leaves a very thin layer of silicone, and this doesn't block oxygen from getting to the steel.

Check out the LPS-3 product, it leaves a thicker, slightly sticky layer of oil that will stick on th esteel for months. It is designed for long term protection of ferrous metals.

There are other products available, hopefully several other members can add to a list of good rust preventative products and proceeedures.

Hope this helps,, Greg L

Last edited by LsFarm on Tue. Feb. 27, 2007 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Tue. Feb. 27, 2007 11:57 am

LPS-3 is great stuff, Greg. I use it on my snowblower for summer storage. Keeps it from rusting from the road salt (after a good spring rinse with the hose). It leaves a real thick, waxy residue, and also lubricates nicely.

I really think the dessicant buckets will work very well to keep the stove from rusting during the summer. The ash absorbs the moisture, and then the sulfur turns to acid and eats up the stove. It's a good thing we pulled apart that Keystoker last night all the way as it had some good areas of ash impaction that after a few more years, it would have been a real issue.

I'd almost vote for a full teardown every year to be able to really clean out all the nooks and crannies of these stokers.


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Post Tue. Feb. 27, 2007 1:00 pm

I've read that some people keep a lightbulb (incadecent) in the stove to remove moisure. Not sure if this would work but it's an interesting idea.

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Post Tue. Feb. 27, 2007 1:30 pm

traderfjp wrote:I've read that some people keep a lightbulb (incadecent) in the stove to remove moisure. Not sure if this would work but it's an interesting idea.
That would work, that's how we keep our welding rod dry.

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Post Tue. Feb. 27, 2007 3:17 pm

I have very little problems with rust and corrosion in my 25 yr. old stove. At the end of the season it is disconnected from the chimney/stovepipe, disassembled, and cleaned. It is then left open.
I think the biggest factor is keeping it dry - I keep a de-humidifier running in the basement when the stove isn't running.
Other than the HW coil, I don't oil or clean it with baking soda either.

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Post Tue. Feb. 27, 2007 6:45 pm

I'm new to exclusive coal burning especially the stokers, but we have a 30 year old wood coal combination in our cabin. We clean it out and wipe everything including the pipe with baking soda water. We then spray the inside with LPS and paint the whole interior with motor oil. I'll let the oil dry for about 24 hours and I then give it a second light coating and let that dry for 2 days. We leave the pipe diconnected with news paper stuffed in both ends of the pipe to keep out the moisture. A drop light is stuck through the flue opening and placed in the bottom of the fire box. I usually stuff a rag in the flue opening and close the draft. This helps to keep out the moisture as the cabin is very damp in the summer and the stove only has a minimal amount of surface rust even after about 30 years.

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Post Tue. Feb. 27, 2007 7:02 pm

Lots of good tips. I believe the single biggest item is to disconnect the flue pipe. There tends to be a flow of air down my chimney in summer and it's bringing very humid air. Of course there is no subtitute for a tear down and thorough cleaning. I'll have to get some of that LPS-3. Sounds like good stuff.

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Post Wed. Feb. 28, 2007 7:59 am

My coal supplier suggested using Pam or any other non stick cooking spray along with the light bulb. After a good scraping and cleaning. I live in an old farm house with a damp basement. The lightbulb is a must for me. I'm going to try a very low wattage bulb and keep an eye on it over the summer. I don't think you need to put a 100 watter in there.


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Post Wed. Feb. 28, 2007 8:56 am

The lightbulb wattage needed will be just enough to keep the steel warm so that there is no condensation.

If you can disconnect the stove/furnace from the house system so that it will not be involved with any central A/C ducting, this will help.

I think a 50 watt, in an enclosed steel box with no ducting should be enough, put a thermometer in the box to see if it keeps the temp above about 60*f.

Greg L

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Post Wed. Feb. 28, 2007 10:25 am

My coal stoker boiler is piped in series with my oil boiler and can be isolated completely with valves on the supply and return lines. In winter the coal boiler also heats the shut off oil boiler. In summer the oil boiler heats domestic hot water. I bypass the coal boiler but leave the return isolation valve open. This allows some hot water to reach the coal boiler but it can't circulate because the supply value is closed. It's just enough heat to keep condensation at bay.

I haven't made up my mind on what's the best to do on the coal stovepipe. One season I removed and cleaned it. A the start of the next season it was full of holes. I guess I didn't clean and oil it well enough. The next season I just left it alone with the fly ash in it. I vacuumed it the fall that and it was fine. It was not a fair comparison since I also upgraded to 22 gauge steel stovepipe.


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Post Mon. Mar. 05, 2007 7:42 pm

Curious where one get the lps-3? what exactly is that? I have fairly dry basement and hoping a dehumidifier will do the job but plan to disconnect from chimney as well.

When using the baking soda wash? how musch soda to water should there be?


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Post Tue. Mar. 06, 2007 8:07 pm

Hi Jimbo,

Regarding the LPS 3 try the following website:

Hope that helps and have a wonderful week!

Last edited by Wicho on Fri. Mar. 31, 2017 11:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: <removed dead link>

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Post Tue. Mar. 06, 2007 8:13 pm

Hello again Jimbo,

Not sure if I was supposed to do it- but the website I gave you is for our company...


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Post Tue. Dec. 02, 2008 10:27 am

I am about to buy a Keystoker A-150 forced air furnace. At the last minute, I got some information from another dealer about the problem Keystokers have with rust. He said that due to the Keystoker design, it is impossible to clean out the tubes leading to the flue. This making rust a crucial problem that leads to premature 'rusting out' (my term).

Does anyone have any input on this question? I have read the posts about summer storage, and would do my best to make my unit rust-resistant.

Also, someone posted that a complete breakdown is best each summer to prolong the life of the furnace. Any comments?


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