Coal newbie needs advice

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Hand Fed Coal Stove: vermont hearthstone wood/coal
Location: bighorn mountains

Post By: saxony » Thu. Dec. 14, 2017 7:26 pm

Put more coal into the stove this past week. Had ashes spilling out of the doors. Warmth-wise that's a step in the right direction and thanks for the observation. Still puzzled that the stove won't "get going" and put out some real heat. The firebox is good and hot, but a foot away from the stove, the warmth is negligible. Little to no smoke coming out of the chimney, which I think means it's burning hot enough to be efficient. Will keep finetuning and hope I hit the jackpot soon. Thanks for the tips. I'm learning!

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Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal
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Post By: Berlin » Tue. Dec. 19, 2017 8:15 pm

Rob R. wrote:
Sat. Dec. 09, 2017 10:10 am
That does not sound like nearly enough coal to me.

~ 12,500 btu/lb, x.65 = ~8,000 btu delivered.

A shallow bed will allow way too much excess air through the fuel bed and cool the stove.

Also consider the btu's per hour needed to heat the home.

If, under decent conditions you are getting 7-9k btu per pound of coal, it would take at least ~30 lbs (realistically closer to 50lbs over 8 hours, you don't want the fire to go out) to heat your house for 8 hours if you required 30,000 btu's per hour to match heat loss.

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Posts: 11
Joined: Mon. Dec. 04, 2017 8:01 pm
Hand Fed Coal Stove: vermont hearthstone wood/coal
Location: bighorn mountains

Post By: saxony » Fri. Dec. 22, 2017 1:19 pm

What is the .65 in your calculation?

I found a btu calc and came up with 90000 btu/hr (to raise inside temp an average of ~75 degrees) in a small, well insulated house.
I used 10000 btu/hr for coal for 6 hours, which adds up to 36 pounds per day at least.

Yes, I'm seeing that I need to use more coal. Have upped it from about 20 pounds a day to 40 and will keep going until I get it right. With temps dropping, I am motivated.

Thanks for the insight.

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Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000, SF-250, WM843
Location: Seward, Alaska

Post By: Kielanders » Mon. Jan. 01, 2018 6:24 pm

Burn Sub-Bit here. Started out on a TLC-2000, and have a few old threads on that. I was originally pissed at the unit for not producing the heat I'd hoped for - but I understood nothing about burning coal. First thing you need to do is 'understand your coal' - only then can you begin to start taking the time to learn how to burn it in your stove and get the most of it.

You'll probably never get the great results the anthracite guys do (dumping a couple hods and walking away, letting it run for 12/24 hours). You may be doing twice the work for the same heat - but that's life because that's your coal.

You need to find out exactly how many BTUs/pound your coal has. I'm at around 7500 BTUs per pound. You also need to get a rough idea of what your home's heat loss calculations are. In my case, I basically have to burn almost twice as much coal to get the heat of Anthracite. My home's heat loss is about 45 KBTUH, so I need to burn at around 6 lbs of coal per hour just to keep up with outside conditions. My coal has a heavy gas content, so will throw almost 75% of its heat in the first 2 hours.

For my loads, I generally leave about 2 inches of ash in the bottom for loading, but you can also load it clean.

1) You need to have an MPD & Baro Damper on your stack so you can regulate your draft to conditions. For me, a Baro Damper wasn't enough, I need the MPD to even begin to control my burn.
2) My stove load is on the left side: Paper, A Few 4"x4" Pieces of Tar Paper, Hand full of Kindling over that, & Couple Pieces of Wood or Logs - all banked on the left side of the stove. (Paper lights the Tar Paper, which Lights the Kindling, which lights the wood, which lights the coal)
3) I pour & bank 1 hod (40 lbs) on the right side of the stove (so it partially covers the wood/logs)

Again, don't layer your coal, bank it.

Also, I just use a plumbers MAP gas torch to light the paper & tar paper ( I don't screw with matches - get in there and get it going).

I leave the ash door open until the stove hits 300/400 degrees. Again, I don't screw around - get the stove up to heat, then close the door and dial in your settings.

This starts the stove clean every time and will give me about 3 solid hours of burn before I need to reload by throwing a couple of logs over the embers, and banking a new hod on the left side of the stove. You can see-saw your loads back and forth all day like this, shaking as necessary.

Make sure the wood is burning first on the reload, and don't put the fire out when banking the new hod of coal or you'll risk a puffback. I don't know what the methane content of your coal is, but get a face shield, some welding gloves, and a heavy cotton coat like a jean jacket for managing a stove that is smoldering (puffback danger) - it saved my ass more than once when I was learning.

You can do the W.C. measurements for your Baro & MPD settings, but after a time, you'll be able to just eyeball adjust them to suit your weather (i.e. very cold windy days vs. 'warm' humid days with no wind, and everything in between, etc.)

I've had a home under renovation, and starting totally green with nothing more than the nice folks on this forum, I learned. For the 1st 5 years at this house I operated 2 stoves 24/7 at least 180 days a years as we had no heating system. So, you can get very good at burning, you just need a little practice and an understanding of the basics.

Look into getting a Heat Reclaimer that mounts in your stack - that made a huge difference for us capturing heat going up the stack. We've used a Magic Heat the past 5 years, and it's been great.

Also, get yourself a good ash vac for spot cleaning. I got a Power Smith off of Amazon for around $90 5 years ago with a couple extra filters - money well spent and it's still running strong.

Stand proud - Real Men Burn Bit!

. . . anthracite is for the fairies who are afraid of losing their eyebrows, dust on their window treatments, and blowing their stack apart.


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