Firing up Surdiac Hopper Stove

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Stove/Furnace Make: Surdiac

Post By: unishackjim » Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:02 pm

I have a 20 + year old Surdiac hopper fed stove, and I have tried it all--matchlight charcoal, wood fires, pellets--this stove won't start. I have come to the conclusion that coal is actually a fireproof material, and should be used to insulate buildings. The stove is drafting properly, and I have cleaned it out, including the side things in the rear. I have tried both nut and pea sized coal, and even tried a propane torch to cook the nuggets. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Much appreciated,

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Post By: bill4117 » Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:16 pm

you really need to get a good bed of wood coals going. im talking like a 3 inch bed of wood coals then add a THIN layer of coals (one coal thick). open up the ash door and the flue damper and let it rip for about ten minutes or until you seen the blue dancing flames and the coal is glowing. add another single layer of coal, close the ash door but keep the air inlet on the ash door open all the way. continue this cycle until you have bout a 5 or six inch bed of coals fill the stove and close down the air inlet and flue damper to about 1/2 way and adjust the stove every 30 minutes until you find the sweet spot. (it took me a while to get to know my stove). you really can't get a good coal fire going quickly until you have some experience and get to know your stove.

ask the forum about the proper way to light with 1/4 of a roadflare. I don't have any experience with it but I know some of these guys on here use them to start a quick fire.

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Post By: Dallas » Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 5:17 pm

A few more symptoms, please. What does the wood, charcoal, etc. do, when lit? How have you checked the draft? What is the chimney, etc.?

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Post By: JerseyCoal » Mon. Dec. 10, 2007 6:23 pm

Hi Jim:

I burn 2 Franco-Belge stoves which are about 20+ years old. They should be quite similar to your Surdiac. For the first time this year, I tried starting the fire with road flares, matchlight charcoal, propane torch, and MAPP torch. No luck.

The only way I have ever been able to start a fire in my stoves was by first starting a hardwood fire and establishing a good bed of wood coals. While I'm building up the wood fire, I'll sprinkle in a handful or so of pea coal. Once I have a base of hot coals I add more pea coal, being careful not to smother the base. Once I see those beautiful blue flames dancing around the firebox, I'll fill up the hopper and I am set for the season.

During the entire process, the air inlet knob is turned up to the max and the ashbox door is wide open to increase airflow.

Don't close the glass door when the wood fire is flaming as it will cover the glass with soot/creosote. Triple up some aluminum foil and cover the firebox opening. You can also fabricate a cover from sheetmetal. Size it so as to more than cover the opening. A 90 degree bend on the top will allow it to rest on the top lip of the opening. A knob, hook, or handle will make it easier to manuever. It can get rather HOT so use gloves and/or a tool. Once your fire is up and running, don't forget to close the ashbox door and set the air flow dial to the desired setting; you don't want to overfire the stove.

I think the reason why we have no luck with the other methods of starting the fire is that the "Girlie Men" run stokers which have combustion fans feeding air into the fire. Our stoves work on natural air flow and that just isn't enough unless we start with a wood fire.

Be patient and before long you'll be enjoying a hot cup of tea by a hot fire. Good luck!

John C.

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Post By: coalstoves » Tue. Dec. 11, 2007 7:38 am

Ouch you guys make things hard. I have a fire in about 30mins in an hour its filled to the top with coal and on its way.

I only lite it once a year maybe twice if I do a late season clean out to insure good draft as the weather gets warmer.

Open the hand damper all the way, one sheet of heavy duty foil over the glass and gaskets folded over at the edges of the door with a hole for the door latch, ashdoor open.

Pile of matchlite charcoal in the middle of the firebox about 10 - 15 pieces just cause I'm pushy I put a quick squirt of Zippo lighter fluid over the charcoal . (not soaking them just wettin them)

Now I put the match to it and close and latch the door heres the hard part leave it alone for 15mins (I go smoke a cigarette) open the door and peek in to see if the coals are completely lit like your supposed to due when you cook with it, if so put about 2-3 coal shovel scoops of coal over the embers but don't smother them now again the hard part, remove the foil cover, close the door and leave it alone for 15 more min peek inside and the anthracite should be showing some sign of burning add 4 - 5 more scoops and give it about 20 mins or so, peek if it looks like a fire fill'er up and don't worry go do something else for awhile (remember the ashdoor's open) and when you get back the miracle of anthracites preference for privacy when getting burning will amaze and delight you.

Anyone that thinks its hard to build and maintain a coal fire should try and stop a mine fire, trust me the stuff likes to burn .

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Post By: JiminBucks » Tue. Dec. 11, 2007 1:06 pm

Another tip here from an EFEL owner. After shaking down the last attempt/fire. I leave the old half/burnt coal in the bed, about 2 inchs worth. This keeps the hot embers from falling thru the grates and protects them also. If you have good draft it should only that one pile of hard wood and 15 minutes!
If your useing an outside fireplace chimney, then it will take a hour burn with alot more wood to get that red glow in the ashpan from above. I know been there 2 yrs ago. :cry:
I had to drop a pipe down inside the chimney to get my stove to work at all. Keep trying!

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Post By: JiminBucks » Tue. Dec. 11, 2007 1:20 pm

Here's a cut out from an older post:
" leave the old half burn / new coal in the 'pit' up to the level of the vertical slats after clean out the Ash, this is cold of course. And then start a new fire right on top to get it going again! I have been using strip oak flooring, use a hand full, ontop of 1 sheet newspaper and maple twigs with a 3 -5 sec squart of Kero, Lit and burn 10- 15 minute , throw on 2 shovel fulls of coal on top, another 15mins with good blue flames, load up the hopper, close the door and have a beer!

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Post By: jersey » Thu. Dec. 13, 2007 7:29 am

i have a suridac and I am a freshman to coal (also to typing areal novist) I use machlite all across the bottom(i think athe start the draw is greater onthe sides then the center) so it did test my patience, afterthe machlight got white and iadded the coal nice and slow my home is at 72f its 33f out side my mpd is open,and my thermo is just [email protected] hopper isonthe top setting stack temp is 130f about 20in. up.ihope this info helps. good luck jumpin jack.

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