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Advice getting the coals to burn

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by djamwolfe, Jan 9, 2010.

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  1. djamwolfe

    djamwolfe Member

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    I have a small Century EPA stove witch was installed in my fireplace opening last year. Had alot of problems last year due to not having seasoned firewood but am doing much better that department.
    The problem I am having now is, when I clean out the ashes I am noticing a lot of unburned coals. I try to leave in as many as possible but I seem to throw alot of them away. To make a long story short, does anyone have any tips on how to get the coals to burn up completely so I am getting the max BTU's from my wood?

    Thanks, Devon

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  2. hareball

    hareball Member

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  3. djamwolfe

    djamwolfe Member

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    Thanks for the reading hareball, it seems the best idea is to rake the coals forward, I just hate seeing all those cold, unburned coals going into the ash bucket. makes me want to sift them out for the BBQ grill :lol:
  4. hareball

    hareball Member

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    Some of the guys here actually do that with their premium wood! I remember a post on how one of the guys preserves the coals to use during the summer. It might be somewhere in one of them threads :)
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Are we talking red hot coals or cold black coals? I cannot imagine a buildup of cold black coals in a stove. Maybe I'm not understanding this coaling problem just right. Any time I have a buildup of coals they are red hot. If I neglected to lift them up out of the ashes and they got buried deep enough, I could see that maybe they could start to go black but have never actually witnessed such a thing.

    That said, when I pack the stove for overnight, sometimes in the morning the coals that are in contact with the firebrick at the back will have a bit of black to one side of it but still red on the other side. Once I lift them up out of the ashen grave, they burst into flame and are a great start to my morning fire.
  6. basswidow

    basswidow Minister of Fire

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    I'm having alittle of the same.

    It happens during my overnight burn. However, in the morning - I simply move them to one side along with the red hot coals. Then I remove any powder ash and build my logs around all the coals. I get a hot fire going and problem solved.

    When my wife tends to the stove all day - I come home and the fire box is half full of coals. Rather then feed it - I run it wide open to burn down the coals. She doesn't like to do this - but it's necessary at times.
  7. djamwolfe

    djamwolfe Member

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    I get red hot coal buildup -- but the issue is just like bass - after an overnight i get alot of cold coal buried in the bottom of my ashes, almost like I need a metal kitty litter scoop to separate it from the ashes. I'd say a good 10-20% of my cleanout is unburnt coals dime to quarter size. When I do my cleanout in a couple days ill have to take a picture.
  8. lobsta1

    lobsta1 Member

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    Actually it is very easy to get cold black coals. I have them anywhere outside the immediate area in front of the "doghouse" air inlet for the primary burn. Locust is virtually nonburnable. Right now I am burning ash that was C/S/S under a lean to, two years ago. Same thing, just not as bad as the locust. I see all these people that love wood that creates great coals. I hate it because that means the house is cooling down.

    I have an Englander NC13 installed in an outside wall masonry fireplace. I an using the oval duraliner insulated pipe & have a block off plate. The flue is 15' high with nothing within 16' of it. I do have a strong draft.
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Well, that's just it... Everyone's definition may vary. djamwolfe's definition is "10-20% of my cleanout is unburnt coals dime to quarter size". That certainly would not prevent adding more wood. I could see getting something like that with small fires that are let to go out deliberately or through lack of attention.

    Like I said, I've never seen a large buildup of large black coals that would prevent adding more wood. The firebox must be way too cold for efficient combustion or wood must be so pathetically wet that it should not be burned.

    If I'm burning wood before its time or maxxing out the stove in really cold weather, I will get a buildup of hot red coals. I'm talking super hot, sear your face and scorch your wrists stuff, not black stuff that I could take out and save for a BBQ. Sometimes I will let the fire burn down so I can clean out the ashes and before being turned on to Super Cedars, I would separate some coals from the ashes to restart the fire with. Now I just shovel it all into my coal hod (no lid) and take it outside. The heat I feel coming off the coals (dime to quarter size) searing my bare knuckles makes me want to walk faster but haste makes the ashes and sparks fly and is unsafe. I really need something with a lid.
  10. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I get a lot of coal built up in my furance fire box I open the air all the way and put a few small spilts on top burns down quick.
  11. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Probably the easiest thing to do to reduce the number of coals is to throw a single split (I typically throw a single softwood split or slab) on to the coals, open up the air and let go . . . typically in a half hour to 45 minutes the coals have burned down signficantly.
  12. 84Buckeye

    84Buckeye New Member

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    Boy I sure wish I could do this- guess that's one of the downfalls of having a wood furnace.. Damper is controlled by my thermostat upstairs.. Problem is that even when the temp drops the servo motor will only open the damper around half-way.. So I have to balance the issue.. problem being have to unload some really good hot coals to get the space for reloading.
  13. par0thead151

    par0thead151 Feeling the Heat

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    burn a few stove loads of pine and the coals are allgone.
    i just tried this inmy 2.5 cubic foot insert and it worked AMAZING!
  14. Summertime

    Summertime New Member

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    I have the same thing happen where I get a lot of coals, It's too cold here to try and burn them completely with the above mentioned ideas, I get enough where I try and leave the cold black coals and leave the red ones after raking everything forward. Yes they are still very hot and I can smell the paint burning off my metal coal bucket but I would rather waste some coals and get a quick hot fire going rather than let the coals burn and have the oil furnace warm things up. I get all of my wood from scrounging so a little waste isn't bad.
  15. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    x2. This takes care of things in short order for me as well.
  16. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I push those clunkers (they are invariably towards the sides) towards the middle and pile the new fire on top of them.

    Up out of the ashes, they always re-burn / disappear for me that way.
  17. wellbuilt home

    wellbuilt home Minister of Fire

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    I have a new Weber coal bar BBQ I smoked some salmon Sunday and cooked 2 chickens yesterday and to night its T bones on the wood fire .
    I really like cooking on wood and it eliminate the coals . I have the large Weber grill .
    I have 5 kids and they eat like they are 12' tall . John
  18. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    oooh, now I want one of those mythical metal kitty litter scoops!
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