- Home Improvement
How to start a coal fire burning stove
Starting a coal stove
No one told me how hard it is to start a coal stove when I purchased one. Starting a coal stove is nothing like starting a wood stove fire or a pellet stove fire. Not even close. When you are done reading this you will be amazed how easily you can start a coal stove fire.
Some people will have you believe that its not so hard to start a coal fire that it just takes patience. Bulls**t! I went online to see how other people start their coal stoves and found a few different ways people go about it.
One rediculus and extremely lenghthy way to start a coal stove fire:
STARTING A COAL FIRE 1. Use paper and dry kindling to start the fire. 2. Add small pieces of hardwood when fire is burning hot. Keep the draft control fully open till a hot fire is established. 3. When a decent bed of red wood embers is built up, start adding coal--small amounts at a time. Keep the draft control open!! 4. Continue adding small amounts of coal until there is a 1” to 2” bed of burning coal. Don’t add too much coal at one time and allow sufficient time between each small loading for the coal in the stove to thoroughly ignite. 5. It is important at this point to fill the stove to the highest level possible. A deep bed of coal is critical for the proper function of all coal stoves. Since coal can be regulated better than wood, a deep bed does not mean that you can only run the stove hot - rather you can control the stove by setting the air control on your stove. 6. After all the coal has been ignited and is burning with a blue flame, then the draft control can be turned down. Serious damage can result if the stove is run wide open for extended periods of time. Make sure that the ash pan door is closed at all times.
Sounds easy right? NOT AT ALL! This person does not tell you that you will be sitting in front of your stove for an hour trying this method. I tried this method before I discovered a new much easier way and it took me about an hour to get the coal to catch fire
Here is another so called easy way to start your coal stove:
ADDITIONAL HINTS ON STARTING 1. Some users have tried MATCHLIGHT CHARCOAL to light their coal stoves—also some brands of SOLID charcoal starter (royal oak,minute light) will do the job. This eliminates the mess of wood. Just spread the charcoal out until it barely covers the grate and put a small amount of coal on top don’t cover the charcoal completely!! Light the charcoal - OPEN AIR CONTROLS 100% and when the coal is burning with a blue flame add more coal as before. Never use liquid starters on a coal or wood stove.starters with large quantities of wax or softwood in them may not burn hot enough. 2. Always make sure that your chimney is drafting upward before you start your stove. Some chimneys have a tendency to reverse while not in use. In most cases the following procedure will start the chimney : Place a small piece of newspaper as far up in your stove or chimney as possible and light it. When it burns and gets pulled up the chimney-then light the coal fire. 3. Never poke or stir the coal fire when starting or at any other time. Coal fires like to be left alone and many former wood burners tend to fool around with their coal fires, thereby putting them out!!!
Yes it's just that easy folks. Abosolutely NOT! I also tried this method and let me tell you I wanted to punch the person who came up with this idea. I tried the matchlight charcoal, lit it, and did everything this article told me to do and all I ended up with was a cellar full of smoke and fumes. Not to mention I never started the coal stove doing it this way. I tried for ,and I am not kidding, 4 and 1/2 hours to no avail. This person makes it sound so simple. Its not period.
At my local coal stove dealer he sells these little coal starters. Some people refer to these as coal mice. They are a little box about 2 inch square and have a fuse sticking out of them. You are supposed to put the box in your stove on top of the grate where your coal fire will be. Pile some coal on top of this little box and then light fuse with a long candle or BBQ grill lighter. Close the door on the coal stove and when this little box ignites plug in your coal stove and tada your stove is up and burning. Maybe. These little coal mice are only $1.50 per box some places are a little more expensive than that. These little coal mice work but not all the time. The first time I went to start my coal stove I went through 2 of these little boxes. The second time I went through 3 of these boxes. Just about every time I need to start my coal stove again I go through 2 to 4 of these coal mice boxes. A lot of the time these things are duds and do not work. On average it costs me $3-$5 to start my coal stove. On average I have to restart my stove every 4-5 weeks during use to clean my coal stove. So it costs me on average during the winter $18 to $30 to restart my coal stove. Yes you need to shut down your coal stove every few weeks to clean it or your stove will not function properly.
After going through all of this hell trying to start my coal stove last winter I decided to try and find a cheap and more reliable way to strart my coal stove. Through some research online I found a way where you can start your coal stove every time and not have to worry about building a fire with paper and wood, or use charcoal bricketts and sit there for hours on end.
So here it goes. I use a heatgun. Yes a heatgun. Some people use heatguns for stripping paint, heatshrink electrical wires on automotive applications, welding plastics together. I use one to start my coal stove. I know it sounds crazy at first but once you try it you will stop wasting your time and money on all of those useless methods. I am sure you are wondering how to do this so I will tell you how I do it.
1. Put on some heavy duty leather gloves for your own protection. Welder gloves or fire proof gloves. No you hands are not going to be in the fire it's just common sense to wear gloves when starting a fire anyway. Also you should always wear safety glasses when lighting a coal fire because the little pieces of coal have a tendency to pop like popcorn. You will thank me for this later.
2. Stick end of heatgun onto grate. Make sure the end of the heatgun is in the middle of the fire grate.
3. Pile up some coal at the tip of the heatgun. You do not need to cover the tip of the heatgun just pile it up against it.
4. Turn your heatgun on high,close your door as much as possible,I know your arm is in the way just close it a bit to try and keep as much off the fumes in the stove as possible. Hold the heatgun in this position on the grate until you have a coal fire about the 2 inches around, approximately 2-3 minutes, and then plug your coal stove in and make sure your blower is on. It helps to have someone there to plug your stove in when its ready but not mandatory for this method to work. I do this alone every time and it always works. Just make sure your fire is big enough before pluging in stove or it will go out. It will be very bright so don't look at fire directly.
A heatgun with a rating of 750 degrees F to 1000 degrees F will do the job. Keep in mind the end of the heatgun is going to be extremely hot after you use it so be very carefull not to touch it or place it on anything that will catch fire. This is where having those heavy leather gloves come in handy as I have made the mistake of accidentally touching the end of the heatgun after use. Ouch. I have listed some heatguns below that will do the job. Good luck, and if it doesn't work the first time make sure you have the coal in the end of the heat gun. Make sure you dump out any coal that is left inside the end of the heatgun.