2016.12.31 - More on the Hampshire Heater
I was amazed to find that the heater was still warm when I went out to the workshop around 9 o'clock this morning. I had topped up the heater at about 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon and when I looked into the fire chamber only about an inch of glowing coals remained. So the heater had remained going for around 17 hours. The manual does say that a kilo of charcoal can last up to 12 hours but I'd never had it last more than 4 hours before. The difference, on reflection, is that yesterday was the first time I had topped up the charcoal. Normally I let it get cold, rake out the ashes and relight it and it is the raking out that makes the difference.
You have to rake out at least some of the ashes in order to be able to light the charcoal but once it is lit a layer of ashes covering the griddle is no bad thing since is restricts the airflow even more. So, yesterday afternoon, when I topped it up for the third time, there was a good layer of ashes at the bottom which only allowed enough air into the fire chamber for a very low heat and hence it lasting so long.
I put some more charcoal in, not a full charge but about a quarter full but that was too much and the heater went out shortly after. Now I had charcoal on top of the ashes and no easy way to rake out the ashes. I cut a short piece of dowel and used that to clear a couple of the holes form the bottom, catching the ashes in the ash tray as they fell out and then lit the heater as normal and away it went. It will be interesting to see just how long this burns for with most of the grate still covered in ash.