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Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by rdust, Oct 29, 2012.
It must be a little bigger, I'm pretty sure my box is 17x21"
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It's been pretty cold here the last couple days, highs in the 20's and lows in the 10's and I've been burning 3/4 loads at #2 every 12 hours. So far the Princess has been keeping the house temps in the 70's without the help of the Keystone but my new 200 sq ft addition which is pretty much all glass is much cooler (60's). Looks like if it gets any colder I'll go back to 24 hour burns for the Princess to keep the basement warm and put the Keystone into 24/7 mode for the upstairs.
By the way the glass on the Princess runs clean at #2 for me. Sometimes I get a little brown on the lower corners but for the most part it's just as clean as my Keystone.
I "thought" they were the same, mine is wider e/w than n/s. Take some good measurements next time it's cool enough and you think about it.
I had maybe 10 minutes to spare this morning with stove output dropping fast and a cold day ahead. I can start a new fire and warm up the cold house after work or do a big long reload ritual but none of my reload processes take 10 minutes so I had to let the fire go out. Aren't you supposed to let the new load rip for like 10 minutes to repel the moisture? I thought it would take 10 minutes just to load the frozen wood and get ignition, then another 10 to drive off any remaining moisture before the cat can be engaged. I read here that you guys are pretty much slamming the cat into action right away.
We're not as cold as you Todd but temps have fallen. My burn times have also fallen automatically into the 16 hour range which is still great but it was automatic. I now need to adjust to the oddball schedule and try to drop down to 12 hour loads or let the house temp swing.
The glass is still as dark as ever. Clean down the middle, amber for a few inches, and then the bottom 2 inches in the corner is a peely black stuff. I've cleaned it several times but really don't think I'm missing anything with the dark corners and the cleaning effort to get perfection is substantial.
Despite strong draft in the cold weather, smoke spillage is still a problem when I open the door to reload.
I made the mistake of lubing the hinges early on with some high temp grease. It really smoothed the door action and I hope to minimize hinge wear but since the door hinges are on a slope, the door wants to slam open or shut. I've been bonked once on my head by the door closing on me! It's a big door.
I don't load wet or frozen wood in my stove.
I said frozen and I now realize that that may have been confusing. I mean the wood temperature was well below freezing. It was of course dry but the temperature won't come up right away.
I bring my wood in from the shed and place in a wood ring near the hearth pad; it's room temp when I load it, but I don't know if that makes much difference. At camp I bring wood in from the covered lean-to shed outside the camp and load the stove, doesn't seem to have any problems igniting.
When I reload the BK, I leave the bypass open until there is a box full of flames, then shut it. There is no set time for this, it depends on how many coals are left, firebox temp, draft, type of wood. I then leave the stat setting on full air for about 5 minutes, then turn it down to about 2-1/2 - 2-3/4 stat setting for another 5 minutes, then to 2 stat setting. That's where I usually burn it for the rest of the cycle. My neighbor, however, shuts the bypass on her Princess just as soon as she shuts the door on a reload, and she doesn't have any issues. She told me that's what it says to do on the sticker on the back of the stove. I haven't looked on mine to see what it says.
Lately I've only been making two adjustments to the t-stat. When I reload I open the bypass, rake the coals forward, load about 3/4 full, burn at 2.5-3 for 10 minutes, engage the cat and shut her down to #2. I sometimes get slow lazy flame for 6 hours but it's usually just for 2-3 but there's always good red glowing coals in there.
Emptied the ashes last night as they had built up to about half of the height of the stove's "belly". I couldn't fit all the ash into my bucket and had to leave some behind. I need to empty sooner or go and get a bigger bucket.
I think your box is deeper as well, theres no way I can go as long between cleaning out the ashes and I dont get as much as you do when I do clean it, I get maybe half a 5lb bucket when its full.
To be clear, I'm using a standard galvanized bucket from the hardware store with the built in wire handle that I painted black. It is not a full 5 gallon bucket. I have noticed that this stove doesn't care about the ash bed, it runs the same with or without but I can fit more wood in without the ashes.
Mine is about 6 inches below the door. Shoulder season let it build up to almost the bottom of the door before scooping any out. At that point I can load up a 5 gallon bucket and still have a bunch of ash still in the stove. I've only taken ash out once so far and that was after we got back from our Thanksgiving travels. It was only a little over half way up the bricks but the stove was cold so it seemed like the right time.
So how do you empy the ash? I have to let it burn down to almost no red coals or I get flay ash flying all over the room. I think I have too much horizontal pipe that screws up the draft and if I don't open a window and be careful it's a mess. Good thing I have two stoves so I can let this thing burn down cold or I'd have fly ash dust every where!
Try turning down the air south of 1 after cracking the door, it's a huge help for me but not sure if it will help others. Todd was going to try it but he never reported back(or I missed it) so I doubt it helped him. When it was warmer I stunk up the house pretty good a time or two. Good thing I only have to open the door once a day during the warmer weather.
Thats why I take ash out a couple times a week in the cold weather, If I take out enough ash I can fit another row of splits. I used to use a small stove shovel and some fly ash would get loose and settle on the furniture, pi$$ed my wife off so now I use a big dirt shovel and just take out one big scoop at a time.
>My neighbor, however, shuts the bypass on her Princess just as soon as she shuts the door on a reload, and she doesn't have any issues. She told me that's what it says to do on the sticker on the back of the stove. I haven't looked on mine to see what it says.<<<
I am on year number 4 on the BK, and this year have been loading the firebox w/o moving the t-stat to a warmer start level for a bigger start burn. Just keeping it where I want the temp. I am also only keeping the by-pass open when the door is open for reloads. Seems to be working fine, my house is nice and warm. I am planning on letting her go cold and check the cat. Also making an ajustment to the fan cover to see if I can get the rattle out of it....
BTW , I have a new cat on stand-by if this one goes bad....
Your little trick does work but I still get some smoke once in awhile. My problem is more of a draft problem because of the long 3' horizontal run. I think I might shorten it back up but I'm afraid that will leave the t-stat too close to the wall. Also getting closer to pulling the trigger on an ash pan.
I've been doing 12 hour reloads and the last reload I just left it at #2, reloaded, bypassed for 10 minutes then engaged, worked just fine. Probably could of gotten away with engaging right away since I had a very large coal bed and cat was still way up in the active zone around 750.
Even at 20% MC or lower there still is water turning to steam.
So I try to leave the by pass open for at least 10 mins no matter what..but a lot of the times I don't.
I don't know if it's hard on the cat or not.
Chris at BK says a leaky door gasket is the thing that can kill a cat more then damp wood if I read his post right..I dunno.
I use the sheet metal stove shovel and yes, light ash all over the stove. With my previous non-cat stove the draft was so strong that the ash rising from the ash bucket would get sucked back into the open stove door. The BK's draft is so weak and the ashes so fine and hot that they float away easier. Funny how we blame the stove for a weak draft but it really is true. Oh and I tried the trick with shutting the air off and it didn't seem to change anything.
Thought about using the ash pan but wouldn't that make a mess too? I mean step one is to dig around in the firebox to try and find that plug, then pop it out and let the tiny ash pan fill up. Replug the chute, remove pan, put lid on, dump, and repeat like ten times? I might just try it but the whole time the door is open, stuff is floating out whether it is ash or smoke. It's worth a shot.
With a deep ash bed in need of emptying, there always seems to be quite a bit of heat hiding deep in the bed that causes the ashes to float easily. I can't wait long enough for the ashes to cool since we need heat in the winter so I deal with hot ashes.
The moisture, even at 20%, is deep within the large splits. 10 minutes won't boil it all dry anways so my theory is that the 10 minutes will get whatever surface moisture might be present from rain, bugs, or condensation and then the slowly released moisture will be consumed by the cat. Just imagine that full load of 12 splits and you know that there are logs or parts of logs in there that you can touch after 10 minutes. The inside is even colder. No way that the full load is going from 20 degrees to 212 in 10 minutes and if it did, you would see a major amount of water. 20% moisture in an 80 lb load is 16 lbs of water. Water weighs about 8 lbs per gallon. Do you think you can dump 2 gallons of water on that fire in 10 minutes without killing it? I compare this to peeing on a campfire, a pretty large amount of fluid.
Instead of moisture, do you think that the sudden blast of cold smoke from the fresh load could be shocking the cat element? The thing is cruising along happily eating 500 degree smoke and then wham, a blast of 100 degree smoke. A 400 degree difference on a piece of ceramic is like cold water on the boiling hot tea cup. I propose that during the 10 minute reload bypass session, the goal is to heat the smoke up. Moisture is not the issue.
Oh I tend to agree with everything you just said.
Do you think if the door gasket is leaking that it would make the cat burn to hot or the cool air coming in is what is hard on the cat?
That. When we run the stove wide open for 10-15 minutes with cat enaged at start up it sees a huge volume of hot air with fuel. So much that it can't even eat it all and we get smoke. I think that cat is able to withstand even fueling/heat well and it really does glow when that cat probe is maxed out.
No, I think the door leak is like some yahoo peeing on the stove glass. A small stream of relatively cold air on a piece of ultra hot ceramic. The local cooling from the pee stream causes stress within the glass.
I thought that the cold air leaking past the gasket would just roll down and feed the fire but apparently this cold air can get sucked up into the cat.
I think we think about it too much..lol.