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30 NC heat regulation?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by bluedogz, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    Hello all-

    Still getting used to how the new 30 burns... pretty easy to start (good wood helps), takes a little bit to get hot, but once it does it's nice. The secondary light show is interesting as well.

    In my old smoke dragon, I knew that I needed a consistent stovetop of 550-600 to warm up the house, and 450-500 would do to keep it warm once there. However, the 30 SEEMS to want to hold 400-450; if I stoke it full and get it up to 550-600, the 1st floor of our 2600sf becomes uncomfortable pretty quick. If I let it burn hot for a while, even the heat-seeking Meezer cats beg for mercy.

    I knew how to manage the air in my dragon to hold temp, but am having a lot of trouble getting the 30 to behave. I even tried getting it to 550-600 and shutting the air completely; when I do this it drops quickly to 400 or so, and only holds temp for an hour or so.

    Any guidance for this 30 rookie?

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  2. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    When I had mine, I had a similar problem which I partly controlled with putting in a bit less wood and also burning some lower btu wood like white pine and poplar. I know what you mean though, it does want to just cruise at about 500.
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure what you are trying to do. Are you trying to burn at 400-450?
  4. SnapCracklePop

    SnapCracklePop Feeling the Heat

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    This was my first full winter with the NC30, and I know what you're dealing with. I'm at home all day, so my routine became (1) establishing a good hot fire, then (2) keeping things reasonable by adding to a bed of coals just three splits, two facing N/S and one on a diagonal on top, forming the letter "N."

    That figure would burn for a couple of hours. Then, rinse and repeat.

    Hope that helps.

    I'm done for this season; out of firewood. Wow, do I miss it. Electric baseboard heat is wimpy.

    Nancy
  5. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    [quote author="BrowningBAR" date="1330379105]
    I'm not sure what you are trying to do. Are you trying to burn at 400-450?[/quote]

    I'm trying to get into the same rhythm I had with the dragon: load, light, fill to brimming on top of coals, shut air down, ignore it for 4 hours.

    I don't much care what stovetop reading I get. If I don't mess with it, it hangs out at 400-450 but that's not quite enough. I'd prefer to hold it at 500, but am having no luck getting it there.
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Try this first:

    -Get a good bed of coals
    -Throw on three medium splits
    -See what it does.

    You should be able to get 4 hours on three good size medium splits and a good stop top temp north of 500. Possibly more (never used a 30).

    Try smaller loads like I mentioned above first and see how it reacts. Stuff the stove full is a tough way to learn how the stove operates. You will be surprised how much heat and how long it will burn on a few splits when compared to a Pre-EPA stove. I ran a Pre-EPA Vigilant for four and a half years. Comparing the Vigilant's wood consumption and heat times to the Defiant is night and day.
  7. GAMMA RAY

    GAMMA RAY Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Browning....try 3 splits...I can get stovetop temps up to 700 on 3 decent six splits...for several hours (at least 4-5)..
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Smaller load and quit shutting the air all the way down. You know in that manual where it said that all the way closed is low heat? Well...
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    If you are having problems getting the stove top above 500 you need to eliminate fuel and draft as your problems first. I know the 30 likes to run hot, so having a problem getting it hot is an issue that the standard problem is fuel first and draft second. Need to make sure those aren't the issue. If I recall, Hog did your liner/chimney, so your install should be fine.
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    To add to this, YOU CAN NOT RUN IT LIKE A SMOKE DRAGON. You must let the wood burn in and then adjust the air in small increments until you learn the air controls better. Otherwise you will end up with a smokey mess.
  11. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    Absolutely! For reference, I am burning almost exclusively black locust (bec. we're hip-deep in the stuff) measuring under 15% MC. I don't have much in the way of low-BTU wood... I guess I could go cut down a pine tree.

    Draft is enough to pull a hat off my head if I'm not careful.

    There's no real problem getting the stove hot... it's just that I'm having trouble hitting the comfort zone between "not hot enough" and "Holy &*$! turn that thing down!"
  12. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Well, most likely "not hot enough" has been smothered and probably smoking and the "Holy &*$! turn that thing down!" is probably running like a typical large, non-cat, stove.

    Use three splits and be gentle with the air controls. Three splits should get a nice hot stove top, but the whole stove will still run a bit cooler. Give that a shot.

    This time of year you will need to master the small hot fire.
  13. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I'm on year 3 with this thing and still learning. Every fire is a bit different as my splits can vary in size and shape quite drastically (I don't descriminate much). Also, every time you load the coal / ash bed may be a bit different, the outside temp as well as pressure will have an effect, etc, etc, etc.

    It just takes a bit of time to get used to adjusting the load size, orientation, split size, ash depth, how you use the air control, and all the other possible variables before you will get a hold on it.

    I can't imagine having to go back to my old dragon after using this 30 for 3 years, but I will say that the learning curve with the old stove wasn't nearly as steep. But the results of learning the new one far outweigh that short term new EPA stove frustration that you are experiencing.

    Good advice was given here already so there isn't much more to add other than you know what you need to do and are wise enough to realize that there must be a trick to this thing which is why you are asking. With that mindset, you'll be fine tuning that beast in no time.

    pen
  14. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Still in learning stage, so you will have to experiment with different air settings. I suggest larger splits, and leave off the smaller ones on top till you get this down more.
    That way you can adjust the air and not worry about the smaller splits causing hell fire. Put 3 LARGE splits in there and let it at that, and see how it goes.
    I guess you got your initial air flow problem solved? Was it not starving before? The room and set up you have it in is kind of tucked away, so that will be part of the problem. All that heat ain't going anywhere fast enough.
    Keep playing with it, I am still perfecting my ways 6 season into the Summit.
  15. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    It wasn't really "starving"... but I THOUGHT it was because it took longer to get rolling than the dragon did. We've gotten that ironed out now; it lights and stays lit fine. That goes to BrotherBart's advice about not burning it like a dragon because it's not one.

    I did try a burn with 3 relatively big splits of bl, and I suspect something is wrong with my method because the wood tends to burn right down the center of the firebox and leave a lot of unburnt coals to each side that need a lot of raking and scooping to get them burned down. I was saving that question for later, though, since I suspect that if I solve the steady-heat problem many of my other worries will take care of themselves.
  16. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like the non cat stove I used to have. Temp goes up temps go down, it was like riding a roller coaster. Loading smaller loads works but it's a PITA, I wanted to fill it to the brim every time and not deal with it. It will get better as you learn the stove but "locking" in on a temp isn't going to be easy to do from my past experience with a non cat. That is how I ended up with an "ugly" cat stove.
  17. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I usually arange them in an upside down V, if there are 3 in the box, the largest being on top. The air then blows between and under the splits from the dog house, straight to the back of the stove, then across the secondary burn plate back to the front to help clean things up w/ some secondary action even w/ small fires.

    If I have a huge bed of coals (like I had tonight) I'll sometimes pull all the coals to the front 1/2 or 1/3 of the stove and create this channel in the coal bed itself (in front of the dog house air of course) and then place the 3 splits (smallest on top this time) east to west in the front of the stove.

    Depends on my mood. If the coal bed is minimal, I go North to South as I mentioned first.

    Play around, you may find something altogether different that works for you.

    pen
  18. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    x2
  19. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Everything seems to center around your locust. Just a thought, but might be a point to look at. The only time I ever had issues with unburnt coals is when my wood was not as dry as I thought, or knew it was but that is all I had... and when I was not patient enough between loads to let the existing coals burn down. I have not had a chance to hook up and run my 30 yet, so not sure about it. One year I will have that beast hooked and firing.
  20. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    This is a good point, I've read it posted time and time again how hard BL is to burn on it's own.(never burned any on my own but have some put up for next season) In an old smoker where you can burn anything it probably goes unnoticed. The EPA stoves regulate the air supply more than the old stoves so it may be standing out now? Worth a shot to try some softer seasoned wood.....
  21. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    Probably so... I have the questionable luxury of having property filled wall to wall with hardwoods for the taking, leaving me with stacks of bl, cherry, and hickory, but very littler softer wood and nothing ready to burn.

    I suppose it might be worth the $10 to go get an armload of supermarket wood just to see what happens. Got a few pallets I can chop up too.
  22. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I don't have a 30 but my smaller non-cat stove requires very gentle adjustments. The difference between inferno and smoulder is a small nudge of the air control. I can burn all Black Locust or all aspen, but it has taken me a while to learn to adjust the air. I can't maintain a constant temperature. My stove burns in cycles from hotter to cooler.
  23. blwncrewchief

    blwncrewchief Burning Hunk

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    I don't have a 30 either but my stove is the exact same way. A very small adjustment on the primary air can make a large difference especially when you are trying to run it right on the bottom edge of keeping it clean versus too much heat. I mean like 1/8" will be the difference from falling into smolderville or 1/8" too much and it will be 600* and 85 in the house. This is one of the issues with a large non cat stove with a large load and trying to run it low and long. On mine it is not the same setting all the time. More draft, different wood, different load size all play into this. It is really for me a matter of how it is acting once up to temp and settling down. This is one of those experience things and you will get the feel for the stove. Smaller loads in my stove are allot easier to control and in milder weather I am usually in the 3 split group also. My stove may be a little different but unless I have a large amount of coals in the box it does not burn well with the wood in one row on the bottom. I always have it stacked at least two pieces high. If I am burning three splits I put them in the middle of the box in a pyramid with two on the bottom and one on top. I also like a decent amount of coals spread even on the bottom when burning BL. I find BL really takes a long time to "get going" and that is why I usually reload with 2" of so of coals on the bottom. If I can reload like this I can pretty much leave the air setting alone, put a couple BL splits on the coals, leave the door cracked for just a few seconds until the load lights off, and close the door. When I can run the stove like this the coals keep enough heat in the firebox to keep the temps up in the initial start of the load to keep it burning clean. Reloading like this with easier burning woods would cause it to take off but for me works well with BL. If you think BL is hard to control just wait until you have that brave day and decide to put a full load of pine or something soft in the stove. When you get that urge just make sure it is really, really cold out.
  24. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Aint that the truth, a little bit can go a long ways, sometimes I move my primary air an 1/8 of an inch and thats all it needs to get the burn I want.

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