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A Progress Hybrid Long Burn

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Waulie, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I'm sure it's nothing special that I'm doing. I burn mostly ash in general, although I have been into some beech and sugar maple lately. My house is not as big as yours or slow's, but it's not tiny or particularly well insulated. It's just a mystery. Maybe my thermometer is off a little but I don't think much since the hand on hot soapstone test seems to confirm when I'm at 300.

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  2. Flamestead

    Flamestead Feeling the Heat

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    So many variables.

    I burn primarily Red Maple. At 81% efficiency, I've got about 118,400 BTU per cubic foot, and the stove packed full has 2.8 cu ft, or 331,500 BTU. Spread that heat over 10 hours, and I get a 33,200 BTU/hr burn. Less in practice, since I'll never put 2.8 cu ft of wood into the stove, probably 70% of that is typical for me (given a coal bed, air space at the top, and less than full-length splits), or 23,300 BTU/hr for a 10-hour burn. (I assume the starting and ending coal-bed cancel themselves out BTU-wise.)

    So from that perspective, burning less than 10 hours in this stove isn't any cause for concern - it is just a sign of wanting more than 23,000 BTU/hr.
  3. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    So far this year I'm burning almost entirely 3+ year old oak. I have also burned some junk wood that is less than ideal - the funny thing is I'm beginning to wonder if it actually burns longer and with higher surface temps than the oak. I am tempted to try putting some of my 'younger' wood in on top of a bed of coals and see what happens.

    I have a bit of black birch in my pile this winter and a tiny amount of mystery wood, but for the most part I"m all oak now. It just happens that it worked out this way. Next year I have some hickory and maple from when I took out a couple trees to put up the solar panels two years ago.

    I just loaded up about 2/3 full (at 9:20) with mostly good, but a few chunks of that 'less than ideal' wood mixed in. Didn't take long to engage cat as it was hot from earlier load, but I now have air almost fully closed (I have had a puffing issue when fully closed so I am not going there tonight, rather leaving it a crack open). There is now flame off the wood (not from the top holes much) and stovetop is running just over 400 on the cast corner and about 100 less on the stone (IR thermometer verifies). I use the "piece of foil high mark" trick so will see what the peak temp is in the morning. I get going about 6a so that would make it 9hrs so I expect I'll have decent coals in the morning, but surface temps will likely be less than 250. Will see :)
  4. siddfynch

    siddfynch New Member

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    Loc:
    Southcentral AK
    I decided to try white spruce, starting on a hot bed of log embers. Has gone from 300 to 400 and now back down to 300 at the five hour mark. Air closed to 1/4 open most of the time. 20 degrees out, first real snowfall of the year. Life is good.
  5. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    About an hour after I posted I started getting some puffing. I tried opening a window as an experiment and the issue went away; replaced by jets of flames at the top of the stove. Hmmm.. perhaps I'll start a new thread on this topic. At any rate I cut the air completely, left the window open a crack and went to bed.

    I had enough coals to start up at 6:30 but not much to spare. Stovetop reading about 200. House was 3* cooler than when I went to bed, about 2*cooler than when I loaded which I find rather nice really considering it was in the 20's last night. Peak temp looks to have been about 450.
  6. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I think having enough coals for a reload after 9.5 hours with just a 2/3 load isn't too bad at all, especially considering it was chilly out and your house stayed warm. I had another 12 hour burn last night and similiar outside temps, but I had it filled probably 3/4 or so. I did have a ton of coals still.

    Another thing I thought of that might make some comparisons a bit wonky is all the different configurations of the top of the PH. I'm still running the original, unshield cooktop. Comparing my stove top temps to someone running the shielded cooktop might not quite be apples to apples.

    I've really only had one puff that was a little scary and that was running with the air completely closed in first year. I used to try to turn it down quickly to snuff out the flames and run it all cat, but I find it runs better with a little more air and some flames (at least for a little while). The funny thing is, having a little flame really doesn't seem to affect my burn time. Sometimes, the flames are just off the wood and the floaty kind of secondaries. Sometimes, it's the secondary jets. Often, it will switch back and forth. I really don't mind some secondaries as they look awesome and as long as they're not really cooking for a long time, I still get great burn times. I say, let her breath a little!
    Tenn Dave likes this.
  7. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I agree - burn last night was a good heating burn. I've said it before in the context of this sort of discussion - I'm getting good heat out of the PH and am satisfied with it - no complaints there at all. I just wonder how it is that some folks seem to have coals 12-18hrs after a reload and I don't get that. I did 24hrs once in the FV, but I can't imagine ever getting that in the PH based on my experience. On the bright side, I have never felt that I have a coaling problem in the PH, always able to have coals burned down in time for next reload.

    As to puffs - for me they aren't scary; rather they are annoying. It is the smoke smell that comes from them that causes the issue, if we didn't smell them then I wouldn't care at all. A few nights ago we smelled the smoke after we were in bed (other side of house and upstairs) so there was a fair amount of smoke being pushed out. Giving a bit more air does solve the problem and perhaps you are right in that it doesn't really hurt the heating profile all that much so I shouldn't be bothered about giving the air and letting flames burn in the box more.

    Still all in all I just dream of perfection here :)

    BTW the fire this morning is great. Loaded up about 3/4 full (long day at the office) and had it shut down all the way with nice secondaries burning when I took off. I don't expect that the stove will be fed again until after I get home this evening so it will cross over that 12hr mark most likely.
  8. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Maybe you guys burn time differences have more to do with split size? A 3/4 load with 4 splits will most likely burn longer than a 3/4 load with 8 splits.
    HollowHill likes this.
  9. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I love the PH.

    Am in the process of selling the family home in NYS, which we have had for 60 years...6000 sq feet, 13 children, you can imagine the contents. Took a 26 foot truckload of stuff to the lake a few days ago. Unloaded into the house Monday, during a snow storm. 4 foot sliding glass door open for 6 hours. Ran the stove with a large split during the time...reloaded once...kept the house at 60 degrees. I was amazed.

    Arrived at the lake Sunday at noon. Started a fire at about 2....back up electric heat had the home at 46. Small fire...probably about 1/3 full, pine and tulip branches, a maple split...had the house at 68 and comfortable by late evening.
    HollowHill and teutonicking like this.
  10. teutonicking

    teutonicking Feeling the Heat

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    Good point.
  11. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm sure split size does affect burn time. Thus I generally ask folks what size splits they are burning. Also consider length of splits - i.e. if I'm using 16" splits and "fill to the top" but don't fill in the gaps on the end, then I'm leaving at least 4" on one side or the other - consider that this is about 20% empty compared to full 20" splits. So if someone else is doing 20" splits and I'm doing 16" then that could make quite a difference.

    I've never burned a full load of 20" splits, but I have filled in the space with chunks to really fill it up.
  12. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Oh yeah, I totally agree with that. We've had that discussion in another PH thread. I do use large splits. Once I get into 24X7 burning, a 3/4 load really is only 4 or 5 big splits, sometimes 3 if I can get them through the door.;) I pack them real tight too. I like to use my square splits in the back one flat on top of the other making a big ole solid wall of wood. I might try to find that thread because I posted pics.
  13. siddfynch

    siddfynch New Member

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    Time to update this after a couple more months of using my Progress Hybrid. Steps that I've started to settle on as "best practices" (so far!):

    • Initial stage: Start stove with kindling and a few splits, at some point reducing air from 3/4 open to 1/4 to keep pipe temps below the red zone. Temps wil be higher on pipe than on stove top.
    • Middle Stage: Once stove top temp reaches 250, the wood will have settled and will be burning briskly. Refill stove, engage the cat, and keep air flow at no more than 1/4 (will still see a lot of flame at 1/4). Pipe temps should soon drop below stove top temps.
    • Long Burn Stage: After a few hours, wood will be down to embers, and stove temps will inch downwards towards 250. I'll open the air, reload with largest splits I have, and close off the air. From there, I repeat this last step as often as needed.

    I generally have revivable coals 8 hrs later. This morning, it was at 8 1/2 hrs (stove temp at 150), despite reloading too soon the prior night, and only having it about 2/3 full. I'm burning mostly birch and white spruce, seasoned, in 1/4 splits that are about 16" long and were 6-8" round. Next year's wood has longer, larger splits.

    Hopefully this helps some PH owners.

    I also note my stove top only gets to about 350 this way. Not sure what the benefit of getting hotter would be, or even how I would accomplish it.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Siddfynch, I think you might have some problems crop up soon if you continue burning this way.

    Dlick on the quote below to bring up all the answers.

    I hope this helps.
  15. siddfynch

    siddfynch New Member

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    Thanks, Backwoods. I also like the formatting of your embedded comments, though don't see how to do it myself. A couple responses and questions:

    • I start the fire with air fully open.
    • Yes, I've been adding wood without re-opening the cat. Sounds like I should instead open the cat for 10-15 mins. Thanks for pointing this out.
    • My wood appears pretty well seasoned. It was split Sept of 2012, has been stacked loose for > 12 months, with only a top cover. Light, with multiple fissures. White spruce and Alaskan birch.
    • I'm not sure why I'm not getting the burn times or heat reported by others. I suspect I'm not filling the stove as much as others, plus my wood is cut a bit small for that stove.

    I've noticed the temp that I level off at corresponds with the initial temp that is mostly governed by air flow. The more open I leave the air to start, the hotter my stove temp after I've eventually shut everything down. One problem with this is that the longer and more open I leave my air, the hotter the pipe temps (rear entry, double wall, running up thru an existing chimney). In other words, my air flow affects the pipe temp, and muzzing it also appears to affect my final "cruising temp" in the stove.

    Thoughts on that????
  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    First the embedding of the comments was simply to hit the "Reply" on your post. This gets the quote into the thread. Then whenever I answer like that it is a simple matter of typing in the comments where needed and then I highlight my comments in blue so that they are not mistaken for something else.

    Indeed the cat needs time. Remember that the worst think for a catalyst is water and that is the first thing you get out of the wood as it heats up. Hence, the reason for that 10-15 minute time frame. But this time can vary a lot. On super dry wood you might cut that time down but if the wood is slow in taking off, don't fear leaving the bypass open longer.

    That birch and spruce sound like they should do fine but you will do even better if you let it dry 2 or 3 years. We have a friend who lives in AK and he took my advice and now has 3 year seasoned birch and spruce and is amazed at the difference it makes with the stove and the amount of heat he gets. We call it the 3 year plan; being 3 years ahead on the wood supply at all times. There are many benefits to this but the best is that you will get more heat from your wood meaning it will actually cut down on the amount of work you have to do. Be sure to visit The Wood Shed on this forum for more information on the wood.

    On the flue temperature, we too have a rear exhaust but ours goes through the wall and up the side of the house. No chase either. No problem.

    Not sure what flue temperatures you get but you can also use these readings for when to engage the cat. We typically will engage the cat so long as the stove top is 220-250 and the flue temperature is usually between 400-500 with occasionally going higher on the flue.
  17. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Another thing that I'd like to toss in here - I've been playing with this on my stove this year with good results -

    Once stove is good and hot, cat engaged etc. If I have a full enough load (3/4 or greater) and I need the heat, I'm letting the stove heat up a bit more to the point where as I turn down the air (from about 1/4-1/2) the secondaries really start burning on top - as in the classic air injection "jets of fire" look out of the holes in top. Once this starts I let it run a bit then continue to turn the air down further until either fully closed or actually closed off (when it is cold enough outside to sustain the draft). What I'm seeing with this practice is that the secondaries will continue to burn for hours and stove top temp will be nice and high as well as the front/sides of the stove. Really puts out heat. This keeps the glass clean, runs for good hot run, and looks great. I don't think burning this way really reduces the burn time all that much from the way I used to burn (as in letting it go out and be black for a while then hours later a flame pops back in the box). Seems I get lower stovetop (cat isn't doing as much) but more stove temps and heat out the front.

    Basically I'm trying to burn it like I've heard the non-cat injection stove folks say to burn their stoves but with the cat engaged and not quite as high stovetop temp.

    Something to consider...
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  18. Tenn Dave

    Tenn Dave Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks guys for taking the time to share your experiences and expertise. It is very helpful to a Progress newbie like myself.

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