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advice on burning with low smoke output and maximum efficiency.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by iceisasolid, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. iceisasolid

    iceisasolid New Member

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    Greetings,

    I am been running the Englander 30 NC for about 3 weeks now. I have yet to be able to run it with consistency in regards to having little smoke output. If I want low smoke, I just don't look at it (out of sight out of mind).

    If I burn with a low air intake after getting the temp to 500 there is a fair amount of smoke, albeit, it is a slow moving mass. If I open up the air, it smokes less. If I have the secondary burn running,I get a lot of smoke. i have not yet found the happy medium.

    If those of you with this stove or any secondary air burning stove would explain your methods, I'd appreciate it.

    With gratitude,

    -Ray

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  2. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Stop burning green wood!

    Who knows..but with the secondary's going strong that is when you should have the least smoke coming out.
  3. pen

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

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    With milder temps this time of year (which I am presuming for your area) the draft isn't going to be as strong which affects how your stove burns. If your wood is not well seasoned (as hot coals referred to) then your problem is amplified.

    In the dead of winter, I load the stove up w/ about 5 med-large splits, get the firebox full of flames then close the draft down so that the spring on the draft is just even w/ the ash pan lip. I let it sit here until the stove is up to 550 or so or when the firebox is full of flames again, then I close it down so that the outside edge of the draft spring is exposed 1/4 of an inch or down as far as being flush with the ash lip. VERY rarely do I close it all the way. When it is in the 20's or colder out, that will result in a clean burn from start to finish. If I do that when it's in the mid 30's or warmer I'll have a clean burn until about 1/2 way through the burn load then I'll notice a small amount of smoke from the chimney if I don't open up the draft a wee bit. In general, in the warmer weather I leave no less than 1/4 of an inch of the spring exposed to keep a clean burn going.

    Again, all of this is based upon having truly seasoned wood. This means 1 years cut, split and stacked for most species in a place that is conducive to good drying. 2 years for very dense species like oak or 2 years in less than ideal conditions. If your wood hasn't been allotted that dry time, you are spitting into the wind.

    pen
  4. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    Once the basics like dry wood are covered, one thing you want to do with your stove is to make sure the two baffle boards are pushed all the way back and together in the middle. Sometimes they can move around and leave gaps which let smoke by the baffle system. When we had ours I would push the boards all the way back and out, leaving the gap in the center. Then I would fill the gap with something.
  5. iceisasolid

    iceisasolid New Member

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    Loc:
    North Central Idaho
    Thanks for the replies.

    It seems that the burn times are shorter for opening up the air a little to make it burn cleaner. For example, 2 nights ago, I went to bed after loading the stove with 4 splits and stoking the fire. Then, I turned it down. When I got up, the stove a few large red coals, but was only about 200 degrees and dark window. When the temps were about 20 outside, I could load it and seemed to get a longer burn and I could shut it down completely and have a longer burn that seemed to be cleaner.

    I have noticed that after burning, the baffles do become separated a little in the middle and I always need to adjust them before I reload the stove. What would you fill the middle with?
  6. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    Ya, it's my one big complain with that stove. I used to use an old chainsaw bar which would lay on top of the boards, sort of bridging the gap. I thought about using rope gasket or ceramic blanket to help seal things up, but we replaced the stove before I had a chance.
  7. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I posted a thread about this a few weeks ago,its all about the wood,for me soft wood no matter how dry will cause the stove to smoke.
    It seems the terpentine tar (or whatever the hell is in soft wood) off gasses too fast and some of the smoke gets past the reurn tubes.
    Hard wood seems to produce very little smoke for me. SO when i use soft wood i only put in small amounts at a time and run low air,high air will make it smoke with soft wood. Hard wood dont smoke at any air setting.
  8. kwikrp

    kwikrp Feeling the Heat

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    Burn a Blaze King
  9. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Yes folks wood can be too dry and thats what happens, it gases too quick for the stove to burn it all.
  10. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    In my small stove I can burn dry softwood or dry hardwood, neither produces any appreciable smoke except when I reload. My system works the same as an Englander NC30, just smaller.

    One thing that seems odd in the original post is that poster says when the secondaries are running there is smoke output. Secondaries essentially burn smoke, so there shouldn't be smoke and secondaries at the same time, or at least it should be possible to adjust the primary air so that there is no smoke when the secondaries are going. I suppose the smoke is due to green wood.
  11. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I get smoke and secondaries at the same time when i burn soft wood at high air settings. I think the soft wood overwhelms the secondaries due to heavy off gassing.
  12. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Really dry elm makes for a crazy fire in my summit, all hell breaking loose with the secondaries.
  13. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    If that's the case I could see where a hybrid (cat and tubes) would be killer!
  14. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Not the same case with my harman TL-300 downdraft ,NO smoke even from a full load of pine gets past that Afterburn chamber.
    With the Nc-30 just one or 2 pieces of pine and i get smoke on high air settings.
  15. iceisasolid

    iceisasolid New Member

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    Well, I cleaned the chimney and I put in new ceramic fiber board (Englander sent it new as the other boards were very loose) and now it burns apparently smokeless. I got about 1 qt jar worth opf creosote from my 22 ft chimney system.

    Now I need to work on burn times. At 2 AM I loaded 3 splits about 18 inches round and 18 inches long and by 7 AM (5 hours later) the wood was almost to ash. I had it closed down to just a trickle of air. temps stayed at 550 for a while.
  16. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    My boards are loose too,is that a defect ?i thought they were supposed to be loose. they are about 1/4 inch from both sides,and when they get red hot i get a half inch gap in the middle. Perhaps thats why im getting smoke when burning pine.
  17. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Do you burn the stove real hot after you reload to get the secondary's to fire?
    If you do, try not doing that. Just load and after a few mins just close it down and see what happens.
    You will get tube burn after awhile.
  18. iceisasolid

    iceisasolid New Member

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    I have been bringing the stove up to temp and then shutting it down. I will do as you suggest. I think that this must be where good wood comes in. Some of my wood I can ignite and it fires right up, other times it just seems to smolder. It seems that the wood that I have is heavy in pitch, as if it was from the base of the tree- it literally drips pitch sometimes. When it ignites, it's interesting to watch.

    In regards to the fiber boards, the ones I received with the stove, were chipped and pretty well beat up and didn't seem to fit well. THere was a lot of play front to back and side to side. The new ones, have very little front to back movement and less side to side movement. When the stove gets up to temp, however, it opens up in the middle and I get about 1/8 inch gap. I was thinking of using one of the other fiber boards to cover the top of the 2 new ones.

    Thanks, again.
  19. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Wood is probably 80-90% of the deal..good stove and install is the rest.
    If you can get them try some bio bricks or similar and see how your stove runs...at least they will be dry and somewhat consistent.
    I burnt some eco bricks and they work pretty well..cost is a factor though..but you should try some and run the numbers.

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