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Afraid of TOO MUCH heat...please advise

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Nudge, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    Based on the OP's original post the room with the fireplace is long and narrow with the fireplace in the center of one of the long walls. A free standing stove will probably protrude into the room a little too much...

    A layout would be nice to help us make suggestions... In a long room with multiple doors a small fan moving some air in one door so it flows out the other will help even out the heat in the house. I have an insert in a long room with doors at both ends. A small table top fan on low blows air in one door. It flows out the other and keeps the whole loop fairly evenly heated. The actual stove room, depending on how hard I push the insert, is in the low to mid 70s. The other rooms in the circulation loop hover between 68 and 72. This is how we like it.

    KaptJaq

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  2. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Put an insert in there, go bigger if you can, 3 cu. ft. would be ok, 2.5 might be better based on your desire to keep things from overheating.

    Remember type of wood has a lot to do with heat output, pine/willow etc. burn faster thus heat output is less/shorter. It's NOT just firebox size/btu rating that controls heat output, type of wood and size of load play a big factor.

    You likely won't be able to heat the far end of your home very well without pushing the room the stove is in up to 80 degree's or so.

    80 don't feel too bad when it's 8 degree's outside and windy :)
  3. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Lots of good advice given here already. I'd go with the larger stove as well - I started off with a smaller stove and have upgraded substantially here. I do believe that larger is better - I don't mind building smaller fires in my larger stove but pushing my smaller stoves was somewhat of a pain.

    Cat vs Non-cat - I do believe that your desires to heat more of the home without overheating the one room may lend itself to using a cat stove as you may be able to run it a bit cooler but maintain constant output, thus keeping the heat up throughout the day. I'm not all that familiar with the options for cat inserts, but I'm sure there are folks here who can make good recommendations if you choose to explore this route. I don't think of cat stoves as being complicated in any way. In fact I think they are less complex in many ways as once you engage the cat you can walk away and forget about it - no adjusting to keep it in a clean burn. Then again, I've only had experience with one brand of cat stoves and Woodstock stoves are among the easier ones. The one downside to cat stoves that I can see off the top is they seem to be a bit more expensive - but that may not be universal either. A Blazeking insert for you as an example would likely do you very well, but I know they come at a premium.

    KaptJaq's observation of your narrow room may well be accurate and keep you in the insert territory unless your fireplace is large enough to put a free standing stove inside it (likely not). I would suggest you get an insert that protrudes a bit into the room to help maximize the heat you can get from it in the case of a power failure.
  4. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Since you are clearly concerned about overheating can you rent a high BTU space heater to put in the room to help you access and see what happens? Some here say they have had great sucess with a fan or two in moving air so it is better distributed in the house.

    Another thought is that there are some units that do exceptionally well at running at lower temps.
  5. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Yup, go big. You have a pretty large stove room with multiple doors so I think you'll be able to move the heat pretty well. The main thing is the flexibility it will give you. The worst case is that you find you can't heat the rest of the house without getting the stove room too hot. Well, just use smaller loads during the day with your zone heating on in the rest of the house. At night, when you're not using the stove room, load it up! You'll still see a big reduction in your heat bill. And really, that's about the worst case. With a small stove, you will get what you get with limited flexibilty.
  6. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    You obviously have no idea of what a BAR is. Regardless, keep it for when the can opens up and you can be set straight then....
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    What? I must have missed all those threads highlighting problems with quadrafire.
  8. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    EWell excuse me! Did I offend you?

    BAR = Browning Automatic Rifle. Standard US Army squad automatic in WWII and Korea. Heavy, full auto but quite limited in the role due to the 20 round box mag.

    A lot less useful than a scoped rifle for hunting I would think.

    Happy now?
    Hearth Mistress and BrowningBAR like this.
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Um, actually, Jeremy is right. The BAR made its name for itself in World War II, which is what my handle references. There are modern day BARs, but they are pretty far from the original concept. But, enough of that. Back to OP's topic.
    Hearth Mistress and jharkin like this.
  10. momof2nutlings

    momof2nutlings Member

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    I was worried about too much heat, but let me tell you, the body adapts. We installed an insert into our main room, and the heat was a nice supplement. Then I realized that I like the upstairs warm too, and we installed a pellet upstairs. Then I realized that supplementing wasn't enough, and it's too expensive to keep me happy at 80 degrees in CT winters. So we installed a few more stoves. I never realized how grand life was at 80 degrees, sitting sipping a margarita watching the snow fall. And it's even better doing it knowing that margarita is paid for by the money you're NOT giving the oil man!!

    Lessons I wish I had known:
    * No such thing as a too big stove. Heat naturally moves to the coldest point and few well placed fans will assist that. I desperately wish I had put a Blazeking (even an insert) where the Napoleon insert is.
    * Reloading often is a curse of the EPA stove. I desperately wish I had put a Blazeking King where the Napoleon insert is.
    * When the power goes out the insert is pretty useless. The blower is necessary. So I bought a generator for my stove. I desperately wish I had put a Blazeking King where the Napoleon insert is.:)
    * Wood stoves are awesome. You will never find a stack of pellet bags on the side of the road, but there is always wood to be found.

    Guess what's on the top of my "to get as soon as I see it on sale list??" LOL
    Stubborn Dutchman likes this.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    *There definitely is such a thing as too big a stove. It all depends on the size and layout of the home or area being heated and the degree of heat leakage from the home.Oversizing a stove may be less common, but it can and does happen.
    * Reloading 2-3 times a day is not a curse if you enjoy tending a fire, though by Feb it does start getting a bit old. Personally I don't mind it and prefer a nice fire view to a blackened glass.
    * True that flush inserts are not too much help in a power outages, but there are inserts that naturally convect well the power is out. The Osburn 2400, PE Summit, Jotul 450 come to mind. And there is the Regency Hearth Heater which is specifically designed with power outages in mind. No doubt a freestander is better in this regard, but if the OP's goal is to be able to heat the family room during an outage with an insert, this should be doable. Not ideal perhaps, but possible. One thing that could make it harder though would be if the room has cathedral ceilings. That makes it more complicated, even for a freestanding stove.
  12. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    There is also the Buck stove that can be used as a free-standing stove or as an insert. That might work as well. I believe it is the Model 80 which is 2.6 cu ft.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Nudge.

    Normally I will read all the posts before posting but this time I ready your post and then skipped the rest. I just posted this on another thread:


    There should be no need of overcooking yourself in the living room. The neat little trick with a small desktop fan will also do wonders for heating the rest of the house. The little trick is to set a small desktop fan on the floor in a doorway or hallway and aim it toward the stove room. Use the lowest setting for the fan. Blowing that little bit of cooler air into the stove room will force the warm air out and will work with the natural convection. Cool air in on the lower level forces warm air out on the upper level and bingo! The further rooms warm up a lot. For ceiling fans, have the fan so it sucks air up rather than blowing air down.

    As far as size, you have the room so I'd recommend going big with the insert.

    Word of caution. Wood heating is much different than oil or gas heat. That is, you can not just call up someone and tell them to deliver some fuel. If you do, they will, but you will be sadly disappointed. Let it be known that wood needs a minimum of a year to dry properly and this year starts only after the wood has been split. If you buy wood, they will usually split it just before delivery. If it is oak, you have big problems because that wood takes the longest to dry; we give it 3 years in the stack before burning it.

    So please do yourself a favor and while considering the stove, also consider the fuel and do it ASAP.
    Stubborn Dutchman likes this.
  14. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I don't listen to BS but BWS is a whole 'nother thing. Get dry wood!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  15. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    Get the biggest firebox you can. I recommend a cat stove (even though I am not burning one right now), because of the ability to burn low and slow, and be able to keep the output even lower than with a non cat, while still burning clean. Shoulder season, we burn small loads of pine, they burn quick and hot, while not putting out too much heat into the room. This hot fast burn cuts down on the creosote. Below about 10*, we burn full loads of Oak and sweat in the stove room. Doing it over, I would have gone with a big cat stove, probably a Buck. I'd do a BK, but I can't stand to look at them!

    Oh, and it's Red Sox and Savages here! ;)
  16. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Yep, go big if you want to minimize your heat bill, and use a couple of little fans on low blowing into the bottoms of the doorways. I've got a Buck 91 at my MIL's in a 13x20 room on one end of the house. I haven't yet obtained a couple of good, small fans capable of running low. But using one 12" fan, which runs fairly low, the room (two doors) is only slightly warmer than the next...very comfortable.
  17. Nudge

    Nudge New Member

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    WOW, so many responses.

    Firstly, thank you. And I can see now that even with my descriptions it might still be worth it to draw out as little diagram, just so it's all clear.

    Responding to a couple points, in no particular order:

    1. A couple people have mentioned CAT's, but I'll point them to my OP and say I've decided against those, weighing pro/con. Same for the free-stander, which I recognize would work best, but is out because of our desire to keep the hearth as is.
    2. 80 degrees sounds pretty damn hot to me, if that's what it would take to get the far flung rooms to 65 with no assistance. But given we have base-burner zones with different thermostats, I would just toggle the fire down and let the boards go on in those far areas.
    3. I'm finding it interesting reading all the comments about "going big" and toggling the fire down, because I've hear/read elsewhere that these things are essentially meant to run within a certain burn band, beneath which you're losing efficiency, and/or sooting the glass. I'd love to hear more on this topic specifically, please.
    4. This isn't the forum for this, but seeing a comment above it's worth noting...not only does Browning make a hunting variation on the BAR, but it's one of the CLASSIC American hunting rifles...once upon a time made in Missouri...now in Japan. Remy's are made in Ilion, NY since 1818 (in the SAME factory since then, the 3rd oldest continuously operating manufacturing facility of ANYTHING in the entire U.S.)...hence my playful jab at the helpful gentleman. The only thing I love more than our mountains, is keeping NYers employed!

    Many thx to ALL, please keep comments coming (especially regarding point #3 above)!

    - Nudge
    mywaynow likes this.
  18. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Your situation is begging for a cat stove.
    Not hard to run..actually easier to run imo..for sure a BK Princess would fill your bill..load her up ,char the wood ..close the by-pass and set the t-stat...simple.
    Expect 12 hour burns easy..way more in the shoulder.
    So you might have to buy a new cat after 6 or more years..big deal ..less then 300 bucks I think.
    Sure you won't see a fire most of the time..but you can turn the air up to see one..just raise the t-stat up a little.
    Worse thing is you will have to clean the glass now and then to see it good..lol.
    You know what..you better not buy it..I bet the dirty glass will frustrate you. Cheers!
    ailanthus likes this.
  19. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    Just a quick note: Wood stoves are a very dry heat as compared to most other heating systems. This has quite an effect on the perceived warmth which can not be judged by a thermometer alone. I will also echo most others here, a big stove gives flexibility.
  20. rijim

    rijim Member

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    To your question about stove temp operating band. It is true that to maintain a clean and efficient burn it is necessary to bring the stove up to temp. I need to run up around 500 stovetop temps to get secondary burn going during the off-gassing. The only thing a smaller load and/or softer wood will do is shorten the time before beginning to drop by around 100-200 deg during the coaling stage. The reason most suggest going big is many start off with a similar plan to yours and in short order decide they like the feel of the wood heat and want more; bigger firebox doesn't limit you there. No matter how you slice it, smaller loads and softer woods will still require you cycling the stove way down in temps before reloading to not overpowering the room if not interested in using a small fan to assist moving heat to other rooms; your possibly going to find use limited to just the colder months (you'll be amazed how a small fan causes circulation to other rooms).
    Also, soot on door is most often the result of less than dry wood.
  21. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    My glass will soot if I restrict the air too much. My wood is 19% mc hardwood. If you are getting continous soot on the glass you are probably getting debris in the stack too. As I type, the 30 is just coming up to temp. I did something when loading for the overnight that I never do; e/w load. This morning there was 30-40% sooted glass. The e/w load did leave more coal but at the expense of temp and the glass is dirty. Oddly enough, the fresh fire has cleaned the glass already. Did not expect that to happen.

    Is your fireplace working? I know they don't do a good job of providing heat, but maybe you can test air flow using the fireplace? If you are planning a OAK for the insert, maybe you can set that up ahead of the stove and feed the fireplace with it. Get that going so as to generate some heat and try the fan idea. I believe all inserts use fans right? So depending on a fan to assist with heat movement is already in the system. Not a fan of fans in the doorway but you gotta do what you gotta do.........
  22. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    This is why I specified small HOT fire. While you may loose some efficiency (a shoulder season fire just gets the chill off), the hot fire keeps you from sooting the glass, or from creosote buildup. When we get a cool/cold fall day or night, I'll burn with the air open 1/2 or more. Now, with a full load, my stove would be in a runaway condition after about 10 minutes of this, but because the fuel load is small, the stove puts out a small amount of heat, and burns clean doing so. I might burn this way all day, If I'm home, and then load up at night as it gets cold.

    Also, I vary my wood based upon how much heat I need. Shoulder season, the stove sees alot of pine, because I need a small hot fire. Most of the main heating season, I burn a mix of sugar maple, Ash, and cherry. On the coldest days of Jan and Feb, the stove gets loaded with Oak.

    My Enerzone has a 2.9 CU. FT. firebox, and as I said before, I would gladly take something bigger. The aesthetics of the BK are an issue for me, as we don't have a TV and in the winter our stove and the radio are what help keep our sanity. I just couldn't look at a BK all winter.

    Some people have asked me if all the work and tinkering with the stove is worth it. These are people who have never seen me bug out when I hear the oil burner come on!

    Paul
  23. Malatu

    Malatu New Member

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    I'd like to respectfully contradict the above statement. In reality, there is not such thing as "dry heat". Heat is heat! Though, wood stoves seem like they dry the air more because they generally keep a room warmer than "traditional heating systems". To explain further......As you increase the temperature of air in a room, the relative humidity of that air is reduced (laws of physics). Take that same air and cool it and the humidity will increase (again it's the same law of physics).

    Using a humidifier in the winter to keep the relative humidity at an appropriate level, not only alleviates some symptoms of dry air, it will make your home feel warmer. With all things being equal, (outside air temp and room temp) the higher the humidly in a room, the warmer you'll feel. Relatively speaking, a room with a lower humidity level will feel cooler than a room with same temperature at higher humidity level. Why? Your perspiration will evaporate faster from your skin in the room with lower humidity, thus cooling your skin at a greater rate compared to the room of higher humidity. Again, this is all relative.

    The amount of water needed to keep an entire house at the appropriate level varies depending on the outside temperature as well as the indoor temps. Regardless, the quantity of water needed to humidify an entire home is measured in gallons. I put between 4 and 5 gallons of water into the air per day. Unlike the difficulty of trying to distribute heat throughout the house, humidity easily finds it's way throughout a two story home (as long as doors are open).
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Random thoughts . . .

    I will not attempt to convince you to buy a cat stove or a free stander . . . my own take is it's your home and your choice. You have made these choices . . . and honestly while some folks may feel that these would be better choices, the truth is there are other options that should make you just as happy in the end with the results.

    As SodBuster said at the start . . . heating with a woodstove is not exact . . . or as easy as regulating the temp with a thermostat attached to an oil boiler or gas furnace . . . and there is pretty much a 99% chance that that room with the insert will be warmer than rooms in the rest of the home . . . that's the nature of the beast . . . but you can help move that heat out and make the room tolerable without feeling the need to sit there watching TV naked while the rest of the home is near sub-zero temps.

    Size is important . . . and like BeGreen I agree . . . you can go too big to the point where you are always overheating the place and/or burning up too much of your wood supply which you paid for in either time or money or both. Personally, what worked for me was to figure out my spacing needs and then go one size larger with the stove. As mentioned . . . firebox size makes a big difference in knowing if the stove will suit your needs or not.

    Heat . . . while I sometimes over heat the place . . . typically at the start of the year by loading too much wood or reloading too often . . . generally the living room with the stove is quite comfortable. Of course, "comfortable" is a relative term. Sometimes . . . I am perfectly comfortable and my wife is sweltering . . . or vice versa . . . a lot depends on the person. I have found however that both my wife and I have become accustomed and desire the warmer temps of the low to mid-70s. This seems to be our ideal temps . . . but as mentioned earlier while you can use some tips and tricks to move the heat out of the room and to the rest of the home (i.e. the fan tip) running a stove is not exact and there will be times when it will get a bit warmer than you prefer.

    So how can you regulate the temp . . . it's all about the fuel load. It's deciding whether you want to just do a partial load of wood or if you want to pack as much wood into the firebox as possible . . . it's about deciding if you only need to go with some low BTU wood like poplar or if you want a high BTU wood like oak or locust . . . it's about deciding if you just want to get the stove warm with a quick, hot fire and then let the hot steel or cast iron radiate out the heat or if you need to reload to keep the heat output coming . . .
  25. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    That is one thing about these forums, no shortage of help and/or opinions. As long as the discussion is reasonable folks will keep sharing their thoughts and experiences.

    Indeed - pictures and diagrams help a lot. Keep in mind that most of us will consider the whole problem and try and see if we can help find the optimal solution even taking into consideration factors you may not have. There is a tremendous amount of misinformation and a lot of misconceptions out there that lead folks to dismiss solutions without serious consideration. Sadly many dealers are not fully aware of all the options or the value of different technologies.

    I'm one of those who suggested a cat stove to you. I did see your dismissal of the cat stove however I hope you will reconsider after evaluating the information presented here. You cited complexity as a primary concern with cat stoves - I believe this is a myth that is often reinforced by dealers who don't care to sell or support them. While it is true that one does need to learn the proper operation of a cat stove, the same is true for any stove if you are going to be burning well. The baseline assumption I make is that anyone who shows up here looking for information on their stoves is the type of person who will go on to learn how to properly operate and maintain whatever they do install. Neither cat or non-cat stove is overly complex and both can do well.

    And this is why folks are suggesting you re-evaluate your decision against cat stoves. If yow desire to spread heat throughout the house without having one room peak at a much higher level then you are likely better off having constant heat in that room at a lower level. This can be achieved by running the stove 24/7 at a temperature that is high enough to heat but not so high that it can't be spread out of the room as fast. With the non-cat stove you will have greater peaks and valleys in the temperature swings - particularly if you do a larger stove with small fires as is being suggested. With the cat you can fill the box and then burn the whole load over 12 hours (or more) at a lower temperature output and still burn clean. I suspect this would go farther in terms of heating your home with less total work than having to limit the peak heat output in that room of each fire and then building multiple fires during the day.

    Smoke burns somewhere over 1100*f I believe - so in a non-cat stove that is the temp you have to achieve in the secondary burn area (top of the stove where the burn tubes are) in order to burn clean - this translates into a surface temp in the 500ish range. A cat stove can burn the smoke considerably lower (around 500*f range) which translates into more like 300ish surface temp. These are the minimums to burn clean during the peak outgassing phase (obviously both stoves will cool lower during other parts of the burn and can go higher as needed). IF you are burning a stove to push as much heat as possible then the difference between the technologies doesn't matter much as you lose much of the cat benefit btw.

    Now larger vs smaller - when you burn the stove you want to burn clean. To burn clean you have to hit the temperatures where you burn the smoke (whatever technology you are using). So, if you burn a larger stove and try to reduce the heat output by turning the air down to the point where you are not burning the smoke then you will dirty things up (chimney etc). However if you have dry wood and simply build a smaller fire, let it burn hot and then burn out in a shorter time you can burn clean. What you end up with though is a peak temp then a cool period. It is different than setting a thermostat at a given temp and staying within 2-3* of the set temp as in you will have the room heat up 5-10* perhaps and then cool down before you build the next small hot fire. During shoulder season you may just build one fire a day - depends on your needs.

    To some degree this is in fact not all that different if you are burning a cat or non-cat stove, it is just that the minimum peak temp you achieve for clean burning is lower on the cat stove thus in theory at least you can reduce the peak temperature differential in the room and with the same amount of wood in the stove you should be able to have a longer burn (the amount of heat energy in the wood is the same after all, so you either get a lot in a shorter time or lower heat over a longer time).


    You asked for it :) heh.. enjoy and happy reading.

    You may soon realize if you haven't already that much of what is "right" for you situation will depend on your desired 'wood burning lifestyle.' Do you want to play with the fire more and load more often? Do you want to sit and watch a fire show? Or do you want to feed the stove once or twice in a 24hr period and forget about it? Likely a bit of alll of these, but which is more important to you is well, personal eh?

    You think the stove choosing discussions are fun - start asking about buying wood :) ha! (I do hope you have some wood already cut and stacked btw).
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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