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Air Control Mastery

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by firecracker_77, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    In my 3rd season, I finally have this air control down to a science. When to open it up, when to choke it back. It sounds easy enough but there is some finesse to mastering your stove set-up. In the first year, I was like a teenager fumbling with a bra strap. Now, I can make this thing purr with relative ease.

    Almost makes me want to try a catalytic for a new challenge.
    loon likes this.

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Glad you figured it out.
    firecracker_77 likes this.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Congratulations. You've gone from mystery to mastery. All it took was coming to Hearth.com and changing the Y to A-ha!
    firecracker_77 likes this.
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I am the master of my own domain. ;)
    osagebow likes this.
  5. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    I like to think I am and then life smacks me down from time to time. :p
  6. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    If you want to send me a couple of boxes of good air control i am up for it. I have had a few fires that were miserable while discovering my unseasoned 'seasoned wood'. 97% that were passable in that they burned clean and left a reasonable bed of coals and a few that were epic in that they burned like this very eerie reactor. Once up and burning nice just kept pulling more air down every 5 minutes and got to full closed and the secondaries lit for maybe an hour then had blue green short flames about 3 inches long and threw a ton of heat. Did not have a thermometer at the time but I don't think an over fire as no paint smells etc. It ran like that for hours. No doubt very good wood I lucked out on as I can not make it repeat often enough to even to begin to say it was me. I did it with a completely clean fire box no ashes at all Heated up the stove to about 300 with kindling and put in 2 very large splits going east west with the pointy ends up then filled that with some medium size kindling and a fat stick to light the kindling in the middle. The firebox was about 75% full. Oh well maybe next year with some better wood.
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Sounds good. Can I assume you are getting stove top temps north of 500?
  8. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    My normal 97% of the time is around 550 to 600 but can not stay there long the few epic ones I managed I did not have a thermometer but it was a tee shirt and boxer shorts on a 30 degree night and the wind blowing stove room 85+ as it pegged the thermometer in the thermostat for the furnace and the rest of the house mid to high 70's. What got me was how long it stayed hot as opposed to the so called normal one i am able to repeat in they are 550 to 600 after 45 minutes and stay for an hour then start tapering back down. I think because I am feeding it less wood over a longer perion of time to get the house to 70 or so over a longer period of time and do not have a bunch of good wood left. My thinking to have more nights at 70 than a few at 85 with the amount of wood I have left that is dry enough to burn well. If my reasoning does not make sense do help me out. My real problem is I have 2 1/2 cords of oak that will probably not be ready for next winter. So been calling around to see if I can get some ash for next winter as most have advised me here that it is my best bet if not enough time to season what I have in oak.
  9. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    I'm near there. The collar at the top is in the 630 range. Stone is in the high 400s. That may be partly a fuel issue. I'm not always burning super premium wood.

    It will be 5 degrees in Indiana / Illinois area on Thursday night. Draft should be pulling on the fire really hard.
  10. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    ddahlgren...that sounds good. just a suggestion, but it would be really helpful to others to list your stove in a signature so we can envision your set-up better.
  11. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    Lets see if this works..
  12. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly Minister of Fire

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    My air control is a simple push / pull rod....what I did was push it all the way in...marked it.....pulled all the way out...marked it again.....then measured it out in quarters, this has helped to keep track at how far I've gone, and how much I've got left.....I made the marks on the underside of the rod, a quick half twist shows where I'm at.
  13. danham

    danham Member

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    Cape Cod, MA
    I thought about making similar benchmarks but when I had the panels off my insert to put Roxul behind it, I observed that the linkage has so much slop in it that the markings would be meaningless. If you slide the control to the right to close it down, and observe that it's not enough air, then you can slide it a fair amount to the left and still see no change because the actual damper has not moved at all.

    This makes it much harder to get to "mastery" because you have to rely strictly on what your eyes tell you is going on in the firebox (coupled with some comparative IR readings) to get the air adjusted properly.

    So for me the take-home lesson is to make small changes in one direction (so as not to be "adjusting" slack instead of the actual damper) and WAIT to see what the effects are before making more changes. If you do need to reverse direction, go all the way to the stop and start over.

    -dan

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