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Am I burning incorrectly?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by superz, Dec 6, 2008.

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  1. superz

    superz New Member

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    Hi, new to these forums, so maybe you guys can give me so needed advice. We moved into our home (built in 1960) 2 months ago here in Elmsford NY, which is about 20 miles from NYC. Last spring I purchased a brand new Vermont Castings NC Defiant to provide 100% of our heating needs for the winter. I started to burn exactly on Nov 4th, its now been a month since burning and I have consumed at least 2 full cords of wood. Ok, now my house about 2000 sqf and does have very old non-insulated windows, with minimal insulation in the walls. It is a split-level ranch. Temp inside the living room were the stove is goes between 70-80 degrees and usually on the very warm side, this because my wife likes it warm and I have a 18 month old girl. I bought 2 cords a month ago of what seemed to be seasoned hardwood. I always load it full at 7am, once again at 5pm and then again at 12am before we go to bed. In between those fill ups I tend to throw a few more logs in there during dinner and whatnot. I dont always keep the air intake wide open,rather about halfway. Before bedtime I get it up to abouth 600 degrees (griddle temp) and engage the Everburn mode, which leaves me with a bed of coals 7 hours later and about 250-300 griddle temp. I installed every aspect of the stove, from hearth pad to chimney. I use a 8 inch double wall SS chimney which runs about 15 feet from the stove to the end. Am I doing something wrong here? Am I expecting to much from this stove? Is it possible something is wrong with the stove? Maybe the wood I received is not dry enough? Please give me some advice . Thanks, Gil

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  2. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum!

    Do the dollar bill test (search it) & I find if you burn 24/7 always leave a good layer of ash in the box (insulation). Realistically, you should get 9-10hrs out of that puppy ;-)
  3. karl

    karl Minister of Fire

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    Look at last years gas/oil bill for the month and then find the btu converter program on here. Then you can see if you're putting as much heat in to your house with wood as you did with oil. I don't know much about your stove, but my Summit is considered a big stove and a cord a month keeps it going well. I don't see how I could a whole lot more in it.
  4. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    SuprZ while I'm unfamiliar with cat stoves it seems to me that you've locked down the burn cycle well enough. As far as burning 2 cords I dunno, I never have measured wood but the wife who keeps track of these things say we go through 40 face cords a a year...which is like 13 full cords. Sounds like we both have cold blooded women so I'm thinking you're burning OK.

    Another thing I've heard around here is that split levels are harder to heat. So you have some wiggle room to save wood by getting that 80* source heat to the far ends of the house...and that's another topic all together. But the short of it is to start an air current by moveing the cold air toward the stove.
  5. pinewoodburner

    pinewoodburner Feeling the Heat

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    Are the cords full cords of wood,4, x 8' x 4' or are they a face cord, 4' height x 8' length at whatever length of wood 16" 18" 20".
    Say you can get 3 cf of wood in your fire box, 3 times a day, say you have 100 cf of actual wood in the cord, that is 9 cf of wood a day, that cord would last you a little over 11 days. You may of burned 2 actual cords. Hopefully someone with that stove can help you out. You may be feeding it to much wood.
  6. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    It does seem a little much (2 cords in a month). I have a VC non-cat (slightly different design), and generally burn 4 full racks each season (racks are 16'L x 5'H x 20"W, so about one cord per rack give or take. I generally burn 24x7 during most months but do travel, so probably gone for about 25% of the season overall.

    I dont immediately suspect your wood supply. If it was too wet/unseasoned, you'd probably be having a tough time achieving secondary combustion and wouldnt have the nice temperatures that you are getting out of it.

    Your reload times seem about right tho....long burns at about the right temperature for your home. The temps are a bit warmer than I run mine under optimum conditions, but I also have good insulation & windows so I dont need to provide as much heat. One aspect of these everburn stoves is that they can overdraft themselves even when the primary air supply is set to its lowest level. Do a search on 'thermonuclear' and you'll find some suggestions on how to cut down on secondary air (no control lever) which will increase burn times at the cost of heat. You could also try setting your primary air to a lower level. If secondary combustion is occuring properly, it should throw out a lot of heat so its OK to choke down the primary air nearly all the way.
  7. schortie

    schortie Member

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    We have the same stove and have been burning for the same amount of time. I am wondering if you are engaging the everburn with each new load. It sounded like you only engage the secondary for overnight burns. If this is the case try engaging for each load. You may also get longer burn times by lowering the secondary air intake to 25% rather than 50%. My burn times have increased over the last coupla weeks to about 9hrs (not tons of coals after 9hrs, but enough to get 'er going again).
  8. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Exactly...this stove does well, all other conditions being met, when its drafting well, the primary air is set to its lowest, and there is a nice audible rumble coming from the secondary combustion chamber. You should get about 8-10 hours out of each load for the larger size stoves, even more if you're good at loading.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Holy smokes Captain Janks! I don't like those apples at all! 13 full cords in one year! That is a lot of wood. I used to holler when we went through over 6 cords per year (now less than 3).

    And superz has burned 2 cords in the month of November! That will increase quite a bit in December and then really increase big time in January and February. He may match that 13 cords!

    This could be a big combination of factors. Naturally how the stove is being handled comes into play first as does the fuel supply. What is being burned? That is, what type of wood? How well seasoned is it? Just taking a supplier's wood for seasoned is meaningless for most of them. Different wood needs different seasoning times for sure. Is the wood split? What size are the splits? etc., etc.

    Good luck finding the problem but don't wait. Get out there and find more wood! You'll need it. The cold air hasn't even got here yet, but isn't too far away.
  10. superz

    superz New Member

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    Today im picking up 3 cords of wood, I will be there to inspect the wood before purchase so I hope to get better wood. I do engage and hear the secondary come in normally. I have noticed that the wood I previously purchased was not "gray" in color and had no visible cracking, this is what I have read about how well seasoned wood looks like. I also had mostly birch and maple wood, very little oak. I also have to check for any air leaks at the stove gasket areas. When I fill her up at 7am and get back from work at 5:30 or so, I always have enough coals to get it going again without relighting. This tells me that everything as far as the Everburn is considered is working properly. By the way, since im pretty new to burning and had no real experience before this stove, I must say that there is no more satisfying experience than to provide heat for your home through a wood stove. I LOVE IT.
  11. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Yeah, check out the Wood Shed forum discussions for pics and advice on how to make sure you're not getting ripped off by dealers. Some disreputable dealers will advertise anything that is split as 'seasoned'. You seem to get the idea though that seasoned wood should have a different color tone than wet wood, and checking (cracks) is also a good indicator. The sound of two seasoned splits being knocked together is also very different than two wet splits.

    As for the everburn, just one word of caution. Just because you are coming home to a bed of coals doesnt mean the stove was achieving secondary combustion properly. Even if there is no secondary combustion with the bypass closed, the wood will still burn and be reduced to coals. It just wont be doing it cleanly or hot enough to prevent creosote or have clean emissions. A good test is to go outside and look at your stack. If you see nothing coming out except a little white smoke, then it's doing its job. If its dirty white, grey, or black, then its not burning properly.
  12. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    LOL... hey brother didn't we have this conversation before cause you also pile up your wood too right?

    Truthfully I have no idea how much wood we burn cause we grab it out of a huge walk in tented pile. My know it all wife came up with that figure and because I want to get laid at a regular basis I don't argue with her. Yeah it does seem a little high though ...can any other CNY 24/7 burners on here report on their wood burning amounts? Last time I attempted to measure wood cordage was back in the 70's but it ended up being another hassle I could do without...I've become a minimalist... my sig should be 'less is more'.
  13. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    I guessing he means ricks not cords. I remember someone stating in Central/Upstate NY that selling by the rick is the norm.
  14. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah we pretty much go by face cords up here...when you start talking full cords eyes glaze over.

    If you talking about us my wife says we go through 40 face cord a year...I reduced that to 13 full cord cause I know that's what you guys deal in.
  15. JMF1

    JMF1 New Member

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    Superz........just to make sure we have it right, are you buying "face cords" or "full cords" and how much are you paying for them?
    Yeah, everyone around here also use face cords, why I don't know....
  16. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    Here city folks call it "face cord" & the lucky ones living in the country side call it "singles"
  17. superz

    superz New Member

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    I purchased 3 full cords saturday, 4x4x8', I measured the truck before I went there and marked the spots. The guy I purchased it from was really cool about everything and the cord was $130, with you loading your own truck. He had split oak,elm,birch,walnut,cherry, locust, and a few other hardwoods. He had 2 piles, one with up to 24" splits and the other with up to 18" splits. Needless to say the wood was very good. It was seasoned as I saw many cracks in the grains. I do understand the process of Everburn, however it seems that even when I wait for a good thick bed of coals, add some good size splits, and then let all the splits catch a good fire before once again engaging Everburn, I only get about 6-7 hours of burn. Of which 4 hours are about 550 degrees and the next 2 at about 300 or lower. I guess its impossible to get a 10 hour 550 degree burn.

    And yes, around NYC most sellers sell a FACE cord, which is BS. Of course, I did a bit or research on these forums before making my second purchase.
  18. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    130 per cord...is a steal. Here folks pay 130 per "face cord" And you would think that wood should be cheaper here due to supply!

    As for burn times you will not get 10hrs of real heat out of 2.1 cf firebox, that is like trying to squeeze water out of a stone.
  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    If you ever see a wood stove that will hold 550 for 10 hours I want to see that sucker. Blaze King or no Blaze Kings.
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