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Another PH shoulder season fire...

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

  1. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    That was what I meant, except I communicated it poorly.

    I just feel there must be a way to do a full load on a low burn without the secondaries grabbing hold.

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  2. chipsoflyin

    chipsoflyin Member

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    Ill take a stab at this one, seems that with a full load and the cat chewing away, the top of the firebox get extremely hot from the radiate heat from the cat, thus releasing more wood gas from the top of the load, the secondary air entering gets superheated from the catalyst(cat located directly above the secondary air manifold). All this causes secondary combustion in the top of the firebox. Im going to try several things once it gets cold enough. Plugging the small hole in the lower front of the firebox(try to limit the oxygen entering). This might reduce the amount of backpuffing when the air is completely closed. Second I'm going to try banking the coals so the load will burn east to west. This will limit the amount of combustible gases and might result in a cooler firebox. This year should be interesting as everyone learns the finer points of operating this marvelous stove
  3. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I think you're right that the heat from the cat seems to spark the secondaries.

    That hole in front is actually there for the express purpose of reducing backpuffing. If you plug it, backpuffing will likely get worse.
    rideau likes this.
  4. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I think this may work occassionally but if you did it every time you run the risk of clogging the cat. All that relatively cool smoke from a fresh load may reduce the cat temp, stall it and coat the cells with creosote.
    rdust likes this.
  5. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I've actually done it, but I don't know how I did it! <> I nailed the draft setting perfect on an almost full load to where there weren't any secondaries to speak of. This was on a Friday night. It was warmish on Saturday so I just let her go. Had enough coals to reload after 20 hours. But, this happened once last year and I wasn't able to repeat it. It has everything to do with how many coals you load on, how dry your wood is, etc., etc. Lot's of variables.

    I do plan on experimenting on the weekends, but in reality my general burning practice is simply going to consist of judging how much wood to put in the stove for a 12 hour burn based on weather. This just makes the most sense for my schedule. Load in the evening, load in the morning, over and over again until spring. A 20 hour burn means I'm either not going to be home or will be fast asleep when it comes time to reload.
  6. binko

    binko Member

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    Last year on more than one occasion I was able to relight with remaining coals after a full 24 hours. There was not much heat left, however I did not need to crumple papers or use kindling.
    I just put smaller pieces first followed by larger ones.
  7. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Type of wood and weight are good measurements.
    Other variables:
    Size of Logs
    Load orientation
    Air spacing between logs

    There are a certain amount of btu's per pound and thats one thing, but burn time and efficiency might be affected by the other things I listed.
    Most people have a little more stove than needed so extending burn time might be more important to some.
    But I would think if the Cat is active efiiciency is always pretty high.
    Larger logs may burn longer than a bunch of small ones.
    Dryer wood can maintain operation temp levels easier at lower settings
  8. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Somewhat related - what size pieces are folks finding work best in the PH? Anyone played with loading a few larger diameter pieces vs same weight of smaller pieces yet? Also - is anyone yet burning full 22" pieces in the stove (i.e. had time to dry any out since the stove came out?)
  9. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    x2, I was going to post this but figured I'd read the rest of the posts first. I see you beat me to it! :)
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Just throwing out suggestions to see if there is a way to maintain a low burn on a full load.
  11. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    I've got some 21.5" Beech that's been c/s/s since last fall! It's planned for later this year.

    I did fully load 16" Oak splits E/W and then cut a bunch in half to stuff the remaining space with. I got some impressive 12 hour burns so that the stove temps were still pretty high after 12 hrs. This year I will keep some good records and burn actual 21+" splits.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    There is no way I would attempt that. It is just wrong and you will be asking for problems. Why not run it as it is designed to run. The cat should be bypassed when adding wood.

    Do it if you want; it is your stove. But do not blame the cat or the manufacturer if this turns out wrong.
    corey21 likes this.
  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Because part of the discussion is whether or not the Progress can be run low and slow with a full load.

    But yes, I acknowledge that my suggestion was probably poorly thought out.
  14. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Maybe this answers your question:
    Last year, with the exception of one or two days, I burned my stove with stovetop temperatures in the 300s. That provided me with plenty of heat. I generally loaded the stove slightly less than to slightly more than half full. When the load was down to coals (usually stovetop temp over 250), generally, I opened the air so I wouldn't get smoke leakage into the room, usually did not disengage the cat although Woodstock tells you to (maybe disengaged 1/2 the time but I doubt it), loaded my wood. Within less than a minute, and not infrequently before I got the door closed, the wood was burning. I then immediately closed the air all the way, then cracked it a bit open. With different loads of wood I might adjust that a bit in the first twenty minutes of the new load, to open more, then close down again, and sometimes even to close all the way. I maintained low burn temps easily all winter. I would have had to make an effort to get the stovetop hot, but I didn't need more heat so didn't worry about it. The one or two COLD days, I opened the air more, got the stovetop up to high 400s (I think I got to 500 or so once), and reloaded after maybe 8 hours (I'm guessing) - that again on about a half firebox load.

    If I was going to be out when I guessed the stove would be down to coals, I simply opened the air, loaded the stove as much as I wanted, closed the air, made sure the stove was burning well, and left. Didn't matter if I was loading to coals or wood, I had no problem maintaining a low burn.

    When the stove was brand new, the cat lit off almost immediately, and the secondaries took over really quickly. Woodstock told me to shut the air down completely and close the bypass as soon as the wood was lit, and let the stove go black and just wait. They felt the cat would eventually engage, skipping the secondaries, and that did work. It took a while...maybe 45 minutes to an hour??? but it did work. But after a short period of time I no longer had to do that...I would guess about a week after they told me to try it, so probably about two weeks after getting the stove.

    Again, I will try loading the firebox full once it gets cold out, and see how well and how long I am able to maintain a slow burn...just for the knowledge. Reloading every twelve hours works very well for me.
  15. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    OK, I apologize, I have stated so many times that I have a double wall ICC stovepipe, that I sometimes assume everyone knows and forget to say so. I have been told by many tha ione cannot go by the external temp on a double wall pipe to engage the cat, but I have consistently found that my pipe at 150 is ready for the cat to engage. It gets to 150 well before the stovetop gets to 225 or 250...but the stovetop shoots up to 300 very quickly if I close the bypass at a flue temp of 150.

    SO:: DOUBLE WALL STOVEPIPE FLUE TEMPS>
  16. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Oh - and I keep the thermometer on the pipe about 16 inches above the stove, just below the joint on the adjustable pipe
  17. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Dennis, When the cat was new and I was having a problem with the secondaries engaging almost immediately, Woodstock told me to do exactly that...shut the air and close the bypass immediately, let the stove go black and wait. It worked. So now, I have to admit, I don't always open the bypass when I reload...I know I should, but my wood is pretty dry and lights off so quickly, that I don't always....seems to me that given Woodstock's testing of burning the PH with wet wood (30% plus moisture content) and resultant indication that it wasn't a problem for the cat, that what I do probably won't hurt the cat.....
    BrowningBAR likes this.
  18. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Do this all the time, it's the way I burn, have not had any problem with the cat stalling or getting clogged or creosote!! in it...
  19. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Hey Dennis. WS has videos of them doing exactly that (ie loading wood in a warm stove with hot coals and immediately engaging the cat). The manual doesn't say not to do it, and rideau suggests he was expressly told to do it. So, probably not a problem with the manufacturer.
    BrowningBAR likes this.
  20. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I'm still trying to grasp how a 300* stove keeps a 3000+ sq' home warm all winter long! I have a feeling your ideal inside temp is a lot lower than a lot of wood burners on this site. :) When the stove room is in the high 60's/low 70's what are the temps in the far reaches of the house?
  21. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Not to speak for rideau, but I have similiar experiences. My house is only 1,700 sqft, but it is not insulated that great and has a couple drafts. 300+ does it for me and I could see where it would work for him under better cirsumstances than my own. The thruth is that the PH at 300+ is quite the heater!
  22. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I'm also trying to figure out what 750lbs of mass does to how the stove puts out heat. I know size and mass play a part as the Defiant at 300 degrees is putting out a lot more heat than the Encore does at the same temperature. The progress is over 200lbs heavier than the Defiant.

    What does this mean? I have no idea. But it must mean something. :p
  23. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Burning 24/7 with the PH at a stovetop temp in the 300s on a typical winter day (lows about -3F, highs not above freezing), my first floor ranges from 73 -78 entire N side of house (one large room 46 x 32 with 8'3"ceilings and lots of windows) to 70-75 in kitchen (doorway and window cutout to N room, plus 4 foot stair up 4 steps to landing, then down to hall or up to second floor) and bathroom (doors into kitchen and hall), and 68-72 (unless it is sunny, then warmer) in the family room, which only has 1 door to the rest of the floor.
    There is an open stairwell with landings that has 4 foot wide stairs, so 8 + foot wide open stairway from first floor to third floor, going from south side of house to center of house. Four foot wide, very short halls at head of stairs [ so total stairwell area quite large] on 2nd and 3rd floors, with 2 large bedrooms, hall bath and master suite opening off hall on second floor, typically about 6 degrees or so cooler than downstairs, so 65 to 72 or so depending on time of day; and third floor,[ with large storage room with windows facing west, which I typically keep closed from the house in order to maintain cooler temps for food storage, a large bedroom with floor to ceiling 11 foot wide windows facing north, a 30 foot wide by about 10 foot long eastern bedroom and a hall bath] which is typically a few degrees cooler than the 2nd floor.

    In my floorplan, the first floor is quite open with good air circulation, and the entrance to no upstairs room is very far from the wide central stairwell and I get excellent rising and distribution of heat with this stove. It produces enough BTUs to heat the area, My previous stove, the Fireview, which I loved, was designed to heat a much smaller area and could not keep the home warm, though it did a great job for its size.

    Colder days I burn the stove a bit warmer, and it heats the house well. On really windy bitterly cold days (we only had one or two last year)
    I load the stove more often and burn it in the mid to high 400s. The house will be closer to 72 on the first floor, 65 on the second and 60 on the third. That's fine for me...if it's much warmer than 72 inside when it is 30 below outside, I die of heat when i come inside, and the cooler temps are good sleeping temps. We only have bedrooms upstairs. Everyone gets a good size slab of soapstone placed under their sheets and blankets at the foot of the bed about half an hour before bedtime, and it is toasty warm through the night. Great way to sleep.

    My basement is a full basement, 46 x 32, insulated slab, no insulation in walls or ceiling, height 8'3" plus area between joists (no finished ceiling), only about 18" of walls above grade, maintains a very even temperature all year round and is very dry --feels air conditioned in the summer, is probably around 60 degrees...I've never checked it. But that large area that is quite comfortable probably helps to make it easy to heat the house. I have no inside entrance to the basement, so no cold currents ever coming up into the home.
  24. Dairyman

    Dairyman Feeling the Heat

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    I'm curious as well. What are the side temps in the middle of a 300 stovetop burn? Keep the reports coming their a joy to read.
  25. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    [quote="rideau, post: 1186967, member: 21055"

    ]Keeping in mind that I don't have an IR gun and the side of the stove is soapstone, so the thermometer won't adhere to it, I don't know what the side temp is. I can put the thermometer on the cast iron frame at the side, and possibly partially on the soapstone, but I don't know how accurate this will be. Edit: Well, I tried and it didn't work too well.

    I can tell you that the only place that gets uncomfortably hot is right in front of the glass. Can't imagine what the heat output out the front glass was before Woodstock switched to infrared glass. Before infrared glass, front heat clearance on this side loading stove was at least 16 inches. It is my firm opinion that one could not have stood in front of this stove and cooked on the top before the IR glass was added.

    On the non-loading side I have about a foot of hearth protection. Sitting in a chair immediately beside that is quite comfortable.

    The stove retains its high temperature for a while after the fire dies down, and slowly radiates the heat....it doesn't get hotter than cast iron, just stores more heat and transfers the heat it stores more slowly into the room, so adds heat to the room for longer as the and after the fire dies down. This helps maintain level room temps. Even 12 hours after a fire has died down, the stove top is significantly warmer than room temp...maybe 100 or so.

    I tried the hand test: held my hand an inch above the top and counted until it felt hot....then did the same on the side. I'd guess they are close to the same temp, with the top right over the cat being maybe 30 degrees hotter....that's just a guess.

    The fireback is angled toward the glass and a great deal of the heat the stove puts out comes out the glass.

    In Woodstock's general manual about their wood and gas stoves, they give the details of number of BTUs a pound of soapstone can retain versus number of btus cast iron can. From that and the weight of the stove you can figure out how much heat the stove stores and radiates after the fire dies down. I'll look for the info and post if I find it.[/quote]

    EDIT: Woodstock says 300 pounds of soapstone stores 25000 BTUs at 450 degrees, while iron and steeel store about 12,500.
    So, if you had 600 pounds of soapstone (I believe there is less because there is iron and steel in the stove) at 450 degrees, it would store 50,000 BTUs. I don't know if BTUs stored is drectly proportional to temp. If so, at 300 degrees 600 pounds would store 33,000 BTUs, and at 600 degrees 600 pounds would store 66,000 BTUs.

    Since you don't need much heat to warm the home in shoulder season, and the stove radiates the stored heat slowly, as Waulie has so clearly shown the stove will keep the home comfortable for 24 hours in shoulder season by burning a small fire that lasts twelve hours, and letting the stove radiate heat for the next twelve hours.....

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