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Any tips for very small stoves (Avalon Pendleton)?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jkranes, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. jkranes

    jkranes Member

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    We put in an Avalon Pendleton insert last spring, and I'm wondering if there are any special tips or hints for stoves with very small fireboxes (ours is 1.3 cf). In particular, any advice on how best to load it and manage the air for optimal burning. I'm getting fairly short burn times (1-2 hours) out of each load, which seems shorter than usual based on what I've read, but am not sure whether that's just the nature of a small firebox or whether there is room for improvement with better techniques.

    We are burning to supplement central gas heat, and generally just light a fire in the evening(5-6pm) and stop loading it around 10 when we go to bed. The stove puts out plenty of heat for the room we spend our time in, but I just want to make sure I'm using the stove efficiently. I'm going through wood faster than I had expected (started burning in November and am through half a cord already) but have no real point of reference to know whether that's a lot or a little. Any advice would be appreciated.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Can you take a picture of when the stove is fully loaded? That would give us a visual on your split sizes and loading technique. In general, once the kindling fire is well established or on a reload, pack it tight with small pieces filling in the gaps between the larger splits. Leave the air full open until the new wood starts to char and the flames are vigorous, then start turning the air down until the flames get lazy. Wait about 5 minutes or so until the flames regain their vigor, then cut it down further until the flames get lazy again. Repeat this cycle once more if possible. That should get you about 4 hrs of reasonable burn time.
  3. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    I have a small stove with a 1.7 cu ft firebox. I found that leaving a little ash helps insulate the firebox getting a little better burn time. Once you get a good bed of coals, rake them forward, put a larger split in the back and then a few smaller pieces on the coals. It will take some practice but controlling your air so you have enough to sustain your fire bur not so much it's roaring the heat up your chimney. Once you have a steady fire, reduce your air a little at a time. Mine is usually all but a 1/4 of the way in unless I'm going to bed, then I push it all the way in after a while of a steady burn.

    It takes time, practice and patience but if you use the search forums section, there is a lot of good info here ;)

    Good Luck!
  4. jkranes

    jkranes Member

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    The 'pack it tight' advice is the biggest challenge, as it seems I never have the right combination of jigsaw pieces to really fill all the space. Also, should I be raking coals forward or loading on an even bed of coals? But I'll try to work on getting a tighter pack and see if that helps.
  5. colin.p

    colin.p Burning Hunk

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    With my F3cb's 1cf box (almost guarantee it's smaller than your stove) I can get several hours out of a load. If I put 2 or 3 splits (around 4 or 5 inches) or one bigger one at 10 or 11pm, when I get up at 5:30am, a few coals left and after adding a couple small stuff, it takes off. Like above poster says, a good ash bed helps greatly to keep coals longer.
  6. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    For my Century (I think it has a smaller firebox than yours.) I have found it puts the most heat out at the lower output settings. I think this is because the stove holds the heat in it rather than letting it up the chimney as it does on higher airflow settings. You should be getting much more than 1-2 hours out of it.

    How tall is your chimney?

    Do you know what species of wood you are burning?

    The first burn when lighting up the stove always gives the least heat as the heat is going towards heating up the stove. The 2nd burn always seems to use the wood more efficiently.

    Matt
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  7. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER Minister of Fire

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    i keep posting this stuff over and over jotul f100 overnite burns with draft closed with 6 canawick brick getting 8-10 hrs with low of 250 degrees on stove top. first year i don't have heat on at all! "so far"f100 is a small stove, no association to or with canawick.if that doesn't work you got problems with gaskets or chimmney others can address. serious not one overnite reload all season
  8. jkranes

    jkranes Member

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    chimney is around 30 feet. Once the stove is heated I have been running it with the air just a hair above fully closed, or sometimes fully closed if the fire is really burning well. Wood varies: mixture of oak, birch and maple. Moisture below 20%.
  9. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I think your chimney might be the culprit for your short burn times. You probably have one heck of a draft! An inline damper might be helpful. How you'd control one with an insert I'm not sure...

    Matt
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  10. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER Minister of Fire

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    beyond me on 30' chim i guess maybe too much air around gasket? others with more knowledge will view thread.
  11. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    30 foot chimney I also think a manual pipe damper is needed

    Search the forums for rake coals forward technique so you can load wood in the back of the stove all the way on the bottom of the stove so the wood is not on hot coals. You can load more wood in back this way and the hot coals in the front you can put small kindling on to get stove up to temps more quickly this will extend burn time. Burn times includes coal stage as 50% of the heat is in the coal stage no flame.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    This is an insert. A manual damper isn't likely to happen.
  13. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Hmm, I wonder how hard it would be to design one with cable in a tube controls.

    Matt
  14. jkranes

    jkranes Member

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    30 feet is a guess for the chimney, based on the fact that it's a two story house with attic, 8' ceilings, and the chimney extends a few feet above the ridge of the roof. Maybe 27? Somewhere in that general ballpark.

    One question I have about raking coals forward and loading in the back. When I do this I end up with unburned wood at the back (the bottom split that was not sitting on coals and is touching the back of the firebox) unless I dig it out and bring it forward onto the coals at some point in the burn (after everything else is down to coals). Is that what most of you do or do you get a complete burn just leaving everything in place as you packed it?
  15. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I usually have coals in the back of the Century. One thing that helped me combat the large coal in the back was to dig a channel down the center after I pulled the coals forward. The channel allowed air to go straight to the back. You can also use the channel without pulling the coals forward, but I found that with the Century I couldn't push as much wood into it and would get a shorter burn. I tried to put a larger split in the back to extend the burn time.

    Matt
  16. jkranes

    jkranes Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I will experiment with packing tighter and see how that goes. Last night I packed the heck out of it and still had some coals going 4 hours after loading, when I went to bed, so that does seem to be the right approach. Regarding the draft, I definitely see signs of high air flow from the secondary air tube -- when the fire is really raging it looks like an inferno up there. I know some people have found ways of restricting the flow to the secondary tube -- maybe that would be something to look into?
  17. marty1520

    marty1520 Member

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    I found what works best with my Pendleton is to rake the coals forward after a burn and open the air to 3/4 or full to burn the coal bed down. You'll find coal management becomes an important issue with this stove! I've been doing well this year 8-9 hour burn times with putting a round in the back on the bottom and then putting a nice piece of oak on top of it. Then add a couple of splits in front to fill the box. It maybe my imagination, but this year on overnights I run the fan lower (maybe 1/3 of a turn) and the stoves seems warmer in the mornings for reload before work. I usually get a good stove top cruise around 500-550 doing all this for overnight burns

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