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Burning question

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by My_3_Girls, Sep 11, 2006.

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  1. My_3_Girls

    My_3_Girls Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    This is mostly for Mike Wilson, but how is the proper way to run the draft / air intake for the kennebec? Here's what I've done for the first few fires:

    -Push lever right
    -Open doors
    -light fire
    -close doors
    -with fire burning well, move lever more towards center to shut down the flame

    Am I supposed to shut it all the way down (all the way to the left)?
    How is the most efficient way to burn it?

    I've had about 4 fires for break-in, and starting to get chilly at night. Each time, I end up with a window open with a huge grin on my face.

    Thanks

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,270
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    I know there are guys on this site that can give you more specific instructions for your specific stove, but I will give my general "good fire" rules for you to ponder.

    1.) At start-up, open air vents completely. This will allow for more air to get to your kindling, which in turn will create a faster starting, hotter fire.

    2.) I would suggest that 2 thermometers are used for your stove. One in the flue and one on the stove itself. This being said, the air flow should remain open until you begin to reach the proper operating temp (please note that I said "begin"). This can usually be found in your owners manual.

    3.) I personally start to reduce the airflow in the neighborhood of 100 deg. BEFORE operating temp is reached. It is typical to get a "whiplash" effect where the temp will continue to climb, even after reducing the air. With my stove (Quadrafire, Isle Royal) this will be somewhere in the "middle" range of the slide.

    4.) Make minor adjustments to airflow to adjust the fire to maintain that optimum burn temp. The acceptable stove temps and flue temps are usually described in a range. As an example, stove temp ranges COULD be from say 400 deg to 600 deg and flue temp from 550 to 800. This is an example, please do not use these number unless they are backed up by your owners manual.

    Not all days require that high of a btu output from your stove, so it is best practice to alter the fuel load (amount of wood) to still allow for a clean burning fire (little to no smoke) while producing less btu from your stove, but the same basic rules will apply.

    Hope this helps. Its just one Pyro's way of doing it. I would be interested if anyone else has different ideas on this. I love to learn new stuff.
  3. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    824
    I think a new unit takes a minute to learn, but years to master. Since everyone's situation & installation is different, your experience will be unique. Within the next year, you'll learn how your unit likes to have the wood loaded, how it likes to be started, when it's ready to be turned down, etc. and come Spring you'll be amazed at how much better you are at it and getting the most miles per gallon out of your wood.

    My recommendation is to experiment and play, load the wood differently, see what happens. My only general rules are, not to turn down the air until the whole thing turns into a flaming fireball as the surface of the wood burns... then it goes back down to a regular flame. That's my que the air is ready to be turned down if I want, and mine doesn't like me to go from max air to say near minimum in one step. It likes to be turned down a little, give it a couple minutes to recover, turn it down a little more, wait a couple minutes for it to recover, turn it down where I want. Doesn't take more than three turn downs. But, that's something I learned with my unit it may not apply.
  4. My_3_Girls

    My_3_Girls Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Thanks, guys. The more thoughts the better. I'm gradually learning how these newer stoves run. The old VC had a damper, open to load and start, closed to burn. I think I'm going to like the learning part of variable air intake. Still facinated by the secondary burn - I've even got my prettier half asking about it.
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