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Cannot start fire in wood stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by DamienBricka, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. DamienBricka

    DamienBricka Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Pittsburgh, Pa
    I tried all day to get the fire going in my CFM-FM24007 to no avail.

    Wood is less then 20 % humidity,

    The only way I can get some flames is when the wood stove door is wide open. Even a little bit of smoke gets
    in the house.

    I have no idea on what is going on.

    I guess tonight we are going back to the old electric heat.

    Any suggestion would be welcome

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  2. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    What?

    You can't even get some kindling burning then some real small splits then work up from there?
  3. DamienBricka

    DamienBricka Feeling the Heat

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    You did give me an idea. I am going to remove all the wood I have in stove and start fresh maybe I went to put big logs in to quickly.
  4. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Until you get a decent coal bed it can take some time to get a nice fire going in a cold stove.
    So don't rush it and I'll bet you will be fine.
    You might have to burn some paper up near the flue to get the draft going. Wear gloves or use a hair dryer even.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  5. Lakeside

    Lakeside Burning Hunk

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    Check out top down fire , advise a search.
  6. toddnic

    toddnic Member

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    How do you know that your wood is less than 20% humidity? Have you split a piece and tested the inside with a moisture meter? It sounds like you either have a wood problem or you have an air problem. Use a lot of kindling to get a good bed of coals. Make sure that you have plenty of air coming into the stove. Make sure that there is nothing clogging the air coming into the stove. Also, do you have a good draft?
  7. DamienBricka

    DamienBricka Feeling the Heat

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    How do you know that your wood is less than 20% humidity? Have you split a piece and tested the inside with a moisture meter? It sounds like you either have a wood problem or you have an air problem. Use a lot of kindling to get a good bed of coals. Make sure that you have plenty of air coming into the stove. Make sure that there is nothing clogging the air coming into the stove. Also, do you have a good draft?

    Yes I test by splitting several logs at random every day with a moisture meter.

    In regards to draft I have had no problems so far.

    I am going to follow HotCoals advice and start all over. I guess since I have not used the stove in 2 days that it was cold and I had to build the fire slowly
  8. DamienBricka

    DamienBricka Feeling the Heat

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    I am also looking into on how to start a top down fire per LakeSide suggestion. The only challenge I have is that my firebox is only 10" high.
  9. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    There's the problem, that's the bread box.:);):p==c
    PapaDave likes this.
  10. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu Feeling the Heat

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    Ha! Hey, that's not too far off, some of that whole wheat bread tastes like wood when it gets stale! ;lol

    OP, chimney or cap plugged? Been there, done that! Cleaning the chimney in the middle of a blizzard suuucks BTW!
  11. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    If your spilling smoke out of the stove, you don't have a good draft. Cold chimney or a plugged cap screen. You still should be able to get some kindling burning. It might not burn well without air flow. I don't know your stove, but most of us have a cracked open door until the first load is rippin.
  12. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    You also might want to get some Super Cedars (fire starters - look like hockey pucks, use a quarter of one per cold start) as this eliminates the need for bulky paper, which takes up space it sounds like you don't have. I second the top down start approach, works well. Good luck.
  13. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    super cedars + top down start = quick hot fire
  14. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Assuming that there is no blockage or draft problem.

    Top down fires and a super cedar. Start with medium sized splits. Place smaller splits on top. Top with kindling and a Super Cedar. Light. Sit back. Adjust air as needed. Enjoy the heat.
  15. Polarbear

    Polarbear New Member

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    Check your chimney cap with binoculars from the ground. here's mine looking through binoculars taken with cell phone. I'm not sure why this is happening. I've been told to remove the screen? I logged on to look for advice.

    Screenshot_2013-12-24-10-27-38.png
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2013
    Batman and Lakeside like this.
  16. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu Feeling the Heat

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    Impressive cell phone pic through binoculars! You probably wanna start your own thread about your problem, you'll get more traffic/advise.
    I've never been able to keep a screen that is that fine clean.
  17. Polarbear

    Polarbear New Member

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    Thanks brenndatomu. Will do
  18. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    What's happening outside? Any changes in pressure that would cause an inversion?
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's the wood. I had the same screen (Simpson?) and went 5 years burning with no issues at all. Then last year I burned some soft maple that had been stacked in non-windy location, covered on top. Although the wood should have been dry, it was not fully seasoned. My cap looked like yours in mid-Dec. after 1.5 months of burning. Don't believe a surface moisture reading of the wood. You must resplit it and test on the freshly exposed face of the wood.
  20. Polarbear

    Polarbear New Member

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    Thanks I did start another thread hopefully the OP has figured out his dilema.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Damien here is a video on the top down way to start a fire. Watch the bottom one, Efficient Wood Stove Operation.
    http://www.woodheat.org/wood-heat-videos.html

    What are you using for kindling? Get a box of construction scraps and split them down into 1x2 scraps, or get some cabinet maker scraps. They work great. If you make a teepee or a lincoln log stack of these scraps with a SuperCedar in the middle (only needs 1/4 of the puck), the fire is guaranteed to take off easily.
  22. DamienBricka

    DamienBricka Feeling the Heat

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    begreen to start my fire I just split my logs into smaller pieces. I have tried supercedar ( cut them in 4) and was very disappointed (I Had difficulty lighting them)
    The problem that I run into is that my box is 18 wide, 11 deep and 9 high.
  23. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu Feeling the Heat

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    !!! Wow, now that one belongs in the "Things never heard on Hearth.com thread!
    The few SuperCedars that I have used lit up like gasoline!
    PapaDave and gyrfalcon like this.
  24. DamienBricka

    DamienBricka Feeling the Heat

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    brennadatomu, I had to use a lot of paper to start supercedar. (my experience)

    All I know is that I have 1300 square feet to heat and over the last week I have gone thru almost a cord of wood and I barely keep the house warm.
    My Spouse who was happy for the first month of heating with wood cancel my wood delivery of next week and has decided to go back to electrical heat.
    For her it makes no sens to spend $175 a week on wood when electricity is a lot cheaper. I know I am doing something wrong but cannot figure out what
    it is. Today same problem I have tried to start a fire since 8AM this morning and it still wont start. I went on the roof, I checked the flue no obstruction.
    The wood is dry I split 11 logs this morning moisture is between 8 to 15%. I have not clue on what is going on and i am getting very frustrated
  25. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    Hey Damien,
    Merry Christmas. Let me see if I can get this straight: You can't get kindling to light in your stove, you can't get wood to light in your stove, and Super Cedars don't light in your stove...Is your stove under water?

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