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Do you leave your door open on cold start?

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

  1. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Hey guys

    When I load my stove in the morning (after letting it go out the previous evening) I keep my door open for 10-15 minutes. It is only open about 1 inch or so. I leave it open until the probe temp says 400 and stove top is about 400. I then close it, wait a few minutes and then turn down the primary air. My instruction manual says it can stay open for up to 30 minutes.

    What about you guys?

    Andrew

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    In general, I find that it's just not necessary for me to get the fire going so I keep it closed with the air wide open. Once my flue temp (read externally) gets to about 325 I close the air down in increments. The temp will drop on the flue pipe to about 300, when it gets to about 350 I'll close down a bit more, do that again until I'm where I want it set for cruising.

    I'll occasionally get a down draft or weak draft in colder weather. In these cases, if I were to leave the door open I'd stink the house up.

    pen
  3. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    I only have to leave mine open a half inch for a max of 15 minutes, usually only about 5 minutes. It will cold start, however, with a closed door, but it can fog up the glass with smoke and dumps a lot of smoke out the chimney. The Super Cedar pucks, I've found, work great for start ups.
    bboulier likes this.
  4. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Pen: does your owner manual state that you should/can leave it open?

    NortheastAl: I leave mine open for about that as well. I truly think it is based on the design of the stoves. Some stove's primary air intake must allow for more air to enter than other stoves. I don't think, with primary air only, I could ever get a fire going without the door open. It would simply smolder.

    A
  5. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    Swedishchef, my manual does state that I can leave the door open on startup. I think most probably do. Right now I have tons of coals and about 300° on the stovetop. I can put on a split and it will take off in under 30 seconds with the door only about a quarter inch open. I can also leave the door closed with the primary open and get flame in about 45-60 seconds.
  6. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    The way I read the Englander 30's manual, it can be left cracked open when establishing draft using only paper and some small kindling. Once the draft is going, and regular cord wood is loaded, it says to close the door.

    pen
  7. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I imagine it has a lot to do with draft and flue temps as well as stove design.

    My first stove (VC Encore NC) I had to keep the door open a crack at least to get the fire going pretty much no matter what.

    Once I switched to the FV I found that I could do top-down starts without leaving the door open and not have much if any smoke buildup, if I did a bottom up type fire then I'd have more smoke but it would still start in most cases with the door closed.

    With the PH I don't think opening the door helps as there is so much air being let in from the primary/secondary air with the air control opened all the way that smoke will try and spill out the intakes if I do open it. I've had no issues starting up cold with the door shut either. I do generally do a modified top-down start though as it seems to work best for me in terms of a quick startup (i.e. time from first flame to controls set to walk away). I don't recall what the manual recommends regarding door open/closed on startup.
  8. mcollect

    mcollect Member

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    With my jotul 550 I find that if I leave the door cracked just 1/4" the fire starts quicker with less smoke. I don't leave the room, been there and won't do it again! When the insert reaches around 400 I close the door. Works great for morning starts with even a few coals.
  9. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Went through the exact scenario descibed in the original post. Stove was warm but not hot. In addition its not real cold this am. Left the door cracked an 1/8 to move things along otherwise smoky, slow start. Used to bother me since I figured it was something wrong with the stove or the install or the wood or me.

    None of this needed on a hot reload.
  10. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    I have to for about 5 minutes then the pipe starts to draft and I can shut the door set the air and literally walk off. We have some air pressure issues that a cap solved however the wind cap does slow draft considerably when its cold out until its hot. On a hot reload I just shut the door and it takes right off.

    Pete
  11. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the input!

    I think I mainly leave my stove door open to help accelerate the process. I don't like taking 45 mins to get a fire established.

    My manual says "Once the updraft movement is initiated, you are ready to ignite the stove by lighting the paper and kindling wood inside the combustion chamber. We therefore advise you to leave the door slightly opened (1/4") for a 10 to 30 minutes period, under supervision, in order to allow for good combustion. After this time, you must close the door and progressively adjust the air control to obtain the desired temperature."
  12. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Yes.


  13. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Door stays closed except to reload, then closed immediately after reload.
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    With a good bed of coals and dry, normal sized splits, no, I can now keep the doors closed on all three stoves on a reload. For some of the massive splits I have, I'll crack a door to quicken the process.

    It is best to put smaller diameter splits into the Encore first and then the bigger splits on top for them to catch quickly so I can avoid cracking the door.
  15. aussiedog3

    aussiedog3 Feeling the Heat

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    Maybe for 5 minutes or so on an ice cold restart, but NEVER leave the stove unattended when my doors are not securly latched.
  16. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser Feeling the Heat

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    I only open the door to reload the stove then close it as fast as possible; all the air that I need is provided through the air control alone.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It depends. On a cold start yes, I typically leave the door ajar about 1/4" for about 5 minutes. On a restart from coals, no.
    PapaDave and aussiedog3 like this.
  18. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Same here. I only leave it open on cold starts. A good bed of coals, no.

    And yes, I always try to stay around when it is open. I think we have all had that "Oh Sh&T" where we realize the doors are open and can smell curing paint. Red pipes, etc etc.
  19. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Well, no need to rush. It's not like a monster is going to jump out and get you.

    On a reload with the 30 I'll have the door wide open as I walk back and forth grabbing splits to load into the stove from the other side of the room. No smell, no smoke, everything under control.

    \Just watch for sparks and everything is just fine.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm usually making coffee or tea when the fire is starting up from cold. At that point, there's not enough wood in there to do a dangerous runaway. Just a couple 3" splits with a supercedar or newspaper balls in between and some cabinetry scraps criss-crossed above them. I'll check back once I have the water heating and the coffee in the Bodum or tea in the filter. Make a adjustment if necessary. If not, I put on a couple small carpentry scraps (split with a hatchet into 1 by scraps) and close the door.

    I don't leave the door wide open though. There have been too many times where a vigorous pop sends an ember flying. Some wood is really bad this way. But I don't live in a stone house either. ;)
  21. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Well, I'm also not off making coffee while the door is wide open. :)

    I was just getting at the fact that you should not be in a rush, or scared, while the door of the stove open.
  22. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    On a cold start meaning no hot coals if you use kindling it will burn better with less air as in having the door shut.

    I have found that making my kindling out of good wood like dry white oak split to like 1" or less the higher Btu wood heats the stove much faster. Its amazingly fast if its good and dry.

    If you have an insulated flue or insulated flue liner your draft or flue draw will happen much quicker and easier thus if you have the door closed air will be pulled in quicker and at a higher rate. If you have trouble getting the flue draft going then opening the door helps compensate for this. Its the warming of the flue that creates draw and the fact that an insulated flue is much easier to heat up that gets easier startups.
  23. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    Nope. Never have. Manual allows it. Never needed.
  24. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    On a true cold start, I leave the door cracked 3-5 minutes, basically until the kindling is fully burning. I've never needed to open it for a reload on coals.... Unless I'm trying to nurse a couple embers back to life after being gone all day (say like 18 hr).
  25. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    I am not in a "rush" but when it's cold I like the heat to start sooner than later. I only leave the door open 1 inch or less for 5-10 minutes.

    And I mean COLD start. Cold as in the stove is COLD (cool) to the touch.
    :)

    A

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