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Does your stove smoke?

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by valley ranch, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    I have read pollute, smokey, inefficient and more to discribe wonderful classic stoves, In favor of stoves that cost much and have less control yet are OKed by a Government agency. I won't discribe in greater detail what I think of the agency.

    We have Wood Stoves at both ranches, nether smoke, nether clog the stove pipe with muck. I used a barrel stove in our mountain home for years, before I bought the Centennial, that never smoked.

    OK, If I burn wet wood they will smoke but so will a 3,00000 dollar stove that Willoby was forced to buy.

    What of your stove, with proper dry fuel? Can you tune your stove so it heats nicely and cleanly or do thoes the Jaundice eyed discriptions fit the stove you are using?

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  2. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    Well, I don't burn wet (green) wood. Learned that lesson a few years ago. Pretty much all I have to burn is oak and I'm at least three years ahead now so it's good and dry.
    Dry wood = clean burn = no smoky stove. Of course, a proper installation and knowing how to operate your stove is important, too. I read fairly often that new owners of the same stove I have are having a hard time getting good heat or they are getting smoky, smoldering fires. Often, they are burning green wood because that's all they have in their first year of burning.
    Some don't know how to operate the stove and are afraid to let it get good and hot. They think they'll have a chimney fire and burn the house down if the griddle top temp goes over 450 degrees. Another gent recently said that his stove is too big for his house and puts out too much heat so he tries to keep the griddle top down around 350 and of course is going to have a smoldering, smoky fire that will choke up the stove and flue with creosote.

    I'm not knocking these guys. I was not the most proficient burner when I took over this stove five or six years ago. But I learned. I doubt you'll ever see me spending big bucks on an EPA stove when my 30 year old Vigilant comfortably heats our 4000 square foot house for the cost of my labor and a little gas to run the saw and splitter.

    Call 'em smoke dragons if you will, but with good wood and proper operation, they'll do just fine.
  3. pen

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

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    My pre-epa fisher stove heated my house well and burnt cleanly if operated properly and when fed good fuel as ken mentions. However, burning cleanly can be deceiving. My 71 vw dune buggy appears that it is burnning cleanly if you follow it, but it certainly pollutes far more than modern cars even if you don't see smoke coming from the exhaust. The same thing happens with fine particulate matter when burning solid fuel.

    All the EPA did was tell the stove manufacturers that they had to make units that could burn cleaner. As a result, I now have a stove that holds a fire longer, keeps the house at higher average temps, and goes through 4 cord of wood a winter instead of 5.5 to 6 cord. In my opinion, they simply forced the stove manufacturers to up thier game and add some more advanced science to the mix. They had the materials mostly down, they just needed a push to improve the efficiency.

    At the end of the day, I'm glad I switched. As Ken also mentioned, the new units can be operated poorly as well. But for those in the know, there is often a gain.

    I still operate a double barrel stove, a timberline unit, and an Atlanta Homesteader, and find appreciation in each as well as many other old stoves. However, they don't compare to the savings, and great big clean glass window that i now have to enjoy on top of the heat. The only thing I miss the old fisher in the house for on occasion is that it could heat the place up quicker if we were gone for an extended period of time. However, I'll just kick the furnace on for 20 mins the two or three times per winter that is an issue. That is still much better than the 20+ times a winter the furnace would kick on with the fisher because the stove was stone cold before I could get home from work.

    pen
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I swore my Jotul 602 burned cleanly. It seemed like whenever I peeked outside there was no smoke. Then I moved it to the greenhouse and now can observe it much better. The only time it doesn't smoke is during the charcoal stage. I am using it more reluctantly now.
  5. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, mine's smokin. It worked good in the old, smaller, less insulated, draftier house. Now it says choked down and smokin. Low last night was 27f, high today was 56f. I've burned four small splits in the last 23 hrs. House temp has stayed 71f-73f. I guess I could have added more wood, opened up the dampers and a window or two. I need a bigger house, colder climate, or smaller stove(YA THINK).
  6. Grannyknot

    Grannyknot New Member

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    Yes, it smokes occasionally, and the neighbors groan, and I am warm.
  7. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    +1... mine burns far cleaner (at least, visibly) than it did in my early days of burning green wood without managing the air supply.

    By the same token, my 2007 Camry runs far "cleaner" than my 1977 Camaro, but not sure that I'd trade one for the other...
  8. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    If not, a few drops of this on it takes care of it.

    Attached Files:

  9. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    Do you think the new cars burn much cleaner? I'm a journeyman mechanic retired. what I see is when you measure the exhaust ppm with the smog pump belt off then put the belt on and pump air into the exhaust gas the diluted gasses ppm drops by the voume of the air added to the exhaust gas. I never saw that as burning cleaner but your car will burn more gas pulling the smog pump and jamming air through a converter.


    When you 77 Chevy is tuned right, carb is clean. the color in the exhaust pipe is light pink. New cars are burning dirty you can tell by looking at the exhaust pipe.

    When we do a Smog Test on we can tweek the tune to make it pass and it will run like heck but pass, then we can tweek it back to make the driver happy.


    This should be, I guess on another thread, I'ed like to know what your heating you home with and how you've found it to burn best.
  10. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    This winter I've taken a slightly different approach in tuning a burn.
    In winters past I cleaned the ash each morning or felt guilty, I lowered the primary air intake volume at times and/or closed the air intake that washes the glass in the door.
    Note: The door glass and air wash is something I added a year after I bought the stove , a Centennial, in the 70ies.

    This winter I have not removed the ash, on one accasion I took out some ash. I have kept the primary air full open and the door slots also open. I let the fire burn down until the fan goes off, unless it is darn cold, then add a couple pieces. I sometimes tilt the damper a bit if the stovepipe thermometer gives me reason to think it would be a good idea.

    I think I'm burning less and the house is warmer.

    Our home is 2000sqft two story, it gets very cold here at times, and we keep the temp at or near 80degrees, if the house is not to temperature I'll put in a piece or two before the fan goes off.


    I wouldn't mind hearing something you've learned over the years.
  11. sesmith

    sesmith Member

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    My older 80's vintage stove smoked more than I wanted to admit, even using 2 year seasoned dry wood. Several years ago I added secondary air tubes to it. That helped. Last year I built and added a catalyst add-on to it. After the cat is engaged it doesn't smoke at all. The technology in the new stoves works, period.

    Concerning the previous post about modern cars, I was an auto tech for quite a few years. The newer cars have electronically controlled electric air pumps. They only come on at times (usually just after a cold start) when the catalytic converter needs more oxygen to operate properly. Has nothing to do with air dilution. The new cars are without a doubt cleaner burning than any of the older ones. That technology works also.
  12. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    Greeting Sesmith, Thanks for posting glad you got hooked. It is good you have improved on what was there with your stove. I have been think of adding a secondary, it would be interested in how you did it.
    I have been thinking of making it one of sheet metal, flat, hollow with holes on the two long sides. I have it pictured in my mind. The firebox on the stove up here is large enough as not to reduce the burn area.

    Happy to know an Auto Tech, I was a Med Tech, doctors get paid more. I've never had a car with a part time electric pump. Is that a flat all inclusive statement: Nothing to do with dilution? Some professionals see it differently, while meaning no disrespect. I'm glad you have taken the time to post.
    Have a fine day.
  13. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Sesmith - I, too, would be very interested in yor mods? Adding secondary burn to old technology? Can you post pics of the add ons and maybe a little description of what you did and how you did it? What stove did you modify?

    Thanks
  14. sesmith

    sesmith Member

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    Here's a link to the story on my stove. Gary was nice enough to put it up on the Build it Solar site. (BTW, if you haven't spent a while looking at his site, do it. There's a ton of useful solar, energy conservation, testing, etc there.).

    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/BioFuel/CatRetrofit/CatRetrofit.htm

    This started out as an experiment on my part, cause I was thinking of getting a newer stove at the time, and wondered if any of the newer improvements would really save any wood and improve performance of a stove. A little testing that I did proved, at least to me, that the new stuff really does work. I never did get a new stove, though, cause my old beast works pretty well now. It's just as good that I didn't, as I managed to really mess my back up last June working on my firewood supply. The wood's still out in the woods, unsplit, and we put a geothermal (GSHP) system in this fall rather than blow all our money on oil, since wood's out for now.

    On the car thing...the intent of the air pump is to provide more oxygen when the car is cold and the fuel mixture is richer and the cat needs more oxygen to do it's job. Now, there is a period of time before the cat is active, and the extra air does lower the ppm of the pollutants, so the manufacturers can use that to their advantage. So maybe I jumped on that one a little too fast :) Point being, though that the new emission controls on the cars get blamed for a lot of stuff, and are used to argue against govt. regulation, when they actually are responsible for cleaner air for all of us (and job security in the car business cause most people can't fix their own stuff anymore).
  15. Ironwood

    Ironwood New Member

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    Yes they smoke a little but I'm very satisfied with all three. My 118 Jotul is only used in really cold weather and is the worst offender as far as smoke. Both Tempwoods are better and cause very little problems. I have been heating with all three since 1974 and will change only if one wears out.
  16. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    Within the first 5 minutes after reloading, there is occasional visible smoke from the Kent. After that, it's as transparent as my EPA stoves. (Did I get that right, BG? ;)
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That Kent almost doesn't belong in the classic's section. Like the '56 Packard, it was ahead of it's time.
  18. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    I never drove a Packard, but I felt the same way about the '60 Studebaker I had way back when.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I was lucky enough to get one with very low mileage. This was the first car I bought ($150) and it was a tank. It had many sophisticated engineering advances that were bought up by GM when the patents expired. 2 speed torque convertor and self-leveling torsion bar suspension among them.
  20. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    sesmith, Nice work, thanks for showing us.

    Ok, guys, the model T had bands in the transmission forerunner of the automatic transmission.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    In that vein, the 1906 Baker electric was wayyyy ahead of its time. It has Edison designed, long-lived, nickel-iron batteries, some which are still usable even today.
  22. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I Used to use an old Ashely automatic stove. It smoked a little now and then, but that didn't really bother me.
    I got a new high efficiency boiler and now heat twice as much area and also my hot water for a family of 5 and
    only use about 20% more wood. So the way I see it my fuel was going right out the chimney in the form of heat and unburnt fuel.
  23. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, well...TUCKER.

    Anyway, we never burned the Fisher that came with the Cottage, because it was installed in a very unsafe manner. Haven't burned the Cone yet either, but I do imagine it will smoke more than the Lopi. Of course, we don't expect to heat with it, just throw a few logs in when we want to sit on the sunporch.

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