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Fireview performance issues

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Jack33, Dec 21, 2009.

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  1. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    Apparently I am the ONLY one disappointed in the fireview. So either I am doing something wrong or my drafty house is just too much for this thing. What stove top temps are you guys seeing after 4-5 hours of burning? My stove drops to about 250 and stays there for hours and hours on end. I could deal with it IF I could reload the stove with more wood, but there is so much cinder that I am lucky to get 3 splits in the box. The stuff in the back of the stove cinders forever. I am burning assorted maples, red oak, ash, beech, black cherry, and a little birch. I may be using 1/2 the wood but I am using 2-3 times the oil just to keep the house at a balmy 64 with this 10-25 degree weather. I'm glad I kept the dragon in storage. It is going back in this week.

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  2. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I don't consider 250 surface temp to be enough to heat except during shoulder season. For my house I need surface temp to be 400 or greater to hold the temps when it is less than 25 outside so I can see your frustration if that is all you are getting out of it for much of the time.

    I don't know how large those 3 splits are but I don't expect much out of 3 of my splits after 4-5 hours. Right now I'm driving my stove pretty hard - I am loading it up full - 5-7 splits (depends on size of them, did 8 once when I had a few smaller ones on top of the pile). Starting with coals under the pile, I get stove top up to 550-600 within an hour of loading, then it will cruise between 500-550 for a couple hours, then begin to slide down to 400 range then settle down to 350-375 where I reload 5-6 hours later. I will increase air near the end there or in the middle, depending on when I'm around, anywhere after the temps start to slide down really. So in summary this is what my daily cycle roughly looks like:

    Time (hours) / Surface Temp / Action & Comments
    0 / 350ish / Level coals more to front less back, load full of splits (5-7 mostly) Engage cat once fully charred or 10 minutes
    1 / 450-550 / Cooking along nicely, I may check temps to be sure flue isn't indicating it's getting 'too hot' - i.e. flue temp much over 300
    1.5 / 575ish / Generally the leveling off temp range If flue temp is still over 300 and/or rising then I may adjust air down
    3 / 550 / Sliding down from peak (slow slide)
    4 / 500 / Sliding down still - Will generally increase air (to 2) in order to start burning coals away
    5-6 / 350-375 / Final push to burn off coals - may open air more perhaps even open damper if necessary to get coals down, reload at this point.

    Note that this pattern above is what I have settled on in the last couple days during the day (All temps are from memory and estimated, I need to log it sometime to be sure) - I seem to be loading 4 times a day - 6a/11a/5:30p/10p - overnight stove just burns down more without extra air to speed up the coal burn process.

    I'm keeping my larger (not drafty) home comfortable in out temps (lows down as much as single digits, highs in 20s).

    So - if you are interested in trying to figure out your situation, what is different? How large is your house?

    What about your wood? Mine is all at least 2 years old (much of it is 3 or more) and what I have tested with the moisture meter has all measured less than 24%, most in the mid teens. I'm burning a mix of hardwoods - decent amount of quality woods like Hickory and Oak, but probably 1/3 is "Mystery meat" - oddball stuff that I can't identify.

    The other thing is you may want to give the folks at Woodstock a call before giving up - they may be able to help figure out the issue.
  3. BandSawyer

    BandSawyer Member

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    I am also having issues getting my Fireview hot enough. 440 is about as hot as I can get it.

    Master of Fire your reply was helpful. Can you add the air settings you are using? I would like to know that.
  4. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    My spilts are all medium to large. You numbers are similar to mine when I can actually get a full load in the stove. I am not home to babysit or fiddle with the air all day. I fill it in the morning and when I get home 12 hours later the box is still 1/2 loaded with cinder and the top is about 200-225. In my old cast stove, a box full of cinder would still be 400 or so stove top. Obviously, not 12 hours later however. I bet my ash can is more than 1/2 full of chunks. I have no choice but to dig out cinder just so I can get wood into this thing. Wood is all 1-2 years old. Much of it has lost its bark plus it get a couple days near the stove.
  5. CTburning

    CTburning New Member

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    I have been burning my Fireview for a month now and plan to write a post in the next week or two. This year I burn mostly Red Oak split small and short 14" or so. I did this intentionally as the wood only had 15 months to season and this "kindling" is dry as a bone. The bigger pieces weigh a lot more relative to their size and obviously have a higher moisture content. I too am not thrilled with the heat output of my Fireview but I'm not giving up on her. I forget the numbers on the original post but after 8 hours my stove top temp is usually around 300. After 12 hours it is 150-200 but has plenty of coals to quickly get another fire going. My issue is that I can only get the stove top to around 500 max. I have hit 550 a couple of times but for reasons I can't explain sometimes 450-475 is the highest she will go. I am away from work for 12 hours and by that time the upstairs has cooled to 60 or so. I load up the stove and 8 hours later the upstairs is usually 61-62. On the weekends I load more frequently and get keep the upstairs a little warmer. Running her at 600 for a couple of hours would no doubt heat everything up a lot faster.

    My guess is your wood is too wet and the draft is set too high. Too much of the heat is going up the chimney. I can only burn on a setting of 1. Any lower and I can only get to 400 and the wood charcoal's. My draft seems good but I have an outside chimney with a cold wind blowing on it 24/7. There are a lot of variables to consider but you are not getting enough heat out of that rock.
  6. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Air settings are all very unique to each install I think but perhaps you can derive something from them anyway. I think I started out trying to mimic Dennis' settings too much - he throttles down to .5 or even .25 during his burn, I can't even go that low without putting the fire out in my stove.

    When I reload I start out with my air a 3 or so until I see flames well established (about as long as it takes to close the door and walk around to other side of the stove), then I put air on 2 for the time until I engage the cat. At cat engage I set my air to 1 or just slightly below. If I have to reduce the air further due to getting too hot (surface temp looking like it is threatening 650) then I move it down to 3/4 but I've only had to do that twice now. When I open the air up for coaling I start out opening up to 1.5 or 2 if early in the burn, then I go to 3 for that final 30 minutes or so if I'm really trying to burn them down quick and have a lot left over. If I start early enough that isn't a problem.

    Mind you I hope others with more experience than I have will jump in - I only have a couple weeks of 24/7 burning on this stove now so hardly a veteran here!
  7. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    It sounds like your wood 'should' be ok.

    All I can suggest would be to consider setting your air supply a little bit higher before you leave on those 12 hour burns. I did this for my overnight burns as I used to have too large a pile of coals in the AM so I increased my air before going to bed so it would burn the load (including coals) faster yielding a bit more heat at night and a more complete burn of the available fuel. My understanding is that in general coals need more air to put out the heat. Since the Cat needs smoke and coals don't smoke much at all we pretty much need to get them air to burn down to put the heat out.

    I do get 400 surface temp with the stove 1/2 full of chunks of coals, but I have those things glowing brightly with air increased.

    I don't know how much space you are trying to heat - If you are pushing the capabilities (i.e. trying to heat over 2000sq ft as I am) of the stove you are not going to be able to do a twice a day schedule and expect to keep the place warm. Simply put the firebox won't hold enough wood to do that. However, if you are doing a 2x day load and ending up with too many coals I would bet you need to give it more air or your wood may not be quite as good as you believe it to be (or both).
  8. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    I'm attempting to heat roughly 1500 sq ft but 400 sq ft of it is cathedral ceiling 24/7 as near to 100% as possible. I could do it with a Resolute, so I figured this should be able to do it unless WS is fudging their BTU numbers. I don't think it is the wood. Takes off easily, no hissing, cat fires off, etc. I can cut the air back to about .75 before I lose a flame. I may have too much draft for the stove which is certainly lowering my temps but I'm not sure how this would be creating a coaling problem? You would think that too much draft would consume the wood completely, not just to cinder. Right?
  9. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I agree with that - too much draft would seem to increase the amount of air pulled into the box and thus 'fan' the coals more and get rid of them faster.

    What happens if you increase your 'cruising' air settings? Do you get too close to overfire temps?
  10. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    Nope, it tops out around 550 with the air at about 1.25 or so. I haven't tried giving it more air than that with the cat engaged and a full box cause I don't want to damage the cat with flames. I can try a medium load of oak pallet wood under a watchful eye and see what it will hit and at what air setting.
  11. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I do wonder just how much flame has to go up there to cause trouble.

    I've had pretty lively flames licking up there a time or two. But more air is a good thing for getting rid of those coals in the end so if you could safely open it up a bit more I'll bet you get more heat out and find less leftover coals.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Fellas, I've read the posts with interest and this is making me very curious. I'll state right up front that I indeed had some of the same problems when I first got the Fireview. The coals was perhaps the biggest problem but although I looked for help, I ended up having to find the answer on my own.

    Most of the time when someone is having too many coals it is because the wood is not as dry as thought and/or they are simply adding wood too soon. In our case, we were adding wood too soon and the coals simply kept building up. To stop this we turn the draft up and burn them off. Before the wood is totally down to the coaling stage we'll turn the stove up at least to 2. Once it is all coals, we open the draft full, rake through the coals to loosen the coals and ash, rake some of the coals to the front and let them burn. Surprisingly this does not take long to burn those coals down.

    Now to get higher temperatures. First, if you are not there to watch, how do you know that the stove is not reaching those temperatures? The reason I ask this is because many times I go to bed and the stove top is perhaps 500 degrees and no flame is present. Later I get up (normal for me) and naturally check on the stove and find a beautiful rolling flame at the top and the firebox looks like the pits of Hell itself and the stovetop temperature is over 600. If I had not got up, I'd never have known it got that hot.

    Slow mentioned settings and he is right that every installation can be different. At present we are finding that we have to set our draft at zero (that's right. zero) else we get overfire in the stove. It will take a while, maybe 2 hours before the stovetop gets that high but it does happen. Perhaps some is because of the wood we are burning at present or even perhaps some because of the weather. But the point is, we adjust to the situation. I also chat with one of the good people at Woodstock from time to time also and would not hesitate to call them with any problem.

    As for draft, our chimney is actually shorter than it should be and it is a SS running up the side of the house. Everything you read says our setup should not work and for sure we should not need a damper in the flue but we are close to needing one.

    More to come.
  13. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Jack33, I hope you get it figured out because something isn't right. My guess is you have too much draft which is pulling the heat out of the stove too quickly. A probe thermometer in your flue would definitely tell you a lot about what is going on.

    I work part of the day from home so have more chance to fiddle with the controls so I can increase the air to burn down the coals so not sure what would happen if I just left it alone. It has warmed up to the high 20's here so I have switched from hickory to elm and find that I have a lot less coals. But I am exclusively heating 2700 sq ft on 3 stories (except for a small space heater on the top floor which only come on when temps drop into the low teens) with mine here in WI so I know the stove works.

    Good luck!

    Edit: The highest I set my air is 1 until I'm down to just coals and then do pretty much what Dennis just described.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Jack, it does sound to me like you have a couple of problems. For sure you should be able to get a higher temperature on that stove. If the draft is set too high then more heat would escape out the chimney but the fire would be roaring. I'd suggest to not engage the cat before 20 minutes and make sure the stove top is at 250+ and/or the flue is 500 degrees or thereabouts. Once you engage the cat, try the setting on 1.5. After 10-15 minutes try it on 1 or if there is lots of flame, go below 1. Try to get it so that you have just a little flicker of flame; if you turn the draft down and the flame dies, give it a little more air.

    Before you do this though, you probably need to clean out your firebox some. I can picture what you have and that is coals above the bottom of the firebox door. Tons of coals and no place to put much wood. That has to be remedied else nothing you try will work. So even if you have to scoop some coals out, do it so that you can start with lots of room for wood.

    I do not know what wood you are burning but that has a lot, I repeat, a lot, to do with the type of fires you get. For example, at present we are burning a combination of ash, elm and soft maple. The maple and elm burn much faster than the ash, so that is our primary daytime wood. Rarely do we burn ash during the day. However, come night, after burning the coals down, I like to put a large ash in the bottom rear of the stove. That baby is the key to longer burns. Front bottom gets a maple or elm. The rest is filled with ash. After about 10 minutes (it varies) the cat gets engaged. It is at this point that I will determine where to set the draft.

    That is correct. I do not go by a blanket setting every time because every fire is not the same. It is close, but there are just too many variables, from wood type, size of the wood, weather, etc. If I have lots of flame, the draft usually goes right to .25 (1/4 of the way to 1). Sometimes that is too much draft and sometimes it is too little. Regardless, once I am ready for bedtime, the draft gets set low and at present we are finding we have to go to zero.

    So how warm does our stove get with these settings and the poor chimney that we have? Zoom! The stovetop temperature zooms right up to at least 550 and an hour or so later will be over 600 with ease. However, let me caution; not everyone can go by the same setting we use. Check with Todd and you'll find he sets mostly at .5, but with our stove that is too high unless the weather is warm (fall/spring) or a storm coming.

    Jack, please do try emptying the stove so you have only an inch or so of ash and only enough coals to get the fire going good. Leave that draft full open until you are ready to engage the cat. Then turn it down to (I'm guessing) 1 or 1.5 and wait for 10 minutes to see what happens. Judge further action by the flame you are getting.

    When your stove is down to coals, rake the poker through them; don't be gentle. Shove some to the front so there is more in the front than in the back. Leave the draft open full and those coals should burn down fairly quick. I'd also leave the cat on at this point. Not that the cat will help, but the heat has to go through the top of the stove before reaching the flue so you gain the benefit of the heat. If you bypass the cat, then pretty much any heat there goes right up the chimney (hope Santa isn't on his way down then!).

    I don't know what you have for wood but I would suggest something like pallet wood to mix in if only to see if indeed most of the problem is with the wood itself. I would also highly advise you to call the good folks at Woodstock. The toll free number is in the manual you received.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Jack, perhaps I worded wrong in my last post about your wood. I see what you are burning but do not know how you have seasoned it. 1-2 years is good for most wood but not all. For sure I would not burn any of that oak yet. Also, losing the bark does not necessarily mean the wood is ready to burn.

    You state above that when you get home 12 hours later the box is 1/2 loaded with cinder. That is very difficult for me to picture having the box half full. How would you be able to open the door at all? And if you have that much cinder after 12 hours, that means you probably loaded when there was already a big bunch of coals.

    Try burning down the coals as I have suggested in other posts and hopefully you can get that thing cranking out the heat that it is capable of doing. If the stove works for many, it should work for all. That leave only a couple factors which is draft (chimney) and fuel. With the right fuel and proper draft, you should get 600 easy, but not if you have the box that full of coals. Remember that too many coals and you won't get the proper draft to burn the wood that is setting on top of the coals.
  16. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I think your splits are too big? How many splits can you get in the stove? If only three, they are too big, I usually have no problem stuffing 5-6 splits inside. Bigger splits will burn slower and cooler. Also, don't be afraid to give it more air, there will be a good amount of flame with higher air settings, but it will slow down after about an hour or so. I don't think the flame will damage the cat unless you have a roaring steady flame sucking right through the cat which would be a very high air setting like #3.

    I'm on my 3 load per day schedule and my temps almost always get up to 650 with a full 5-6 splits and after 8 hours the temps is down to 300 with plenty of coals for the next load, air setting just under #1. I'm heating 1800 sq ft and the house is always over 70.
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Jack, that is not too much space to heat with a Fireview and for sure Woodstock is not fudging with the numbers. If they are off, it is on the low end.

    I do think most of this problem is the wood. It takes off easy, no hissing and cat fires off, then the temperature should climb. Once that cat lights off, the temperature climbs pretty darned fast.

    Too much draft would not lower your temperatures, it would cause you to have a roaring fire that is difficult to control. Your problem seems to be the opposite. And you are right in that with too much draft you would not have a problem burning up the coals.

    The more I read and type, the more I keep leaning towards your fuel. That and the fact that the coals are not burning down. Keep in mind that wet wood will give you at least twice the amount of coals that dry wood will.

    We have experimented with different wood. At present we are burning wood that was cut, split and stacked 3-4 years ago. We have tried 2 year old wood and then some that was cut last winter. There is a huge difference in the amount of coals betwixt the three. It is amazing how much difference, not only in the coaling, but also getting the stove up to temperature.

    I've said it before and will again, but most problems with wood heating is in the fuel and not the stove or chimney.
  18. cycloxer

    cycloxer New Member

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    I think the stove is a little too small for your expectations. It is a 2.2 cu. ft. box. Yeah, it'll put out 55k Btu's if you keep feeding it dry wood all day and keep the surface temp at 500-600.

    If you want a stove where you can fill it and walk away for 10 hours, you need something with at least a 3 cu. ft. box like a BK.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Jack, I don't think you have to worry too much about the flame damaging the cat. I agree that if the stove is running hot and you poke lots of flame through it then you might damage it. But this thing is built so that the flame gets turbulence, which is what the cat requires. Please read page 23 in the manual.

    Your idea of the oak pallet is good if the oak is dry. However, when most pallets are made, most are made using green wood! So all pallets are not as dry as some think they are. If they are old pallets, there should be no problem but I'd hesitate with any new pallets.

    Hopefully with a weekend or two to "play around" with this stove it will perform even higher than your expectations.

    Good luck.
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    cycloxer, it is evident you are not familiar with the Woodstock stove. All you have to do is read how large of a space some of these folks are heating. And you do not have to keep feeding it dry wood all day to keep the temperature up. You make it sound as if someone has to stay right with the stove at all times and that is not the case.

    Would it not be better to try to solve this problem with what he has rather than recommend he go out and buy another stove? Sorry if I sound a bit harsh but I also feel your post is totally out of order. If I am wrong, then I beg your forgiveness.
  21. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I think we are talking about two degrees of the same problem, too much draft and WAY too much draft. Per Woodstock, too much draft will create inefficient heating as you are losing too much heat up the flue and the cat doesn't have enough time to burn the smoke, thus resulting in lower stove top temps. It is currently what I am experiencing and will be installing a damper as soon as I get around to it.
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I hope that works for you Wendell. I'm not ready to put one in yet though. I'd rather not if possible.
  23. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I don't want to and now that it has warmed up, things are working better. I loaded about 3 hours ago, have the air set at .75 and have a flue of 300 and stove top of 400 and I'm ready to change into shorts. :)
  24. cycloxer

    cycloxer New Member

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    Agreed. A coaling problem is simply indicative of incomplete combustion. Those stove top temps are also pathetic - way, way too low to extract any heat. For NH you have no chance in hell of heating that house until you get the thing up to at least the 500 degree range. I agree that you have to solve this problem first before you blame the stove.

    I would try a test of burning split pine or kiln dried wood to see if you can get the stove to the proper operating temperature. Go wide open air, let the stove breath, and keep feeding the thing. If you still can't get the stove to temperature then something is screwed up with your install. I can assure you that no matter who the manufacturer of the stove, unless you can get the exterior surface temp high enough, you have no chance of heating 1,500 sq. ft. with cathedral ceilings. It's a wood eating radiator. Low surface temp = low heat output (even if it is a Fireview).

    imho, you have bought the absolute minimum sized stove, but that is your call and you're the one who has to operate it. The Fireview is a great stove and I almost bought one myself, but you can only fit so much fuel inside of 2 ft³ and then transfer that heat at 75% efficiency over a 10 hour period to your home. With a 3 ft³ box, you can simply reload your stove roughly 1/3 as often. Can you get this stove to work for you? Sure, if you are willing to feed it often enough. The soapstone will help you smooth out the temp fluctuations, but it does nothing to help extract more heat out of the wood. The stove body is a heat sink, not a power source.

    I have one good friend who heats 24/7 exclusively running a Defiant catalytic. It has a 3.2 cu. ft. box and runs at 82% efficiency (when the cat isn't mucked up). He doesn't have a big house and it is in no way too big of a stove.
  25. bluefrier

    bluefrier Feeling the Heat

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    Jack, from reading your post it seems like the old stove heated the place just fine. Is the fireview much smaller than the old stove? How is your insulation? The longer, slower burn is going to put out less heat so maybe you have to load that puppy more frequently to keep up with demands or get a bigger stove.
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