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First BK Burn. Pics and Questions.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Heftiger, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Heftiger

    Heftiger New Member

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    This season I made the switch to a wood stove, a BK King. Last night I did my fist burn to cure the paint and this morning I had another to warm the house. I took some pictures and I also have some questions.

    BTW, I'm burning seasoned lodgepole pine.

    Here are some pictures of the start of the burn.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now it's roaring.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Fire starting to calm down a little. Didn't take long for the dog to find it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Now here are my questions.
    The entire time I was burning I had the T-Stat set to the max. The highest temp I got was 550. The last picture I showed was still with the T-Stat at max, and some wood still in the firebox. Should I be getting higher temps? Am I doing something wrong?
    This morning I started another load with a couple splits and two whole rounds. Since it's warmer outside I turned the T-Stat down to 1.5 (slowly over time like that manual states). I started the burn at around 8:30, and it's 12:20 now, so almost 4 hours. I'm watching the cat probe drop (almost inactive now) and the stove top temp is down to 200. Does this seem like normal behavior? There rounds I threw in are still intact and I'm wondering why the stove is going to go inactive while there is still fuel in the firebox.
    Here's a video of the active burn for all you junkies.
    raybonz and zap like this.

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  2. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    How dry is your wood? Sounds like your heading for a cat stall, turn it up some and see if it comes back to life. I don't think you will see real high temps unless you fill the stove full.
  3. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Congrats on the new stove, from a fellow Lodgepole burner.
    550::F sounds about right, but leaving the T-stat maxed out doesn't. You need to install a probe thermometer, you'd be surprised how hot your flue will get before the Cat even gets to the active zone.
    My BKK parlor stalls under a 2 setting on the stat. During the day I can set it to 1-1.5 just to let it keep going, then crank it up for the evening burn. You'll probably find 2 is the normal setting, keeping the Cat about 1500 with the fans off. Resist the urge to keep adjusting the T-stat, that was one of the mistakes I made my first few months with this stove.
    My stove has only broken 600::F a handfull of times. The pine outgasses fast enough that you end up closing down the stat to prevent the Cat going nuclear. Don't worry , once you get the hang of it, you'll go 24hrs. without a problem w/ usable heat the whole time.
    edit- I am curious how/ if the window behind the stove will affect the T-stat.
  4. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    What's your chimney like? Sounds like a fuel or draft issue. And yes, the stove will perform best with a big load. It doesn't have to be stuffed full, but more than a couple of splits.
  5. Heftiger

    Heftiger New Member

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    I haven't checked my wood with a moisture meter yet, but I purchased it from a friend who has it split and stacked for at least 18 months from when they bought it, plus the time it sat before the person selling it to them decided it was "seasoned" wood.
    I turned the T-Stat up a bit and the fire has come back a little. Stove top temps raised to 250. I was just under the impression that I could set the T-Stat at whatever I wanted and the stove would take care of the rest. I didn't realize that the stove would let you put the fire out and\or stall the cat while there was still good fuel. But like I said, I'm new to burning wood and while I realize these stoves are amazing, they still have a small learning curve.

    Thanks for the advice! It makes me feel a little better to know that somebody else is getting the same temps that I am.
  6. Heftiger

    Heftiger New Member

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    I seem to be getting good draft (no smoke in the house or anything like that).

    I have 7 ft of double wall in the house, with about an additional 8 ft of class A. There are two 45 degree bends on the double wall just as is gets to the interior ceiling.
  7. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    That could be something to think about. BK recommends a minimum of 14'. You're pretty close, but then add the offsets. I was at a little over 13' and it worked 'ok', but it was noticeably better after I added 3'. I have no problem topping 700 if needed.
    rdust and Beetle-Kill like this.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    What are the outdoor temps like? If it is 50F or higher I would try again when it gets colder. If it's already in the 30's and the wood is dry, then adding 2-3 ft to the chimney can make a nice difference. Just be sure to brace it correctly.
  9. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    As others have said, it sounds like draft or fuel. When things are right you should be able to run on "1" and the cat will stay active until the last stick is gone. What kind of elevation do you have in Northern CA, if you're at a higher elevation can cause draft issues requiring more chimney.
  10. Heftiger

    Heftiger New Member

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    Thanks everybody for the replies.

    I'm having a sleepless night so I decided to collect some data points to give you guys more info to work off of. Tomorrow morning I'm going to climb on the roof and get accurate measurements of the flue.

    I started a half load of pine at 9:00pm.

    9:00pm ---- Load and light (TSTAT @ 3.5)
    9:15 pm ---- Engage cat
    9:30pm ---- Stove top @ 300 degrees. Reduced TSTAT to 3.0
    9:45pm ---- Stove top @ 500 degrees. Reduced TSTAT to 2.5
    10:00pm ---- Stove top @ 380 degrees. Reduced TSTAT to 2.0
    10:15pm ---- Stove top @ 350 degrees. Reduced TSTAT to 1.5
    1:00am ---- Stove top @ 250 degrees.
    2:20am ---- Stove top @ 240 degrees
    3:05am ---- Stove top @ 230 degrees (picture taken)
    3:35am ---- Stove top @ 215 degrees
    4:00am --- Stove top @ 215 degrees (picture of cat probe taken)
    5:00am --- Stove top @ 200. Cat temp still falling.
    5:45am --- Stove top @ 180. Cat at the bottom of active zone. Increased TSTAT to 2.0
    6:00am --- Stove top @ 205. Visible red coals on the fire.

    Here's a picture of the wood in the stove at the 3:05am mark. It's not a very clear pic but you can see there is still plenty of wood in there.

    [​IMG]


    Here's a picture of where the cat probe is at 4:00 am.
    [​IMG]

    I originally thought the problem might be the outside temp as somebody suggested because the load I was having issues with was the load I started in the morning. I assumed since it was warming up outside it was causing some problems. I decided to do this test tonight since I knew it was going to be cold (low of 35); I seem to be getting the same behavior.

    rdust: I'm at 5500 ft elevation.
  11. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I think your going to need a little more trial and error to find your sweet spot. Maybe you should of burned it at a higher setting for a little longer before turning it down? Try a setting where you have good flames for 30-45 minutes then turn it down for a low burn.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    This looks like weak draft. Given the altitude you will probably need more pipe than the minimum. How much is currently there from stove top to the chimney cap?

    If you are going to head up on the roof I would first run to the local hardware or big box store and get a 4ft. length of cheap single wall pipe. On a non-windy day, pull the cap and cram the pipe in, crimp down into the class A so that you have a temporary 4ft extension to the flue. Fire up the stove and see how it performs. If there's a marked improvement, order a 48" piece of class A and a roof brace. The brace should be placed at 5ft above where the pipe exits the roof.
    jeff_t likes this.
  13. Heftiger

    Heftiger New Member

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    Todd,

    It's now 9am and the stove is still burning with the cat active and the TSTAT at the 2 setting. Stovetop is at 230 degrees. This seems like the behavior you guys are getting when you turn yours down to 1-1.5.
  14. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I concur.

    Beetle-kill was having a similar issue at, 8000'? What did he end up doing?
  15. Heftiger

    Heftiger New Member

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    Final measurements on the flue:

    7 ft double wall inside, including 2 45 degrees elbows.
    9.5 ft through rafters and out the roof.

    Is this adequate?

    [​IMG]
  16. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    That is 8" pipe, right? Seems like it should be adequate, but I don't know how much your elevation will affect it.

    Do you have another source for fuel? Is there anything like ECO Bricks or similar compressed sawdust logs available to you?
  17. Heftiger

    Heftiger New Member

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    Ya it's 8" all the way.

    I don't have any other source at the moment. I'm pretty confident the pine is dry but I'm going to try and borrow a moisture meter soon so I can check for sure.


    FYI, that same burn from 9:00 last night is still going. It's mostly just smoldering into coals now, still a couple small chunks left. I had to increase the TSTAT to max to keep the cat active.
  18. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    What were the outside temps during this burn? Maybe the warmer weather is causing a sluggish draft. I'd keep playing with it a little more before deciding to add pipe.
    Beetle-Kill likes this.
  19. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Like Todd replied, wait a bit before you spend the coin.
    I hit 650::F last night for a while, but it was fairly cold out, high teens. I am adding 3' to my pipe, but my flue is considerably worse than yours.
    Try 4 splits N/S over the coals, and fill it up E/W with the rest. I get the best burns this way.
  20. Heftiger

    Heftiger New Member

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    Overnight the low was 35. Like I mentioned, I'm just getting to the end of the burn now. I really wonder if it is the draft because it's actually mid 60's outside right now. I meant to have this burn over with this morning but I guess I really underestimated the burn times. Even with the warm temps outside, I can open up the door without getting flooded with smoke. Does that mean it's not a draft problem?

    I was reading some other break-in posts and I noticed people talking about getting the moisture out of the firebrick and getting a nice bed of ash. Maybe that's my problem?

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