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First Year Burner Questions

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by crh704, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. crh704

    crh704 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Central CT
    Hey Everyone,

    Admitedly I am still a total rookie at wood burning but have the bug really bad. Even after reading a TON of threads I still am having trouble getting a really good hot burn while dampered down and am looking for some advice.
    • I am burning in a FPX 33 insert with a double walled SS liner that runs up a masonary chimney. I have a block off plate installed up top.
    • It is impossible to find a good place to put my stove top thermometer on this thing! Its even tough to hit the stovetop with the IR gun with it...
    • The stove is in a large room with a cathedral ceiling - about 17 feet at its highest -picture attached
    • The wood that I am using is made up of mixed hardwood and ranges between 17 and 19% MC on a freshly split face.
    • I can get a bit OCD w/ adjusting the stove
    Here is where I am stuck. Starting with hot coals from the last burn I remove some ash and rake them foward. Due to the shape of the firebox I am basically forced to stack the wood in a E/W fashion. I load it up as much as possible with large splits in back, medium in front of that and small in front of that - usually covering the doghouse. I close the stove door. At this point I the air control and bypass fully open. Within 15/20 minutes the firebox is full of flames and the stove top thermometer is approaching 400. I close the bypass and start closing the air control in my 25% increments. I wait longer and pull out the air control again and again. At this point (about 75% closed now) I have minimal secondaries (sometimes) and small yellow and blue flames on and over the logs. The stove top gets up to 6-700. I'd like to close down the air even more but when I do my flames totally die out - even if i do have secondaries going when closing down. I'd really like to be able to close down the air more to extend my burn times and get more extended heat out of the unit but cant keep the fire going when i do! I run the stove fan @ about 75%

    Based on peoples experiece should I expect to be able to get my stove room warmer than 72 degrees when it is 20 outside? My house is at the upper range of what the stove is rated to heat...

    Thanks everyone!

    IMAG0396.jpg IMAG0406.jpg

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  2. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,471
    Loc:
    South Central Indiana
    To build the heat up higher than 72 degrees when its 20 deg out and maybe colder wind chill , you will need to run the stove input air open a little wider get the stove top closer to 800. Your house may not be as well insulated than you think it is, plus that big patio door in your pic lets some cold in. Plus you have the really high ceilings .

    You can skip the rake coals forward and spread coals completely out in the bottom of the stove. Then make a grove down the middle we call tunnel of love. your dog house air will travel that tunnel all the way back to the back and give you a better burn and more heat. You can play with load the stove up on a little bit hotter coals but keep an eye on it. Or load up with smaller splits to get more heat out of your stove. Pick out better hardwoods to load in the stove during colder weather and use the left over splits for warmer weather. Pick pieces that you can get loaded more compactly. The tunnel of love will help get air back to the back pieces. On a hotter coal bed you can skip the kindling when its really cold out.

    72 is pretty good as when we just used our electric heat we had the thermostats set on 70 all the time. So 72 to me is pretty good.
  3. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    NW CT
    Where are you located and what direction does that giant patio door face? I would not doubt that you're losing heat out of that - are the drapes insulated and if so do you draw them when it's dark out? (Sounds silly but worked wonders in my old Victorian house with huge windows).

    I've only had 2 stoves in my life, a dragon many years ago and now a cat, so I can't comment on your burn process except to say I get more heat IN THE ROOM (shorter burn time though) when I leave my air a bit open with the cat engaged.

    Good luck!
  4. crh704

    crh704 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Central CT
    Thanks guys for the responses. I am in Central CT and usually run the ceiling fan in reverse to help circulate the air around a bit. Unfortunatly the room is on the North side of the house so that contributes to the colder temps - it gets very minimal sun in the winter time. I do have curtains that I try to keep closed as much as possible - they are not insulated though.

    I never actually tried leveling the coal bed prior to filling up - I'll give it a go and see if that gets my secondaries to fire.

    72 in the stove room is comfortable, its progressivly gets colder as you move into the other rooms. When I was heating mainly with Propane I kept the thermostats at 65 so its a big improvement. I'm just trying to maximize my burns and I'm under the impression (right or wrong) that I'd be buring more efficiently if the secondaries were firing.

    I was out chopping wood the other day when the propane delivery guy came. We used 75% less than we did the same month last year. I was happy to see that :)
  5. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,168
    Loc:
    Northern ON
    If it's any consolation I hit the perfect overnight burn this season on year 3 with the EPA stove. But I wasn't on a mission to get there. I can't offer any better advice than you will get from the others here. But don't sweat it too much if you don't nail it right away. Lots of great fires to enjoy in between and on the way...

    edit - just crossed posted - a 75% reduction in propane - nice - don't sweat the extra couple loads in the insert too much... :)
  6. dorkweed

    dorkweed Guest

    72* is "hot" for this cowboy....................................I like about 65-67* and my dogs like it a bit less!!
    Butcher likes this.
  7. crh704

    crh704 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Central CT
    Hey guys, I leveled the coals last night and made the 'tunnel of love'. The insert got up to temp much quicker - thanks for the advice! I am still unable to shut down my air. I loaded up mainly with red oak

    The difference between the first and second picture was shutting down the air control 10% - happened in less than 1 minute. The stove temp was around 500 when i did this. I'm guessing its the wood. I have a tri-axle truck dropping off 6 cord in a few weeks to start getting me a few years ahead. Until then I'll run w/ the air open more....

    Thanks again

    Attached Files:

  8. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,471
    Loc:
    South Central Indiana
    Your draft maybe a little low , nothing wrong with not shutting it down completely. The stove has to be designed for flues that have a strong draft.

    In time you will get a feel for it.

    I leave my input air 1/4 ways open.

    Yes sounds like your wood is suspect. Oak most people say cut, split stacked 2-3 years seasoned.

    You can get better results with a fully loaded stove. These type stove dont work as well on half loads. In your picture looks like the wood only comes up about half way.

    I would load full till about 2-3 inches below the tubes or baffle which ever you got.

    Lastly those look like rounds loaded , or are they splits, rounds dont burn as good better to split them one time. They dry out slower also.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    47,063
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    A couple thoughts here. It sounds like you are doing fine. That high ceiling is a heat trap. Measure up at the peak and I'll bet you will find it at 90F, even with the ceiling fan running. The large glass area to the left may also be contributing to the challenge. Is it easier to heat the room with the curtains closed?

    Experiment with your fires. It's all part of the art of burning. Although we may sound like every fire we burn is perfect, that is not always so. Wood varies depending on the species, location in the tree, dryness, shape of the split, etc.. With our gnarly, knotted wood it's rare for us to have consecutive fires that are the same. Just roll with it. Instead of small splits in the front try the tunnel of love under all medium sized splits, stacked another layer higher. See how that works.
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  10. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Soutwest VA
    From looking at the pics your not doing to bad.

    Red oak is one tough wood to get seasoned....
  11. crh704

    crh704 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Central CT
    I recently replaced the fan with a larger but am sure you are right and there is still a ton of heat stuck up there. Unfortunatly the kitchen which is attached to this room has normal height ceilings so the warmest air is trapped. I have considered adding a between room fan at the top of the room to try to blow air into the upstairs at night to take advantage of it. Or maybe even blow the cool air from upstairs into the stove room to get better air circulation between rooms. Lots to do and its fun experimenting.

    I do try to put as much wood as possible in the stove but can probably pack it tighter...especially on the sides. I usually try to get as close to the burn tubes as possible. I do not think the load pictured above had any rounds in it. If i do use a round it is in the bottom back.
  12. Benny4117

    Benny4117 New Member

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    Loc:
    Western New York
  13. Benny4117

    Benny4117 New Member

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    Loc:
    Western New York
    Sorry new to this......but i was trying to quote the previous post and respond....But was just going to say this sounds exactly like my situation with the ceiling and the attached room....Thinking about my options and will have to play around with them....let us know what works best for you (i know every house and layout will cause air to circulate differently)
  14. Puffins

    Puffins Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    28
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    I have the same insert, I am in CT, mine is in a room with 17 ft ceiling (not sloped), and my house is > 3500sq ft. This is my first season burning at this house. My experience is similar when I'm burning white oak. However when I burn BioBricks, I am able to shut down the air and get nice secondaries. Especially when I have 6-8 bricks in there. I am able to keep the room at 72 and with nice flow upstairs keeping that around 69-70 in 3 of the bedrooms used. It's all about the wood and proper seasoning. Try some BioBricks and see what your results are. Lots of hardware stores in CT have them or something similar. At least you will have a solid baseline to compare your wood with.
  15. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    When you shut it down all the way, the fire may disperse, but what is the insert temp doing? If it stays steady or continues to rise, then you can close down the air. When i close down, the flames sometimes do diminish, but secondaries are still going up top, and the temp does continue to rise some. I don't even see much secondary action sometimes due to the wood being stacked so high, that you just don't see them unless kneeling down and looking up inside. As Brother Bart has stated many times, you don't always need secondaries firing like the gates of hell, to be achieving a good burn. If it is holding temp, then you are good to go. Secondly, your wood may not be as dry as you think. If it gets blazing, but dies and smolders, chances are the wood ain't quite ready. As others have stated, you simply may not be able to shut down all the way. Stack height & draft will effect this as well. Most secondary burners, burn mostly from the top down.
  16. Mitch Newton

    Mitch Newton Member

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    Loc:
    Beavercreek, Ohio
    Good advice HuntinDog
  17. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    Torrington, CT
    And that, my friend, is all just secondary. The real value in burning, even more so than the economic benefits, is your increased level of comfort. Ahhhhh....the stove!::P

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