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Getting a longer burn in a summit stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Joe in MI, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. Joe in MI

    Joe in MI Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    60
    Loc:
    NW Michigan
    Hi all! I FINALLY got my stove in. I started my addition in spring of 2010. Life came, money went, and I'm still working on it. I did finally get my Summit stove installed, and we've been burning it 24/7. It's been fabulous - furnace doesn't run at all, so we're heating most of a 2600 square foot 2 story house with it - and its warmer everywhere in the house than it was with the furnace.

    I'm questioning my burn times, though. I got up about noon today, and the fire was reduced to coals. I raked them forward, put a spit e/w across the back, then stacked 5 splits n/s. All wood is oak cut, split and stacked in the summer of 2010. The splits were mostly in the 3x5 to 4x6 range. My moisture meter is dead, but it seems to be very dry. Once the fire was going I gradually reduced the air (over 30 minutes or so) until it was full closed. Still had a lot of flame. It's now 3:30, and I'm essentially down to coals again - a few big chunks still glowing red, but mostly coals. It will definitely be ready to load again before I leave for work at 4:30ish.

    I don't have an IR thermometer yet (Christmas list), so I have no idea what my stove top temps are. I have around 24 feet of straight-up double wall pipe. Excellent draft. No damper.

    During the warmer days we were only putting in 2 or 3 splits, but it needed reloading every 2 hours. Today's load was the biggest yet. Do I just need to load more wood into it? I have avoided packing the stove full, as I'm still learning this stove and don't want to over fire it.

    I really have nothing to compare this to. I grew up with an early 80s air tight stove. My folks get all day / all night burns, but with a LOT of creosote. They have to clean their single wall pipe in the house every weekend. Mine seems to be burning really clean so far.

    Any suggestions? Does this sound right, or am I doing something wrong?

    Thanks for your help.

    Joe

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,229
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Yes, don't load on a big coal bed. Burn it down for 30 min with the air open first. Then rake the coals forward and load up the stove with some kindling on the coals, then big splits (6-8" are fine) loaded E/W and put smaller splits in between to fill any gaps. Fill the stove up to within an inch or two of the baffle. After the wood ignites, turn down the air as quickly as possible, without killing the fire. After 15-20 minutes the air should be all the way closed.
    cableman likes this.
  3. Fort Wisers

    Fort Wisers New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Loc:
    Oxford Mills, Ontario, Canada
    Hey Joe In MI,

    We have a Summit Classic...great stove!
    We're into our third burn season and can't say enough good things about it.
    We're heating just about 2800sqft in Ottawa Canada (so basically the same size home and likely similar weather conditions, depending on where you are in MI).

    Unless we're in very mild conditions I always load 5-6 splits into the stove.
    The amount of splits will, of course, depend on the size of your splits.
    Don't be afraid to load it right up near the secondary baffle (as begreen suggested).

    I load all pieces N/S (front to back) with a bit of space between each on the bottom so I don't smoother the coal bed.
    After loading I then run it wide open for 10-15 minutes, basically enough to get all wood charred and surrounded by flames, then I turn it down for the remainder of the burn time.
    I don't generally close it right off but always in around the "L" region once it's turned down.
    I load the stove once every 8 hours (unless it's mild out then I load once every 12 hours) and always have a good enough bed of coals to get things going again with no kindling.

    I usually shovel a couple of small scoops of ash out each load just to keep on top of it.
    Once I've shovel, I rake the remaining coals to the front, load up and start the cycle again.
    When done like this, I'll get about 4-5 hours of actual flame burning time (mostly secondary burner flames) and the rest as coal breakdown time with some small flames (but still generating lots of heat).
    I could leave the coals to breakdown further and likely get 10 hours but I'm happy with my "every 8 hour" routine as that makes 3 equally spaced loads a day.

    Somewhere around hour 7, if I see the coal bed is going to be too big to fit a good size load during the next load cycle then I'll rake the coals forward, and put one piece in side to side about 3/4 of the way back and run it wide open for 30-45 minutes.

    I burn mostly maple, ash, elm and some oak....dried at least one season if not two.
    You should have no problems getting long burn times with your well seasoned oak.
    If you think that stove throws a good heat with 2-3 pieces in it wait until you see what it can do with a full load!


    Happy burning!
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  4. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    617
    Loc:
    SE PA
    If I'm really wanting a long burn, I pack it very tight and full. Don't have a problem touching the baffle but am not going to wedge anything in and maybe move the baffle up or break the pin (in the back). Thing is after it's lit and on high for 15 minutes the wood's going to drop down a couple inches and there will be plenty of space for secondaries above. In fact sometimes I'll even squeeze in another split at that point if it's gotten real loose.

    As far as risking smothering the coal bed, I like to take my bellows and shoot some air directly into the coals to get the flames started before I close the door. Then I know it's not going to be smoking a lot before the fire gets started.
  5. Joe in MI

    Joe in MI Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    60
    Loc:
    NW Michigan
    Thanks for the replies. I'm off the next few days, so I'm going to try filling her up to see what kind of burn I can get. I'm a little less nervous about putting a big load in now.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,229
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Do your first full loads early in the day so that you can watch the stove and fire throughout the day and learn how the stove burns.
  7. SKIN052

    SKIN052 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Messages:
    718
    Loc:
    Appleton, Newfoundland
    3 Loads a day is about right. Get it going, fill her up and shut down the air. That straight pipe should allow you to turn it all the way down and still keep good heat coming. Check the chimney soon just to be sure your a indeed burning clean.
  8. Fort Wisers

    Fort Wisers New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Loc:
    Oxford Mills, Ontario, Canada
    Keep us posted on how it's going.....!
  9. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    1,408
    Loc:
    41.33°N 74.18°W and 44.67°N 111.0°W
    The only other suggestion to add to the excellent advice above is to check for air leaks - especially the ash chute, door fit and EBT assembly. Ash chute can leak especially if you are using it, door fit should be checked as well if it is a new stove.
  10. 69911e

    69911e Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
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    Loc:
    CT
    Leave a good bed of ash(1"-3") especially durirng the warmer part of the heating season.
  11. Joe in MI

    Joe in MI Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    60
    Loc:
    NW Michigan
    Thank yo all for the advice - its been going great! We've been getting 7 1/2 to 8 hours between reloads. I've been filling the box (not cramming it though) usually about 6 or 8 good sized splits, and gradually closing down the air. Nice, long slow fires. Very little to no smoke from the chimney.

    What is the best way to check the door and EBT for leaks? And if I find a leak, how do I seal it?

    Thanks again!
  12. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Nov 3, 2006
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    6,848
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    Dollar bill test for door. While stove is cold obviously, Open door, place dollar bill 1/2 in, close door on bill, try and pull bill out. Needs to be snug to tight. If it wiggles back and forth, too loose. Door needs adjusted. If snug, good to go. Do this all the way around thew door.

    No way to check the EBT really. Should be okay. Not really a concern for leakage.
  13. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
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    1,408
    Loc:
    41.33°N 74.18°W and 44.67°N 111.0°W
    Ash chute air leak is pretty obvious - you will see a white hot area above it. Door leak is not as obvious, dollar bill test, though I would caution that having the door overly tight can reduce the lifespan of the door handle and existing gasket - I recall Tom (chimneysweeponline) suggesting that when doing the dollar bill test/adjustment that if there is a lot of resistance when pulling the $1 bill, it is too tight. I will search and edit this post with the link.

    Edited link: http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/pe-t6-door-gasket-size.29543/#post-861042
    "Note that the goal here is to create just enough pressure on the gasket to prevent a dollar bill from sliding out under its own weight."

    Regarding the EBT - I was thinking of the reported situation where the flap valve was permanently open and not functioning as designed, maybe a mute point with the newer design of the EBT
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013

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