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Having Trouble Keeping Going All Night

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by bigblulbz, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. bigblulbz

    bigblulbz New Member

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    Need some advice. It's only my second season with the stove. When she gets going she heats the house just fine. It's a Papa Bear. I just can't get it to give me appreciable coals in the morning. Seems as though I have to tent to it about once an hour to keep her really steaming. I think I've tried everything. Playing with stove pipe flue along with door vents, leaving flue wide open and only controlling with vents only. What am I doing wrong? I think I adjust methodically. I try to do 1 variable at a time to see what works best. Sometimes you just can't. At night before bed, how much am I supposed to load it up? Fill it so I can't put anything more in it? I don't think that is right. Usually by the time I go to bed, there is a good base of coals, load her up pretty decently, draft it with the door open a bit till everything catches and shut the door. Flue open, each knob on the door has about 1/8" - 3/16" space before it closed all the way. If I do any more than that I sometimes get un-burned pieces of wood in the morning. Please advise.

    Thanks in advanced.

    JR

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  2. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Depending on chimney, close pipe damper. The better the draft (insulated liner or insulated metal chimney) the more you can close it. If the flue is larger than stove outlet, this will require much more heat left up, that won't be coming into the building.
    Is this a 6 inch outlet with 6 inch flue all the way to the top? Most issues are resolved with the chimney or correct draft.

    Draft cap adjustment sounds about right. I open about 2 turns or more to start, close pipe damper about half way to keep from roaring most of the heat up chimney. It will warm soon enough unless it's way oversized. By the time larger splits catch, I'm down to about 1 turn open. (each) Adjusting differently for heat output required. I run a insulated metal chimney, so my damper is only open when I'm going to open the door. Most times it's just cracked open a bit. When down to a pile of coals, I'll close it all the way, this depends on the hole size in damper when shut as well. You should check the chimney after a month, and adjust accordingly. Mine is easy to clean, so I don't mind doing it 3 months or mid season. Other wise I could run it hotter to get a full season out of a cleaning. Just be sure to check it frequently until you know what to expect from it. The way I run mine could load up a masonry chimney fast. It's not the stove that determines how you run it, it's the chimney.

    You should be left with a large pile of coals in the morning when filling about 3/4 full. Coals will burn down more in front, so drag unburned and chared wood to the front for complete burning.

    Fuel has LOT to do with it as well. Is this delivered wood that you have no control over when it was cut, split, or how it was seasoned? I burn mostly standing dead that has been allowed to dry after splitting a couple months. Soft, lightweight stuff would leave me with what you describe. White oak, that dries standing, dead is like a rock, and is burned when really cold. That leaves entire pieces in the morning to break down with a poker and load on top. The coals then gain on me until I need to open it up and burn it down some to be able to get a firebox full. Many times I needed to burn down the coal pile and not be able to reload until 3 PM.

    And invest in a flue thermometer so you know what it's doing 18 to 24 inches from the stove. Then you will get to know what temps to keep it between to achive minimum 250* f. all the way up. (condensating / creosote forming temp)
  3. bigblulbz

    bigblulbz New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Georgetown, MA
    Thanks again for the insight.
    .
    Is this a 6 inch outlet with 6 inch flue all the way to the top?

    I don't believe so. It's 6" coming off the back of the stove up to a T with a clean-out that goes through the wall outside to the rest to the stove pipe. I wanted to sweep it a week or so ago at the T, but when I bought a 6" brush it didn't even touch the sides.This leads me to believe that it is 6" to 8" all the way to the top. It is metal insulated from the T all the way to the top.

    If the flue is larger than stove outlet, this will require much more heat left up, that won't be coming into the building.
    The flue is in the 6" portion of the pipe coming off the back of the stove.

    Fuel has LOT to do with it as well. Is this delivered wood that you have no control over when it was cut, split, or how it was seasoned?
    I had to buy 3 cords delivered because what I split was not ready yet. I went cheap because I was on a budget so it is various hardwood species with little pine. Pieces are all different lengths though. The stove looks like it will comfortably fit a 24" log.

    And invest in a flue thermometer so you know what it's doing 18 to 24 inches from the stove. Then you will get to know what temps to keep it between to achive minimum 250* f. all the way up. (condensating / creosote forming temp)
    Right now have one about 18" above stove top as well as one right on the stove top.
  4. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    First, A Papa Bear measures 40" from front to back including ash fender. (shelf below door) They accept up to 30" log. A Mama Bear will take up to 24". So there is some difference in burn time, but you should still have a fire in the morning, if only plenty of coals in the smaller stove.

    If the flue is larger than stove outlet, this will require much more heat left up, that won't be coming into the building.
    "The flue" means the interior chimney diameter from connecting pipe (pipe that goes from stove to chimney) , then starts the flue, to the top. Or chimney flue diameter. (should be the same as stove outlet of 6" all the way)
    At least it's insulated, but it sounds like it's an out side chimney, not up the middle of the house which cools it off fast.......... plus you're heating twice the inside diameter (8 inch across is 50.24 sq. inch; almost twice the volume of space to heat than 6" being 28.26". Multiply that times height, and you have the inside cubic flue area you're heating) This requires a lot more heat left up the chimney by opening damper more. If this is not a Papa Bear, and is the smaller Mama Bear, into a 8" outside chimney, yes, you're heating the outdoors as much as indoors, and you're fire is going to be minimal by morning.


    Can't make a determination what the stove will do until you have some known good wood. Red oak with course bark or white oak with fine bark that has wagon wheel cracks in the ends is a start. Then you will have an idea of burn times.
  5. bigblulbz

    bigblulbz New Member

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    If I measure from the back of the box to the door opening I get 30".
  6. bigblulbz

    bigblulbz New Member

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    Yes. Outside chimney. I'm going to have to stick with it the rest of the season, but given, I'm almost positive, its a Papa Bear, what should the proper flue diameter be? Is insulated stove pipe more efficient than a stone chimney?
  7. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    OK, scared me there thinking it would only fit a 24" log. It's a Papa Bear needing a 6 inch chimney and good wood.
  8. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, insulated pipe stays hot inside with a minimum of heat loss. Stone should have a flue liner of some sort, and the mass absorbs heat, requiring much more to keep the inside hot. Heat also rises off the masonry chimney where it penetrates the roof if indoors, and any chimney is cooled by cold outside air when built outdoors up the side of a building. Best way to get a good draft with little heat left up the chimney is a interior insulated prefab metal chimney the same size as stove outlet.

    A stone chimney with 8 inch flue would require a 6 inch stainless liner with insulation poured around the outside of liner pipe to keep the inside hot, making an insulated 6" flue out of the old masonry chimney. This would be required for newer stoves as well.
  9. bigblulbz

    bigblulbz New Member

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    Thank you for educating me on what a flue was. I thought it was just the valve you rotate in the pipe. Only 31 years to learn that. Is my particular flue the reason I go through so much wood? It's just drawing too much air?
  10. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    The pipe damper is what you turn like a valve to regulate the volume that goes up the chimney. The pipe from stove to chimney is called connector pipe, and can be single wall for 18" to combustable or double wall for close clearance down to 6" (in US). The chimney flue starts at the chimney and goes to the top.

    The inside area of your 8" flue needs twice the amount of rising gasses as the 6 inch would require to keep the same "pull" through the stove intake. (what makes the stove get oxygen to burn)

    Rising flue gasses don't actually "pull" the air through the stove intake, barometric air pressure rushes in to fill the void creatd by rising heat out of the air tight box. So as you get low and high pressure areas moving over your area, the air pressure available makes a stove work better some days than others. It's all about inside air pressure of flue vs. outside pressure. (that changes with weather) The larger the hot / cold difference, the better it's going to work. Hence, stronger draft on colder days. A smaller flue area is easier to heat than the larger diameter you have. Once you're keeping more heat in the stove than allowing up the stack, (stack temp approx. half of stove top temp) you can run with intakes just cracked and get longer burns. Chances are running half the temp of your stove top measured 18" up pipe now, isn't going to be enough heat to keep your larger flue clean and drafting properly to get the correct pressure differential. The proper size flue makes a huge difference. Consider it the engine that drives the stove.
    Now if I told you the best stove in the world wouldn't work well with a poor drafting chimney, you'd understand.
    Since you already have the best, it's time to work on the chimney. (and fuel)

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