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Help me not hate my Regency F3100.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by pearlgirl, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    We got a Regency F3100 last winter at the very end of February. After spending $800 a month on oil, we needed something else. (This was $800 a month keeping the thermostat at 62 at the highest, and it was a very mild winter for this area.) We have an antique cookstove in our kitchen, and we supplemented last winter with that, and it made that side of the house awesomely warm with little effort. This made us want to go with a wood stove for the rest of the house. I am completely regretting it right now and hate our stove.

    Right now we have over $5000 into this thing counting the stove, install, and all the wood we have purchased and I can't get the room it's in above 70 so far today. (It's almost noon, first reloaded after the overnight burn at 5:30, reloaded again around 9:00, and right now it's over 40F outside.)

    Our house is 3000 square feet, and we thought set up ideally for the woodstove. Even the forced air furnace relies on heat rising, as there are no vents above the first level. Our living room is in the middle of the house. The one end of the living room has a stair case that goes up to a 3 story section of our house, the other end of the living room has 3 steps up to a large landing that has our kitchen, a den, bathroom, and a second set of stairs up to a 2nd story on that side with two bedrooms. So when you look at our house from the front it kind of looks like the letter U. 3 stories up on one side, first floor level in the middle (where the stove is), and a 2 story part on the other side.

    So ideally the living room is roasting out with this huge stove, and the heat rises up and out of this room to heat the other two sections that are higher than this room. Problem is, this room does not get hot. We were told and asked multiple times if we were sure we wanted this big stove in this room that we have it in. It's about a 350 square foot room. We were told repeatedly we'd be sweated out of this room. WE WISH. It's not happening, not even close.

    I have talked to the dealer we bought it from several times. She has an excuse for every single angle that deflects the issues off of them and on to us. Our wood isn't dry, there is a slider in the room the stove is in (we have thermal curtains on it), the temp inside is relative to the temp outside (yeah that's my worry if I can only get 68 when it's 40 out what is going to happen when it's -10?), I could go on and on and on.

    I have a moisture reader. The wood I have been using reads 0%-4% moisture on the end facing the stove (it's in hoop stand) and under 20% on the other end. We bought it seasoned last spring, had it out all summer, covered all fall, and inside now.

    I get the stove going, get it really flaming, the secondary burn kicks in and I let it go a bit longer, the needle on the thermometer goes way up, everything inside is glowing orange even some times. (I don't know temps as I don't exactly trust the thermometer we have, it busted and I put it back together, it's on my list to get a new one.) But without knowing temps, trust me, I know it's hot. I think some times it's too hot. So then I turn the air down and 5-45 minutes later the secondary burn goes out. I can't seem to configure any kind of method that makes a good secondary burn go much longer than that. Some times it goes out right away, usually if I turn the air down too much too fast. I have better luck if I go slower most times but even still if I go too low with the air it will go out.

    I admit it's possible our wood is not seasoned well enough, but I feel strongly it's more than that. Even if the wood has some moisture it's not green, and I burn it hot to get it going and the stove gets really hot and the secondary burn happens so doesn't the moisture cook out at first? How does it affect what happens after that?

    It seems like the stove gets really hot, it gets flaming great, the secondary burn gets going great and if I were to leave the air open we'd be getting lots of heat and it'd be super warm, but the stove would easily, quickly, start to over fire. So I have to turn the air down, but when I do that the stove starts to cool, the secondary burn doesn't last very long at all, and then I just end up with a smouldering small flame or two fire that barely keeps the room warm. Where is the happy medium that makes my house warm?

    If you got this far GOD BLESS YOU!

    Sarah

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  2. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Re split a peace of that wood and test it on a fresh split with your meter.
    PapaDave likes this.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Greetings Sarah. This does sound like a case of partially seasoned wood, though you are pushing the limits of this stove with that amount of square footage. To test the wood moisture you need to check the core not the end grain. Take an axe or maul and resplit a few splits of wood. Then place your moisture meter on the freshly exposed inner surface of the wood. That will give you a much more accurate reading. If this is oak, it needs a couple years to fully season.

    Definitely pick up a new thermometer asap so that you have some accurate temps. And take heart, the house may not be at 80F, but even at 70F you are saving oil and a lot warmer than 62F. When it drops to 10F, run both stoves.
  4. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    Hi. Thanks for your quick responses. I feel frustrated to hear we are pushing the limits of the stove, because it's advertised for 3500 square feet, and we do have less, and the square footage is layered basically in two sections of the house, where heat will rise up through it. Plus of course we went into the dealer telling them what we wanted to do, and it's sounding like the sold us the wrong thing. Our flooring on the 3 story side is hard wood floors only, one layer of basically 2 x 4. No carpet, or drywall or anything. I understand that when it gets really cold it might not be enough to totally do it with a house this big, but it's November, it's 40 out and it's not doing it. I really truly hope that it's the wood. We will split some of the stuff we are using and see what it says.
  5. TTigano

    TTigano Member

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    Sarah, in what state are you located? Regency makes a great product and I'm also suspecting the wood. Do as the others said and split a piece and check moisture readings on the fresh side of the split. I bought my stove last year as well (Hampton is the cast iron product of Regency)... I also had problems with what I thought was the stove and it was the wood... Outside splits were reading 20% on the moisture meter and the insides were over 50%... That was the problem... Also, with the stove getting really hot and with a raging fire, you should have the secondaries going NUTS when you shut the air off.. At least that's when mine burn great.. If you are suspect of the wood at all, go down to the local supermarket and as high cost as it is, buy a bundle of the kiln dried firewood they sell. Also, you could try the bio brick compressed hardwood sawdust logs they sell at Tractor Supply... If you use those... be very careful as they burn EXTREMELY HOT.... Once you make sure you have the correct fuel and learn to use the stove to burn nicely, think about how you can move the air around the house... If you have any ceiling fans, put them in reverse on the lowest setting possible. It will begin to get the air moving by natural convection. Also, a small floor fan on low blowing towards the stove has always helped me out as well. Goodluck and keep us up to what's happening.... This site is great and will help you get through this hurdle.
  6. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    Hi, thanks TTigano! I am in upstate NY. I do get the secondary burn going nuts after I shut down the air, it just doesn't last. That's what we're missing I guess. I did buy wood from the store, and it was super easy to shut down the air a lot quicker and the temp actually went UP after I shut down the air which never happens with the wood we have, but that secondary gang busters burn in the tubes still only lasted 1.5 hours with the store bought packs of wood. And it did nothing to help the temps in the room. How long does your going NUTS 2ndary burn usually last?

    So far this forum has been awesome. I have been trying to read around and learn. I know there is lots to learn, that is for sure.
  7. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    That 3100 should be BLOWING you out of that room. As everyone else said, check your wood again. I burned the I3100 for 4 - 5years in NY winters & it was a kick-a$$ heater. Your stove will do a lot towards reducing your $4.00 + per gallon oil dependence.
  8. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    Exactly DAKSY! That's what we expect and what we want, I guess we just need better wood, which isn't too easy to come by. They don't tell you when you buy your stove you should have started seasoning wood 3 summers ago!

    Is there anything else that could be giving us troubles? Just any other thoughts if say the wood ends up ok? Or better than it seems at first? (Waiting for my husband to get home to split some of the wood.) We already had to have them completely rebuild our chimney as the clearances were not to code, and it was not high enough. We do have creosote IN the box too. Our glass is clean of creosote but has a white film on it that wipes off with water and wet papertowel. (If it's ever cool enough to actually do that!) There is creosote in the back though, above the bricks. You can see it shining back there when the flames are bright enough.
  9. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    What is your insulation and draft sealing like? My Fireview should heat most of my 2000 sf house but we are very drafty and leaky - having spray foam insulAtion added to the crawlspace and rim joists next week, and we are always sealing, caulking, etc agAinst breezes and drafts...

    Oh and with $5K into the setup I'd be asking the dealer for a freebie thermometer and a discount on a cord of wood or pressed bricks! ;)
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The stove is listed to heat up to 3000 sq ft, but that is ambiguous because it depends on the house insulation, house layout, climate zone, etc.. This 3000 sq ft maximum can only be achieved with fully seasoned wood. However, if the house is leaky and poorly insulated then it's not the stove. It's hard to heat the outdoors without going very large. Many people need multiple stoves or a wood furnace in this circumstance.

    Check the re-split wood and let us know what you find the inner moisture level is.
  11. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    We are having one of those home energy audits in the morning actually. We are not too drafty per say, but we have two basements, one being a late 1800's cellar. It's COLD down there even in the summer. I can tell the stove is pulling that cool air up, so we have some insulating and sealing to do for sure. We'll see tomorrow what advice they have. I am thinking though that some drafty is good right to supply the stove with air? I honestly have been given the impression that this stove would be such a heat creating beast that we'd probably be "glad" it's a bit drafty or we'd be too hot in here to stand it. Seriously. You should have seen the faces the initial quote guy made, as well as the installers made about this big stove in this room. The thing about our house is that this stove is VERY centrally located. Even though the house is big, the stove is in the middle, and everything it has to heat is up from this room. It's not like the stove is on one end of a 3000 sq ft ranch and we are expecting rooms on the other end to be warm. And it is getting to the places we want, our rooms are not freezing, but I'd prefer 90 in this room and 70 every where else, rather than 70 in this room and lucky to get 60 else where. And again it's only 40 out!

    Thanks so much for all the thoughts and help here. I have been so frustrated by this whole experience!
  12. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    I do understand. It's just this room is 350 square feet and it's rated for 10 times that. So, I'm not expecting the tropics in January, but....... well let's just hope it's the wood. A wood furnace might have been a better choice, but no one even mentioned it. We were given a hard sell for coal, but really did not want another non-renewable source.

    I am running the cookstove today, and it's nice in here, we may have to run both quite a bit, especially when it's really cold. I have some safety concerns about it though, so will have to get those remedied if it's going to be something we depend on.

    I
  13. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    Well the stove itself with installation was maybe 3400? The rest of the 5K is wood we've got stacked outside. We are trying to at least be prepared for next year, even if this year isn't going to go so well with the wood we have. So, we've got over 25 FC out there right now and want to get at least another 10 in the next couple weeks if we can.
    Leslielou and PapaDave like this.
  14. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Your secondary burn is only going to last as long as the smoke and other volatiles are there to burn. Once the wood reaches the coaling stage, the secondary show is going to go away. Depending on the size of the load, 1.5 hours may be normal.

    Are you cutting the air back in stages, or going from wide open to shut down?

    I agree your fuel is suspect. Lots of NY folks here. Maybe someone is near you and can work out a swap for some dry wood.
  15. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    It sure sounds like your wood. You had much better results (although not perfect) with the store bought wood. I'm not familiar with that stove, but 1.5 hours of crazy secondaries isn't too terrible. Maybe you didn't load it up fully? It's also completely possible that the store bought wood was just "better" than your wood, and not "great". As I'm sure your learning from reading this site, wet wood seems to be the cause of the vast majority of problems people encounter with EPA stoves.
  16. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I think you're going to fit right here. :)
    jeff_t likes this.
  17. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    I have done it both ways, cut it right down quick, and in stages. With the dry wood from the grocery store I was basically able to shut the air down all the way, straight off the bat and the 2ndary burn did hold. With the less seasoned wood I can't cut it down quick at all, it just goes out within 3 minutes, so I do it slowly. Some times I think I've got it really hot and it's just going so awesome I should be able to shut it down faster but I can't.

    So here is my question, if the 2ndary burn goes out after 1.5 hours, what do you do then? (The load was 2 of those packs you buy at the store) Or whenever the 2ndary burn stops, what do you do? I mean in the night, we've gone to bed so we aren't there to do anything. Is it safe for it to basically smoulder like that? That is what it's doing at that point right if it's at the coaling stage and there are no flames?

    I left a message with a guy claiming to have wood split 2-3 years and under a roof (open sides) the whole time. If I can get it from him I will. Though I think I will ask if we can split a piece first and check it! :)

  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If you find the wood is a bit damp on the inside can you move some of it indoors for a few weeks?

    When secondary burn ends you are in the coaling stage. There is still a lot of heat given off by the wood. The heat will gradually taper down as the coals give up their heat. In that size stove you should be about 8-10 hrs between reloads, though this time may be shorter when the stove is pushed a bit harder. This is where having a good thermometer for guidance will help.

    Tell us about your safety concerns with the kitchen stove.
  19. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    Thank you. :) I am glad we are doing some thing right. We really intended to do better this year even, and start buying and stacking when we got the stove, but our son ended up in the hospital for nearly a month last spring and well our whole lives (and bank account) just really got out of whack. But no need to over share, lol, so I'll leave it at that! Next year will be better!
  20. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    Boy you have a lot of territory for heat to escape 1st level. I will bet you can feel cold air coming down the stairs. How old is the home and how well is it sealed up against infiltration of external air over all? Do you have the OAK ( outside air intake )hooked up as this will give a bit more positive pressure in the home rather than pulling combustion air solely from with in the home through every possible leak. A ceiling fan in the stove room might also help by pushing the heated air down as right now it is running across the ceiling and then up the stairs. For me cold air swirling around my ankles and toes makes me feel like I am in a deep freeze-don't care what the thermostat says. ( I have a 20 ft wide by 100+ deep shop, ceiling starts at 14ft and rises to 22 ft I have one ceiling fan at the peak the amount of heat driven down by it is amazing)
  21. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I don't see anywhere in this thread where it states what temperature the stove has gotten. How hot are you getting the stove? 300 degrees? 500? 700?

    What are your stove top temps?
  22. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    When you reach that point, the gases escaping the wood are minimal, and there is nothing left to gunk up the chimney. It is said that 50% of the BTUs come from the coaling stage.
  23. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    I don't have an accurate stove top thermometer. I know I need to get one. :) The baffle bricks were glowing orange last night, so it was hot. It is getting hot, like I said possibly too hot at times.
  24. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    No question next year will better. You're well on your way! You will amazed at how much better things are with good, dry wood.

    Blades has some good suggestions for moving heat. A ceiling fan would probably help a lot with your layout. Also, a small fan on the floor pointed into the stove room or better yet one on each end pointing into the stove room will probably help a lot as well. Of course, your first problem is creating enough heat to really worry about moving it. Based on your stoves specs, you should definitely be able to heat that room up easily with good wood. Whether or not it will really heat your whole house is still a question. You have a lot of house there. Regardless, you should be able to substantially reduce your oil needs.
  25. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

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    When it is in the coaling stage where should the air be?

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