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How can we extend burn time?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Charlene Kravec, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. Charlene Kravec

    Charlene Kravec New Member

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    I've noticed that we don't seem to be able to get an extended burn time much beyond five hours.
    Our VC Sequoia (see avatar) is fairly tight air-wise with the exception of about a small 1 inch vertical gap at the top of the door where the doors meet. No cracks inside the box that we are aware of. We have seasoned wood: elm, poplar, hack berry, black walnut. The damper appears to fit tightly when closed. The air control device functions. The firebox will accommodate up to 22" logs. We have triple wall pipe.
    Can you advise me about those elements that may affect the burn time.? Do certain species of wood garner greater burn times than others?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

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  2. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    That thing has a 4.2 cubic ft firebox, you should be getting 8 hours loaded up at a minimum. Wood species does make a difference, with Oak being one of the best most used hardwoods.

    Sounds like you might have an air leak on your door which would make a hotter burn and reduce your burn times.
  3. Charlene Kravec

    Charlene Kravec New Member

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    The left door upper hinge has been welded and I wonder if the door fits as tightly as it should. The small gap between the top of the two doors should be an easy fix.
    Is there any way of telling whether a door is leaking or not (for example: more soot or darker shading of soot on the inside)? The "dollar bill" test around all of the door edges? Gaskets appear to be in good shape.
  4. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    I have to agree, it sounds like a possible air leak(s). You seem pretty solid on the hardwood and the stove itself. Another possibility is where your air lever is at for your cruising temperature? Depending on the outdoor temps where I live dictates how warm I am inside. Today was in the mid 30's here and I had my Oslo's air lever set at about halfway and my stovetop temps average at about 500 deg. I get about a good 7-8 hours out of that, the temps then fall off to about 350 ish. Are you burning fully open air?
  5. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Burning incense or something smokey around the door and looking to see if it drafts it will let you know.
  6. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Can you take a picture of the gap? Im not sure where you mean. Yes, try the dollar bill test all around the doors on both doors.
  7. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    Its amazing the vacuum a burning fire will produce to keep itself alive...
  8. Charlene Kravec

    Charlene Kravec New Member

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    Last year we burned it with the air control open quite a bit because of the inferior quality of the wood we were able to obtain (unseasoned oak). This year we have been burning last year's stacks (excluding oak). We have been using the blower also, which I didn't mention previously.
    I can take a picture of the gap and post it.
    Oh, one other thing. The Vermont Castings manual says that when you reduce the air to the box you should turn down the blower as well. That doesn't make sense to me. The manual says that if you don't turn down the blower you will be cooling the box. But then you are reducing the amount of heat coming out of the unit. I mentioned this to our fireplace tech and he doesn't understand this either.
  9. Bearhead

    Bearhead New Member

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    I am having the same issue with my VC Sequoia 36 model. I am getting a 3 - 4 hour burn. I have dampered the outside air tubes and can adjust the outside air damper better now. It is still burning a big load of wood too fast 3 - 4 hours. Someone has to know how to control the burn rate better. It was sold to me with the understanding we would get a 12 - 14 hour burn. Please help!
  10. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    What are your dealers telling you that you bought the VC from? They should be of some help, that is a massive firebox and shouldn't be getting such short burn times. With that big of a firebox, if you are packing these stoves full of wood it must be going nuclear to only burn for 3 hours.
  11. Bearhead

    Bearhead New Member

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    The dealer I bought it from suggested the dampers in the intake tubes to reduce the outside air flow. The local distributor for VC was a total waste of time, said to call VC customer service, which was a waste of time. so here I am. I have packed the fire box full and it will last 4 - 5 hours and have a #10 can of ash left. This thing has to have an air leak somewhere. It is a cat model. Any suggestions in air leakage??
  12. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    That doesn't sound right at all.
  13. Bearhead

    Bearhead New Member

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    The distributor for the VC Sequoia 36 told me to check door gaskets (good and tight), that the bypass damper closed completely (it does), outside of that he had no clue to the fast burn rate. I called VC 800 number told to leave a message, I did a year ago, no call from them. From other site on the net, I get the idea that once you buy it it is your baby to fix if something is defective. I cannot find complete diagram of the unit, just external replacement parts. I was hoping someone has had a similar problem and found the problem and could lead me in the right direction on the cure. YES, with a full load this thing must get to 600+ degrees, catalytic bed and catalytic protective plate get red but interior does not, but it sure gets HOT. I say too much combustion air, but how do I slow it down?????
  14. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Don't know what that means, catalytic bed and catalytic protective plate.....you don't want any part of your stove other than the burning catalyst itself to get red.

    If you are burning a 4.4 cu ft load in 4 hours, you are producing a huge amount of heat. Where is it going? How hot is your flue? Have you an internal temp gage for the flue? How hot is your stove top getting? How warm is your room/home getting? Are you producing enough heat in those four hours to not need another fire for many hours? Or to light a very small fire subsequently?

    None of this is sensible. You must have too much air getting into the stoves to burn that much wood that quickly.

    These are cat stoves. I'd try loading these stoves with the largest logs you can fit in the stove, to minimize surface area during the burn. Then I would use a super cedar to start the fire, and as soon as the wood has caught I would close the bypass and shut the air way down. It may take half an hour or more for the stove o get up top operating temp, but you may find that you are able to maintain a slower cat burn this way, and get a much longer burn.

    You want to both slow down the rate and temperature of the burn. The above should help you to do so. Ultimately, you have to find and control the source of excess air to the stove. If it is a failure of design and not a defect in the stove, then you may have to figure out a way to jury rig things to reduce air to the stove.

    Manwhile, try the above and report back.
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The Sequoia has a flame impingement plate under the cat.
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    A perfect recipe for a smoking smoldering mess. Get that stove up to at least 250 stove top temp to light off that cat before you shut down anything.
  17. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Brother Bart, it is one suggestion of Woodstock for those who have their fires get large quickly, and are unable to maintain a cat vs secondary burn because of draft. It may sound like it would not, but it works, I've done it many times. No smoking smouldering mess.
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Rostsu ruc doing that in a Sequoia.
  19. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    You may very well be right. I thought it was worth a try, since they are getting such short burn times....
  20. STIHLY DAN

    STIHLY DAN Minister of Fire

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    Are these basement installs?

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