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How do I avoid the Firey Gates of Hell

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Goater32, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Goater32

    Goater32 New Member

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    Besides all of the smart guy answers this will get, After reloads normally on 300 degrees or sothe fire will take off and secondarys will just go crazy for an hour or so and chew threw my wood really fast. I normally let the air wide open on a reload for 15-20 min till just around 430 front door trim temp stove top with ir is normally around 500 or so. I start cutting air back a little at a time over about another 30 min andthe stove top is around 560 or so front door trim around 475. At that point if i cut the air more i loose all flame on wood and the gates of hell open. Do i need to cut the air back slower or faster. Just a little confused. I had a great burn yesterday. 4 logs and heated the house for 6 hours and thought i had it down, now tonight load it up and and the gates of hell appeared. Thanks for any advice

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  2. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

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    Wisdom from BrotherBart...

    Burn it down to enough coals to make a six to ten inch row all the way across the front. Drag’em into that row and place the N/S splits in with the front of the splits on top of the row of coals. Then cigar burn the load. From front to back. If you place a new load of splits on top of hot coals all of the outgassing happens at once and not only wastes heat but is a pain in the butt to try and control.

    If you want to burn E/W, do the same coal dragging drill but drag the ash and coals all forward and stack two big splits on top of each other in the back. Then lay a medium to big split according to how thick and hot the coal bed in the front is on the coal bed and give it ten minutes to fifteen minutes to rock and roll and then ease the primary air back in three steps to a steady burn. What you want to do is get the back splits hot and just starting to release gases but just be burning the front one.

    With the E/W you are looking for blue flames burning on top of the splits at a steady rate. Not a bunch of fire blasting out of the front of the burn tubes.
    I just set up the E/W for the night and it looks like a natural gas log in the thing. And it is gonna sit there and burn at five fifty for a really long time.
  3. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    Each load is a bit different, but to be honest I'm not sure what you're asking. It sounds like you're doing pretty well. By the way that is a beautiful unit.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like your wood is nice and dry. Try cutting back the air more aggressively. Start at about 5-10 minutes and cut the air back to where the flames get lazy and start to waft. Wait 5-10 minutes and cut it back again. Do that until the air can't be cut back anymore.
  5. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Okay, smart guy answers aside, and the nitty-gritty details of wood placement and air adjustment also aside, maybe some of your reloads are hotter than others. Maybe try reloading at a lower temp, say 275 or 250; if I reload at 300+, my stove will "take off" too. Getting control of it is not a problem, but I'd rather just wait another hour or two and have a 'cooler' reload.
  6. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    ok I gotta ask - "gates of hell"? This is the fire pouring / blasting out of the burn tubes as kingquad described?
    Joful likes this.
  7. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    If you reload at higher temps don't be afraid to cut the air down earlier. I have taken to cutting the air back based on how the fire looks, not by how hot the face of the stove is. If I cut it back too early and put the secondaries out by accident I just open it up for a couple minutes, then close it back down.

    When I was going off the stove temp I kept having runaways. Each load will burn hotter/colder faster/slower then every other load and add to that the lag of the stove heating up and indicating an equalized temp on the guage and you end up with an unpredictable result. I've had gates of hell secondary burn take off from a cool start at 200* stove temp and end up peaking at well over 700 with the air shut all the way down. It took off so quickly that the stove temp guage was lagging due to the thermal mass of the stove taking a while to heat up, if I had started shutting it down when it looked like I should vs waiting for a magic temp on the guage I would have shut it down at 200* and probably would have been fine.

    Since I have started ignoring the temp guage and going just off how the fire looks I have had no more runaways, can fairly easily hit my desired cruise temp, and wood is lasting longer.
  8. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    I define it as such:

    The secondaries look like blow torches, the secondaries and baffle plate are glowing a very bright orange, you can't have exposed skin within 5' of the door glass because it hurts, the stove temp is up to 700 and still rising, and you have had the air closed all the way off and the blower on high and the thing just keeps getting hotter and hotter.
    Blue2ndaries and bag of hammers like this.
  9. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    brian89gp - thanks for that sanity check. I have to admit I've never heard of the "gates of hell" before - but apparently I've been in that neighborhood too :eek: .

    I can't say I've ever seen any parts glowing or all the tubes blasting fire like that, although I have seen things light up closer to what you described on maybe 1 or 2 occasions (thankfully not often) - and I honestly can't recall exactly what I did to cause it. I guess as you mentioned there's some unpredictability with each load. Not much I could do except wait for the fire to calm down.

    Also - once in a while I get a small sample of this behavior - the "torches" that pop out of one tube or the other from just a few of the air holes, and sort of dance across (from one side of the tube to the other) then disappear. It's quite the show but doesn't last long. Maybe this is just a teaser and I'm on the verge of the gates of hell? But typically now I get the nice lazy flames and secondaries as often described here, pretty consistently.
    etiger2007 likes this.
  10. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    Its more that the secondaries get so hot that they become self-feeding, eg overfire or runaway stove and you can't stop it.

    I think you have a little ways to go from the sounds of it. Yours sound lazy to barely active.

    Put a load of a bunch of small splits of very dry Sweet Gum and wait. That was my first fire...thought I was gonna burn the house down.
  11. Blue2ndaries

    Blue2ndaries Minister of Fire

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    The only thing I would add is your stove begins "ticking" from the metal parts and flue expanding and the ticking grows progressively faster and faster heightening ones paranoia that the stove will soon catastrophically explode. :eek: Not that I've ever experienced this...:oops:
  12. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    closest I've come to that feeling is walking away from a cold start with the right combination of really dry kindling / splits and primary air wide open (went to make coffee). Came back to a very very hot flue temp in no time - scary. So far my established / secondary burns are probably, as you guessed, pretty lazy for the most part. But - the house still standing, place is warm, and chimney generally very clean, so I guess I'm doing OK.

    My stove loves to "chatter" like that, on cold starts and to a lesser degree, on the re-starts (if I let it go too long before a re-load). I'd have to assume all the steel units do the same to a certain extent. I hear you on the paranoia thing. If it started popping / pinging big time after it was already running hot, I think I'd be pretty nervous. Nice to hear your stove and you haven't made the headlines ;lol.
  13. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Day = OK, night = runaway. Maybe the cooler night air gave you too much draft? Some common problems:

    Overdraft from too tall of a chimney
    Air leaks / mis-adjusted air inlet - won't allow you to close down air far enough
    Wood split too small - the wood only burns on the surface, but 8 small splits have way more surface than 2-3 large ones of equal weight
    Also sounds like you are letting her rip pretty good before closing down. Often it's hard to gain control once the wood is 'all' on fire as closing down the air just makes it hotter.
  14. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    den,
    Can you reload when it is "too hot" on purpose, just not put much wood in the box so as to avoid a "take off"? Lets say you have a small lazy fire and a very hot and full coal bed, and want to beef up he "display" of it. The box isn't ready to be reloaded per say, but you have company over and want a good strong fire going. Can you just pop in a split or two, wait 5 minites and close bypass and air back off without a problem?

    And, how do you "get control" of it, if it does take off on you? (all speaking on the Progress of course! ;) )

    That makes ALOT of sense. Seems many on here seem to over-think or over-control the stoves via theory instead of common sense/visuals.
  15. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    That sounds like what some folks do regularly to burn down the coals and make more room for the next full load of wood. Shouldn't be a problem if it's just a small split or two burning fast & hot, not enough total heat output to hurt anything. If you do that with a full load on a h0t bed, that's how you get the "nuclear" situation and get to worry about overheating the stove.

    More of a problem on non-cats, because you can't shut the air down. (I think the Progress would be in this category.)

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/going-nuclear.90144/

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/cooling-a-hot-stove.90928/
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If you are good boys and girls and say your prayers every night you should avoid the fiery gates of hell.
  17. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Smaller coal bed, raked forward. Bigger splits. Earlier cutting back of the air. Make sure that you don't have any gasket leaks. I love the fire show and the seeing glimpses of gates of hell, so long as stovetop temps don't get above 700.
    eclecticcottage likes this.
  18. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    begreen, LOVE those fun bags on the woman in your avatar! ;)

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