How do you burn when you are home?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by 69_Eliminator, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. 69_Eliminator

    69_Eliminator
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    Hello All! I am a newbie to burning. This is my first season trying to heat my home with wood. I recently bought a fireplace insert off of Craigslist.

    I am trying to figure out the methods of burning. I have gotten the long overnight burn method down by what I have read here about putting big splits in the back and pulling the coals forward. My current question is what is the best way to burn when you are home? The reason I want to know this is two-fold 1.) to conserve wood and 2.) my fireplace insert is in my tv room and I don't want it so hot that I can't sit in my tv room and relax.

    From my experience the fire burns cleaner when it is hot~ 400* on my stove top thermometer. When I want to chill in the tv room I just have one or two logs on the fire. I check it about 45 minutes and if it's smokey in the firebox I will move the wood around to promote a better burn.

    Does anyone have any advice for this newbie on burning when I'm home, but not making it so hot that it runs me out of me favorite room?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. madison

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    On track IMHO. I burn different lengths, sizes and sometimes species - though now I am about 99% locust for the next 3 yrs. In time, you will adapt loads and use different fan speeds to modulate heat with the different loads of wood and obviously outside temperature.

    Personally, I have been mainly burning chunks, top of the stack oddballs and shorter splits with the moderate temperatures to date.
     
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  3. 69_Eliminator

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    Wow! 99% locust for the next three years! You must have got lucky and found a good source for locust wood.

    I have changed the fan speeds up and even turned the fan off before and that is what kind of brought me to my question. My stove burns really clean around 400* and I usually have to turn the fan off at this temperature and just the radiant heat off of the stove keeps the house warm, but seems like a waste of wood if I'm burning this hot with the fan off.

    thanks for the reply!
     
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  4. dave_376

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    If I am going to be home all day I burn lesser wood poplar or silver maple, I just relaod more often but I'm home so it's not a big deal. If I go out I burn oak/sugar maple. My tv room doesn't get too hot mostly because I have a fan blowing cold air into it.
     
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  5. EatenByLimestone

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    I burn half loads when I'm home and try to keep the temp up so the secondaries are happy.
     
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  6. BobUrban

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    Small and hot - if it is warm enough let it go out or nearly and repeat. If you forget - read the back of your shampoo bottle and substitute lather/rinse with small/hot
     
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  7. 69_Eliminator

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    I have a good amount of Poplar so I will try and burn that primarily when I'm at home. I don't mind reloading more often, especially when I'm in the tv room.
     
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  8. 69_Eliminator

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    I have an old smoke dragon so unfortunately no secondaries for me. What type of temps do you try and keep it up to?
     
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  9. Sprinter

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    That's it. And it's easier if you use smaller splits to avoid a smoldering fire which is easy to do if you just turn down the air on large splits. And like Dave says, this is the time to use your softer wood if you have the choice.
     
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  10. 69_Eliminator

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    This was also a method I was considering from what someone said in a post that I read.
     
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  11. 69_Eliminator

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    Cool! How hot should I get it up to before I let it burn down?

    Thanks!
     
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  12. 69_Eliminator

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    Could you open the air up for larger splits or is it best not to do this and just stick to the smaller splits?
     
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  13. BobUrban

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    Get it hot enough to ignite the secondaries.
     
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  14. BobUrban

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    Either will work - just know your stove and DON'T walk away with a load and open air
     
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  15. 69_Eliminator

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    Sounds like small and hot is the way to go.

    Just to play devil's advocate and educate myself is it bad to burn a cooler fire and just throw a piece on here and there?

    Thanks!
     
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  16. BobUrban

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    YES
     
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  17. Sprinter

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    For an older insert without secondaries, your main concern is to keep the flue temps hot enough to prevent creosote from condensing on the chimney, liner, or whatever. What kind of flue arrangement do you have on this insert? Do you have a liner? How tall is the flue?
     
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  18. 69_Eliminator

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    I follow you on keeping it hot to keep creosote from condensing; I never knew it condensed, I thought it was just in the smoke.

    Unfortunately I am super poor this year and that is why I'm heating with wood because I can't afford fuel oil so I just have the old-school smoke dragon with the masonary chimney. The chimney is probably 15' tall. If I like burning this year I will probably step up to an EPA insert and a liner next year. I plan on sweeping the chimney at least twice this season.
     
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  19. EatenByLimestone

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    I took my thermometer off for some reason or another and misplaced it. Now that I think about it, I used to borrow it often when I wanted to smoke something on the Smokey Joe. It's probably attached to one of the ones out in the back yard. I do what Bob says and get it hot enough for the secondaries to light off. When it's really cooking, the thermometer used to read 7-750. More than a few times it was quite a bit hotter than that. (Try not to get it that hot!) A regular fire was around 500 or so. I have 24 feet of insulated liner giving me a good draft. I probably burn hotter than most.

    You'll learn what works best for your stove and setup. The cleaner you burn it, the less you'll have to clean the chimney.

    Matt
     
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  20. #20 Sprinter, Dec 6, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
    Sprinter

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    Well, it's a less than ideal situation. This sounds like what is called a "slammer" installation, which is the worst way to do it. At least you're aware of the issues. You need to keep your fires hot. Don't allow anything to smolder. Creosote is a gas given off by the hot fuel until it condenses on a surface, similar to water vapor. That happens at about 250F. Unfortunately, your unlined, uninsulated, chimney will be difficult to prevent that from happening. So do inspect and sweep often.

    If you can at all swing it, installing a stainless liner would go a long way in making your experience a safer and more enjoyable one. If you're a DIY'er it doesn't have to be expensive.

    But the single most important factor is the moisture content of your wood. What is your wood supply and do you know it's moisture content with a moisture meter?
     
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  21. toddnic

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    You're getting some good input from everyone! I just want to say "Welcome to the forum" and I really like your car!
     
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  22. 69_Eliminator

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    Thanks for the information. As soon as this snow melts off my roof I'm going to get up there and inspect the chimney. The chimney company said it doesn't need to be swept unless it has an 1/8" of buildup. Is that a good rule of thumb?

    The wood I am currently burning is Yellow Poplar. I don't have a moisture meter or even know what one is, but rarely ever do I hear any logs hissing like they are wet.
     
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  23. 69_Eliminator

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    Thanks for the welcome Todd! I love to kick back next to my insert and read up on this forum. I have learned some amazing information in the past month that probably would have taken me years to figure out on my own!

    I wish that were my car. It is my dream muscle car though, but I would probably want it in competition orange. If I can't afford a true '69 Eliminator one day I will build a clone. I have loved those cars since I was a kid. My first car was a '70 Cougar that I wanted to make an Eliminator clone out of.
     
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  24. EatenByLimestone

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    1/8" of glossy creosote sounds like too much to me. I can't imagine what that would sound like lighting off.
     
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  25. toddnic

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    Feeling the Heat

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    My first car was a 1970 Chevelle SS >> Can't believe that I sold it to get a Honda Prelude SI !!!. For fun, I currently have a 1977 MGB Roadster and have been looking at some older Vettes. I find it is fun working on them in the winter and driving all spring and summer. Thankfully my PH will also keep the garage warm with a little help from a fan ;) Again, welcome to the forum!
     
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