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How to start an EKO from a cold start

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by sled_mack, Jan 20, 2008.

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  1. sled_mack

    sled_mack New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Conklin, NY
    Just what the title says. I only start about 3 or 4 fires a year where there is no bed of coals to just add more wood onto. Each time is a smokey mess and the first burn doesn't do much more than create a bed of coals for the second burn.

    I'm open for any and all suggestions.

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  2. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    744
    Loc:
    SW Missouri
    My method is, a ball of newspaper, some kindling from wood scraps, and larger fuel. I sometimes leave the door open a bit, blower off, until I hear the crackle. You need a pretty good start before you turn the fan on and pull the lever.

    In a hurry I'll sometimes cheat... a squirt of motor oil drained from my diesel truck. Keep some in a 1 gallon container, when you do an oil change. A small hole drilled in the cap. A little sprinkle over the pile, and one match.

    A little dab will do ya.

    Nothing worse then coming home to find the "pile' never took off.

    hr
  3. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,401
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    I have it down to a science, since I build a fire nearly every day. 6 minutes match to gasification, 100% success rate.

    Described in this thread.
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Paper, pine cones, kindling and the driest wood I can find to start the fire. I leave the ash door and bypass damper open until a good fire starts (never untended at this stage), then put it into gasification mode. Sometimes I have to go back out after about 30 minutes to stir things up and toss another couple of chunks into the firebox. If the wood is dry, that's all it ever takes. If your wood is damp, a little more screwing around is usually on the menu. Once it gets going good, it will pretty much burn clean no matter what you put in there.
  5. tuolumne

    tuolumne New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    172
    Loc:
    Now living in VT, and building new home in VT
    One thing with the crumpled newspaper...a "Nantucket Knot" will work better than just crumpling or twisting. Twist up a length of newspaper, then tie it into a granny knot. A couple of those seem to light a fire better than other approaches. We also use half an egg crate to get a fire going in a cold stove. None of this is needed often since our wood stove goes 24/7!
  6. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    574
    Loc:
    Jerusalem, Ohio;
    I really dont like having to start new, mainly because of the smoke and the babysitting. I was in a hurry one day, and put too much chain saw fuel on the kindling. I use a propagne torch thats used for sweating copper pipe, it has a single action trigger. Well, the burst of flame almost blew my hat off, but I did not get burned at all. Till I later looked in the mirror and my goatee hairs were all singed. Had to bust out the clean chin look. Lesson learned. Old oil and sawdust (dryed) is a great mix, but its a bit smokey for a while.
    How much coals is enough to throw the wood on and walk away? Is it better to even out the bed, or pile them up on top of the nozzles? I take the poker tool and carefully create a hole to the nozzle opening.
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