1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

I need help operating my stove!!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Johnpolk, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    92
    I don't feel like I am getting the most out of my stove. I have been lurking these forums for months and have learned a lot, but it makes me think I'm doing something wrong. I have a quadrafire isle royale and am very happy with the stove, but I am not sure that I'm running it properly. I don't typically get any sort of brilliant light shows from my secondaries like I read others talk about. Sometimes I will see some flames coming out of the tubes but its usually isolated and only when I have the stove full and burning hard. I guess I am wondering if that is normal or what I should expect to see

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. burnt03

    burnt03 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Messages:
    231
    Loc:
    Peachland, BC, Canada
    Mine is like that too. I only get really crazy secondaries when it's super hot.

    I figure that if I'm getting good heat from the stove and producing a minimum of smoke from the chimney, I must be doing OK.....
  3. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    92
    I wonder the same thing. When my stove is up to temp and cruising along, I don't see smoke from the chimney. With that said I can have that situation and not really notice anything going on with the secondaries. So are they doing anything or is it just the fact that the firebox is insulated and I have a high enough temperature in the firebox to burn the gases off? Just curious what other people see when they burn.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,057
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    It could be fine or it could be a sign of partially seasoned wood. Do you have a thermometer on the stove top? If yes, what temps are you reading? What are you setting the air control to?
  5. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    92
    I do have suspicions about my wood. The stuff I'm burning I purchased hoping that I would have some nice dry wood. It looks and feels seasoned. It's Maple and he said it was split last February. Sometimes I will hear some hissing going on which is obviously a bad sign. That seems rare though and I'm hoping its an occasional wet piece. Otherwise seems to burn fine, considering its my first year I don't know any different though. I do have a stove too thermometer and I try to get the stove to settle down around 550 or 600. I will usually end up about 1/4 open on the primary air control to achieve that.
  6. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    The air to the tubes is not controlled i.e. you cannot cut the air to them. How hot does your stove get? I have used an IR handheld to measure how hot the burn tubes are at different points after a startup. It seems like my handheld only goes up to 800 or so. My secondary burn doesn't reaslly get going until after my handheld pegs. My guess is that the tubes are over 1000 F at that point.

    Maybe buy a decent IR handheld (over 1000 F) and see how hot your tubes are.

    What about your wood? Kind and how dry?

    Chimney length?

    MnDave
  7. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,276
    Loc:
    Chittenden, VT
    I second the comment regarding the thermometer. It really helped me understand my insert correctly and to burn it much more efficiently. A moisture meter may also not hurt if you are new to woodburning. I still get sometimes surprised by the wood I thought was seasoned.
  8. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    92
    Can someone define what secondaries should look like? I sometimes see two different phenomena. One is flames coming out of the secondary burn tubes, another is random blue flames floating in open air like northern lights. The two seem to happen in correlation to each other. The flames by burn tubes first and floating flames later as the fire burns down. Doesn't seem to happen every fire though so it makes me think sometimes I'm doing something right and sometimes I'm not. I just want to learn how to run this thing correctly
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,057
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    It sounds like you are getting the hang of things. That random blue flame pattern floating above the wood is just about ideal. You can get fountains of fire coming from the secondary ports, but that is not the most efficient way to burn. What you are seeing is the initial outgassing of the wood creating the fire spouts from the burn tubes, then that lazy flame dance as the initial burst of wood gas slows down.

    Experiment a bit more with the stove as the weather gets colder. The wood will also be a month drier. You may want to run it in the 650F range at that point.

    PS: If you can start stocking up on next years wood now, go for it.
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  10. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    92
    I have b
  11. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    I would love to stick around and discuss this but I have a sick snowmobile in my garage WHERE MY WIFES' CAR GOES !!! !

    One last thing that comes to mind is the design of the IR vs say the 5700 (which I have).

    On the 5700 (and all their non-cast stoves) there is baffle plate on the top just over the secondary burn tubes. In my mind this traps wood gas very effectively and causes that "ceiling of fire" they talk about.

    Now I do recall opening a cast stove from the top loader (not sure if it was an IR). I do recall seeing secondary burn tubes with a real cool system for swinging them out of the way however I don't recall seeing a large baffle plate system similar in size to what the 5700 has.

    That baffle size is what I think contributes most to the "brilliant light show".

    Gotta go.
    MnDave
  12. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    I run my fan so hard that my stovetop temp may not be comparable to yours. But I recall that when I have run it without the fan I would say that the secondary burn was moderately strong down to 550 stovetop. That large baffle on the 5700 traps the gas and if you have good coals and the box is hot then the show is good.

    Any chance that you have a blockage? I now recall asking the salesman how well those swinging secondaries sealed up to the air port. He didn't even know what I was talking about.

    MnDave
  13. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    92
    I wouldn't think it's blocked but I wouldn't know where to look to find out. It does have the top load with the swinging secondaries but we have never used the top load.
  14. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    If I am not mistaken, Jags (member here) has an IR. He knows all the ins-and-outs of his stove.
  15. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Let the stove cool. Open the top loader and check the tubes one way and then check the port or manifold in the main stove body. A shop vac with a tight nozzle would be ideal. The vac should not sound too much different as you try to pull air through the unit.

    Also check that there is a tight fit between the swinging part and the port. I would think that those assemblies need to touch without any gap or a very small gap less than 1/16 inch.

    MnDave
  16. northernontario

    northernontario Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Ontario
    If the wood was cut, split, and stacked this year, it could be dry enough... or not enough. My experience is that wood that has seasoned for a whole summer will be mostly dry, and will feel dry when you split a piece open... but it's still not an optimal burn. For proper secondary burn, you need a hot fire chamber. That means a lot of really hot coals, and dry splits. If you're still hearing hissing, it's not dry enough. I'm in the same boat... my stuff just isn't perfectly dry yet.

    Something else to consider... how tall is your chimney? I found I've had to add to my chimney to get proper draft. Even with 2 year seasoned wood I didn't get optimal burning, and anything other than almost wide open damper... and you just didn't get a good burn. I started with 15' of chimney height, 2nd year added 3' for a nominal difference (likely drier wood), and this year I added another 3'. Now I'm at 21' of chimney height, and the thing actually BURNS! I can use the damper, the stove will take off, and I do get more heat. But throw some wood in that has only been seasoning for 6 months, and it dies down... too much moisture.
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    We've found that it is rare for wood sellers to split until just before delivery. However, some do but we've also found that those who do will split the wood and then just let the wood sit in a big heap. In this way, except for the very outside layer of wood, that wood just won't dry worth a hoot. It needs to be stacked and to let the wind do the drying and we also recommend a full year for maple. If any oak, that needs 3 years after splitting and stacking. Always beware when buying firewood.

    With this in mind, it should be a clue that you need to buy your next year's wood as soon as you possibly can. Then stack it (off the ground) in a windy spot until you need it. For stacking off the ground, landscape timbers will work nicely but there are many ways to do this. Just so the wood is off the ground and it helps allowing air to flow through.
  18. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    92
    I appreciate all the advice on the wood. I knew that the wood I was cutting wouldn't be ready so I took a chance and bought this maple. I went to his house to look at it and he had it stacked then but I don't believe it was stacked there since February.
  19. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,215
    Loc:
    Soutwest VA
    Sounds like your doing fine you don't need a raging secondary fire when it gets like that your just wasting wood.
    etiger2007 likes this.
  20. etiger2007

    etiger2007 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,223
    Loc:
    Clio Michigan


    Secondaries should look like this. No raging secondaries as Corey stated your just wasting wood if they look like a jets afterburners.
    burnt03 likes this.
  21. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    IMO, this is an excellent YouTube video to show what a nicely controlled burn should look like around those secondary burn tubes. Just waves of burning gas.

    Before I added a stovepipe damper my secondary burn tubes were totally engulfed in flames, even with the burn rate control closed and no rear air (Quadra Fire speak, not to be confused with farting). Now I can control the burn and even kill the secondary burn with a small load. Not yet sure how this will work with a large load (7 plus splits).

    I do plan on buying a moisture meter. I have a cord or so of wood that did not get used last season. The oak looks light grey. Should be primo. I plan to get a meter and check the dryness of that wood. Then I plan to get a beer from the fridge, sit down on the coach, and watch it burn. Simple pleasures.

    MnDave
  22. etiger2007

    etiger2007 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,223
    Loc:
    Clio Michigan
    I second the beer, love to sit and watch a fire while drinking a few brews. Be careful though.
    Elusive likes this.
  23. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,486
    Loc:
    South Central Indiana
  24. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Second that on being careful etiger. Especially when enjoying a few.

    Before I turn in at night I check all the air controls, the damper, the door handle, and everything around the stove at least twice.

    Fresh batteries in the smoke/CO detectors.

    MnDave
  25. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    I like that for an overnight burn. Cool blue! Looks like gas and it is!

    How long can you get it to burn steady like that?

    Nice stove Huntindog1.

    MnDave

Share This Page