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I think I finally got the hang of my Freedom

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by trguitar, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. trguitar

    trguitar Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2011
    Messages:
    71
    Loc:
    Stow, MA
    I think I had my first legitimate burn tonight. I'd like some comments and criticism about it.

    It's in the low 20s tonight, so around 6:00 I loaded up a cold stove (house was 57 -- I was out all day) with 4 or 5 splits of 6 year old red oak. Splits are good size (approximately 18" x 6" x 6"). I brought the stove up to about 600, and then cut the air to about half. Stove continued climbing towards 675, when I pulled the air control all the way out. I wasn't getting good secondaries at this point, so once the stove dropped to around 600, I opened it up to half again, and slowly starting closing the air control. I finally settled at around 1/4 open.

    It was now about 7:30, and at this point I started seeing great secondaries, and the stove cruised at 600 for about an hour, with great secondaries almost the whole time! It was awesome! At 8:30 it started to drop below 600, and then by 9:45 it had dropped to 300, and it seemed ready to load up again. Good coals, and I loaded up another 4 splits. As I write this, let's see if I can repeat the process.

    All-in-all a 4 hour burn cycle. I also had the blower on high the entire time. I assume that affected the burn time negatively.

    So my MO going forward:

    1) bring stove up to 600
    2) dial air back to half
    3) check secondaries
    4) try to get the air control all the way out
    5) when temp drops in the house, or stove hits around 300: wash, rinse, repeat

    Does this sound right? Should I be able to get a longer burn? Like 5 or 6 hours?

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    7,083
    Loc:
    N.E. Penna
    Only comment is to maybe be a little slower in the air controls. I tend to make an adjustment and give it no less than 10 mins to decide if what I had done was correct or not. Especially when I get in the less than 1/2 open area as changes there make a big difference but over a longer period of time. Sounds like this may have happened faster than that? Not sure.

    You'll perfect it more as your demand for heat changes and you get to see what you have left for coals at the end of each burn. Getting a cold house caught back up is a hard thing and it sounds like this first go around went well.

    Glad to hear the good news but I hate to tell you, you have a relationship with the stove very similar to that of one w/ a spouse.

    Just as soon as you think you have them figured out, something happens that proves you wrong :p

    Enjoy!

    pen
  3. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Messages:
    668
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    Yes, you will be able to get a longer burn time. This is your first fire with this stove, so give it time.

    1. Don't run your blower on high. It pulls to much heat off the stove. I have an insert, but the only time I run on high is if I'm pushing toward overfire temps. Wide open, my blower can reduce my insert temps 100 degrees in less than 5 minutes. Ask me how I know.
    2. Turn the air down in stages. Try going down to 75% after 20 minutes. Then 50% after 10 more minutes if the fire is still doing well. Then 25% in 10 more if the fire is responding. You'll here a lot of talk around here of shutting the air down all the way. I'd say avoid that for a short time till you get this thing figured out. Go down to just 10% for a couple weeks and see how it responds. If you find that you have no problems shutting it all the way down, then do it.
    3. Run your overnight regimen during the day. This will give you the opportunity to observe your entire overnight burn cycle.
    4. Don't be obsessed with "The Light Show". Secondaries are nice, but raging secondaries aren't the only sign of a clean burn. Looking at what's coming out of your chimney will initially tell your more about what's going on than observing the firebox. I'm 3 hours into an E/W overnight burn. I have little flame and secondaries going in a very small portion of the top of the firebox. I just went outside and looked at the chimney with the surefire, and I have steam and no smoke. I'm still learning my setup like you. Last year I was blowing through wood cause I thought that raging secondaries were necessary for a clean burn. I also burned exclusively N/S last year cause it was easier with my marginally seasoned wood supply. This year, I'm burning much less, smaller loads during the day, and still getting the needed heat.
    5. Lopi's tend to run hot from talk around here. There are some people who have installed dampers to slow things down. They are seeing MUCH higher temps than you though.
    6. A good coal bed has been essential for me to get a good clean burn.

    Here's a post from board member BrotherBart that has helped/simplified my burning considerably. Keep in mind, your stove is an E/W loader so pay attention to that.

    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.

    Sorry for rambling, but I've had several drinks and I'm watching the Dallas/NY game.

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