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If you are burning a pre-EPA dragon are you still a "good citizen" w/respect to this forum ?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by SmokeyCity, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    My idea of good citizenship while burning is to burn, and if the neighbor's complain, make the necessary adjustments to clean up the emissions. If those adjustments are too onerous you can choose to quit burning or move. And it's possible that a neighbor is overly finicky and will call at the slightest whisp of smoke in which case you have the choice of moving, quit burning, or living with a ticked off neighbor.

    Setting a nationwide standard for woodburning would be rediculous. There are some parts of the country where "next-door neighbor" means the guy 2 miles down the road and there are other parts of the country where "next-door neighbor" means the guy on the other side of the wall. Of course in areas where neighbors are spread out we can certainly let them decide how much smoke is too much for them.

    Here's a novel idea! Let thos in rural Wisconsin decide for themselves what is good for rural Wisconsin, and those on Manhattan Island can decide what is good for Manhattan Island.

    I suspect that the insurance companies favor the the EPA models and their sealed door and we'll slowly see fewer and fewer of the smoke dragons.

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  2. wazzu

    wazzu Member

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    the folks I know that have "pre EPA" stoves use them because that is tha last hing they can afford to spend money on. When you dont have electricity or in another case if you don't have money for TV how could you even think about a new wood stove for $3K. These folks live in ares that nobody cares about the smoke anyway, its expected in the winter. Besides what about the smoke from forrest fires every summer. I dont think that forrest fires are burning very clean, and nobody worries about the pollution they cause.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Actually, not so. Look at Libby, Montana or Darrington, WA. The thing is that poorer people can least afford to pay for the health care costs. That is why the state got involved in helping these people get cleaner burning stoves.

    That's not quite right. Google "forest fire pollution"

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ContributionPollution/
    http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4628
  4. SmokeyCity

    SmokeyCity Feeling the Heat

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    That was intended in a good way. An answer that is to the point and does not go out of its way to offend.

    Now... posts that insinuate Dragon burners might be bad citizens will probably not unite the masses.


  5. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Back to OWBs - I think they are prone to smoking more than stove because some of them will burn almost anything, so the owners put almost anything in them. If I tried to burn some of the wet, rotten, or very fresh wood that some OWB burners burn it wouldn't work - I would never get it to burn worth a darn. I have a next door neighbor who has an OWB. A couple of winters ago it smoked like crazy. The last two years it seems pretty clean. I am not sure what the difference is, but it shows that the same OWB can be fairly clean or very smoky depending how it is run and what is burned in it.
  6. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    ...and they have a low chimney, compared to a chimney at rooftop, so that leaves the smoke at "people breathing level".
  7. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    I have aneighbor that burns his trash in an OWB. I just burn mine in a barrel. We probably both put out the same smoke but its always windy here so it get moved away quickly.
  8. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    What is OWB? Old wood burner?
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    It was mentioned earlier in the thread . . . outdoor wood boiler = OWB.
  10. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    My own feeling is you use what you want to use . . . I chose an EPA stove . . . not because I am all about saving the environment and cleaning burnly, but rather because I liked the idea of burning less wood and getting decent burn times.

    Burning less wood = More free time for me and more money for play time vs. spending it on buying wood, gas for the saw, etc.

    Decent burn times = Sleeping all night vs. getting up in middle of the night to reload the stove.

    That said . . . at some point along the way I started to secretly like the idea of being a WoodBurning Ninja and burning cleanly . . . I know it's probably stupid, but I take pride in burning cleanly now . . . but gosh darn it . . . I still mainly burn in my EPA stove to burn less wood. I refuse to be known as a Greenie, Eco-Nazi or EPA Stooge. ;) :)
  11. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Now I'm really baffled! I thought this was a heart on yer sleeve, no apologies type of forum, an' here we got a bunch o' growed up fellers 'ats askeered a lettin' on they might have any fond feelin's for mom nature! Mother's been good to us all an' there's no shame in treatin' her nice once't in a while. She deserves better than kicks an' snarls, an' remember, if she leaves us, she's gonna take the house, the car, the kids, the tractor, the splitter, the trees.........

    Greenie. Sounds good to me, maybe I'll get a new bug squasher for muh pickup.

    Ehouse
  12. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    This is the very thing I worry the most about getting a EPA stove. I read so much in here about people not being able to get decent burn times, and it's usually because they can't fully control the throughput of the stove. EPA's burn it clean seems to equate to, EPA stoves burn hot and not smoulder and smoke. So how do EPA stoves burn less wood? I guess I still don't get that.
  13. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    It is a non-intuitive contradiction. Longer burn times generally mean less heat derived from the same amount of wood, but for a longer period of time. Genrally EPA stoves have one of several methods to burn wood gasses that would otherwise not be burned in many pre-EPA stoves. The two most common EPA indoor stove types are catalytic and warm air injection. Both are usually located at the top of the stove where the unburned wood gasses go before they pass up the flue. What they both do is burn the wood gasses and smoke particles and supply more heat from them than you would get without these systems. For that reason they burn more completely, more efficiently and hence yield more heat burning the same amount of wood. However, in order to burn the gasses and smoke, they are required to be hotter (above about 400 degrees) all the time so they burn for a shorter amount of time. At cooler temps the cats shut down and the warm air injector wood gas flames go out. They go into smolder mode then. For that reason most EPA stoves do not allow the air injection ports to be damped down. It is the same contrast between earlier model OWBs vs. newer gasifier OWBs. Older model OWBs would light off to heat and then go into smolder (starved air) mode between burns. It is the smolder mode where the efficiency drops and more wood gasses, smoke and unburned particulate matter escape up the flue. They become charcoal makers, as the wood gas leaves the wood they leave the solid charcoal behind. New OWBs and indoor wood gasifiers have secondary burn chambers where the wood gasses are burned hot and fast. Newer OWBs like the CB also have warm air injection during off/smolder mode to burn the wood gasses that would otherwise be lost up the flue.

    In the end you get cleaner, shorter, more efficient and hotter burns resulting in more heat from EPA stoves, or longer, less efficient, smokier, and cooler burns resulting in less total heat from the same amount of wood. For this reason wood fired EPA stoves may not result in long burn times. In the ideal case, the wood pellet stove works best in that thye have a continuous stream of pellets that are added to the fire that burns really hot and completely. Wood chips burn in a similar way, with a steady stream of fuel. I was always thinking of how to design and build an auto wood feeder for my OWB. Maybe have a hopper and a side door that the wood could roll down into the firebox from and a trap door that would swing open and shut, but it was just not practical. You have to feed the beasties their steady diet of wood.
  14. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    I have run both an "old smoke dragon" and an epa stove with the last 3 months. I can tell you that by burning seasoned wood, and burning it hot- not choking the fire, the old stove was as clean burning as the new one. Both smoke on start-up, and both cleaned up at higher temperatures. Difference has been length of burns. Not to say both are putting out the same heat, because they don't. The old stove radiates much more heat when cooking. The give and take is the time of burn. Smoke Dragon is a term born of improper operation, imo.
  15. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    So the efficiency comes from more gasses burned by either the cat, and/or the warm air injection.

    Want long burn times.. get a big stove.

    No replacement for displacement. :)
  16. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    So you're saying cubic foot to cubic foot, the non-EPA stoves burn longer?
  17. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    They burn the smoke too, so you get all the good from the wood.
  18. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    Got it! and that's great! But you also need the size to give the volume you need to burn through the night. ...or the day, if you're outside the house all day.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Length of burn can be extended in an EPA stove the same way as with the old dragons, capacity. And there is another tool - a catalyst. A Blaze King King stove with its huge firebox + cat + thermostat will give you over 24 hr burns. If that is not enough, get a coal stoker. Or better yet, seal up that leaky old barn.
  20. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Well, one has to ask, do you want long burn times, or do you want a source of heat for a long time? Longer burn times from loading stoves to the gills can lead to making more charcoal, and less efficiency. I have found that to be the case of older OWBs and older wood stoves that I have run, anyway. An alternative to long burn times are wood gasifiers and Russian Fireplaces. Both burn wood in short, fast and hot cycles, and store the heat in water storage tanks and bricks, respectively. That heat in turn is radiated into the house through a hydronic heat exchanger or through surface bricks over time. You also run into time issues with those though, as OWBs tend ot have smaller water storage tanks, and bricks only hold so much heat for so long. You wind up needing a very large storage tank if you want a long heating cycle from a wood gassifier or OWB. We got about the same heat cycle from our OWB as I get from my wood stove, typically 8-12 hours by loading more efficient small to medium size loads of wood.

    There are alternatives, such as the pellet stove, which burns small amounts of wood in really hot and highly efficient way. The pellets can be loaded and burned for as long as the hopper has pellets. Longer burn times can be had with larger hoppers. Wood mills use that method here in the west US. They burn their own wood by-products, cut into chips and heaped into mounds around the mill. They are loaded by conveyor into the mill furnace by conveyor and burned to run the mill, 24/7. Then as mentioned there is coal, which for its weight has a lot more energy available for heating. It is pretty messy stiff though, and there can be radioactive isotopes in coal smoke and ash, and coal ash is rather toxic stuff (contiains heavy metals). It also burns really really hot. It will melt standard wood fireplace grates and iron. My brother once bought a 100 lb sack of anthracite coal from a guy that bought a RR car full of the stuff. We tried many ways to burn it, but it burned too hot to deal with any burning appliances that we had available in California at the time. It was amusing stuff, but coal is cheap ($180 a ton for good anthracite?) and has a lot of heat energy (30-80% more energy than wood, depending on the type). It is not a renewable energy though. Then of course there is always the perpetual natural gas furnace or LP gas tank... you can get a burn time of infinty with those. Or the electric outlet...
  21. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Wanted to point somethings out , I think everyone knows that an old Pre-EPA stove wont smoke when its operating really hot.

    But if you run an old smoke dragon stove like that your not going to get a very long burn time.

    To say you cant get a long burn time with these new EPA stoves is another way of saying "my old smoke dragon I could choke it down and get a long burn time".

    Now we all know that people when we had the old stoves would damper them down to get the stove to burn all night long. Thats human nature , who wants to get up in the middle of the night.

    These newer stoves non-cat will burn 75% or more efficient as they are setup to have the wood burn more slowly when the air is shut down but they make up for the lower heat of the wood burning slower by burning the smoke gases up in the top of the stove.

    Requirements to get the stove in that mode of operation is you have to get the heat built up in the stove before you burn up all your wood which is needed for a long burn time.

    "If you dont have wood thats well season for these stoves it takes so much time to get them heated or heated up at all , that you will have hardly any wood left for your long burn time."

    I have noticed that people getting really good results have wood that is like 2 years seasoned and like 15% or less moisture reading from a just split piece.

    If you have wood thats higher than 18% you better be using kindling along with your load to get the heat up fast.

    If your wood is higher than 20% its going to frustrate you as your not going to get high heat out of the stove as you will have trouble getting it to burn in the smoke burning mode.

    With really dry wood its 1000 times easier to get the heat built up in these EPA stoves with little time of burning that wood so you can then get the stove air shut back down. Its really an amazing difference.

    Just last night I loaded splits on a hot bed of coals that I hand picked and tested to be 15% or less moisture. Stove fired up and got into the secondaries mode quickly with no kindling.

    On a hot bed of coals if your not getting the air shut back down ready to leave for work in like 20 minutes then something isnt right.

    These EPA stoves will perform if you dont burn them like its your old smoke dragon stove.
  22. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Random thoughts . . .

    As others have said . . . size matters for the long burns -- both with the smoke dragons and with EPA stoves.

    Catalytic combustors also make a huge difference . . . allowing folks to go long and low for those times when they want heat, but might not need to keep things cranking.

    But even secondary burners can burn for a decent amount of time . . . the key being these stoves need well seasoned wood . . . as another member mentioned you can go a long time with a smoke dragon if you choke things down to the point where it smolders all night long and produces a lot of creosote . . . or you can open things up and burn relatively cleanly and get decent heat but at the expense of a shorter burn time. With a secondary burner you can get decent burn times and burn cleanly since you're getting heat off the gas coming off the wood . . . and then the combustible gases in the smoke are re-routed and burned (secondary burn) resulting in a clean burn and more heat . . . and when done properly what most folks will report seeing are very slow, lazy primary flames and intense secondary flames as the air control is turned down all or most of the way. What I suspect is happening here is the primary burn is slowed down (causing a longer burn time), but in the primary burn many combustible gases are still untapped until they are collected and routed to the secondary burn tubes where they ignite and as such there is more heat gained here.

    I'm not sure if I really explained things very well . . . perhaps I should have just said that all I know is that most of the time I load up my stove at 9:30 a.m. and wake up at 5 a.m. the next morning to find the stove still has enough coals to get things going fairly quickly and the heat in the house has only dropped 6-8 degrees . . . maybe it's just magic. ;)
  23. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    Yes, they burn longer, but a temps that are not as hot (stove surface temp). My epa stove will burn at a stove top temp of 400-475 for 3.5-4.5 hours and will slowly cool. The old stove would hit 650-700 and put off tons of heat but for 2.5 hours then cool. I could have coals good enough to restart the old stove after hours, but not much more. The epa stove will have coals after 10 hours. Bottom line is the epa stove puts out less heat but for longer periods. My dilemma has been that the stove is likely too small for the space even though it is rated to handle the sq ft in question.
  24. rollingflame

    rollingflame New Member

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    I have a catalytic dutchwest,i struggled with the stove the first winter i used it,the cat worked,no problem to light it off,problem was most of the stove would not put out much heat,only the center top where the cat was,also the pipe and chimney ran way to cold,in the last part of winter it was bad cold,i took the cat out and ran the stove just like it was in,i let the smoke go through the second chamber,wow twice the heat output,smoother controle,then i took out the fiber insulater,then the secondary air dispencer.All my neighbers have smoking chimneys a little,one burns a hardy outdoor furnace,you talking about smoke,my stove only smokes when i put fresh wood in for maybe ten miniutes,i have another neighber that burns an englier with a removed cat,he also still uses the second chamber,from my experiance and talking to people around my town everybody here likes the old pre epa better,actually most burn ashley here,i agree you can burn a pre epa pretty clean and if you do happen to get a peice of damp wood it will go ahead and burn without causing big problems,get a peice of damp wood in a epa and it will just smoulder and not put out any heat,i have no experiance with the epa non catalytic so i do not know how easy they operate,even if your wood id well seasoned it will soak up moister out of the air on wet foggy days unless it is in a building,cover with tin or tarp outside will not keep it frpm absorbing moister.
  25. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Why not just leave the cat in the box and turn up the air for some flames and heat?
    Without the cat the only reason it is burning hotter is because you have the air up I would think.
    Pre epa my butt..been there done all that.

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