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Is one stove design more prone to runaway than another?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by metalsped, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    I realize the operator is a huge variable here... but all things considered, is one less prone (or maybe worded better... is one more controllable)?

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  2. adrpga498

    adrpga498 Minister of Fire

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    Kinda thinkin stoves with short leg kits don't get away as fast as others. Bad humor I know, 1 of the experts will soon be here to give you a better answer.
    Joful, jackatc1, dafattkidd and 8 others like this.
  3. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Can't answer re many stoves, but the Woodstock Progress Hybrid doesn't overfire. Maybe you could if you really tried, loading it full with tiny splits? It is much more comtrollable than the Woodstock Fireview, which itself is very safe and controllable. So, I would say PH has to be high on any list of controllable stoves.
  4. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Catalytic stoves are more controllable than non-cats. EPA doesn't allow the air to be closed past a certain point on non-cats. This can be remedied by placing aluminum foil, magnets, etc over the air intake, and this seems to be an increasingly popular option with non-cats.
    Joful and MnDave like this.
  5. pen

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

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    It's like anything else, ya gotta learn how to use it.

    The 68 camaro w/ worked 396 and 4spd my father and I have built is very controllable once you know how to run it. However, without some practice, one would swear that car's gas pedal is simply an on/off switch for the engine.

    Same is true of stoves. Each and every stove out there will behave differently depending on the fuel it's fed, the chimney it's hooked to, how it's loaded with fuel, when it's loaded with fuel, outside weather conditions, etc, etc,etc.

    That said, there are stoves out there which tend to be a bit notorious for getting away from folks, but those tend to be units utilizing pre-epa technology (box style stoves, some of the other VC stuff comes to mind, old pot bellies). Other folks who have had problems with EPA stoves often have a whole lot of chimney length.

    pen
    jeff_t likes this.
  6. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I have to disagree as I got my CDW pretty hot on occasion when starting the stove or reloading and forgetting to close the bypass.. The flames go straight up the chimney when that happens! Maybe the new cat stoves can't do this?

    Ray
  7. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Forgetting to close the bypass is no fault of the stove. I think the question is geared more towards the "I had the air shut down and the stove went nuclear". My Lopi was a non cat and had a bypass no different from my BK, leave either open for too long and you're gonna have trouble.
    raybonz likes this.
  8. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Wow. I've only had experience with the Fv but I don't see how it could run away unless you left the air at a certain setting early (like '1.25' at least) and then the load got going more later. That said, I've never had a problem; I never leave it open that far. Now, if you're running the stove hotter to heat your space, you are going to be closer to the edge...
    That would have to be considered operator error, though...
  9. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Well operator error will give the same result in a non-cat so this really isn't true is my point.. Either stove type will overfire with too much air..

    Ray
  10. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure a Blaze King would run away with the bypass open, as long as the door is closed. Maybe a load of pallet wood with thermostat wide open. As far as I can tell, and I have been pretty deep into the stove, the only air coming in is thru the thermostat, except for a hole about 3/8-1/2" in diameter that is past the thermostat. There is no secondary air supply that can't be controlled. I can go from raging inferno to lights out in about ten seconds.
  11. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Vc catalytic stoves can run away on you in some cases... Not the firebox, the catalyst chamber can go nuclear 1800+ if you have a full load of very dry small split wood and strong draft.
    BrowningBAR likes this.
  12. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    But if I cut the air on my DW, the fire dies down. When a stove runs away, cutting the air doesn't work.
  13. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Firebox may not get too hot but I know my chimney would be HOT. On a windy day last year I had the bypass open, the stove wasn't even 300* but my double wall stove pipe was 400*+ on the outside with the paint smoking off it. Good thing I had just swept the chimney a day or two before or it could've been ugly.
  14. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I suppose that could be your 30' of chimney compared to my 16.

    But yes, to the original question, some designs are more prone than others.

    And, I would put a load of really dry, small splits in the operator error category.
    Beetle-Kill likes this.
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I can only base observation on the posts from member Todd. He has burned in a lot of different stoves and he says that the new cat stoves are as close to set it and forget it as they come. If he says it, I believe it.

    Still ain't buying no dang cat stove. But I believe it. :confused:
    raybonz likes this.
  16. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Stoves don't overfire. People overfire stoves.
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  17. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Speak of the devil I just looked and my cat thermo is reading 1800:eek:

    Air was closed all the way, full load of mostly oak, mid 20s And breezy outside. Opened the bypass for 5 minutes to cool it off and now it settled back in at 1650.
  18. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Nope, even loading with tiny splits does not overfire this stove. I've loaded it with toothpicks of bone dry Cottonwood, no problem.
  19. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Well I am gonna take a lot of flac for this one but yes some are. Sorry guys but its true I have had a few stoves now and some are prone to run away! Our old Volgelzang Durango had a really bad habit of running away simply because it was 26" deep and 13" wide which meant thin pieces of wood in the box the second reason was the depth and amount of air it required to burn. There where nights where I sat up and watched it like a hawk for fear of it going nuclear. It had to have an enormous amount of draft to burn at all and the air control was lacking anything at all resembling quality one very scary stove ! The Harman did get very hot but it was designed to get hot. The US Stove Wonderwood was not so wonderful and did not get very hot do to the flue being right on top of the flame so all the heat went up and out :(. Our current stove and second love of my life can take off like a bat out of hell and not stop but that is totally user error if burned right it will run great without running away. So yes it does depend some what on the stove however I think a quality stove should only run away if it is user error. Buy cheap quality and you get cheap quality. For all you Vogelzang guys I have seen a few newer models and they have DRASTICALLY improved upon them and I am impressed !

    Pete
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  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Our stove has never runaway. It's in the exact same location it was 4 seasons ago when I put it in.
    Bluezx636, fossil and Pallet Pete like this.
  21. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    You know it has wings it might fly away when your not looking ;)

    Pete
  22. theonlyzarathu

    theonlyzarathu Member

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    I USED TO HAVE A SIDE DRAFTING Riteway 37 with a 7 inch pipe. It was connected to an external SS insulated chimney pipe. It didn't take much to turn it into a runaway. I had to be careful not to fill it up too high, and if the wind was blowing hard it would take off easily. Wasn't hard to come downstairs after the smoke detector went off and find the stove pipe cherry red, and the draft door closed tight, and having to run a high speed fan over the pipe to get it down from 1000 degrees.

    Before I moved north, I replaced the 30 year old chimney with a new SS but went down to a 6 inch pipe. I was afraid it would cut the draft, but it didn't, and the stove got way more manageable. But the side drafting and the thermostatic control which was either all the open or all the way closed still had to be kept at a position where it didn't take much to close it.

    With the new PE Summit, I have much colder temps with higher winds up here 60 miles ATCF from Canada. And with the pipe running through the center of the house, heading into the second season, its never gone into a runaway. The only time I thought it might was when the wind was blowing right over the top of the chimney at about 35 mph steady and the outside temp was about -5. But I just turned the fan on high, and turned down the air intake to the lowest setting. Easy peezee.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It'll take BIG wings to lift that 600 lbs of dead weight. ;lol
  24. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    So says the NSA. National Stove Association.
  25. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Think of all the wasted rounds !

    Pete

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