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My experience in the last 5 years... And, what I have learned.

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by Ducky, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    My equipment consists of a Vermont Castings Vigilant... and a (dreaded) Magic Heat Box.... and my trusty ol box fan and ceiling fan.... lol

    The space I am heating is 2200sq ft, open floor plan except for the Mans bathroom

    I started out with 9ft of black pipe, and 4ft of double wall... Took forever to get the stove to light. I made it work... I usually ran the stove at uncomfortable levels... (700F) 3ft above stove...

    My shop would top out at about 60-65 in the dead of winter... with lows in the 40's. Not exactly take your coat off and tinker...

    Then I got the (dreaded) magic heat box that everyone around here hates.... That made a HUGE difference...A pita to get it lit and make it run, but oooh so much scrumptious heat!

    Then, I decided, ya know, I wonder, (cause i read in the manual of the MH that it kills your draft) if my stove pipe is too short? I read somewhere that the min for proper draft is 14ft. I was at 13ft with a flat roof.... So Last summer I got another 3ft of double wall pipe... and installed that.

    What a DIFFERENCE!

    Its like running a different stove! I can sit in my 35 year old lazy boy (the most comfortable chair there is, on planet earth, and I have referrals to prove such) with both doors wide open, sip my beer, pet my dog and enjoy a wall of heat that never ends! YES!

    edit: I currently run the stove at about 300-500F 3ft above the stove...

    Then when I stand up to go to the mens room, or to get another brewski, I get blasted with hot air...

    So.. I have learned that my draft sucked to start with, which is why i bought the MH, cause my heat output sucked. Then the stove heat sucked even more which I blamed on crappy wood that year. Then I added 3ft of pipe and good wood, and now, its, walk in, take of coat, take off 5layers of clothing, T Shirt and Shorts weather in my shop in the dead of winter.

    So far the coolest it has gotten is 50... the warmest 80F... it was 30F outside and 80F inside! That was cool... oh and I seem to be using about 50% less wood than normal, well... maybe 40% but it definitely is less.

    The past 4 years I used between 12-14 face cord.. this year, I MIGHT use the full 10 face cord....

    oh and a question... lol a topic wouldnt be complete with out one!

    How high, should the firewall be? I built a firewall out of cement board (under layment for bathroom floors) using bolts, I was able to make a wall, 4ft tall... x 5? maybe 6ft long... 3 layers with an air gap between... so the board thickness is 1/2" but the wall I made is 3" with two seperate air spaces...

    How high should it be?

    The stove is centered in the shop with no walls around it for atleast 15 ft in any direction, excpt the little firewall i built...

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  2. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Are you saying the stove pipe was 700 degrees surface temp 3 ft above the stove????
  3. pen

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

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    Great to hear that things are getting better and better.

    You mentioned using the magic heat in the past, but I couldn't tell if you were still using it or not now that you added some more double wall and have better draft.

    pen
  4. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I can do that, for the life of me I dont know why my flue temps are so high.
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Different stove, though. I ran a Vigilant for four and a half years. If his surface pipe temps are 700 degrees he is NOT in horizontal burn mode. I had that stove up to 900 degrees and the pipe didn't get above 550 in horizontal burn. And that was at the base of the pipe. 3 ft up never saw north of 400 in horizontal burn.
  6. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    what is horizontal vs verticle burn mode?

    I generally run the stove with that big door on top that leads to the chimney (damper) open...

    and yes I meant surface temp... My little thermometer might need replacing tho, it is 30 years old LOL

    with that said tho, the magnetic thermometer is about 3ft above the stove, about a foot above the MH... I paid $200 for that magic heat box, and while many of you see no need for it, it works well for me and my application.

    I also have a very small hole in the stove pipe, from where one of the screws fell out, (stripped the hole) so I keep a constant eye to make sure I dont have a chimney fire... if it looks like fire maybe sneaking its way up the pipe, i close the doors, and if that doesnt work, hold the damper closed for about a minute... which usually does the trick.

    the stove pipe - surface temp usually runs around 300-400 high end in the 600 range

    where as in my first two years, bit higher up around 700-900... tho at those temps, i never left the stove alone...
  7. pen

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

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    I think BBar might have some advice for you now that will change the way things are going for you in the next 5 days.

    pen
  8. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Found your problem.
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Once you get the stove up to 600 degrees you really need to close that damper. With it open, a damn good majority of your heat is being sucked up the pipe and out the chimney. You will get a ton more heat and longer burn times by closing that damper.

    With the damper closed the stove pipe should sit between 250-350 the vast majority of the time. Meanwhile, the stove top and the front of the stove can read anywhere from 550-850 depending upon your burn and air controls.

    This will eliminate the need for the Magic Heat.
  10. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I think he is joking around..lol.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Me too.
  12. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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  13. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    No I wasnt joking...

    I have taken your advice... about closing that damper, with one modification, if you will....

    I get the fire roaring hot... then, with the door cracked, I close the damper. If I dont plan on leaving, I leave the door cracked with the main damper closed...

    I only did this today.... and so far holy CRAP! what a difference!

    HUGE difference in heat output, I left a bit and closed the doors, for about 4hrs with a half load... and I came back to a nice bed of coals... wow!

    I restarted it with fresh wood... and ran with the primary closed, for about 3-4 hours, with the door cracked, and to my own surprise, the shop didnt fill with smoke, like I figured it would... I stood my ground using your advice... run it with the primary closed... the heat output is like holy crap!

    the MH does add the icing on the cake however =P

    average temp today was 30F with a 15mph gust... shop temp (2200 sq ft) 65F for a total of about 8hrs burn time. Thats impressive! To keep it like that, usually requires 12-16hr burn time...

    any other advice I can pry from you?
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    That's not a good idea. Why would you do that?

    I'm glad it's working better for you, but close the door when the damper is closed. No reason to keep it open and isn't made to run like that.
  15. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    Cause it seems to cool off alot when I close the door... it seems to cool to a point of 'smoldering' when the door is closed and doesnt get the 'rolling' flame on the inside with the door closed.

    I can literally stand next to it and feel temp of the stove drop a bit when the door is closed. I havent done enough testing just yet, but it seems to burn hotter with the door cracked. However more trial and error will ahve to be done. Thanks for the tips!
  16. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Your wood is wet.
  17. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like you have some wet wood.
  18. Vanskills

    Vanskills New Member

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    I'd shut that door before you burn your house down
  19. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    if you have the stove running only with the door cracked i'd say you definitely have wet wood or wood that is not dry enough. with you running the stove with the door cracked you might want to keep a eye on the right side of the stove about half way down you might find that you are running it cherry red. that's bad. also i noticed that you say that you are running the stove with the primary air closed. that is one other reason why the stove smolders. you need to open the secondary air all the way and open up the primary untill you get the stove up to 600. if you have been smoldering the fire now and again you might want to cool the stove down and take a peek up the pipe to make sure your not building creosote.
  20. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    Where is the bi-metallic thermo set on the stove? I may have missed that.

    You are taking a nice wood stove and just doing the silliest things with it.

    If you cant get the griddle to 600 degrees, shut the damper and set the air in the back to 1/3 open and get a nice burn for 5-6 hours, either your chimney or your wood el suckos
  21. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    agreed with the chimney or wood or maybe the answer is D: all of the above

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