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Night and weekend burners...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Dustin, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Dustin

    Dustin Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    346
    Loc:
    Western Oregon
    In the continuing effort to heat my house using as little wood as possible, I have been burning only when I get home from work, and all night, letting the stove go out as I leave for work.

    I burn all day when I'm home on my days off.

    Living in western Oregon, it usually rises to 45 to 50 degrees during the day. When I get home from work, the house has usually dropped to about 60 to 65 degrees, down from the morning temp of 72ish.

    No one is home during the day. Am I wasting wood loading this thing up, and letting it heat an empty house? It usually takes about 5 large splits for a full load in my quad.

    Has anyone else tried this? Did you find you used less wood? Any issues with creosote due to one cold start a day?

    Dustin

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,048
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    This is where a mini-split heat pump seems to have the advantage. Particularly if it is programmed to have the house warmed up when you return home from work, though I suppose a pellet stove can do the same if pellets are cheaper than electricity in your area.
  3. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Loc:
    Milford, CT
    If it only takes you a short time to heat your house back up to temp when you get home, than yes, there's probably little sense to keeping it going while you're out. If it's a chore to get it back up to temp, it's a good idea. My dad could get our cold house cooking in 20 minutes with his cast iron stove. I have a soapstone stove which is a much slower startup, but buys me an additional 4 hours or so of heat once the fire is out, so for me it makes sense to throw a few splits in if I'm going to be out for a few hours. Creosote speaking, I really don't think it makes a difference either way. Some would say steady burning in better than start/stop. Others would argue that, if you put some wood on, shut the air down and leave, it might smolder and burn below a safe temp and you'd never be the wiser.
  4. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,357
    Loc:
    Greenwood county, SC
    I have been letting mine go out this time of year, but once the real cold sets in i go to 24/7 (my real cold is not near what some of yours is!!!). But this time of year even these colder days the coldest rooms are high 50s, and within a few hours i can have 1500ish sqft that we use up to 77ish in stove room from upper 60s and the bedroom about 65. SO for right now im letting it go out. Last year i think i was putting wood in and cutting the air way back and then opening it up again when i got home for another night burn. I have a cat stove so its not like im coaking creosote on anything but the stove interior. This way i can load once a day, but i have to use a full load in my 3.5cuft stove, but i can get 24ish hours out of it. The way im doing it now i have almost cold starts but think i use a but less wood doing it this way, just requires more work and fire building.
  5. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,459
    Loc:
    Southwest NH
    I load the stove up in the morning before I go to work. My goal is to keep the basement heated, for i find if i let the basement cool all day i am spending much too much time hearing the basement in the evenings. It was 21 outside when i left thos morning, and i have trouble justifying having the oil heat kick on all day when i know i can have the stove running for at least half the tome i am gone.
  6. onesojourner

    onesojourner Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Loc:
    Springfield, MO
    We keep ours burning as much as possible. My goal is to keep the furnace from kicking on at all.
  7. Hickorynut

    Hickorynut Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Messages:
    195
    Loc:
    western ky.
    My wife and I both work weekdays so the fire goes out during the day. The house is down to about 60 sometimes when she gets home in the late afternoons. In really cold weather, like down in the high 20's or low 30's it takes quite a while to get it back up to a nice warm temp. So, if I had my druthers, I would keep a fire going all the time if need be. Starting a fire every day and taking several hours to get it nice and warm is a pain.
  8. PLAYS WITH FIRE

    PLAYS WITH FIRE Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
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    639
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, Pa.
    Tell me about it...... Me wife can maintain but not start a fire yet. I basically load at 11pm and load again at 7:30am and then again at 5:30pm. Keeps the house in the low to mid 70's. And by the way uses significantly less wood than starting a new one every night! That is very important there as I work my butt off for the wood and want every BTU I can get!



  9. ColdNH

    ColdNH Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    536
    Loc:
    Bow, NH
    sounds like how i burn during shoulder season, I dont see a problem with this, your going to save money and its less hassle then making a fire in the morning and getting it dialed in before leaving for the day, why burn more wood to keep the house in the 70s for no reason?
  10. PLAYS WITH FIRE

    PLAYS WITH FIRE Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    639
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, Pa.
    For me its that load in the morning that I was not doing that caused me to build a fire every night when I come home, sucked! Before I would go through much more wood because things were left to go cold and I had to build a raging fire. I keep it at the upper 400's to mid 500's and it's nice.
    Shoulder season I would burn to take the chill off by starting a new fire when needed. And even now it's not exactly 24/7 because if in the 50's no fire. My "main" heating source is hydronic and works quite well, once I figured that out.
  11. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    14,865
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    I burn 24/7 . . . and do so even when I go to work and no one is home since our climate is quite different. If I didn't have a fire going when no one is home I would either burn up a lot more oil (we have our thermostats set to kick on the oil boiler at 60 degrees F) . . . or we would come home to a very cold home.

    In your case . . . if the temps don't go down much past 60 or 65 degrees (which I find relatively tolerable) I wouldn't bother with a fire when you are out of the house . . . especially if it doesn't take very long to bring the house back up to temp when you come home.
  12. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    2,215
    Loc:
    Soutwest VA
    I just let my stove go out when i am away and some times at night also and it ends up being about 62 when i wake up or get home. But it does not take long at all and not much wood to warm things backup.
  13. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
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    3,212
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    +1 to the heat pump for mild climates.

    or if you have natural gas just let that take over daytimes. Just burning weekends keeps my gas bill under $150/month even in the coldest of Jan/Feb - and I live in a very old, marginally insulated house with a fairly low efficiency heating system (steam). If I burned nights + weekends Id probably never see a gas bill over $75.
  14. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
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    1,735
    Loc:
    Beautiful British Columbia
    We burn pretty similar to that except even if we are home we don't, as a rule, burn all day long, unless it's really cold.

    I find we all appreciate the stove more when we come home to a cold house, like others we have a heat pump that we set for around 60 so there is no danger of the house freezing, but it can get chilly. That chill in the house is what eventually motivates someone to get a fire going in the wood stove, it's a very basic response.
    Like a lot of people when we first got the stove we use to keep the house up around 78 F (26 C), but I don't think that is really healthy to live in a house that is that hot all the time, and as you mentioned, you go through a lot more wood.
    Normally we let the fire go out during the day, even if there is someone home. Then at night when we start getting cold, or getting ready to go to bed, we'll get a good fire going in the stove and get the stove room good and hot, this makes you sleepy and chases everyone off to the cooler bedrooms, but not before making sure there is one more good load in the stove. During the night that heat migrates through the house (with the help of fans) and by morning the house is evenly warm and the stove will usually still have some coals in it and often my wife will toss a few more sticks in, but sometimes not, it just depends on how cold it is. Then we leave the house and let the fire (or coals) burn out, then the cycle starts all over again.
    It is more work to let the fire go out and have to restart it again every day, but you do save wood, and if I was really concerned about saving work I'd just crank the Heat pump knob up a 1/4 turn and be done with it. ;)
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Michigan
    I've found that those who tend to burn only nights and weekends also tend to have more creosote. If you could just add 2 or 3 splits for the daytime, even just to keep the flue temperature up, that could help with this problem. Of course, early fall and late spring are the challenges when it comes to wood heat. I also would rather just add wood to the stove rather than starting a new fire constantly.
  16. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Southwest NH
    Dennis- if I had your wood supply I would be reloading the stove every 15 minutes :)
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Ha! You probably have more wood than I do remkel.
  18. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    Bedford NH
    At this point we burn 24/7.
    Even though we have only a 1000sf ranch, I would rather keep it warm than play catch up every eve when we get home. We load it up in the am and damp it down so it cruises all day. Get home and its about 66-69 degrees.
    We just sweep it if there is any worry.
  19. stanb999

    stanb999 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    57
    Loc:
    NEPA
    I would invest in a bit of insulation. Those temps shouldn't require more than a few short time fires to maintain the house temps. Here when it's that warm the stove only idles or we are opening windows and we need to shut it down.
  20. mook1302

    mook1302 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    23
    this is my first yr but i burn when I can so right now that weeknights and 24/7 on weekends... as far as keeping the fire going during the day Lately i have been throwing 3 spilts on in the morning while im getting ready for work and let them get going good then turn the air back half way when i leave, i have found it much easier to start a fire when i get home since i still have a nice warm to hot fireplace and coals...

    My goal is just to reduce to amount of time my heat pump kicks on.. I keep the thermo set at 67
  21. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    Greenwood county, SC
    in a moderate house with about any woodstove of size and some insulation this should be no problem!
  22. suprz

    suprz Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    Messages:
    219
    Loc:
    Rhode island
    Right now we only burn nights and weekends. During the week after work maybe 1 - 2 nights a week for 3 hours. On weekends we will burn for maybe 15 hours straight each day. Right now with the questionable wood supply and having to use biobricks to supplement the wood, we are happy with what we can do to help keep the furnace from coming on. I find myself wondering what it would be like to burn 24/7 but that is not feasible right now
  23. GrampaDennis

    GrampaDennis New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2012
    Messages:
    44
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    +1 on that
    Our oil boiler heats our water. Other than for that purpose, I would rather see it not start.

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