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  1. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    Messages:
    475
    Loc:
    SE CT
    Woke up at 3 for a call to the head yeah I know it sucks getting old.There seems to be a new set of rules and one is pee when you have a chance too.. LOL..Wanted to get a relight on my tiny stove and a few days ago brought in some very well aged splits knowing it was going to be bitter cold for a few days. Got a bit of a kindling fire going on the coals burned it for 20 minutes and stove top at 400. loaded in first split and let it takes off for a minute or two then the next. for a 75% fill of the small firebox. stove top goes to 500 and hangs there and really not offering much to heat as the room is still 62. I drop down the air control trying to keep more heat in the stove as it seems to be burning well The secondaries light off nicely and rather happy with myself for getting it all done in a half hour and heading for bed and give it another check and the fire is out and losing draft. Newspaper to get draft back and more kindling to get some heat back. The whole load goes straight to coals. Ok what the heck did I do so wrong? Is it the wood it is very well seasoned and has been burning well certainly not under seasoned or wet in any way. If a clue it has gone from white to gray. no bark so must be from the center of a large round splittery and took off pretty quick maybe 15 seconds from loading or a bit less. I now have a stove with 6 inches of coals and turned on the oil heat while burning them down as it is under 20F this morning with snow on the ground. It is sort of funny when 35 or 40 I build epic fires that will drive you out of the house and when i need one this happens.. Oh well I am going to make an omelet and a cup of tea and regroup. All ideas welcome as always..

    On another note in my quest to get wood to finish this winter out found a place that has the right size cut and split last summer and will let me try a few pieces. It is mixed hardwoods so some oak ash maple etc.. It has been stored in a large metal building since split. Does this sound usable? Iam at the point I would rather be cold than spend good money after bad.

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  2. pen

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

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
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    Loc:
    N.E. Penna
    While the stove may have been going well when you left it, you must have turned the air down too soon for that particular load (or turned the air down in larger increments than it liked) and it couldn't keep the chain reaction going, so it went out and made charcoal instead.

    Good wood or not, it varies in how long it takes to get a load settled in.

    I thought I had my stove ready for cruise in about 30 mins this morning. Sometimes that's all it takes, other times 45 to get where it's safe to set it and forget it. Went upstairs to do some work, came back down at min 40 and the stove thought I was looking to make charcoal. Opened the air control up just 1/4 of an inch, and things took off again, gave it 15 mins there, and then set it for cruise again and all is well.

    pen
    gyrfalcon, corey21 and raybonz like this.
  3. Redlegs

    Redlegs Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Messages:
    282
    Loc:
    Eastern Kansas
    I would recommned a Moisture Meter. I think mine was $20 bucks at Lowes. It's money well spent and I believe that knowing that your woods moisture content is better than guessing your wood moisture. I found out that I was not so good of a guess-er. Also, if you need to buy wood, you can verify the sellers MC claims before he drops it in your yard.
  4. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
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    Loc:
    SE CT
    Thanks Pen I will have to chalk it up to not enough experience I am sure 3 months is not nearly enough. Possibly being cold in the house made me greedy LOL But the stove top was 500 and going up and did the restart on a 300 degree stove. I guess when it is not so cold out i am more patient with it. When I cut back to quickly will that kill the draft as that is what it seemed like happened and even though I got it drafting again and back up to 500 with kindling there was just no saving it.
  5. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
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    475
    Loc:
    SE CT
    I have one I got from Amazon a general instruments that reads from 5 to 50% for me it tells part of the story and many have told me you have to split the wood fresh to get a good reading and certainly not going to re-split every piece that goes in the stove.I wonder why so many burn oak when maple and ash season quicker and so much easier to burn clean. i am not a purest i just want heat.
  6. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    238
    Loc:
    Northeast
    500 surface temperature at 40 degrees outside and 500 when it is in the teens will require more btu s to heat your rooms. Last week when it approached 0 here, I had to stay on it and although the fire was roaring, it takes more in the colder temperatures. When you have a hot fire, even wood with some moisture will burn faster. It is basic physics.
  7. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
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    Loc:
    SE CT
    I am sure it was me that caused the problem and most of the coals burned down and will take another go at it with more patience. when I am cold I suspect get in a hurry to be warm, sort of like a hungry dog not able to stop themselves from gobbling down the food..
    Redlegs likes this.
  8. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    Dec 30, 2012
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    Loc:
    Putnam, NY
    It happens to me too. I'll shut down what I think is a fire ready to be throttled, and in two or three minutes the flames go out. Every mix of wood can be different, and in a rush to get it to a cruise it can go out on me. If I'm not in a hurry I can usually get it right on the first try. Allowing a good burn to go a little longer than you think is necessary before shutting down the primary can sometimes be a good thing. Just watch the temps.
  9. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    2,099
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    Richmond, VA
    You don't need to re-split and measure moisture content of every piece. Just one from each batch you're getting ready to use, assuming they've all been split and stacked together for same length of time, and they're the same type of wood. You'll be surprised with your results, unless they've all been split and stacked for 2-3 years.
  10. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    When the fire burns down to coals and you weren't watching, just have to be patient until your reload starts roasting again. We probably have all been victim to our own neglegence now and then.
  11. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    SE CT
    Ok second time a charm! Cruising at 550! Same wood same procedure just slowed down between cutting the air.

    Edit..
    Hit my all time gigh of 650 in cruise mod with a light load of good wood and air close to 0. Still plenty of lazy flames and secondary burn. Now if I only had a bigger fire box..sigh 1.3 is becoming painfully small. If I upgrade next year going for double tis and around 2.6 to 2.8 cubic feet.
    pen likes this.
  12. andybaker

    andybaker Feeling the Heat

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    Oct 31, 2008
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    Northwest OH
    Yeah, I learned that too, especially with the really hard woods like Oak. If I cut too much air supply off all it does is burn secondaries and I'm left with a pile of coals. If I give just a little more air then it seems to burn too much. I'm experimenting with the inbetween. Let the coals build some then add more air to help burn it down. I'm trying to get less heat off the thing:p
  13. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    Where IS the magic formula?
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah it seems like I get impatient and snuff the night load two out of three nights by moving that last notch a little too soon and have to crack it back a little to get it back on track. Either that or have it just right and decide that maybe just a little more turn down will slow it down. Slows it down all right. Like hitting a brick wall.
  15. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    This is why I don't even try middle-of-the-night reloads but let the oil boiler in the basement carry the load when the stove cools off. I have absolutely zero judgment about this kind of thing when I'm half asleep. I tried it once or twice and just created a smoldering mess.
  16. pen

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

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    Same here, also, if I try a night load I'll have excess coals that will simply be in the way in the morning, keeping me from loading it up as well as I'd like then.

    pen
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  17. Redlegs

    Redlegs Feeling the Heat

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    There is something to be said for really getting to know your stove, and how it behaves in your house with what you're feeding it.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    South Puget Sound, WA
    If I get up in the middle of the night to feed the stove I will be awake from that point on. Sleep is important so I let the thermostat take over if I make a timing error.
    Redlegs and gyrfalcon like this.
  19. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I am the same way.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  20. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    I envy people who can get up in the middle of the night, be totally clear-headed and competent for half an hour and go right back to sleep. It ain't me.

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