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  1. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    New Market, MD
    got 2 tons + a few more packages (maybe 6) before then. 1 ton contains 50 pkgs, each pkg contains 20 bricks (at 2lb/brick, that's 40lb/pkg, so similar to pellets really)

    let me do a head count... looks like I have around 96 pkgs in the house between what's stacked in the garage and what's sitting in the coal buckets next to my two stoves. I only intend to burn this stuff as heating fuel when it's <40F out, especially at night. that won't happen for a while (we just had a cold snap last week, hence why I got to experiment a little ;) but that cold snap is overwith now, it's supposed to hit 70 today with a low in the upper 40's so my heat pump is way more economical now)

    I might add, though, that I wasn't burning them with longevity in mind when I did that fire last night... I kept the 5 bricks in a teepee formation where they burn super-super hot, and that seems to cook 'em quick (the temps on the flue collar coming out of the top casting actually read somewhere in the 700F vicinity... that might be considered overfiring). Normally I stoke the bricks and make them collapse into a pile of glowing/flaming/charred sawdust in the firebox, there they burn a little slower. I do the same thing with the Defiant... collapse them into a pile of "mashed potatoes" I guess (that'll be my new phrase, mashed potatoes lol), then add a couple new bricks on top of the glowing/flaming mass. I recall in another thread BeGreen tried out BioBricks and either he or someone else in that thread concluded that it's best to burn these bricks in a tight "mass" so you don't burn through them too fast; more surface area = faster burn, so packing them together makes them burn longer. The instructions on the front of the package actually say the following:

    3A. FOR WOOD STOVES: Allow bricks to burn in this formation (the teepee) for 20-30 minutes. Then, rearrange to corner or back of stove. Place bricks together evenly in remaining stove area. DO NOT OVERFILL. BRICKS SLIGHTLY EXPAND DURING BURNING. DO NOT PLACE BRICKS AGAINST GLASS DOORS.

    they also show a picture of the bricks stacked in front of a fire, and they're arranged as 3 stacks of 3, so packing them together in a nice mass.

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  2. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    I decided to look up the difference cements/mortars out there since I am curious... the fireplace mortar I've been using to seal my pipes keeps failing, and I know why--it's meant for masonry-to-masonry connections, not metal-to-masonry or metal-to-metal. I bought a tub of furnace cement @ ace, it's the thick & sandy stuff, turns out that's specifically called "CHIMNEY SWEEP" furnace cement, not to be confused with their standard "furnace cement". the regular stuff's supposed to be smooth probably like the fireplace mortar. I guess I'll use the regular stuff for all the defiant's cement channels so I don't offset any of them, but it sounds to me like I should try using the chimney-sweep furnace cement for the secondary air tube, as it withstands higher temps (2700F) and looks to be more durable. maybe that'll make things last longer?

    here's the url to the different kinds: http://www.rutland.com/category.php?category_id=5
  3. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    the cement that i used on the stove is the 2000 degree black. the only exception was the stoves top i ran out of the black and all i seen on the shelf was the chimney sweep stuff. that is the stuff that is to thick for use on the top.
  4. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    New Market, MD
    been burning a small charge of 5 woodbrickfuel in the defiant the past few nights. last night I tried adding two bricks after the first 5 burned mostly down to coals, but I couldn't get those 2 bricks to light properly. seemed like not enough draft? I didn't have them stacked in a teepee formation like the initial 5 were, maybe that makes a big difference. The bricks would produce good flames with the side door open or cracked, but minutes after closing it if I reopened the side door, I'd catch them smoldering again. Air intakes are so clean I can see light shining through the fireback holes (at least the left 3 or so, the rest have a faint hint of light coming through) either way, I suspected some draft problems with the Defiant.

    Today I decided to pop off the griddle and redo the gasket again, something wasn't quite sealed right, I think I got it better this time. Some gasket cement had oozed up above the gasket and created a wedge that created a tiny air gap I think. Anyway, I also removed the manual flue damper, and need to get some screws or bolts to fill in those holes like I did with the downstairs stove.

    However, the more important thing I did today was get up on the roof and take a peek at the chimney.

    Got my garage hanglight on a 100ft extension cord, got up on the roof, and lowered it down the chimney. Looks very very clean except for some caked creosote forming on the inside surface (surface pointing towards the center of the house) right above the outlet for the Defiant, nothing on the back wall though. I might brush that out soon when I go get some fiberglass rods. The surface near the downstairs stove's exit seemed very clean, although it was hard to pinpoint exactly where that flue comes out (I didn't have any of the pipes off). But using a sharpie on the extension cord I was able to get some measurements as to the length of the whole chimney, and I'm not overly impressed-

    Total length: ~19ft
    Length to upstairs stove's flue pipe: ~9ft
    That means the Defiant's effective flue length is roughly ~9-10ft, in a flue that's way oversized. Not looking good at all. I'm hoping removing that manual damper will improve draft a little bit but I dunno. What a crappy setup.
    The flue tile at the top, inner surface, was 10+7/8" by 11+3/8" giving me around 123.7 square inches. At least that's a tiny bit better than I thought, but meh. The flue is straight the whole way, save for some slightly offset tiles near the top (offset by a fraction of an inch or so). The very top tile had a slight crack in one corner, didn't seem to go through the tile all the way, just into the inner surface a bit.

    Not really sure what to do in the long run. TBH the downstairs stove's position makes it inadequate for heating the whole house, certainly the upstairs, even though it's the stove that drafts the best. I could have a liner put in for the upstairs stove, but 9ft is still a bit short. Guess I'll have to do short hot fires in the Defiant all winter long and try to build teepees out of each fuel charge. Doing a short, hot fire does work well; the other night I did several observations outside and inside over the course of a couple of hours, and within 20min of lighting 5 bricks in the teepee I couldn't see any smoke out the chimney, and the smell of wood smoke diminished a little while after that. That was with the manual damper in place, too, albeit open (though slightly shut, as the fully-open position of the key handle doesn't correspond to a fully-open damper, as I discovered after peeking in with a flashlight...)

    Of course, I guess I could do some more experiments with the downstairs stove, and see if I can figure out a configuration that gets the most heat upstairs. It's worth a shot anyway.
    Another thing I've noticed is the air intake flapper on the Defiant seems to tap against the casting (at the fully-closed position) much more often/more forcefully ever since I removed that manual damper. That's a good sign.
    Maybe one of those Flue Extenders could help me... might think about that.
  5. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    next time your up on your roof snap a picture of that chimney so we can see what yer talkin bout
  6. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    hmm, should've thought of that when I had the light down there. might do it again soon. I do have a pic of that crack in the top clay tile-
    dsc_3353.jpg
    (huge pic btw, just beware)
    notice the far corner there's a line going down. it's out of focus in that pic, should've messed with that when I was up there... but it doesn't go through the whole way, just halfway through the thickness of the liner I guess. Either way this tile is all outside so I doubt it's a problem.


    More pics of the chimney (smaller pics this time):
    dsc_3334.sized.jpg
    dsc_3351.sized.jpg
    dsc_3352.sized.jpg (the chimney sweep guys resealed the flashing a while back along with replacing the crown)
  7. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    northern massachusetts
    what size is the clay liner in those pictures? is this the chimney that has both stoves running into it?
  8. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    yup, it has both the defiant and the jotul venting into it, and it's a 12x12 (actually 10.875x11.375 ID, just under 13x13 OD)
  9. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    maybe you should put the pipe damper back in th defiant and add one to the jotul and close the one that is not in use. i understand that it's not a tight fit but it will restrict the air flow some. you definitely need to replace that chimney. at least it's nice and big for the liner, when you get it will drop down that hole like throwing a snow ball thru a barn door.
  10. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    hm, right now I keep the Jotul's air control closed when I use the defiant, but I know that's not perfect either. I don't want to put the damper in the defiant because of the draft problem... I did notice a slight improvement in draft with the damper removed, can't say it was dramatic but eh. I think it's better to have the damper in the Jotul because it might need it at some point, and it's better to clamp down dilution air from that stove since the upstairs one has the biggest problems. Both stoves did have dampers when I first started, just both have been removed right now, but it shouldn't be too hard to reinstall the damper onto the Jotul's pipe. when I just use the Jotul, I close all air ports on the defiant and wedge a bucket against the primary air flap to hold it shut. I guess I could also close the defiant's damper, lengthening the flue path might restrict the flow of air too.

    I definitely am thinking of options for replacing the chimney, I just need to weigh all the options. I'd love to still make use of both hearths too, not sure what options there are (wonder if someone could fit a 6" liner and a 3-4" liner for a pellet stove in that big clay liner, so I could have a 6" device upstairs and a pellet stove downstairs in the future? either way, I don't want to make one of the hearths inactive because it's just bad for resale value... it'd be an eyesore)

    also is it usually possible to put a liner inside a chimney and then extend it further up with triple-wall SS? that's what I'd like to do with the upstairs stove, extend its flue height since it's too short right now. hmmm. money and options, lol
    if I could fit a 6" and 3-4" in there, I'd ditch the Defiant, put the Jotul upstairs and leave the downstairs thimble open for a future pellet stove (maybe just leave it like that for the next owners, or get one put in when I have more money) since I don't doubt this work will use up some $$.
  11. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    i'd start a new tread for the chimney questions. don't move stoves around yet until we get into the cold weather so you can see how well they heat in the cold and burn times.
  12. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    good call, yeah. I don't plan on moving any stoves around this winter at all, gonna roll with what I got and see how it works. if I do anything it'll be this summer if I have the cash. then everything will be ready for '10/'11 winter.
  13. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    New Market, MD
  14. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    wow, just had fun with downdrafts last night. This past weekend I've been sitting with the Defiant's damper closed (to seal it off a bit better) along with the air intakes shut, ditto on the Jotul--air intake shut. Tried to fire up the Jotul last night and noticed there was air coming *down* the chimney, did the stupid thing and tried lighting a fire. smoke came out of the Jotul in every spot imagineable (at least now I know where its leaky points are...) and it didn't subside until I opened the sliding-glass door in the basement a fair amount. I wonder if the chimney flue normally stays a tad warm due to a continual leakage of air from both the Jotul and especially the Defiant... the only difference between now and previous weeks is that I closed the Defiant's damper. I had to shovel out the smoldering woodbrickfuels and dump them in an ash bucket with some water to get them to go out (just spraying those things with water didn't put out the fire, the sawdust brick just absorbed the water and left the hot charred exterior smoldering... there were still glowing spots in the bucket even after spraying water all over them, I had to fill it up with water from the hose to get it to stop.)

    guess I know the remedy if this ever happens again; open the downstairs sliding-glass door before starting it up.
  15. lascommbes

    lascommbes New Member

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    Loc:
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    I finally got back to rebuilding my Defiant II we did the dry run and everything fit together well with just a little grinding here and there. I have a question about the secondary air screen, the back of the stove has 4 ribs with spacings of a half inch between the first two then a 1 inch space between the second and third which form the secondary air tube then another half inch space between the third and fourth. The lower fire back has two solid ribs which fit perfectly in the half inch gaps all the way across. do I still need the screen ? I can't see how it would fit in the space as outlined in the diagram in the defiant rebuild instructions. If anything the screen keeps the fire back from seating properly. (maybe the defiant II had two different backs?)
  16. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    northern massachusetts
    i would put in the screen. the cement tends to sag after a while. and you should be able to see if it sagged or has a gap by using a small flashlight and looking in the secondary air hole on the left side next to the side loading door. that's where the long 2 to 3 foot screw driver comes in handy. also it may look ok from the side whole but you could have gaps and not know it so get a flashlight and shine it from the top of the stove down behind the fireback while looking thru the side air inlet. also shine the light into the primary air inlet flap in the back and look thru the secondary air inlet on the side to make sure there is no light getting thru. then also put some cement on the area where the secondary tunnel meets up with the right side of the fireback and the air manifold in the secondary burn chamber so that the air coming thru the secondary air tunnel comes out from the manifold and does not leak any where else.
  17. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    New Market, MD
    Update-

    I have a pretty consistent burning process going on now. I run the Defiant upstairs in updraft mode with a configuration of 6 woodbrickfuels, in a modified teepee (basically two half-teepees side by side with a short gap in the middle) with a slat of pallet wood on top. Underneath I have tried various configurations of firestarters, previously it was two small pieces of StarterLogg on either side (under the teepee) with pieces of pallet scraps as kindling, then I tried out Fatwood (using the small pieces of starterlogg with 1 or 2 fatwood sticks crisscrossed between them) and now I'm trying out my SuperCedar samples. Two 1/8 portions of a supercedar do the trick just fine btw. I typically squirt firestarter gel on either firestarter and draw a line of it in the middle so I can just torch that one center line of gel and let the flame spread to either side simultaneously. Works perfectly every time.

    I find that such a configuration, usually with 1 or 2 slats of pallet wood added midway through (when the fluepipe temps are around 450F right after the stove) will heat the house from ~70-74F up to around ~82-86F even on a cold day. The coldest it's gotten so far is in the mid-20's but the stove definitely does the trick. One or two fires a day does it well. I use the heatpump mainly in the evening (when my fiancee gets home but I'm not home yet) and in the early morning (so it's not frigid when we wake up). I probably won't have a good handle on the heat pump's power usage until January's power bill (since Dec's power bill will include all our christmas lights ;)) but it doesn't run much at all, maybe a couple hours a day at most. The house gets up into the 80's within the first hour or 2 of burning and then cools down slowly until maybe 6-9 hours later when it's inching into the lower 70's at the thermostat. This happens closer to the 6-hour timeframe at night, but lasts longer during the day (obviously thanks to the sun)

    One little modification to the stove's operation that I found was to place a folded (multiple times so it's a thick sheet) sheet of aluminum foil and sit it on top of the air tube on the left side so it's resting on the air tube and the left-end woodbrickfuel. Before I did this, most of the time when I opened the door after letting it run a bit I'd find the firebox relatively dark and probably smoldering, then it'd light up quickly into flames once the door was opened. After putting that sheet there, I find the firebox is usually much better lit when I open the door and it has no trouble getting up to operating temperature and maintaining it perfectly throughout the burn cycle. I think a lot of the intake air from the primary flap was making its way into that side tube, then going straight up towards the flue exit rather than touching the fire, so this sheet of AL foil helps push it further towards the fire before it turns upward. Haven't checked to see how the chimney's smoke looks but I'm not too concerned. Later this month if the roof is dry I am going to inspect the chimney again and see how I'm doing.

    I also scored about 20 shipping pallets a few weeks back and I've demolished half of them into good stove-sized pieces using a new sawzall I bought. Still have half of them behind the house covered with a tarp, need to finish the job soon. Some of them I've chopped down very small for the Jotul and they make a great fire in that little stove. The Jotul is mostly used once in a while when me and my better half go downstairs to watch a movie (we've recently redone that downstairs living room, so it's a movie room now)
  18. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    Just a followup on this since I was curious what temps to run my defiant... using woodbrickfuel and pallet wood I have no trouble getting the stove up to 500 in a hurry (<30min), then it steps up to ~600-650 depending on whether I have all the air vents wide open (secondary too). I noticed oftentimes if I have enough pallet wood in there it'll hit the 700's at certain parts of the stove surface, namely the front casting just above the doors. I'm using an IR thermometer to monitor everything. Those 700+ temps don't last long since the charge of woodbrickfuel+pallet wood isn't terribly big and burns pretty fast, so it sounds like I'm running it ok. Boy is that stove a beast though. Fiancee *loves* the heat. Lately after the stove's hit the 600's on the griddletop I find myself closing down the air a bit (closing the secondary air port if it's open, then touching the primary air vent closed just a half an inch or so) to trap the heat better. Not sure if it helps but I am thinking of getting some automated temperature monitor going (thinking of a Dallas 1-wire USB interface which I'll use in one of my linux servers, and run a 1-wire thermometer taped up next to the HVAC thermostat so I can log the temp over time...) to do some more controlled tests :)
  19. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    600 seems to be the sweet spot here. it burns hot enough to more than heat the house, with at least 7 to 8 hours of heat. and at the same time at 600 to 650 smoke is very light. i found most of my smoke leaks when it comes to the secondary burner. some smoke would bypass the secondary where the damper control rod is. so i cemented some door rope gasket and cut it down to almost completely smokeless on the secondary burn. mostly heat waves come out of the chimney. not bad for a stove made in 1978.

    try running your stove at 600 to 650 and see how long you get out of the burn. how long are you getting now?
  20. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    New Market, MD
    I think I'm getting about 2-2.5 hours worth of full pyrolysis out of the woodbrickfuel+pallet slats with the charge I'm using (6 bricks, 2 slats), and the stove is cold (all coals burned down) after like... 6 hours. The woodbricks are 2lb each so 6 bricks totals 12lb, slats are maybe 2lb each so that's like 16lb total worth of wood. Does that sound right? I definitely do not load up the firebox (not sure how I would with those woodbrickfuels and the weird teepee formation I use... though I have an idea--maybe lay a bed of woodbricks flat and build the teepee on top of them?)

    Last night I tossed in 2 slightly larger slats of pallet wood once the fluepipe temps were starting to drop below the 400's (surface temp via IR gun ~2in behind the flue exit) to give it an extra "shot" of high temps. I opened the secondary air port a little and made sure the primary air was as open as could be (it was over halfway closed from the bimetal coil and the temps I guess) when those were burning (making sure they don't smolder too much). I also refilled the pot of water on top of the griddle and set up a fan blowing directly onto the front of the stove, seemed to improve heat extraction a bit. Also seemed to prevent the front casting from getting any hotter than ~500-550 or so (before, part of the front casting at the top was sitting around ~650-700 when the griddle was at 600). Anyway with this configuration, beginning at 10PM last night, the house ended up around ~72F by 6:30AM when the heat pump (emergency heat mode) finally kicked on to try and raise the temps up to 74 (my morning thermostat setting). The low was supposedly around 22F last night.

    Overall that's the kind of performance I'm looking for... start the stove in the evening and make sure it's no lower than ~70-72F by the time I wake up. Just gotta see what it'll take when the temps go down into the teens and single-digits later this winter.
  21. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    haha, I tried the damnedest thing today... loaded her up pretty heavy

    16 woodbrickfuel + 1 slat of pallet wood. that's probably 34lb worth of wood?
    10 wood bricks laid out on the bed of ashes, then my typical elongated teepee of 6 bricks on top of that, then the slat of pallet wood on top. had 2 fatwood sticks under the teepee with some firestarter gel to torch it off.

    3 straight hours of 600+ casting temperatures, followed by an undoubtedly long coaling time--by the time coals started to form I had to leave. but 12 hours later when I got back home, there were still a couple glowing embers in the stove and the stove temp was about 12F higher than the rest of the room. surprisingly, while the house thermostat read 92F by the time I left, it was 72 when I got home. guess the house shed that heat faster than I thought.

    running my typical 6 woodbrickfuel + 1 slat pallet wood right now to cook her for the night. I bet Santa won't enjoy coming down my chimney with a live fire going..... mwahahahahaha!
  22. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    New Market, MD
    inspected the chimney today. almost perfectly clean, just some patchy deposits of what looks like crusty creosote around the flue exit of the Defiant, not too different from the last time I inspected it actually. I've been burning woodbrickfuel+pallet wood in the Defiant and mostly pallet wood, save for a couple wood bricks and kiln-dried firewood (purchased at the local grocery store, just trying it out for kicks) here and there. The flue exit of the Jotul looked perfectly clean. Good show!
  23. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    New Market, MD
    well haven't updated this thread since the new year :)

    We're just about overwith as far as burning season, and I have about 40 packages of WoodBrickFuel left out of 108 total that I'd bought before. I mostly burned them in the VC Defiant II upstairs going into that huge 12x12 terracotta clay chimney sharing the flue with the Jotul downstairs.
    Around Dec or maybe Jan I stopped using the Jotul mainly because I realized it was futile to heat the downstairs, as all the heat would soak through the walls and floor. The house & sill are insulated well enough that we did not come anywhere close to having a problem with freezing pipes, so I can get by without heating the basement probably all winter long (except those short periods when the heat pump comes on & heats it up a tad). We moved the TV & stand upstairs a few feet away from the Defiant and just burned the Defiant as primary heat (heat pump as backup) during those cold nights below 40F. Burning woodbrickfuel in 4, 5 or 6-brick teepee formations seems to work well especially when I mix in the pallet wood, it gets the Defiant nice and hot up to 500-700F every time. The woodbrickfuel burns best if you just leave it alone. I have a crapload of SuperCedars in the box (from that 100-pkg deal they ran on hearth.com) still for next year & camping trips and as far as fuel supply... I might get some more pallet skids to demolish (not as many, as I do have a fair amount of that pallet wood left over too) plus 1 ton of woodbrickfuel next year, seeing as I have 4/5ths of a ton left over in the garage and only used 1.3 tons of it throughout the winter.

    We might still burn a 4-brick fire here and there if it gets cold & rainy like it was this morning (the radiant heat of the Defiant takes away the depressing feeling of the rain & gloomy weather), but otherwise the heat pump is taking over since it's 40+F most nights and that's the ideal temperature operating range for the heatpump.
    No plans to get the chimney lined for next year as I don't believe I'll have the cash, but to be honest this setup worked just fine. I got the rods & the sellers left me the chimney brush up in the attic so I'll do a sweep sometime in April or May.

    All in all a fantastic burning experience this year and if I feel up to it I might try rebuilding the Defiant to see if I can get that secondary combustion downdraft feature working next year, although I might not bother 'cause the setup works well enough in updraft mode and I have a good burning pattern down pat.
  24. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    hey spirilis

    honestly i thought you were going to blow thru all your wood bricks. good to see that you have a heat pattern. have you been running that stove every night? you could still help out the heat pump and make a small 3 brick fire. heat pumps are efficient heaters. they take half the power electric baseboard heat uses. i got a customer that runs 3 geothermal heat pumps for his 3600 to 3800 square foot house. he pays half to heat his house that way verses everyone else on the street that has basically the same house but heated with oil.
    i forgot to ask. how long does the stove run on those 6 bricks? how much time is the stove sitting above 350 degrees?
    by the way cold up here tonight 26 degrees right now expecting to hit middle teens got the stove filled with 3 20 inch splits and 4 24 inch splits. almost couldn't shut the side door. and the secondary is cranking blue flame.

    frank
  25. spirilis

    spirilis Feeling the Heat

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    I'd say most of February we were running the stove in the morning & at night with a 6-brick run. It stays above 350 for a few hours or so, haven't done a solid test actually, but what I do know is that 6 woodbrickfuel + 1 slat of pallet wood raises the thermostat in the hallway by ~12F on average, and the house loses heat from its peak at a rate of ~2-3F/hr, peak is several hours into the burn. So if I lit a fire at 10PM the heat pump might just start to kick on around 5-6AM, then I'd light another fire for my fiancee since she's at home (she was laid off in January).

    But now I only light a 4-brick fire once in a while during the morning or evening whenever she feels too cold... otherwise the sun heats up the house when it's >45F outside and the heat pump keeps it from getting too cold.

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