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Overnite burn starting with a deep bed of glowing coals

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Stubborn Dutchman, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. Stubborn Dutchman

    Stubborn Dutchman Member

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    Preface: I did read the thread on unburnt coals. I loaded up the Jotul at 3:00 p.m. and was gone until 9:00 p.m.. Stove top was down to 200 and the tstat was reading 60 degrees. I stirred up the coals and most all were glowing strongly. Threw on two small splits to speed up the burn down with the air wide open which got the coal bed burning even stronger. Just now I still had a full bed of coals over 2" deep, too much to shove forward so I just jammed in as much wood as would fit. I hope to go to bed before midnight.

    As a second year burner, burning year old cherry, ash, and some silver maple, what can I do better? I use the ash pan and don't like scooping out good hot coals just to get more fresh firewood in the firebox. I know the stove is too small to heat this big old farm house. The floor plan is not ideal and I knew all that before the install. Just wanted to minimize using the oil furnace and it hasn't come on yet this winter.

    Help me improve my technique so I can push this stove to its max potential.

    Tia.

    Don

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  2. evilgriff

    evilgriff Burning Hunk

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    6hrs and you are down to coals--temp 60, looks to me like you used all of your fuel to keep that place warm. Personally I would not toss the coal bed, I would pack it, get it going and cut it back just enough so you have some coals to restart in the morning. Not sure how warm you got the house compared to outside temp, but to me it's as you stated- the stove is too small. Insulating/sealing the house better might help a bit. It will be a struggle but it looks like you will just have to keep feeding the beast. I went to a slightly bigger stove, 1.3 vs 1.8 cu/ft and now I can sleep all night. Also, the wood is critical, maybe check some of it with a moisture meter just to be sure. High Btu wood is really helpful when you have a smaller stove.
  3. Stubborn Dutchman

    Stubborn Dutchman Member

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    The F600 has a 3.0 cu. ft. firebox. The stove is in the kitchen on an outside wall of this two story farm house. Great draft w/ a 6" ss liner lined with vermiculite. The layout sucks. The wood is less than 20% per the mm. I'm saving my two year old oak for January and February. Mainly, I'm looking for tips on improving my technique because I don't know what I don't know. I've gotten this far by learning from all the great folks here. I'm just hoping I can learn to do better. I'm puzzled because a hot 3" bed of coals has a stove top temp of only 200 degrees. The fuel oil tank is reading 7/8ths full, right where it was at the start of last years heating season so I don't have any room to complain. Just wondering if any improvement is feasible. All your suggestions are spot on and fits exactly what you folks have taught me.
  4. evilgriff

    evilgriff Burning Hunk

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    In my Sirocco, a bed of coals as you describe, in cat mode with air turned down today was about 285 degrees stovetop. But my house was really warm at that point, in the low 80's. The cat was probably extracting more heat than the lifeless looking fire showed. From what you state, you have good draft, good wood, and a too small stove. Saving your best hardwood for the colder months is a good strategy. If you like the stove or can't change it or the location of it, look at insulating/sealing the house. Maybe you can make the house match the stove with more insulation.
  5. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Do you mean that you now have a blaze and you do not want to leave it alone?

    If so then you need better air control. A stovetop damper did the trick for me.

    MnDave
  6. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    I think hes saying he has too much coals and want a better technique so he has the right amount of coals and get a full stove for an overnight burn. If thats what your saying what I do when I have too many coals is rake them forward into a pile and put a piece of pine on top, burn them down and I get some quick heat, after an hour or so Ive burned the coals down enough to load the box for over night.
    Lanningjw likes this.
  7. rijim

    rijim Member

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    What are your stove top temps when off gassing and when cruising? Also where is the air control lever during this. If you know stack temps that would help understand how the stove is burning also.
  8. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    An f600 is too small? Wow, words I never thought would ever be spoken. I am heating my 2400 sq feet with one from the basement (sq ft heated does not include the basement). Even when the stove has burned down to coals, my F600 is still pushing heat towards the 300 degree range after 6 hours.

    You mentioned it is an old farmhouse....I picture lots of smaller tighter rooms and probably less than ideal insulation. I would see the problem being that it is hard to move the heat around the house and the house is not retaining the heat that is moving. I know that even when I leave for the day I am returning to temps in the upper 60s, but my home is well insulated and only 8 years old.
    raybonz likes this.
  9. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    What kind of thermometer are you using?
  10. Kevin Dolan

    Kevin Dolan Burning Hunk

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    SW Ontario
    I have the f400 in an old two story farmhouse and I have to open a window sometimes as it pumps out the heat. Dry wood is the answer to most problems with heating with wood, but this is quoted so many times on this forum, it seems to get overlooked. I am tempted to move up to the 500 or the 600 but the castine seems just about right for our layout and I have not pushed the limits of this stove yet- lots too learn!
    Kevin
    ailanthus and Backwoods Savage like this.
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I purposely turned the air way down low yesterday with a full load because we were going to be away all day. 12 hours later, the house was about 63 and plenty of coals for easy re-light. As someone noted earlier, maybe more air would have resulted in less coals and higher house temp. It was burning pretty well, though, when we left and i thought I'd err on the side of caution.
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    If this is in fact what you're saying Stubborn . . . that you have too many coals . . . doing what Weatherguy has suggested will help you burn down the coals, keep the heat and then have more room for that final overnight load.

    My normal technique with the Oslo to keep the build up of coals to a minimum is to a) go longer between burns (which is not as easy if you have a drafty home or it is extremely cold out and you need to keep pumping out the heat) and/or b) before each load take a small shovel, ash rake, etc. and stir the coals to allow the smaller coals and ash to drop into the ash pan, leaving the larger coals on top . . . doing this easily makes about half as much room in the firebox.

    If on the other hand you are getting a build up of coals and need to make some room . . . and don't really want to shovel those coals out . . . and for the record, I wouldn't . . . do like Weatherguy said . . . just add any ol' split or two (generally I prefer a softwood or soft hardwood like poplar for this task), open up the air control all the way and let 'er go . . . you may not be burning the most efficiently and will lose some heat to the drafting effect . . . but it will burn down the coals for you.
  13. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    This will also give you a quick burst of heat. When you open up the air and add the piece of softwood, your stovetop temps will rise quickly as the coalbed burns down.
  14. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    That does not sound right. I think that too much of your heat is going up the chimney. How tall is your chimney? Straight up?

    When I want to get some heat out of the coals without adding wood I increase the air and damper the stovepipe at a 45 degree angle.

    Also, my stove (3 cf) has air controls that deliver air way down low at the level of the coals. I max those out. I get the stovepipe temps up to 300F with just coals in the box. My stovetop under those conditions would be 350F. I do not measure stovetop because I run the fan full speed almost all the time.

    MnDave
  15. Spinny

    Spinny New Member

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    I am a new wood burner. I have a hitzer wood furnace installed in my basement. I was having the some of the same issues. Here are some things that helped me tremendously.

    I had way to much draft because my chimney is very tall. First thing is to keep the damper completely closed. There are still holes in the damper that permit air to travel. This will keep more of the heat in the stove. My wood lasts more than 4x longer by adjusting my damper from half closed (45 degree angle) to completely closed. I was consuming wood at an insane rate. There was no way my stove would have burned through the night the way I had been burning it. I was also getting extremely hot, out of control stove pipe temps because of the amount of air my chimney was pulling. Closing the pipe damper helped me tremendously with my heat retention and burn time. Sending all you heat out the chimney is not good.

    The other thing that helps a lot is making sure you leave at least an inch of ashes in the stove to insulate the fire. Trust me it makes a tremendous difference. Don't remove all the ashes each time.

    Hope that helps.
  16. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Stovepipe damper. Amen brotha.

    Do you have forced air induction into the firebox on your wood furnace?

    MnDave
  17. Spinny

    Spinny New Member

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    Yes, I have a 12 inch outlet on the top of the furnace. It will blow into a plenum and be rigged together with a geo. I would like to rig the stats so that the thermostat on the geo will be activated when the stat/blower on the back of the furnace is activated and I can use the geo fan to blow the air through the house. I'd love to see if anyone on here has rigged something up like that before....?????
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Hello Stubborn Dutchman. I have a bit of Dutch in me too. Did you know that copper wire was invented by two Dutchmen? It was quick and easy. They gave a penny to them and told them to split it.

    I can relate to the large coal bed too. We had that problem when we first got our new epa stove. We knew it was not a fuel problem because we were burning wood that was 7 years in the stack. I found no good suggestions that worked at the time so just started experimenting. What I found was that just a tad before the fire was down to all coals, we would open the draft full. This would maintain the stove top temperature while burning the coals down and it does not take long at all to do this. I did try the trick of putting some kindling on the coals also some larger stuff and some fast burning stuff. It worked a little bit but not enough to satisfy me. Opening the draft early did the trick.

    Enough can never be said about the fuel you burn. Put poor fuel in the tractor, truck or car and what do you suppose will happen? Same thing happens with a wood stove. And to my notion, most times an extra year of drying of the wood is a great investment of time. Especially on that oak. Around these parts we won't burn oak until it has been split and in the stack 3 years. That 2 year old oak you have would perform much better if you could leave it another year.

    On the MM, it take some heat for it and that is okay but I still say you very well might be better off without one. I've never used one nor do I see a need for it. In my book, if someone has to resort to using something like this then for sure his wood is not ready. If it were ready to burn there is no need to know what the moisture content is. This is just one of the reasons I recommend people have a 3 year supply on hand at all times. More does no harm either. A couple years of experience with fires has taught me this lesson and I hope and pray others will do the same.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the greener the wood, the more draft you need to keep the fire burning. This alone will push more heat up the chimney rather than keeping it in the house.

    Good luck.
  19. Stubborn Dutchman

    Stubborn Dutchman Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback. The chimney is about twenty feet tall from the thimble. I'm using a IR thermometer and take my readings on the right rear corner of the stove per the manual. Normally I load the stove full and run up to about 400 degrees before starting to cut back the air control. In about 45 minutes I've got the control closed all the way. As previously stated when she is down to a glowing bed of coals the stove top temp is often at or below 200 degrees. Could it just be the massive amount of cooler air is sucking it down faster than the hot bed of coals can produce??? In the colder months I'd like to be reloading at closer to 300 degrees but the coal bed is so deep I can't move it all to the front. If I keep the air at 1/4 or 1/3 will I have a smaller coal bed?

    BTW: Six or seven years ago all the windows were replaced, insulation blown in and vinyl siding installed. Yes lots of small chopped up rooms in this typical old farm house. I'm not fighting the heat flow issue because I'm surprised it does as well as it does. Like I said, the fuel gauge hasn't moved since the stove was installed. I am extremely happy with that.
  20. Stubborn Dutchman

    Stubborn Dutchman Member

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    Dennis, thanks for your post. I'm sure you are right about opening the draft back up. I'm gonna start leaving it at 1/3 and see what happens. Guess I read too many threads about slow/lazy burns. It's not like I need to be chintzy with the firewood after loosing 300 trees to the tornado last year. I hear you about the Oak. It's stacked all the way in the back and I probably won't even be able to reach it this year anyway,
  21. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Spinny. I am not asking about the blower into the plenum. I am asking about an induction blower into the firebox. My guess is that you do not have this.

    MnDave
  22. rijim

    rijim Member

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    Don, I have the F400 Once the stove hits 400 I'm at 1/2 on the air control at 500 I'm down to 1/3 -1/4 depending on outside temps and wind (had to close completely a few very cold and windy days). Do you know your internal chimney temps maybe 18" above stope top? Also, have you tried a floor fan blowing into the room towards the stove?
  23. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Not a chance. More air = hotter coals. Think of the blacksmith bellows.

    Don't be stubborn with the air, it's free. :) When you want to get heat out of the hot coals and burn them down for reload, open it all the way. Put a stovepipe thermometer on it so you can watch it rise. Expect 250-300 while coals are being burned.

    A 20 foot chimney... Get a stovepipe damper.

    Old draftly farm house... get and Outside Air Kit (OAK).
    remkel likes this.
  24. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    One thing I find is that when it is down to all coals I will often just pull them forward and concentrate the coal bed. That with a little air helps. I only have to open the air 1/4 or so to get the coals good and hot. Maybe it is just that i have much more draft? Maybe it is because I have the OAK kit attached?

    I sit here perplexed.....but that could be because I have been reviewing 100 page technical documents all day.
  25. Stubborn Dutchman

    Stubborn Dutchman Member

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    The coal bed IS glowing strongly even before I open the air control up all the way. I just don't understand why the stove temp is so darn low (approx 200) and the flu temp is below the safe zone on the Rutland magnetic located about a foot above the stove top. After I open the air control, I stir up the coals using the side loading door. The coals sure feel pretty darn hot on my arms but the room seems chilly. ?????? Hopefully, not closing the air control below 1/4 or 1/3 will keep the firebox hotter.

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