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  1. taweste

    taweste New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Central MA
    I have an Englander NC30. The chimney is 15ft from the bottom of the stove (minimum height according to the manual).

    I had my first burn a few weeks back when it got into the 40's. I noticed that the fire was diminishing once I would shut the door. Additionally, my girfriend started a fire one night when I was away, and when I returned home I noticed that the front glass was black with creosote. She said she had closed the door and closed the air control about 3/4 shut and left like that all night. After posting my problem I recieved some responses and I exteded the chimney to 15ft (it was 12 ft), and I waited until it got a little colder out to post again. It is now in the 30's, and I am still having problems.

    I can get the fire blazing, but almost instantly after shutting the door the flames diminish and the fire seems to be starved for air on the edges. The center of the fire is diminished, but not nearly as bad as the edges. If I open the door the fire begins to burn good again. I have the air control fully open all the time.

    Is it normal for the fire to die down when the door is shut? Is it possible that I am worrying over nothing?

    Thanks
    Tim

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  2. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Ridge, LI, NY
    Tim, welcome to the forums !!!

    What are you burning?
  3. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    604
    Loc:
    Western PA
    Dude! I have the exact same question going in this forum. Look for the post nearby that's titled "Stove still starved for air."

    We can commiserate.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Welcome to the forum taweste.

    99% or more of the time this condition can be traced back to poor fuel. Especially with the glass being all creosote, I would say without a doubt that your wood is not properly seasoned. Simply put, it is too green and needs to dry another year. Hopefully you can find some dry wood somewhere.

    Good luck to you.
  5. taweste

    taweste New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Central MA
    I have been burning oak that has been seasoning, sitting in an exposed pile in the yard, for 2 years. I assume it is adequate?
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,343
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    Are you guys E/W burning? Maybe N/S burning would work better to utilize the air wash for primary air.
  7. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    604
    Loc:
    Western PA
    But Savage--if he had run the stove for a number of hours with the door closed, the temps would have dropped significantly. Mine sure do. Won't that lead to creosote from any wood, even if dry. I thought creosote was related to cold and smoldering fires, not necessarily wet. ??
  8. taweste

    taweste New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Dave,

    Its nice to hear that I am not alone!
  9. taweste

    taweste New Member

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    Sep 10, 2009
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    Loc:
    Central MA
    What is E/W and E/S burning?
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Is that adequate? Not necessarily! I've had some oak that I could not burn until after 3 years and even then it would have been better to leave it another year. Oak is difficult to season because it is so dense yet filled with moisture.

    Every type of wood is different. Even oak. Red oak or pin oak, for example, take longer to season than does white oak. So, your 2 year old wood may not yet be ready.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Picture the fire box as a rectangle. Putting wood in the long way is E/W. Putting the wood in the short way is N/S. To do it requires different lengths of wood for most stoves, but not all. Some fireboxes are just about square.
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    E/W = East/West - you see the sides of the splits.
    N/S = North/South - you see the ends of the splits.
  13. taweste

    taweste New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Central MA
    I guess I'll get some a few packs of supermarket wood and see what happens.
  14. taweste

    taweste New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Central MA
    I have been N/S burning because I figured it would allow more air to reach the fire.
  15. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Ridge, LI, NY
    Tim, was it split for 2 years? The supermarket wood will either give you an aswer, or eliminate 1 issue.

    Good luck !!
  16. bren582

    bren582 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Messages:
    198
    Loc:
    Monmouth County NJ
    I LOVE Oak.. But I learned my lesson years ago. I keep a mix of Oak, Maple, Ash, Locust, Cherry (All plentiful in my area) and not sure wood as in I have no clue what it is but it sure aint Oak..

    Everything but the oak is usually good to go after a year, maybe less like silver maple, 6 months and it curns real nice just not that long, but the oak is a sure 2 to 3 year in my experience.. It's worth the wait but nothing is more frustrating than trying to burn it wet..
  17. taweste

    taweste New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Yeah, the wood was split. Thanks for all the help!
  18. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,284
    Loc:
    Antrim, NH
    taweste, what's your method for starting a fire if I may ask? How do you build it?

    the 30 does love it's wood N/S, especially the bottom layer for my system. I typically put for smallish splits N/S on the bottom. Next layer is 2 splits E/W with paper and kindling in between and finally a roof of N/S splits. Light the paper (which can be a bit of a challenge with this configuration and keep the door cracked for 5 to 10 minutes. Then I ease the door closed to avoid a sudden reduction of combustion air. Same with the air control when it finally gets moved.

    My 30 also like a good layer of ash in the bottom. The first few fires on bare brick will be very sluggish until that layer builds up.

    If someone has the link for Vanessa's video you will see another method of starting a fire.
  19. taweste

    taweste New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Central MA
    Cant say that I have my own method for starting a fire. The few times I started the fire I placed some crumpled up newspaper in the center, lit it, the put some smalls splits (about 1in) on the flame, and added more until I had a good fire going. I then placed some larger splits on that N/S and some more larger splits on top of that E/W.

    I will definetly try your suggested method next time!
  20. CrappieKeith

    CrappieKeith New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    265
    Loc:
    Northern Mn.
    A moisture meter will take care of the is it dry issue.
    I've seen many "lack of make up air issues causing poor drafting.

    If your flue is clean and long enough.If it is good and warm from building the small fires and if you have your drafts open on the stove and if your wood is dry there should be no reason it is not operating properly.
  21. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    744
    Loc:
    Chateaugay, NY
    is it piled, or stacked? just piled on the ground will not season that fast, and oak usually needs 2 years stacked, in the sun and wind. the wood would be suspect to me...


    also suspect would be lack of air, if your house is airtight then the stove cant draw enough and you may need an outside air kit.

    try leaving the damper open and primary air open longer.
  22. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    14,859
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Issues that come to mind . . .

    Unseasoned wood: As discussed this is often the main culprit . . . try burning some supermarket wood or some cut up pallets and see if you notice a difference.

    Wood not burning long enough: You say the wood is blazing . . . but is the wood charred and for how long has it been going . . . I often find that I have to wait for 10-15 minutes before the fire is truly going long and strong enough to shut the door. Even better . . . if you have a flue thermometer, use this as a guide as to when to shut the door . . . for me I wait until the probe thermometer reads at least 400 F before shutting the door.

    Air control shut down too quickly: Once you get a fire going like gangbusters with the door shut and the air control open fully I would leave it going like that for another few minutes before shutting down the air . . . shut down the air too quickly and the fire can get snuffed.

    Fire starting method: Confession time . . . I was slow to change, but just in the past couple of weeks I've started coming around to the top down method vs. traditional methods . . . It seems to me that the top down method results in a fire that is hotter quicker. For example, I know how to start fires, but out of four or five fires that I started during this past week the traditional methods kept going out and it would take an average of three matches and a heckuva lot more paper to get the fire going vs. using only one match and much less paper. Try using this method and see if things don't improve . . .
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