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proper use of the air controls

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by hardwood715, Sep 28, 2006.

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  1. hardwood715

    hardwood715 Feeling the Heat

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    This stove just sold on ebay, I have the exact stove, only my stove although the same year has only been used for like 4 seasons, the pictures are here though in this link

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...30171762_W0QQfromZR40QQfviZ1#ebayphotohosting

    My stove looks brand new compared to this,

    Question- I used this all last season, but never really learned the sweet spot or how , with the sake of seeming dumb, to really use the intake knobs 4 of them, i usually open em up all the way , then only close half way, I think i could do better, also check out my damper. or flue in the picture showing the back of stove it opens up completly across back of stove, can this be partly closed while burning?

    Elk- this is the picture of the damper we discussed last year to try to make a connection for a direct connect of some sort, opens up to like 3 inches X 29 wide, I pull her once a month to check for creosote etc while i do the chimney, never got that bad, but i confess i never did an overnight burn with her

    any seasoned burners out there that can give me tips to get the right burn, I have been doing small hot fires to avoid the creeosote, due to venting into masonary flue 7x 12 inner diameter

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Go to this thread and scroll down to Davd_1 s instructions on burning. Your stove is going to operate pretty much the same as David's Fisher and the instructions are what you need to follow for any of the pre-EPA stoves.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/3151/P15/

    Since you guys don't have glass like I do with the Sierra, stove and flue temp is the best way to keep up with what is going on in that big ole box.

    I monitor both but find being able to see the burn helps a lot.
  3. hardwood715

    hardwood715 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks brotherBart, I will follow his advice with the inlet controls and see if that helps, instead of burning too fast and too hot all the time , much appreciated for your reply
  4. hardwood715

    hardwood715 Feeling the Heat

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    I followed Dave's procedure last night, got down to about 39 here, and what a difference! It worked out great. I leveled off to about 450 on stove top, I just closed both on each side the way he did with just the one on each side his stove had. The only remaining puzzle i have is about adjusting the stove damper ( flue outlet) etc. the main exhaust for the stove, I always run it open all the way, but have heard of people dampering this down also. Any suggestions there? Again, Thanks BrotherBart for pointing me in the right direction, and Dave for your wisdom.
  5. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    HD,

    Thanks, glad you had success.

    However, I went back on that post last night & saw some errors that make it confusing, so I re-edited that post this morning. Those that have already copied that earlier version need to toss it & get today’s update. Also included some cautions.

    You will then see that when I’m in the run burn stage that only one screw, the right door, is opened. This causes the left side of the heater to have coals & un-burnt wood which are racked forward & to the right before reloading.

    I do not run a manual damper because in the first year it collected creosote. And being a novice the whole procedure was too complicated so the damper was removed. But in fairness the creosote may have been caused by the 20% mc of the wood as I have read several articles that admit such is a problem. Burning wood that has @ 6% ought to eliminate that problem.

    So I’m seriously considering installing a Fields automatic barometric draft regulator wood/coal damper. If my analysis is correct it will allow the fire to automatically adjust the air intake thereby eliminating my having to manually adjust the right screw every ½ hour or so.

    Dave
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    David_1

    "Burning wood that has @ 6% ought to eliminate that problem. "

    I have left wood on my wind tunnel breezeway for five years and it never reached 6%. If it had I would have been afraid to smoke anywhere near it.

    Kiln dried dimensional lumber for construction is six to eight percent.
  7. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    BB,

    Lol, & I’ve had 6” rounds sitting 18” from MaMa in a wood cradle for 2 ½ years. But when put into the heater they sizzled like steaks. That was my wake up call as to wood mc preparation. Air circulation is good, but the cut end facing the sun is much better.

    Since you have a mc meter, take 4 fresh cut 6” rounds & put them behind a window facing due south that is un-shaded. Wait 3 months & then check both ends of all four & record your readings. Then split one & check the mc in the center. Repeat this every 3 months, record your readings, & by years end you will discover what I have.

    As for burning 4-6% wood, as long as the temp is kept within the 350-400 degree zone where is the problem? Don't problems arise when folks burn without knowing the temp?

    Consider a dragster being the inverse of wood heating as both require fuel, air, & heat. The fuel line to the engine & the injectors are designed to allow only so much fuel. Put 87 octane in the tank & the driver will not break 9 seconds in the ¼ mile. But put a mixture of gas & nitro then it is a different story.

    Water weighs @ 8 lbs per gallon. So 30 lbs of 20% mc wood in a heater must be overcome, i.e. 6 lbs or 3 quarts of water. Thus the heater is handicap, much like a dragster with 87 octane. The only it can overcome the handicap is more air. Si?

    Dave
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    More power to ya Dave if you can get wood MC down that low and control the stove. Every stove I have ever owned would do its own air controlling on six percent wood. If I didn't give it what it wanted it would use that convenient pipe attached to it to suck it right down the chimney.

    It is a moot point with my Sierra insert anyway. Sierra departed from the "airtight" concept before the EPA stuff. Instead of upper air controls like your stove they built in air ports over the top of the glass for an air-wash under the smoke dam and over the baffle for combustion up top. No closing or opening them, they just be there. Where the EPA light show comes out of the air tubes, the Sierra does a rolling burn show across the large baffle. Between that secondary air and the opportunity for it to pull air back down the chimney that the big brown boy would show me who's boss with wood that dry if I turned down primary air. It has before.
  9. hardwood715

    hardwood715 Feeling the Heat

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    Dave, After reading your updated post, i realized you were talking about pipe temps, and not stove top, since mine is an insert I have the condor on the stove top. I maintained her around 450, but I think I could safetly run the stove temp a little hotter, am I correct? Do you monitor your stove TOP temps, or do you have an idea what they might be? Again thanks to both you and BrotherBart for helping me to tame this beast of mine, A hard working heater!!!!!!
  10. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    BB,

    The only fireplace insert I‘ve operated was a five 2” exhaust pipe configuration that I designed & had a muffler shop make. This was about a year before someone showed me a picture of a Heatolator (spelling?) equivalent with enclosed glass. Thus I cannot speak to your Sierra operation regarding air control. And what a pre-EPA heater, i.e. Buck, etc, will do is also beyond me.

    I only know that MaMa operates very efficiently by the procedure I’ve given, as witness a 12 oz soda can accumulation for @ a 17 year run without my sweeping the chimney. I’ve had people comment, that since they didn’t see smoke they thought that I was heating with ng, as they were up wind to the chimney when they came in our house.

    Anyone can get the mc down to 6% by laying down 6 mil plastic, landscape timbers on top, point the cut end to the un-shaded sun, protect the wood by glass, & store it under roof. Just try that experiment for kicks & let the forum know what you learn.

    Have a good one,

    Dave.
  11. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    HD,

    The grandkids have a soccer game & my attendance is demanded. When thru I will have to feed the winners so will answer your post tomorrow.

    Thanks,

    Dave
  12. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    HD,

    I put the Condar on the stove pipe located 2’-0” above the heater flue outlet. The Condar's instructions convinced me the unit better served me when placed on the stove pipe.

    However, after reading a post by BB about a Harbor Freight (HF) thermometer I got one & will calibrate it to the Condar this year using Marty’s idea of creating a graph.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=91778

    Since you have an insert I would recommend you get instruction from other insert owners & or hearth dealers as to what thermometer would be the best for your situation.

    You, & all other pre-EPA heater owners, need to get the manufactures manual for your heaters & then run it according to the instructions. If you cannot find a manual then copy, cut, & past to Microsoft Word Processor, or the Mac equivalent, my post to Bitterbee, but leave 4 or 5 lines between each paragraph in order to insert your own heaters performance & characteristics.

    Once you got a good handle on your heaters operation, which will probably be different then mine when you tweak it for performance, type your notes up & then destroy mine. Then put the instructions near your heater to benefit the others in your house. This enables them to then correctly fire up & run your heater in a tested proven manner in the event that you are not there.

    Most people who burn are not disciplined in their fire burning routine. They shoot from the hip so to speak as they have not taken the time to teach themselves what is involved & why they should do so. The common attitude is that dad, mom, etc always did it their way & never had problems, so why should they change. It is hard to help people who respond like that.

    Have a good one,

    Dave
  13. hardwood715

    hardwood715 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks Dave for taking the time to help, I once called Gold Marc Industries in Monticello NY for information on this stove (ie- manual, etc), but they stopped manufacturing stoves in the 80's, and no one had any info that could help. I have read and learned so much from this forum, that I feel confident( but not complacent!) when using the stove, and as you wrote about family members, wifey and stepson are kinda afraid to operate it without the screen on and doors open, hence a minature fireplace. I am still experimenting with the control screws, but the best results have so far been close to your instructions, leaving them open till around 400 then closing and reopening 2.5 turns. I feel it would heat better with the stove top closer to 500- 600 maybe even 650 because the steamer didn't start steaming until around 500. I have one of those neat half kettles that sits on the stove shelf itself, not on the outer jacket where the fan blows through. (actual firebox top) From all the forum guys, including ELK, Brotherbart, Craig, Dylan and more
    including you, I have learned the most important things I fell relevant to safe burning

    1. Creosote Control- burn dry, seasoned wood.
    2. Check and clean chimney, and in my case fireplace- including chamber area, smoke shelf, and damper area.
    3. Never smolder, choke fire down where there are no flames.
    4. Check chimney visually seeing if it is smoking badly, when i firest started-before this forum was found i use to see lots of smoke- now i sometimes see white, steamish smoke, or none at all when in the temp ranges we discussed.

    In my case when I clean, I yank the stove out to do the fireplace, chamber shelf etc. Last year I did this monthly during cold weather, most I got was up towards the top of chimney, above roof line. I was told trying the ACS would help, and it does just what they say, i spray it on the wood as per instructions, and found less deposits, and easier brushing of the chimney.
    I think I dont have to pull her as often, but until i find that sweet spot of burning, and learn more about the actual stove damper as ELK says I fo;;ow the better safe than sorry slogan.

    Sorry about rambling I am just kind of giving a testimony of how this site has given me a confident feeling that wood burning can be safe and economical as long as veterans like you guys pass on the knowledge, in my case you have taught alot----Thanks
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Glad that you are getting good results. Too much of the bad press for the better quality pre-EPA stoves came/comes from people not taking the time to learn, and manufacturers not explaining, how to operate them efficeniently.

    As you are finding out it is entirely possible for one of them to tick along merrily for hours heating your home while there is nothing coming out of the stack but a clear heat plume.

    It is also possible for a EPA stove to fog the neighborhood if not operated properly. Wood burning is not a set it and forget heating method.

    Have fun and warm house this winter.
  15. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    Glad to have been of some help.

    But don’t give up on the Gold Marc Industries manual just yet. Google the web daily as it is likely to pop up on ebay, craigs list, etc.

    Meantime re-read the Condar instructions for use & start a new tread on the type of temp gauge that insert owners use. Their thoughts will be far more relevant then mine, especially if they have observed a strict heating routine.

    See ya,

    Dave
  16. jabush

    jabush Feeling the Heat

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    Somewhere, someone has a manual for that stove. I searched and searched for info on my stove, and was fortunate enough to get my hands on the original manual. Since I'm only going into my second season with the Huntsman, I'm happy to have the manual. I realized right off that I was leaving the air regulators open too much last year, making too much heat and going through the loads too quick. I feel having the manual will help flatten out the learning curve this year.

    Just for grins, here's a snippit from the manual...

    Attached Files:

  17. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    Jabush,

    Need your help. That heater drawing looks interesting but I cannot read the fine print even going to "print preview" & increasing the size to 200%, then using my very best pair of Walmart store bought eyeballs. :lol:

    Is there a way you can increase the size & repost the picture?

    From the looks of it that heater was made to enjoy dining on 8' poles.

    How long have you been feeding it?

    Dave
  18. jabush

    jabush Feeling the Heat

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    Hi Dave,

    Hope this image is better for you to view.
    The Huntsman was in my house when I bought. Although I cut my wood to 18-20", the heater will easily accomodate a 24" log. Like I said, I'm happy to have the manual as this will be my second season with the stove.

    **edit** Yea...that's a better attachment. I thought it was interesting that ASW was thinking about secondary air back in "the day."

    joel

    Attached Files:

  19. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    Jabush,

    Thanks. that is some heater.

    Would like to find one like that for my niece. Gave her some heater classifieds ads last year but she & her dad sat on them.

    And found out last Friday that she hasn't got up wood for this winter.

    I guess her motto to live by is: "Why wait, procrastinate!" :)

    Do you have a Condar thermometer? If so, have you compared the heat output on the chimney, at 2'-0" above the heater flue, with the surface temp right above the flue outlet?

    And how do you adjust those screws in order to tweak the heater for efficiency?

    Thanks,

    Dave
  20. jabush

    jabush Feeling the Heat

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    Still learning about the air controls. That's why I'm so happy to have the manual for this beast. Evidently, for the overnight burn I'm supposed to close the two lower screws and leave the upper screw open approx 1/8 inch. The manual claims this stove will hold a fire for 12-17 hours. The best I got last year was 5-6 hours, but that was with all three air controls open and lots of heat coming off the stove. I'll keep in touch as I progress through the season this year.
    My thermo is a stovepipe model made by Rutland and it does sit approx 2' above the Tee on the back of the stove. I generally keep it between 300 & 400 degrees. I don't check surface temps as I thought the flu thermo would suffice.



    I use a Rutland stove pipe thermo to keep an eye on the heat
  21. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    Jabush,

    Since you have the ability to control the air for the secondary burn it might benefit you to have a surface temp gauge. As I understand it the wood gases in the secondary burn add btu's. You might want to do a search on the topic.

    Keeping a log of what were the temps, chimney & heater, what was burning, how long it burned, etc ought to speed up your learning curve in the tweaking process.

    If you want to burn 8 hours don't put in splits, put a couple of rounds that are 8" about 15 minutes before sack time. But get comfortable with the operation prior to using it for an over-night burn. You should have some heat & coals in the morning.

    Have a good one,

    Dave
  22. jabush

    jabush Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the tips. I think I will keep a little log (no pun) of what I burn, air inlet settings, flu & stove top temps, etc... that's a good idea.
    I never thought of the upper air inlet as "secondary air" until I read the manual. In fact...I've been looking at older stoves (because I have one) and most don't have the higher air inlet on the door...just the two toward the bottom. Maybe that gives me a "cleaner air" advantage, maybe not. I'm surely gonna find out though as I'm now getting attached to my stove, and looking forward to this season with a little more knowledge. I just wish I could find out more about the company, model lines, etc. There's not much info out there and believe me I have been looking.
  23. hardwood715

    hardwood715 Feeling the Heat

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    Guess what I found , yup, the installation and operators manual for my gold marc, packed away in a box with old papers. Not much info though, regarding the air inlets - it says half inch open is for hottest setting, eighth inch open for longest burn, I have been opening them suckers all the way until they would come off if open any further.Nothing in the manual for operating temps, no mention at all. Also nothing in there mentions the slide damper, except that open it for starting fire
    I have heard old timers say you can close it partly for longer burning and hotter stove, Well at least I found it!
  24. jabush

    jabush Feeling the Heat

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    It's very cool that you found the manual for your stove!!!
    There's no mention of operation temps in my manual either. I pretty much go by the "burn zone" on my stovepipe thermo, which is about 270 - 550 degrees. I try to run my stove in the middle.
    Even though I have some pretty dry wood to burn this year, common sense tells me that if I choke the stove down for the long burn, I'll probably be making creosote. I'll definitely be keeping my eye on the chimney (for buildup) throughout the season.
    I did have a stovepipe damper on my original setup, but I didn't have it reinstalled when I had the chimney lined and replaced the stovpipe. I haven't missed it.
  25. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    Right, as I’ve also learned that the hard way. Am of the opinion the mfgr’s did not spend much money testing their heaters to come up with optimal heater performance settings. Apparently their attitude was get it made & let the customer do the tweaking.

    Right, that too was learned the hard way. The Condar temp gauge took speculation out of the equation by establishing the fire-up & run temps. Once that is known & practiced then the variables left are the quality of the fuel, its moisture content (mc), & the burn time of same sized splits verses rounds.

    Not necessarily if the mc is 10% or less. If you do not have a mc meter try this. After setting the screw(s) for a run go outside & look for chimney smoke. If there is smoke & it does not dissipate in @ 5 minutes you will have creosote.

    Right, I removed ours because it was a creosote maker. But now after discovering the benefits of burning wood with less than 10% mc, I might be adding a Fields automatic barometric draft regulator or one of these if I can find who makes them.

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/DIY/1982_September_October/Cleaning_Up_Wood_Heat_for_1982_83

    Note under “PART III: A SLACK TEMPERATURE WOODSTOVE THERMOSTAT” B.V. Alvarez’s research.

    According to the post at the bottom of the page this unit works, but I would like reports from tech sources. I find it odd that if this device worked so well it hasn't been offered for older heaters nor installed on the newer models which still require manual adjusting.

    Anyway, this forum is educational as to the variables in wood heating. By discussing our findings & ironing out our problems we can burn more efficiently & safely.

    Dave
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