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Puffing Princess, p'd partner.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BillsWS, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. BillsWS

    BillsWS Feeling the Heat

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    Wife got knarly with me again this morning "I am going to move out." She hates the smell of smoke in the house. My procedure: open cat, open thermostat full, shut off the blower, open the door a crack to let the draft get going good. Go get coffee or something, come back, very slowly open the door to load wood.... smoke comes out of the damn door. I love the stove's operation, control, etc... but I keep thinking with the front of the stove slanted back its almost impossible to not have smoke come out when the door is open. My chimney is class A, about 30' inside the heated envelope (except the top 12 ft. or so is in a chase above the heated envelope but enclosed). And wood is 2 years dry. Am I doing something wrong? Is my draft too weak (with that length of chimney, I thought it might be too strong)?

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    It sounds to me like you are doing everything right, but I will point out that if you wait till the coaling stages to add wood, there is very little smoke left in the wood. Are you reloading while there is still a healthy amount of off gassing wood?

    Moral of the story: Glowing hot embers have very little smoke to give.
    ailanthus likes this.
  3. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    What Jags said. I rarely have a reason to open the door with any smoking wood in it.

    Another thing to try is to actually close the draft (thermostat) when you crack the door. This will force the stove to draw it's air from the door into the firebox.
    Beetle-Kill likes this.
  4. BillsWS

    BillsWS Feeling the Heat

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    Ah ha! Brilliant idea. I will try that next time. And Jags, its usually getting pretty low on fuel. But, like this morning, because I was heading to work, the glowing chunks were pretty good size, 3 - 4" range. I put one split in and closed the door, next split closed the door, but the 3rd and 4th splits the fire was already taking off and dumped smoke in the room. Hopefully the damper closing trick will work. :)
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Each time you open the door you create a small temporary vacuum behind it. That's why it should be opened a crack, then pause for the pressure to equalize, then open slowly. You should be able to add all of the splits at once. Opening it multiple times, once per split is just going to increase the odds of drawing smoke into the room, especially if one is in a hurry.
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Why would you add one split at a time? Open the door once, load the sucker up, get it charred and close it down for the long haul. I think you really need to take a look at your method. I would (and would guess that many would) have the same smoke problem if I used your reload technique.
  7. bobabuoy

    bobabuoy Member

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    is it possible leaving the door cracked while you go get coffee is actually cooling your chimney and reducing the draft? I normally crack for a couple of seconds to pull out any smoke and then open to start adding wood. The longer I leave it open, the more likely I am to get some spillage of smoke.
  8. WidowMaker

    WidowMaker Member

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    It may just be terminolgy, But I don't see where you opened the by-pass
  9. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    With mine I open up the damper and air inlets for a minute or two to get the fire going again, that helps clear out the smoke and heat up the cooler chimney, then I push the hot chunks to the back and create an air channel down the middle in the ash, I find pushing the still burning chunks towards the back helps with the smoke to go up the chimney, then I reload, usually N/S so it burns back to front.
  10. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I'm guessing it's where he says "opened cat".
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Bill, holy smokes, you and I could have traded homes this morning. My experience today was exactly the same as yours. Right down to the reason for loading on a partially burned fuel load from the day before. It's 22 degrees out and the fire won't make it all day while I'm away if I don't add fuel this morning. I made a stinky house too.

    We all know that the BK fireboxes burn out the center of the fuel load and then the double tall stack of splits on each side later on. So great, you've got these charred and still smoking splits right next to the loading door and since the loading door tilts back you have a vertical free path for smoke to rise. It is also a fact that the bypass opening is lower than the top of the loading door so the smoke has to get sucked downhill and horizontally into the bypass door, almost like a downdraft. The last thing working against us is that these stoves burn with a weak/slow draft due to efficient burning, low temps, and minimal combustion air. BK even recommends double wall pipe and the first bend well above the stove to try and make the best of it.

    It sucks. Even when outdoor to indoor delta is more than 50 degrees I have a hard time keeping smoke in the box. Once you get the smoke making coals covered with new wood, the spillage seems to stop.

    So that's the answer. Plan better. If I was smarter I would have not loaded so fully the night before and then this morning the fuel load would be just coals and not smoking. That smoke is what feeds the cat so smoke is good usually.

    The next strategy is to knock the unburnt smoke makers back into the back of the firebox. The smoke will be more likely to go up the bypass this way instead of being sucked downhill away from the door.

    Lastly, well, burning wood makes smoke and we all need to plan on a whiff of it every now and then. Not a lot though. I mean cripes, I watched one thick puff this morning rise to the ceiling and spread out. Really frustrating when the same chimney system sucked like crazy when being fed tons of energy from a non-cat wood hog.
  12. BillsWS

    BillsWS Feeling the Heat

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    Home for lunch now. The reason I open and close the door is BECAUSE of the smoking. If I open the door, put a split in and make the three steps to the wood box and three back, it is dumping smoke the whole time. So, I have taken to open an closing for each split. I came home to try shutting off the damper as suggested above and I am sorry to report it didn't make much if any difference. Of course the firebox is pretty full but I just thought if It was only pulling air from the door it would be great.

    Highbeam, I think your assessment is spot on. The design of the stove allows the smoke an easy path up and out.
  13. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Hmm. I usually load it up and then goof around cleaning up the glass a little, or sweeping up bark and dirt and tossing it in. All with the door wide open. Must be that 8" pipe ;)
    Jags likes this.
  14. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Waulie's idea works best for me. By-pass open, T-stat fully CLOSED, and crack the door open for a minute. Then load up, close door, and turn the stat back up.
    Very little if any smoke rolls out of the stove.
  15. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Another thing I do is just crack the door a couple inches and pull that stuff from the left side to the center and burn it hot for a little while. That helps to warm up the chimney and also burns those chunks up a little more. When I just crack the door enough to pull them in with the poker I don't get any spillage.

    I had the same experience as you with my non cat, that thing NEVER spilled smoke no matter when I opened the door.
  16. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I'd suggest you place all the splits you "think" you're going to need in front of the stove when loading. I usually have extras of varying sizes so I can load the stove without having to move. If I'd have to move with every splits the ones I just placed would be burning and creating smoke in no time.
    PapaDave likes this.
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    It's not the new splits. In fact, once you have covered the old stuff with fresh fuel, the smoking problem goes away. The trouble is those exposed smoldering pieces that are doing a great job of making smoke for the cat. If you just knock them to the rear of the stove then loading a full load will be a pain unless you load E/W.

    I think most of the problem is that the smallish inlet to the bypass is so far below the top of the loading door and hot smoke rises faster than our flue can suck it away.

    Best solution is to just let it burn down farther before reload. This will take some planning and will be the nature of the beast.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Wait a minute. You have to reload a BK more than once weekly? Something's wrong for sure. ;)

    j/k, good info Princess owners.
  19. Chettt

    Chettt Feeling the Heat

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    I'm sure you know this but opening a window or door in the stove room just before opening the stove door really breaks that negative pull you experienced this morning, especially if you own a newer airtight home.
  20. BillsWS

    BillsWS Feeling the Heat

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    Wow, what an education you guys are giving me, thank you all. I am reflecting on how many times I have read on here that it can take a year or two to get used to a stove. I didn't get that until now. I'll have to switch my experimentation with the stove to when my wife isn't home, like loading during lunch when she's at work, and conquer this learning curve before she decides to move out. :cool:
  21. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Worth a try. Outside air delivered by OAK is enough for the fire but maybe a little more air for the room would help keep the smoke in the stove. Not a fan of an open door when it's 20 degrees out though.
  22. BillsWS

    BillsWS Feeling the Heat

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    I have a Condor vent centered on the wall behind the stove, 18" off the floor. http://www.condar.com/asv.html not an OAK. The house is tight so opening the patio door or a window now becomes part of the routine.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You can also slightly open a nearby window. It doesn't take much. If the place is tight just 1/2" can make a difference.
  24. BillsWS

    BillsWS Feeling the Heat

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    Just reloaded and not a whiff of smoke! I did everything suggested including rolling the wood box over to the stove rather than walking back and forth. So now I am making up a numbered list for reloading: 1) open window 2) open thermostat all the way 3) open the cat bypass 4) shut off the fan 5) crack the door open 6) roll the wood box to the front of the hearth and let the draft get rolling 7) close the damper all the way 8) slowly open the door 9) load er up.

    Did I miss anything?
  25. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    What about the remaining fuel load? Was there a lot remaining or almost nothing? This makes a difference too.

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