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Question about burn temps

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by Grannyknot, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. Grannyknot

    Grannyknot New Member

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    I have a grandpa bear knock-off that I've been burning in for about 3 weeks. Its been great, with upstairs temps averaging 74 and the heat pump hasn't kicked on once. The problem is that I have been burning a mixture of poor wood. I've got some maple that seasoned through the summer, but is more than likely still at about 25-30% m.c., and I've got some Oak that was a standing dead tree we cut 2 months ago. Most of the Oak is still damp, probably around 35-40% moisture content (just a guess). Last year we burned an incredibly in-efficient wood stove with wood that wasn't seasoned. Last night, I cleaned our chimney for the first time in about 14 months. I should have taken a picture of all the creosote and soot that I removed from the flue, but I was shocked and worried. Probably enough to fill up 2 ziplock sandwich bags.

    So I am considering putting the wood heat on hold until I have some well seasoned wood. Possibly until next year. I have a wife and baby at home, as well as several indoor pets, and the last thing I want to risk is a chimney fire. Another option I have is to clean the flue often and get a stove thermometer, and possibly and moisture content meter and only burn wood that shows between 15-25%.

    My question is mainly about the safe burning temps with "damp wood". On the Rutland Stove thermometer, it shows anything above 300* as being in the "burn zone". Does this mean these are the proper operating temps where you are getting a complete combustion and burning off the creosote?

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  2. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    2 sandwich bags full doesn't sound like a problem, unless your chimney is 2' long.
  3. Grannyknot

    Grannyknot New Member

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    That was how much I got using 3 of the "sooteater" poles. So I guess I cleaned about 9 feet of chimney flue.
    I also tore out the high gear of my drill....but that is a whole other issue.
  4. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    I could be wrong, let someone else chime in.
  5. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    With an older stove you need to be keeping track of flue temps not stove top temps to get the cleanest burn or are you saying that is where the thermometer is now?
  6. Grannyknot

    Grannyknot New Member

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    I don't have a stove thermometer. My original question was if I should get one, if i should get a moisture meter, and what exactly the "burn zone" means on the rutland thermometer.
  7. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I dont think you need a stove thermometer as much as you need a flue thermometer (wouldn't hurt though i guess) yes to the MM, just a tool to help you out with the wood, I burnt a Nashua for 30 years with a flue thermometer as my guide using a condar and the burn zone for the stack is about 250 to 450, I believe that is a little on the conservative side as the temp drops a lot just a few feet up the pipe but a a good guide line none the less. If the stack temp is too low you form creosote and too high you run the risk of a chimney fire but only if the flue has creosote in it so yu can run it higher with out a problem. Rambling now so hope this helps.
  8. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Information regarding your stove burning conditions can only help your efficiency. If you burn wood in the 20% moisture range you will work less for the heat you receive. If you run your stove at the optimal temperatures you will reduce any chimney residue, and reduce the amount of sweeping required during cleaning.
    IMO a moisture meter and a thermometer are bare essentials to running efficiently.
  9. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I'd ignore the rutland's burn range as it is a poor average of what is generally accepted on the stove top AND stove pipe.

    Condar's is a little better as they make different ones for stove top and stove pipe. However, the stove top will still be an average. My steel stove sees 750 regularly and that is not reason for concern.

    Condar's recommended stove top temps
    [​IMG]

    Condar's recommended stove pipe temps
    [​IMG]

    pen

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