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Question about excessive coals

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Sodbuster, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster New Member

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    Hi guys I have a PE Summit freestanding stove, I've had it for a couple weeks and am loving it so far. It is one of the most stable stoves I've owned as far as controlling the burn. My problem is that I get too many coals building up shrinking the size of my firebox. I cleaned the stove out on Wednesday, and today it is due again. I'm burning cherry and ash, mostly cherry at this point in the wood pile, and the splits are smaller than I would like. Does the type of wood and the size of the split have anything to do with the coal buildup, or is it something I'm doing wrong? Thanks, SB

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  2. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Have you tried turning up the air and just burning the coals down..about half the btus of a split are in the coals.
  3. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    What HotCoals said and rake the hot coals to the front of the stove with full air and add some small splits and they will burn down..

    Ray
  4. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    As others have suggested open the air once it reaches the coaling stage if the coals aren't enough heat for the place. You can also place a small split on the coals to help burn them down, I like pine splits for this. The problem is also worse with wood that isn't well seasoned.
    raybonz likes this.
  5. wazzu

    wazzu Member

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    I have the same problem. I think it is one of the pitfalls of EPA stoves. I have measured the interior of my stove and I normally have 25% of my stove taken up with freaking coals. I believe the problem is that it does not flow enough air even all the way open in order to burn coals down in a efficient manner. I cleaned my chimney two weeks ago and I had to leave the stove open all the way for a day and a half to cool it down enough to clean! Would I buy another PE? No. Ash pan is a must and a larger firebox.
  6. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Sometimes I throw a few cups of pellets instead of kindling on the coals if I timed things wrong.
    Helps some and really raises up the temp of the stove.
    I buy a couple bags each season now just for that reason and sometimes because I just want to play!
    Hearth Mistress and raybonz like this.
  7. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    As rdust mentioned wet wood can cause this.. PE makes a decent stove as I have one and it has coals but nothing crazy. Try to let your coals burn down some between loads. Some woods make coals better than others such as ash and locust. Pine doesn't leave much for coals and ash isn't too bad, maple isn't too bad etc.I would question your wood being dry and/or the type of wood and draft you have..

    Ray
  8. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Damn now I gotta try that lol.. Thanx alot! !!!

    Ray
  9. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster New Member

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    I will try the small split idea and see if I can burn them down a bit, with the draft wide open. I kind of "idle" the stove during the day when the outside temp is a little warmer. I'm anxious to get into my ash splits which are much larger. Right now I'm not running a blower on the stove, and my house stays about 70-72. Would a blower increase the heat output so I have more cushion to burn things down? SB
  10. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I run a blower and it does get the heat out but it runs OK without it.. Dry wood makes a big difference with any EPA stove.. I will also add to always leave about an inch or so of ashes in the stove they run better this way.. I have an ash pan but never use it.. I just shovel out the ashes into an ash bin..

    Ray
  11. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Once your secondary tubes stop firing, gradually add more air the box. I've tried adding smaller splits or1-3 inch limbs and it just doesn't burn the coals down like adding more air does (though keeps the wife happy with flames). I'm running a very small insert right now and it's about the only thing I can do to get the coals down enough for reload. I don't rake the coals forward because it puts a slight haze on the glass when I do that. Now I just pull coals from the E/W sides to center where the air channel occurs and the glass stays clear for the most part. I can see the value in raking forward for a bigger firebox though.

    The pellet approach is interesting idea that I might look into. I'm burning mostly white ash that measures just shy of 20% and the coals I get are huge chunks.
  12. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I get lots of coal building up & the stove don't put out enough heat when burning the coals even on "High" inlet air.
    I rake the coals forward & lay on 2 splits & burn on high.
    It last about 1-1/2 hours then I do it again (rake forward & add a split or 2) & again until I have the most of the coals burned down to ash.
    Doing this, the stove is still putting out allot of heat & at the same time burning down the coals.
    If I get behind & have lots of coals, this may take 3 or even 4 times. But by evening,
    I have fewer hot coals but mostly ashes & can shovel out the ashes & save the coals to get the next burn cycle going pretty fast.
    The stove stayed hot & the house stayed warm.

    With the 20° to 30°f weather for the next few days,
    I can burn it down by turning it to high & just raking/mixing the ashes & coals around a couple times.
    Then empty ( a cooler stove) without the house getting cooled off.
    raybonz likes this.
  13. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Shovel out your stove. Use a hard wire mesh to catch your coals and save them in a separate container. Put them back in. Shouldn't take too long to warm em up with some kindling/fire starter.
  14. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I am posting this to illustrate what I see after a 10-1/2 burn with 200* stove top temp. The wood that I burned was a mix of some large red oak and ash. I raked the coals forward this morning and had relight in seconds. The non-flash pic is a bit blurry I should have used a tripod. The wood I am burning is seasoned and if you're burning damp wood that will leave much more coals plus you will realize less BTU's and more creosote, dirty glass, etc..

    Ray

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  15. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    There's some people that prefer a layer of ash on the base of a firebox and some that don't. We have a woodfurnace, but it's an EPA certified model. I found if I don't remove ash, it gets pulled up along with coals from my wife and quickly accumulates. No matter how much air or wood gets placed on top, the ash insulates those coals. There's been times my wife has complained about the amount of coals. After I open the ashpan cover and remove the ash there's only a handful or two of coals and the piles been reduced to a quarter or less. I now remove the ash in the morning so it doesn't accumulate. Usually after a long burn the front of the firebox is ash and the coals are in back, so a couple scoops and it's done.
  16. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I don't know anything about wood furnaces but apparently they are different when it comes to ashes. I am only talking about wood stoves and about an inch of ash. Both of the stoves I have operated ran better with a layer of ashes in the firebox and the ashes also help to protect the bottom especially on my old CDW which had an all cast iron interior..

    Ray
  17. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    Our firebox isn't like a standard furnace, it's completely different. There's no grates, it's a EPA stove with a heat exchanger and air jacket. What I'm saying is I have problems trying to keep the coals separate from the ash. If I remove that ash, then I have no problems. I have to pull the coals up front to the primary (airwash) before I load. If there's an inch layer of ash that tends to be pulled up alon with the coals. If I don't keep ash then it doesn't happen.
    raybonz likes this.
  18. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I just rake them forward open the air and that take care of the problem for me.
  19. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster New Member

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    Thanks for the info guys, I'm trying the technique right now of opening the air back up when the secondaries slow down, and the wood is mostly coal. My wood is well seasoned and is running about 13-15% moisture, so I don't think that is a problem. I did get started late in the season last year as far as getting my wood cut, so I split the logs into smaller chunks that I like. Next year will be better as I'm cutting right now for the 2013-14 winter. SB
    remkel and raybonz like this.
  20. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    My stove has an ash pan, so my process is to rake around the coals and let all the ash fall into the pan. This leaves all the coals expose to the air and in no time they are glowing red just waiting for a good load of wood. This process is done after a good overnight burn. During the day, I just rake the hot coals forward and add air. Has been working so far.
    raybonz likes this.
  21. egclassic

    egclassic Feeling the Heat

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    I have noticed when I burn cherry, it leaves alot of big chunks behind after the burn. I usually have to physically remove them, 'cause they won't burn down.
  22. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster New Member

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    That's exactly what I'm seeing too egclassic. I'm stuck with the Cherry until I get to my Ash. One thing I would note to anyone reading this that is new to wood burning. If you are burning down your coals by pulling everything forward, wear your heavy leather gloves. I've had 2-3 "rollers" so far and have been able to grab them and throw them back into the stove. I have a sacrificial rug in front of my unit which is soon to be replaced with a fiberglass or wool rug.
    raybonz likes this.
  23. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I don't know why but I have no trouble burning cherry in my stove.. Maybe you have a different strain of cherry there? I don't care for EW front loading stoves because of the log rolling out on fire problem! I used to load my CDW this way until a burning log rolled out and onto the carpet!!!!! Used side loading from that point on :)

    Ray
  24. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    Exactly.....think of coals as the "cream" on top of you coffee - don't waste them.....re-use them!
    Shoveling, sifting & using them has become a 5 min. morning start-up routine.
    Makes a big difference in the success of my top-down 1st burn.
  25. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster New Member

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    I suspect it's the same kind of cherry you have, we just call it wild cherry. It produces small cherries 1/4" diameter or so that the black birds eat to excess then crap cherry bombs all over you car. It burns fine and throws good head, just leaves big coals to burn down, for me at least. I also load NS, but pull as many large coals to the front as was suggested to me so they burn down, that's where I had the rollers.

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