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  1. John Rubbo

    John Rubbo New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Hi All,

    I'm a newbie here. Live in PA and just purchased an i3100 insert. Had a few questions about it if you would be so kind as to give me some insight :)


    1. when starting, i notice that i smoke up my entire house (my fiance does not like this at all). any suggestions on how to minimize this?

    2. seems like when i push my draft control all the way in, the fire goes out within 10-15 min. i thought this was the setting to get sustained/efficient burns?

    3. in your experience, what is the best type of wood to burn in these things? i've heard oak, cherry and maple are all good but i'm still a novice with burning.

    4. the installer said i should be able to get 10-12 hr burns (the manufacterer states the same). so far im lucky if i get 3-4 hrs. maybe use a diff type of wood?

    5. i do have central AC and one of my buddies suggested i could turn my AC fan on to "circulate" the hot air. Does anyone have any experience with this? My return vent for the AC is conveniently located right above the wood stove.

    I really want to prove to my fiance that this stove can be the primary source to heat our 2000 sq foot (open floor concept) home this winter...she certainly has her doubts.

    Any info you guys/gals can provide would be helpful!

    Thanks,

    Jack

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  2. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,920
    Loc:
    southern ontario
    Tell us when you cut, split and stacked your firewood, and what species of wood you are burning. It sure sounds like you are trying to burn wood that has too high a moisture content: ie, has not had a long enough period stacked for drying.

    You don't want to minimize smoke in the house, you want to eliminate it. You need dry wood to do this.

    Fire is probably going out because the wood is wet.

    Any split firewood is fine, as long as it is dry.

    Read through the recent "VT 038 Engage Cat Fire Dies " thread. We just went through this discussion, and there are good explanations toward the end of the thread as to what is happening and what to do. Lots and lots of threads dealing with the need for dry wood, and what to do to mitigate a problem with too wet wood if you can't get dry (which is very hard to purchase at this time of year).

    Unless you know your firewood is dry, try this: get some ends of lumber (untreated, unpainted raw lumber), put three or four pieces in your stove ...up to 1/2 to 1 cu foot total. Use some dry kindling, birchbark, newspaper or firestarter to get the fire started. It should burn with no smoke into your home. You should be able to gradually close the air down until it is 1/4 or less open with a good burn staying in the box, as long as you wait until the wood is fully burning before you start the closing prcedure.

    If all goes well, your original wood is too wet to burn this year.

    If that is the case, cover the top of your stacks and let them dry for next year. Locate some kiln dried firewood (more expensive, but will keep you warm this winter), scrap ends from a business that uses wood (window, door, or furniture manufacturer, floor manufacturer, mill, lumberyard...), or a local individual who has some excess wood seasoned at least one year (cut, split and stacked at least one year, 2 years if oak). or buy some manufactured logs at a place like Lowe's or TSC in bulk. Get a moisture meter. You can burn the new wood alone, or mix it with your present wood, if the moisture content in your present wood is not too high.

    First, though, burn a fire with wood that you know is dry anad see what happens. Then post again and we can give you more advice about wood, and setting the wood in your stove for optimal burn times.
    HatboroPaul likes this.
  3. HatboroPaul

    HatboroPaul New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Messages:
    29
    Loc:
    Hatboro, PA
    I agree with Rideau, although I find it is possible with some hard work and due diligence to find proper wood even now, you just have to know what your looking at, and ALWAYS see it before you open your wallet, and be willing to walk away and keep looking. Where are you at in PA?
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,003
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    This definitely sounds like poorly seasoned wood. But another factor might be the chimney. How tall is the chimney? Did they install a full liner in the chimney or is the insert exhaust a short stub to just above the damper? Is this an interior or exterior chimney?
  5. John Rubbo

    John Rubbo New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    good to know. thanks Rideau! i believe what i've been burning is sycamore and poplar (im not positive though). it was cut ~2 years ago but i just split and stacked it a few months back. i just ordered a cord of seasoned wood from a local guy. was super expensive (~250 a cord) but he guarantees its seasoned and i've talked to a few other people that highly recomended him. I'll make sure its dry before i give him the cash tomorrow. Thanks hatboropaul...i live right outside philly.

    @ begreen Chimney is 25ft i believe. they installed a full stainless steel "316 Ti" liner from top to bottom and cap fully installed
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    Good luck. In my experience in this area, no one delivers dry wood in the end of October.
  7. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,920
    Loc:
    southern ontario
    Glad you have the wood ordered. Hope it turns out to be nice and dry. Let us know how the fire goes with the new wood.

    We'd like to hear....and welcome to the Forum.
  8. James02

    James02 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    Messages:
    345
    Loc:
    L-Town...N.Y.
    John, do yourself a favor and take just a few hours to read through some of the pages on the site.....Many, have been doing this longer thank I'm alive (no disrespect)...Many, including myself, read and researched before we jumped....You can do it, as noted it's probably your wood....At least get the flue warm and create a draft, that'll "help" not cure your smoke issue. There are always people willing to chime in and help...Take your girl and learn together, so when you're not home she can tend to the stove....Good luck, and welcome!
  9. TTigano

    TTigano Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Messages:
    129
    Loc:
    Southeastern, Ma
    John, where are you located? I have a Hampton HI300 which is the cast iron model of what you have. I really like the stove and installed it last year. I also had problems with burn times and the fire going out if closing the air intake too much. It all came down to the fact that my wood was too wet. Plain and simple... I tested this theory by buying a few bundles of "biobricks" from Tractor Supply. The stove would heat up so much more and burn so much better than with the unseasoned wood. Also, I will have to disagree that you will be buying "seasoned wood". I also have talked to people who recommend certain wood suppliers and the wood burns well for them due to the fact that they have an ancient stove that isn't as air tight as these new EPA stoves. When starting the fire for the first time you need to use a good amount of dry kindling and get a small HOT fire started and slowly build it up. Once you have a good bed of hot embers you can load the stove up and leave the door cracked a hair with the air intake wide open, this will create a billow effect and will get the stove fired up. Leave the door open for a few minutes (About 5) and then close it. Let the fire build and slowly close the air intake a little at a time. You should be able to get some good burn times out of a fully packed stove. Granted your wood is dry enough. Grab a moisture meter and let us know what it reads on your current wood.
  10. John Rubbo

    John Rubbo New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    TTigano, Thanks for the reply....I am located right outside of Philly. So should I just buy a cheap moisture meter from Home depot or Lowes? and what would be an acceptable moisture content to say wood is properly seasoned?
  11. TTigano

    TTigano Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Messages:
    129
    Loc:
    Southeastern, Ma
    Yes, a moisture meter from Home Depot or Lowes will work fine. The wood should have a moisture content of 20% or less give or take. Also, when you look at the wood, you can tell by picking it up and knocking it together... It shouldnt thud when properly seasoned, it should almost make a "knock" and sound hollow. Color and cracks on the ends of each split also are an indicator of seasoned wood... I found all this out last year when I kept buying a cord here and a cord there from so called "seasoned firewood sellers". Not one cord was seasoned... So I've had about 6 cord sitting in my backyard stacked in single rows approx 4 feet high to expidite the seasoning process.
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    14,859
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Random thoughts . . .

    Ut oh . . . trying to get us in trouble by proving a point with the fiance . . . :) ;) Actually, I believe you will be right in the end . . . providing the wood is good, you learn how to run the stove correctly and the set up is good . . . and don't worry. . . you keep posting and we'll get you over the hump so that you'll be burning like a pro in no time.

    Is it chilly in here or is it just me? Air Conditioning to move the heat . . . most folks who have tried this say it doesn't work all that well although some folks have had some success. Oftentimes insert users report that using their insert blowers and a fan (regular box fan or desk top fan) pointed towards the room with the stove works well in moving the heat as it establishes a natural current of air -- heated air rises to the ceiling and cool air is at the floor level . . . the fan pushes the cooler air towards the stove where it is heated up and rises and then it naturally moves out at the ceiling level to the spots vacated by the cooler air.

    The Smoke gets in your eyes . . . Problems with smoke at start up . . . as noted this could be unseasoned wood . . . which you can check with a moisture meter or you can simply look inside and see water bubbling and hissing out of the ends of the wood . . . this is bad. The problem may also be a draft issue with too short of a chimney, the bathroom vent, kitchen vent, dryer, etc. is in use or the temp difference outside and inside may be too close and you may have a reversed stack condition which is when the outside air is moving down the chimney into the home instead of through the stove and up the chimney and outside. This time of year many of us have problems with reversed stack conditions when the temp outside is very close to the temp inside. You can easily tell if your draft is an issue if you light some incense or a match and then hold it near the open door to your insert . .. if the smoke is whisked inside and up the chimney typically the draft is good . . . if the smoke lingers or goes back at you . .. you need to reverse the condition or risk having the inside of your home smell like the inside of a chimney. Sometimes you can fix this problem by just opening a nearby window a crack . . . othertimes you may have to resort to using a hair dryer, propane torch or candle in the firebox to get a draft established.

    The figures lie . . Burn time. Ah, the big question about "burn time." Almost all of us have fallen for this one as newbies. We buy a stove and love the long "burn time" figures listed in the brochures and on line . . . the problem is none of us ever think to ask what the definition of "burn time" is . . . and it turns out that even here we all don't have a universal definition of what burn time is. Is it the time from when you light that match to when the final coal turns cold? Is it the time from when you get X degrees of heat from the stove until the time when the stove no longer produces X degrees of heat? Is it the time from when you see flames to the time when there are no more visible flames? I know I pictured the burn time as the time from when the fire was blazing to when the last flame burned out . . . and I can tell you now that this isn't Jotul's definition of burn time. Many folks here I would guess might say burn time is the time from when you reload or start the stove to the time when you still have enough coals to easily ignite the next load by simply putting some small splits or kindling on the coals . . . but again . . . even we disagree on what is the exact definition.

    Wait for it . . . wait for it . . . When to start closing the air control. You are correct that the key to longer burn times and more heat is shutting down the air control . . . although sometimes you cannot shut these down all the way -- a lot depends on the temps in the firebox, how well seasoned the wood is, the draft, etc. Many folks can shut things down to a quarter mark . . . some folks can go more, others less . . . again it's dependent on a lot of factors. What is true however is that on a cold start fire usually you cannot shut things down in only 10 minutes without the fire dying . . . instead what many of us do is get the fire going and then at a set temp start to slowly close down the air control . . . a quarter mark at a time . . . the fire may die down a bit, but if it recovers and then starts burning pretty strongly after 5 minutes or so . . . turn it down another quarter mark . . . and then let it recover again . . . in this way you may be able to close down the air control most of the way without the fire dying a quick death.

    All wood is good . . . just some is better than others at particular times for particular purposes. Oak is a fantastic wood for overnight fires -- but it needs to be seasoned for a long time . . . and by seasoned many of us would say cut, split and stacked for two or more years. Cherry seasons relatively well . . . give it a year and you should be good to go. Maple . . . hard to tell . . . sugar maple is right up there with BTUS . . . silver maple is not so great.The truth of the matter is that you can burn just about any species of wood in a stove . . . as long as it is seasoned . . . don't try petrified wood though -- initial reports indicate that it does not burn so well. The thing to bear in mind is that pine can be burned . . . but it tends to burn up quickly and you will have to reload sooner than if you go with something like cherry, ash, etc.

    Final thought . . . welcome to hearth.com.
    Curly and burnt03 like this.
  13. m1garand

    m1garand New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    Silver Spring, MD
    I am a brand new burner, I have only run three or so fires in my used i3100. When I went to start my first one, I got a decent amount of smoke in the house. I had a window open in the bathroom that was causing a reverse draft :). When I close the windows the thing fires right up :) I cannot wait until it gets cold.
  14. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,317
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I also have a Hampton hi300 which is the sister unit to your Regency.

    1. If the stove is cold and especially is cold air can be felt coming down the flue, I crack open a closeby window and get the draft going in the right direction with some newspaper.

    2. I have also found that you can throttle this stove way down - more so than my previous insert. I would keep it out about 1/2" or so on low with the fan on.

    3. Dry wood is good.

    4. Did you pack the stove well? The splits can be put in front to back, and you don't have to worry about them falling out? At this time of year in PA, you should get some good heat for a while.

    5. Can't help

    Even with some fans, I think my wife will still be turning on the heat upstairs. Hopefully not as much as with the previous smaller insert. I think it will be warmer downstairs and upstairs, but will probably induce more napping time downstairs while watching TV.
  15. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,215
    Loc:
    Soutwest VA
    Welcome.

    Your problem sounds like bad wood these EPA stove need seasoned wood to burn hot and efficient.

    I suggest if possible that you try and get ahead on your wood for next winter and beyond.
  16. Jim.od3@gmail.com

    Jim.od3@gmail.com Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Portland, OR
    I also have the Hampton HI-300.
    My definition of burn time is time between reloads where I don't have to nurse the fire back - just toss on a couple more splits and off she goes. With practice you will be able to get 8 hr burn times out of your Regency without much difficulty. I have reached 12hr burn times on occasion. Note that 8-12hr burn times happen when you are reloading into an already warmed up stove. You won't get 8hr burns on a cold start.

    To get the best burn times you need to really load the stove to the gills. And you have to run it hot to get it off to a good start. Build up to it as you get accustomed to how the stove runs. You don't want to pack it full when you have a big bed of coals or you run the risk of overfiring.

    1. Use dry wood.
    2. Pack the stove using large splits, with the largest in the rear.
    3. Load E/W
    4. After you get up to a good, hot operating temperature with secondaries firing, slowly close the air down to within 1/2" of fully closed (close it all the way if you can do so without killing the fire - depends on your wood and your draft)
  17. John Rubbo

    John Rubbo New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    ok so when i light newspaper and DRY kindling wood i still get smoke inside my house. so maybe its not the wood after all?.... i checked the specs on the chimney and its 20 ft. any thoughts? it was about 55 degrees outside today and the house temp was around 65. should i try cracking a window in that room?
  18. John Rubbo

    John Rubbo New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    sorry chimney is 25 ft (not 20 ft)
  19. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    6,317
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Yes. Until the draft starts going in the right direction.
  20. John Rubbo

    John Rubbo New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    ok so the window open in that room did not work...any other ideas? I'm at a loss here. if my living room gets smokey (and ash from the newpaper) every time i start a fire my fiance is gonna be pretty pissed. please help!
  21. salmonhunter

    salmonhunter Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Messages:
    104
    Loc:
    newbrunswick canada
    I have the regency i1200 smaller version of yours and in my manual it says to only turn the air down 1/2 when you have the fan running I think it has to do with keeping the firebox hot enough. I had the same thing happening to me when I first got my insert I would cut back the air too much and the fire would pretty much go out. So my new technique is to get the fire going with kindling 5-7 mins later add a few splitts and then after 5-10 mins or so cut the air back too 3/4 then 5-10 mins later put the air to 1/2 and leave it there until a reload. when reloading if there is lots of coals I open the air and throw in more splits shut the door and after 5 mins cut the air back to 1/2. All of this may not be the perfect way of doing it as this is my first year burning but it seems to be working for me so far.
  22. salmonhunter

    salmonhunter Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Messages:
    104
    Loc:
    newbrunswick canada
    I heard of people using a torch inside there stove to get the chimey warmed up and the air flowing the right way. But I just use 3 sheets of newspaper and a bunch of split up pallet wood. light the paper in a bunch of different spots and close the door with the air open. seems to work and not much smoke comes back in the room. Hopefully some of the more experienced people will chime in
  23. John Rubbo

    John Rubbo New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    do you fully close the door? or just leave a crack to allow some air?
  24. TTigano

    TTigano Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Messages:
    129
    Loc:
    Southeastern, Ma
    I have a question. Is your chimney lined? That would make a huge difference. I have never had a problem starting the stove and getting smoke.
  25. John Rubbo

    John Rubbo New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    it is lined. full stainless steel "316 Ti" liner from top to bottom and cap

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