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Reload when not ready

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Kevin Dolan, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Kevin Dolan

    Kevin Dolan Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Messages:
    190
    Loc:
    SW Ontario
    Sometimes I find that I cannot time my reloading for overnight or other times properly, and wonder what is the best strategy when I have to put wood on and just leave the stove for whatever reason. Should I turn the primary air to half and then leave it or not add wood and have to relight upon my return. I think I understand that I should have the wood well charred before turning down my primary air and getting full use of my secondary burners but if I can't do this for whatever reason, thoughts on what to do before leaving the stove?
    Thoughts appreciated,
    Kevin

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  2. Dustin

    Dustin Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    404
    Loc:
    Western Oregon
    In a perfect world, from my short experience, it works best of the wood is charged before shutting the air down.

    Like you though, I have had a few times where I need to "load and go." And I don't have time to get things up to proper temp. When this happens, I have loaded, got some flame going and then shut it all the way down, turned the blower on and left.

    Now, usually this will make for a dirty, smokey burn. But, I have also had times where I make it back to the stove two hours later, and she's cruising along at good temp. So, I imagine the stove wont burn nasty for the entire burn, but it's not the best...

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong...
  3. ailanthus

    ailanthus Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    338
    Loc:
    Shen Valley, VA
    I always have to load the stove & leave for work while the rest of the family is still sleeping, sometimes for several more hours. I was always curious what the stove was doing while there's no one there to see it and wanted to know the results of how I was getting the stove ready in the morning. I later found out that some people have done the similar things with tin foil etc, but I rigged a paper clip, bent so that now it shows the maximum temperature that registers on the stovetop thermometer. It's either reassuring, or else it lets you know if you're doing something way wrong. There have been some other threads about the wood-burning tools/accessories that you wouldn't want to do without. For me, this $0.02 paper clip is one of them...

    (If a stove overfires and there's no one there to see it, does it cause any damage?)

    paperclip1.jpg paperclip2.jpg
    fox9988 likes this.
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,425
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    It happens . . . knowing a stove over time will allow you to get a sense of when to load to time things right . . . or how long it will take to get a fire going . . . but I suspect many of us have had the timing off and either ran out of time and the fire wasn't quite cruising yet or it was halfway through a burn and we were heading to bed.

    While it's rare . . . if I've mistimed things and it's bed time and the fire is half-way through the burn I will just let the fire go . . . and rely on the oil boiler to kick on in the early morning . . . I do this since I learned a long time ago reloading mid-way through the burn cycle will result in scarily high woodstove/chimney temps . . . and in the end I stay up late anyways babysitting the stove and attempting to get the temps down.

    If the fire isn't in cruising mode and I have to leave the house . . . which is also rare (one of the reasons I get up every day around 4:30 a.m. when I don't have to leave until 6:30) . . . I am generally close to the temps and I'll cut the air back on the stove . . . the idea being that I would rather a bit of creosote get in the chimney or the glass get gunked up vs. risking an over fire in the stove or chimney.

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