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Reloading at 500F

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Joful, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Wanted to get to bed early tonight, but apparently loaded one of the stoves too full with oak this afternoon, and I've been waiting for it to burn down far enough for an overnight reload. Been opening the air in increments since about 8:30pm, keeping temps around 550F, trying to get this massive coal bed to burn down for the last two hours.

    Well... enough is enough, and I'm tired. She hit 475F with the air opened to 50%, so I commenced with reloading. No room to rake the coals "forward", as I have 6" plus of furiously glowing softball-sized chunks covering the entire floor of the stove. The heat rolling out the door was enough that I had trouble just being in front of the stove to load it, wondering the entire time if my eyebrows are still with me.

    We'll see how this goes...

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  2. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Good luck with it. Hope it stays under control.
  3. pen

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

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    As much as I hate to use back-up heat, on the coldest nights of the year, using it only costs me a a buck or three bucks at the most in terms of supplement. If I try and be the "hero" saving those two coke's and run the stove too hard, it'd be a lot more costly when it cracks/warps down the middle.

    The wife doesn't complain if I stop at the bar on the way home and spend 10 or 15, but she'd notice real quick if I had to replace the stove.

    pen
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Well, we're cruising... sort of. My desk is right around the corner from this new stove, and I've gotten used to driving it by ear. It pings at me to let me know what it's doing, when it's heating up, when it's time to cut back the air, engage the cat, etc. Well... that's when it's not already pre-heated!

    I'm sitting here reading the forum, and then had a thought, "gee, the stove is awfully quiet." Walked around the corner to check, and the Condar on the stove top is approaching 700F with the air already cut back to 50%. Threw the cat engage lever, and the cat temp shot straight up to 1780F. Working the throttle back now, and she's full of pinging and popping noises.

    Not the hottest I've ever had it, but definitely hotter than I aim to go on a daily basis.
  5. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Already back down to 525F on the stovetop (gotta love these controllable F12's!), and holding 1791F on the cat.
  6. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Looks like you caught it in time. My stove is in the basement. I consider my trips down to check on the stove my daily exercise.
  7. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Same here... one stove at each end of a very long house. I probaby put two miles a day on my bedroom slippers, just running between the two during reloads. The wood is stored down a flight of stairs and out the basement door, and I make that trip six to nine times per day.

    I just noticed something, which I suppose I had noticed once before but forgotten... the Condar gauge on this stove reads 50F high! So, when it said 475F at reload, it was likely only 425F, and when it was reading over 650F, it was likely only a little over 600F.

    In any case, it's now cruising at 400F on the stovetop (450F, according to the Condar) and 1760F on the cat... time for bed!
  8. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    I reload at 500 quite frequently. Its no big deal for me at all. My main concern is having a full stove either before bed or before leaving the house. So I reload on convenience, not temp. My stove sees top temps north of 800 daily so it is not a concern there either. When you buy and Elm the word "overfire" is no longer in your vocabulary.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Overfire is one thing. Wasting wood is another.
    Butcher likes this.
  10. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    1780F for the cat?
  11. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like a nice hot blaze you have going there. I don't usually like to reload either when there are too many coals. At that point, I'd put some small logs on there and they would not take off like smaller or medium sized splits. I always have some uglies that are rather large and don't take off easily as well.

    I keep my stove at a reasonable temp and set my alarm in the middle of the night to reload my puny 2 cubic foot box. Ensures a very hot bed of coals in the morning for relight. I couldn't get away with stuffing her full and hoping for a good temp come morning time. It doesn't bother me to wake in the middle of the night once.
  12. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    not too often at 500 but I have added a split or two in a hot stove. I have this dialed in pretty good with the ash I am burning so a couple splits on top of a hot coal bed at 4-450 just takes it back to 550-600 and gives me another couple hours on the back end if I may need it on an overnighter. When I finally get to my oak I may have to rethink this plan.

    When I do this I just shut the air off completely as the wood begins to off gas imedietly and the secondaries take right off.
  13. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I have loaded on deep coal beds like that and been OK, just have to shut er down as fast as it will take. That cat temp near 1800 is concerning though.
  14. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    My cats on both stoves always cruise at 1750'ish on oak, which is what I'm burning now.

    This is a cat stove, so no real concern with run-away stove temps, but I have had a cat shoot up above 1800F on a big load of smaller splits. Also, in warmer weather, the one on the shorter chimney can be difficult. (Shut down too far: back puff. Open too far: overfire.)
  15. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Last night i had a fire that was not ready for more wood but i was not feeling very well at all i just went to bed. Woke up this morning the stove was cold but that was my fault.
  16. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    I have noticed that too...I can get a long time of great heat with just coals, just have to continually dial the air up and keep the coals coming forward. But last night I was like Joful and wanted to go to bed and had mis-timed an earlier load. unfortunately I did the old...I think I can get 3 big splits fit in...but with the coals larger and after loading the 3 splits onto a raging coal bed, went to shut the door and....DOH! missed it by "that much" (holds fingers half an inch apart), then did the "watch out, make way, fire filled wood coming through" as I tossed it into the snow.
    Kevin Dolan likes this.
  17. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    Speaking for myself only I really don't see how I'm wasting wood. I don't always reload at 500 but I do from time to time. Just saying I don't let top temps dictate when I reload. I'm heating a total of 2800sqft and I have not used 2 cords yet this year.I suspect I'm running as efficient as anyone one here with or without a cat stove and I have a very challenging space to heat. On cold windy days a 400 degree stove top ain't doing much for me but those days only happen a few times a month. They balance out against the 40 degree days with no wind.
  18. Kevin Dolan

    Kevin Dolan Burning Hunk

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    I have reloaded on a very hot bed of coals being in a similar situation as you. I am not sure who was more confused, me or the stove! It tried to take off and did but it messed up the burn cycle so won't do it again. I do think it does waste wood loading onto such a hot and large bed of coals but sometimes you do what you have to do. I find with this new stove I have to be thinking well ahead for my overnight load and try to time it that my coal bed is down nicely about half an hour before I want to go to bed - it takes practice!
  19. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Your lucky because catalyst temps that high that lead to warped castings in VC stoves...
  20. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    One thing I actually like about hot reloads is I can leave the air control set. I just load in more fuel and close the door.I never have to adjust and wait and readjust like a restart from a small amount of coals. So its actually easier to deal with.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Less than 2 cords a winter in two stoves in OH is remarkable. The place sounds like it is insulated to the hilt, or is there backup heat running too?
  22. lopiliberty

    lopiliberty Minister of Fire

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    I must confess I have reloaded around 500 even though I don't like to but there are times when I just want to go to bed. If I do this I load the stove then shut the air control completely. I will have what looks like a nuclear bomb in the firebox for 5 or 10 minutes then things start to settle down and I turn the fan on low. 70 percent of the time I can do this and keep things under control, just don't ask about the other 30 percent:eek:.
  23. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    That is pretty good. I don't care about wood consumption. I have no life and never go on vacation. If I squander on things a little it doesn't bother me too much.
  24. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    I do believe what was meant was that if you burn the coals for a while before a reload you then have the opportunity to utilize the energy that is stored in the coals. For example I can get at least another hour, sometimes 2 worth of good 500 degree heat out of a good bed of coals, once the stove gets to 250-300 degrees the coal bed is manageable, I can then rake the bed forward and do a good reload.

    If you think of it within a day's cycle of burning then I probably get to save myself from burning at least 6 splits per day. Hope this makes sense?
  25. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    No backup heat but with 40 mostly large windows I get real good thermal gain that really offsets the basement loss.The upstairs stove only sees one small fire a day as a booster in the evening. The downstairs stove is loaded 2-3xs a day with about 6 splits each time. On could days I'll throw in a few in between the main loads. Friday I was gone 14hrs and came home to 300 degree stove top. When I say less than 2 I'm sure its very close to 2. I typically burn 3 in a full season so 2 cords in early Feb is right on track. Last winter was a cake walk and this one hasn't been all that cold either.

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