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Shoulder Season Burning in a large"er" sized stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by pen, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I've had plenty of shoulder season fires already. It seems like for a few weeks I've had a fire almost every night. I've been doing a half load or less and having a low cat burn that lasts into morning and long enough until daytime temps warm up.

    Sunday night, I finally got to have my first "real" fire of the season. We were away all weekend and when I got home it was 40 outside and 52 inside. Got a bit of coals going then loaded up about 70% full. Set the air to a medium fire and watched hell itself inside the stove for a couple hours before going to bed. Man I missed those fires! Lows in the 30s and I woke up to a house at 68. Highs were supposed to be in the 40s so I loaded 60% full and set a low cat fire to last throughout the day. 24/7 is almost upon me. I am both happy and sad.

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  2. barn burner

    barn burner Member

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    Does your Jotul allow you to do this? I would love to be able to burn low but I would have to close off my secondaries. Once my wood starts out gassing it's off to the races with my secondaries and then the crazy heat comes. I'm not complaining about the efficiency of my stove, I would just like to be able to release those BTU's slower especially for an overnight burn.
  3. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    My stove doesnt have that option but sure is nice to be able to load North/South as that dog house air gets right inbetween those splits.
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Do what? Burn low and slow? Not sure. I'm an experienced woodburner (25+ years in open fireplaces), but new to EPA stoves. I have a probe type thermocouple that I'll be installing this weekend as a cat thermometer, and a stove-top thermometer on the way, so I'm just about set to do some more controlled experimenting.

    That said, I think the only accessible air ports on my stove provide both the primary and secondary air to the stove. Perhaps someone can confirm, but I only see one pair of holes under the stove, in the rear corners. I think they're diverted into primary and secondary air up inside the stove, meaning I can not as conveniently experiment with throttling the two separately.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    We didn't buy BKs because they were pretty or cheap, it was because they are the ONLY stove that can burn really low and slow. You won't be able to get there with any other stove past or present.
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Have you operated all other cat stoves? I haven't seen anyone post here with enough experience running Jotul 12's to say that for sure. My problem may be entirely chimney-induced.
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I've never burned a jotul cat put have burned Woodstocks and I can tell you there is a difference between them and Blaze King. The BK is throttled down much lower and gets away with it due to the t-stat. When I turned my WS down all the way they would stall, the BK t-stat will open up a bit and give a little boost air to keep things going and prevent the stall. It's pretty amazing how a large fire box can put out a steady 6000 BTU per hour for consistantly 24 hours. That's not much heat but it can be enough to maintain my house temps and if I want to boost up the temps I turn the t-stat up a bit til I get there then turn it back down to maintain. I'm having fun with this new stove.
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like an amazing system. Hopefully the Ashford 30 looks like a VC or a Jotul, and then we can all run out and buy one! :eek:
    Dairyman likes this.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I'm amazed at how much wood folks are putting in their stoves at this time of the year. The most we've put in so far this year is 3 splits and they last for a long time. Simply no need for more heat than that yet. As far as the Woodstock stoves stalling, we do not get that. If we turn the stove down really super low, the cat takes over and there will be no flame in the firebox after a short time. Cat does nicely and does not stall. Stove top with 3 splits will go anywhere from 550 to 700.
    rideau likes this.
  10. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Dennis, we're a bunch of kids playing with our toys. We do it because we can ;)
    barn burner likes this.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I can understand that Jeff. ;lol
  12. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    That load I posted a pic of took off about 8pm Monday. When I got up at 2 this morning, there was enough left to go until normal people get out of bed. I loaded it up again, so my wife wouldn't have to mess with it, and it will probably be fine until I get home tomorrow. Even with the beautiful day we had yesterday, my house never got over 74. I didn't need to burn yesterday, but it wasn't hurting anything.

    I wish I was there right now, because today turned out pretty raw and windy. I guess a hot half hour shower will have to do.
  13. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Another BK is the bestest thread, huh? Look, I don't want to sound like a jerk because I really do want to understand the huge benefit here. But it sounds to me like the BK folks are doing little but wasting wood and (sometimes) saving the 5 minute effort of building another fire in this kind of weather. What does 6,000 btu accomplish? Really, that's about like me running a 1,500 watt space heater all day. Will that do anything? Not for me. I mean if you have a really small or very well insulated house and warm temps outside, then you might see something worthwhile. Me? I'd probably see 2 degrees tops burning at that rate and that would be right near the stove. What is the point? Why burn more wood than you need to burn?
    rideau and Backwoods Savage like this.
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    My stove is cold right now Waulie. To burn wood would be a waste of wood with the current weather conditions but in some regions that 6000 btus is the difference between 62 and 72 inside the house. I would be burning if my inside temps were 62. No sense in trying to save wood by suffering.

    I hope that you will also be burning when your house gets cold. Why wouldn't you?
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I don't need to operate your stove to know that it can't match the BK low and slow performance. Nothing can. I'm right aren't I? They are ugly and overpriced, those are the big tradeoffs.
  16. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I completely agree Highbeam. I really think the benefit that BKs offer largely come into play in temperate climates like the PNW. Altough, I'm not sure what house would allow 6,000 btus to give you a 10 degree rise in temps. Not mine, that's for sure. ;)

    It just seems like there are so many comments like (and I'm certainly paraphrasing here) "well, it's in the 50s outside and my full load of wood lasted for 26.5 hours and my house never got over 75". My response would be, "well I burned half as much wood and my house never got under 70 degrees". The other thing is that here at least, shoulder season very typically consists of of daytime highs being 20 degrees higher than the lows. 6,000 btus will do relatively nothing to moderate inside temps when outside temps vary that much.
  17. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    This stove works for us. With my goofy schedule and being gone overnight twice a week, it's something that my wife doesn't have to worry about. This time of year, we don't really need an evening fire, we need one in the morning. When she has to get two kids motivated and off to school, so she can go to work, all she has to do is open the air up a little and get the stove hot again. Taking a few minutes to build a fire ain't gonna happen. She is competent in operating the stove, but she doesn't take any pleasure in it like we do. When we get home in the evening from whatever the kids had going on, the last thing I want to do is mess with a fire. I need to get to bed so I can get up in the middle of the night. It's a lot easier for me to load it up while I'm getting myself ready to go to work. When things cool off, it puts us on a 12ish hour reloading schedule, meaning she'll have to load it up once, maybe twice, while I'm gone.

    Am I wasting wood? Probably. But 8-10 splits over a couple of days is the price I'll pay for the convenience.

    I'm not saying everybody needs one. If I had a 'normal' 9-5 schedule, I would honestly be bored with this stove. The two nights that I am gone allow me to be home the rest of the week, and that is most of five days. I find myself screwing around with it a lot more than I should.
  18. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Pen, the OP, doesn't have a BK. Neither do I. The point of the thread is large stoves during shoulder season. The BK guys chimed in, so did others.
    pen likes this.
  19. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Jeff T! That really puts it into perspective for me. If I didn't have a regular schedule, I'd definitely be taking advantage of those long burns too.
  20. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Small fires with a few splits of mostly box elder.
  21. MarkinNC

    MarkinNC Minister of Fire

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    I keep a supply of poplar around for the shoulder season, then maple when it gets a little colder. I think I could run it with all maple but the poplar fires are just so short and hot (and pretty). I have some pine I have to split up for the shoulder season as well.
  22. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I still don't agree with the PNW comments but you're definitely entitled to your opinion. Most of the BK crowd here is in a climate much cooler than the PNW and most have rave reviews for the stoves.


    I'm sure your weather is similar to mine within a few degrees. Last night I loaded at 10pm 1/2-3/4 load(6 or 7 splits) of Scotch Pine(for pine it's even bad) it's now 23 hours later, the stove top is 200*, the cat is on the edge of going inactive, the stove room is 73 and the hallway leading into the stove room with the t-stat on the wall is 71. Last night wasn't bad but today was windy and cool here all day, I'm sure it was similar where you are. When I had my Lopi I would've had a small 3 split fire last night, a small 3 split fire in the morning and probably would've needed another one after work. I don't feel I waste any wood and I don't have to dink with the stove more than once a day right now.

    Todd hit it perfectly, theses stoves do an awesome job of keeping the temp even. Once you get the house warmed up you can throttle it way back and maintain a steady temp.
  23. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Don't worry she will get less ugly when you get to really start burning her. ;lol
    Hiram Maxim likes this.
  24. Dustin

    Dustin Feeling the Heat

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    To get this thread back on track ;)

    Another shoulder season fire tonight in the quad. It's 50 outside right now, house was sitting at 60 when I get home from work. Fired up and we're now at 70.

    And the most important..tonight's drink of choice by the fire.

    Pendleton whiskey on the rocks...mmmm mm !
    Joful and pen like this.
  25. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Just want to say I'm not wasting wood in my BK. my Keystone fire box is exactly half the size and I would of been loading it twice per day to accomplish the same as my BK.

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