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Smaller Splits For More Quicker Heat?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by velvetfoot, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Can I get more heat (within a time period) if I re-split? Just for these cold temps.

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  2. pen

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

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    I've never had luck with that. I find, if I have smaller splits, that I need to turn the air down further to keep the stove from overfiring. Whether the splits are big or small, 50lbs of wood will create X amount of coals. If the splits are small, and I have the air turned down further to control them, I find I get too many coals.

    I do better with larger firewood, and being able to keep the air open a bit more.

    However, if I were home all day and not at work, or willing to wake up in the night to mess with the stove, I could just open the air up about 2 hours before a reload too.

    Bottom line is, there is only so much you can get out of a stove before you are asking more than what is realistically possible without abuse. Every BTU that thing puts out, is one less that the furnace or other heater doesn't have to.

    pen
  3. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    I use smaller splits to get the stove up to temp.... say 450 or so. BY then they are mostly burnt down and I can load a large split or two. allows me to get the stove to temp faster after a overnight burn when the stove cools to below 200.
    Beer Belly likes this.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Right. So long as you are there, no harm in trying to get the fire burning faster. Then, like Pen stated, time for the bigger stuff and more control.
  5. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I find pine, poplar and other light woods perfect for this issue. Quick, hot heat for in between loads. No massive coals to deal with either.
  6. wood4free

    wood4free Member

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    I just tried the following by accident and it is working very well. I just split some silver maple that had been cut but lying in a friend's field for over a year. The moisture content is way too high to burn by itself. I put 2 or 3 dry locust or cherry splits on very hot coals facing E/W. Then I put 2 or 3 short spits of silver maple on top facing N/S. A lot of air can get in between the wood. I find once the dry wood gets going the softer & moist wood drys out very quickly, catches fire and enables the stove to cruise at a high temperature for a good bit of time and seems to put out as much heat as if the stove is packed to the gills with dry hard wood.
  7. EvilRoySlade

    EvilRoySlade New Member

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    I agree, hit it with small splits to get back to temp then reload. I also do this to maintain high temps just after work when the whole family is home. Get the house warmed up before nighttime. It's kind of a nice ritual, making diner, stoking the fire and playing with the youngsters. A toasty wife at bedtime doesn't hurt either.
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I wish I had done the small split thing like I usually do from sundown to night load time tonight. I put six hours worth of oak splits in the stove when I needed just a four hour burn. Gonna be later tonight burning this stuff down to reload since it will be 10 degrees when I get up in the morning. :confused:
  9. pen

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

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    Did about the same tonight, thankfully I have a drink or three to keep me company :p
  10. Michael Dabbraccio

    Michael Dabbraccio New Member

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    i start with small splits and work my way up . Kindling and small splits then two to three inch splits up to 5 inch and when i have a nice bed of embers i load the bigger stuff and keep it going .I just got a new Vermont castings Defiant and i am trying to get a feel for it i have a very nice draft and i can control the fire very nicely with the air control. i have been burning for 34 years and this is my first replacement stove. My old stove was a copy of the Defiant it was an Olympic Crest may it rest in piece served me well.
  11. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Yes. Absolutely yes. If you've got cold weather your stove can't quite cope with, smaller splits loaded more frequently will absolutely increase your stove temp, at the price of a shorter burn cycle and more frequent loading.

    I'm speaking as someone who's understoved to begin with and with temperatues for days now only hitting a daytime high of 2 or 3 degrees, nighttime one or two digits below zero. If you can get the stovetop temp up with a load or two of small splits, then you can put some moderately larger ones on a thick coal bed -- as long as they're real dry and light up quickly -- and come close to maintaining the temperature. The greater draft that comes with super-cold outside air helps with this.

    Yes, you will end up with more charcoal, but annoying as that is, it's a hell of a lot better than freezing your butt off.

    Also important is wood selection. You can't wring blood out of a stone, and you can't get more BTUs out of a stove full of small splits of white birch or soft maple than they contain. The small split thing works best for me with beech or black birch, with rock maple as a second choice.

    With my tiny firebox, I only wish overfiring was an issue. With a larger stove, you'll want to experiment a bit to find out where your margins are. But no question small splits make a hotter, shorter fire. More surface burning at once means more heat.

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