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Stoking in the middle of the night

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by chutes, Dec 3, 2008.

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  1. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Finished my experiments today on this subject. I found that by placing one small flat piece of cedar on the bottom and then loading up with splits--no adjustment of the air-control was neccessary. Even with the primary shut to 10% the hot coals ingnited the wood in less than 5 minutes.

    So tonight, when I make that 3 or 4 a.m. trip to the loon, I`m gonna reload the insert and hopefully get right back to sleep :)

    Yes, the reload is neccessary--nothing but softwood in these here parts.

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  2. chutes

    chutes Member

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    My youngest is now 3 years old and this is my first year burning wood. Hard to believe that I missed out on the only benefit that has ever been pointed out to me about the baby waking up in the middle of the night. I could have added splits to my FIRE!!!!

    Oh well. Too bad I missed it, but I guess I'm happy to have the baby sleeping through the night (I know... he's 3. I have to stop referring to him as "the baby" but he is still my baby). In fact, just threw out the diaper genie last week that we used for all three of my boys. No more diapers. Hooray!
  3. Jersey Fire Bug

    Jersey Fire Bug New Member

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    I don't get home from work till 3 A.M. so I have to start from scratch at that time.
    By the time I start the kindling , take a shower and add the splits and get a good fire going it is 5A.M.
    I need advice on this !!
    Anyway, I am usually good till 11 A.M. if I leave the flu open halfway. I am loosing much sleep trying to keep
    my Regency insert going while I am sleeping. I would love to get an 11 hr burn when I am at work but that almost seems
    imposible. Does anyone have any suggestions ?
  4. chutes

    chutes Member

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    If you do that tonight, would love to hear how it goes in terms of your temp in the morning that you typically find vs. tomorrow morning if you reload overnight tonight.
  5. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    I am going to try this today.
    I have always been too fearful of "smoldering" to give it a try, but now you have me curious.
    It would certainly be a vast improvement in my "wee hours" routine if it works!
  6. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    When my daughter wakes up in the middle of the night, I'll open the air to move the smoke out, toss in a few splits, shut it down and go back to bed. No waiting, no fuss, takes 4 minutes start to finish. Nice to wake up to a 400 degree stove with some wood left in it instead of a 200 degree stove with some coals.

    The overnight burn time will vary hugely with your wood, last year I had alot of big oak chunks that I was saving for overnight burns and 8-9 hour hot burns with a nice bed of coals was the norm...this year I have no oak and I'm burning alot of maple, beech and birch...I'm waking up to a small bed of coals. Easy enough to get it roaring again, but its just not the same.

    Also you might want to keep in mind the size of the splits you're using. The bigger the split, the less surface area there is to catch the flames, the longer it'll last in there. Some nights I'll toss in a full 8-10" round and fill around it with some smaller 1-2" rounds or splits.

    Oh, and I take care of whatever her issue is too. Just so you don't think I'm a worse parent than I really am.
  7. bokehman

    bokehman Feeling the Heat

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    Why do people on that side of the pond get up so early?

    I wish it had been 61ºF when I was a kid. Our boiler failed one winter and we didn't have the money to sort it out for a few years. Most winter mornings we got up to an indoor temperature in the mid 30's. My kids room (ages 3 and 5) hovers between 61 and 65 and has a stone floor, but they never complain, maybe because they are active.
  8. chutes

    chutes Member

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    I think that it is just a matter of what kids (or adults) are used to. Last winter - despite my complaints - my wife would leave the thermostat in the low 70s so we used much oil but house was always in 70s. Kids were used to that. Now they wake up and it is typically 64 or 65 and they're used to that. 61 the other morning was an unexpected change. If it was 61F every morning, they'd get used to that. In my experience, most kids don't like unexpected changes - whether they're active or not. I'm sure when you were a kid you got used to temps in mid-30's. In fact, I know you got used to it as is evidenced by the fact that you've survived to this day. People have an amazing ability to adapt...
  9. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Well I'm in my office and ready to work at 7am, so I HAVE to get out of bed around 5:30 every weekday morning. Weekends are nice, I can sleep in till like 7:30.

    My coolest room is arounf 60-61 most mornings. If its in the 50's the heat will get turned on. My wife has circulatory problems so she tends to be cold even when I'm quite warm...if its below 68-69 in th bedroom she'll be right there to turn on the heat, so its basically my job to make sure the stove is cranking whenever I'm home and the mercury is down. Even so though, temperature is a relative thing for most people. The other day our master bedroom was around 73 and seh was complaining that the thermometer must be broken because she was cold...until I pointed out that the living room was in the upper 80's, so she just experienced a 15 degree temperature drop.
  10. ozzy73

    ozzy73 Member

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    My in-laws are used to keep their place at 60 - 65 F. Since we keep our house around 70-75 F this is a 10 degree drop.
    It is all about preference and what you are used to. It is quite funny to see the nephew crawling around in a jacket at their place :lol:
  11. Jim41

    Jim41 Member

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    Chutes- Great question that generated alot of interesting feedback. I'll have to do some experimenting with my insert this week-end. Usually in the morning I have some coals left to re-start a new fire, but like you, I would like a longer burn overnight. Cold air is on it's way for Friday.
  12. InTheRockies

    InTheRockies New Member

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    I don't think those of us in North America get up much earlier than anyone else. Before I retired, I had to do a good amount of international travel for my job and can assure you that there are long, pre-dawn commutes and delays in most urban areas around the world. (I particularly remember a long conversation with a fellow passenger about London's commuter problems when flying out pre-dawn from London. The passenger I was speaking with expressed relief that he worked for a company that allowed him to telecommute 4 days out of the week so he only had to drive into London once a week, and that was back in the early 90s--I'm not sure we'll ever see telecommuting blossom here in the US.)

    I would agree that it's personal preference on how warm people like their environment. Those preferences can change too, due to various circumstances. Personally, I don't like to freeze, but I don't want my house in the 80s either. I try to keep the temp around 71-72 F.
  13. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    Well- I was disappointed.
    When my load had burnt down to coals (but with more than enough left, firebox temp just under 300ºF) I put two mediumish splits in and walked away.
    The wood burned, but the firebox temperature never got above 400ºF and it blackened my glass with the powdery stuff that wipes right off. I checked outside and was able to see smoke, too.

    More experimentation needed, here anyway.
    I'm fixin' to try it again now with the air open just a smidge and see what that does.
  14. chutes

    chutes Member

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    You know, I was incomplete in reporting my results yesterday. When I let it burn down to coals after 4 hours, I threw 2 splits on it - but I did also open up air intake to 1/2 (vs. nearly closed which is where it was at during the 4 hour burn). At 1/2, the splits burned strong for 2 hours, no smoke, no smoldering, no problem with glass. My results suggest that - with my insert - if I open up to 1/2 at coaling stage and toss in splits, no reason to open air all the way or to char splits. They cooked nicely, stove got up between 400 and 450, and stayed there for 2 hours.

    I think you'll have better results with air opened up a bit more, but not needing to open it all the way. Maybe.....
  15. Jake Weaver

    Jake Weaver Member

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    Chutes and Cearbhill sorry that it did not work to good for you. I loaded it up last night at 10:00PM then went to bed. I was woke up at 4:00 AM went down to the stove and throw in 3 splits. I raked the coals a little throw in the wood, blew on the coals 3 or 4 times got the wood to catch fire slowy closed the door then went to bed. 6:00 AM this morning glass was clean and the house was warm. I don't have a temp gauge to see how hot the stove is running. I will have to get one.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Every stove, flue and wood supply is different here. Once I have a coal bed established, my restarts are super easy, regardless of how I load the stove. I let it ignite, burn for 5-10 minutes, then close down about 50%, burn another 5-10 min., getting good secondaries at this point. Then I try to shut it all the way down. If the wood is going good, the secondaries get pretty wispy, but are still there. However, this stove has EBT, so if it starts to cool down too much, it will feed in more air.

    Highbeam had a nice description of how he loads his Hearthstone for overnight and included a picture. I thought it was all E/W, but could be wrong. Hopefully he'll jump in here soon.
  17. chutes

    chutes Member

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    Hi Triple A-
    To be clear, it did work for me (tossing on splits without going through the time consuming process of charring the new splits). The only thing that I did do - instinctively, I think - was adjust air intake from almost completely closed to about 1/2 open. I believed that it would smolder at completely closed, which is what I think happened to Cearbhaill. At 1/2 open the two splits I added took off immediately, no smoke or smoldering, and burned very well for 2 hours. This would give me a good 6 or 7 hour burn through the night, better coals in the AM, and I'm sure an extra degree or two in the early morning. Don't think I'll be setting my alarm or anything, but if I happen to wake up in middle of the night to a nice bed of coals, I think I'll feel comfortable tossing on a couple of splits, adjusting air to 1/2 open, and going back to bed.

    Tonight I'm trying the other advice from this thread. I'm heating my house up pretty good to see if I wake up to more comfortable temps. Right now it is 86F in fire room, in low 70s upstairs in bedrooms, which is a couple degrees higher than I've been doing lately. We'll see what temp is in morning. Little warmer than I like, but kids and wife sure aren't complaining at all.
  18. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    70 degrees to 61 degrees and the fire is going again in minutes? I don't see the problem.

    About adding wood: Just throw it in there and go back to bed.
  19. lexybird

    lexybird Minister of Fire

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    im finding the biggest factor is how seasoned the wood is ,if its really dry the results will be alot better ,im learning the amount of dryness is so critical to get proper burn temps and burn times out of your stove .wha t "seems "dry often isnt
  20. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    For overnight burns, I put the biggest splits I can fit in the firebox, let it get blazing, cut her down all the way to low as she will go, and still pumping out heat in the morning with tons of coals and some remnants of the splits towards the rear. Of course I have another cubic foot of space than you do. Larger splits = longer burns.
  21. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    Without knowing if it is smoldering or spiking the temperature?
    No thanks. That would not be prudent in my case- I am trying to find the sweet spot of air intake where the fire will contunue to heat and burn efficiently without getting too hot while I am asleep and not there to damp it back down if need be.
    Extending the burn cycle a bit without starting a whole new cycle that requires my staying awake.

    Well.. success!

    I did not open to half, more like a quarter, but it did fine.
    This is a good thing to know!
  22. bokehman

    bokehman Feeling the Heat

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  23. chutes

    chutes Member

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    Thank you.

    So, question for you. If it fits in the insert and it is seasoned, is it okay to put it into the insert? In other words, I have some big splits that I made into a separate pile that I was going to split again. They are typical length (16"-18"), but I would say they are maybe 8"-10" wide on the bark side and 10" or more deep. These are about 2x to 3x the size of regular splits that I would throw in. They would fit easily, and in fact I could put in a number of small splits around them, or might even be able to fit in 2 of these big ones, but wasn't sure if that was "too" big for my stove.

    Since I already have these large splits segregated, I could easily use them for overnight burns, but is there any rule of thumb as to when a split is too big?
  24. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I will skillfully dodge the obvious innuendo and just say the if it fits through the door, it will burn. Huge pieces may take a longer to get up to temp, but the smaller splits will help. I find that my stove is ready to have primary air shut down much faster if its packed right up.
  25. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    If that was 100% the case we wouldn't need air controls in the first place.
    What you are advising is to throw wood onto a coal bed that is completely damped down and go back to bed. I am no sort of expert but that is not the general advice I read around here- are you sure you want to advise this?

    To clarify, this discussion began with the original post:
    So your response to this is to just put wood on it and walk away?
    A couple of us have tried this and saw some smoldering (and yes, my wood is well seasoned).
    A couple more of us tried again, this time opening a bit of air, and found that it worked to solve the problem mentioned in the original post.
    Why would I want to "not touch the air" and smolder when I can open it and burn hotter but still under control?
    I fail to see the advantage.

    I thought we weren't messing with the air at all- "much faster" still means you have to wait.
    The question was about getting up, putting wood in (!) and going immediately back to bed.
    No charring, no adjusting, no waiting around at all.
    I need a sweet spot air control wise to do that .
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