Strange phenomena last night...?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Scott2373, Nov 25, 2011.

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  1. Scott2373

    Scott2373
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    Last night we started the stove from a cold, COLD start. As in, the stove wasn't used for over 12 hours, so it was room temperature. The thermostat read 62F degrees inside and the outside temp was about 29F. We started up the fire (using my free Super Cedar samples!!! Thank you Super Cedars and Hearth.com!) using the same wood as always. We didn't change anything or do anything differently. The problem is that usually my secondaries will kick in with authority around 350 and about 10-15 minutes of burn time. Several times they kicked in when the top of the firebox was awash with flame after packing the stove full of a fresh supply of wood, but after turning down the primary, they died instantly. For about 20 minutes my front-most secondary tube was literally glowing red hot, but there was still NO secondary burn from the two rear tubes, and that was where a great deal of heat was coming from. The flames were licking the tubes themselves, but nothing. What happened was after much consternation and bewilderment on my part, I brought the stove up to 400F using the ash door (I know, I know... :-S ), then after about 5-10 minutes and throwing in a Rutland Kwik-Shot Soot Stopper in case I had extra creosote build up, very reluctantly my secondaries started going and very lazily at that. It took me about another 1/2 hour of playing and waiting to establish a good secondary burn before I felt comfortable enough to leave it for the night. I was concerned that perhaps my secondary air is blocked...? I have no idea how that could have happened though. This stove is only about a month and a half old, so I can't imagine there is something wrong with it already. This has got me stumped! I'm rather concerned, naturally, since I don't want something to be plugged up and cause serious problems. It's going to be 60 today, so I don't have to fire it. I'm afraid to burn it unattended if this condition persists. Any ideas would be appreciated!
     
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  2. Backwoods Savage

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    Scott, could this be a fuel problem?
     
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  3. Scott2373

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    I doubt it. Like I said, we're using the same wood that we have been all along. It's been burning quite nicely prior to this.
     
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  4. project240

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    Do you normally burn 24/7? I'm gathering that you are probably used to starting a fire with existing coals and obviously this would help the firebox get up to temps much quicker. As Backwoods mentioned, maybe your wood isn't quite properly seasoned, but you're only noticing now that you didn't have hot coals to build off of?
     
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  5. Scott2373

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    This is our first year burning wood and temps have been moderate recently, so we've been burning as needed, not 24/7. We've never had this happen before though. Even from a cold start we've been able to get the secondaries to burn with no problems.
     
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  6. nate379

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    Could be weak draft considering the warm outside temps you have. Before I added more pipe to my chimney I had that exact same issue when it was in the 30s. Pretty much just barely cold enough to light a fire.
     
  7. Scott2373

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    Definitely not the draft. As stated in OP, the temp was about 29 last night outdoors. We've been burning the stove with no problems with OT in the 40's+
     
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  8. begreen

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    Bypass not closing snugly or maybe a less seasoned log was placed in the back of the stove?
     
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  9. Scott2373

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    Bypass? My stove doesn't have a bypass...I only have a primary air control on the front and it was wide open. Again, I don't believe it was the wood. The wood was burning fiercely, and my stove top temps were over 400 which is as high as we've had to get it so far.
     
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  10. begreen

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    I meant the baffle bypass for the top loader. Haven't run this stove but I would check that it has returned to home position correctly.

    Are you burning only slab wood?
     
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  11. SlyFerret

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    It might still be the fuel. Occasionally I'll pull some wood that was on the bottom of my wood piles while seasoning and it isn't quite as seasoned as the other old I've been burning.

    It also could be the draft... or something affecting the draft. When I am starting a cold stove and the inside and outside temps are that close together, I make sure that neither of the bathroom fans or the clothes drier are running, a they can cause a negative pressure situation in the house and make the stove hard to start.

    Also, changes in barometric pressure outside can affect draft, as can wind.

    Sometimes wind will super charge my draft, other times it will hamper it. It just depends on the exact direction and speed.

    -SF
     
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  12. Wood Duck

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    Every once in a while I get a load that doesn't produce much secondaries. I guess it is due to some wetter wood out of my stacks, even though all of the wood I am burning is all more than two years old since splitting and stacking. As I take wood from the pile to the porch I notice a split every now and then that is obviously heavier than others of the same species and size. I attribute this to a poor spot in the stack, for example maybe a place where water dripped onto the wood more than average, or maybe to a split that somehow holds water more than usual. I am pretty sure it isn't just the weather, because usually on the next reload the problem goes away.
     
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