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The challenges of keeping a good load schedule for big stoves

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BrowningBAR, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Stove loading for me is usually around 8-10am and then a partial load at 6-8pm with the overnight load at 10-11 pm.

    The overnight load is usually the challenge if the 6-8pm partial load still hasn't burned down. Right now, I'm sitting here with plenty of heat, splits that haven't broken down, and stoves that are still 3+ hours away from needing more wood.

    There are worse problems to have. But, it's still a pain.

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  2. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    The up and down weather wreaks havoc with my schedule, plus using different species of wood. Some nights I stay up an hour longer than I wanted to. I only have one stove, couldnt imagine the problems I'd have with three ::-)
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    With mild weather I am only running two of the three. Later this week I will be down to one stove due to the weather.

    My wood species is also mixed. For the most part it is oak and ash. Starting next year locust and osage will be available, but I at least have those separated into their own two cord piles.
  4. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    My schedule has been slightly off at times. Started loading 2x per day last year as opposed to the 3x per day the prior years. I try an load around 10-11 AM/PM daily. Once in a while If needed, I will throw some pine or other light wood on enough to get me through to the next load. I am making myself endure extreme patience, and fighting the urges to load prior to loading time. Only to find I am saving a day's worth of wood every two days, and I can stand the few degrees difference between loads. Took some holding myself back, but now its load, flame, cut air back, and forget it for 12 hours or more, depending on the temps outside. The only reason I might burn when we hit 50's this weekend, is to keep the lil woman warm and happy.
    Oldhippie likes this.
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I like loading up just before the wife gets home. With all the time and cost and effort getting this setup right, might as well make sure it's warm when she's home.

    I look forward to the next few years as I insulate and replace doors and windows. It will really stretch the burn times of the Defiant and the 30. I really think 10-14 hour burns could be the norm for the 30 and 10-16 hours for the Defiant.

    Also, next year my wood will be all large splits/slabs. Not sure what that will do to the burn times. The 30 ran great and gave me 12 hours of heat with short small splits packed tightly into the firebox.

    Not sure how this current load will burn in the 30. I have two massive, but oddly shaped, splits surrounded by smaller stuff. Plus the remnants of the previous load.
  6. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I have been messing with absurdly large splits, vs large splits with mediums/smalls to finish packing the box.
    For me, the absurdly large splits are ok for shoulder season, but do not light off enough for colder weather.
    I'm talking like 2 or 3 splits filling the entire Summit firebox, they just don't seem to get enough air around them, like too much wood surface area vs. air space.
    There is an exception of some larger pcs of lighter wood, pine, poplar etc., they are also used during the shoulder season.
    I had a few very large pcs of oak that were 3 or 4 years old, and they did ok for shoulder burning, but just do not seem to produce the heat needed for colder nights. Great burn times, but the heat is produced and released much slower.

    This year I tried putting mediums and smalls on the bottom, and the larger ones on top. Not sure how I feel about that, or how different the burn.
  7. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Can't take anything for granted, so it keeps things interesting.
    I have one of the most boring stoves out there, but it keeps throwing curves at me every now and then.
    Keeps me on my toes.
  8. blwncrewchief

    blwncrewchief Burning Hunk

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    I hear you BAR. I run into the exact situation with this size stove. In weather that lends well to either 2 loads or 3 loads per day it's a breeze. The tweener days when the morning load won't quite pull all day and the temp in the house starts to drop in the evening poses a problem. I try to keep enough fast burning wood on hand for just this purpose. I use construction cut offs (2x4's), cottonwood, or small splits of softer wood like silver maple for exactly this purpose. I also try to keep allot larger assortment of split sizes for this reason now. The key with a secondary stove for me is split size for surface area for short burns. I am behind the curve again after a mild start to this winter so yesterday I ended up with the house temp falling about 4 pm yesterday and had no small splits left unless I wanted to go dig thru the piles outside. So I just grabbed one 6-7" block of silver maple and knocked it into 5 smaller splits 2-3". Tossed them on the coals, stove shot up from 300 - 550/600 in fifteen minuets with nice secondaries, then started coasting down within a hour. By 8 pm it was down to a reasonable amount of coals, 300, and ready for a reload. I pushed the reload to 9 pm and 250 degrees since the house was warm enough to do so. Smaller pieces is the only way I can get short, clean, burn times. If I just try to burn one or two splits it will not burn clean. If I burn 3-4 splits that are 4-5" I cannot burn them down in 2-3 hours or less. If I give it more air they will burn down quicker but end up with too much coals. If I give it more air than that it will burn the coals down but it has so much excess air coming into the firebox that it will never get up to an efficient burning temp.

    Another thing to note on days like yesterday when I am going to end up short on a cycle I reload sooner than later. For example, that load still had a decent amount of coals at 4 and the stove was 300 or a tad over. I could have pushed it to 12 hours but the stove would have been down to 250 or a little under and the house would have dropped another degree or two. This would have put me in a bad position with a chilly house for a couple hours and 2 hours or so short on a reload. Yesterday was one of the tougher burning days but I was still able to keep the house within 4 degrees all night and day with a 9 hour, 10 hour, and 5 hour burn cycles.
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Well, the big splits and partial load worked well this time. 11 hours into the burn and stove top is in the 260-290 range. Sides of stove are north of 300. Front of stove is 280-300. This burn is still providing heat for the area in this mild weather.
  10. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    My largest challenge is that to keep going 24/7 I'm overheating the house. I have decided that I need some larger splits, but for the next 2-3 years I'm stuck with smaller ones as the FV didn't seem to care all that much and smaller just helped to insure it would dry out better (and easier for kids and wife to help move around).

    I liked last week's cold weather here - house was about perfect temp and I could do 2x daily loading (approx 12 hrs between) and have good coals to reload as well as not overheat the house. Yesterday morning I loaded up a smaller load and when I was ready to reload (15 hrs later) there was barely enough coals to get it going again (but too many for a proper cold start, go figure). I'm just lazy I guess, I really like faster reload in a hot stove.

    Anyway - I'm sure cold will come again, but for now I'll just have to deal with burning a few more pieces of SCs.
  11. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Next year will have a lot of big splits to burn. I still have trouble timing the bed time load cause i end up having wood from the earlier load left at bed time sometimes.
  12. drewmo

    drewmo Feeling the Heat

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    I now have a stove somewhat large enough for this thread to make sense. My challenge in the evening is burning down the coal bed enough so that when I pack the stove for the overnight burn, I have a hot coal bed that leaves enough room for three good-sized splits surrounded by smaller pieces. Burning down the bed usually requires about two hours of scraping the bed forward and placing smaller pieces of pine on top. With true commitment, I've been able to achieve a three-load per day schedule with the overnight burn going 9-10 hours, but four loads is more of the norm.
  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    This might still work for me, as even in the coldest part of winter, I really do not need the top end heating capacity of the 30. If the absurdly large splits knock down the peak temps but still offer a really long burn, that would probably be a good setup for me.
  14. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    BBar I think your problem is you need a bigger stove.


    [​IMG]
    begreen and tfdchief like this.
  15. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I just don't have the clearances for that.
    jharkin and tfdchief like this.
  16. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Seriously, though, in regards to needing a bigger stove, I really don't. I'm actually in really good shape for the first time in the five years of burning.

    But, the lunatic in me wants to swap out the Encore with another 30 just for the chits and giggles.
  17. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    For burning those coals down so you can get a full load in, get you a bag of wood pellets and thrown a couple hand fulls on the hot coals to burn down the coals faster.
  18. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    It does, Ive experimented with huge hunks of wood like Hogz says and I got the same results, not as much heat but long long burn times, today I put a huge hunk of ask with a couple small splits and it burned from this morning till the evening load, went close to 12 hours and kept the house just right.
  19. blwncrewchief

    blwncrewchief Burning Hunk

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    And just as I post this today it warms up 10* and I have my first miserable failure of the year.:( It's almost bedtime and I have a stove with huge chunks of coals and 400* with the house 75*. Guess I should have drug my butt out to the wood stack and not put those three sugar maple splits in at 2 pm. Looks like back up plan time. Going to resort to throwing a couple eco bricks on and go to bed. It is 30* outside and if I put a load in now it will be 80*+ in here and I will have to turn on the a/c in the snow to be able to sleep.:confused: Damn weather changes. Saturday is going to be a high of 54* with a low of 42* and by next Wednesday is going to be a high of 15* and a low of 2*. This should be a fun and challenging week for burning a wood stove.
    BrowningBAR likes this.
  20. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I am thinking about a second stove for the other end of my house just thinking though.
  21. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Yes, join the dark side. Let the heat flow through you!
    Dairyman likes this.
  22. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    yeah it has been on my mind. I think my home leaks more then i thought.

    Even if i did it would have to be a small stove.
  23. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I'd only burn monster splits if I could. Unfortunately, you make a whole lot of regular splits building up a stash of monster splits. I'd like to try 2 big cat stoves side by side so that one could always be on the way up while the other was on its way down and between the two you could always put out exactly as much heat as you wanted.

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  24. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    Can't you just open up the draft for a quick burn down.
    Regardless of what stage of the burn its in, I just reload er back up when its convienent for me. If the splits are still whole then its a good to go situation.
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Eventually you have to come to the conclusion that regardless of how cheap the fuel, it's hard to heat the outdoors. Seal those leaks. Insulate those basements, walls and attics.
    Woody Stover and Huntindog1 like this.

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