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Time Until Complete Combustion

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jch76, Dec 26, 2005.

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  1. jch76

    jch76 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Rockford, IL
    I am new to the forum, but I have enjoyed reading through much of it over the last couple weeks.
    We had a Quadra Fire Bodega Bay insert installed about a month ago. We are very happy with it so far. I do have a question for those of you with more experience with newer stoves.
    We live in town and so I would like to minimize the smoke that I release into the neighborhood. About how long does it take you to achieve combustion so that very little or no smoke is coming out of your chimney? I am learning a little more with each fire that we burn, and I am trying to figure out how hot to get the fire before reducing the intake air. I'd rather burn a little extra wood getting the fire going than have the neighbors complain about the smoke.
    I do realize that there are a lot of variables in the efficiency of the burn (seasoning of wood, stove type, temperature of stove etc.). I am not looking for a definitive answer, but just some ballpark estimates.
    If there is another thread that you can direct me to, I will gladly look there. Otherwise, let me know how long it takes you and feel free to fill in all the variables as they pertain to you. Thanks in advance.

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  2. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Orient Point, NY
    Its a matter of temperature, not time. I let mine get to 600 degrees before damping down and engaging the fan. The quicker you get to your secondary combustion temperature, the quicker the smoke is reduced. Look for the violet flames from the air ports on top, its a sure sign that the smoke is burning off. I'd recommend a thermometer on top of the insert, where it contacts the actual body of the stove, not the sheet metal surround. Even if its not an accurate reading of temperature, it will give you a basis for relative temperature comparison. I start getting secondary when she is at 550 or so, and then I let the firebox heat up a little more to keep it going. Once she's at 600 and dampered down she'll hold herself at that temperature for a few hours, with no smoke from the flue.

    -- Mike
  3. jch76

    jch76 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Rockford, IL
    Mike,
    Thanks for the reply. Let me ask it this way. If you burned a fire overnight and in the morning your stove was relatively cool (say 150 degree). About how long would it take you to get your stove temperature up to 550 degrees for mostly complete combustion?
  4. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Nov 19, 2005
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    Loc:
    Orient Point, NY
    If I have a good coal bed, like Frank mentioned, she'll have secondary combustion within 15 minutes of putting some splits on. If I have a very small coal bed, say after 10-11 hours or so, it will take me longer, about 30 minutes. When I am burning 24/7, which is 3 months of the year, the fan is always left in the "on" position, and when the stove decides its warm enough it turns on. It is usually the same time I see the secondary combustion starting.
    I keep the morning's wood ready to go right next to the stove, and I usually keep a few smaller splits in the wood rack. I'll throw them on first, then load the regular splits on top. The smaller splits are usually burning within a minute of putting them on. I also have a large supply of dimensional lumber that I have cut into 2-3" wide nuggets. I will use them on the lazy days. When there are only a few embers left, I toss 4-5 of them in there and she'll spring back to life within no time.

    -- Mike
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Coals are important as the other say - also a BIG supply of kindling in the forum of scrap lumber is a big help to getting a hot fire going again. Blast the baby hot in the morn and before you know it, the smoke will be burning instead of exiting the chimney.
  6. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,702
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    hi jch

    if your starting the stove from dead cold it will take a little time.
    i have a old stove and if i let it the stove likes to smoke.
    when first stating your fire start it with the top down burning method.
    that is put in your splits then the kindling on top.(use plenty of kindling)
    then roll a double sheet of newspaper then tie that into a knot.
    put about 5 or 6 knots on top of the kindling
    light the paper and keep the door cracked about a 1/4 inch for a couple minutes.
    once the kindling is going your golden.
    what that will do is two things
    1 start your fire and make a bed of coals on top of the splits and burn down as it goes
    what this does is any smoke the the wood makes goes thru the fire and burns.
    if you go outside when you start a fire and look at the chimney you'll notice a lot less smoke coming out of the chimney.

    2 while all that is happening your heating up your chimney with more heat than smoke and the chimney should stay cleaner

    i've noticed a big difference starting this way and so did my nabors
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