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Time warp...It's not January...It's March

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by wg_bent, Jan 10, 2006.

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  1. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    With all this warm weather, do you let your stove go out during the day? The stove just smoulders on low with, doesn't burn well, and overheats the house. I'm gonna let it go out.

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  2. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    yes, with temps in the 50s during the day i've been letting it go out. it's been a PITA to relight the stove every evening, but i think it's the right thing to do.
  3. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Yes
    No other choice really

    Our downstairs got to 68 yesterday but the upstairs bedrooms were 60 so I fired up the stove before I went to bed last night
    Got to 77 way too fast downstairs and my daughters room was 70 (too warm)

    Wish I had a thermometer that was more convenient than the one on the thermostat
    I should have bought that Galileo one at BJs when money wasnt as much of an object (both working full time)
  4. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    I let it go out, once I started using the top down approach to lighting a fire, relighting is more enjoyable. You can get some practice with it if you're not doing it. With an insert, it's more like front/back approach because there isn't room on the top for a true top/down. If anyone's interested. Basically, put all your wood in. Then, put your big kindling in the back on top of your wood, followed by your smaller kindling in front of that, followed by a few sheets of paper twisted (as there isn't room for balls). Light the paper and shut the door with the air full. The fire will start from the paper in the front and work its way to your kindling. Much of the smoke your small kindling releases, is burned by the paper in front. Then, it works towards your big kindling and as it smokes it's burned in the small kindling in front. Eventually the tops of the logs will start burning, and your secondary burn gets heated fast and will progress downward and get your fire going, your secondary burn started faster, and less smoke & creosote. Anyway, experiment with it. I'm not as skilled as others here as it took me a half dozen times before I learned it, meanwhile others get it the first time. There's a debate with using paper when starting any fire, top down or otherwise, I'd think you could do it without paper by using extremely small pieces of kindling in the front to start the process. Anyway, it gives me a chance to fine tune.
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    My boiler never goes out, it just takes less wood on warm days.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I let the Jotul sit idle, but the pellet stove comes on whenever the thermostat calls for heat. Dropped down to 1/3 bag per day recently.
  7. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    A very nice advantage of Pellet stoves that automation is.

    Eric...you don't count!!! Heating Walmart with a hydronic wood boiler is out of bounds for this question! :)
  8. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Yep, reguardless of temp, my stove is not fired during the day. I stoke at bedtime (11pm-midnight) which is enought heat through the night and for me and the wife to head off to work. I'm usually the first one back in the evening and get a nice hot fire going at about 5:30-6pm (sometimes from coals, sometimes a cold re-light depending on how much I stoked before heading to bed). The main family room will be warm within ~20 - 30 minutes with the rest of the house following shortly after.

    On weekends it tends to stay fired if someone is home, otherwise out. Who needs pellet automation? Why would you want the stove running if no one is home? :)

    Corey
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    For us it's just lifestyle. On a lot of days, I'm either working at home or my wife is. So the pellet stove is set to 61 at night, 66 day, and 68 evening. Saves me having to micromanage the stove trying to eke out a few more cupfuls of pellets. We usually fire up the Jotul around 4pm if needed on weekdays, but if it's in the 30's or lower, I'll start a fire in the morning as well. Our pellet stove is more like a conventional furnace that happens to run on wood.

    Generally it takes more fuel to raise the temp 10 degrees for a few hours than to raise it a little over a longer period of time. With an oversized wood or coal stove, this becomes a moot point, especially if one can use brute force heat up a house +10 degrees in an hour. With smaller stoves and other types of heating, this is not the most efficient because of the energy it takes to rewarm sheetrock, studs furniture, etc. to ambient temps. My son found this out with his first apt. at college. His roomate would turn the electric heat totally off unless he was in the living room. Most of the time they were freezing waiting several hours for the heat to catch up and by that time they we're ready for bed. This year I told them to just set it back about 5-10 deg. max and funny, my son called me recently to say thanks and surprise, their electric bill went down.
  10. TCintheOzarks

    TCintheOzarks Member

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    I let my stove burn 24/7 even if the daytime highs get to 70 or more deg.My main concern is the night time lows.
    My stove is a soapstone and if it goes cold it takes to long to heat back up.So I just add a piece of wood to it to keep the CAT temp. hot enough to take care of the smoke.This stove is our only heat we have in the house.
    If the house gets to hot we will open the windows,wood for me is free for the cutting.
  11. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    Me too. Even in our current warm spell when it went up all the way to 30 today... 8-/
  12. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    My sister runs her stove this way too. Complains her house is cold and need to user her electric heat to raise temps.

    For me, my whole family is home almost all the time, so our stove really is now counted on 24/7. Was funny I figured that I'd let it go out today, since temps got up to 45+ here. I put a few splits on around 7 and figured it was the last of the day till later tonight. My wife called me around 10 saying she was getting a bit chilly in the house with the stove dwindling down... Didn't want to use the oil heat....preferred the stove. On went the logs.
  13. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Yeah...I was just poking a little fun at you pellet guys, hence the smiley face. If my circumstances were different (ie someone home all day) I would probably switch to a much smaller stove with more continuous firing. The way it stands right now, my stove doesn't have much problem heating the house in short order, but on the slightly warmer days (ie 40F), especially on the weekends, it's almost hard to keep the fire going. One long will get the house up to the low 80's and by the time the house cools down, the coals from the log are burning pretty low. Some experimentation with log length has helped with that problem, though...tried some 12 inchers as opposed to 24 and it seemed to help.

    Corey
  14. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I've been playing with wood type some too on these warmer days. 1 Pine log for a quick hot burn, then let the coals simmer for a bit, then another pine... Maybe not the most efficient having the stove cycle through the ups and downs like that, but better than a smouldering peice of Oak for 4 hours? not sure.
  15. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Two days ago we set a new record high for St. Louis (since 1948). It officially reached 73*F. It was 75*F at my house. I raked the yard clean, BBQ'd some ribs, and had a cold one outside on the deck. Looks like the Farmer's Almanac called the mild winter correctly.
  16. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Man, with temps here in Va 25 deg above average, my wood pile is going to last.

    Have been firing it up around 5pm, and still warm in the morning. My routine is kinda screwed up.... I used to load the stove first thing in the am, but not now!

    I am sure all of this will change before spring.
  17. adrpga498

    adrpga498 Minister of Fire

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    As mentioned in the past......... a true chess game.
  18. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    It's way above normal for temps here in Wisconsin also. If the temps are in the 30's, like the last couple weeks, I start up the stove at 4pm when I get home from work, load it up before bed time, and let it burn out til I get home the next day. It seems I don't need to burn 24/7 unless the temps dip below 25 or so.

    For me the top down method works, but takes longer to heat up the stove. Lately I have been using Super Cedar firestarters, and it lights off much faster than the top down method. Received some free samples the other day from a guy that posted a few days ago. I break them in half and they work great.
  19. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Didn't bank the stove last night. It was burning at 400 wen I went to bed around 930. Stove was stone cold when I got up at 6. I considered not having a fire since it's supposed to get up to 60 today....but the house temp was about 63 and I figured it would likely just fall thru the course of the day. I started a fire and got it going good with a mix of oak, hickory and gum. It'll burn out around 12 or 1 today but it will have raised the temp around here enough that it will be nice and comfortable when my wife gets home. And a bed of coals will make it easy for her to get the fire going again. She has a tough time getting it going from scratch. Gotta agree it's been a mild winter overall, but winter aint over yet.
  20. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Yup, it ain't over...Averages have a way of being...uhhh Averages. If it's warm now...it's gonna be a lot colder somewhere along the line.
  21. vgrund

    vgrund Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, this weather is complicating my fuel consumption spreadsheet. I've been watching consumption closely to determine what impact my energy conservation measures are having. I'll guess have to figure out how to factor in degree days.

    12/12/05 - 1/4/05 I averaged 11 gallons of LP per day (including central heating, water heating, clothes drying, and cooktop).

    This still seems whacky to me after all this upgrading effort. I wanted to fix efficiency before I change some percentage of my heating BTUs to another fuel (wood or wood pellets). For newer construction, I wonder what is "normal" range BTU input for X square feet over a period of Y days with cumulative Z degree days. In other words, heat loss.

    Victor
  22. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Well, actually it's not difficult to figure out what your improvements will do, though probably really boring to most. Although easy to understand once shown, the translation of insulation to btu's lost/saved seems to be missing from the web. That is, it's easy to find info on how to increase your insulation, what to use, where, and how to do it, but finding out how many btu's you're saving or the effects of going from R16 to R55 is surprisingly non-existent out there. If this interests you, I'd print this out as you won't find it. I'm not good at explaining and hope it doesn't put you to sleep.

    Let's say I have R16 ceilings. How many btu's am I losing through my ceiling? Translate that to UValue, which is just 1/RValue so 1/R16 = 0.0625 which that number is how many BTU's per square foot you're losing per temperature difference. If your ceiling is 1400 sq ft and it's 70 at the ceiling and 20 degrees outside you're losing (1400 sq ft ceiling * (70F inside - 20F outside) * (1/R16)) = 4,375 btu's per hour through your ceiling that must be replaced by your heating system when it's 70F inside and 20F outside. You can do the same calculation for your walls and floor (your walls will be slightly cooler than your ceiling, and floors slightly cooler than your walls) to get a really good estimation of heat loss.

    Let's say you want to see how much insulating your ceiling to R55 will help. Now instead you'd be losing (1400 sq ft ceiling * (70F inside - 20F outside) * (1/R55)) = 1,273 btu's per hour for a savings of 3,102 btu's/hr.

    Let's take that for a month. Let's say in January the average temperature was 25. How many btu's did you save by insulating from R16 to R55? Find out your total heat loss for the month at R16. (1400sq ft * (70F-25F) * (1/R16)) * 24 hours * 31 days = 2,929,500 btu's lost through your ceiling. Upgrading it to R55 = (1400sqft * (70F-25F) * (1/R55)) * 24 hours * 31 days = 852,219 btu's. You saved 2,077,282 btu's in January. Now, I don't know if you're charged by the gallon with propane, but a gallon of propane has around 91, 600 btu's. If your unit is 85% efficient, each gallon nets you (91,600 * 0.85) = 77,860 btu's. So, in January after insulating you'll have saved yourself (2,077,282 btu's saved / 77,860 btu's/gal of propane) = 27 gallons of propane. If your propane is $2.40/gal that's $65 you saved in just the month of january.

    Anyway, you can make an excel spreadsheet that you can use to calculate your savings based on what you guess is the months average temperature and your house inside temp or if you're really into details record each days average temp outside, and inside your house and make a daily savings calculator. That only works with insulation, sealing air leaks is the cheapest method with big gains but also one of the hardest to do or calculate as finding air leaks is no walk in the park nor determining the affects of sealing them. Finding some isn't too bad walking around with an incense stick looking for them, it's the ones that go from your basement to your attic inside a wall, or air penetrations at the floor, or ones in your attic, or ceiling that are hard to find. Air sealing has been an on-going thing with me for years as I find places I missed.
  23. rmcfall

    rmcfall Feeling the Heat

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    How about those with soapstone stoves? How have these temps affected the operation of your stoves?
  24. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    hey todd

    how much are those super cedar starters and did you use them under or on top of your wood?
  25. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    I have a soapstone insert.

    The first fire is always frustrating, it's difficult to get a good burn going, takes a while for the secondary burn to kick in, and takes a long time for the unit to warm up (2-3 hours). Once it's going and you've gotten over that first fire the second and any fire after that simply sings.

    Last night, I started from a cold start and all my memories came back about how difficult the first fire is and how it burns nothing like the rest. Today it's suppose to reach high temps, I'm working late, and instead of letting my unit go out and have to deal with that first fire when I come home tonight I decided to let my soapstone idle (that is, I packed it and turned down the air so when I come home tonight there should be coals and the unit still warm). Do other people with soapstone stoves have that much trouble with the first fire that I do? It could be my draft, my chimney is short, have flex liner going to solid, which is ovalized, and crimped at the block-off plate. May be my liner situation more than it is the soapstone.
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