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Timing bedtime with a cat stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Joful, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Fill - burn down to coals - repeat. This instead of adding a few splits at a time.

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  2. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Oh. I just call that "loading the stove."
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Me too.:)
    Really it is two schools of thought. Keep hand feeding the beast a few at a time to maintain required temps, or load up and shut 'er down for the long haul.
  4. charly

    charly Guest

    Same thing here Dennis,,,,must be a Fireview thing ;lol....they just built them right;)
    gmule likes this.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    It's a BK thing too but we're disqualified.
    Joful likes this.
  6. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I guess I'm no help as I don't have an issue. I just do a 12 hour cycle with load size determined by weather. I would guess you'll get the hang of what to put in the stove when after a while. I also don't have a problem loading on super hot coals which certainly happens if I go a bit overload with load size for a 12 hour burn. I will often turn the air up when I get home to burn down the coals faster and get more heat out of them so it's ready for the night burn. Maybe your evening fire only needs to be one or two tiny splits to burn the coals down and keep the stove hot until the night load?
  7. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I thought Dennis' mention of batch burning referred to the practice of loading just 3 or 4 small splits every few hours. I mentioned doing that my first year, it was a way to burn hotter to compensate for marginal wood.

    These days I just run 2 to 3 loads a day sized for the weather like most.

    As for the rest, cat stalls, watching the stove to settle in, etc. The fact that joful has some of the issues us VC burners have seems to confirm its partially just the finicky nature of the downdraft design. They are not as predictable and consistent as woodstocks and Blaze Kings.
  8. charly

    charly Guest

    Heck no!!! At cat is a cat!!!!!!!!;)
  9. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    I can relate to Joful's question. When it's really cold and you are on a tight schedule, it's important to time the loads "just right" or it can mess with your schedule. I need to be out the door by 4:30 am on weekdays, and I don't want to be diddling with the stove to get it up to temp at 4 am. The trick is to "stretch out" the last daily fire so that it's burned down to hot coals and you are ready for a final night's full load.

    My bigger Progress stove has made life much easier, but when I ran the Fireview timing was more critical when it's cold. Here is how it went:

    1. Got home by 4 pm to a stove too cold to be throwing good heat in <30F temps.
    2. Fire it up with about 1/3 load, get it up to temp, engage the cat and burn HOT with the draft extra wide for good heat and a faster burn. Figured out just how much to load so that a hot-burn with the cat engaged burned down to coals by 9pm.
    3. 9 pm load her up.
    4. 4 am nice hot coal base, ready for loading and fast light-off.

    HollowHill should be loading less wood during the day or burning hotter so the stove is ready earlier for the night time load. Waking up to a cold stove is hard for me to imagine with the Progress, loading it fully should result in at least a solid 9 hour hot burn - I have even managed 12 hours of very high heat output stuffing it with oak.
    HollowHill likes this.
  10. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm still doing things wrong with my PH clearly as I still have a cold stove within 12 hrs (defined as no fire burning to start the next load). Today for example I had about 1/2 full load (cold start) at 8:30a, now at 7:30p there isn't a hot coal to be found. Granted I left my 10yo in charge of the stove and she let it run with about 1/2 air running the peak temp over 500 (I don't know how long). House plenty warm though... So I just set up a new load for the night, perhaps I'll have coals in the morning - I'll light this one up about 8p and check it at 6a so will only be 10 hrs.
  11. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Slow1: Running the Progress with a 1/2 load and near 1/2 air setting surely won't result in many coals after 12 hours. That's an awful fast burn rate. We leave ours completely closed most of the time unless it's really cold out or if we want to burn down the coals faster.

    Good you are getting to know the stove before the arctic express hits New England!
  12. Jimxj2000

    Jimxj2000 Member

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    If I have a good fire going I just close down the air, open the bypass and toss a couple larger splits into the firebox. close the bypass, crack open the air. Watch it for 5 minutes to make sure it is burning nicely. If it starts to puff (new stove seems to surge rather than puff) I crack the air a little more open and wait a couple more minutes.

    If I am down to just hot coals it takes about 40 minutes to get half to 3/4 a load of splits going (I haven't fully loaded the new PH yet).

    Slow1 - it sounds like your PH isn't working right or you are doing something wrong. We have gotten 19+ hours with still having hot coals. Went from 10PM one night with no re-load in the morning. Wife went to clean the glass around 5 pm and it was still too hot to clean and had coals to keep the fire going. Normal running is with the air nearly closed.

    We call the air level the throttle. Full open for about 10-15 minutes with a new load. Then cut back to 50% for few more minutes. close the bypass and reduce the air some more. Normal running is just cracked open. It seems very sensitive near the full closed position.
  13. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Ok that's 3 of us, Browning makes 4. There are others too - Danno has an old stone victorian something. Then there is eclecticcottage and a few others that slip my mind at the moment. (Edit - and just reminded of jimxj2000)

    We could try and be all cool with different levels like Scotty's club and the pellet pigs. Make up a formula that scores points based on house age, how little insulation you have, how many chimneys, if you are using an epa stove. Bonus points for a smoke dragon or anything from Vermont castings. More bonus points if you still use your open fireplaces. Even more bonus points if said fireplaces pre-date Rumford.

    And even more bonus point if your primary/alternative/backup heating is some no longer installed sytem like steam or gravity hot water, double bonus if its something really unusual like a vacuum vapor steam system running off a snowman converted coal boiler..
    gmule likes this.
  14. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Well..our entire cottage could fit in some of ya'lls rooms I think, at just under 700 sq ft....and we heat with a tube stove. Original heat (well, not exactly original since originally there wasn't any) was a boiler and baseboards that are all gone. VF is backup. Temco is just hanging out while we find a ceiling kit-that is an open fireplace stove thing (no doors but free standing). One unused cinderblock chimney from the boiler. 1950's era....mostly. At least one wall has no insulation. Mostly wood frame windows except some junky replacements we want to replace, aluminum storms.

    Anyway...with DH working from home it's a different ballgame this year. Mostly feeds a few splits at a time all day, then a decent load at bed and maybe a 2am refill. Last year it was a full load in the am, reload about 1/2 full at 5:30/6pm and another decent load at bedtime. I usually make sure it's cruisin before going to/back to bed so the air is set right.
  15. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Don't forget mgflickman. I think she has an old house, too.

    I'd be interested in seeing your scoring system, and guarantee I'd win on chimney count alone. I have counted eight thimbles, three fireplaces, and five chimney stacks, but still don't have a handle on how many flues there actually are between those stacks and thimbles.

    Loaded the stove to 80% at 10pm. Still watching stovetop thermo, and should be ready to engage cat by 10:35pm. Should be headed to bed before 11pm tonight, unless things go horribly wrong.
  16. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Oh... and I'm surprised to see a few people post recently that they cut air back before engaging the cat. What's the theory on that? I always burn full throttle until stove top is over 500F, engage cat and wait to be sure it lites off, before ever lowering the air at all.
  17. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I find that if I leave the stove air fully open (both with the PH and with the FV before) that the fire rages a bit too much in the firebox and the stovetop doesn't really heat up as fast. Cutting it back a bit once going well seems to slow the flow down a bit and allow it to heat more with less fuel consumed... maybe it is a perception thing, but in any case I don't like to see my flue temp rising out of control waiting for the stovetop to get up to cat temp. It certainly hasn't seemed to increase the wait any.
    charly and HollowHill like this.
  18. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I loaded about 50% and lit it at about 8pm from a cold start and had the cat engaged by 8:30-45 (didn't actually look at the clock). Got the air fully closed sometime after that. Now it is about 3.5 hrs after lighting and I have slow flames in one spot along with perhaps what looks like half the wood remaining but of course I doubt it is all as solid as it looks. Whole stove is somewhere around 350-400* and the room is plenty warm.
  19. gmule

    gmule Feeling the Heat

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    Don't forget about points for smoke dragons that burn coal.
  20. charly

    charly Guest

    I found the same thing with my Fireview on a reload,,, cutting the air back waiting for the stove top temp to climb. I try to catch the stove top at 250 to reload if I'm around. Makes for a quick turn around on engaging the cat. Wood burning is not about rushing anyways,,,, it's to be enjoyed;)..........Charlie
  21. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    This is a great thread, so many good ideas. I'm going to try to do a smaller reload in the afternoon - following the 1 split/hr guideline and see how that goes. I'm also thinking I'll work my way up to adding some wood to a fire that has not burned down to coals by trying the turn down the air, open the bypass, put in the wood, crack the air and re-engage the cat in a bit process. I've just not had good luck with adding wood on anything too hot, even too big a bed of coals, because I start getting crazy secondaries and it just seems to go downhill from there. But I'll try inching my way up to that, because it would be so handy to be able to put in wood when I want, at times (such as when I'm not going to be around when it burns down to coals), to extend the burn cycle to when I will be back home. Thanks to all for sharing their tips.
  22. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Yup I got her in my first 3 - shes another OHW refugee as well, her place is a mid 1700s 3/4ish cape type place if I recall.

    I was proposing a club mostly in jest but it sounds like maybe there is legitimate interest? If we do it the trick is to make the scoring system a true measure of how much a challenge you face to heat with wood, and not just grading who has the most unusual house.
  23. charly

    charly Guest

    I think it's a matter of finding that sweet spot according to how much and when your loading your stove, with your walk away draft setting... It's funny , even with the Fireview,, things can look not good, not enough air and then 30 minutes later I'm glad I didn't touch a thing....it's burning great. I think the big thing is having the time to sit and watch what happens with your stove,,, when trying something new. The learning curve is all worth it down the road. It's just putting in the time and being aware of outdoor temps, etc.

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