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Using Ash Pan Door To Help Get Fire Going - Why Not??

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Gabby12, Feb 1, 2013.

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  1. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Congrats...you have officially scared me into behaving

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  2. loon

    loon Minister of Fire

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    I'd be worried about a chunk of coal not letting it close right..

    loon
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  3. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Suggestion. If you're using firestarters, wedge a small piece underneath your splits and light that up rather than opening up the ashpan door. I keep a can of crumbs from my yearly box of Supercedars for just this purpose. If I've got a bad piece on the bottom or not enough coals, I throw a small handful of those crumbs in the bottom and light them. Works every time as long as the wood is decent. Or pry up the splits with the poker or shovel and stick some splitting debris in there, or if it's a chronic problem, buy a bag of super-dried kindling and use that.
    Bub381 likes this.
  4. Fins59

    Fins59 Member

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    It probably depends on the type stove you have.
    I've been using the ash pan drawer to aid or help out my fire since 1985 (28 years) and my stove is great. Grates are fine. Firebrick are good.

    I only crack it maybe 1/8" of an inch. And not always. Never overnight. Just during day when I feel the fire needs some help.

    I have that springy dingy damper knob on door and can't depend on that.
    I have the Johnson Energy System Stove. Similar to the Daka.

    Like OP said, fire just comes to life and is burning healthy. But I keep my ash drawer fairly empty. I empty it once a day. And I burn 24/7.
  5. Kevin Dolan

    Kevin Dolan Burning Hunk

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    I also consider myself a newbie and have asked questions here and have got good info which has really helped me with my stove, so questions are good for everybody.
    I also sometimes open the ash pan to get a tough fire going but ran into getting distracted and that's not good. I think that is why it is not a good practice. I always have my main door open about half an inch to get started but have found recently that once it catches it draws better with the door closed. I find with an overnight burn, good coal bed, some dry kindling and dry smaller splits, I can get a good fire going in about twenty minutes bringing stovetop from around 200 to 550 let that run for about another half an hour and then adding my medium to larger splits to then get the fire settled for a longer burn. I do not add my larger splits until the fire is down to a hot coal bed.
    This is my first modern EPA stove and I have found it challenging and fun to get it to work the way it is supposed too. If there is one secret to this stove for me, it is dry wood. In the beginning I had trouble with getting the fire going or sustaining a decent burn. I then read these forums and saw the advantage of REALLY dry wood, if there is a secret to these stoves, to me that is it. Sorry for rambling.
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  6. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    A Progress Hybrid owner recently had his ashpan door opened by accident by a vacuum cleaner while the hearth pad was being vacuumed. Caused significant damage and necessity for rebuild. Which Woodstock worked with him on.
    Keep the ashpan closed.

    Woodstock manual even states not to raise the wood off the grate., The stove is designed for the wood to sit directly on the grate/bottom.
  7. loon

    loon Minister of Fire

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    I am almost tempted to weld mine shut in the off season after hearing about some of these problems o_O

    I sure dont need a runaway train after i head to work or gone to bed <>

    loon
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  8. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I have seen a chimney fire start from a door left open.
  9. ailanthus

    ailanthus Feeling the Heat

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    Had an acquaintance lose his house to a fire because he cracked the ashpan door, forgot about it & left the house to run errands.

    Also, my better half used to use the ashpan door (despite my warnings) just for a few seconds just to get things started. She is a very cautious individual & would keep her hand on the handle the entire time it was open. About 2 weeks ago she caused a huge backpuff by using the ashpan (just for a few seconds) and then shutting it. Ash & dust everywhere. She is now cured of this habit.
  10. ridemgis

    ridemgis Burning Hunk

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    The bottom line around here is that you'll find reams of good (and bad) advice on how to operate a wood stove efficiently and most of all safely. As a new stove owner myself I have pored through these pages learning enough to make my first winter heating with wood a satisfying experience. What I was fortunate enough to recognize early on was that when conflicting ideas get tossed around I can always depend on a small handful of folks, including Begreen, BrotherBart, Pen, BrowningBar and a few others for the definitive last word on the subject. If Begreen says it's a bad idea, don't do it. I'm incredibly thankful to have their collective wisdom at my disposal 24 hours a day!

    PJ
    firefighterjake, gyrfalcon and loon like this.
  11. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    It's your stove and do what ya will but i know for a fact that at least once you will forget that ashpan door and leave it open too long.Doesn't mean it will crack each time but it will weaken.How many times have you burned something on while cooking and that's while you were watching it.It's your $2000 to $3000 use it when you need it.lol To each his own just a warning.
  12. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    Keep a good supply of kindling around. That will do the trick as much as anything else.
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  13. jrcurto

    jrcurto Member

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    After explaining all of the above reasons to my Dad and he countering with the "its just for a few minutes".
    Another scenario: Someone else is going to see you do it and then when they start doing it, raise the odds of an accident.
    Finally, I resolved to state a blunt creed: It is not how a skilled woodburner operates his stove, it is unprofessional, and irresponsible...

    Jim
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  14. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Iv seen flame through a flue pipe connection screw hole(with no screw) 4 ft above my stove so YES you can get flame pretty far up your flue when first starting your stove and it could be hazardous.
  15. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    I've never seen that with stoves that have baffles. However, sometimes baffles break and the flames go directly smoke outlet and then the stove pipe. It can be controled however with the intake air and pipe damper if you have one installed.
  16. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Downdraft and cat stoves have a bypass damper door that provides a direct path for flames and flue gas when starting and during warmup.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Your ash pan is different. There's no grate in your stove, just an ash hole with a lever controlled trapdoor. If your hearth provides enough heat protection and you never use the ash trap, you could run your stove without the ash pan. However, it is a handy place to keep muffins warm.
  18. RORY12553

    RORY12553 Minister of Fire

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    I did that several times last year (first year burning) and it cracked one of the stones on the bottom of my stove and literaly warped the grate that I have on the bottom of the stove. Yes it does get it going but most stoves are not meant to be heated up that fast.
  19. loon

    loon Minister of Fire

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    Checked it out last month BG and as you know its a spring loaded door.Also used Mrs loons little wisk broom to clear it out enough for a good look..Dont tell her that though ;lol Seems like it would be very easy to get jammed open?

    Out getting a bunch of little dead Elm tree's right now and will post a few pics in Rays T5 section for the EW fill ;)

    Was it you that said they keep the pan full of ashes? sounds like a great idea!..

    loon
  20. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    two words sum it up........"venturi effect".

    If left open and left to stoke for an extended period of time, that can ruin a lot more than the stove.......
    loon likes this.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That was for the Jotul F400 which has a grate. It makes little or no difference with the insulated floor of the T5.
  22. Gabby12

    Gabby12 New Member

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    wow - I spent the day putting up siding on addition and logged in to see what this topic stands.
    I definitlnow y understand the hazards and concerns with adding air through the ash pan door and it seems like others do as well.
    Great feedback fro everyone.
    Thanks
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  23. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    When i have reloaded the stove and it doesn't take right off in a few minutes,i either put a small piece of kindling under 1 end of the wood to get it up off the ashes or i just touch flame to the smoking wood and poof,off she goes.Sorry guess Gyrfalcon already explained this,works like a dream.
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I will be the first to admit that in my first few weeks of burning I opened the ash pan door . . . until I saw the thread with pics of a crackled grate of an Oslo . . . and many posters mentioning folks they personally knew that had caused major damage to their stove.

    My own feeling . . . it's your stove . . . and if you want to risk an expensive repair or turn your nice stove into a boat anchor, it's your call. As for me . . . the ash pan door is only opened when it's time to dump the ashes. Otherwise, on a reload or cold start I'll use some well seasoned wood, kindling, a chunk of super cedar and leave the air control open and the woodbox door ajar.
    Butcher and Bub381 like this.
  25. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    I had also tried this when just learning on my stove, I thought I had figured out something that other people hadn't so I searched the subject here and immediately stopped doing it...

    I was very cautious when doing it and would only open the door a sliver since that had a huge effect, but it's just not worth it.

    I once left the door wide open with only a few coals in the stove while I emptied the ash pan, I figured a few coals wouldn't matter. When I came back in it was closed and i asked my wife why she closed it and she said it sounded like a freight train! Lesson learned.

    If I really have to I'll leave the loading door cracked until it gets going.
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