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What is the most forgiving when it comes to moisture...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by metalsped, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    I would assume secondary stoves, since they run at higher temperatures. Am I wrong?

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Neither. A cat chamber with dry wood runs around 1200 degree and the firebox in a non-cat up to temp is around 120 degrees with dry wood. Too much moisture in the wood can stall a cat or keep a non-cat from getting up to temp and completely burning the gases.
  3. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    Which is more detrimental though? I know neither scenario is good. Will the cat clog, versus sending 'sote up the flue?
  4. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    A pre-epa stove will be most forgiving really - give that wet wood lots of air, send half the heat up the chimney and you get to keep the leftover change. Choke it down in that stove and you will pay via a filthy chimney and all the hazards and hassles related to that.

    If you are serious about burning wood having marginal wood should only be an issue for the first year or two - after that you really should have your wood stacked and dried long enough to burn well in either a cat or non-cat stove. I would not buy a stove with the plan of burning marginal wood.

    I can't really say which is more tolerant though - each will suffer poor performance in slightly different ways but the theme will be the same. You just won't be able to keep an efficient burn going without feeding excessive air into the stove and wasting heat up the chimney. If the wood is very wet you won't even achieve a clean burn unless you get a solid bed of coals in place first (which is hard to do with poor wood).
  5. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    I can tell you from experience and it costing me $1000 to sell my 2ndary stove to get a cat.You can burn that wood in the 2ndary but you wont spend much time watching it burn and your stove wont be burning clean.If my wood is too damp with the cat i don't engage it which is burning dirty but i can close it once it's going.The only thing is i learned from the wet wood to dry a yr ahead.This meaning having wood dry from last yr to burn this yr. 8 months of drying didn't burn in my 2ndary stove.I know this don't help much but you'll catch up on the wood and be fine.I have ultimate drying conditions here too.
  6. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Burn dry wood and it won't matter.

    As BB stated. Neither is better with wet wood. ALL wood needs at least a yr. Bub said above that 8 months wasn't enough.

    1-3 yrs depending on species.

    That's all. :)
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Burning wet wood could damage the cat. So, technically, it could be more expensive burning wet wood in a cat stove. But, You can burn wet wood in either type of stove, you will just waste a lot of fuel burning off the moisture and it will be a gigantic pain in the ass regardless of the burn system the stove uses.
    metalsped and firefighterjake like this.
  8. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    High moisture content wood in any appliance is a disaster waiting to happen. Creosote build up in the flue system = flue fire at some point. Very exciting and possibility of loss of life/home/ extreme expense to repair.
  9. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Woodstock did a test deliberately burning a full load of 35% wet wood in the progress. There are videos on their blog.

    Bottom line - the cat worked but they got a lot less usable heat.
  10. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    I know all the drawbacks of burning wet wood... just interested in the difference behind the technologies I guess, and how they deal with improper MC levels.
  11. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I guess the question really isn't that simple in my mind. The reason is that if you burn the wet wood in a cat stove (for example) and still get it up to temp before engaging the cat then it is possible that you won't have any really major problems; however it will be much harder to get up to temp and then you will have to keep feeding the stove more air to keep it up there. Now assuming you monitor that stove closely and do this then I wouldn't expect any real issues, but if you tried to engage the cat and shut down the air too low thus not getting the cat to fire off (or stalling it) then you would have unburned smoke flowing up through the cat which (depending on lots of factors) may well condense on the cat and clog it up as well as messing up the chimney. I'd consider this to be improper operation of the stove. I believe with the burn-tubes you can do the same thing - shut down without secondaries going - and end up with a smoky mess and also end up with a filthy chimney. In both cases I'd call it improper operation of the stove. With the cat you risk destroying the cat I suppose, but in both you risk a chimney fire if you don't clean it frequently enough etc.

    I think that both are much more similar in therm of how the improper MC levels are handled - you get a cooler fire and more smoke, if you can get the fire hot enough to engage the cat or get secondaries to fire you will clean up the smoke in either case, but it will be much harder to do and you are more likely to end up with a smoky mess.

    The real question may be how well will you (the operator of the stove) handle each stove if you have wet wood? There is probably more varience there than in how the classes of stoves burn. Then we haven't even started the "you can't lump all cat or burn-tube stoves into the same bucket" discussion - I tend to believe that the design of each stove may make as much difference as the core clean burning tech they use in how well they burn.
    metalsped and DexterDay like this.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    So, knowing the drawbacks, why even attempt to get an answer? Technology has nothing to do with trying to burn water and until they figure that one out, we all need good dry wood.
  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Because, sometimes you are stuck with what you have. Metalsped was just asking a question about how wet wood reacts between the two different styles of re-burn technologies.

    Nothing wrong with that.
    BrianK and metalsped like this.
  14. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    I ask because I am sure you all are bored of answering the same questions over and over ;)
  15. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I would tend to agree with that.
    Surely not a cat to damage.
  16. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Also I would like to add it is a good question because it seems a lot of wood burners buy their "seasoned" wood a few months before burning it.
    metalsped likes this.
  17. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    You get a lot less heat burning wet wood found this out my self also you have babysit the stove a lot more....

    Dry wood all the way for me.
  18. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    It is just brutally annoying. Keeping the door cracked, closing the door, opening the door again, leaving the air controls all the way open, watching a sizzling fire as the stove sits at 300 degrees, then, after you have wasted half the load, the stove takes off and you are warm. But, you know in about 2-3 hours you will have to do it all over again. It is so freakin' time consuming.
  19. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I have been there before.

    This year all i have to is put wood in get it cruising and dance in front of a nice hot hot stove if i want to.
  20. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    Did we ever come to a consensus? :p
  21. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Yes, both cat and non-cat stoves can burn wet wood. Both are equally annoying when doing so. The cat stove could be more expensive to run when burning wet wood as you could damage the cat.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I would say a non-cat, pre-EPA cigar burn stove like the Jotul F118 or F602. The old dial type air control directs a pretty strong blast of air right down the middle. With dry wood it would be roaring and you'd close the air down almost all the way, then close down the pipe damper. But with poorly seasoned wood you would leave the air control more open and maybe close the pipe damper half-way.
  23. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I agree. I thought metalsped was refering to EPA stoves only for some reason. The Vigilant was also more forgiving to burning wet wood. It was still a huge pain, though.
  24. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    Yeah, my question was primarily geared towards 'modern' stoves.
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I suspect that the Quad stoves with their start up air control might do better here. The Isle Royale is a pretty easy breather and has a startup air control. The new F118CB and F602 CB still allow a blast of air directed at the front bottom of the fire. They should do better than some stoves here. Still, dry wood is the way to go for easier starts, more heat and more efficient burns.

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