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What should I do? Overfire w/ air control on low.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by WildOlive, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. WildOlive

    WildOlive New Member

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    I'm still very much a novice woodburner. We've had our stove (Alderlea T-5) for about 2 months. This morning I put in a big hunk of (split) wood and a smaller split. Once it was up to around 500 I cut the air control down halfway. After 5 minutes the temp was still climbing, so I cut the air all the way down. The temp still climbed. It was up to 800 and I couldn't cut the air off any more than it already was. I have noticed that our stove lights much better when the door is closed, so I opened the door wide to let some heat out, and was able to get the temp back down to 600. As soon as I shut the door the temp started climbing again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    So my questions are:

    1. What could I have done to avoid this?
    2. What should I do if this happens again? Was it ok to open the door?

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    To avoid this in the future you can start cutting the air down sooner. Less wood may help also.

    When I've had a run away stove I've never opened the door, but if that works... I would personally worry about sparks jumping out into the room.

    I have had luck doing everything I can to remove heat from the outside of the stove. This meant pots of water (never pour water on it!) set on top to draw heat and every fan I could muster blowing over the surface. The pots of water might not be as effective since your stove is steel and skinned with cast iron.

    Matt
  3. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    You must have some very dry wood what are you burning?? You put in a big hunk of what??
  4. logger

    logger Minister of Fire

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    I keep a pail of ashes on the back porch so if this were to happen to me I could dump some ashes on the fire to help smolder it.
    loon and Proud Sub Vet like this.
  5. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    It makes no sense to me how One big hunk of wood and a little split can take off like that. There has to be more to this story can you provide stove top temps when you loaded the wood in, what the coal bed looked like, and what the fire looked like was it a blazing inferno or did it look like a normal fire with typical secondaries? Did you empty ashes recently and use the ash dump?
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    And additionally please describe the chimney setup.
  7. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    The wood was wet (soaked in gasoline).
    D8Chumley and Proud Sub Vet like this.
  8. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    LOL.... I almost spit my coffee on the computer :lol:
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  9. WildOlive

    WildOlive New Member

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    Unfortunately I don't know the type of wood. It's a mix and I'm pretty bad at identifying it when the leaves are off. :red: It was a really heavy piece with a twisted grain.

    The chimney is double wall stainless that goes out the wall of the house and up 16 ft.

    I think the ash dump question is right on, though. I had just woken up and before adding the wood I did rake the coals back and use the ash dump, and I'm thinking there may be a small piece of a coal in the way keeping it open a crack, because as the day has progressed I have noticed a pit forming over the ash dump chute and that has never happened before. I'm in the process of letting it die down so I can check it out.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The ash dump is a good first suspect. I don't use ours now and have it filled with ash. Another possibility is that the wood was added to a too hot coal bed? Maybe burn it down a bit further before refueling. Rake the coals forward and open up the air all the way and put a single 2" split on the hot coals. After about 30 minutes they should be burnt down enough.

    This is a case where the blower really helps. It will cool down the stovetop by 100-150F pretty quickly in spite of a big fire in the stove.
  11. WildOlive

    WildOlive New Member

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    That is interesting, I had not realized the coal bed could be too hot. Although, the stove had not been filled since the night before, about 9 hours had elapsed.
    We do have the blower, I am sure glad now that we do!
  12. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I loaded on too large a bed of coals this morning as a result of loading it before bed later than normal since I've been trying to stuff a lot of wood through being cold. I wound up having the IR thermometer show me 876 on the stove top because of it :shut:

    It happens, but I try not to let it.

    pen
  13. southbalto

    southbalto Feeling the Heat

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    If you can access the air intake you can shove some aluminium in there to restrict the air.....obv not the solution to your prob. Just in case you need to quickly supress the fire.
  14. IPLUMB

    IPLUMB Member

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    I have wondered if...... Having a GREEN piece of fresh cut wood to throw in there would tame it? Anybody ever tried? Something real wet like Box Elder.
  15. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Yep its been mentioned before and works like a champ I guess.
  16. Hass

    Hass Minister of Fire

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    Yep, it's been said quite often
  17. Jacklake2003

    Jacklake2003 Member

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  18. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    Measured where? Maybe it wasn't stove top temps.
  19. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    The blowers will cool the stove top gauge down pretty quick..that's about it.
    Won't change the fire..
    Some have good luck opening the stove door..you are putting a ton of cooler room air into the stove and pushing the really hot air out.
    It can slow the draft considerably...thus the fire can die down.
    A screen for this purpose would be nice.

    All else fails have a big fire extinguisher around..screw the stove and what it might do to it...and if you don't have a screen you could put a carpet fire out with it at the very least.

    BTW..that trick of plugging the secondary air with tin foil or whatever is a good idea on a runaway imo.
  20. jdonna

    jdonna Member

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    When my oakwood would run away, which was pretty much a habitual event, I would plug the secondary inlets partially to fully. Also, I have good strong draft on my chimneys so I have turn key dampers in my flue to regulate those oh crap situations, very nice to have in those situations.
  21. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Great point! I often wonder hot hot the chimney gasses are for some folks running inserts where getting a "stove top" reading isn't easy and they have a blower going.

    This morning when the stove took off I was at 876 stove top temps and the chimney temps were right at what I'd consider to be the redline for my setup. I don't have a blower but often wonder how much harder I'd be fooled into running the stove if I had one. Just because the blower is pulling heat away from the top, doesn't mean that the rest of the stove isn't really cooking.

    BTW, temps like I mentioned are a once or twice a year accident in cold weather. Please don't think they are normal.

    pen
  22. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Pen,
    I can tell you I never use my blowers on my stove..maybe just to help heat the house up if we were gone for a few days.
    My stove is at one end of the house and I do have really good natural circulation.
    The main floor is 1400sf..second floor(bed rooms)1100sf.
    Those they have larger single story house with long halls could be a prob..it's nice to have a good size part of your house on the second story where heat rises too.

    BTW..the wife swears by the ceiling fan..me no so much...lol...but I tolerate it when she wants it on.
    876 is getting up there..I puckered some at 750 the other night!
  23. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I can name that tune in three notes. I haven't turned on the blower on the 30-NC in two years. Tonight it was cruising just between 650 and 700 an hour after reload. Turned that blower on half speed and the stove top temp dropped to 400 in almost a heartbeat.

    And this joint is really warm now and the burn hasn't changed. Should have done that last night when we got down to 14. I was PO'ed when I woke up and it was just 68 upstairs. >:-(
  24. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I can name that tune in three notes. I haven't turned on the blower on the 30-NC in two years. Tonight it was cruising just between 650 and 700 an hour after reload. Turned that blower on half speed and the stove top temp dropped to 400 in almost a heartbeat.

    And this joint is really warm now and the burn hasn't changed. Should have done that last night when we got down to 14. I was PO'ed when I woke up and it was just 68 upstairs. >:-([/quote]

    I have to ask Bart,

    Did your stove top temp really drop that much or just your gauge?
    Blowing cooler room air will drop a gauge fast..not so much stove top.
    I played around with my twin blow's ..that blow pretty hard and my stove top temp really doesn't drop per IR temp gun ..gauge did.
    It did drop a little after awhile..but my fire was settling down then anyways.
    Your stove could be diff.
  25. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Thermo is on the step below the air path. And anyway the IR gun said the same thing.

    Dropped like a rock. I have a thermo on the side of the firebox to give me real firebox temp. It has been steady at 525 the whole time.

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