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When is an insert or stove most efficient?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by velvetfoot, Dec 14, 2005.

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  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I am wondering what would be most efficient: one insert operating at full capacity (hot) or a larger insert operating cooler? When is an insert operating most efficiently?

    Thanks.

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  2. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    to run most efficiently(using producing most heat from the volume of wood you use and not losing it)would require damping down the stove on Catalytic models so that the smoke was burning and creating heat. I'm not certain but I think the non cat models work on a similar principal. you are still going to be fairly hot.
  3. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I prefer a smaller stove operating on the hot side. Trying to dampen down a large stove to reduce heat output usually results in a smokey mess. Just my opinion (and experience), I'm sure others have theirs.
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Yes, it is an interesting subject even if I do say so myself. :)

    A hot fire would produce less creosote, I imagine, but it that the most efficient fire?

    There are % efficiencies as well as BTU output info put out by the stove mfrs. Somehow I doubt that max BTU's occur at the same time as max efficiency. This all would go towards selecting the size of a stove. Of course the fact that temps are now in the single digits around here is another factor. :)
  5. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    I just read Consumer reports Energy book 8th edition if I recall correctly said the perfectly sized furnace/boiler is one that on the coldest days of the year will be on and running 24 hrs and just be able to keep the place at a comfortable level and fulfill your hot water needs. One sized as such will save (if I remember) 10-20% more than an oversized one.

    The "perfect" sized insert or stove for that matter, is one where on the coldest days it burns as hot as you can without over-firing, and is just able to or a little behind being able to keep up. Larger units don't burn small fuel loads particularly well, I read a post by Marty S who says the terminology is Partial Charge Efficiency where small loads in big units don't burn as well as large loads in large units. Your unit is designed to be most efficient at the highest air setting without overfiring and fully loaded and keeps the glass clean. If you have to turn down the air, or not load it fully ever, then your unit isn't running in top efficiency.

    A properly sized unit warms up faster, gets your secondary burn/cat started sooner, keeps your glass cleaner, and saves you the most wood but you also need to balance convenience as a properly sized unit may mean you have to wake up in the middle of those really cold nights to reload it. A larger unit may be able to carrying you till morning, but if you're frequently having to damper down that also means you'll be needing to clean your glass more frequent, putting more creosote in the chimney, and burning more wood.
  6. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for replying. I have been thinking about the Quadrafire 3100 and the Quadrafire 7100. 7100 looks better, but seems to be way bigger than the 3100. House is 2000 ft2. I'm thinking this is the scenario described above. Perhaps too much heat coming out of the stove, and having to damp down.
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