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WHEN to reload wood

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by sandie, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. sandie

    sandie Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    273
    Loc:
    West of Boston, MA
    When is it best to reload the wood, when it really down to 200-300 degrees or when it drops to 450 or so. OR does it really matter? Might be a silly question but it is the way one learns.
    Have a older VC Resolute and LOVE it but do not think I get the best heat out of it that it should produce! It burns well when the damper is closed but somehow the room does not get warm enough for me. room is 20x12 and open to small kitchen on one end and to dining room on other end which leads to lving room and then small hall and bedroom/bathroom. The room it is in gets to about 70 after hours and hours and the living room which is about 20 feet away gets to at most, 66. I can get the stove up to 750 or more but do not do that as a habit, usually shut the damper (there is also a rear damper thing they call a thermostat) at about 600degrees and it cruises there for a while and then starts down as the wood burns. It has a secondary burn thing in back that reburns the smoke for fuel taht was unused etc. I use good wood, but wonder if I am reloading too soon or does it matter. I get the stove up to 600 or so, reload it and wait a few minutes for that to light up and then close the damper, once it drops to about 450 I then reload and wait for it to light and get up to 500-600 and close the damper again.

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  2. pen

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

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    If you need the heat, you need the head. The biggest problem with reloading at 450 is usually the operator winds up with a stove full of hot coals, and no room to put any wood in.

    How much wood are you putting in during a reload? How long are you able to go between reloads?

    pen
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  3. WidowMaker

    WidowMaker Member

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    Sep 1, 2008
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    Loc:
    Central Washington
    Sounds as if you have a stove much too small for the area your trying to heat and/or the area is under insulated and drafty. I think I would try opening the air up when the stove top temp starts to drop from where your comfortable and try to cook off some of the coals that have got to be forming. That you way can get a bigger reload..
    Usally if your reload on a big hot coal bed and still have 450 stove top temps your load will go nuclear on you, at my does...ymmv
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  4. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Oct 28, 2010
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    2,241
    Loc:
    Soutwest VA
    +1

    During the shoulder season witch seems to be this week i have to let the fire go out or i will be cooked out of my house. Now when winter comes i can keep a fire going but then that cooks me out sometimes. My house is well insulated the way it sounds your stove is to small for your home or your house is very drafty.

    If i was to put seasoned wood in my stove at 450 things would go crazy.
  5. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
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    1,622
    Loc:
    South Central Indiana
    Try and see whats the least amount of coals needed to get a new load of splits restarted.
    That way you have the most room for a reload to get the max load of wood in there for a long burn.
    These stoves works best by burning them full load to full load as in they do not work as well by adding a stick or two at a time.
    If you have too many coals then rake them forward and put some small kindling on the hot coals to help burn them down quickly.

    Remember this for getting your house up to heat. A cold house is a big thermal mass and hard to heat up so try and keep the stove burning all thru the day and night.

    Make sure your getting the stove into the secondary mode as the secondary mode of operation the stove is acting like a smoke gas burner. In that mode you are getting more heat out of the stove but at a lower burn rate setting. I always say to get the stove up to temps as fast as possible to then be able to shut the air back down in 1/4 the way increments as fast as possible so you dont burn up all your load of wood for a long burn time. Kindling is nice for getting the stove back up to secondary mode temps quickly, that way you dont burn up all your wood trying to get the temps up in the stove. Its a funny concept to grasp but its all about the heat. Wood out gases once heat gets up to I think around 250 F Then smoke starts burning around 900 to 1000 F inside of the fire box, this is not a stove top temp. Last year I used to sit there and watch the stove try an get up to temps slowly it would eventually but by then alot of my wood was already gone, frustating. THen I learned how good quality kindling made out of dry white oak worked like a miracle much better than like split up pine 2x4's I had, but I love oak kindling.

    You can load on a bigger coal bed but watch out for getting the stove too hot. Try larger splits like 8" size or more on big hot coals beds. I will do that once in a while and it works good for a long burn and the stove isnt even packed full but huge splits that are really dry out gas quickly getting a nice secondary burn on a big hot coal bed. Then I shut the input air all the way down earlier than I normally do to prevent over heating. THen the larger splits at the low air setting lasts for a long over night burn.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Michigan
    Best time to reload simply depends upon how much heat you need and how the fire is. Is it down to all coals? Is the stove temperature too low? Normally one reloads quicker when winter gets here and this time of year usually lets the coals burn down a lot and perhaps even go out then relight a new fire when needed.

    It does sound as if your stove is a bit too small for your needs. I would aim for 700 stove top temperatures (I think but not for sure on this stove) then don't shut it down so much that the temperature starts dropping right away. The temperature drop should be a gradual thing. Also, as the stove temperature drops, do not be afraid to open the draft more to get more fire and keep the stove temperature up.

    I also usually question when someone states they use good wood. Why is that wood good? What makes it good? Did you cut, split and stack it yourself or did you buy it and the seller told you it was good wood? Many times people are really surprised with their wood and even more surprised when they finally do get some really good wood. Many used to be surprised but no longer are to find we keep wood in the stack at least 3 years before burning it. Lots and lots of benefits from doing this.
  7. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,329
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    If I remember correct, your Resolute 3 uses the same horizontal burn chamber as my Dads 70s Resolute. I lived with that stove for over 20 years.... Its a good little stove but it is small. It Just cant heat much more than 1000ft2 in a cold climate. My Dad uses it in a 1600 ft2 house and his second floor is an icebox.

    Back to the stove, its an early noncat reburn system. The stove should have a secondary air flap on the right side lower rear, you want that wide open, it feeds the reburn chamber. Load the stove full,burn wide open till 600f, close the damper, then turn down the primary air thermostat on the left side to regulate the heat level. It sounds like that is about what you are doing,so unless you wood is wet its probably as good as it gets.

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