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Why don't stoves allow complete choke of air supply?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by woodpile, Dec 27, 2005.

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  1. woodpile

    woodpile Member

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    If only as a safety feature, I think that stoves should be able to shut off the air supply altogether. Another purpose would be to keep warm room air from going up the flue when the stove is not in use. I understand that the stove should not be operated with too great a restriction on air supply, but perhaps there could be another control, or some safety lock that must be flipped out of the way to damp it all the way down.

    Last night I loaded a big log of willow into the stove as the over-nighter. It was so light that I was sure it would not last long, but let it be for a while. Being a master at wasting time near bed time, I came back to the stove almost an hour later and decided to top it off with about a ten 4x4x3/4" oak scraps from the wood shop, then damped down the stove for the night and went to bed. About 15 minutes later - BOOM! It sounded like someone hit the firebox with a wodden mallet. A burning wooden mallet. The stove was up to 900F and the glass was really clean, at least the upper part, while the lower part turned black. The stove was already damped all the way down, so I scrambled to make an aluminum foil block off for the intake, which is at the bottom front of my Lopi Answer. It worked well enough to quiet the flames down to a smolder. I plugged in my make-shift half-fast computer fan blower to help cool the stove and heat the house. I had to baby-sit the stove for another half-hour until the oak scraps burned up so I could take off the home-made choke. It would have been so much easier to control if there were a positive air supply cut-off.

    Be careful with those kiln-dried scraps! I've burned bunches of 1" sticks with no problem, but the small dry stuff goes fast & hot!

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  2. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I hear you! My Osburn would likely do the same thing. I posted a question asking if others had similar experience, and a few folks did. I think one guy has a Pacific Energy. Bottom line is EPA rating can't be guaranteed if you could choke off the air completely.
  3. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I have not installed my stove yet but I thought a wood stove would let you completely shut off the air if you wanted to snuff out the fire...? Will my Jotul F3CB allow me to snuff the fire?
  4. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    warren had it right: In order to meet EPA clean air standards, The stoves had to burn cleanner to accomplish that. A secondary air supply is built in. Most if not all secondary air supplies cannot be user controlled. Your controls are the damper and primary air supply
    Piror the EPA standards some stoves were air tight, meaning one could actually starve a fire out. With so little air. fires smoldered and produced an adbundant amounts of polution. Yet if one knew how to opperate these stoves they could leave the air open enought to get good heat and be kinder on poluting. EPA stoves are a product of goverment stepping in, making them idiot proof concerning polution and effeciencies
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Your F3 CB has a secondary air intake under the heat shield in the back of the stove so, no. you won't be able to completely shut off the air.

    On the same note my ancient, 1986, Sierra insert followed the same approach. It has a large top baffle and fixed upper air intakes that won't allow complete cut off of the air. The upper air creates the secondary burn across the baffle. A rolling light show not unlike my F3 CB and Nordic.
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