Question: Hello, I just bought a 14 yr. old house in the country that has a water stove in the basement that heats the water that runs through floor coils in the house's main floor. It has a timed oil control for starting the wood fire and a thermometer to show the water temperature. The former owner said to be sure the temperature does not go over 190 degrees. (Boils over) He also said to start a good fire, let it burn about an hour and then damper it down. But the chimney sweep that cleaned the fireplace flues said the former owner is not correct, that you don't operate a water stove like a wood stove. He said I should build a blazing, hot fire and keep it hot, not dampening it down or letting it smolder unless I no longer want to heat the house. Who is correct? Answer: Hot water boilers usually have automatic controls which operate the damper and keep the water temperature constant. Your chimney sweep may be talking about a certain brand or type of water stove with a very high water content. This type of stove is more efficient when fired hot..and all wood fires will burn more efficiently when hot. Still, once the water is up to temperature, you have to damp it down somewhat. If there is not an automatic control on the damper, you might want to have one installed. There are two types: 1. Electrical - A motor damper is hooked to a sensor which closes the damper when a certain water temperature is reached. 2. Non-Electric - This is a special control (Samson and Ammark are two brands) which inserts into a tapping on the boiler and hooks to a draft flap with a chain. Using an expansion element built into it , it opens and closes the damper in response to the current temperature of the water.