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Wood not completly burning

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by kieth4548, Jan 25, 2008.

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  1. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    I have had problems the last few days that not all my wood in my england 28-3500 furnace add (my avitar) on is not completly burning. When I first got my unit a month ago it burned hot and completly. I have noticed over the last few days that I will get up to a cold house and go and add more wood and only the front half has burned to hot coals. The back has burnt black but only about half way down. The only way that I can get red hot coals in the back is I have to completly open the bottom damper and the top damper then everything inside get red hot. Does anyone have any Ideas? Don't understand why I am starting to have this problem. I called england but as with any question I ask is I really don't know what's going on. I havn't figured out why they have a support department if I never can get an answer. This is why I am glad I found this forum.

    Thanks
    Kieth

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  2. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    check your chimney as it might be plugged some with creasote. It sounds like you have a draft problem. If you do clean it now before you have a fire.
    leaddog
  3. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    I had plans on checking it tommarow but I wasn't sure if that was the problem or be something else.
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think leaddog is probably right. Has the moisture content of your wood changed at all? What you describe also sounds like wet or green wood.

    You might check your grate to make sure that it's not plugged. They need to be kept open, but can clog up with ashes and cinders if you don't keep them clean.
  5. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    The wood that I am burning was cut about a month ago. It was dead wood that has been down for over a year. The cut wood was stored into my basement for about three weeks before I started to burn it. When I took it down I put a fan and ran my dehumidifier on the wood to make sure any remaining moister was dry. I think it was dry enough. The inside of teh wood seemed to be dry.v I have no screen on my cap. My roof kit came with a cap that didn't have a screen. I will be replaceing it before spring for a screened one.
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'm guessing wet wood and possibly creosote resulting from same. Uncut deadwood can still be pretty wet, and three weeks in a basement isn't going to knock very much moisture out of it.

    The general rule is that any wood should be cut, split and stacked for at least a year, preferably covered or moved inside a couple of months before being burned.

    You can burn wet or green wood, but it's more work for less heat.
  7. atlarge54

    atlarge54 New Member

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    Dead and down does not translate into dry. You might try splitting into smaller pieces. Are you burning large rounds?
  8. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    I am playing catchup with my wood. A month and a half ago my propaine went from $90/month to $230/month overnight. I decided I wasn't paying that so i put this stove in. As a result I am playing catchup. I am not burning large chunks. I did cut it small to dry out. So it sounds like what I thought was dry really isn't. Is this going to cause a lot of trouble or am I just going to have to watch my flue a little closer?
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Been there; done that.

    Watch your flue (I'd say inspect and/or clean it weekly if possible) and learn how to burn the wood you have. As I said, it's not impossible, just more work and hassle to get through the winter, but people do it all the time.

    One trick is to get a hot fire going with dry wood (old pallets, lumber scraps, dry wood you can glean from your pile), and then add the not-so-dry wood when it's going good. I'm going to buy an el cheapo moisture meter this afternoon from Harbor Freight ($12) and see how it works. I have "dry" wood, but I have noticed some variation in how dry, depending on where it's located in the stack. I'm hoping that the meter will give me some numbers to work with. You might want to consider doing the same thing. Otherwise it's all guesswork, and that just complicates things even more. You might find that some of your wood (maybe the branch rounds) is drier. That's a good thing to know.
  10. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Hmm, wonder if Mr Barber, one of the 'customer-service/VicePresidents' at GreenWood went to work for England!! :bug:

    Anyway, my experience may not be relavant to your unit, but I have always found with the GW that unburned wood is resulting from not enough air or getting down into a coal bed that has a high concentration of ash.
  11. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    Thanks never thought of the meter. I am a few doors down from harbor freight. How dry should the wood be?
  12. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    I usually don't have a high amount of ash. I know it's getting plenty of air because I have opened the damper more and it just started. I think I may have it down to the wood because It just started as I switch to a new pile.
  13. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Anything less than 30% ought to be OK. 20% is even better. If it's not burning very well, my guess is that it's over 35%. Just a WAG.

    On the ashes: One indication of wet wood is that your ash tends to be dark and clumpy instead of light gray and powdery.
  14. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Well, don't forget that all the variables with heating with wood is why someone thought petroleum products could fill a demand for reliable heat. And having spent one season getting out of bed every time the oil burner came on, I know what that can do to you. But yer on the right road I'd bet. Seems every week I am getting more and more satisfied with the decision to move to wood. Which correlates to my ability to figure out whats wrong and avoid it the next time.

    Still suprises me that an old logger like Eric would buy a moisture meter :smirk: But honestly, you can't ALWAYS know the quality of any given piece of fuel. For this season I got about 5 Face of cherry. Not really the greatest stuff BTU-wise. But it had been skidded into an open field to lie single-layer in the sun. Rain too, it's true. But this stuff heats quicker than the red oak that I have collected from the forest floor. The Oak is like 7 years old, but without the sun beating directly on it, it's wetter than the Cherry. But for MY SITUATION (furnace with lage refractory mass) I prefer the oak, 'cause once that stuff gets going, she burns long and strong.

    Mix and match your wood, watch your chimney, and get lining up some sources for next year.

    Burn on
  15. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    I do get a hot fire and my ashes are ly grey and powdery.
  16. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    Thanks.. I 'm getting used to getting up at 3 am to re-fill. I will have plenty of wood for next season. I just have to get through this season.
  17. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    I would say check the flue and chimney. For overnight, open the dampers up and let the wood char a little, then damper it down in increments. If you damper too soon, it will just smother. One thing that I have realized than more air in the firebox doen't mean the wood will burn faster. I have my dampers open alot more than I used to and I get better hotter burns through the day and the nighttime. You will get it, but if it hisses and foams on the ends its too wet. You will just have to burn it hotter, that is after you make sure the flue and chimney are okay. You'll get it down.
  18. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Grates at back of stove are plugged ,had the same problem with mine ,got rid of it a few yers ago.
  19. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    Grates???? Not sure what you mean. Are there grates in my stove? My avitar is my stove. Where would it be? My stove pipe opening comes out the top. I don't recal seeing a screen there when I attached my stove pipe.

    Thanks
  20. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    I am checking and cleaning my pipes tommarow. I have recently learned about teh charing thing and I have been doing that over the last week and my fires have been buring a lot better since then. I'm not gettting any hiss or steam so I know the woods not soaking wet. We'll see what I find out tommarow. I really think that I am going to fing that my pipes are needing cleaned due to me going through the learning curve.
  21. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The grate (or grates) is the cast iron piece that separates your firebox from the ash pit. It's what the logs sit on. They have to be kept clear or the air won't can't get to the wood. Some stoves and furnaces don't have grates, but it looks like yours does. Sometimes it's easier to clean them from below, by putting the end of a poker up into the spaces from the ash pit. Or wait until the fire burns down and poke them clear from the top.
  22. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    Ok.. I thought there was another grate. i just re-read my manual and it says to adjust both the top and bottom dampers. The england tech guys have all told me keep the bottom closed and only adjust the top. Now I am wondering if this might be the problem. What's your thoughts?
  23. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'd resist the temptation to look for an exotic solution. I suspect it's something pretty simple, or some combination of simple things. Offhand I'd say, in their order of likelihood based on what you've said so far would be:

    1.) clogged grates
    2.) wet wood
    3.) clogged chimney

    I'm going with the clogged grates because Lee said he had a furnace like yours and that's what it sounded like to him. Me, too. I'd say wet wood, simply because your furnace was running fine until you got into a new run of wood, and that's a big red flag for any diagnosis. Clogged grates and/or wet wood might jam up the chimney with creosote, though the only way to determine that is by looking up the damn thing.

    So I'd check all three of those and try the boiler again before messing around with the other settings. You don't want to get things so out of whack that you have to start from scratch. Long, cold weekend ahead.
  24. Shipper50

    Shipper50 Minister of Fire

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    I have the exact same furnace you have and have been only burning it one week. My suggestion is to turn the bottom damper about a 1/4 turn open and leave it that way. I also have burned wet wood as some standards on here. With my meter I just bought it was 38% and it was dead and leaning for who knows how long.

    I have to empty my ash pan about every 2-3 days and when I put in new wood I pull the coals in the bed forward towards the door. I mainly keep the main damper all the way open as its been cold here and I need all the heat I can get.

    I would also add to get your wood charred, I open the bottom door all the way open and open the top damper all the way till I get the wood burning well. Then close the bottom door and adjust the top damper to what kind of heat you need.

    If this doesn't help burn the wood more completely, then I would look into your chimney.

    Shipper
  25. kieth4548

    kieth4548 New Member

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    Thanks.... Have a quick question for you since you own one. How big is your house you are heating? What kind of air flow are you getting? Reason I ask is my furnace guy made a filterbox to cover the motor and tied two 6" air intake feeds off my cold air return to curculate/ filter the air. Since I don't know what it was like before putting it on I am trying to determin if it's cutting down my airflow.
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