1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Wood stove burning when not home?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Exmasonite, Dec 4, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,847
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    We'll leave the house with the stove burning, but I usually like to make sure that the temps have stabled or decreasing a bit before heading out the door.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,568
    Loc:
    Blue Ridge Mountains NC
    I load it up every morning about an hour before I leave for work. I'm usually gone about 10 or 11 hours and I have a small stove, so I only wish I could get home for a re-load. Should have bought that 30!
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  3. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,472
    Loc:
    Athens, Ohio
    I have never been concerned with leaving my woodstove going while I'm away. I always make sure that it is settled down air adjusted before walking ou the door. If I don't have the time to mkake sure it's settled before leaving I will just let it go out and restart when I get back.
  4. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2010
    Messages:
    3,075
    Loc:
    Rochester,Ny.
    My wife is the same way.
    Won't leave the house with the dryer running..but she has no problem with the stove going 24/7.
  5. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    5,740
    Loc:
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    When we first moved here, it took some time to learn the stove (still learning), and I worried about the stove exploding or melting, or some other such nonsense. I also kept thinking I'd left the house without turning down the air, or closing the door completely. OOHHH, maybe I put in too much wood, and it'll overfire, and my house will catch fire and the dogs will all die a terrible death.
    Yeah, not so much. Never happened. Well, not yet.
    I got the house nice and warmed up a couple mornings ago, and reloaded the stove, before going on a job. Came home about 8.5 hours later, the house was down to about 63, and my wife was happily talking on the phone to our eldest daughter. She was still there, dogs too. Stove still had enough embers to get the fire restarted.
    This will only be my 5th year doing this, but I have very few qualms about it, although I STILL think I left that damn door just a little ajar. I actually turned around and went back home once because I could not remember closing the door. I worry more about ME than I do the stove.
    Gain some experience with your stove, burn dry wood, be happy.
  6. wood-fan-atic

    wood-fan-atic New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    870
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    Wow. You guys are freakin me out. I NEVER worried about leaving my stove burning......that what it DOES....it BURNS. It is the source of heat for my home. If I cant leave my house with my 'heat' on, I had better find another source of heat. I run my stove the same all the time- whether Im home or not - full load,burning well,lower air control twice until fully closed, burn down to coals (6-9 hours, depending on conditions). This is how it runs, and SHOULD run. There are too many things in this world that scare the bejesis out of me.....I cant let my trusted stove be one of them.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  7. shawneyboy

    shawneyboy New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,592
    Loc:
    NE PA
    I never leave with a fresh load, but leave after its set and burning. As was said prior, if I can sleep with the stove burning, I certainly can leave the house with it burning.

    It is funny how people think that leaving a stove burning is a bad idea, when you have control of it, but think nothing of leaving the home that burns NG or LP, with the furnace turned on, which if something were to go wrong could have a much larger negative impact.

    Now I have a stove. I have friends who still have an open fireplace, they were leaving it unattended, which I told them and we all know is NOT A GOOD IDEA !!!!

    With a stove or an insert with the "control" of the fire and the inability of embers coming out (as long as all doors are properly closed and locked) leaving the stove burning and leaving the house is a normal thing.
  8. watchamakalit

    watchamakalit Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Messages:
    34
    Loc:
    Indiana
    I am a 24/7 burner and don't hesitate to leave with the stove burning. I think RAMSAY hit it on the nose with the common sense thing. Ever think about a gas furnace being a fire hazard? How many thousands of gas furnaces are left unmaintained and unattended for months or even years at a time, with no concern for dust build up or any other combustibles that may make their way into the burn chambers. I really think that any heating source is hazardous but in some cases you just have to use your head and not be a complete numbskull about how you treat it.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  9. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2009
    Messages:
    2,602
    Loc:
    southern NH
    I always make sure the stove is going well BEFORE leaving for the day! It's my heat source for the house! But, seriously, I agree with other - safe install, good burning practices, should be able to leave the stove running. I do make sure that the stove is cruising and not likely to run away - I wouldn't feel good leaving the stove under one hour from loading. I need some time to make sure the stove is going to level off. Cheers!
  10. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,700
    Loc:
    CNY
    We've burned our unattended wood stoves since the bi-continental no problems, thank God.

    Started with a Franklin stove then the 2 Shenandoah's R65 an R77 now this QF4300. After you do it a doz times or so you'll feel better about it. Hey an unseen mouse in the ceiling biting through an electrical wire can just as easily start a catastrophic event.

    If all your ducks are lined up correctly...fear God and dread naught.
  11. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
    771
    Loc:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    Do you feel comfortable with a gas / oil furnace functionning while u are away? They also have a naked flame inside a combustion chamber. Same difference with a wood stove. They are safety tested & certified by UL & other bodies. As long as your installation is to code, your chimney is clean & you are familiar with the behavior of your appliance
    it should pose no concern.
  12. gizmos

    gizmos Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Loc:
    Northern Calif, Sierra Mountains
    All the time.
    People leave their gas furnace on ? So why not a wood stove? I trust it every night when we go to sleep. I trust it in the morning,when I load it and leave for work while the family is still sleeping for a couple more hours.
    Actually, if we are going to leave for a long time, we give it a big load, so the house stays warm and we have coals when we return.
    I installed this stove, it's safe, no worries.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I find this thread simply amazing! I also have to ask a question: What do you suppose people did 70-80 or more years ago? Most people then burned wood or coal or a combination. As for me, my chores with the stove began back in the 1940's. First it was taking care of ashes and then as I grew the chores did too. It went to bringing wood in (we stored some in our enclosed back porch) and then to stacking wood and then to both splitting and stacking. Somewhere along in that time I also began to load the stoves. So I learned much in my youth.....but still have not stopped learning.

    What do you suppose we do? After all, our wood stove is our only source of heat! Therefore, we burn 24/7 during the cold months. Of course that means a fire is going when we are sleeping or outdoors working or even like yesterday when we had to be in they city for most of the day. We got along just fine and when we returned home and opened the door, that wood heat felt terrific! No, we do not hesitate to keep the stove going while we are gone.

    Here's one other example: One time we decided to visit our eldest son and his family during Christmas. We simply hired a neighbor boy to tend the stove while we were gone. All worked out well too but we were very happy to return home when we did because that night the temperature dropped to -22.

    In our opinion, there is no good reason to not have the stove heating even when you are not there. Stoves get hot; that is what they are for. As someone else stated, a furnace also gets hot and has a big fire contained in a firepot just like a wood heating stove. As for me, I am more nervous with gas and oil than I am with wood.

    In the end it is the same as in the beginning. It is the duty of the people burning wood to insure they have the proper wood to burn and that means good dry wood. Sadly wood burning and suppliers are lacking a lot when it comes to knowledge of what good fuel really is and the proper handling of this wood. If you are buying wood you can count on that wood seller to tell you the wood is seasoned. However, what is seasoned wood? It is sort of like that same wood seller telling you it is mixed hardwood. Well, we need good hardwood for the fires so that must be the right stuff! Well, maybe.

    First, wood is not seasoned at all nor starts to season until it is cut to length and split. Then it needs to be stacked out in the open air where wind will hit the sides of the wood pile. Then it needs time. How much time? That depends upon what type of wood you have. Some wood needs only a year. Some needs 2 years and some needs 3. If people would follow these guidelines with their wood they will have some happy times. If not, they have fires that don't want to burn (and blame the stove or chimney) and then also have creosote problems.

    On to the hardwoods. Technically any tree that drops its leaves is a hardwood. Therefore, poplar, cottonwood and willow are all hardwoods as is soft maple. But so is oak and hickory and locust. But the difference in these types of wood is like the difference between a Cadillac and a second-hand Ford. The burning characteristics are also a world apart.


    I guess I've rambled long enough here. I do not wish to scare anyone away from burning wood because it can be rather satisfying to do so. There are safe ways to do it but there are some bad things you can do too. You need to learn the difference. There is much knowledge here on hearth.com and I urge all new wood burners to come on with their questions. Ask a question and when that has been answered, ask more. Keep asking and we'll keep trying to help.

    Good luck to all.


    Merry Christmas to all.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  14. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,303
    Loc:
    south central WI
    We burn 24/7. We think nothing of leaving the house once the stove has been stabilized. I won't start
    a new fire if I don't have an hour to dedicate to stabilization. My daughter learned that the hard way this
    week. We got home from school yesterday, and I started up a mostly full firebox. Five minutes later, she
    informed me that she forgot her musical instrument at school and needed it. There's no good way to put
    a fire on "hold" or turn it off once it's been started.

    She waited for an hour until the stove was ready to leave. We got into the school but needed to find a
    custodian to get us into the locker area. She whined a little about how you don't have to wait an hour
    with a gas furnace. I reminded her that the money we save on wood heat pays for her musical instrument
    rental.
  15. agartner

    agartner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    281
    Loc:
    Southern NH
    Wow, Ex - looks like ya struck a chord here. There are lots of folks here with lots of time and experience burning and many who rely on their stoves as their only source of heat.

    You mentioned in your original post that you loaded the fire, let it catch for 5 or 10 minutes, then choked it down to a smoulder. This is a bad thing. It will build creosote (our sworn enemy) in your chimney, plug your cap, expel tons of smoke, and could lead to a dangerous situation.

    Burn your stove efficiently while you are home. Learn it and understand it to the point where you ~know~ what your stove will do 1 hour, 4 hours, and 8 hours from the time you load and start it. Once you know it, you'll be confident in it and the question of "leaving it burning while not at home" won't even be of the slightest concern to you.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  16. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Messages:
    957
    Loc:
    So. Me.
    Not so much with the group that enjoys and participates on this site, but I wanted to mention to Dennis that there are a lot of basic skills that have been lost or (at the very least) passed over in the past 50-60 yrs.. A few spring instantly to mind:

    Knowledge about heating with wood in general. Firewood, proper lighting technique (see Tragic Fire)
    Sewing/knitting
    Canning/drying/freezing
    Raising/slaughtering poulty
    How to properly maintain an oil lamp; trimming wicks/installing new ones

    It's only natural that one would be uncertain or cautious when heading into what beginners/newbies view as uncharted waters. And I think that's what's such fun about this site; questions are answered and anecdotes shared all with the hope that the shared knowledge will bolster confidence in the uncertain.

    (When I headed out to Orange the Classic was happily combusting at just over 400 °F (stove top) and I didn't give it a second thought until I returned home and this thread caught my eye again.)
  17. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Messages:
    6,205
    Loc:
    Carver, MA.
    And to all a good night?! :p

    Ray
  18. Green Energy

    Green Energy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2009
    Messages:
    300
    Loc:
    Central Maryland (between DC, Balt. Fredrick)
    It sounds like just about everyone is comfortable with letting a stove that is in cruising mode go unattended, whether out of the house or overnight while sleeping. Same here, only problem is when I do a reload with too much coals, then I just need to make sure that the stove settles down. I not too comfortable when the stove top temp is hitting 650 and continuing to rise. But most of the time, I plan my reload to provide an hour before bedtime or leaving for work.

    This is where having a quality installation makes all the difference in peace of mind.
  19. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Messages:
    6,205
    Loc:
    Carver, MA.
    We burn 24/7 here when it's cold like now and don't think twice about it.. We leave the house and check the locks and turn the lights on and don't worry about the stove..Maybe when the stove was brand new and so were we that I thought about it.. With 23 years or so we pretty much know what to expect.. Heck Dennis (Sav) used to rub 2 sticks together (he predates dinosaurs) to get his stove going and now he has moved onto fire sticks aka matches.. As Dennis pointed out people have heated with wood since the dawn of time, light years longer than oil, gas or coal..Bottom line is wood fire = $, oil fire = $$$$$...

    :lol:

    Ray
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    You are right Bobbin and it is a shame some of those skills have been lost. As stated, wood burning is only one. How many sew or knit today? There are still many who can and freeze but not so many who dry their food. We don't put up as many vegetables as we once did but we still can all of our venison, We take care of the meat ourselves and my wife has even taken to doing the skinning of the animal!

    Raising ans slaughtering of not only poultry but other types too is something very few do any more and that is sad, but a sign of the times, I guess. Oil lamps, well there are a few but not many. Still, all these skills can be learned if one wants to do the learning.

    It is good the one is a bit cautious when starting a new thing like wood burning but I am surprised by just how cautious and afraid some are. But with the help of many on this forum, they will soon relax and start to really enjoy wood heat.
  21. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Hey Ray, take it easy. lol I suppose you think I used to have a dinosaur for a pet rather than a dog?! :lol:

    On one happy side, I have always wondered just how many dollars we've saved over the years by burning wood. I'm betting it is a bunch!
  22. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,224
    Loc:
    Croton-on-Hudson, suburbs of NYC
    Our Fireview burns 24/7. I just about always pack it to the gills when we leave the house. I want it warm when I get back. As long as there is a good bed of coals, the stove is ready to be left alone in 10 or 15 minutes after reload.
  23. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Messages:
    6,205
    Loc:
    Carver, MA.
    Yes indeed my friend but it's much more than that as you know.. It's about the independence of providing for your family (you more so than me as I rely on most of my firewood from others but I do some amount of my own wood),it's about how warm and cozy it is when I walk in the door, it's about the terrific people I have met in here (so far only here but hopefully someday in person), also as you've been saying just getting back to basics.. I have read Mother Earth News for quite a long time as it based on this premise.. The person I admire most in modern times is Dick Proeneke (One Man's Wilderness). Even though I do not live the simple life as much as I'd like to I live it in spirit and appreciate those have figured it out.. It's ironic that I do very high tech work yet I love the most simple things in life best..

    Take Care,
    Ray
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  24. bimmerFAITH

    bimmerFAITH Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Metro Atlanta
    With my old Buck 27000 I wouldn't hardly leave the room, much less the house. Sparks flying out were the norm. I have full reasonable confidence in my Lopi Freedom and will stoke up the fire really hot then choke it down right before leaving. The burns are so predictable I don't worry at all about being out of the house with a hot fire in the box.

    I, too, installed mine myself and know it was done right with quality materials.

    I say it depends on your stove/setup. If everything isn't tight you might have reasonable caution about leaving it unattended.
  25. Snag

    Snag New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2009
    Messages:
    70
    Loc:
    South Central PA
    We burn 24/7. We keep the stove maintained, clean the chimney, use seasoned wood and a big dose of common sense. I don't push the envelope in regard to overloading the stove even if I'm staying in the house and 8-hour overnight burns aren't a priority ever since hubby developed insomnia. That said, we live out in the country and my house pets don't have the means to escape by themselves. Still, I trust the wood stove (Isle Royale) to contain any fire I put in it regardless if I'm home or not... I figure if you can't trust it while you're not at home, why are you trusting it when you are?

    Carolyn
    gyrfalcon likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page