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Wood stove burning when not home?

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

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  1. james72

    james72 New Member

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    Loc:
    Craley, PA
    I keep the fire burning. Otherwise the house will be cold when we get home. Then you waste wood trying to get the temps back up.

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  2. Exmasonite

    Exmasonite Feeling the Heat

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    Oct 3, 2010
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    Loc:
    Northwest, CT

    Hehe, looks like i did.

    Thanks for all the info and advice. Couple of points....

    Agart- Thanks for the critique on my practices. But what's tthe best way to get the longest burn- either for an overnight or if i'm going to leave the stove unattended. I just figured the longer i let it burn down, the sooner it'll need replenishing.

    Far as code/practices- It's a new house to me ( a log home to boot... nothing but a tinder box in my paranoid mind), i'm the 3rd owner. Stove has been in since inception and used consistently but i didn't do the install and don't know the legalities. I know the liner was replaced in '07 from receipts. So, i guess my confidence in the whole situation is questionable. I know they depended more on the oil burner than the woodstove. Need to get comfortable with this more.

    Other issue is going to be my confidence/experience... just need some time. I already know from research at this site that my wood supply isn't ideal so i'm keeping close eye on creosote... Hopefully got a chainsaw and good maul coming for the holiday and plan on renting a splitter for a few days next year so i'll get with the program sooner rather than later.

    I really appreciate all the input and advice... thanks to all and Hearth.com!
  3. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Central NY
    I don't hesitate to leave the house once I have a load "settled in" and stabilized. So I'll plan a re-load 45 minutes to an hour ahead of time to be able to see it through til that.

    It is all about confidence. I bought a very good quality stove (in my opinion) that cost me more than some other stoves that I looked at. I asked my chimney cleaner and mason (who has a great reputation) for his opinion on the installer (the stove dealer), and the mason gave him a thumbs up (he knows who installs what, and who does a crappy job with installations since he cleans the chimneys and pipes). I did my research on the stove pipe installation and materials, and then asked the installer what he planned to do (it checked out), then asked if he would do less if I couldn't afford what he wanted to do (his answer was "no, I won't do the installation that way", so I knew I found the right installer).

    If it sounds anal, it is, for sure. But I don't worry about the installation or leaving the stove unattended one bit.
  4. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    7,607
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    I have 2 stove running with a third being installed in eight days. They all burn whether I am here or not, awake or not.
  5. agartner

    agartner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
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    Loc:
    Southern NH
    Hey there Ex - The length of burn is really dependent on how much wood you use, what kind of wood (hardwood), and what size splits/rounds you use. Because your wood is not completely seasoned, it's important that you keep a very close eye on your chimney, and with that, its all that more important to "burn hot". There are a lot of posts on this forum on extending your burn (spend some time searching and reading...), but essentially, if you have them, a few 4 to 5" rounds of hardwood mixed in with some smaller splits tends to work well. Just like a normal cycle, you get your fire well established and then tune your primary air down so that your stove maintains its' cruising temperature (normally 400-600 stovetop) for as long as possible.

    Code & Practices: Hire a chimney sweep. They do more than clean your chimney. A good one should also inspect your install and chimney and advise you of any maintenance issues that should be performed and let you know if there are egregious safety issues that need to be addressed.

    Wood Supply: Apart from a safe install, this is ~the most important~ thing. There are things you can do to help you out this year. Cut up pallets, which often can be found for free or nearly so can be cut up and mixed with your regular cordwood. They will help to get your stovetop temps up to help compensate somewhat for the suspect wood. BioBricks and other similar manufactured wood stove fuel products (Never Duraflame logs!!!) also can do the same. Often you can find these products at a local aubuchon/tru-value type hardware store or stove shop. Resplitting your splits prior to burning can help too.

    As to your holiday gifts (who ~doesnt~ want a chainsaw and maul from Santa, muahaha!), my splitting maul has never met a round it didn't like. Never had a need for a hydraulic splitter. It's my favorite wood destruction weapon.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  6. grommal

    grommal Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    Over 20 years ago when we started burning a wood stove, I felt a little funny at first burning it with nobody to watch it. Overnight was the first emotional hurdle, and then it was on to loading it up in the morning and leaving for the day. The key is to get your stove operation technique down to where you no longer have any uncertainty about what the stove will do once you walk away. If you have a setup that is very well behaved (like my current one), it's easy to get to that point. If you have a more cantankerous stove/chimney/whatever combo (like my old one), then it might take a little longer to get to that comfort level.

    Getting to the point where you can do 24/7 burning is when you really start to reap the benefits.
  7. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    366
    Loc:
    Kentucky
    If I'm going out of town for the night, I stoke the fire to the max so the heat wont kick on for 8-10 hours. I have no problem leaving with the stove going. If I didnt burn the stove while I was gone, I could never use it.
  8. santacruzbluz

    santacruzbluz New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Santa Cruz Mountains
    I appreciate all the replies, too. As you've easily figured out, I'm new to this game, too. I've always been able to build a nice campfire, and thought I knew a little about fires. I've never lived anywhere with no other heat source before, so my experience with fires in the house have always been just building a fire to have some nice atmosphere, and letting it burn out. There is a lot for me to learn, I'm finding out, and I'm learning a lot of it right here. I'm 55, and have worked as a carpenter/millwright/general contractor for nearly 40 years, so I know about safe practices. So when I was getting ready to leave the house the same day this thread started, I naturally went through the whole thing in my mind, to determine if I was being safe. (I bet if you quizzed 100 people who have never had wood heat, every one of them would say you should not leave the house with a stove burning) I figured I was, left, and came home to find this thread. I'm really glad you all weighed in. I know now that what I did was very common, and that as long as I use my head, I can let the fire burn all the time, and go on about my life. I've learned a heap about this stove and how to use it, just from reading here and building fires in it. You guys (and gals) are providing a valuable service. Thanks again.

    EDIT: Excellent point made about how we all leave the house with furnaces and other heating appliances burning all the time. I've always rented, so I just trusted that whatever was there was safe. Yikes!
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  9. akennyd

    akennyd Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Messages:
    148
    Loc:
    North Carolina
    I'm a newbie to wood burning and must admit was a little hesitant to leave the stove burning the first few times. I'm more confident now as I have gained some operational experience with the stove and I have left it burning on a few occasions now (expect to do so quite a few times this week as we are having a cool snap here in NC.) As a matter of fact, I reloaded the stove this morning before leaving for work so the wife and kids would have a nice warm house to wake up to. Like FBF said, it only takes 10-15min with the Fireview to get things going and settled back into a nice cat burn. But I will say that I triple check the stove and my settings before leaving the house.

    I will also say that a lot of my confidence has been gained from reading about other Fireview owner's experiences right here in these forums.

    I've only experienced one minor glitch with my stove and that was 100% and absolutely my fault and other than that I have had no other problems and have complete confidience in the Fireview and my installation.

    I would really hate to know that I couldn't safely leave my woodstove or that I would have to put my fire out everytime I left the house. Doesn't sound like a very good way to live...:^)
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    I agree Kenny. For sure if I could not leave the wood stove burning when not in the house, I would probably not even burn wood. As it is, we sold our furnace well over 30 years ago and have had nothing but the wood stoves ever since. But of all the stoves we've had over the years, we have never had anything like this Fireview. It does the job and quite easy too. Set it and forget it until it starts feeling cool in the house. Or if we go away, stock it up and the house will still be nice and warm when we return. That is the one of the joys of wood heat.
  11. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    2,257
    Loc:
    Wisconsin
    BS -

    Do you have a basement? If yes, is your plumbling down there? If yes, do you do anything to assure against water pipe freeze ups?

    Shari
  12. santacruzbluz

    santacruzbluz New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
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    31
    Loc:
    Santa Cruz Mountains
    Just noticed your question, jetmech.

    I don't have a lot of experience to compare this with, but I'm liking the little stove. I live in a cabin in the mountains, and I'm heating less than 600 sq. ft. I'm trading out rent for carpentry work on the cabin. My landlords bought this used stove, knowing nothing really about them, and I think they got lucky, although I have no idea what they paid for it. The stove definitely settles down and maintains a pretty constant stove top temperature once I get it hot enough to engage the cat and set the air intake just right. I really like being able to load from the top, and that is a feature I will probably look for in future stoves. But it makes me wonder. Since I load from the top, is it possible to let too much ash build up in the stove, blocking the air flow? I have a tendency to keep adding wood until the ash and coals are up a little too high to open the front doors, and I just wonder if I should be keeping it clearer. I also wonder if my air intake lever is working properly. If I push it all the way to the right or left, when I let go of it, it springs back a little bit, making me wonder if I have some buildup in there I need to clean out. The owners manual says when the little door is completely closed, there should be no more than a 1/8th inch gap. Mine is more like a half inch. I don't think any of this is affecting my fire, but just wondered if you'd encountered any of this.

    This stove is 20 years old, and I have no idea about its history, but I like the way it burns. I like the top loading, the cat, and I like the way it looks. I would definitely recommend one to a friend. Mine does not have the warming trays, but I'm watching for some of those.
  13. Stump_Branch

    Stump_Branch Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    MD
    I think that most probably cannot grasp how we as humans did things. we drive in a climate controlled box, with a go and stop pedal, to the grocery store to buy processed meat, wrapped up like Christmas. We have become too far removed from the time when the day was spent providing for one’s self and family to merely live. Our work is resolved to working at desks with computers rather than the sweat of the brow, blisters on the hands. We get a paycheck, mostly not even a check or cash just a little slip of paper. There’s no work and reward feeling I find in the vast majority. Caught up in the fast pace we turn dials or press buttons to stay warm, removed from the function, slight, sound and smell of the driving force behind it, oil, gas, electricity. Out of sight out of mind, just like the food, money, fuel from above. Yes each and every one of the different appliances can be dangerous, so can a pen in a writers hand. If you don’t operate the stove, your house, yourself with some sort of organization and common sense, you set yourself up for the disastrous stories you hear about.
    I do not think three times (I do double check everything, door, dampener etc. hence the three times) before leaving with the stove, no I don’t stuff it to the gills before I head out, I plan ahead make any adjustments needed, in a timely fashion, dial down the air to the ‘safe’ levels and go.
  14. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I agree.

    I was living with a friend for a while and had a good fire going in his fireplace. I was the last to hit the hay and during the night a log rolled out of the firebox onto his carpet. Somehow the carpet just melted and didn't catch fire!

  15. Crabby

    Crabby Member

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    Loc:
    Ohio
    i leave mine everyday. although i did just post last week that mine sometimes scares me. it likes to take off and get really hot sometimes. i usually like to wait and watch it before i go but sometimes i run out of time. i get the stove pipe good and hot and the temp will start to rise and i just slide the damper in and turn the fan on and leave. i would rather do it the right way but sometimes i just have to get going. the glass is really not the dirty like i shut the air off to soon so, i must be ok doing it that way, you should be fine, like everyone said you will get the hang of it and feel a lot better.
  16. Crabby

    Crabby Member

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    opps for some reason i posted twice, my bad
  17. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I burn when I'm not home all the time . . . my woodstove was installed per code . . . I maintain the stove properly . . . no worries.
  18. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I burn when I'm not home all the time . . . my woodstove was installed per code . . . I maintain the stove properly . . . no worries.
  19. EllisB

    EllisB New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Central Ohio
    I see it's been a while since anyone posted on this thread, but it seems the most relevant place for my question. If I run my stove while I'm at work, and my house burns down and the fire inspector determines it was caused by the wood stove, what are the chances that my home owners insurance will cover my loss?
  20. Elle

    Elle Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
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    Loc:
    North East Pennsylvania
    I have no problem burning the stove when I'm not home. I work full time so it is a necessity for the animals...and me, lol. Before I got the stove I thought I'd be so nervous I'd be sleeping down stairs and such. I thought it would be a real process to leave the stove burning, but alas that was not so. When I saw how air tight the stove was and where the heat was thrown I knew I would be fine no matter what. I took the precautions I needed to...nothing near the stove, wood a good ten feet away, no other combustibles close, I have an air gap behind the stove, etc. I feel quite good leaving it go while I'm gone.

    I do make sure there is as little as possible chance of an overfire, so I load about half an hour before I leave then adjust the air, then go. I would rather choke the fire out than not do that and take a chance.

    GEEZ just saw the date, lol
  21. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    As long as I have the time to load and get the burn into a stable state I have no problem leaving the stove burn on its own. The woodstove goes about 8 hours unattended. The coal stove can burn up to 48 hours without me touching it. When we go for a short weekend away I load the coal stove, turn it down, get it stable, and go. When we get back Sunday night the house is still warm. Throw some coal in the stove, open the air, light off the wood stove and we are good to go...

    Maintain your appliance, observe clearances to combustibles (push that chair back where it belongs, take the kindling box away from the stove), and follow safe operating procedures. Once you are comfortable with your stove you should have no concern about leaving it...

    KaptJaq
  22. Elle

    Elle Member

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    Loc:
    North East Pennsylvania
    the only thing my insurance company said to me is it has to be installed to the manufacturer's specs. If that is the case, and you are using it how intended, then I don't see the problem. I went overboard and went over the specs for my hearth size and put an air gap behind the stove. If the stove was at 1100 degrees or something, then I would imagine you might be negligent but I would think they might cover it anyway....don't know why they wouldn't cover it. Would it cover if you had a grease fire on your regular stove? Insurance is for accidents is the way I look at it.
  23. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    Might want to start a new thread, you've resurected some ghosts with this one.

    If your stove is properly installed, inspected, documented, and operated according to the manual the insurance company should pay. If they were not informed about the stove, or you did a DIY install without AHJ inspections &/or paperwork you may be in trouble.

    KaptJaq
  24. SKIN052

    SKIN052 Minister of Fire

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    24/7 here too. No worries, chimney is clean air turned down to an acceptable level. I have too many valuables at home to put them in harms way, wife, kids, dogs and a few nic knacks.
  25. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    And this is why we want to close dead threads after 6 months!
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