2021-2022 BK everything thread

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Ak_1981

New Member
Sep 19, 2021
4
Fairbanks,AK
Yes,
Very few BK’s can be run below the 2 oclock setting, you need to find the sweet spot for your setup (everyone’s situation is different)..
Once you find the spot on your dial that you cannot go below without losing your CAT you’re golden..
Also, you posted this in the wrong place, this should be in the section above this one, you’ll get more replies there !!/

edit : And BTW welcome..
also your stove will burn much better when all is loaded n/s..
Thanks for the suggestions, the second load that didn’t last as long and was set way back temp wise was running in the active zone and cat was glowing, however it’s possible after a few hours it got chocked out while I was sleeping. Next time I’ll keep things at #1 and tweak from there. Still too “ warm” out for us to run the stove for primary heat, I just wanted to check the operation before real Alaskan winter hits
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,165
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Hi,

(Sorry this got a little long winded but I wanted to be precise, I promise there’s a question at the end lol)

I just moved into a new house that has a blaze king (ultra?) anyway this is my first time ever running a wood stove, my previous house I had to install a pellet stove due to various reasons.

I have read through the operating manual several times and before starting my first burn I cleaned out all the ash, inspected bypass valve for proper seating, checked door gasket and replaced the catalyst, the old one looked still serviceable but since I didn’t know the history of the stove I changed it out and saved the old one as a backup.

first burn was 6 pm Saturday night, loaded two quarter splits EW with some newspaper and 3 splits NS on top (kiln dried birch) started fire per manual with bypass open until just into active zone , closed bypass and ran at high for 25 min, everything ran flawlessly and over about 20-30 min period I slowly temped down to the #1 position. Fire was down to burning coals with some random light offs of what I guess was wood gas burning off. 15 hours later (9 am Sunday) the stove was still putting off heat, thermometer was just below active and stove hot to touch, 18 hours later still warm, could touch stove for about 2-3 seconds with bare hands. Left house to do stuff.

second load Sunday somewhere between 6-8 pm, stove felt completely cooled down at this point, this time I loaded same size wood but 3 splits EW with newspaper and 3 splits NS (so one extra piece vs night before) surprisingly the were some coals hot enough to smolder the newspaper before I had planned on lighting fire, started up this load EXACTLY as last time EXCEPT I turned down temp past #1 setting (meaning lowest) the dial spun back very far but stopped itself a little before doing a complete 360. I wanted to see how long of a burn I could get on lowest setting since it’s still above freezing at night here in Alaska. Everything seemed to be running perfectly, the coals seemed to be running a tad lower, obviously, and no “gas flares”.

approximately 12 hours later when I got up to check stove it was stone cold to the touch.

so by adding more wood and running it lower temps I got WAY less heat and run time.

So my question is, am I doing something wrong? Any input appreciated

You only had 5 splits and got 18 hours, which is extraordinary. You’ll just need to do a few hundred more burns to get a good average. There are lots of variables.
 
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moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,787
Iowa

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,165
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Thanks for the suggestions, the second load that didn’t last as long and was set way back temp wise was running in the active zone and cat was glowing, however it’s possible after a few hours it got chocked out while I was sleeping. Next time I’ll keep things at #1 and tweak from there. Still too “ warm” out for us to run the stove for primary heat, I just wanted to check the operation before real Alaskan winter hits
Great idea to do a test run before winter hits. Allows time to recover if something doesn’t go right. Also allows you to vent the stink of burning dust or paint that seems bad on those first burns.
 
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Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,377
Fairbanks, Alaska
approximately 12 hours later when I got up to check stove it was stone cold to the touch.

so by adding more wood and running it lower temps I got WAY less heat and run time.

So my question is, am I doing something wrong? Any input appreciated
Any charcoal left in the firebox? It is mighty warm out to be running a BK turned way down around here unless you have a LOT of stack height.

My guess, if you got charred wood left in the firebox especially, is the thermostat was turned down too low for the weather and the fire went out.

I would ass/u/me going in the previous owner of your house has the stack height dialed in "good enough" for the way they used the stove. I have changed mine I think three times and have been leaving it alone for a few years. In our current weather I am running similar sized loads, maybe 6-8 splits, but wide open throttle, highest possible thermostat setting so my combustor doesn't stall. It takes the chill off, warms up the house, and then with the fire out the stove is still warm for several hours.

We started a new weather pattern Monday morning, this morning, where I might think about running a half a firebox tonight, running it on full thermostat until the house warms up and then maybe turning it down to about half throttle for the overnight.

The thing is in January these things will run like a freight train. Our local dealer said to me, more than three years ago, 25-30 feet is absolute maximum stack height for us in Fairbanks. In January, when you are running the stove pretty hard too much stack height is just too much draft.

Last week, small hot fires at full throttle for me. This week (if the forecast holds) it looks like medium sized fires running on high for a few hours and then turned down to about half for the overnight. I might find a bit of charcoal the next evening, rake that to the front when starting the next fire.

A couple more weeks when it cools off some more, full firebox, a couple hours on high and then turn it down.

A couple weeks after that, load morning and night and run at about half throttle.

A couple more months load morning and night and put the hammer down on the throttle/ thermostat.

My advice for this year is keep an eye on how low you can turn the thermostat without the fire going out relative to outdoor temperature as the season progresses and come up with a firm number for your current stack height by May. Lots of stack height will let you run on low when the outdoor temp is +50dF, but you also want a short enough stack to run wide open throttle in January without having a volcano in your living room.

FWIW I have an Ashford 30, a little bit smaller stove than yours, with about 18 feet of total stack from stove collar to chimney cap. If you have 16-20 feet of total pipe on your chimney my suggestion is to leave the pipe alone at least for this year and get to know the system.

Our local BK dealer is excellent. On the price quality service triangle I pay for, but actually receive, quality and service. How dry is that kiln dried wood really? Have you checked some of it by splitting some open and measuring the MC parallel to the grain on a freshly exposed face? I have heard good things but haven't handled any personally. And we might have two vendors now also, though I am guessing you bought from Aurora rather than Big Mike. Mike has been talking about his biomass fired wood drying kiln for years, but I first saw an ad on CL about a week ago.

You did sweep your pipe before the first fire right? Or had a signed off pro sweep at the closing? You got smoke and CO detectors and a fire extinguisher?

Any bends or elbows in your chimney?
 

Ak_1981

New Member
Sep 19, 2021
4
Fairbanks,AK
Any charcoal left in the firebox? It is mighty warm out to be running a BK turned way down around here unless you have a LOT of stack height.

My guess, if you got charred wood left in the firebox especially, is the thermostat was turned down too low for the weather and the fire went out.

I would ass/u/me going in the previous owner of your house has the stack height dialed in "good enough" for the way they used the stove. I have changed mine I think three times and have been leaving it alone for a few years. In our current weather I am running similar sized loads, maybe 6-8 splits, but wide open throttle, highest possible thermostat setting so my combustor doesn't stall. It takes the chill off, warms up the house, and then with the fire out the stove is still warm for several hours.

We started a new weather pattern Monday morning, this morning, where I might think about running a half a firebox tonight, running it on full thermostat until the house warms up and then maybe turning it down to about half throttle for the overnight.

The thing is in January these things will run like a freight train. Our local dealer said to me, more than three years ago, 25-30 feet is absolute maximum stack height for us in Fairbanks. In January, when you are running the stove pretty hard too much stack height is just too much draft.

Last week, small hot fires at full throttle for me. This week (if the forecast holds) it looks like medium sized fires running on high for a few hours and then turned down to about half for the overnight. I might find a bit of charcoal the next evening, rake that to the front when starting the next fire.

A couple more weeks when it cools off some more, full firebox, a couple hours on high and then turn it down.

A couple weeks after that, load morning and night and run at about half throttle.

A couple more months load morning and night and put the hammer down on the throttle/ thermostat.

My advice for this year is keep an eye on how low you can turn the thermostat without the fire going out relative to outdoor temperature as the season progresses and come up with a firm number for your current stack height by May. Lots of stack height will let you run on low when the outdoor temp is +50dF, but you also want a short enough stack to run wide open throttle in January without having a volcano in your living room.

FWIW I have an Ashford 30, a little bit smaller stove than yours, with about 18 feet of total stack from stove collar to chimney cap. If you have 16-20 feet of total pipe on your chimney my suggestion is to leave the pipe alone at least for this year and get to know the system.

Our local BK dealer is excellent. On the price quality service triangle I pay for, but actually receive, quality and service. How dry is that kiln dried wood really? Have you checked some of it by splitting some open and measuring the MC parallel to the grain on a freshly exposed face? I have heard good things but haven't handled any personally. And we might have two vendors now also, though I am guessing you bought from Aurora rather than Big Mike. Mike has been talking about his biomass fired wood drying kiln for years, but I first saw an ad on CL about a week ago.

You did sweep your pipe before the first fire right? Or had a signed off pro sweep at the closing? You got smoke and CO detectors and a fire extinguisher?

Any bends or elbows in your chimney?
Thanks for all the input. My second burn had chunks left in the box. I did a third burn last night, the temp control did not appear to be working and the cat wasn’t glowing, 3 hours later I was just playing with the stove since it was getting a bit warm in the house and I opened and then closed the bypass, it must have had a poor seal because the fire immediately settled down, the temp control was working and the cat became active. I’m just going to have to keep playing with it but I want to replicate that first burn where I had 18 hours.

im in a ranch style house so the stack is about 16’ I would guess and it’s almost a straight shot up, I say almost because there are two adjustable pieces inside the house I’m guessing in order to set the stove for proper clearance the chimney run was off by a couple inches, but the bends are a lot less than 45 degrees.

the wood is from Aurora and it is extremely dry, i haven’t tested it though, I can almost just light it from the bare wood without any paper. They might test it before delivery, there was a very detailed receipt I will check again but I ordered 2 cords and their measurements on the receipt were very “generous”
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,947
07462
I’m just going to have to keep playing with it but I want to replicate that first burn where I had 18 hours.
You may have 2 things going on, both are easily fixed.
Part A off your burn where you thought the t-stat wasnt working - T stat was either pegged open at the control or the fire just wasnt hot enough. The fix is easy, next fire - load the stove up, turn t-stat knob all the way open (clockwise) to 5 pm, let the fire get ripping with the by-pass open, as soon as the cat probe shows the line into the active territory close the by-pass, let the fire go for another 20 min, when the cat probe needle gets past noon into the 2 - 3 o'clock area turn the t-stat back to 2-3 oclock and let it go, let that fire burn for an hour
When you for sure have an established fire turn that t-stat back in increments, you want to find that point of where you have flames to no flames but a glowing red cat when you look into the stove window.
Every stove setup is different and there is no fix setting, my t-stat placement will more then likely be different then yours, this is because of wood type, dryness, draft and outside conditions, find your spot and go from there, its always important to start off with a well established fire, and if you find your spot on the T-stat (might need a 6 pack of beer) be aware that it can change ever so slightly as winter weather changes, from extreme arctic cold, to north wind vs west wind ect..
 

Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
1,038
Western Washington
Well, dusted off the princess and lit the first fire. Second season, cleaned it in the spring. Was worried about the house being to hot but feels good and only 72 upstairs. 53 outside but raining and a good breeze. Made a mark last year on the swoosh and seems to be working again. Didn’t get any wood in for the winter so will be burning press logs for the most part which doesn’t bother me too much if I can get the 30 hour burns again. They didn’t have any north Idaho logs at the feed store so trying a different brand. Probably end up cutting some more snags if I get time but definitely going to catch some slack for not getting anything put up ahead of time since it’s free and just down the road ha ha!! Definitely was a busy crazy summer.
 
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bikedennis

New Member
Jun 21, 2021
29
Weaverville, ca
New Sirocco 30. 2. First fire to burn off the paint. About 60 outside. Opened the windows and lit the kindling. Had my first experience with reverse draft. Lots of smoke, smoke alarm went off. After a short while the fire took off. After about 20 min. I closed the damper and then later I backed off the T.
I did worry that I would have to replace the single wall stovepipe with DW or that I may have a problem with the stove.
This AM it was 35 degrees outside. 2nd fire no problem . I'm still thinking of going for the DW.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
New Sirocco 30. 2. First fire to burn off the paint. About 60 outside. Opened the windows and lit the kindling. Had my first experience with reverse draft. Lots of smoke, smoke alarm went off. After a short while the fire took off. After about 20 min. I closed the damper and then later I backed off the T.
I did worry that I would have to replace the single wall stovepipe with DW or that I may have a problem with the stove.
This AM it was 35 degrees outside. 2nd fire no problem . I'm still thinking of going for the DW.
Go for the dbl wall. What is the overall chimney length (stove top to cap)?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,569
Eastern Long Island NY
Given that flue temps are lower for these stoves, and that you don't want to have creosote condense, keeping the warmth in the flue is important. Especially for taller stacks. So I'd follow BKVPs advise.

And that brings me to my question: I just switched to double wall, and added a flue thermometer 18" above the stove.

What temps should I aim for there? What max when I am charring the wood, and what when running in a long burn around mid range?
 
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BKVP

Minister of Fire
Given that flue temps are lower for these stoves, and that you don't want to have creosote condense, keeping the warmth in the flue is important. Especially for taller stacks. So I'd follow BKVPs advise.

And that brings me to my question: I just switched to double wall, and added a flue thermometer 18" above the stove.

What temps should I aim for there? What max when I am charring the wood, and what when running in a long burn around mid range?
Is the flue thermometer magnetic or does it have a probe that inserts into the interior of the venting...
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,569
Eastern Long Island NY
Is the flue thermometer magnetic or does it have a probe that inserts into the interior of the venting...

Sorry, should have been clearer. It's a condar probe inserted into the flu.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
Sorry, should have been clearer. It's a condar probe inserted into the flu.
Low burn gases 200-300F, high burn 450-600F. Those Condar probes are not very accurate and a meant to provide "guidance".
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,569
Eastern Long Island NY
Low burn gases 200-300F, high burn 450-600F. Those Condar probes are not very accurate and a meant to provide "guidance".


Thanks.
I know. But a quicker electronic one was not in the works (or wallet) at this time.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,165
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Sorry, should have been clearer. It's a condar probe inserted into the flu.

I too use a condar probe in double wall pipe 18" above the stove. I tested it's accuracy against an electronic thermocouple auber instrument and it was spot on after like 15 years of use. I'm pretty happy with that. It is slower to respond than the electronic version but no wires or nerdy electronics to look at and I already have the hole drilled so the condar stays.

In my experience, it is very easy to push flue temperatures above the normal range and into the too hot zone during the char stage of the burn. As such, I shorten the char stage when flue temperatures rise up to 900 (top of the normal zone) and then my low cruise results in temps at the bottom end of the normal range which is 400 for 24 hours. Now, I could cheat those flue temps a little lower and flirt with cat stall, gooey creosote in the firebox, and gooey creosote in the chimney but I find none of that with thermostat settings that keep flue temps at 400 and up. You know, the "normal" zone.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,569
Eastern Long Island NY
I too use a condar probe in double wall pipe 18" above the stove. I tested it's accuracy against an electronic thermocouple auber instrument and it was spot on after like 15 years of use. I'm pretty happy with that. It is slower to respond than the electronic version but no wires or nerdy electronics to look at and I already have the hole drilled so the condar stays.

In my experience, it is very easy to push flue temperatures above the normal range and into the too hot zone during the char stage of the burn. As such, I shorten the char stage when flue temperatures rise up to 900 (top of the normal zone) and then my low cruise results in temps at the bottom end of the normal range which is 400 for 24 hours. Now, I could cheat those flue temps a little lower and flirt with cat stall, gooey creosote in the firebox, and gooey creosote in the chimney but I find none of that with thermostat settings that keep flue temps at 400 and up. You know, the "normal" zone.

Given that gases cool during their upward travel, how tall is your stack? (Insulated, I presume?)

I'm asking because I have 26-27', but not insulated. Instead double wall in outside masonry. So mine may cool more, possibly creating creosote problems at the top. (Although at the end of last season (no flue probe), the chimney was completely clean except for some stuff at the underground outside elbow.)
I can do the same this year, but I'd like to know what flue temps are normal so I can see whether what I did last year was normal or not.

So, thank you. Another season of tinkering, learning, and enjoying :) In a month or so... :-(
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,165
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Given that gases cool during their upward travel, how tall is your stack? (Insulated, I presume?)

I'm asking because I have 26-27', but not insulated. Instead double wall in outside masonry. So mine may cool more, possibly creating creosote problems at the top. (Although at the end of last season (no flue probe), the chimney was completely clean except for some stuff at the underground outside elbow.)
I can do the same this year, but I'd like to know what flue temps are normal so I can see whether what I did last year was normal or not.

So, thank you. Another season of tinkering, learning, and enjoying :) In a month or so... :-(

My chimney is all vertical. 4’ double wall and 8’ of class a. Cap with no screen. With a functional cat and dry softwoods I get dry black deposits. Flakier up top. The cap gets pretty gross since it’s so cold but does not plug.

Same chimney above a modern noncat and I got much less debris and it was much browner.

27’ is a lot. It’s double wall which is more insulated than single wall. I would think your draft strength has to be in excess of spec. Have you noticed any problems associated with overdraft? Like plugging cats?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,569
Eastern Long Island NY
My chimney is all vertical. 4’ double wall and 8’ of class a. Cap with no screen. With a functional cat and dry softwoods I get dry black deposits. Flakier up top. The cap gets pretty gross since it’s so cold but does not plug.

Same chimney above a modern noncat and I got much less debris and it was much browner.

27’ is a lot. It’s double wall which is more insulated than single wall. I would think your draft strength has to be in excess of spec. Have you noticed any problems associated with overdraft? Like plugging cats?

Hm, that's short. So my top may be colder than yours, despite climate differences.
Mine is 2' double wall, 90 deg elbow double wall, 2' horizontal double wall, 90 deg elbow underground (don't know wall), and then 26' double wall in masonry up. So two elbows and a horizontal run that cut draft. Still,.it worked fine. No significant fly ash in the cat. Didn't brush it once during burning season. (Did so once after, but no real need.) Stove does not run away (yay Tstat). I'm happy with what it did. With wood that was just, JUST, dry enough last year. (As in resplitting sassafras to 1-2" pieces, stacking log cabin style near the stove for a week, a fan going for 5 mins every hr...).

I have a half cord of that sassafras, 1.25 face cord of pine and 1.25 face cord of ash that should be better this year. Then 5.25 face cord of oak that I think just touches 20%, so a few days near the stove will make that work.

Hence I am keeping an eye on the stove, with drier wood, my 27', I need to be sure that riding the hole won't be too much...
And hence my questions about flue temps...
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,638
South Puget Sound, WA
Below 250º internal flue temp is when flue gases can start to condense as creosote. After the wood has fully outgassed and in the coals only stage, then this is not an issue.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,569
Eastern Long Island NY
Below 250º internal flue temp is when flue gases can start to condense as creosote. After the wood has fully outgassed and in the coals only stage, then this is not an issue.

Yes. I know. But I don't have a temperature probe 26' up. And cool down in my system will not be negligible.

So this info is not solving my questions completely (though, being a scientist, that might never be the case...)

Hence I appreciate data on flue temps of well-working systems accompanied by the system parameters (length etc), and performance (creosote on top or not).
 
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