2022-2023 BK everything thread

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DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
663
Upstate NY
There used to be a lot more regular posts to this forum ten years ago, about critters in stoves. Back then, the admonishment on those not running with caps seemed almost as frequent as the wet wood conversation is today. I was one of the unlucky ones, had a squirrel in my stove when I shut it down for one warm day in January 2012, and it cost about $650 in damaged parts the loss of seven or eight weeks of my season in waiting on parts delivered from Norway (Jotul).

A cap with a 6" tall cylinder of 5/8" or 3/4" diamond mesh will keep the critters out, without clogging or reducing flow substantially, over the course of a season. Even if the cylinder is only 8" diameter, that's 150 sq.in. of surface, roughly equivalent to a 12" square opening.
I ran a cap last year that had a much smaller mesh. I think it was for ember protection or something. Anyway, it was too gunked up to use again this year. If I find a courser mesh like what you’re talking about, that would be great.
I have a Duravent triple wall setup. I think it would be hard for something to get in there, but anything is possible.

Ive maintained a couple chimneys over at my dads place for years. Both masonry chimneys with no caps. One gets used about half the year and has never had any critters in it. The other is very seldom used. It’s had birds in it twice.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,705
07462
@DonTee, why not take the dirty cap, remove the mesh and burn with that one, buy another cap w/ mesh and use that during the non-burning season?
 
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Boxer

Member
Aug 30, 2009
72
SE Ohio
Lit my first fire of the year last night. The left side fan on my Sirocco 25 insert is not turning as fast as the other side. It actually shuts off at slower speeds. Can anyone tell me if the fan assembly will slide out the front of the insert or will the insert itself have to be pulled to get access to them? I figured I would ask here before I started taking covers off. If the insert needs pulled that will have to be a job for another day.
 

DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
663
Upstate NY
@DonTee, why not take the dirty cap, remove the mesh and burn with that one, buy another cap w/ mesh and use that during the non-burning season?
I’m running the cap without mesh right now. During the burning season I’m
less concerned about critters than in the warmer months.
I think if I find some course stainless mesh it would be a good replacement for the stuff that was on there originally.

Another question for you guys running flue temp probes. How far up are you mounting them? Like how many inches above the stove top?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,280
Long Island NY
18" is best.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,628
Philadelphia
I ran a cap last year that had a much smaller mesh. I think it was for ember protection or something. Anyway, it was too gunked up to use again this year. If I find a courser mesh like what you’re talking about, that would be great.
I have a Duravent triple wall setup. I think it would be hard for something to get in there, but anything is possible.

Ive maintained a couple chimneys over at my dads place for years. Both masonry chimneys with no caps. One gets used about half the year and has never had any critters in it. The other is very seldom used. It’s had birds in it twice.
Lots of variables. I have one chimney that stands 45 feet above the ground, with at least 3 feet penetration beyond the peak of a raised-seam metal roof. I'd be absolutely astounded of a squirrel ever found its way in there, although birds do have wings.

In any case, yes, I remember all these old threads discussing screens. After much debate, it was determined 3/4" was best, and 5/8" was about as small as you should go, excepting special areas requiring ember protection. Anything smaller has some potential for clogging.

I've been running 3/4" for about ten years now, and I've never had an issue. Since one of them is more than 45 feet off the ground, and pretty much inaccessible without special equipment, I've not even been up there since 2012. No issues, the whips on a sooteater run up there once each fall seem to keep them clean enough. The other is much lower, less than 20 feet above my patio, but on a tall chimney that I hate side-loading with a long ladder, so I also rarely go up there. All cleaning is bottom up, and that one is close enough to the ground to easily see it is staying clean. I run the stove connected to that chimney on 24 hour cycles, not exactly a very high burn rate.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,628
Philadelphia
I think we agree that at these low burn rates, the cat is doing almost all the work. It’s running pretty hot and eating all of that cold pitchy smoke. It will fail sooner and more catastrophically than your stove running at high output with less resinous fuels. In your case the actual fire is doing a much larger portion of the work, say 75% so when your cat is only 50% effective you’re only down 12.5% total. And, with less resinous smoke, that small drop in performance doesn’t have such catastrophic results. Maybe you won’t notice. That’s my theory anyway.

I hope the aftermarket is getting this new coating too. Longer life sounds great.
I agree with most of this. I'd argue the percentages, but the point is the same, I'm less likely to notice a compromised combustor, in my application.

But do remember that, while I'm definitely pushing less un-burned volatiles and resins into my combustor per cord burned, I am burning almost double the cords in just one of my stoves (nearly triple, total), and somewhere between 3x and 5x more BTU's. So it seems possible (even likely) I may be pushing MORE net un-burned fuel through my combustor every season, just at a much lower density per air volume. Who knows? What I can say is that we agree completely on the fact that I'm less likely to notice when the cat starts to head south, being as the BTU's I'm pushing favor a more complete primary burn, and relying less critically on the combustor performance.
 
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BKVP

Minister of Fire
Lit my first fire of the year last night. The left side fan on my Sirocco 25 insert is not turning as fast as the other side. It actually shuts off at slower speeds. Can anyone tell me if the fan assembly will slide out the front of the insert or will the insert itself have to be pulled to get access to them? I figured I would ask here before I started taking covers off. If the insert needs pulled that will have to be a job for another day.
FIRST! There is a potentiometer screw in the rheostat that syncs the fans. Using a jewlers phillips screwdriver, you can adjust low end fan speed. If you still need to pull the fans, unplug fan cord from outlet. The individual fans are mounted to skis. Just carefully disconnect wire ends (make note of which go where!) and you can lift up on the ski and pull fan out on right hand. If you need to remove left, disconnect thermostat rod and you can pull it out.

READ THE MANUAL so you do not loosen the wrong set screw on the thermostat rod.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,628
Philadelphia
Had a small fire in each stove Saturday morning, to knock off the chill and chase away any hornets that may have nested in a chimney cap over summer. So, took an hour or two to sweep the pipes this evening.

Stove 1: 30+ feet of insulated 6”, burned over 7 cords last year, and was running the 4th year “beta” combustor from 2018 with about 30 cords thru it. Yielded about 1 pint of creo, which may be more than prior year, but doesn’t seem too bad for that much wood burned thru that much pipe.

Stove 2: 15’ish feet of pipe, likely only burned 1 cord last year, wouldn’t have even filled a 6 oz yogurt cup half way. It’s OEM replacement steelcat combustor was also in its 4th season last year, but likely only 12 cords in that period.

Dunno what conclusions I can draw between the two, given differences in cords burned and pipe length, although it may be interesting to throw a new combust or in stove 1 to see what comes out next year.

Also observed some mud stains on top of back of stove, which makes me wonder if it’s time to get things inspected after 10 years. Some rain must have be gotten into the chase at least once over the summer, that “chase” being a 240 year old chimney.

Photos of 30 cord / 4 season beta combustor, and my very sad 50 cord 7 year bricks, which I really need to get in replacing, below.

42225CD7-5CAA-42D4-98DA-88AE1CDB594C.jpeg 5056C1BE-2CE8-429D-8B38-FD04127A1924.jpeg
4E51861C-D0E7-4DF5-A71A-387C52FE0142.jpeg
 
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Crummy

Member
Sep 2, 2022
123
North Pole, AK
@Ashful that's a lot of wood for a shorter burn season. You must really stoke the fire once you start burning steady. I've been burning 24/7 for a month and have only used .3 cord.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,628
Philadelphia
@Ashful that's a lot of wood for a shorter burn season. You must really stoke the fire once you start burning steady. I've been burning 24/7 for a month and have only used .3 cord.
Never really felt like much to me. I only run 2 loads per day, most of the year. Many run 3 loads per day, esp in non-cats.

7*128/3 = 299 loads, so only 150 days (5 months) at 2x per day. Probably not completely accurate, but you get the idea.
 

Crummy

Member
Sep 2, 2022
123
North Pole, AK
Never really felt like much to me. I only run 2 loads per day, most of the year. Many run 3 loads per day, esp in non-cats.

7*128/3 = 299 loads, so only 150 days (5 months) at 2x per day. Probably not completely accurate, but you get the idea.
5 months would be so nice. 8 months to 8.5 months here :(
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,628
Philadelphia
5 months would be so nice. 8 months to 8.5 months here :(
I usually (and did) start with evening fires only around Oct.1, and finish the season with more evenings-only fires thru May. So, 7 months of most evenings, but really only doing the full-time obligatory twice-daily mid-Nov. thru late-March, in that stove.

The second stove used to get once daily loads late Oct. thru late March, taking prior total usage to roughly 10 cords. But I got lazy with it last year, and will probably do the same again this year.

I'm honestly surprised you're not burning more wood than 4 cords in 8.5 months! You getting by with one load per day?
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,664
Ottawa, ON
I'm honestly surprised you're not burning more wood than 4 cords in 8.5 months! You getting by with one load per day?
I agree with you 100%. Didn’t he say he went through 1 cord already, or am I mixing posts.
 

Crummy

Member
Sep 2, 2022
123
North Pole, AK
I'm honestly surprised you're not burning more wood than 4 cords in 8.5 months! You getting by with one load per day?
Two loads a day with 12 hour burns but keep in mind I have a Sirocco 20 so I'm not loading near as much wood as you are at each reload. I measured what was missing out of the woodshed after a month and it was 0.30 cord. Many loads haven't been stuffed full on milder days so I'm sure we will use a little more per month once winter really sets in. I'm guessing 3 cord for the winter with what I have seen so far but even if I got ambitious with three loads a day I don't think I could run over 4 cord thru in a season with the smaller fuel tank.
 
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Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,664
Ottawa, ON
I agree with you 100%. Didn’t he say he went through 1 cord already, or am I mixing posts.
I stand corrected it is .3 of a cord.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,628
Philadelphia
Well, 0.3 cord is more than I've used so far, this year. I've had precisely 3 fires, only 4 - 5 splits per fire.

In addition to the usual assortment of wood and metal contained in every house, we have an additional 1 million pounds of stone (by my own measurements) making our exterior and a few interior walls. That thermal mass heated all summer, and still gathering good solar radiation in September, has a way of keeping our heating needs much lower than the general population this time of year.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,664
Ottawa, ON
It has been a strange few weeks weather wise in the north east. Warm days cool nights. In a typical fall I would likely gone through .3 cord in the city stove by now. Trying to refrain from using the gas furnace for as long as possible. It was a bit of a game for me. No more games….sold the house😜.
The other house, where the Princess lives, the house is new 1/2 the size of the old one. Extremely well insulated with big windows facing south west. Lots of solar gain. I had 1 fire so far in the bk. Five fairly large well seasoned hemlock splits. 24h later the stove top was still a bit to warm to touch (out of active zone by a bit).
 
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Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
1,373
Western Washington
That sirocco 20 sounds pretty sweet actually with the 12 hour burns. I’m usually reloading hot with the 12’s in the princess. That’s pretty good for spruce to boot
 

Crummy

Member
Sep 2, 2022
123
North Pole, AK
That sirocco 20 sounds pretty sweet actually with the 12 hour burns. I’m usually reloading hot with the 12’s in the princess. That’s pretty good for spruce to boot
I've gotten 19 hours out of it with it turned down very low. I'm just trying to do 12 hour burns for convenience. Current outdoor temps have been calling for 1/3 load in the evening and 1/2 load in the morning. Less than 1/2 load on low and it doesn't really have enough coals left to ignite the next load but the stove is still plenty warm. For a few weeks I was filling it up but the house was always a little too hot. It's going to take a while to get it all figured out but we are learning. Whole different game with these modern stoves compared to what I ran 30 years ago.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,280
Long Island NY
Indeed, the skill one needs to obtain with a BK is to judge how long the load will last.
That is a consequence of the burn times achievable; running a load for 7 OR 8 hrs is not a big issue. But when it gets to be 18 or 22 hrs daily planning matters.

Mid winter this will be less of an issue though, as we also go down to more normal reloading times (normal as defined by other high-efficiency, non-cat stoves).
 
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Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
1,373
Western Washington
Agreed. I still struggle at looking at the next day’s forecast. Stuff it full, adjust with windows. It’s weird the smaller stove still burns that long. I had no idea. Will be interesting to see how your winter goes
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,280
Long Island NY
It's already in the name. The 30 and 20 fireboxes are able to get 30 and 20 hrs burn time.