Advice & Tips for Shoulder Season (Spring) and "Cooler" Burns

Joy128 Posted By Joy128, Mar 6, 2018 at 3:00 PM

  1. Joy128

    Joy128
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 5, 2018
    4
    1
    Loc:
    New Hampshire
    Hi All-- So we're in the spring shoulder season right now, and I'm really not sure how to run my stove this time of year! I want to run it "cooler" so that the house doesn't overheat, but I've also read that you are supposed to have an "active" fire to protect against creoset.

    When I run the fire with little fuel (say 1-2 logs at a time) and keep it dampened down to 3/4, it keeps the house at just the right temp, and I add a log or two when the last logs are almost disintegrated (and give it a couple puffs of air to help it catch). BUUUUUT, I have no active flames, just logs that gradually shrink into coals (no smoke though, either in the box, or when I check out the chimney outside). Is this ok?

    I've read some posts saying you should build the hot fire, then just let it go out. Then build a new hot fire, then let it go out, and repeat all day. But, a) oh my, that is so tedious, eats up my kindling supply, and keeps the house cycling between HOT/COLD instead of a steady temp. It's not the end of the world, but if I can avoid burning that way, I'd rather =P

    Here's a pic of how my logs typically look, damper at 3/4 (and I'll let them burn another hr or so from that point before adding another one, and open the damper for the first 15min or so of that logs burn).

    Mmmm, never mind, I have a pic, but I'm not sure how to add it (says awaiting mod approval, so maybe I can add it later).

    Anyways, how do YOU burn on warmer but still chilly days so you don't overheat the house, but protect your stove and flu? =)
     
  2. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 22, 2008
    18,820
    4,823
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Shoulder season can be a blessing or a curse . . . depending on how you look at it.

    I kinda like it . . . in the Fall it gently eases me back into the heating routine and in the Spring I feel like I'm getting a bit of a respite as I don't have to pay quite as much attention to the reloading schedule.

    This is the time of year when the guys with the cat stoves can truly gloat over us with the secondary burners since the whole "slow and low" burn deal they've got going on just is the cat's meow with long, clean burns.

    That said, I usually manage to not overheat the house by either . . .

    A) Doing the single burn and then depending on the forecast temps doing another small reload when the coals are on the small side -- it's possible to do this without kindling as my wife does this all of the time, but I tend to use kindling as I am the impatient sort. If the house is decently insulated and you get the timing right there should not be a drastic swing in temps. I tend to see normal temps in the low to mid 70s and by the time I reload the temp may be down to the high 60s.

    If the forecast calls for a nice warm up I may do the one and done fire . . . since reloading the stove will lead to the house overheating.

    B) It's not especially efficient, but you can do the small fire and then just feed another split or round every so often. This also may mean a little more babysitting though.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    RFarm, bcrtops and Bigger_Al like this.
  3. jotul8e2

    jotul8e2
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 2, 2008
    568
    219
    Loc:
    Ozarks
    After much experimentation and analysis I settled on lots of insulation for the house. I can burn as little as one load a day and keep the temps reasonable. Two if it is colder overnight. This works for nighttime lows in the 30's and daytime highs of - just call it 50 deg.

    If the temps get into the 50's during the day I pretty much have to turn on the heat pump. The stove will be unbearable without resorting to opening windows.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  4. Allagash350

    Allagash350
    Burning Hunk 2.
    NULL
    

    Apr 9, 2016
    200
    100
    Loc:
    Bowdoinham, Me
    I load it up full first thing in the morning, even if it is going to be 45. Come home at 5 and reload. House has been about 60 at the end of the day, but feels cooler.
    Reload stove around 630 after having run a hot fire of 450-600. This heats the house up quickly and I can shut the furnace off 30-45 minutes later.

    Do last load around 930 or 10, usually red oak.

    Rinse and repeat at 5 the next morning.
    We haven’t been cooked out by any means, it’s been in the 20s at night still, and if we are home during the day I just let it run low around 300 and the house is 70.
     
  5. bcrtops

    bcrtops
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 14, 2016
    273
    90
    Loc:
    NW Oregon
    I do "A" method, wife does "B" method, which works best for a constant heat. The problem with the "B" method is the secondaries don't usually get involved, meaning you are polluting the air more & usually have visible smoke, even if nothing creosotes up. We are out in the country so it doesn't create a neighbor or town air pollution -- otherwise, we'd be dropping back to using oil more often in the shoulder seasons. And.............as stated, less efficient, as you are burning more wood/btu when using this method. BioBricks or NIELS work well during these times, as they burn more smoke-free, even when the secondaries (tubes or baffle) are not hot enough to burn the smoke -- they just make a lot less smoke than normal firewood.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  6. livetosail

    livetosail
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 12, 2017
    50
    32
    Loc:
    Indiana
    I was just thinking this very question.

    For the past two weeks I have gotten up before the rest of the fam and started a nice rager, then let it burn all the way out. Starting at 6:30am this usually results in household temps between 70-75 all floors, and runs its course by 11am or so, by which time the temps outside have risen and things even out. Then I have done the same in the evening, starting around 8pm and letting it run its course.

    This works okay, but I have turned my Children’s cheeks bright red several times, and they frequently say “dad, I’m hot.”

    In summary: I am darn good at heating the house in sub-zero temps, but not so great in the 40-50’s.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,235
    12,533
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    LOL Try half loads of wood instead of packing the stove.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  8. livetosail

    livetosail
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 12, 2017
    50
    32
    Loc:
    Indiana
    Huh... LESS wood. Why didn’t I think of that?

    Haha


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. Bootstrap

    Bootstrap
    Burning Hunk 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 4, 2013
    150
    45
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    Since I have only experienced 1 shoulder season in this house so far(last fall), I don't have a whole lot of experience.
    But last season I simply ran a smaller fire. I am not afraid to turn it down too. Yea, I think a little bit of creosote will build up, but I suspect it wont be much come spring cleaning.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  10. KindredSpiritzz

    KindredSpiritzz
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 31, 2013
    738
    271
    Loc:
    appleton, wi
    I burn 2 or 3 logs at a time and leave the air all the way open. I don't worry about creosote as i clean my chimney a couple times during the winter anyway. I do notice i need more crap wood to burn for shoulder season, kinda hate putting on good wood for moderate heating purposes.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    RFarm likes this.
  11. snojetter

    snojetter
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 1, 2018
    36
    31
    Loc:
    Brandon, MN
    "Cat's meow..." Good one! Pun intended?
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 22, 2008
    18,820
    4,823
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Surprisingly . . . no . . . completely unintended.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  13. RFarm

    RFarm
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 24, 2013
    68
    26
    Loc:
    North Georgia Mountains
    I do a half load of "brushy" limbs and twigs to get the stove pipe north of 500F then toss in a split and a round about 8pm.
    Usually no morning fire unless it is really damp outside then I will light a twig fire off the coals and toss on a split. I usually take a couple totes into the woods and get lots of small dry stuff for the shoulder season- preserving my splits and rounds for next year if possible.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  14. Riddlefiddle

    Riddlefiddle
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 7, 2017
    88
    11
    Loc:
    Attica, New York
    Yes half loads work great. Its 38° outside so I'm burning smaller splits. Less fuel means less heat. 69° in house.
     
  15. snojetter

    snojetter
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 1, 2018
    36
    31
    Loc:
    Brandon, MN
    30's today and I'm starting out the day with a full load of paper...er, I mean basswood. I do have a cat stove so I suspect in about 4 hours I'll be reloading...I'm spoiled with my Blaze King.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  16. Happy Stacker

    Happy Stacker
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 6, 2018
    143
    109
    Loc:
    SW Ontario, Canada
    I tried burning just cedar yesterday. The result was quicker burns with less heat output due to the lower BTU content of the wood.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  17. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,235
    12,533
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Currently I am building one normal sized fire at 7am, then a reload around 7pm with just a few thick splits. The fire dies down overnight to just enough coals for a restart in the morning with the stove top at around 150º. With this cycle the house can cool down at night for sleeping and warm up during the day. Normal temps at 7am are running about 65-67º and the house temp will peak during the day at around 75º in the living room and 72º in the kitchen. The next few days may change our cycle. It's predicted to go up into the 60s, so no burning for us if that happens. Good thing too. I'm on our last row of doug fir in the shed.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...

Share This Page