Automatic air flow control, automatic combustion control...good, or bad?

Gunn

New Member
Oct 17, 2020
6
Southern Maryland
I searched the forum but most of the posts regarding ACC are several years old and deal with specific use, or issues .

For 20+ years I have been heating my home with wood I gather and use a wood-burning insert that is way older than that (probably from the '70's). I recently renovated the fireplace stone and finally removed this beast of an insert and got rid of it. So now we're in the market for a new insert and have visited a couple of local stores. Looks like I timed it right with the 2020 EPA standards. I'm sure I'll be burning much less wood than I ever have before to heat my 2100 sq.ft. single story home. The new tech in these devices is impressive.

Now I've always had to manually control my damper and air flow control...which always was a pain. On my old stove I had a thermometer and would have to check it often to tweak the dual air vents to keep it burning nicely (no glass either!). And when I loaded it up and went to bed...a guessing game. The last few years I had considered creating some sort of device with a thermocouple and a linear actuator to control these sliding air flow controls automatically, but never did.

To my surprise, a few of these new models now advertise automatic combustion control (Quadra-Fire "ACC"). We've looked at the Quadra-Fire Expedition II and the Vermont Castings Montpelier II models, which also advertises this feature. But then we've seen several models that still have the old manual control (Lopi NexGen-Fyre inserts). But then the Lopi inserts have the Green Start ignition system that sounds pretty cool.

So my question (finally) is this: Does it work!? On the one-hand, I hate to give up control...but on the other-hand, if it works to keep the fire burning in the optimal range, then I'm all for it. But I wonder how well this "technology" works. So for those that have it, what do you think? Should I steer clear, or make sure I find one that does have ACC?

Thanks,

Tom
 

Sailrmike

Burning Hunk
Sep 20, 2017
174
06371
Welcome! You're on the right track by doing research. I've heard that the Green Start is expensive, loud, and the glow plug will need replacing. Other than that, it's a pretty neat idea. Will let others here chime in about stove selection. Enjoy the search, there are a lot of options out there!
 

Gunn

New Member
Oct 17, 2020
6
Southern Maryland
Thanks for the info! I just got a quote for a Lopi Medium Flush NexGen Fyre and Large version. Now I'm asking for a quote for the GreenStart push-button start technology.

We visited two other dealers this past week. I think I may have not understood fully how the Quadra-Fire ACC works....and still don't understand it. Is it meant to give automatic air flow control throughout the entire burn of a load of firewood? Or is it just a helpful startup flow control for starting a fire? One of the guys we spoke with mentioned when you set it, you can hear a ticking sound that is a timer. So I'm not sure. Is there still a manual air control knob like the other brands?

Thanks,

Tom
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,334
South Puget Sound, WA
The ACC is a start-up control on a timer. There is also a separate burn rate control on the other Quad inserts, but not on the newest Expedition series.
 
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jmb6420

Member
Jun 25, 2019
74
NE Oklahoma
I've got the green start in my stove. So far I like it. Load it up, press a button and in about 5 minutes I've got a fire going. Also, by injecting super heated air into your stove, it establishes a good draft before any smoke gets going. I know the glow plug will eventually need replaced but it all depends on how many cold starts you have. I've got the 3rd generation green start and it isn't as noisy as the previous models. You can hear the compressor running but it's only for the first 15 minutes.
 

Tron

Member
Jan 1, 2020
143
Jackson MS
Not really wanting to pull this up again, but isn't the thermostat on the BK's exactly what you're looking for? Constant heat output regardless of the state of the fire?
 

Millertime2531

New Member
Sep 25, 2020
5
Massachusetts
On my stove you push in the activator in all the way letting in the max amount of air. There is also a second lever next to it that you set (basically a stopper)depending if you want a slow burn or a faster, bigger flame. As the stove heats up, the activator heats up (some sort of spring steel I think) it slowly moves and closes up the airflow until it hits that stopper. So depending on how raging your fire starts out the faster the damper will close. Usually takes 1/2 hour-45 min. Not sure if they are all the same but that’s how mine works. So basically you set it and forget it.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,334
South Puget Sound, WA
On my stove you push in the activator in all the way letting in the max amount of air. There is also a second lever next to it that you set (basically a stopper)depending if you want a slow burn or a faster, bigger flame. As the stove heats up, the activator heats up (some sort of spring steel I think) it slowly moves and closes up the airflow until it hits that stopper. So depending on how raging your fire starts out the faster the damper will close. Usually takes 1/2 hour-45 min. Not sure if they are all the same but that’s how mine works. So basically you set it and forget it.
What is your stove? Can you add this to your signature line?
 
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Gunn

New Member
Oct 17, 2020
6
Southern Maryland
Not really wanting to pull this up again, but isn't the thermostat on the BK's exactly what you're looking for? Constant heat output regardless of the state of the fire?
Thanks for the info. I went to the Blaze King website and was impressed with their claimed 8-25 hour burn times on their Sirocco 25 model! I really like it, however the closest dealer is at least 2-1/2hrs away.
 

Gunn

New Member
Oct 17, 2020
6
Southern Maryland
The new expedition is a single burn rate stove, heat output and burn time are modulated by the load size and wood type.
So...jam more wood in there and get a cooler fire that lasts longer? Less wood gives you a hotter fire that burns faster? No way to control the airflow otherwise?

Could the cooler fire burn too cool and cause significant creosote buildup, with no way to open up the airflow and get it going?

Thanks,
 

Tron

Member
Jan 1, 2020
143
Jackson MS
however the closest dealer is at least 2-1/2hrs away.
My closest dealer is two hours away, but considering the price of a BK, they didn't bat an eye when I asked them to buy one from them and have it installed. You may just have to ask.
I'm still totally blown away by it. It was 50F outside this morning, with temperatures reaching 60F by the afternoon, albeit sunny. So I fired it up and turned it all the way down and let the thermostat do its job. It's been cruising on low all day on three mediums-sized splits now. And the living room is toasty and the heat output is very constant.