BK princess not heating??

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Horse_men

New Member
Jan 6, 2022
4
Alberta Canada
Hi all
First time poster…
I’m having problems figuring out why my princess isn’t performing up to my expectations or anywhere near what I’m reading others are getting out of their stoves.

Here’s the situation:

Moved into the house in the spring with the stove installed. It is a corner install with a field stone hearth and surround with a wood mantle about 8” higher than the stove. All clearances are beyond the minimum specs. Chimney is straight up with about 15-16’ total. No bends or angles. Fresh air supplied via 4” duct from the outside wall directly to the back of the stove.
Burning previous standing dead spruce that’s been split and stacked for almost 2 years. Stacked outside so there is snow on it that I brush off as much as possible before bringing it into the house. I’ve started bringing it in to warm up prior to burning but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. I’ve used this same wood in my previous Osburn stove with no issues and good performance.

I have to run the stove nearly wide open to keep the cat active. I’ve replaced the cat as I thought it was worn out from the previous owner. It didn’t seem to make much difference. As soon as I turn the fan on once the stove is hot the cat temp starts to fall and cannot keep up even with very low fan speeds. Running with no fans will keep the cat active but only at about 1/4 to 1/2 of the active range on the thermometer. Running at nearly wide open I’m only getting 3-4 hour burns in a full load with very little heat output. The house is about 2200 sq feet all on one level and I cannot get it warmed up enough for the furnace to not run. Draft seems fine, the only thing I can think of holding the performance back is that the fresh air intake is too small and isn’t getting g enough air to the stove? It’s only about 3’ of insulated pipe from the wall to the back of the stove. Is 4” pipe large enough?
I have a bypass gasket and door gasket in order to eliminate those factors.
I’m was really looking forward to using the stove to its full potential but I’m quite disappointed so far.

Located in central Alberta. Around 2500 ft elevation.
Thank you for your help in advance.
 

lsucet

Minister of Fire
May 14, 2015
1,697
San Ysidro, New Mexico
I also think, your issue is wet wood. Bring a few pieces inside at least for a few hours, split them and check MC if you have a moisture meter.
 
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Horse_men

New Member
Jan 6, 2022
4
Alberta Canada
Thanks, I ordered a meter and hopefully can figure this out soon.
I’m the mean time I’ll dry drying out the wood more than I have been to see if it makes a difference. I’ll try some scrap lumber too…
Thanks for the info so far.
 

Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,819
Indiana
Update?
 

Horse_men

New Member
Jan 6, 2022
4
Alberta Canada
Hey guys
I tested my wood once I got my meter and it was around the 20% moisture. When I dried it down a bit further the stove definitely started performing better. So with wood that is a bit wet in addition to spruce not being the most dense wood I believe is the reason I wasn’t seeing the heat I was expecting. I’ve got some birch and tamarack that will be ready for next year. Thank you for the suggestions.
 

ratsrepus

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2018
701
Howell, Mi
Go to tractor supply or any place that sell green or bio blocks. You cant get any drier than those. I use them on occasion and I can say they are great.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,279
Southern IN
standing dead spruce that’s been split and stacked for almost 2 years. Stacked outside so there is snow on it that I brush off as much as possible
Sounds like the wood wasn't top-covered? Many species won't absorb much water if left uncovered, but I suspect Pine and Spruce might be an exeption. 20% should be OK (not great) if all the wood is that dry, but maybe it's not. That would explain why you saw little difference after installing a new cat.
If gasket leaks were the issue, I'd think the fire would burn hot with the air setting much lower than you are running it. But new gaskets certainly can't hurt, especially on a used stove.
I top-cover my stacks to keep them mostly dry, yet allow the air to blow through to season the wood.