Blaze King install puzzle

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Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania
I have messed around with solar kilns and they do work
Putting wood in an unused plastic greenhouse/high tunnel would definitely make the wood a lot hotter, but plastic coverings also retain moisture - higher humidity inside unless fans are on constantly or the sides roll up, or the roof ridge opens up, and then most of the extra heat is lost. (Thinking as I write. )
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,187
central pa
Putting wood in an unused plastic greenhouse/high tunnel would definitely make the wood a lot hotter, but plastic coverings also retain moisture - higher humidity inside unless fans are on constantly or the sides roll up, or the roof ridge opens up, and then most of the extra heat is lost. (Thinking as I write. )
It needs vents top and bottom to let moisture escape
 

Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania
The extension absolutely should not be uninsulated. It should be a section of class a chimney
There is a wrap-around insulation blanket with stainless steel overlay designed for insulating single-wall rigid, that is sold by the same company. It suppose it would need to be sealed at the top to keep the ceramic insulation dry outdoors, and a little stub of uninsulated single wall must remain uncovered to connect the rain cap designed for single wall.

Maybe I don't even need that extension. I added it later, after I met the minimum required chimney height but thought more is better, but I was still not aware of BK stoves' EXTREME need for insulation.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,187
central pa
There is a wrap-around insulation blanket with stainless steel overlay designed for insulating single-wall rigid, that is sold by the same company. It suppose it would need to be sealed at the top to keep the ceramic insulation dry outdoors, and a little stub of uninsulated single wall must remain uncovered to connect the rain cap designed for single wall.

Maybe I don't even need that extension. I added it later, after I met the minimum required chimney height but thought more is better, but I was still not aware of BK stoves' EXTREME need for insulation.
If you have an extension it needs to be class a chimney to work properly
 

Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania
Re-splitting and testing more of the split cordwood stack today, using the new tester that finally arrived two days ago. I push the four points into the lengthwise grain near the center of the inside surface each re-split piece. Results range from around 20 % moisture in smaller to medium size pieces to the mid 30s in thicker ones with bark attached. Some of this bark just won't come off.

Some small pieces are measuring less than 20 which is supposed to be dry enough, but I think I need less than 15 for this stove.

I might start drilling holes instead of splitting, because some of this old wood is so hard that I really can't push in the points. Is there any problem with testing with drilled holes versus re-splitting?

Does anyone have clean glass with this stove? Does the airwash ever work?

When we have another warm spell I'll stop burning again and re-inspect the inside of the stove. Still have a lot to learn.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
Below 20 pct should be good.
Drilling holes: only if they are slightly smaller in diameter than the probed - you want good contact with the wood.

The glass can be cleaned by running an hour or more on high. As you need to run higher anyway for your pipe, I suggest you do that. On the other hand, it's in the basement, it's for heating, not for ambiance. One nice load running high at the end of the season to crunch up all creosote in the firebox is enough.

Running higher also makes the air wash more effective.
 

Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania
Below 20 pct should be good.
Drilling holes: only if they are slightly smaller in diameter than the probed - you want good contact with the wood.

The glass can be cleaned by running an hour or more on high. As you need to run higher anyway for your pipe, I suggest you do that. On the other hand, it's in the basement, it's for heating, not for ambiance. One nice load running high at the end of the season to crunch up all creosote in the firebox is enough.

Running higher also makes the air wash more effective.
The Ventis magnetic stove thermometer arrived today in the mail. I put it on the stove top, near the cat thermometer, and it read about 300 F. Meanwhile I have the BK thermostat set around 3/4 of the way on the white band, medium high I call it, and the cat thermometer needle is right in the middle of the white Active band. Burning inside right now is a half load (I put in around noon) of pallet and 2X pieces mixed with five or six of my driest, or least moist, splits of ash. It's almost burned up now and I just added more wood, another "half load."

Right now l have the thermometer mounted near the top of the telescoping single wall stove pipe, where it really is single wall, and it reads less than 200 F. Would you believe just above 150. I wonder if these readings are accurate. When the wood I added gets started and I raised the thermostat all the way up now, let's see if the stove pipe or even the stove top can reach 500. If I should wait until it reaches 500 to close the bypass and engage the cat it could be a long wait.

I wonder if this Ventis thermometer is accurate. Do they sometimes need to be recalibrated? When, or if, I find my handheld infrared thermometer that is missing I can compare that with this thermometer.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
single wall magnetic thermometers show approximately half of the flue gas temps. So if you see 150, it's about 300 inside.

Don't wait to close the bypass by looking at stove top and/or pipe. Close the bypass when the cat gauge is in the active zone.
That is the measurement that should determine the bypass position.

Don't close down on the air yet (with the thermostat) when you close the bypass until you have charred the load per the manual, or your flue (gases, see above) reach 900-950 or so. Note the flue will heat a bit longer after turning down the air, so better be a little early. Don't want to reach 1000 (i.e. 500 on the magnetic flue thermometer).

And no, magnetic thermometers for the flue are not very accurate. A probe thermometer (have to drill a hole) is better. I'm not sure that is advisable for single wall stove pipe (a hole) though? Others will chime in.
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,702
07462
Some small pieces are measuring less than 20 which is supposed to be dry enough, but I think I need less than 15 for this stove
Yes, I try to aim for 15 - 18% on my splits, again takes me 3 years from initial splitting and stacking for it to dry out to that level.
 
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Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania
I just checked it again, the new load is burning and the pipe temp according to the new thermometer is still under 300. The needle is in the Black area of the dial marked "Too low - creosote." But I closed the bypass anyway, because the pipe all the way to the wall is too hot to touch. We'll find out eventually whether the new thermometer is accurate.

I moved the thermometer to the stove top and now it reads about 400, just at the beginning of the Blue area on the dial marked "Optimum performance. " Maybe that's optimum for non-cat stoves, and not for slow-burning BK stoves?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
Stove top doesn't say much. It depends on where you measure. Above the cat is hotter.

Moreover, a flue magnetic thermometer is different from a stove top one in its indication of how to burn.
Flue gases matter (need to be hot enough), and the rest (stove top) is irrelevant as it should be determined by how much heat you need (and thus how you set the Tstat).

Too hot to touch for the pipe doesn't mean anything; it has to be too hot to touch otherwise it's too cold.

And I repeat: the flue temp should have zero influence on whether you close the bypass. You said "flue too cold but I closed the bypass anyway". The decision on bypass closing needs one and only one data point: if the cat gauge shows active, you close the bypass. Nothing else should influence that.
 

Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania
Thanks for explaining that the exhaust gas is about twice as hot as the reading on the surface of the pipe. Then if it reads 125 F. on the outside of pipe, the exhaust may be about 250 inside?

I think another commenter said he waits until the exhaust temp (or stove pipe temp?) reaches 300 to close the bypass after loading. But I can easily go back to closing it immediately after loading.

The thermometer on the stove top now reads just over 500, and the cat thermometer has gone a little past the end of white band, so I turned the thermostat from high to medium.

Must keep burning, because the weather forecast says a low of 5 degrees before morning.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
Flue temp: correct.

Regarding the other poster, I don't have a King. But the instructions I have seen regarding this are all the same. Please check your manual again. It will be very explicit in its communication of when to close the bypass.
 

MissMac

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2017
923
NW Ontario
Thanks for explaining that the exhaust gas is about twice as hot as the reading on the surface of the pipe. Then if it reads 125 F. on the outside of pipe, the exhaust may be about 250 inside?

I think another commenter said he waits until the exhaust temp (or stove pipe temp?) reaches 300 to close the bypass after loading. But I can easily go back to closing it immediately after loading.

The thermometer on the stove top now reads just over 500, and the cat thermometer has gone a little past the end of white band, so I turned the thermostat from high to medium.

Must keep burning, because the weather forecast says a low of 5 degrees before morning.
Yes remember that most of the guys on here are stove tinkerers with years and years of experience burning in their stoves and they do little things that the average user won't/doesn't know to even try/shouldn't do.

I really think you need to focus on running your stove as per the BK manual. Full stop. Seriously, read it, re-read it, take it all in, and follow it. Who else will tell you how to run your BK better than BK? Especially with the problems you're having. Start with the basics. Follow the manual.
 

Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania
I have read the manual thoroughly by now, and I can and do follow it like a recipe in a cookbook, and like when I'm cooking or baking, I want to understand how each ingredient works, and the physics of the cooking process, and why the recipe is written as it is. An experienced user explained the reason why he sometimes waits after re-loading until the stove pipe exhaust temp rises to a certain point before closing the bypass. Some of my specific venting and fuel (wood) questions and problems are either not covered or not fully answered by the manual, and that's where this forum comes in, or I should say you experienced users on this forum have come in. Thanks for your good advice based on your experience with a BK cat stove in the far north.
 

Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania
When I have the perfect fuel (all under 15%) and the perfect venting (double wall straight up with no turns, and with more insulation, and even more insulation on top of that insulation) that this best of all stoves needs, only then will I try again to get the +40 hour burn that the stove is capable of, and then, when everything else is perfect, the door glass will stay clear. The best stove sets a high bar and one must rise to meet it.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
A 40 hr burn most probably won't leave the glass clean. Many of us have dark glass when burning at the lower end of the output range (i.e. longer). That is fine, as at this burning rate, there is not much to see in the stove anyway. Mostly just dark
 

showrguy

Minister of Fire
Aug 2, 2015
569
Marysville, Pa.
When I have the perfect fuel (all under 15%) and the perfect venting (double wall straight up with no turns, and with more insulation, and even more insulation on top of that insulation) that this best of all stoves needs, only then will I try again to get the +40 hour burn that the stove is capable of, and then, when everything else is perfect, the door glass will stay clear. The best stove sets a high bar and one must rise to meet it.
I don’t think any of us BK owners are expecting a 40 hour burn time in the middle of winter !!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,187
central pa
When I have the perfect fuel (all under 15%) and the perfect venting (double wall straight up with no turns, and with more insulation, and even more insulation on top of that insulation) that this best of all stoves needs, only then will I try again to get the +40 hour burn that the stove is capable of, and then, when everything else is perfect, the door glass will stay clear. The best stove sets a high bar and one must rise to meet it.
You don't need below 15% you need below 20% below 15 will be very difficult to get in pa
 
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Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania
You don't need below 15% you need below 20% below 15 will be very difficult to get in pa
Checking in with another update on the BK King 40 stove. Not much has been happening here because I have too little fully dry wood. I'm stretching it by burning the stove only on very cold nights and relying on the heat pump the rest of time, which I never wanted to do! So I'm still trying to make the Blaze King work. Yes I read the manual word-for-word - which I had not read because I misplaced it in the very beginning, leading to some stupid questions here, but it's been ready at hand ever since. But I need to learn how to use it to avoid creating stage three creosote in the pipes and in the stove. I continue to have condensed exhaust liquid dripping from those two seams in the short horizontal section (I posted a photo of the system earlier on this thread) even with all dry wood, such as dimensional that is many years old, stored dry in racks in the barn well above ground level. The dripping usually stops a half hour to an hour into each burn. It does prove that the sections of adjustable angle fittings are not sealed, and if liquid escapes them, so do gasses. The leakage is fortuitous because it brought the condensation to my attention, and the leaks might be protecting the stove itself from receiving the condensation, which I collect in a metal bowl hung below the pipe, instead of going down the vertical stove pipe into the stove. With most burns, I collect about a quarter cup of it.

I think the condensation might be caused by too-low temperature of the exhaust coming out of the stove (just two feet above the stove, the new stove pipe thermometer is reading mostly 200 to 250 if it is accurate) and/or by lack of insulation in the first two feet that the pipe travels through the concrete foundation (if I burn for several days straight, though, the wall gets very hot around the pipe and stays hot for days afterward) and maybe-not-thick-enough vermiculite-cement insulation of the remainder of the chimney pipe. The vermi-cement is about two inches thick, rich in vermiculite, lean on the Portland, and hand-mixed, not too wet.

A few days ago I climbed the ladder to the check the condition of the pipe at the chimney top, which was covered with ice. Very slippery but I was careful. I found some soot under the cap and in the pipe near the top, which I expected from those slow burns that I tried, and the less dry wood. I'll be climbing up and checking again soon, trying to get some idea whether using all dry wood also continues to make soot.

I also checked the stove carefully when it was cold. I could feel some loose soot around the bypass door area that I couldn't reach with a vacuum. The stove window is clear. The cat doesn't appear to be cracked, and all the metal appears to be straight after what I think was a very hot fire. The stove pipe thermometer finally reached 400 in that burn. The cat gauge went "off the charts."

The Ventis stove pipe thermometer is magnetically mounted to the telescoping stove pipe at the point where it becomes (telescopes out as) a single wall, about two feet above the stove. In this position it reads no higher than 250 F. most of the time. As I said, In a very hot fire it reached 400 only once. The cat guage reads mostly in the middle of the active zone but sometimes jumps to the top of the white band or beyond even when I have the thermostat knob set about the middle. I understand, as many of you have explained, new cats can be "overactive."

I appreciate all the ideas and advice everyone has given here. Some of your directions have taken time to sink in.

Now for my urgent question of the day. It applies to the other BK stove discussed earlier in this thread - the Princess insert. I had explained the way the BK dealer's professional installer did it: The insert was not connected to the stove with an appliance connector, probably because the installer cut the liner a little too short, so an adjustable fitting which is longer had to be used to reach the stove, which then made it impossible for me to pull out the insert without breaking the fitting. Since I wanted to have the option of pulling it out sometimes for cleaning and inspection, and because I thought the fitting could leak, which is dangerous, I re-installed the insert myself, adding a one-foot extension to the liner (at the chimney top end) and a proper appliance fitting at the bottom. I also removed the FIBERGLASS that the installer had stuffed in the smokeshelf area, and made and installed a 1/4 inch steel block-off plate, with plenty of mortar and a layer of furnace cement over the mortar. I had discussed with some of you earlier in this thread the idea of pouring vermiculite cement on top of the plate, but finally decided to use rockwool. The rockwool is packed in very hard above the plate, making it airtight I hope. If the liner was "lifetime" rigid stainless, I would have used vermiculite cement to sea it off, but since it is a flexible midweight (hybrid) liner, claimed to be lifetime but who knows how long it will really last, I decided that rockwool is good enough.

Now here is the question: The installer connected the insert's fan motor cord to a metal outlet box with armored, romex cable running down through the hole to the ash pit under the hearth, and out of the ash pit space to the basement wiring system, where I connected it later. The insert's plastic extension cord is wound around behind the insert and the outlet box which also has some plastic parts is also there, in the back corner of the hearth just inches from the back of the hot stove. Regardless of whether an installer "does that all the time," I'd like to know: IS IT SAFE? It gets hot back there, bound to reach boiling point or higher sometimes. Is this a common practice? Has anyone had a problem with it?
 
Last edited:

Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania
Checking in with another update on the BK King 40 stove. Not much has been happening here because I have too little fully dry wood. I'm stretching it by burning the stove only on very cold nights and relying on the heat pump the rest of time, which I never wanted to do! So I'm still trying to make the Blaze King work. Yes I read the manual word-for-word - which I had not read because I misplaced it in the very beginning, leading to some stupid questions here, but it's been ready at hand ever since. But I need to learn how to use it to avoid creating stage three creosote in the pipes and in the stove. I continue to have condensed exhaust liquid dripping from those two seams in the short horizontal section (I posted a photo of the system earlier on this thread) even with all dry wood, such as dimensional that is many years old, stored dry in racks in the barn well above ground level. The dripping usually stops a half hour to an hour into each burn. It does prove that the sections of adjustable angle fittings are not sealed, and if liquid escapes them, so do gasses. The leakage is fortuitous because it brought the condensation to my attention, and the leaks might be protecting the stove itself from receiving the condensation, which I collect in a metal bowl hung below the pipe, instead of going down the vertical stove pipe into the stove. With most burns, I collect about a quarter cup of it.

I think the condensation might be caused by too-low temperature of the exhaust coming out of the stove (just two feet above the stove, the new stove pipe thermometer is reading mostly 200 to 250 if it is accurate) and/or by lack of insulation in the first two feet that the pipe travels through the concrete foundation (if I burn for several days straight, though, the wall gets very hot around the pipe and stays hot for days afterward) and maybe-not-thick-enough vermiculite-cement insulation of the remainder of the chimney pipe. The vermi-cement is about two inches thick, rich in vermiculite, lean on the Portland, and hand-mixed, not too wet.

A few days ago I climbed the ladder to the check the condition of the pipe at the chimney top, which was covered with ice. Very slippery but I was careful. I found some soot under the cap and in the pipe near the top, which I expected from those slow burns that I tried, and the less dry wood. I'll be climbing up and checking again soon, trying to get some idea whether using all dry wood also continues to make soot.

I also checked the stove carefully when it was cold. I could feel some loose soot around the bypass door area that I couldn't reach with a vacuum. The stove window is clear. The cat doesn't appear to be cracked, and all the metal appears to be straight after what I think was a very hot fire. The stove pipe thermometer finally reached 400 in that burn. The cat gauge went "off the charts."

The Ventis stove pipe thermometer is magnetically mounted to the telescoping stove pipe at the point where it becomes (telescopes out as) a single wall, about two feet above the stove. In this position it reads no higher than 250 F. most of the time. As I said, In a very hot fire it reached 400 only once. The cat guage reads mostly in the middle of the active zone but sometimes jumps to the top of the white band or beyond even when I have the thermostat knob set about the middle. I understand, as many of you have explained, new cats can be "overactive."

I appreciate all the ideas and advice everyone has given here. Some of your directions have taken time to sink in.

Now for my urgent question of the day. It applies to the other BK stove discussed earlier in this thread - the Princess insert. I had explained the way the BK dealer's professional installer did it: The insert was not connected to the stove with an appliance connector, probably because the installer cut the liner a little too short, so an adjustable fitting which is longer had to be used to reach the stove, which then made it impossible for me to pull out the insert without breaking the fitting. Since I wanted to have the option of pulling it out sometimes for cleaning and inspection, and because I thought the fitting could leak, which is dangerous, I re-installed the insert myself, adding a one-foot extension to the liner (at the chimney top end) and a proper appliance fitting at the bottom. I also removed the FIBERGLASS that the installer had stuffed in the smokeshelf area, and made and installed a 1/4 inch steel block-off plate, with plenty of mortar and a layer of furnace cement over the mortar. I had discussed with some of you earlier in this thread the idea of pouring vermiculite cement on top of the plate, but finally decided to use rockwool. The rockwool is packed in very hard above the plate, making it airtight I hope. If the liner was "lifetime" rigid stainless, I would have used vermiculite cement to sea it off, but since it is a flexible midweight (hybrid) liner, claimed to be lifetime but who knows how long it will really last, I decided that rockwool is good enough.

Now here is the question: The installer connected the insert's fan motor cord to a metal outlet box with armored, romex cable running down through the hole to the ash pit under the hearth, and out of the ash pit space to the basement wiring system, where I connected it later. The insert's plastic extension cord is wound around behind the insert and the outlet box which also has some plastic parts is also there, in the back corner of the hearth just inches from the back of the hot stove. Regardless of whether an installer "does that all the time," I'd like to know: IS IT SAFE? It gets hot back there, bound to reach boiling point or higher sometimes. Is this a common practice? Has anyone had a problem with it?
If the BK 40 doesn't perform well enough in this location due to inadequate insulation for its very cool and low volume exhaust, I will need to use it in another building where the exhaust can go straight up through the roof and I can even triple-wall (insulate over) the double wall pipe so the exhaust can maintain the same temperature all the way to the top. Meanwhile, I'll need to find a different stove for this basement location. If I install a Princess that takes a 6 inch exhaust, I could run a hybrid flexible liner down my existing 8 inch rigid system, making it triple-insulated (counting the existing vermiculite cement insulation) most of the way. I understand NOW that you "can't get too much" insulation for a very slow-burning and very low exhaust volume BK cat stove to function properly and not make creosote. I also realize I will need to build a solar drier to get wood dry enough for these stoves in this humid climate.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,350
South Puget Sound, WA
Insulating the basement walls will make a large improvement. In lieu of that, go back to my original postings on this topic and stove suggestions for higher BTU output. Heating outdoors is tough.
 

Slate Dale

Member
Dec 27, 2021
161
Slatington, Pennsylvania