Burning all day? Coals/reloading

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acritzer

Member
May 10, 2018
66
Cincinnati, OH
Hello all. Newbie question. When I burn for an extended period (all day) it seems I get to a point where I have a hard time maintaining reburn. Am I reloading too often? And accumulating too much ash/coals? The firebox is crazy hot, but when I put in a new log or two they don’t want to catch or the reburn is somewhat stubborn. I end up having to open the air control back up, or crack the door for a while.
 

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
561
Central MA
Yeah it's pretty normal to open the air control back up after reloading. Give the logs a few minutes to catch and then you can start turning it back down.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,524
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
You will only get visible secondary combustion during the earlier stages of the burn cycle. Expect a lengthy period of coaling. If, during the coaling stages, your house gets cold then you might be asking too much of the stove.

It is okay to not have a huge secondary fire show on the roof all the time.
 

acritzer

Member
May 10, 2018
66
Cincinnati, OH
You will only get visible secondary combustion during the earlier stages of the burn cycle. Expect a lengthy period of coaling. If, during the coaling stages, your house gets cold then you might be asking too much of the stove.


It is okay to not have a huge secondary fire show on the roof all the time.

What I’m trying to learn is if I’m reloading too soon? Before the “burn cycle” is complete. I hope that makes sense. Maybe I should be more patient and let the material burn off more before I toss more wood in?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,301
South Puget Sound, WA
If coals are building up badly and/or new splits are slow to catch fire, it could be the wood is not fully seasoned. Has the moisture content been checked? How long ago was the wood split and stacked?
 
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acritzer

Member
May 10, 2018
66
Cincinnati, OH
If coals are building up badly and/or new splits are slow to catch fire, it could be the wood is not fully seasoned. Has the moisture content been checked? How long ago was the wood split and stacked?

I haven’t been checking lately. But the last time I did most everything was under 20%. But it’s certainly possible this stuff isn’t the best.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,913
Iowa
Are you reloading because the active fire/flame has stopped, or when your home actually needs heat. Awful easy to get wrapped up overfeeding a stove when it may not really be necessary yet. You can squeeze a considerable amount of heat out of a pile of coals by simply opening up your primary air control towards the end of your cycle (post active flame). Let the coals work for you instead of fighting them. Naturally less than ideal wood will lead to excess coaling issues. Good luck. Keep experimenting!
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,081
Woolwich nj
Wood is not added at any point due to the " burn cycle " Wood is added or not added due to do I need more heat, or I dont add wood because it will make my house/room to hot. We add wood or not based on comfort. You can add wood in really any point. You add wood for a number of reasons, more heat, needs to burn longer. I dont ever stand by my stove and say .. now im at a specific point in burning I need to add wood. Coaling is ok all the gassing is done no secondary burn will occur and you still get heat. During coaling if I put on a new split or to it catches pretty quick, if your is not Id check the MC of the wood, room temperature on a freshly split face with the pins going with the grain. Dont put the pins in the end of the split, thats not accurate at all...
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,845
Northern Maine
You will only get visible secondary combustion during the earlier stages of the burn cycle. Expect a lengthy period of coaling. If, during the coaling stages, your house gets cold then you might be asking too much of the stove.

It is okay to not have a huge secondary fire show on the roof all the time.
It’s also a little easier on the stove.
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,081
Woolwich nj
What’s a reasonable size for a split? And how do you measure it?
I
A reasonable size split is actually dependent on your stove size. My firebox is in the medium size category so a medium split for me is 18x 3x3.. large is like 18x5x5. You split the wood and insert the pins into the wood with the grain press the button and get a reading. the best 20 bucks you'll spend .. post your results
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,388
Lackawaxen PA
All questions asked, depends. Your stove. likes to be run different ways with different wood loads and coal bed. You will be experimenting forever to find the sweet spot. And all this depends what heat output you want. Just know we all get it wrong and are making corrections.
 

Dix

Minister of Fire
May 27, 2008
6,481
Long Island, NY
All of the above.... what stove is this?

Please post it in your signature line :)
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,301
South Puget Sound, WA
Not my first forum…but I can find the pathway to edit my signature?!
Click on your forum name at the upper right and select prefereces. Then look for the signature option on the left side and select that.
 

fvhowler

Burning Hunk
May 4, 2018
126
Heart of NC
Nothing to really add as others have given great insight. Burn wood based on need (heat) and don't get caught up thinking you have to keep the stove going all the time. Took me awhile to think and burn like this (non-catalytic stove). After a few seasons I've learned to better manage wood use and get the most heat our of the fewest splits. You will get to understand your stove and the burning stages. Secondaries only come at a certain stage, what is called "cruising", stove temp has stabilized and the stove generally needs no more adjusting at that point. Depending on the stove, you will get heat long after the flames have died out. When time to reload it normal to open the air and keep the door open slightly to restart.
 

ToastyRanch

New Member
Nov 15, 2021
57
Coastal Massachusetts
Wood is not added at any point due to the " burn cycle " Wood is added or not added due to do I need more heat, or I dont add wood because it will make my house/room to hot. We add wood or not based on comfort. You can add wood in really any point. You add wood for a number of reasons, more heat, needs to burn longer. I dont ever stand by my stove and say .. now im at a specific point in burning I need to add wood. Coaling is ok all the gassing is done no secondary burn will occur and you still get heat. During coaling if I put on a new split or to it catches pretty quick, if your is not Id check the MC of the wood, room temperature on a freshly split face with the pins going with the grain. Dont put the pins in the end of the split, thats not accurate at all...
I’ve been reading the manuals for a variety of newer catalytic models, and they all seem to suggest it’s optimal to be reaching a maximum possible fire size for one’s box at least twice per 24 hours. Sounds like they’re being excessively pedantic and it’s not a strict rule?
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,318
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
You're going to have better luck batch burning that insert.

Put wood in it light it, once it gets going set the air control where you need it, and walk away (of course monitoring periodically for over/under firing). Reload once your down to coals, and ideally burn the coals down some first.

If you need more heat, put in more wood for each load and open the air control more. In warmer weather you might be 8-10hrs between cycles, as temperatures get cooler you'll get closer to 6, and at full tilt you might be reloading every 3 hrs. But you still burn in cycles.

Once you start doing it you'll see what I mean, you spend less time tending to the stove and you get more heat from your wood.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,081
Woolwich nj
I’ve been reading the manuals for a variety of newer catalytic models, and they all seem to suggest it’s optimal to be reaching a maximum possible fire size for one’s box at least twice per 24 hours. Sounds like they’re being excessively pedantic and it’s not a strict rule?

I dont know if there are actual rules. If I am burning 24/7 most of my fire is very active with only the air cut back no more then half way. the only time my air is cut back is during over night burns. That being said normally Im not totally loading up the box on a regular basis neither. I burn pretty clean with hot fires. During shoulder season its a small hot fire and let it go out. I dont think its reasonable to have that air cut all the way back all the time with the majority of the stoves available on the market. The manufacturer is saying you should have a hot fire 2xs every 24 hours. Really you should have hot fires on a regular basis. this helps with the creosote not to build up in the chimney. Also I will tend to cut the air back once alot of the off gassing is done
 

ToastyRanch

New Member
Nov 15, 2021
57
Coastal Massachusetts
I dont know if there are actual rules. If I am burning 24/7 most of my fire is very active with only the air cut back no more then half way. the only time my air is cut back is during over night burns. That being said normally Im not totally loading up the box on a regular basis neither. I burn pretty clean with hot fires. During shoulder season its a small hot fire and let it go out. I dont think its reasonable to have that air cut all the way back all the time with the majority of the stoves available on the market. The manufacturer is saying you should have a hot fire 2xs every 24 hours. Really you should have hot fires on a regular basis. this helps with the creosote not to build up in the chimney. Also I will tend to cut the air back once alot of the off gassing is done
Thanks that’s helpful. The manuals seem to suggest you should purchase only the size firebox which you can load to the max constantly, rather than purchasing some buffer capacity usable when needed for the maximum cold weather burn. They make it sound like putting in any less wood than the maximum is going to gunk up the catalytic converters pronto. Never had a catalytic stove so I’m trying to understand if it’s a good fit. Our masonry fireplace chimney is on the short side at 13 feet and the first non-cats that I’ve looked at are requiring a 15 foot chimney. Our chimney is at the proper height for our very low roof pitch…. I’ve only got frequent direct experience with wood fireplace (which I’m looking to improve) and a 40 year old VC at my in-laws, and 12 years with a flick the switch natural gas fireplace.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,081
Woolwich nj
I got a a stove that when fully loaded will get 12 hr burns. but right now im burning small fires. right now I have enough wood in it to get the cat going. I put in a couple of medium splits and will let it burn out as its not cold enough to burn long periods of time. even though i have a minimum amount of wood my cat is still 1220 degrees.. As long as you can get it up to temp you can put a minimum amount of wood in and turn it down and still burn clean. Im just about to turn my air all the way back

20211116_182656.jpg
 

ericm979

Member
Nov 2, 2018
55
California
The manual for my Flame Monaco ZC (an EPA stove but not catalytic) recommends burning full loads in batches vs adding a few splits at a time. They're right, that works better. I'll add a few splits if the current load is not going to make it until the evening reload but the rest of the time it's full loads only.

On this stove a reload requires the air to be open until all the splits have flame or char, then I can shut the air down.