Burning in Low Mode W/O a Cat

Status
Not open for further replies.

wkpoor

Minister of Fire
Oct 30, 2008
1,854
Amanda, OH
I have a fire going on right now that to me is in perfect secondary burn. There is no visible flames yet about every 15secs the top of the firebox erupts in hazy blue clouds and is doing so like clockwork. Sometimes they last a while and sometimes not. Stove top is 500 degrees. The sun the moon and the stars must all be lined up for me right now as the combination of very dry wood, perfect draft have made this possible. Cat owners might experience this daily.

Went back down and looked and the rate has picked up to near continuous but still there are no base flames.
 

DBoon

Minister of Fire
Jan 14, 2009
1,123
Central NY
My experience has been that if you don't have continuous secondary combustion (not "raging", just continuous, of some type) then you are getting incomplete combusion and smoke out of the chimney. Sometimes, this happens to me on a new load if I choke it down too quickly, and a little more primary air for a time or just time alone will produce more continuous secondary combustion.
 

wkpoor

Minister of Fire
Oct 30, 2008
1,854
Amanda, OH
I had just a little whisp of white smoke. It dissipated a couple feet from the chimney. I'm perfectly happy with that.
 
O

oldspark

Guest
I cant get the "perfect burn" on low setting, so I always have some sort of flame on the wood, dont know if my draft wont do it or what but if I have just the blue flame dancing it seem like the fire wont last that way and the setting is too low.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
18,947
Unity/Bangor, Maine
"The Northern Lights" . . . or "Fireworks" . . . either glows lovingly and warmly, moving in slow motion or you get a burst of flame and then nothing for a few seconds followed by another.
 

BrowningBAR

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
7,609
San Tan Valley, AZ
A clean low burn on a non-cat is tough. I can have the air controls 'closed' on the Heritage (which is defined as a 'low burn' in the manual) and the key damper closed while maintaining 600 degree temps.
 
O

oldspark

Guest
I cant get my stove to work like others report period, the post about the n30 says 4 to 5 hours with a 500 stove top temp on 3 splits aint happening here. I have given up and just throw wood in, tired of it. Its not the wood saver that others say theirs is also, oh well like I said I give up.
 

BrowningBAR

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
7,609
San Tan Valley, AZ
oldspark said:
I cant get my stove to work like others report period, the post about the n30 says 4 to 5 hours with a 500 stove top temp on 3 splits aint happening here. I have given up and just throw wood in, tired of it. Its not the wood saver that others say theirs is also, oh well like I said I give up.
A lot of it will depend on your stove vs how much you are trying to heat. For me, I'm over sizing the hell out of the stoves. So a Defiant sitting at 300 degrees will warm the area that it is responsible for. So, to clarify for my example, 3 splits will burn for 5-ish hours on a good bed of coals and maintain stove top temps over 300 degrees.
 
O

oldspark

Guest
BrowningBAR said:
oldspark said:
I cant get my stove to work like others report period, the post about the n30 says 4 to 5 hours with a 500 stove top temp on 3 splits aint happening here. I have given up and just throw wood in, tired of it. Its not the wood saver that others say theirs is also, oh well like I said I give up.
A lot of it will depend on your stove vs how much you are trying to heat. For me, I'm over sizing the hell out of the stoves. So a Defiant sitting at 300 degrees will warm the area that it is responsible for. So, to clarify for my example, 3 splits will burn for 5-ish hours on a good bed of coals and maintain stove top temps over 300 degrees.
That I can probably do but it just doesn't seem to be up to par with some of the other stoves posted about, even the other PE stoves seem to work better than mine, I just quit thinking about it for the most part. I would like to try another brand of stove but not sure I want to spend the money, a 30 on a good sale might be in the cards if the mood hits me.
 

wkpoor

Minister of Fire
Oct 30, 2008
1,854
Amanda, OH
Last night for the first time since I owned the stove I packed er to the gills (no eco bricks). Now it was real dry stuff but super light weight standing dead Elm wood. Got it nice and hot before closing down the damper and primary. Got a deep brilliant deep blue flame coming off the top of the wood and the nice blue clouds running around the top of the firebox. Temps stayed in the 650 range for over 2hrs before I went to bed. 8hrs later stove was 350 with a deep bed of coals. Not a BKK but I'm plenty happy. Maybe next yr I'll have some dense hardwood dry enough to see what a full load of that can do. For now its maple and elm that is feather light with eco bricks mixed in occasionally.
 

BrowningBAR

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
7,609
San Tan Valley, AZ
oldspark said:
BrowningBAR said:
oldspark said:
I cant get my stove to work like others report period, the post about the n30 says 4 to 5 hours with a 500 stove top temp on 3 splits aint happening here. I have given up and just throw wood in, tired of it. Its not the wood saver that others say theirs is also, oh well like I said I give up.
A lot of it will depend on your stove vs how much you are trying to heat. For me, I'm over sizing the hell out of the stoves. So a Defiant sitting at 300 degrees will warm the area that it is responsible for. So, to clarify for my example, 3 splits will burn for 5-ish hours on a good bed of coals and maintain stove top temps over 300 degrees.
That I can probably do but it just doesn't seem to be up to par with some of the other stoves posted about, even the other PE stoves seem to work better than mine, I just quit thinking about it for the most part. I would like to try another brand of stove but not sure I want to spend the money, a 30 on a good sale might be in the cards if the mood hits me.
If I were going to buy an Englander 30, I would go new since I would not save any money buying a used 30 (minus that very rare find). Most around here are listed at a grand when I could be new for $649 delivered if I buy at the right time.

Apart from that, I am really glad I bought all used stoves. It really makes me think rationally when it come to my expectations and needs for heat. If I bought a new Heritage for 3 grand, it would be tough to swallow and admit it isn't working out. Is it ridiculous that I will end up with two large stoves and good-sized medium stove to heat 2,150 sq ft? Yes it is. But I will be warm no matter the weather with burn times that are very acceptable to my requirements.

And getting two large stoves that will produce usable heat for 9-14 hours no matter how cold it gets is night and day compared to last winter's wood loading rotation I was on.
 

Wood Duck

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2009
4,790
Central PA
wkpoor said:
I have a fire going on right now that to me is in perfect secondary burn. There is no visible flames yet about every 15secs the top of the firebox erupts in hazy blue clouds and is doing so like clockwork. Sometimes they last a while and sometimes not. Stove top is 500 degrees. The sun the moon and the stars must all be lined up for me right now as the combination of very dry wood, perfect draft have made this possible. Cat owners might experience this daily.

Went back down and looked and the rate has picked up to near continuous but still there are no base flames.
sometimes my stove will have those on-off secondaries like you describe. I wonder what is happening in between the bursts of flame. I assume that gases are coming off the wood but not igniting and some of the gases are going up the flue unburnt. I don't like that so I usually turn up the air a little to increase the flame coming off the wood and thereby provide a steady source of ignition for the secondaries.
 

wkpoor

Minister of Fire
Oct 30, 2008
1,854
Amanda, OH
oldspark said:
BrowningBAR said:
oldspark said:
I cant get my stove to work like others report period, the post about the n30 says 4 to 5 hours with a 500 stove top temp on 3 splits aint happening here. I have given up and just throw wood in, tired of it. Its not the wood saver that others say theirs is also, oh well like I said I give up.
A lot of it will depend on your stove vs how much you are trying to heat. For me, I'm over sizing the hell out of the stoves. So a Defiant sitting at 300 degrees will warm the area that it is responsible for. So, to clarify for my example, 3 splits will burn for 5-ish hours on a good bed of coals and maintain stove top temps over 300 degrees.
That I can probably do but it just doesn't seem to be up to par with some of the other stoves posted about, even the other PE stoves seem to work better than mine, I just quit thinking about it for the most part. I would like to try another brand of stove but not sure I want to spend the money, a 30 on a good sale might be in the cards if the mood hits me.
I looked at the Summit recently at a local dealer and am impressed with the way its built. Looks very heavy duty. I really couldn't imagine anything in that basic size range doing any more. I mentioned some time ago wouldn't it be nice if you could test drive a stove before you bought. Most of us have a list of criteria and then hope for the best.
 
O

oldspark

Guest
wkpoor-I guess I would like to try a radiant stove and see how it works compared to my convective type.
 

Martin Strand III

New Member
Nov 20, 2005
763
NW MI near nowhere
Burning in low mode (w/o a cat) is very undesirable.
* Wood is wasted
* Heat is wasted
* Particulate matter to the environment is increased
* CO to the environment, maybe the home, is increased
* Chimney fails to heat forming more creosote deposits
* Chimney fire risk increases
* Neighbor complaints increase
* It makes "the rest of us" look bad

If less heat is desired, simply use less and smaller
diameter fuel. Burn it hot.

"A clean low burn on a non-cat is (not) tough."
It's an oxymoron.

Aye,
Marty
 
O

oldspark

Guest
Marty S said:
Burning in low mode (w/o a cat) is very undesirable.
* Wood is wasted
* Heat is wasted
* Particulate matter to the environment is increased
* CO to the environment, maybe the home, is increased
* Chimney fails to heat forming more creosote deposits
* Chimney fire risk increases
* Neighbor complaints increase
* It makes "the rest of us" look bad

If less heat is desired, simply use less and smaller
diameter fuel. Burn it hot.

"A clean low burn on a non-cat is (not) tough."
It's an oxymoron.

Aye,
Marty
Marty-burning low for me means with the flue temp in the correct range, nobody said anything about smoldering.
 

Martin Strand III

New Member
Nov 20, 2005
763
NW MI near nowhere
Does your flue temp in the correct range mean
you are getting a good secondary burn, eliminating
smoke, VOCs, soot, CO, etc?

Does it mean only some lighter fly ash could be found
in your chimney after such a burn?

If your answer is "Yes", then my reply is "Oh".

And, burning low for you may have a totally
different meaning to someone else.

Aye,
Marty
 
O

oldspark

Guest
Marty S said:
Does your flue temp in the correct range mean
you are getting a good secondary burn, eliminating
smoke, VOCs, soot, CO, etc?

Does it mean only some lighter fly ash could be found
in your chimney after such a burn?

If your answer is "Yes", then my reply is "Oh".

And, burning low for you may have a totally
different meaning to someone else.

Aye,
Marty
Yes, burning low and smoldering are not the same thing. I dont want to speak for the others but I'm betting that is what they ment also.
 

Martin Strand III

New Member
Nov 20, 2005
763
NW MI near nowhere
Without a cat, the only way to burn a wood fire cleanly is to burn it hot.

Are you saying "burning low" is the same?

And, my questions above are unanswered,
which means you may not want to answer...

Aye,
Marty
 
O

oldspark

Guest
Marty S said:
Without a cat, the only way to burn a wood fire cleanly is to burn it hot.

Are you saying "burning low" is the same?

And, my questions above are unanswered,
which means you may not want to answer...

Aye,
Marty
You have a range of flue temps to work with, roughly 250 to 550 that is considered a good range to burn at, so 250 to 300 is "lower" than 500 to 550, I hope you are not toying with me because most of the members on here burn that way for the most part.
 

Burd

Feeling the Heat
Feb 29, 2008
438
Bell bell Pa.
I can put in 6 good sizes splits get temps up to 500 550 and shut it down and get the same thing. Its really cool to see them blue flames dancing around. Its kind of funny how some stove will smoke like crazy and other burn clean. I get very little creo at the end of the year for a non cat stove. The only time I get smoke is on start ups. I've been getting 8 to 12 hour burns when I see them northern lights. ITS Awsome to see and Ive been getting to see them a lot. Good dry wood make a hell of a show
 

Martin Strand III

New Member
Nov 20, 2005
763
NW MI near nowhere
Guyz:

The determinant of a "proper" burn is not in the numbers
on a guage or in what colored flame you observe in the firebox.

It is what is actually coming out of your chimney and what is
left inside.

Aye,
Marty
PS: "Proper" meaning what is good for the majority to do
having least impact on the environment and individuals.
 

Wood Duck

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2009
4,790
Central PA
I am not sure what others do with their non-cat stoves, but I never really burn my stove low. I want to keep my emissions as low as possible which means I want healthy secondaries and no smoke from the chimney, and that means my burns range from high to medium. The only low burns occur when the wood is burnt down to all coals and I am letting the coals burn up slowly. I definitely could set the air lower and have a less hot fire, but that would mean smoke from the chinmey and smoky glass on the stove, plus creosote and lost heat.
 

Martin Strand III

New Member
Nov 20, 2005
763
NW MI near nowhere
Wood Duck said:
I am not sure what others do with their non-cat stoves, but I never really burn my stove low. I want to keep my emissions as low as possible which means I want healthy secondaries and no smoke from the chimney, and that means my burns range from high to medium. The only low burns occur when the wood is burnt down to all coals and I am letting the coals burn up slowly. I definitely could set the air lower and have a less hot fire, but that would mean smoke from the chinmey and smoky glass on the stove, plus creosote and lost heat.
I like this.

Aye,
Marty

I may add: Any suggestion that "burning low" = "burning clean" should be condemned and pointed out clearly as not true.
Especially on this site where, hopefully, the thrust is to educate, inform and learn.
 

Huntindog1

Minister of Fire
Dec 6, 2011
1,879
South Central Indiana
I think the thing to point out here and is key is having really dry wood.

I would say dry wood is 15% or less not the 20% or less most reported as good enough.

Thats why you hear suggestions to use wood 2 years cut split and stacked seasoned and if its oak 3 years seasoned.

When you have really dry wood the ability to sustain a secondary burn at lower temps is greatly enhanced. Put another way having really dry wood lets you turn your stove intake air down farther and maintain your secondary burn.

Another factor is how well is your fire box insulated as some stoves have an extra level of ceramic insulation on top of the ceramic baffle board. This makes it easier to maintain temps for the secondaries to fire.

One guy I read on here bought 1/4 inch ceramic insulation and put a layer behind his bricks and reported the stove performed better which would be understandable if your maintaining higher temps inside the firebox with a lower air setting.

If your using wood that has higher btu's rating I would suspect that the wood putting out more heat makes it easier to maintain temps for secondary burn. I have noticed using low quality wood I cant get the stove temp up as well and the temps never go as high.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.