Did I buy the wrong stove?

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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,331
Massachusetts
From the top of the stove to the chimney cap is about 18ft. I have Duravent DVL double wall chimney connector going into triple wall class A chimney pipe. I have had to be careful not to over fire it doing hot reloads. My first attempt for and all night burn was a complete fail. I stupidly loaded a really hot stove with way too many splits that were too small. When the temps kept rising and I noticed a faint glow between the cook plate and the flu outlet, I capped the air intake with aluminum foil, and luckily averted a meltdown! Lesson learned.

Your burn times sound really good. That gives me some hope I might could get a little more out of it. I really like the idea of using some rounds and having some shorter pieces on hand for the top. The rounds might be less likely to over fire and the small pieces might help me to be more gentle on that upper baffle too.

I have compared past electric bills and the reduction is very significant with the addition of the wood stove. Now if I could just get the kids not to take 1 hour showers. The biggest complaint with the heat pump, was when it was super cold you never really felt warm and it would run almost 24/7. The wood stove solves that problem. Even if the heat pump kicks on while the wood stove is going it still feels warmer inside. I have also realized that having it kick on occasionally when the when it is very cold probably helps get some more heat to the back bedrooms. The colder it is outside the bigger the temperature difference gets since the stove is on the far end of the house and bedrooms are down a hall on the other. The auxiliary resistance heater in the air handler has turned on zero times this year which is also good. I bought a dehumidifier which helped with perceived warmth. We get a fair amount of rain and high humidity in the winter and the heat pump doesn't dehumidify. Believe it or not, the wood stove doesn't dry the house out enough either. I figured this out with a hygrometer while fighting condensation issues...that could be a whole other thread though.

The good thing, as mentioned before, is we really like the stove, it functions well, and is really user friendly. It honestly does exactly what I bought it for. I somehow got a touch of the "wood heat only syndrome" which I hadn't anticipated. This thread has done a good job of helping me get through that.

Thanks again to all for the helpful advice. I am looking forward to trying several things that were mentioned. I feel like the kind members of hearth.com have saved me from spending some money I may not have needed to.
One thing to keep in mind RE heat pumps is they are designed to run constantly, it doesn't mean it's chewing electricity. They don't do the on/off cycles that furnaces do. Furnaces are injecting much warmer air into the house to average off the temp whereas heat pumps are pulling heat out of the air to maintain a temperature. If you put your hand over a vent it'll feel much cooler from a heat pump vs a furnace.

Heat pumps get expensive when they get below their efficiency rating temp and the backup resistance heat kicks in. THAT is very very pricey. For me that's 37 degrees...newer/special model ones can go lower. So on 45 degree days I happily let the heat pump chug along and save my wood but when it dips below 40 I have the stove going.

I have solar panels, a heat pump, and a wood stove. Since I live in MA and we have 4 distinct seasons I think its the perfect setup.
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,461
Lackawaxen PA
For my setup, the stove has never been to small. If I keep it fed with wood, it can keep up with outside temps below 0. But through the night no. We use to try feed it during the night with a lot of wood, but it overheats the house. Better to get the house temps high at bed time. The set the thermostat at 65. By early morning the heat comes on. No wasted wood and overheated house.
 

bikeshopguy345

New Member
Feb 6, 2022
27
North MS
Last night I reloaded when there were a few hot coals left and the stove was around 200F. I packed the stove with large splits. At around the 1.5hr mark the thermometer hit 700F and kept rising. The damper flap was only about 90%-95% closed at 700F. The secondaries looked more like a blast furnace than nice slow rolling blue flames.

Today I added a link to the damper chain. I decided to cut the chain in half and add a link as opposed to mess with either attachment point. The thermostat mechanism does not seem particularly robust, so I didn't want to risk damage. The back cover rope gasket pulled out, but I was able to press it back into the channel pretty easily. I wouldn't remove the back cover again without a spare gasket on hand. Time will tell but I feel like if it was a bit too much length, I can remove the foil tape on the flap. If it is not enough, there is another hole on the damper I can cover with tape.

I also pulled the telescoping chimney connector pipe. It was really easy to do and didn't even scratch the paint. I was pleased to see there wasn't any creosote in the chimney system, just a light coating of brownish/grayish ash. The thermometer probe was enveloped in ash, but I doubt this had any negative effects. I cleaned it with a fairly weak household vacuum, being careful not to get too close and hit the super wool. The super wool seems super frail.

I plan on lighting a fully loaded fire later tonight to test the damper door, and since I am off work I can monitor for overall burn time as well.

Pics below:
tempImagem7yAsl.jpg tempImagexSNelm.jpg tempImage7Ld9Et.jpg tempImagedPC3A1.jpg tempImageaI14Z0.jpg tempImageeMOmv2.jpg
 
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wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
221
KS
Thanks for posting pics as I've never been into the back of mine. That probe looks pretty good. Here's to hoping the damper is now able to fully close!
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,555
Philadelphia
I just stumbled into this thread, and admit I didn't read all of the replies, but I'm really surprised by the prices you posted on the BK Ashford 30. I received a range of prices from local dealers, with more than $1000 between the lowest and highest, but even the highest were much below the $4300 you posted. Have prices really gone up that much in the last few years, or is this price way above average for an Ashford 30?

I'm also surprised so many agreed on an unacceptable ROI for replacing the stove. I was buying two stoves at the same time, and even so, they paid for themselves in less than two years. Every cord of red oak thru my BK's is worth roughly 175 gallons of heating oil or 3200 kWh thru a typical heat pump. You may keep your house warmer more hours per day than you would on oil or electric, but even so, it doesn't take a whole lot of cords per year to pay for a stove at those rates.

Also, when calculating ROI, don't forget to subject the resale of your old stove from the expense.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,165
Long Island NY
I just stumbled into this thread, and admit I didn't read all of the replies, but I'm really surprised by the prices you posted on the BK Ashford 30. I received a range of prices from local dealers, with more than $1000 between the lowest and highest, but even the highest were much below the $4300 you posted. Have prices really gone up that much in the last few years, or is this price way above average for an Ashford 30?

I'm also surprised so many agreed on an unacceptable ROI for replacing the stove. I was buying two stoves at the same time, and even so, they paid for themselves in less than two years. Every cord of red oak thru my BK's is worth roughly 175 gallons of heating oil or 3200 kWh thru a typical heat pump. You may keep your house warmer more hours per day than you would on oil or electric, but even so, it doesn't take a whole lot of cords per year to pay for a stove at those rates.

Also, when calculating ROI, don't forget to subject the resale of your old stove from the expense.

I concur with the ROI argument here. For me it works out to about $750 a year in oil savings (if I plan the tank fill at the end of the summer when prices are still lower).
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,555
Philadelphia
I concur with the ROI argument here. For me it works out to about $750 a year in oil savings (if I plan the tank fill at the end of the summer when prices are still lower).
That makes sense, although it's still at the low end of what I'd suspect to be the normal range. What's the size of the space you're heating with that stove, and how many cords burned per year?

I'm running 10 cords per year, which one who wanted to prove a point could argue is saving me 1750 gallons of oil per year, at December's $3.10/gal = $5,425/year savings. The truth is that I'm keeping my home warmer, and for more hours per day, than I would have on oil. Taking that into account, my real savings is probably closer to $4,500 per year.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,165
Long Island NY
@Ashful
I heat about 1700 sqft + the (insulated) basement where the stove is. Air sealed and r57 attic, high efficiency new windows. Walls average. About 2.75 cords it seems.
 
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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,331
Massachusetts
That makes sense, although it's still at the low end of what I'd suspect to be the normal range. What's the size of the space you're heating with that stove, and how many cords burned per year?

I'm running 10 cords per year, which one who wanted to prove a point could argue is saving me 1750 gallons of oil per year, at December's $3.10/gal = $5,425/year savings. The truth is that I'm keeping my home warmer, and for more hours per day, than I would have on oil. Taking that into account, my real savings is probably closer to $4,500 per year.
Holy crap, 10 cords per year in Philadelphia? Thats so much wood. Are you heating a non insulated mansion?

I heat my 1700 sq ft two story cape with original 1985 windows but good attic/other insulation with my 1.85 cu ft Osburn 1600 insert on the 1st floor running 4 cords a year +/- 0.5 or so depending on the weather. House is a relatively closed floor plan but the stairs going up are in the stove room and one fan moves the air to the other side of the 1st floor.
 

NewGuy132

Member
Jan 22, 2021
159
Central MA
Having not even read 1/2 of this thread let me give you my opinion.

We did the same thing. Bought a smaller stove to supplement. We ended up with the VC Intrepid. Our house is 3200 sqft. I knew that the small stove wouldn't come close to heating the entire house. Running the stove keeps the heat from turning on on my 1st floor. That's it. That is 2 of my 4 zones covered. This year over last year I am using about 50% of the oil that I was using and I call that a win. I know this from my Nest thermostats reporting year over year. Would I love to heat my entire house with wood? Absolutely but I'll need a bigger stove for that and even then it wouldn't cover the entire upstairs. We will probably hang on to this stove for 5-6 years then consider upgrading.
 
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bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
863
Utah & NJ
My jotul f400 is probably saving 500-600 gallons of oil per year, maybe more. I've never not had a stove here, so an educated guess. $1,400 for it, paid for itself year 1. And the house is way more comfortable than it would be if i was using oil only. burning somewhere around 3 cords a year.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,555
Philadelphia
Holy crap, 10 cords per year in Philadelphia? Thats so much wood. Are you heating a non insulated mansion?
I'm heating about 7800 of our 8100 sq.ft., with a combination of oil, wood, natural gas, two heat pumps, and a few electric resistive zones. The stoves only really impact the oil usage, as the other fuels are heating parts of the house not accessible to the heat from the stoves. My location is about 35 miles north of the city, we run 2F - 5F cooler than the city proper, depending on daily conditions.

Like any very old house, this one was built in phases, from various materials. The largest part of the house is 20" thick mud-stacked stone, with 1" plaster on the interior. No insulation, as would be normal for a house of this age (built in two phases ca.1735 & 1775), the walls hold a nearly constant 53F throughout the entire winter. This means the house is actually pretty efficient to heat on blistering cold days, our heating systems really don't feel the difference in outdoor temperature, as they would in a framed house where heat loss is directly proportional to inside minus outside temperature. But of course, the place is much less efficient during our majority of moderate temperatures.

Also hurting our efficiency is the number of doors and windows, which number 13 and 60 respectively, and half of which date to 1775 or earlier. We have installed storm windows on all of the older windows, with a nice 4" air gap, and their radiation loss is actually less than the new Andersen 400's installed in the 1990's addition. But, they also have heavy 4" x 6" white oak frames (plus 1" trim on each side = 8" of wood) that conduct heat around the window, and they're surely more drafty than a modern window. The oldest doors are 1-5/16" paneled or T&G, and much larger rough opening than a modern door, so also a big source of loss.

I just went into my old wood/oil/electric usage spreadsheet, and ran some numbers. When scaling for yearly HDD vs. average HDD, my oil usage was scaling to around 2615 gallons per year, prior to installing the stoves. I just checked the last few years, and found I'm actually holding just under 1000 gallons. So, I guess we could say 1600 gallons saved per year, which is actually more than I had expected.
 

bikeshopguy345

New Member
Feb 6, 2022
27
North MS
Last night's fire was an exercise in frustration, but fortunately things ended well. At about the 1hr/300F mark the fire kept stalling out. The damper was almost closed at 300F so I though my new adjustment was starving the fire for air. I decided to remove the foil tape from the flapper to give it more air. I do no recommend using foil tape! I ended up using a pencil to just poke a hole in it. I think a small magnet would be much easier to deal with for covering holes on the damper.

Removing the foil tape did nothing. I decided to prop the damper fully open with butter knife. I still couldn't get the fire to go! This has never happened. I sat on the couch feeling frustrated, confused, and wondering what I had done to mess up my stove. It was then that I realized that I must have some kind of obstruction because I kept getting smoke spillage when opening the door, which has never been a problem before.

Fortunately last night the moon was bright. One trip to the roof at 11pm confirmed my suspicions of a clogged spark arrestor cap. I popped it off and by the time I was back inside the fire was already going. Things seemed to burn well and eventually stabilized around 500F. At midnight threw one medium split in and it peaked at 750F and I went to bed. The stove temp was just below 200F and there was a small pile of hot coals in the back at 9AM! I'm counting this as a victory! I think the damper is closing between 300F and 400F but I'm not entirely sure yet.

I am still looking forward to doing a cold start to coals burn time test, but will have to wait a couple of days for cooler weather again.

When we first started using the stove we used a bunch of junk from the recycle bin to start fires. Cardboard, glossy mailers etc. I think I must have disturbed enough ash in the system yesterday finish plugging it up. Still crazy how it went from seemingly over drafting to clogged so fast.

Now to go clean this mess. Any suggestions?
tempImageJa3QG0.jpg
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,511
SE North Carolina
This year I will pay 0.135$ per kW hr on about 800-1000 kW hrs a month. Our average daily temp in a normal year never below 32.

I really think we need a new metric when we talk about heating. Something like heating degree days In thousands times square footage In thousands. For example I have a 3000 sq foot house and 2400 heating degree days so 3x2.4=7.2

call this the heating demand index. (We all could do a manual J but I tried on 4 different occasions and gave up and I have a peg in physics.).

You could include a factor for insulation if you wanted too. Good insulation 0.8 bad 1.2. Another factor could be current energy cost in Mbtus.

This index scales linearly with time to break even cost.

As a southerner (I still cringe a bit when I call myself that) that heats with wood my experience just isn’t the same as someone who live where snow sticks around for a week or more. Getting into a discussion about how much you save heating with wood vs oil just doesn’t apply down here. Yes I save money with a wood stove. At most 75$ for 3 months a year. (I’m frugal powers is cheap ish and heatpump is decent efficiency above 25 degrees). Stove cost 6000$ to install. Is the house warmer yes but we all slippers and sweatshirts.

Alright I’m off my wood pile. I’d be happy to continue the heating index discussion in another thread. It would be great if it could be simple and correlate to stove size. To offer some real simple number when people mask how big of stove should I get.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,555
Philadelphia
I’d be happy to continue the heating index discussion in another thread.
Please be sure to post a link to said thread here, if you do it, so we can follow along.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,165
Long Island NY
Last night's fire was an exercise in frustration, but fortunately things ended well. At about the 1hr/300F mark the fire kept stalling out. The damper was almost closed at 300F so I though my new adjustment was starving the fire for air. I decided to remove the foil tape from the flapper to give it more air. I do no recommend using foil tape! I ended up using a pencil to just poke a hole in it. I think a small magnet would be much easier to deal with for covering holes on the damper.

Removing the foil tape did nothing. I decided to prop the damper fully open with butter knife. I still couldn't get the fire to go! This has never happened. I sat on the couch feeling frustrated, confused, and wondering what I had done to mess up my stove. It was then that I realized that I must have some kind of obstruction because I kept getting smoke spillage when opening the door, which has never been a problem before.

Fortunately last night the moon was bright. One trip to the roof at 11pm confirmed my suspicions of a clogged spark arrestor cap. I popped it off and by the time I was back inside the fire was already going. Things seemed to burn well and eventually stabilized around 500F. At midnight threw one medium split in and it peaked at 750F and I went to bed. The stove temp was just below 200F and there was a small pile of hot coals in the back at 9AM! I'm counting this as a victory! I think the damper is closing between 300F and 400F but I'm not entirely sure yet.

I am still looking forward to doing a cold start to coals burn time test, but will have to wait a couple of days for cooler weather again.

When we first started using the stove we used a bunch of junk from the recycle bin to start fires. Cardboard, glossy mailers etc. I think I must have disturbed enough ash in the system yesterday finish plugging it up. Still crazy how it went from seemingly over drafting to clogged so fast.

Now to go clean this mess. Any suggestions?
View attachment 292192

I'd get a soot eater and run that in the cap. If you need it sooner, a metal brush (that you might have to trash after this...).

I have not read back the whole thread again, and someone surely said this before, but I'd check the moisture content of your wood. Too wet wood is cause #1 for what you see. And burning stuff other than wood, and burning too slow, and insufficient draft, etc. But all are exacerbated by wet wood.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,165
Long Island NY
And congrats on finding the cause. It can be frustrating. Next time you see these symptoms, you'll simply check up there first and fix it.

This (symptoms, and e.g. working thru wet wood) is all part of the learning curve. Work thru this, identify the problems, and change your behavior to avoid said problems in the future. That'll make you a happy (and clean) burner.

Good job. Keep going.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,986
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I'd get a soot eater and run that in the cap. If you need it sooner, a metal brush (that you might have to trash after this...).

Often, or in my experience, that cloggage is bone dry crust and falls off pretty easily. Think potato chips instead of wet tar.

While you're up there you might consider taking that stupid filter off and throwing it in the woods if it is removable from the cap. You want a cap, but the filter's best purpose is for keeping birds out.
 

bikeshopguy345

New Member
Feb 6, 2022
27
North MS
E695B6B2-2C95-4B22-AC81-F155582E2DFF.jpeg
I probably will get a moisture meter before next season. My current white oak is 2 years split/stacked in the sun and wind and was standing dead 1 year prior to that. From what I can tell it is pretty good.

The screen brushed out pretty easily with a stiff brush. I am thinking using random junk from the recycle bin to start fires was the cause and I disturbed enough ash yesterday to finish the clog. I have a good stash of fatwood now so no more cereal boxes…
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,555
Philadelphia
You want a cap, but the filter's best purpose is for keeping birds out.
Hey Highbeam, remember when I had that neurotic soot-coated squirrel stuck inside one of my Jotuls ten years ago? Cost me $600 in parts, and probably close to $1000 in oil, due to lost burn hours while waiting for Jotul to send parts from Scandinavia.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,986
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Hey Highbeam, remember when I had that neurotic soot-coated squirrel stuck inside one of my Jotuls ten years ago? Cost me $600 in parts, and probably close to $1000 in oil, due to lost burn hours while waiting for Jotul to send parts from Scandinavia.

It’s been ten years since the ashford upgrade? Wow does time fly.
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
221
KS
I was going to say... As far as how much heating energy is needed, I think most of you guys live a little farther north than the OP, ha.

I picked up a moisture meter from Harbor Freight and it's given reasonable numbers so far - not that I have anything to compare it to, other than I've measured wood down around 13% and fresher stuff over 40%.

I leave the cap screen in mine due to critters and don't have anything other than a thin black layer on it. I use a little (and I mean a little - maybe a crumpled ball slightly smaller than a tennis ball) brown packing paper on the occasions when I'm starting from cold, doing a top down start.

I'd say coals 9 hours later is a huge improvement. I'm pretty sure you can still have decent coals after 12+ hours like I do once you really get things down. I think the only question for me at this point is if you will be able to get enough heat late in the fire, before reloading in the morning, to keep the heat pump from kicking on. As you've realized that's not the end of the world but now that you're getting coals later, you should be getting heat later in the burn cycle, too, so maybe you'll be able to keep the house just warm enough during that part of the fire.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,555
Philadelphia
It’s been ten years since the ashford upgrade? Wow does time fly.
Nah… stuck with the Jotuls a few more years, after that squirrel forced a rebuild upon me. I think the Ashford upgrade happened around 2015.

In any case, bikeshopguy345 may still want some form of screen up there, to keep those curious squirrels out. Just something coarse enough to avoid any likelihood of clogging (think 5/8 - 3/4 inch mesh). A bird in your stove is a sad day, but a pissed-off and soot-soaked squirrel in the stove is the day you may need all new carpet, drapes, and furniture.
 
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Anicole

New Member
Dec 29, 2020
43
Tyler123
I'm heating about 7800 of our 8100 sq.ft., with a combination of oil, wood, natural gas, two heat pumps, and a few electric resistive zones. The stoves only really impact the oil usage, as the other fuels are heating parts of the house not accessible to the heat from the stoves. My location is about 35 miles north of the city, we run 2F - 5F cooler than the city proper, depending on daily conditions.

Like any very old house, this one was built in phases, from various materials. The largest part of the house is 20" thick mud-stacked stone, with 1" plaster on the interior. No insulation, as would be normal for a house of this age (built in two phases ca.1735 & 1775), the walls hold a nearly constant 53F throughout the entire winter. This means the house is actually pretty efficient to heat on blistering cold days, our heating systems really don't feel the difference in outdoor temperature, as they would in a framed house where heat loss is directly proportional to inside minus outside temperature. But of course, the place is much less efficient during our majority of moderate temperatures.

Also hurting our efficiency is the number of doors and windows, which number 13 and 60 respectively, and half of which date to 1775 or earlier. We have installed storm windows on all of the older windows, with a nice 4" air gap, and their radiation loss is actually less than the new Andersen 400's installed in the 1990's addition. But, they also have heavy 4" x 6" white oak frames (plus 1" trim on each side = 8" of wood) that conduct heat around the window, and they're surely more drafty than a modern window. The oldest doors are 1-5/16" paneled or T&G, and much larger rough opening than a modern door, so also a big source of loss.

I just went into my old wood/oil/electric usage spreadsheet, and ran some numbers. When scaling for yearly HDD vs. average HDD, my oil usage was scaling to around 2615 gallons per year, prior to installing the stoves. I just checked the last few years, and found I'm actually holding just under 1000 gallons. So, I guess we could say 1600 gallons saved per year, which is actually more than I had expected.
Wowowowow, just came here to say your house sounds awesome. What woodstoves do you have?