Dumb Questions From a Newbie

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dorkweed

Guest
For those of y'all that say you burn 24/7................do you have jobs, or work from home, or are retired so you can stay at home and tend your stove???

If you do work away from the house, do you feel safe leaving your stove essentially unattended while no one is around??

Not arguing here, just asking, so don't flame me. Just wanna know how y'all do it if you're away from the house all day.

Thanks!! :coolsmile:
 

usner21

Member
Oct 16, 2009
122
Eastern PA
My wife and I both work full time and we burn 24/7 for the most part. I feel safe leaving my stove unattended after I have it settled in and cruising. I have a full SS liner and the correct clearances so I don't worry too much. Just keep your chimney clean and not much to worry about.
 

branchburner

Minister of Fire
Sep 27, 2008
2,755
southern NH
It took a few months to feel safe leaving the stove, but once I got to know it well it felt about the same as leaving the furnace unattended. Just another metal box with a controlled fire in it.

Not a dumb question at all. Just takes time to get in the comfort zone, and that's different for everyone.
 
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ScotO

Guest
dorkweed said:
For those of y'all that say you burn 24/7................do you have jobs, or work from home, or are retired so you can stay at home and tend your stove???

If you do work away from the house, do you feel safe leaving your stove essentially unattended while no one is around??

Not arguing here, just asking, so don't flame me. Just wanna know how y'all do it if you're away from the house all day.

Thanks!! :coolsmile:
Yes I burn 24/7, Yes I have a full time job, I work in a neighboring town, my wife works part-time. Yes I feel perfectly safe leaving the stove unattended (that will come to you as well, once you learn how to burn, learn about different wood types/BTUs, learn about seasoning wood, learn how to keep your stove and flue clean, etc.) You did the smart thing being a newbie....you joined the best woodburning community in the world, and you asked a pertinent question. Nothing wrong with that. That said, I am sure others will soon chime in, so stay safe! Welcome to 'da club!!
 

eclecticcottage

Minister of Fire
Dec 7, 2011
1,803
WNY
No flamin, I understand the feeling.

We heat with wood, the VF is for backup only, just in case we can't get home on a cold day right away for some reason and for when it gets into the low teens/below, since the Cottage has a choppy layout and the heat doesn't travel as well as in an open concept.

I have a full time office job and DH is full time self employed. We spent some time in the fall learning the stove so we knew how far to damp down and when, how much wood to load, etc. If it's below 40 degrees there is a fire in the stove whether we are there or not. It's pretty self sufficent when fed well ;)

I was less aprehensive about leaving the Cottage with the woodstove than the Old House when we first had the Heritage Bay (gas stove) installed. Can't really explain why. Was a little nervous about the VF also, but we installed it over a holiday so we had a few days being home with it running before leaving it on when we weren't home, so it wasn't too bad.
 

raygard

Member
Nov 5, 2011
88
Columbia, MD
First season was real odd. Leaving a fire unattended in the house. Second season didn't think twice about it. Smoke alarm didn't go off earlier this season due to backpuffing (issue now resolved) yet am a little skittish going to sleep at night. Goes in waves
 

Excavator

Feeling the Heat
Dec 18, 2011
357
Central NJ
Wife and I both work. Burn 24/7 except that in winter months our outside excavating work is slow if not snow plowing. What better reason to have a wood stove then to make up for lost time splitting the free wood I get from jobs and playing with the stove and save on heating bills. Yes I also have ss double liner and feel 100% safe with stove burning slow with cat engaged.
 

Adkjake

Burning Hunk
Jan 3, 2010
220
Adirondack High Peaks
Perfectly understandable. Key is your set up. When I bought the current house, there was a 25+ yo Fisher Mama Bear connected to single wall black stove pipe. Fine stove in its day and worked OK for the first couple of years, but wasn't comfortable filling it up and leaving it for 8 hours. I've since upgraded to a new Hearthstone with all new double wall insulated stainless pipe. No problem let this set up run 24/7
 

Wade A.

Feeling the Heat
Nov 4, 2010
360
South
Fair question....

I work full time, days, but am close enough to the house that I can load during lunch sometimes. Other days, I get it hot before leaving for the day and throw on wood at night when I walk in the door, before doing anything else.

It takes some to grow accustomed to having a 650 degree internal combustion appliance operating while you are gone. You at first will worry that the fire will "run away" from you while you are gone. Or, well, anything at all. Once you begin to learn your stove, that feeling will fade. You're also bound to make a U turn on the way to work someday when you can't say, positively, that you closed the primary air before leaving. Sucks, that. There are techniques for remote monitoring. You can even mount a webcam and watch your fire all day. Me, I'm not so high-tec. I'll put a light wood screw standing on its head next to the needle on the horizontal thermometer. It will show your highest temp while you were gone. After awhile, you don't even need to know that for sure, you just know.
 
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dorkweed

Guest
ploughboy said:
You're also bound to make a U turn on the way to work someday when you can't say, positively, that you closed the primary air before leaving. Sucks, that. .


Heck, I already do that with the coffee pot, stove and bathroom exhaust fan in the AM's now!!!! So I guess it shouldn't be a big deal!!!! Hahahahahaha!!!!!! :)

Thanks a bunch y'all that've posted. Makes me feel even more that I'm making a good choice here.............at least once I get started on this project.!!!
 

pgmr

Feeling the Heat
Jan 14, 2006
403
Central Indiana
I'd rather the house burn down while we're gone than in the middle of the night when we're home.
 

jeff_t

Minister of Fire
Sep 14, 2008
4,202
SE MI
pgmr said:
I'd rather the house burn down while we're gone than in the middle of the night when we're home.
Yep.

However, I installed everything myself. I know it is done right. I have no problem going to sleep.
 
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ScotO

Guest
jeff_t said:
pgmr said:
I'd rather the house burn down while we're gone than in the middle of the night when we're home.
Yep.

However, I installed everything myself. I know it is done right. I have no problem going to sleep.
My sentiments exactly, Jeff......everything on my install was 'overkilled'.........
 
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dorkweed

Guest
jeff_t said:
pgmr said:
I'd rather the house burn down while we're gone than in the middle of the night when we're home.
Yep.

However, I installed everything myself. I know it is done right. I have no problem going to sleep.


I know the feeling, and I plan on doing the same.......with a little help from a Bud of mine that is in the same occupation as I, but was a carpenter in a past life and has built the last 2 houses his family has lived in!!! At least getting thru the roof with the chimney pipe anyhow!!!
 
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WellSeasoned

Guest
I was nervous too for the 1st week, but as I saw how safe the stove is, and with truly seasoned wood, and never walk away with the air control totally open, I know I have nothing to worry about. I think my oil burner gets hotter in its fire box than the wood stove does. The only thing that gets me nervous is when its in the single digits and windy, thats when I have to get up in the middle of the night to reload to keep the heat up, and I'm half asleep. I need to step outside to wake up more, because as we all are, we are less alert when tired and may miss that ember that flew out, or fall asleep with the air open. I have full respect for the stove and everybody in this house is well trained. Good luck. Enough of my ramblin' on. Be well.
 

egclassic

Feeling the Heat
Jan 1, 2011
261
SW Ohio
On my 2nd year burnin wood for heat. I'd be lying if I said I didn't worry about it at first. In fact, when we first got our stove last year, I swore I'd never leave the house while it was burning.
That lasted about two weeks. Lucky for me, the wife leaves for work about an hour after I do. I can't tell you how many times I have called her to make sure I closed the stove door tight, dampered down the air enough (but not too much) or made sure I put the ash pail outside instead of in the garage. I think every body who burns worries from time to time about their stove while their away, they may not admit it, but they do.
 
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ScotO

Guest
reading all these replies I have to laugh because, although we are all different, WE'RE ALL THE SAME....... :lol: every point that has been gone over in this post has been echoed in action at our house. I even find it as a great excuse to get home, say, from the inlaws....."oh, honey!. I bet that fire is gettin low, I only put some soft maple on before we left....we have to go, I gotta stoke that fire...."....hehehe..
 
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dorkweed

Guest
Thank y'all very,very much!!! You've put to rest some of my concerns..............although I'll probably not sleep a wink the first time I try an "over-nighter"!!!!!!!
 
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ScotO

Guest
dorkweed said:
Thank y'all very,very much!!! You've put to rest some of my concerns..............although I'll probably not sleep a wink the first time I try an "over-nighter"!!!!!!!
no, YOU WON'T!.....but after time, tending the stove will be second nature and you will not know how you ever lived without it....
 
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WellSeasoned

Guest
I slept on the couch the first couple nights. That might make it easier... Plus you'll be extra warm.
 

JonP

Member
Jan 13, 2011
12
Central PA
dorkweed said:
Thank y'all very,very much!!! You've put to rest some of my concerns..............although I'll probably not sleep a wink the first time I try an "over-nighter"!!!!!!!
I planned my first overnight burn for a weekend when I wasn't working the next day so I could be available to check it at will without having to worry about having to get up early the next day. Now I am used to the stove's cycle & routine & feel comfortable with it. As a matter of fact I am letting the overnight burn settle in right now while I type this.
 

fox9988

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2012
616
NW Arkansas
I was raised with wood heat and have never considered any other way....that's throwing money out the window in my book. I've been through two house fires, one caused by a box fan, one caused by a chimney failure. I still use box fans and a chimney. I do pay more attention to my chimney and electronics now. I've had trees fall on the house, car wrecks, and chew tobacco.I still love trees ,drive and chew--calculated risk. I don't trust gas and electric furnaces. I don't know have enough experiance with them to know if it's safe by looking at them. I do know my wood stove, since 1991, as long as my chimney doesn't fail, I'm good. Like a furnace, I'd rather be able to stick my head in the chimney to inspect it, but I researched and feel confident that I bought a good product, as long as I do my part to keep it clean. I could use a safer form of heat, drive a Volvo, cut every tree out of my yard, and stop chewing, but that's just not me.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
18,851
Unity/Bangor, Maine
dorkweed said:
For those of y'all that say you burn 24/7................do you have jobs, or work from home, or are retired so you can stay at home and tend your stove???

If you do work away from the house, do you feel safe leaving your stove essentially unattended while no one is around??

Not arguing here, just asking, so don't flame me. Just wanna know how y'all do it if you're away from the house all day.

Thanks!! :coolsmile:
Both my wife and I work . . . one nice thing though (at least for heating purposes) is that we work on opposite schedules so oftentimes I load the fire before I head to work in the morning and when she gets home from working the night shift she will reload it before bed and then load it up again when she wakes up in the afternoon and then I'll take care of the loading in the afternoon . . . and on her days off she will load it during the course of the day . . . and on the weekends I'll take care of the loading . . . it really is a team effort.

It takes a week or two before you feel comfortable sleeping through the night with the stove going . . . and it takes about that long before you feel comfortable getting the fire going and then leaving. The key for me is good, ingrained habits -- I check and re-check my stove setting before leaving the house . . . and I end up getting up 45 minutes early in the winter so I can get the fire established and "settled" in.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
18,851
Unity/Bangor, Maine
dorkweed said:
Thank y'all very,very much!!! You've put to rest some of my concerns..............although I'll probably not sleep a wink the first time I try an "over-nighter"!!!!!!!
Yup . . . you'll most likely sleep on the couch in front of the woodstove and keep waking up every other hour to check the temp and the stove . . . and may even re-load the stove several times so when you wake up the house is about 95 degrees. Just saying . . . ;)
 

firebroad

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2011
1,521
Carroll County, MD
My problem is not that I am afraid of leaving the fire burning overnight or when I am away 11 hours out of the day, but that I can't maintain a burn for that long. Could be that some of my wood is over 20% wet, though I try to use the dry stuff to get started first. (This is my first year). Also might be because I don't load the stove as much, because it is a smaller insert.
I had two occasions that had me scratching my head. I usually clean up the box when I get up, and get everything set for when I get home I can just light it up. Sometimes there are a few hot coals, but they are quickly smothered by the load; this time I must have had a particularly voracious clinker, because as I was getting ready to leave (half hour later), I noticed a waterfall of white smoke pouring down the glass. I made sure the air intake was turned all the way down (it was), and left, assuming it would choke itself out. When I got home, there was a small bed of cold ash remaining. No black coals at all.
The other odd thing was the night I went to bed and woke up in the morning to find the stove still warm with plenty of coals to relight. It was a weekend, so that was great, but I have yet to figure out what I did different that made that burn last so long.
I am hoping that next year the two and a half cords I have seasoning outside will produce a nicer, longer burn and I can stick it to Big Oil in a big way.