England 28-3500 - Low Heat Issue

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Shearerhollow

New Member
Feb 28, 2021
7
Massachusetts
Hoping someone might be able to help. I am new to wood furnaces entirely. Just got a England 28-3500 for my shop - no ductwork, just to dump the heat out into the room.

I can’t seem to get the fire burning hot. I have a thermometer about 12”up the pipe. It’s is topping out at about 250 degrees. When I open the ash door, it skyrockets into over fire. Wondering what might be the issue?

have the top damper slid all the way to the left, bottom opened all the way, and the baffle is slid all the way to the back.

thanks in advance for any help.

image.jpg
 

spitfire557

Member
Jan 29, 2019
62
PA
Obvious question is if your firewood is properly seasoned. My 28-3500 absolutely hates anything above 20% moisture content. The stove is a nightmare to operate without good, dry wood.

Have you had your chimney swept recently or is it a new install? I'd want to make sure there's no blockage causing draft issues.

Other than that, I wonder if the upper damper lever may be broken or malfunctioning somehow. Do you notice a change in the fire when you slide that upper damper all the way to the right? My 28-3500 seems happiest when flu temps are about 375*
 

Shearerhollow

New Member
Feb 28, 2021
7
Massachusetts
Obvious question is if your firewood is properly seasoned. My 28-3500 absolutely hates anything above 20% moisture content. The stove is a nightmare to operate without good, dry wood.

Have you had your chimney swept recently or is it a new install? I'd want to make sure there's no blockage causing draft issues.

Other than that, I wonder if the upper damper lever may be broken or malfunctioning somehow. Do you notice a change in the fire when you slide that upper damper all the way to the right? My 28-3500 seems happiest when flu temps are about 375*
I am operating w/ maple & birch that was cut in 4 foot lengths, seasoned for 1 year, then recently cut into 16" pieces. It does hiss slightly when burning - so it likely still has some moisture. I unfortunately don't have an alternative at this point for wood. Am I just doomed to have cold burning fire for the remainder of this winter?

Chimney should be fine - it's just a straight piece of stove pipe that is about 14' long. It is new this year.

As for damper - sliding to the right does seem to slow the burn. So it seems like it's working ok.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,278
NE Ohio
Chimney should be fine - it's just a straight piece of stove pipe that is about 14' long
15' height is usually considered minimum height on most models...not that you are far off, but its not helping.
I am operating w/ maple & birch that was cut in 4 foot lengths, seasoned for 1 year, then recently cut into 16" pieces. It does hiss slightly when burning - so it likely still has some moisture.
There it is, you have wet wood...it really dries VERY little until its cut to length and split...then it needs 2-3 years to dry while stacked and top covered (open sides)...THEN, you will make some heat!
 

Shearerhollow

New Member
Feb 28, 2021
7
Massachusetts
15' height is usually considered minimum height on most models...not that you are far off, but its not helping.

There it is, you have wet wood...it really dries VERY little until its cut to length and split...then it needs 2-3 years to dry while stacked and top covered (open sides)...THEN, you will make some heat!
Understood - I'll see if I can't get my hands on some well-seasoned wood for the remainder of the year. Curious if you all have a perspective on another dynamic I'm trying to figure out.

As pictured, the stove is in my shop w/ no ductwork - just blowing heat into room. My shop is split into two rooms by a large barn sliding door. Usually, I have the door closed so I'm heating a smaller space. When this is the case - this stove burning at full heat and blowing into the room is going to be too hot.

My plan is to utilize the blower early in the morning to heat the shop up quickly - then unplug the unit and use it as a radiant heat source throughout the day so it doesn't get excessively hot in here. Does anyone have a perspective on whether operating the unit this way is problematic?
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,278
NE Ohio
I'll see if I can't get my hands on some well-seasoned wood for the remainder of the year
Can you round up some pallets? They are usually pretty dry, and can be processed up into firewood sized pieces in about 2 minutes per pallet with a circular saw, once you get a system down. (ashes will have nails then though) You can find piles of pallets behind many stores and they will often times let you have them, always ask first though...some send the better ones back, some places already have an agreement with someone that picks them up to be re-used.
You can load up 50/50 loads of firewood and pallet wood...that will help you get a better fire going...and don't restrict the air too much, that will just further gunk up your chimney...you want to burn hot running that wet wood.
My plan is to utilize the blower early in the morning to heat the shop up quickly - then unplug the unit and use it as a radiant heat source throughout the day so it doesn't get excessively hot in here. Does anyone have a perspective on whether operating the unit this way is problematic?
I would put a tee in your duct pipe to this room with 2 dampers, one in the pipe going to this room, 1 in the side open to the main part of the building...when the shop room gets warm enough, close the damper to the shop, and open the other damper to dump some (all?) of the heat to the larger part of the building, leaving the fan run...and if you wanted too, you could even use auto dampers, wire them to be operated via thermostat ::-)
 
Last edited:

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,636
WI, Leroy
Your furnace which is loosely based on the NC30 stove Or whatever number the new one is will function best with wood dried to apx 12-18%- 15% being the magic area. Over 18% you will get a cold fire, fully 2/3 of the btu's will be expended drying out the fuel. I have the 30 stove heating 2200 sqft a friend has the same furnace as you heating a 2000 sqft 2 story home. ( this his second one as he had the original version for many years) generally we are both about 3+ years ahead on fuel ( i do have to get my backside in gear this spring though as I have fallen behind- medical issues- which is another reason to get ahead)
 

Shearerhollow

New Member
Feb 28, 2021
7
Massachusetts
Can you round up some pallets? They are usually pretty dry, and can be processed up into firewood sized pieces in about 2 minutes per pallet with a circular saw, once you get a system down. (ashes will have nails then though) You can find piles of pallets behind many stores and they will often times let you have them, always ask first though...some send the better ones back, some places already have an agreement with someone that picks them up to be re-used.
You can load up 50/50 loads of firewood and pallet wood...that will help you get a better fire going...and don't restrict the air too much, that will just further gunk up your chimney...you want to burn hot running that wet wood.

I would put a tee in your duct pipe to this room with 2 dampers, one in the pipe going to this room, 1 in the side open to the main part of the building...when the shop room gets warm enough, close the damper to the shop, and open the other damper to dump some (all?) of the heat to the larger part of the building, leaving the fan run...and if you wanted too, you could even use auto dampers, wire them to be operated via thermostat ::-)
These are awesome ideas and I will implement the pallet wood immediately - as for the ducting, I'll likely undertake that this summer. Do you happen to know if there is any problem that could arise from operating the unit unplugged in the meantime?
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,278
NE Ohio
Your furnace which is loosely based on the NC30 stove
You are thinking of the 28-4000...the 28-3500 doesn't have secondary air tubes like the NC30 and the 28-4000 did.
Everything else applies though ==c
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,278
NE Ohio
These are awesome ideas and I will implement the pallet wood immediately - as for the ducting, I'll likely undertake that this summer. Do you happen to know if there is any problem that could arise from operating the unit unplugged in the meantime?
Sometimes you even find pallets that are hardwood! (Oak) Those sometimes might not be quite as dry though...
It may be ok not running the fan...but keep in mind the firebox relies on air flow coming through the air jacket to cool itself...if you were going to unplug the fan I'd not do it when there's a rippin fire going...especially if you have long/flat duct pipe(s)...if it is too long/flat, it will not allow for good gravity air flow with the fan off (hot air rises n all)...if the pipe is not terribly long, and has some rise on the run, then you should get enough(ish) air flow to not overheat things as long as the fire is not too big.
 

Shearerhollow

New Member
Feb 28, 2021
7
Massachusetts
Sometimes you even find pallets that are hardwood! (Oak) Those sometimes might not be quite as dry though...
It may be ok not running the fan...but keep in mind the firebox relies on air flow coming through the air jacket to cool itself...if you were going to unplug the fan I'd not do it when there's a rippin fire going...especially if you have long/flat duct pipe(s)...if it is too long/flat, it will not allow for good gravity air flow with the fan off (hot air rises n all)...if the pipe is not terribly long, and has some rise on the run, then you should get enough(ish) air flow to not overheat things as long as the fire is not too big.
So if I have no ducting at at all (blower is just dumping into the room) it shouldn't be a problem provided it's not a ripping fire?
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,278
NE Ohio
So if I have no ducting at at all (blower is just dumping into the room) it shouldn't be a problem provided it's not a ripping fire?
Probably not...you might consider monitoring the air temp coming out though (probe type meat thermometer would work) at least at first, make sure its not too hot...I personally wouldn't want to see it much over 200*...normally with the fan on you'll probably see more like 120-150*
 

mustash29

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2012
701
SE CT
The furnace is basically a wood stove with a tin jacket around 5 sides of it. If the blower is screwed onto the air intake on the lower rear and left turned off it will naturally draft heat out of the 8" hot air outlet just fine. Blower off just means the jacket temps will be hotter, which means the furnace itself will be hotter, which will help it to burn cleaner. If you are worried about overheating the unit then just set the blower thermostat to a high setting so it cycles on once in a while.

Here's my install from a while ago. Some of the pics may not work but there is a lot of info in there about extra bricks in the fire box and a floor plate to help hold the colds from falling into the ash pan so easily.

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