Faster reloads with less smoke

ericm979

New Member
Nov 2, 2018
1
California
Hi, I'm using a Flame Monaco zero clearance that was installed last spring. This is my first year seriously burning wood. I'm burning Madrone and Tan Oak that I split last winter and had out in the sun all summer. I've got Doug Fir too. I realize that two year old wood would be better but this is what I have.

I've got my cold starts going well with not much smoke, but I'm worried about the amount of smoke (and crud on the door glass) when I reload. It takes 5-10 minutes to get good flames after I reload, and 20 before I can turn the air down. I've been putting larger splits of Madrone on the coals after raking them forwards like the manual suggests. Should I put some kindling or Fir down first to get the flames going quicker? Or are my restart times normal and maybe my wood could be a little drier?
 

mar13

Member
Nov 5, 2018
184
Humboldt coast, California
The common advice around this forum is to try manufactured fire logs (woodstove safe) to see if you get the same results. Reading your wood varieties, I suspect you are in NW California. Sis-q-logs are local option in northern California. You can check out their website for find where you can purchase.
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,436
Central Mass
The fir should be seasoned, try a load with just fir and see what your results are, the madrone may be a bit moist.
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,124
Southeast CT
Hi, I'm using a Flame Monaco zero clearance that was installed last spring. This is my first year seriously burning wood. I'm burning Madrone and Tan Oak that I split last winter and had out in the sun all summer. I've got Doug Fir too. I realize that two year old wood would be better but this is what I have.

I've got my cold starts going well with not much smoke, but I'm worried about the amount of smoke (and crud on the door glass) when I reload. It takes 5-10 minutes to get good flames after I reload, and 20 before I can turn the air down. I've been putting larger splits of Madrone on the coals after raking them forwards like the manual suggests. Should I put some kindling or Fir down first to get the flames going quicker? Or are my restart times normal and maybe my wood could be a little drier?
The timeframe you provide for the fire to get going after reload seems pretty normal to me for a woodstove anyway. I’m not sure if a ZC fireplace would be expected to light up faster or not.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,651
South Puget Sound, WA
The fir should be seasoned, try a load with just fir and see what your results are, the madrone may be a bit moist.
Yes, madrone takes a couple years to dry. It will burn after a year, but not as well as when fully seasoned.
 

BigFir

Burning Hunk
Sep 22, 2015
196
Kamloops BC
"Crud" on the door glass is an indicator of moist wood. The fir would be driest of the 3. Try the suggestions above before anything else.
Also, if you are getting smoke, perhaps your draft has been compromised by creosote build up? Are you able to look up or down the chimney?