First Steel stove-What do I *need* to know?

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Nov 23, 2021
13
Vermont
Just bought a US stove 2,000 sq. foot STEEL stove. Prior we had a tiny little Hearthstone iii, which was gorgeous but not big enough.
How hot is this bad boy going to burn? This is a 90 year old 1850 sq. foot Vermont road side farm house pieced together with various additions...which we have blown, sprayed, and stuffed with all types of insulation.

The room the stove sits in has low ceilings, and I need to dispense heat upstairs up a tiny staircase and through various other rooms downstairs. I plan to get a stove top fan and have 2 other very small box fans already mounted from last year.

We have some kiln wood that is insanely dry that we mix with some other stuff because it burned insanely hot even in the tiny stove.

Any other tips or tricks to disperse the heat as much as possible are welcome! Final (likely dumb) question: Can I use my cast iron and cook on the top or will it be way too hot....? Sorry, I have zero experience to date with steel.
 

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
You can cook on it.

Stove temp depends on how hot you need to run it. Let’s throw 550-650F out as a target. You may need it hotter or colder.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
926
NW Wisconsin
It's going to run where it likes to. Some run hot and some run cooler. Our steel stove regularly hits 800-1000 on the top. Stuff cooks real fast when it's that hot. Some run in the mid hundreds.
 

Todd

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
9,791
NW Wisconsin
It's going to run where it likes to. Some run hot and some run cooler. Our steel stove regularly hits 800-1000 on the top. Stuff cooks real fast when it's that hot. Some run in the mid hundreds.
That sounds too hot! I think hitting 800 once in awhile is ok but hitting 1000 stove top temp is in glowing red territory. Do you monitor flue temps?
 
Nov 23, 2021
13
Vermont
Thanks for the replies-

The Hearthstone iii felt hot as hell in the room where we have it at 500. Other side room not so much. I would not run it hotter because it was old. However it was a small stove and this is northern VT where it gets -20 in January which is why I went larger and need to get a blower. I am looking forward to getting to know this new stove and hoping I can find a good balance. I'm expecting it to cool off faster but again I'm sure I will get to know it in time....
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA
It's going to run where it likes to. Some run hot and some run cooler. Our steel stove regularly hits 800-1000 on the top. Stuff cooks real fast when it's that hot. Some run in the mid hundreds.
This is too hot. It could be that the draft is too strong or that the air is not being shut down quickly enough. Normal stovetop temp should be in the 400-700º range with 600º being somewhat average.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA
Thanks for the replies-

The Hearthstone iii felt hot as hell in the room where we have it at 500. Other side room not so much. I would not run it hotter because it was old. However it was a small stove and this is northern VT where it gets -20 in January which is why I went larger and need to get a blower. I am looking forward to getting to know this new stove and hoping I can find a good balance. I'm expecting it to cool off faster but again I'm sure I will get to know it in time....
In general, moving air from the cooler parts of the house to the hot room is the most efficient. Box fans, set on the floor, and running on low speed are pretty good for this.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
926
NW Wisconsin
That sounds too hot! I think hitting 800 once in awhile is ok but hitting 1000 stove top temp is in glowing red territory. Do you monitor flue temps?
Flue temps are 350-400°F. It's neat to watch the colors spread on a freshly sanded top. It starts with a circle of yellow, purple, and blue, and then they spread out and the center turns grey. It's a big cook stove.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
926
NW Wisconsin
The firebox is on the left and the oven is on the right. The left side runs HOT. The right side is a bit cooler.
We have a rutland magnetic temp gauge. It agrees with the laser temp gun. If we run it much cooler, the creosote builds up, so it should be pretty accurate. I love to watch the chimney when it's below zero because the flue gas turns to steam and it looks like a locomotive puffing away, with the steam fading off after about 20 feet. No smoke.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, running a cookstove is very different from running a wood stove. There is a lot of cooling of the flue gases when they are routed around the oven chamber. A surface flue temp of 350-400º indicates a flue gas temp of 700-800º. No worry of creosote buildup at those temps. Based on those readings it sounds like the stove could be run a bit cooler without consequence if that is possible. This might extend its lifespan.

@coaly does your KQ run at these temps too?
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
926
NW Wisconsin
I don't think the flue gasses are that hot. I can touch the pipe quickly with my hand. The gasses have to travel about 4-7 feet to get to the pipe(oven off/on), and another 5 feet through the pipe. The right side of the stove runs around 450-500°. I can see secondaries rolling in the firebox if I crack the lid open on a hot burn.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA
Well, it's possible the thermometer is in error, touching a 350-400º pipe will burn you.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
926
NW Wisconsin
I can't keep my hand on it, but a very quick touch, like a tap, won't. The thermometer will run up to 800 on startup or a reload if we leave the bypass open.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA
800º = 1600º internal flue temp. The pipe would be glowing cherry red at that temp. I suspect the thermometer may be optimistic.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
926
NW Wisconsin
Or perhaps it is calibrated to show the internal temp. I know that when it says 150, it really is 150 inside.
 

coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
4,668
NE PA
Yes, running a cookstove is very different from running a wood stove. There is a lot of cooling of the flue gases when they are routed around the oven chamber. A surface flue temp of 350-400º indicates a flue gas temp of 700-800º. No worry of creosote buildup at those temps. Based on those readings it sounds like the stove could be run a bit cooler without consequence if that is possible. This might extend its lifespan.

@coaly does your KQ run at these temps too?
No, we average 500 cooktop over firebox for cooking. On start up we close the bypass directly into chimney around 300 pipe surface temp. Close thermostat at 350 and crack air to maintain. More than that overheats house just under 2000 sf. We only fill over 1/2 during colder nights single digits and below.

Removing lid over firebox for cooking is only for high heat. If oil in pan starts to smoke, slide pan to right and replace lid before pan is too hot. That’s what is nice about a cookstove with removable lids. A hotter stove top is not needed to cook.

We only open thermostat for starting and reloads. We don’t circulate around oven below 300 pipe temp. Opening thermostat with oven on increases oven temp that pretty much corresponds to pipe surface temp.

I clean mid season to find it really wasn’t necessary, and say next year I’m waiting to season end, but never do just for piece of mind burning lower in spring, possibly building up more.

The KQ always has a certain amount of circulation around oven. There is nothing to prevent exhaust from going sideways from fire around oven other than physics taking the easiest path to chimney. When you close the oven bypass, it forces the path sideways off fire, under oven, up the side and across top to chimney outlet. If we didn’t have easy access to the rear oven clean-out, I would be more concerned burning hotter all the time. I scrape light powder from around oven monthly removing a quart container full or more.
 
Nov 23, 2021
13
Vermont
In general, moving air from the cooler parts of the house to the hot room is the most efficient. Box fans, set on the floor, and running on low speed are pretty good for this.
So I think I am in love with steel! Now that I've done the initial burns and stink burn off, this is really the perfect size for my house. I appreciate the comment about moving cool air into the hot room vs. the other way around. Brilliant and probably obvious to many but was not to me, as this will be significant in my many-additions-added-since-1930's home. Ceilings are very low in the main stove room (barely 7 feet not quite) so heat does get kind of trapped. I'm going to order the blower as well. This is the US Steel $799 model from Tractor Supply and honestly I like it better than the $3K Hearthstone.......
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA
No, we average 500 cooktop over firebox for cooking. On start up we close the bypass directly into chimney around 300 pipe surface temp. Close thermostat at 350 and crack air to maintain. More than that overheats house just under 2000 sf. We only fill over 1/2 during colder nights single digits and below.

Removing lid over firebox for cooking is only for high heat. If oil in pan starts to smoke, slide pan to right and replace lid before pan is too hot. That’s what is nice about a cookstove with removable lids. A hotter stove top is not needed to cook.

We only open thermostat for starting and reloads. We don’t circulate around oven below 300 pipe temp. Opening thermostat with oven on increases oven temp that pretty much corresponds to pipe surface temp.

I clean mid season to find it really wasn’t necessary, and say next year I’m waiting to season end, but never do just for piece of mind burning lower in spring, possibly building up more.

The KQ always has a certain amount of circulation around oven. There is nothing to prevent exhaust from going sideways from fire around oven other than physics taking the easiest path to chimney. When you close the oven bypass, it forces the path sideways off fire, under oven, up the side and across top to chimney outlet. If we didn’t have easy access to the rear oven clean-out, I would be more concerned burning hotter all the time. I scrape light powder from around oven monthly removing a quart container full or more.
It's been decades, but that was more like what I remember running my turn-of-the-century cook stove. Running hotter is sending too much heat up the flue.