First year heating with a Jotul 602CB v2 - a newbie experience

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djlew

New Member
Nov 3, 2023
57
New Jersey
Hi all, I am a new member here and wanted to preface with saying that everybody's experiences, advice and knowledge has been a tremendous help to me this season and will help me as the weather gets colder. Last year, I purchased a Jotul 602 from a local stove dealer/installer after some consideration of larger stoves and different manufacturers. The sales rep told me that a bigger stove would really cook us where our stove was stationed and I am inclined to agree, this stove really puts out a lot of heat especially when you use it correctly! Emphasis is key. I feel like I have used this stove incorrectly in the past (I purchased the stove last year, but this is the first year of true winter use), so I wanted to post this as an introduction post but also a post of experience using a small stove to attempt to heat an almost 2100 square foot home.

When I say I feel like I have used this stove incorrectly in the past, I admit I read the manual, but with such a novice's mind a lot of the content doesn't make much sense. Research is key with this type of equipment, so I applaud anybody who comes to these forums before even purchasing a piece of equipment like a wood stove. Just for a bit of context, my area does not get gas heat, and an electric heat pump does not do the job in sub 35 degree weather. I bought a cord of wood from a local guy and he claimed it was semi seasoned. After a bit of time with unsuccessful fires, I decided to get a meter to measure the amount of moisture content in the wood. A lot of it was above 25% moisture content, but some of it was burnable. That was lesson number one. Lesson number two was understanding how to work the stove. Even reading the manual, if you don't understand the science behind a good fire, you're in trouble. After learning the proper way to use the air controls, proper wood size, etc. I have had a lot of success heating most of my house with this stove.

My house has a generally open floor plan, with the exception of the primary bedroom. I have been considering an inline fan to circulate air from the living room into the bedroom to assist in heating. I have yet to convince my fiance that it's a good solution, but who knows, maybe with some good comments on success from the forum it'll change her mind!

Anyway, please to meet you all and I am looking forward to learning a lot!
 
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Welcome. It's the little stove that could but 2100 sq ft is a lot to heat with it. How large of an area in the house is the stove actually heating?

It's rare to find fully seasoned wood for sale. Many have been burned at one time or another by a wood seller claiming the firewood seasoned.
 
Thank you! In fact, your building fires thread really helped me out so thank you for that. Especially with your air control technique. I really should post pics, but the vast majority of the house is heated by the stove. Probably 400-500 sqft left not heated which is a lot but in comparison is one room we have left to heat.

My firewood guy this year says he has seasoned stuff. 200 USD per cord, even if it's semi seasoned I am not complaining at the price. Doing a lot of work on the woodshed this year so I should really post some pics.

Thanks again!
 
Seasoned for many wood sellers means it was cut earlier in the year and split last week. Buy next year's wood now. Your house is much better sealed and insulated than ours. The old 602 was only good for mild weather. Our stove now is over 3 times as large.
 
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The 602 is a great little heater! I’m impressed you’re heating that much house with it. I really like mine but I needed longer burn times so switched it out for a F45. I was heating about 1000sq ft log cabin with the 602 in N Wis easily with it but when it really gets cold it needed to be fed every 4 hours or so. Now it’s heating my work shop.
 
That's for sure. I feel like it's more of an issue for people who are trying to get a good wood pile established. I'm lucky to have a good pile and can just supplement when needed. Also, a ton of fuel right in my front yard! That's another reason I went with a wood stove instead of pellet or propane or something else.

And thanks Todd! It's definitely tough to heat the majority of the house, but it's better than over 500 dollar electricity bills trying to heat electric!! I agree with the burn times, it does take a little nursing of the fire but I can get a solid 4 hours consistently I feel like. Blast the heat and when it dies down hopefully it doesn't drop below 65F!
 
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I'd like to second the thank-you for the help that this forum has been for building an understanding of correct stove usage, the importance of dry wood and much else besides.

I think when you are starting out the manual doesn't really resonate, because you don't have the context to really assimilate the critical information. I think you have to start with good intentions and learn as you go--as with many things we try to master.

Nice to see another Jotul fan pop up too!
 
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I think that's a great way to put it! One thing I noticed about the Jotul 602 manual in particular is they kind of put things in layman's terms while not exactly teaching specific fire science. Not their job or problem type thing maybe? Lol.

And absolutely, such a unique looking little stove and a rich company history that I find interesting!
 
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You can get a 7-8 hour burn time out of the 602 CB I know I could. Not sure on the the new V2? Still that only works during the shoulder seasons and there is really not much heat coming off the stove after 5 hours. I found if I raked all the coals forward and packing the stove tight with 4 perfect sized splits can give you the best burn times. Monitoring the flue temps is a must, the stove is an easy breather and takes off fast. With a decent coal bed reload I was shutting down the air within 5-10 min.
 
Yes, burn time is misleading, some coals glowing below an ash bed are not heating much. What is important is the period of meaningful heat. Typically this is the time between the stove getting up to 250 or 300º and the time it cools back down to that temp. That's typically 4 hrs or less in this size firebox.
 
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Absolutely, this stove takes off. I read a thread about how these double insulated flue pipes don't read proper temps with a regular magnet mounted thermometer provided by the installer. So I'm thinking my flue temps are lower than they are. I really need to look into a probe thermometer it sounds like. I don't want to drill in the pipes, so will probably have to ask the dealer.
 
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Yes, a probe thermometer is needed for double-wall stove pipe. The surface thermometer can be used on the stove top. If it has burn ranges, make sure they are for stovetop reading. If not, just go by the temperature reading.
 
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Good call, at least in the meantime that is better than nothing just to get a temperature reading at all. I also did a lot of work yesterday. Picked up that cord of wood and tried my best to stack in my wood shed. Also got a nice haul from a neighbor, going to be some of next year's wood.

https://www.hearth.com/talk/media/2023-wood-shed.2892/
Not terribly bad wood. Took a sample to measure with the hydrometer and most of it was between 10-15 percent.

https://www.hearth.com/talk/media/a-nice-haul-from-a-neighbor.2893/
These guys were fresh cut. Going to use some for a chopping block and maybe make some stuff out of this once it's dryer.

Didn't want to double post and attach the files here as well. I'm still learning forum etiquette!
 
Well, first attempt at a true overnight burn and some interesting lessons learned. I had the stove going pretty good, clean burn. I decide it's time for bed. A nice hot bed of coals, I load up and shut the door. Air is off at this point. Boom, surface temps up to 750F. I start to panic a bit and get the stove down in temp. Probably some rookie mistakes here... I'm wondering if I should have waited a bit before loading up and perhaps the stove was too hot to load on to begin with. I don't even think I checked the surface temp prior to loading up, which was probably a mistake. If I had to guess it was probably between 400 and 500. Is it generally good practice to get the stove down in temp a bit before loading up for an overnight burn? Perhaps some better air control could have solved my problem too.

Thanks again for all of the advice, this is really helping as the weather gets colder. Hit 25F last night!
 
Yeah loading up on a big coal bed can cause all the wood to off gas at once that’s why I’ll rake the coals forward and burn them down for a bit before reloading. Where do you take the temp?
 
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How quick did you get the air turned down after reloading?

(Don’t sweat it, we’ve all reloaded too quickly, lol. Try not to make a habit of it!)
 
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I have been trying that tip since you mentioned it, Todd, and so far I do seem to notice a bit of a difference. I take the surface temp right next to the cook plate. Manual is extremely vague on that topic lol.

And after the reload, I think I reloaded on air about half, and after a couple minutes turned it down, so probably too soon! Seems like I definitely just reloaded too quickly. I'll have to try again and not count out overnight burns. Woke up to a 58F house yesterday!

Thank you both for the tips!
 
It’ll take some trial and error figuring the stove out. Sometimes when I knew I had strong draft and a good coal bed I would shut her down immediately after reloading.

If you have a tall chimney you may want to look into a pipe damper to help slow down the draft. I noticed a difference when I went from having the stove in my cabin on a 22’ straight chimney to my workshops 14’ chimney.
 
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Thanks Todd! It's a tall chimney. That's a good suggestion, maybe I can look into that as well with the probe thermometer. I find myself falling into the classic case of feeling like I constantly have to babysit this thing. I want to break that habit!
 
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Well everybody, thanks to the amazing pieces of advice I got from this forum, I feel like I am one step closer to a successful overnight burn. Since my last post on Tuesday, that night I attempted to reload for an overnight when stove top temp was about 325F. Gave it a bit, let it get going, turned the air down after a good 5 to 10 mins, I went to bed. I woke up at around 1am, figured "hey, I'm up, let's check the fire", and there you have it... from about 930pm to 1am, I ended up with a decent bed of coals and a still warm stove that allowed me to relatively easily continue a fire! I was working with 1am brain, so by the time I got up actually in the morning it had died out but hey, progress!

Fast forward to last night - I had a fire going pretty much all day. Basically the same reload procedure as above, and after a 2 hour time away from the house I came home still to a bed of coals around dinner time. I expected as much, I know 4 hours isn't too hard with this thing even to my surprise in the above paragraph. I keep the fire going up until bed time. I try the same method as above, but with a little more aggressive loading. A good amount of oak here, so most of my load is some type of oak. Same thing, I let it catch, give it a bit and turn the air down and head to bed. This time, I don't wake up at 1am and sleep straight through to approximately 6am. I decide what the heck, let's see the fire, and there it was: after raking the bed of ash around, a surprising amount of coals that could easily restart a fire with a little attention. The stove was still warm too!

Truthfully, I did not expect this. I followed a lot of advice here and certainly it has paid off. It's funny to get excited, but after working on something for so long and finally seeing some progress, it feels good! We have some warm days coming, so no fire until Saturday I think, but I am excited to really go for a true overnight burn with this little stove. I feel like it's definitely possible.

Thanks again everybody! I am looking forward to my next update being a true and successful overnight burn.
 
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Nice job! One other thing that may not of been mentioned is to leave a good bed of ash in the stove, don’t remove all of it, this helps insulate the coals.
 
Thanks again Todd! Raking the coals up to the front (which funny enough, is in the manual for the stove and I must have missed it), and proper temp control along with air control made such a huge difference. Leaving a bit of ash was a tip I actually ended up learning early on before getting the stove! This is the first time I noticed that tip at work, though. It really insulated those coals, what a difference!

Edit to avoid double posting: My next endeavor is going to be splitting the rest of my wood with my Harbor Freight electric splitter. Maybe some folks have some insight on this, but a lot of my wood is longer than 16 inches, and really, I want it a bit shorter to be able to fit more in the stove. I need to find a good trick to cut down these pieces that are already split from rounds, but too long to just split and throw them in the stove. I feel like a chainsaw would be too much of a hassle to try to cut off a few inches of these splits. I'll have to do some research.
 
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I just got a Jotul F45 myself and am having that same problem. I load it up on a bed of hot coals, wait until it gets going good (10 min) and then shut it down all the way. The wood really gets going, surface temp shoots up to 600, and I figure there is no way that is going to last through the night. It doesn't, however, there is a huge bed of red hot coals that easily starts a new fire with new logs placed on it. Not sure how to get a more even burn through the night, as if I really load it up with wood, I am sure it would go over the safe temperature range? I've tried stopping air flow down right after I load it, but it still seems to burn too fast. Gasket seal on door is fine. Any ideas, or is this normal with this stove.
 
I just got a Jotul F45 myself and am having that same problem. I load it up on a bed of hot coals, wait until it gets going good (10 min) and then shut it down all the way. The wood really gets going, surface temp shoots up to 600, and I figure there is no way that is going to last through the night. It doesn't, however, there is a huge bed of red hot coals that easily starts a new fire with new logs placed on it. Not sure how to get a more even burn through the night, as if I really load it up with wood, I am sure it would go over the safe temperature range? I've tried stopping air flow down right after I load it, but it still seems to burn too fast. Gasket seal on door is fine. Any ideas, or is this normal with this stove.
How tall is your chimney? Maybe to strong of draft, if so maybe a pipe damper would help. Another thing that may help is blocking the unrestricted boost air from the two holes in the doghouse in the lower front firebox.
 
How tall is your chimney? Maybe to strong of draft, if so maybe a pipe damper would help. Another thing that may help is blocking the unrestricted boost air from the two holes in the doghouse in the lower front firebox.
I appreciate that advice! It's a pretty tall chimney, I'd have to get the specific length of pipe but I have high vaulted ceilings, all that good stuff. I feel like the draft is too strong, you're right. I actually ran into a runaway last night that was scary. I feel like I burnt off all the crud in the chimney, lol. Had embers coming out of the top, seemed like a minor chimney fire. I am going to have to reevaluate and get somebody out to check things out.

Thanks again all!