Help -- Question, New Ashford Installation

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Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
765
Bellingham, WA
Can you see your cat by looking into the glass upwards?
I can see mine easy. Anyways just wondered if you could see it glowing on the Ashford as well.
I'm the wrong guy to ask. Just ran it for the first time last week and didn't check. It's not running now. Last loaded it on Saturday. I actually have the same question. Maybe someone else will weigh in.
 

firefirefire

Member
Feb 10, 2008
37
Minnesota
Yes you can look up and see the cat glowing on the Ashford very well. The cat can be working fine and not be glowing, but its a lot cooler to watch in the dark when it is.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
765
Bellingham, WA
That's awesome. My glass got really dirty in the short time it was running. Have been thinking of running a razor blade over it but I want to make sure it's safe to do so. Has to be; it's glass for crying out loud. Glass designed to withstand super high temperatures. Am I right?
 

firefirefire

Member
Feb 10, 2008
37
Minnesota
Razor blade is fine. Use a brand new one. I usually will squirt some cleaner on when I do because it makes me feel better about scraping metal across the glass if its lubed.

There are many really good glass cleaners out there designed to break down the creosote. I prefer the conditioning glass cleaner with the pumice but everyone is a little different.

Blaze king reccomends burning the stove good and hot once a day or so to burn up the creosote that has formed inside the firebox and off the glass. Once the weather cools down a bit and you can get some good full days of operating the stove hard you will get a good feel for it. The air wash on the Ashford is pretty good at cleaning the glass up on high burn.
 

Rickb

Minister of Fire
Oct 24, 2012
990
St.Louis
That's awesome. My glass got really dirty in the short time it was running. Have been thinking of running a razor blade over it but I want to make sure it's safe to do so. Has to be; it's glass for crying out loud. Glass designed to withstand super high temperatures. Am I right?
Thats how I clean mine. Razor blade then some ash on a wet paper towel.
 

HotCoals

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2010
3,429
Rochester,Ny.
Yep I do the blade thing now and then. I wipe it off with a wet rag after every pass and only go in one direction and just use the one side.
That's what a glass guy told me to do years ago and I have never had a prob. I also clean up after with wet paper towel dipped in ash if the glass is not hot.
 

BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
Another savings for non-cats. No razor blades to buy. ;lol
 
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HotCoals

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2010
3,429
Rochester,Ny.

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
765
Bellingham, WA
Thanks. Maybe I'll wait until the stove runs a bit more and see if I can burn the glass clean.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,224
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I have tried and failed to burn the glass clean on the bk. This stuff is tough. Razor blades plus rutland cleaer for me but oly every couple of weeks. It's not like there's anything to see in there.
 

Todd

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
9,244
NW Wisconsin
I use to burn my Princess at #2 and she gave a nice flame show with clean glass. Anything under #2 and she'd start to blackening up. Lots of different ways to burn these stoves, you don't always need to fill her up and burn low and slow for 24 hours, half loads at higher settings still give you 12 hours of good heat with cleaner glass.
 

HotCoals

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2010
3,429
Rochester,Ny.
Yep cat or tube stoves can burn clean with just a little more air instead of just relying on the cat or tubes to clean things up.
EPA stoves were designed to help clean the smoke up from people smoldering to much..true story!
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,063
Fairbanks, Alaska
Similar to the OP, my installer told me to run my new Ashford 30 "two or three times with the windows open" over the summer while I could have the windows open.

First burn (half a load of spruce) I had a visible plume of smoke out from under the top plate around the flue collar. Supposedly this is the final curing on the enamel coating, dunno. Second burn (full load of birch) I couldn't smell anything odd but my wife said she could.

I have a new shed under construction in the back yard, I am going to run a third burn with the windows open planning about half a load of kiln dried 2x4 scraps. Keeping the small scrap for kindling, on paper I am going to have a bunch of 14" 2x4 scrap.

Half a load of kiln dried on high thermostat ought to finish curing the darn enamel. Hope it cleans the glass. My second burn was birch at 8% MC per electronic gizmo (split and stacked in 2012), plenty of goop on the glass just now- but the combustor dropped out of active overnight while the second burn was happening.

When I get two burns back to back without the wife smelling anything, I'll try a third with the windows closed and only then I'll let it be until heating season starts.

The manual from BK says the enamel will discolor a little bit in places as the stove heat cycles, after two burns mine (chestnut brown) still looks factory new.

The optional fan kit is a bit louder than I had hoped. It will be inaudible with any of the children home, and no problem down the hall in the bedroom. Curling up in front of the stove with a good book and soft classical on the hi-fi I hope it becomes merely white background noise.

As above i can see my combustor glowing red hot through the glass on the high settings, but it doesn't glow with the thermostat on low.

I wouldn't mind a bit more discussion about keeping the combustor active or not. This is our first catalytic stove. The concensus I think I find in this thread is I need to find a setting that keeps the combustor active, but the thermostat setting required will vary with outdoor temps. My flue/ chimney is 18 feet total, I should be good there.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
765
Bellingham, WA
My wife, like yours, has a very sensitive nose. She wasn't home for the first day. In fact, I called her and she slept at her office that night as there was no way she could have been in the house, even with the windows open. Second day, she came home but stayed upstairs with the windows open. Third day, we got to the point where we could close the windows. Burned it pretty hot and went through a fair bit of wood. As with your stove, I've noticed no discoloration of the enamel. Will leave the rest of your questions for those more knowledgeable.
 

Todd

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
9,244
NW Wisconsin
As above i can see my combustor glowing red hot through the glass on the high settings, but it doesn't glow with the thermostat on low.

I wouldn't mind a bit more discussion about keeping the combustor active or not. This is our first catalytic stove. The concensus I think I find in this thread is I need to find a setting that keeps the combustor active, but the thermostat setting required will vary with outdoor temps. My flue/ chimney is 18 feet total, I should be good there.
Your cat is probably stalling early because of the warm weather. Once the colder temps arrive the chimney will draft much better and you will be able to turn her down much lower and releye on the t-stat to do its thing. Probably best to break in stove with smaller loads at higher settings.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,063
Fairbanks, Alaska
I got the combustor cleaned back up today. Shed constuction as above is going along fine, I started with half a load of kiln dried 2x4, no ink, staples and labels removed. I left the stove on bypass for a good while after the indicator was into the active zone.

After about three hours with the thermostat on high and the combustor active (and many 2x4 scraps later) I felt a huge wave of heat coming off the stove - from way down the hall in another room. Had the living room up to 104dF for a while this afternoon, with all the windows open and a couple fans running.

Once the heat wave started I kept it on the high setting for another hour and then kicked it over to bypass to burn out - this time without caking the combustor back up. See paragraph four, post #114 above. Glass looks a lot better.

I had a tiny bit of visible fume and the very faintest whiff of chemical smell right about the time the combustor got really hot - 3/4 of the way from just barely active to the top of the active zone. This was the third burn.

Next time we have a cool drizzly rainy day I'll try a small load with the windows shut to see if my wife can smell anything.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
765
Bellingham, WA
Congrats on getting it mostly burned off. Ran a small fire here on Saturday when it got briefly cold. The only smell came from the inversion I created when I had trouble getting the fire started and the smoke from burning newspaper spilled into the house.

I'm wondering if it's a good idea to burn 2X4s, even if untreated and kiln dried. I've not put anything but nice dry splits into my Ashford so far. Can anyone speak to this? I've got a bunch of lumber scraps I wouldn't mind trading for BTUs.

Post photos of the shed construction when you can.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,063
Fairbanks, Alaska
I see two factors regarding 2x4s.

One, Moisture content. My electronic moisture gizmo only goes down to 7%. My copy of the Ashford manual specifies wood split and stacked for two years, maximum moisture content 13%. Maximum. Last year we had a really dry summer here, my felled green in April spruce was down to 12% per gizmo in August. I have a small stash of birch split in 2012 that measures 8% MC. 13% MC isn't dry enough to make framing studs or violins, but13% maximum is specifying very very dry wood.

Second, chunk size. My copy of the manual says bigger pieces will burn longer and cooler, smaller pieces and more of them will burn hotter and faster. My copy of the manual does specifically caution against burning "large quantities" of kiln dried lumber - as well as no glue, no plywood, no pressure treated - yada yada yada - the take home implicatin for me is _small quantities_ should be OK.

Think about it. You drop a white pine, you split it, you stack it, you shelter it, you wait three years, you got 7-8% MC pine-differences being you probably split it rather than rip sawing, and your pieces are probably bigger than 2x4s.

If I might expand as well on a point I made above (and risk beating a dead horse in the process) my combustor only glows read when the themostat is on high and the firebox is pretty darn full of birch splits, or about half full of 2x4 scraps arranged in a tee-pee over the coal bed.
 

HotCoals

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2010
3,429
Rochester,Ny.
my combustor only glows read when the themostat is on high
That don't sound right.

After a reload it should glow for hours on low.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
765
Bellingham, WA
I've not noticed mine glowing yet but the chimney shows no smoke at all after a while so the cat must be engaged.
 

HotCoals

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2010
3,429
Rochester,Ny.
I've not noticed mine glowing yet but the chimney shows no smoke at all after a while so the cat must be engaged.
Look get a ir temp gun and shoot diff spots on top the stove. If the cat is doing anything it will be way hotter above it then the rest of the stove top.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
765
Bellingham, WA
Look get a ir temp gun and shoot diff spots on top the stove. If the cat is doing anything it will be way hotter above it then the rest of the stove top.
Good idea but will it work with an Ashford, which has a cast iron shroud over the steel box. I guess maybe if I lift off the top. Or alternatively if I shoot through the window at the cat. Really good idea. I'll try out different variations when it's time to fire up the stove. Will give me something to do with my temp gun. :)
 

HotCoals

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2010
3,429
Rochester,Ny.
Good idea but will it work with an Ashford, which has a cast iron shroud over the steel box. I guess maybe if I lift off the top. Or alternatively if I shoot through the window at the cat. Really good idea. I'll try out different variations when it's time to fire up the stove. Will give me something to do with my temp gun. :)
You mean you have a temp gun and have not tried that yet? lol
Even with the cast outer shell the temp of it still should be higher above the cat.

Shooting through the glass will not give you the temp of the cat though.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
765
Bellingham, WA
I've used it plenty but not on the stove. Didn't even think to do that. Look forward to turning it loose on the stove. Now when will Fall get here already?
 
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