How long does it take to get your fire settled?

  • Active since 1995, is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.


New Member
Mar 28, 2022
I'm getting started with my 2nd full
season burning, and I'm still figuring things out. My most consistent struggle is getting the stove "set" for an overnight burn. By "set", I mean getting the stove hot, and then the fire backed down to a point that it's not going to run away and overheat the stove while I'm sleeping, but it also doesn't get choked out.

One tendency I've noticed is that as I'm closing the air supply down, it's like the fire itself gets to be more efficient with the lack of air supply the longer I leave it. I've watched a slow fire for up to 20 or 30 minutes, and just as I'm about to go to bed the flame will brighten and start increasking the stove top temperature, so then I lower the air a bit more.

The problem is it's not like I can just get he fire ripping and then cut the air supply all the way down to it's final setting (or even close to it). This reliably snuffs the fire out. It's got to be a slow process that can take up to 2 hours. So if I'm after a 10 hour burn, I've got to spend the first 2 hours of that settling the fire in. It really takes that long!

Is this normal?
Last edited:
It can be. Each time you load the stove it's different and some loads are more difficult than others. Some think wood burning is a science, I think there's an awful lot of art to it.

For nighttime burning, or when I have to set the fire and leave I dont let the fire get to a point where I think its going to get away from me.

I start turning the air down when the flames reliably lick the top of the firebox. When they build up again I turn it down a bit more. I do this until I get the stove set where I want it. Every once in a while I turn it down a bit too fast and stall it. The stove goes dark. I have to start over.

This normally takes 30 minutes or so, but when I get ahead of myself and stall it it can take much longer. It all depends on what temp the stove starts at on the reload, flue temp, species of wood, outside temperature, wind, my patience that day, and all sorts of incidentals I haven't worked out yet. Some nights I could probably be convinced if I'd worn different color socks that day the stove would be more apt to behave the way I wanted it to. A more than slight exaggeration, but it gets the idea across, lol.
  • Like
Reactions: mpaul
Yeah i think about 30 minutes here too. The key for my set up is also not to stall it, and have to start over again. I err on letting it burn hot longer vs. slowing it down to quickly. My draft is on the weaker side vs strong tall chimney draft so this plays into the slow adjustments.
Watching internal flue temps is key for me. I have the air fully shut down in 10-20 minutes after reloading.
Is this for the Heco cooking stove? Did you install a damper in the stove pipe?
Yes it is. I have two key dampers in the pipe. There have been nights I'll need both almost fully closed to keep the fire under control. My normal procesure is to set them both at 45* opposing angles and go from there, but thats the standard setting. I sometimes wonder if I should put a third in. But, I have a 25' flue straight up from the stove, and my house sits on the crest of a hill over a large pond... my draft is very certainly far above average.
My 30 minute estimate was from a cold start. Reload can be 5-20 minutes, Depends on how much air space is between splits.
  • Like
Reactions: dafattkidd
Since my Vista is small I don’t get an overnight burn. From cold start to cruising is about 20-30 min. I lower the air control in increments. I have a tall chimney so really cold nights I have shut the air all the way down with a strong draft.
30-45 for me in my Englander 30NC. For my current wood stash it's just where the fire leaves the wood and then sets back on it if that makes sense. I use an Auber instruments all that goe off when pipe temp hits 425 surface if I get busy and forget.
I also lower the air progressively, over the 30 minutes to an hour after starting it up. But I have never really tried to get overnight burns, and only put in enough wood for the next few hours, during the daytime when I'm in the basement doing other things. I'm only recently getting into more than "leisure" fires and will start burning logs, whereas up until now I was burning faster burning wood like pallets, etc. It will be a learning process, and I'll be reading up threads about this on the forum.
15 mins 20 tops. If I can't do it that fast there is something wrong with the setup or fuel.
Yes it is. I have two key dampers in the pipe.

Modern stoves should not need dampers in the stove pipe. Indeed, using them can cause multiple detrimental issues conflicting with the stove designed.

I also quote from the Heco user manual:

17. Slow fires: it is not recommended to burn the Heco Cookstove more than necessary early in the
fall and late in the spring, as you cannot keep the fire box hot enough to burn gasses (without
overheating your home). Slow fires can cause excessive creosote buildup in the firebox, stove
pipe and chimney.

While not explicitly stated, this might ... suggest.... a slow "overnight" burn is not ideal for this stove. I have a cooker stove, and its manufacturer more exactly and clearly states to not use it for overnight burn. So I do not.

There are excellent stove and stove designs that are designed for and work fine with slow over night burns. I would only use such a stove that explicitly states overnight burn are okay to burn over night. I have two chimneys for this reason.

I know, I know.... Now some may say, I use XYZ stove for overnight burns and it "works fine". I do not know what I am talking about.... But that is fully anecdotal commentary. Your neighbors, as just one example, breathing your chimney output from a low burn creosote laden output might have a different opinion... As I am annoyed by some of my neighbors fowl smelling output. :)

Hope this helps.
The Heco definitely likes to run hot. An "overnight burn" for me usually means the stovetop is between 550 and 750 until the logs are done gassing (which can still mean a flame is on the logs for 4 hours+). Packed to the gills, this leaves a full belly of coals that continue to put off heat, and the stove top is usually around 300 when I get to it in the morning 10 hours later. It's also slightly undersized for my house, which is a good thing in the sense that running small load, short duration, hot fires doesn't cook us all out. If I don't load it full, it's a lot easier to keep temps down, anyway.

I had a chimney sweep come out this fall after a season-and-a-half of running the stove, and he said there was hardly any cleaning to be done. But as I said, and as you referenced in the manual, the stove runs hotter on average than others. Our home just happens to be big enough that it generally doesn't make us uncomfortable to let 'er rip.

But the whole point of this thread is that it takes a lot of babysitting at the start of a full load to get the fire settled down. I can promise you that with my particular setup, there is no way this stove burns anything more than a half-load under 800 degrees without two dampers unless you force it to smoulder. Even with two dampers, the optimal settled burn runs with the secondary air closed 3/4 to 7/8 shut. Once the secondary burn gets going, it's all over if you can't slow the draft down. Based on what others are saying, I guess it's just the nature of this particular stove.
Last edited: