How often do you stoke the fire?

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Feeling the Heat
Nov 13, 2008
How often do you find yourself adding wood to the stove and how many pieces? (Please include your model if not in your sig!)


Accidental Moderator
Sep 30, 2007
Bend, OR
Depends entirely on what it is I'm expecting from the stove. If I'm wanting to maintain a fairly steady temp in the space, and I'm around, I'll chuck in a split or two whenever there's room for them. If I'm building a lot of coals, then I'll just open the primary and even crack the door to extract the remaining heat from the load as it burns to ash, then reload as desired for the outcome. If the heating demand isn't high (not too cold outside), I'll feed modest quantities from time to time. If I'm loading up for max burn time, then I'll stuff it to the gills, let it get roaring, then damp it way down and go to bed. There's no simple answer to your question in my case. Rick
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New Member
Aug 15, 2008
Northern US Rockies
Depends on the weather. On cold, damp days I find myself adding smaller pieces more often, every 2-3 hours. Today, we've got a penetrating dampness that's just making it feel colder so I've added a small piece of wood to the fire twice. If it wasn't damp out, I wouldn't have done that but simply waited to add more once the burn cycle was finished. I think the dampness is bothering me more right now because a slow-healing pinched nerve is making me take notice of the arthritis in my left hand--it's not an uncomfortable temp in the house--73.


Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
NW Wisconsin
Lately I have been on a 12 hour reload schedule with 4-6 splits. When it gets colder I will go to an 8 hour. I almost always pack the stove full and burn a long slow even fire.


Accidental Moderator
Sep 30, 2007
Bend, OR
It also depends to a great extent on the fuel you have available. I have nothing but softwoods, and they tend to burn hot & fast, so I simply can't achieve the same sort of burn times that someone with the same stove might burning hardwoods. Rick

kenny chaos

Minister of Fire
Apr 10, 2008
fossil said:
It also depends to a great extent on the fuel you have available. Rick

.....and your home insulation. When it hit 20 degrees a couple weeks ago I was reloading my Liberty every two hours to keep it at 650 stove top and full blower, with well seasoned hardwoods. This kept the immediate area at 65 degrees.
I hope it doesn't get too cold this year. I'm such a wuss.


Accidental Moderator
Sep 30, 2007
Bend, OR
Dang, I thought my house was tough to heat. Even last year, before all the mods we've done since, I could get the great room over 80F and climbing, at which point the wife would say "Enough!". We're still not quite yet moved back in, but that house is much tighter and better insulated now than it was then. Plus, I had the HVAC guys install a "secret" inline fan/duct system for me, independent of the main electric central furnace system, that I expect great things out of in terms of getting cold air out of remote rooms and sending it up through the hearth behind the stove, thus establishing a loop of warm air going back where it always had a hard time reaching. That, and five new ceiling fans. I'm looking forward to trying it all out. Rick


Feeling the Heat
Jan 15, 2008
Holden, MA
If it's below 20 outside, then I'll be running the stove full bore. I'll add 8 splits at around 6 am, we'll toss 1-2 splits to keep the coal bed and some heat between 3pm-8pm. At about 9:30 pm I load it up again with another full 8 split load. This is our 24/7 cycle. There's always ample coals to restart.

This is with a Napoleon 1401.


Feeling the Heat
Nov 15, 2007
The deep end
I tend to burn a lot of smallish loads, so I fool with the fire every 4-5 hours or so.
Overnight it goes 6-7 and I never let it go out.


Feeling the Heat
May 14, 2008
Northwestern, Oh
I don't know how often I stoke the fire probably more than I need to. I have a Fisher Papa bear.
I burn smaller fires and it keeps the house between 72 and 74 even when it was in the 20s 2 weeks ago.
I put a vent by the floor in the master bath room and that is enough to pull the warm air theough the


Feeling the Heat
Apr 11, 2006
near Milwaukee, WI
We reload about every four hours when using a full load, which is what we do when it is really cold. On chilly days we put in less wood but at slightly more frequent intervals, since we need less heat. Right now it is snowing at home on hubby, but I am down in FL. So I was instead putting on sunblock and playing Scrabble outside with my family. Ha ha! Miss the fire and hubby, though.


Minister of Fire
Jan 10, 2008
Woodstock, NY
My house is virtually a glass house and leaks air like a sieve, so I'm basically heating the great outdoors. I'll won't see 80 degrees all winter, but on turkey day with the oven going all day I actually hit 70 for a minute or two.

So, I'm reloading every 1 - 3 hours with about 4 small/medium size splits of my "B" wood so far this winter. Starting using my "A" wood tonight and the stove got away from me (900 degrees), but I caught it quick. The house got all the way up to 64 degrees.

I wear a lot of layers.


New Member
Dec 31, 2007
Currently I am trying to figure out how to get the most out of a burn cycle with less wood while maintaining temps. around 75*. I don't have any suggestions because from day to day things change depending on the weather and what my schedule is like.

I have figured out several things that have helped though and they are:

1-I have to add wood or reload before insert temp. dips below 300* if I want to just add splits that will ignite easily.

2-If I want to conserve wood I have to let the temp. dip below 300* and let coals burn down quite a bit . My house stays warm because this insert holds the heat for quite awhile - hours at a time - without a rip roaring fire in it's belly.

3-If I let it drop below 300* it is hard to get the wood going without adding kindling and smaller soft wood splits to the mix. Almost like starting from scratch.

Some people have this down to a science. I, obviously, don't yet but I have fun trying out all the things I read about here.

Good luck and hope you have fun figuring it out too.

P.S. to my above list - I always buy more wood than I think I will need for a season to cover for 'operator' errors.

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New Member
Dec 26, 2007
we toss in 3-4 splits every 3-4 hours + a full load at bed time. depending on the heat needed, since me and the wife work different shifts somebody is usually home to tend the fire so this works for us.


Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2007
Western CT
I kept my Jotul Castine in the 500-600 range for the better part of the day by just adding a select split or two every hour or so after I already had the thing ripping. I am just getting in tune with running this stove for sure. I was using mostly maple and ash to keep her burning hot - saving the nice pieces of oak for bedtime. All i had to do was add the split before we got down to just coals and put the air down to 50% immediately - she just kept chugging along...and the huge brick hearth was so toasty and held a ton of heat until morning.

Winter is going to be nice with the Olympic and the Jotul...


Oct 11, 2007
Ringoes NJ
We toss in 3-4 splits every 2-3 hours depending on the heat needed.
The Intrepid is a small stove, but for our 1200sq ft. house it keeps us at around
70 all day when it's 20 outside. If I wait any longer to reload, I have to restart again.
We only burn nights and weekends.
Yes, I am an Intrepid owner also and I have to keep adding at least 2 splits every 2 - 3 hrs. Any less than two splits and the fire doesn't sustain itself well. Of course now that it's colder I'm more likely to stock it up, which for the Intrepid is no more than 5 or 6 16" splits, less if they're thick. Once the room is warmed up, I don't usually add more wood until the flames have stopped and the coals are starting to shrink down.

But I really feel for some of these "cold people"! Our downstairs is about 1,200 sq. ft and this stove heats the rooms at these temps -
Den (where the stove is) 78* - 85* depending
Kitchen (Adjacent, with a small Vornado fan mounted high on the den wall, blowing down and thru the doorway) 75*
Dining Room (Adj. to Kitchen) 72* This is where the thermostat is for our central heating.
Living room (farthest away) 68*

And certainly, if you've been burning wood that has lost some of it's BTU's to decay, when you crack into the woodpile with the Grade A stuff, stand back! Big difference!


Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2007
Delaware, Ohio
I tend to burn in loads instead of adding wood here and there. I don't know what my heating needs will be when the weather gets down to highs in the teens and lows around zero, but for now, If I were to keep the stove burning all the time. it would be 90+ degrees in the house.

Lately, I light the stove when I get home at about 6:00pm with a small load, get it going, let it burn down, and reload at 10:00pm for the overnight.

At about 6:00am, I smack the snooze a few times. By 6:30am, I'm stumbling my way to the stove to reload again. Depending on how I loaded the previous night, there may or may not be coals left. By 7:30am, the air is damped back, the stove is cruising and we're out the door to work.

By the time I get home, the stove is still hot to the touch, but there usually aren't enough coals to relight with, so I start from scratch again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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