How to fast turn on and off a wood stove?

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monteville

New Member
Nov 23, 2019
67
Dallas
Gas, has the advantage of quickly turn on and off.

It is hard for wood stove to quickly switch on and off, or efficiently output heat in a lower power setting.

With electric ignition, is there any way we can switch on and off a wood stove as rapidly as a gas stove, without producing tons of smoke?
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,239
Northern NH
Nope, different beast. Buy a pellet stove, its got fast light off and quick heat.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
910
Massachusetts
Nope. Closest thing to gas would be pellet like said above. Pellet stoves have expensive parts though and require power to run. Wood stoves are about simplicity and work best when run 24/7.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,239
Northern NH
Actually there is at least one commercial pellet stove that does not require power. One of our member on hearth has slick design that he sadly is unable to support going commercial and there are home brew rocket mass type designs that use pellets. Nevertheless the key word is pellet. They are small uniform and bone dry. It does not take much to light them off and give them enough air and they burn hot and fast. Try a cigarette lighter on log versus a pellet;).
 

gthomas785

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2020
413
Central MA
Man, if I could start my stove fast like that it would resolve a lot of my shoulder season grumbling. No more debating whether I'm too lazy to do a cold start right before bedtime when it's 40 out. lol
 
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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
910
Massachusetts
Man, if I could start my stove fast like that it would resolve a lot of my shoulder season grumbling. No more debating whether I'm too lazy to do a cold start right before bedtime when it's 40 out. lol
Yeah very true. Shoulder season daily cold starts are a pita. In the fall it's like LETS BURN ITS COLD ENOUGH WOO but then in spring it's like ehhhhhh. The heat pump will be fine tonight my back hurts ;lol.

I still think there's nothing like a true wood/wood stove fire though. It just feels different. And I enjoy the whole process versus dumping in bags of manufactured product (even if it's just condensed wood). Feels more green. Also the annoying tink tink tink of a pellet stove would drive me bananas. Don't get me wrong they are great products. Just not for me!
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
737
SE North Carolina
Fast on. Lots of little split kindling lit with a propane torch. Fast off is not as easy. Less kindling means shorter. I’m guessing the shortest cycle time getting any real heat is maybe 60 minutes.

There are lots of variables though. Wood needs to be really dry. If you go to the trouble of getting dry wood and starting a fire most of us would just keep it burning after 80% of the work is done. Is their a specific scenario you are thinking about.

Evan.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,751
South Puget Sound, WA
In the 90s we had a pellet stove in addition to the little Jotul in the kitchen. The pellet stove worked well and got high marks for convenience. It was on a digital room thermostat set so that we could wake up to a warm house. When it was on it produced heat within a minute and when it was off, it was off. The only issues were that it was much more complex than the Jotul and required much more servicing. And then there was the noise. After 5 or 6 seasons I had replaced 3 snap switches, the control board and had no solution for the noise in the living room. I resolved this issue 15 yrs ago by installing a high-end heat pump. Instant-on, virtually no maintenance except filter changes, quiet and much less expensive to run. Now the T6 does the heavy lifting and the heat pump makes shoulder season heating easy.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,803
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Fortunately, your need for heat usually isn’t instant on and instant off. This whole desire for a stove that does that is odd. But if you do feel this is an important stove performance factor then gas stoves are way way more convenient and effective than pellet. Most need no power, make no noise, have no moving parts, same heat as a woodstove, just a different fuel source that you need to compare in price to pellets. There are also a couple of oil stoves that need no power.

Pellet stoves are noisy maintenance hogs and the fuel is not as cheap as it was.
 

monteville

New Member
Nov 23, 2019
67
Dallas
Fortunately, your need for heat usually isn’t instant on and instant off. This whole desire for a stove that does that is odd. But if you do feel this is an important stove performance factor then gas stoves are way way more convenient and effective than pellet. Most need no power, make no noise, have no moving parts, same heat as a woodstove, just a different fuel source that you need to compare in price to pellets. There are also a couple of oil stoves that need no power.

Pellet stoves are noisy maintenance hogs and the fuel is not as cheap as it was.
Because there is an export market for pellets. Britain buy much pellets from US for electricity generation in their former coal plants.
 
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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
910
Massachusetts
In the 90s we had a pellet stove in addition to the little Jotul in the kitchen. The pellet stove worked well and got high marks for convenience. It was on a digital room thermostat set so that we could wake up to a warm house. When it was on it produced heat within a minute and when it was off, it was off. The only issues were that it was much more complex than the Jotul and required much more servicing. And then there was the noise. After 5 or 6 seasons I had replaced 3 snap switches, the control board and had no solution for the noise in the living room. I resolved this issue 15 yrs ago by installing a high-end heat pump. Instant-on, virtually no maintenance except filter changes, quiet and much less expensive to run. Now the T6 does the heavy lifting and the heat pump makes shoulder season heating easy.
Agreed. This exactly how we have our heating set up plus solar. In four season areas like MA I think its the ideal heat combo. We have a lot of those sunny 40-45 degree shoulder season days and then a couple weeks a year when its 90+ and humid where the A/C is nice. The rest of the year its simply wood stove or open windows. Or both if you push it too hard ;lol. The solar panels power the heat pump and my blood, sweat, and tears power the stove.

I inherited my pump from 2006 when we bought the place last year and it works well down to about 40 degrees which is all we really need. Unfortunately being an older model it runs on R-22 so when it eventually has an issue we'll be looking to replace it with a more modern/efficient model that uses R-32 or R-410a that will work even better.
 

monteville

New Member
Nov 23, 2019
67
Dallas
Agreed. This exactly how we have our heating set up plus solar. In four season areas like MA I think its the ideal heat combo. We have a lot of those sunny 40-45 degree shoulder season days and then a couple weeks a year when its 90+ and humid where the A/C is nice. The rest of the year its simply wood stove or open windows. Or both if you push it too hard ;lol. The solar panels power the heat pump and my blood, sweat, and tears power the stove.

I inherited my pump from 2006 when we bought the place last year and it works well down to about 40 degrees which is all we really need. Unfortunately being an older model it runs on R-22 so when it eventually has an issue we'll be looking to replace it with a more modern/efficient model that uses R-32 or R-410a that will work even better.
Before you eventually have to replace it, you can give it a last shot by repairing it and retrofitting it with another refrigerant, such as R407c. https://legacyac.com/things-to-be-aware-of-when-considering-r-22-replacement-refrigerants/
The less frequently we replace appliances, the less waste we create for the environment.
 

gthomas785

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2020
413
Central MA
Agreed. This exactly how we have our heating set up plus solar. In four season areas like MA I think its the ideal heat combo. We have a lot of those sunny 40-45 degree shoulder season days and then a couple weeks a year when its 90+ and humid where the A/C is nice. The rest of the year its simply wood stove or open windows. Or both if you push it too hard ;lol. The solar panels power the heat pump and my blood, sweat, and tears power the stove.

I inherited my pump from 2006 when we bought the place last year and it works well down to about 40 degrees which is all we really need. Unfortunately being an older model it runs on R-22 so when it eventually has an issue we'll be looking to replace it with a more modern/efficient model that uses R-32 or R-410a that will work even better.
Sorry I know this is getting off of the original topic. You guys that talk about heat pumps, is that a geothermal/water source heat pump or air source? I'm thinking about getting a couple of those mini splits for heating a few rooms farthest from my stove but I only know a few people who have them.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,862
Downeast Maine
Wood stoves are easy to "turn on" but difficult to quickly turn off. I can get my wood cookstove up and burning within minutes, but it will finish when it is ready to be finished.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,630
WI, Leroy
only if you like a steam explosion, likely right in your face.
 
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gthomas785

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2020
413
Central MA
The trouble with all of these ideas is that wood has a lot of thermal mass and doesn't change temperature easily. To start the fire you need to heat up the wood and to put out the fire you need to cool it off. Any time you spend in the "in between" temperatures it will smoke. That is why you use small pieces of kindling to get the fire going, and the best way to "put out" an active fire is to spread the logs as far apart as possible with maximum airflow. Still, it takes time for a burning log to cool off.

Injecting water will cool the surface and arrest the active combustion but you'll still have hot wood off gassing which can do nothing but create a plume of smoke until it cools all the way down.
 

gthomas785

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2020
413
Central MA
That's another reason why pellets are the answer to the original question. Pellets have a small thermal mass so they light quickly and burn out just as fast.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
783
Eastern Long Island NY
Pellets don't really have a thermal mass that is (per weight) different than wood - it's just that the hopper does not get heated much. Heating only up a small piece of anything allows you to switch it off and be cold quickly.

I have a minisplit system (w/ solar panels). It's ideal: stove + minisplit = no oil used to heat.
There are some very good minisplit experts here (one member from CT - forgot his name).
The layman's advice: Single minisplits are more efficient than multizone ones. Pay attention to the COP (efficiency). Figure out the lowest outside temp you'd want to use it to heat (keeping in mind electricity cost as efficiency goes down with outside temp). There are high efficiency ones that folks much farther north use when it's cold, but if you have a good woodstove (and no free electricity), that may not be the way to go.

I have a multizone Mitsubishi system, and I'm very happy with it.
 

gthomas785

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2020
413
Central MA
Pellets don't really have a thermal mass that is (per weight) different than wood
I wasn't talking about thermal mass per weight, I meant the total thermal mass of fuel that is in the fire at once.

With pellets, you can regulate the feed rate in a precise manner to get the desired amount of heat. Pellets are fed in continuously (similar to gas) rather than an 8-12 hour load at once. Cut off the pellets, and the fire will die comparatively fast.
 

nortcan

Feeling the Heat
Sep 9, 2016
275
Quebec
I had a nice pellet stove couple years ago, it had some + and some - , nothing is perfect, the pellet stove was having motors noise, fan noise, was needing to have the ash removed from the left and right sides and a few in the ash pan. But yes it was heating very fast and needed about one hour to be completly extinguished ,the fire was out but the exhaust fan had to continue to run for code safety...
The fire looks more like a torch fire than a nice wood fire. When I retired we sold it and came back to the wood burning anbiance and the rewarding chores of the wood burning .
 

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clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
708
Colorado
That a pretty pellet stove Nortcan and you just keep everything so nice...So glad you have your Morso now and your happy with it as well. It's a simple question this turning off of the stove and for me it is a serious question because I am a newbie at this and am learning and this thread has been interesting experience as well. I am glad that I got a wood stove with no electronics and I am looking forward to my very first fire as well. I will keep you all informed on how this all goes with me...Good reading...clancey
 

nortcan

Feeling the Heat
Sep 9, 2016
275
Quebec
That a pretty pellet stove Nortcan and you just keep everything so nice...So glad you have your Morso now and your happy with it as well. It's a simple question this turning off of the stove and for me it is a serious question because I am a newbie at this and am learning and this thread has been interesting experience as well. I am glad that I got a wood stove with no electronics and I am looking forward to my very first fire as well. I will keep you all informed on how this all goes with me...Good reading...clancey
I think that the best for a wood burning newbe is to take time to know how your stove is made, how the control (s) work, study the owner's manual, begin with very small fires for the break in and also to see how your stove reacts according to your place, house, draft/chimney, kind of wood... the stove will teach you how to work with it and not against it. Bonne chance a vous.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
708
Colorado
Thanks--my installer said that he would show me how to light the fire and I am trying to collect wood now but he says he has some dry wood to bring---good...I will at first buy kiln dried wood and learn how to use the moisture thingy...so we will see and this will be a new learning experience for me....Believe me it will be a very very small fire just to get my feet wet so to speak..All work has been delayed for there is 4 or 5 inches of snow outside and its been raining as well as freezing--terrible --I am ready for warm weather..lol clancey..