Kuma Sequoia in CO

32x20 Posted By 32x20, Oct 2, 2018 at 10:47 PM

  1. 32x20

    32x20
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    Aug 9, 2018
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    I asked awhile back on opinions on our insert install and got some advice from begreen (https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/kuma-vs-osburn-vs-analysis-paralysis.169354/). In the end I've gone with a Kuma Sequoia and had it installed today. Real world info on the Kuma seemed somewhat sparse, so I thought I'd start a thread to document my experience. We're fast approaching shoulder heating season, so I plan to 'break in' the stove soon.

    About our install: The stove is on the top floor of our house (~1800sq ft). We have ~1100 sq feet downstairs that is heated by a Quadrafire 1200 pellet insert. Downstairs is not as 'lived in' as upstairs, so the pellet stove will be used mainly in the evenings or when guests are in town. We have a very large centrally located hearth and large windows upstairs. Solar gain on sunny days provides most heating needs (which is most days in CO), but the windows let a lot of heat out at night. Good heat output and overnight burns were a driving factor. Others were limited installers in our area. Flue length is ~16ft and due to the central hearth location we are not using an OAK.

    Prior to pulling the trigger I emailed with Jason at Kuma some and came to the conclusion that the Sequoia offers few disadvantages compared with their smaller offerings. The disadvantages were: 8in duct requirement and a less-good airwash system for the glass. Advantages: lower low burn, (much) higher high burn, more efficient burn, and of course, larger firebox. It's probably overkill for our heating needs, but with the lower-low it should work well as I learn how to load it for conditions.

    Our install was fairly uneventful. The insulated 8in flex pipe was a bit of a challenge for the installer in our 13x13 (od) tile chimney. We also had a heatform/heatilator firebox that he had to put a large cutout in. It took him 5hrs of solid work. I had to hire a professional to appease my insurance company, but I'm glad I didn't try it myself...it probably would've taken me a full and frustrating day.

    I'll update this page with my experience as I learn the stove...perhaps it'll prove useful for others considering it.
     

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  2. Pertzbro

    Pertzbro
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    Aug 2, 2016
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    for some reason she looks small for such a huge stove/insert. Looking forward to the review when you get burning!

    Go Rockies!
     
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  3. 32x20

    32x20
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    Aug 9, 2018
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    It does look small. Our chimney/hearth is pretty huge, though. We will probably put a mantle in eventually to break up the visual mass, but with the heatform it would've had to be too high. With the sequoia it should allow us to put it at a reasonable height. It is a big stove, though!

    I've got a 'break in' fire going now. I was warned that it'll smoke and stink the first time, so don't wait until it's cold. We have some heating temps coming up in the next day or two, so I wanted to get the first burn out of the way. It's in the 60s now and I've got the house wide open with a good breeze. Smoke isn't noticeable (yet). There's definitely some smell, so I'm glad I've got the house open and the wife away.

    It'll take some learning to figure out when to close the door and when to engage the cat on a cold start, especially since I can't see the cat temp probe. There was no draft issue, even with the warm outside temps. It's up and running now at about a 1/2 damper setting. The glass blacked up pretty quickly. I can still see the logs, but it's far from clear. I'm sure flames would be visible at a higher burn at night, so hopefully that'll keep the wife happy.
     
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  4. kennyp2339

    kennyp2339
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    Wowzers… If I had a place like that I'd be looking at building a masonry heater, centrally located in a home with a fairly open floor plan.
     
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  5. Rockey

    Rockey
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    Dec 18, 2007
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    Congrats on the Sequoia, your place looks great! My Sequoia should be here Monday. Probably wont get a chance to burn until Nov but Im already looking forward to it. So it sounds like the paint smell wasnt too bad? That smell makes me sick to my stomach so Im going to do a few break in fires outside first. Keep us posted on how it does.
     
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  6. jetsam

    jetsam
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    The Sequoia was the only non-BK stove that made it to the last round of selection when I was choosing a stove. I still think it sounds like a great stove.

    There are usually more questions than answers about it here, so please hang around and post your experiences for future stove shoppers to read!

    Also, consider progressively bigger hotter break in fires before you close all the windows and use the stove for heat. Stove paint stinks again every time it hits a new temperature plateau.
     
  7. 32x20

    32x20
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    Aug 9, 2018
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    Thanks! The paint smell wasn't too bad, but I did have the house wide open and it's a windy day...so, I wouldn't expect it to have stuck around long. It was noticeable, but not oppressive.

    Will do. I could find little on the Sequoia when I was debating, which is part of the reason for posting here.

    The manual didn't say anything about small break in fires, so I just went for it. I burned it pretty hot today after letting it simmer a bit, so hopefully that took care of most of the paint cure. Ended up with it putting off heat for ~5hrs (when the blower turned off), which is maybe a bit much for a break-in. I'll be working from home Friday and temps should be lower so may get a windows-close or mostly-closed burn in then to finish it off if I haven't already.
     
  8. 32x20

    32x20
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    Aug 9, 2018
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    Well, the last couple of days have required the use of the stove. Lows at night have been in the 30s. High today is 47 and rainy, so little solar help. I've only cold started the stove twice, but have had no draft problems. The stove will crank the heat pretty good if wide open. I've burned pretty open in the mornings to kick things up, but most of the time the air is mostly shut down. It definitely has a low-low. The first day mid-afternoon I thought it had burned out and opened the stove up and it still had most of a couple splits smoldering away. I haven't tried filling it or trying to get super long burns, but plan to load it up tonight. It's supposed to bottom out around 30 and continue to rain, so no worries about too much heat.

    So far I'm happy with our choice, and glad we didn't go smaller. I like the cat's low burn, too. The only major downside is coking up the glass. After a couple days burning it's fully opaque, and it blacks up pretty well on the first burn after cleaning. We knew clean glass wasn't the stoves strong suit, but being able to see better would help the learning process.

    Attaching a pic of the cat glow on high early one morning (clean glass!) and a burn pic.
     

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  9. black smoke signals

    black smoke signals
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    Nov 6, 2016
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    Nice looking insert
     
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  10. heavy hammer

    heavy hammer
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    Jul 18, 2015
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    I'm going on my third season with my sequoia stove, I'm very happy with the burn times. Large locust rounds will last over 16 hours. My setup is a free standing stove in the basement, the glass doesn't stay clean. Just a result of the sequoia. You will get better by reading the temp gauges on the stove and as you burn it more. Burning it wide open it makes some heat so be ready to stay warm!
     
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  11. 32x20

    32x20
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    Aug 9, 2018
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    I'm burning (almost) all softwood, and did finally load it full one night around 8pm and let it cruise on low. By 6:30 the next morning it was still going with maybe 1/4 of the load left. I think 14 hours would be no problem, even with our pine varieties. During 'real' winter (single digit or lower lows) I'll need more than a full-closed burn. A full load should still give easy overnighters, even with more heat output, which'll be nice.

    I think I'm going to pull the surround for a day or two so I can see the gauge, just to see if my usual operations are using the cat efficiently. The manual suggest 20-30mins of burn with the door cracked, which seems excessive. I usually keep door cracked until it's going well (5-10 mins tops), then shut the door with air wide open for maybe 5 more mins, then close the bypass. On hot reloads I only have the bypass open for less than five minutes before closing again. I don't want to ruin my cat, but don't want to waste heat/wood, either.

    I should mention that I'm mostly burning lodgepole pine and spruce, with some pinon pine, aspen, and cottonwood here and there. It's all stupid dry (my cheapo 'Dr. Meter' won't even measure much of it), so it lights up quickly.
     
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam
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    I’d get that door shut ASAP on any fire. Just long enough that shutting the door doesn’t snuff it.
     
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  13. Dmitry

    Dmitry
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    I understand that you use dry softwood, but 5 min is too soon in my opinion to close the bypass. I usually wait when all the wood charred and fire is going. Black glass might be because of wet wood, choking air too soon, closing bypass too soon.
     
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  14. heavy hammer

    heavy hammer
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    Jul 18, 2015
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    When I go to reload my stove I open the bypass and give it a few min to adjust before opening the door and putting more wood in. Something about the cold air being let in can hurt the cat if opening the door to fast and the bypass not being opened long enough to let the gases go past the cat and up the chimney. Once reloaded i once again give it about ten min or so to get going before closing the bypass. I watch that probe thermostat to let me know when it is up to temp and the cat is ready to engage
     
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  15. 32x20

    32x20
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    Aug 9, 2018
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    Update:
    We've been burning pretty much every night since my last post. We've had a few freak 40deg nights where I don't burn, but mostly lows ~30, though lately we've had a string of 20s (and 14 last night!). We're still enjoying the stove and learning how to burn. My usual goal is to have a low-med burn overnight, kick up air control in the morning and have it burn out by noon. Lately I've burned a small load ~5pm, reload at 9 for the overnight/morning. I've found that on a full-cold start I need to leave the air control a little higher overnight to ensure complete burn. With the 'evening burn' I can just about shut the air down...I guess having a good coal bed does the trick. Our electricity usage is marginally higher than in the summer and $100 cheaper as compared with October 2017, so energy savings are looking pretty good.

    I've also experimented with wood types and how tight to load. I got about a cord of free cut-to-length and seasoned cottonwood. I wouldn't go cut any, but it works well as a quick-burn wood for a morning boost or the small evening fire. It's useless as an overnighter, but it lights and burns quick. I've got some pinon pine around that lasts forever, but I'm trying to save that for Jan-Feb cold. Gratuitous firewood hauler pic below.

    I need to experiment with E-W loading, but N-S is so much easier to load (and this thing'll swallow a good size log N-S) that I always load that way.

    Kuma support has been great. I've been emailing Tim @Kuma on operational tips. The feedback is you keep glass clean by burning full-open, and it's gonna black up when damped down. Cleaning with a scraper is pretty quick, and using cleaner keeps the glass clear longer. My installer must've forgotten to install the cat probe, so Tim is sending me one as a courtesy. With a flashlight I can see around the surround through the rock gaps to peek at the button, but there's no gauge. It'll be nice to have more info on cat operation.
     

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  16. moresnow

    moresnow
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    Jan 13, 2015
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    Sounds like you have a good handle on things already. I've found that the initial burn on high seems to affect door glass fouling. The longer I let er rip before turning down the better for keeping clean glass. Its a fine line if burning dry pine. A little to long and you don't have much fuel left;lol
     
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  17. Joyboy

    Joyboy
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    That’s an awesome firewood hauler pic!! Reminds me of when I used to work for a log home company. I would haul wood home in the trunk of my 85 Toyota Camry. It held a surprising amount but I’m sure I looked funny driving it, with the back bumper almost dragging the ground! Lol
     
  18. heavy hammer

    heavy hammer
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    Jul 18, 2015
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    Glad to hear the stove is working out. A good coal bed will definitely help with longer burns. I almost always loads north/south as well, that's is how my wood is cut anyways. I haven't really experimented with the east west vs, the north south. larger splits or rounds that are really dry will help with the overnight burns. I have some locust that I have had for over five years that I use when it gets real cold or for those long burn times. The hotter burns will help keep the glass cleaner as you stated, but it seems when you turn it down there is not a lot you can do about the glass dirtying up. When you get your probe thermostat let me know what temps you see. I rarely get over 1100 degrees, but kuma has said that is not a bad thing, just how my setup is I guess. I would just be curious to see the temps you get.
     
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  19. 32x20

    32x20
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    Aug 9, 2018
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    Just got my probe from Kuma today and popped it in. Loaded up for my overnight at a low-ish burn and it's cruising ~750F. Seems low, but nice to know that the once or twice I've 'let-er-rip' I haven't been tooo high. Curious what it'll run to on a hot reload.

    I'm certain that I often close the bypass before the cat is at 550F, but I know it engages eventually based on cat glow. On one cold start I cleaned the glass and forgot to open the bypass and the stove started from cold with bypass closed. Oops. That 8in liner drafts pretty hard. The 'closed bypass start' was a pretty hot burn, so hopefully it cleared out any cat deposits.
     
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  20. heavy hammer

    heavy hammer
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    Once you get it figured out you will see what burn temps you consistently get. The 8 inch flue does draft pretty well you can get some hot flue temps if you let it burn wide open without the bypass closed. I'm only on season three so I still learning thing but I have closed the bypass before I'm in the white for the cat probe. Little hiccups happen.
     
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  21. 32x20

    32x20
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    Aug 9, 2018
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    Update: I regularly am seeing ~700-800deg while at a lower burn. The highest I've seen the gauge is 1100 on a full load at a med-high burn. There seems to be a fair lag on the probe, because it takes a looong time to get over 500 with the bypass open. Often I'm closing the bypass when it gets close to the white because the cat is glowing well. One side effect to waiting longer on the bypass is the glass stays cleaner. After a few burns the glass is staying translucent, so I can still see flames, though it's far from crystal clear.

    I did notice the other day that the bypass rod had some resistance to it and noticed the seal around the bypass was getting caught. I seem to have read somewhere that some folks are replacing that every season. Looks like it'll be a maintenance item for me as well...
     
  22. heavy hammer

    heavy hammer
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    I use a wire brush to clean that bypass rod. It's just the build up from burning the stove. The same happens with the probe temp gauge. I rarely see burns over 1100 degrees plus it's to much anyways. 700 to 900 is ideal IMO. After brushing the bypass rod try putting a little WD40 or something to keep the rod able to move freely. I spray some on a cloth and just wipe the rod to keep it moving easier.
     
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  23. Rockey

    Rockey
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    Ok so I got curious and pulled the surround back so I could read the cat probe. Im running as hard and hot as I can with wood that is 17% - 19% and I cant get the cat to read above 1000. This thing is putting out some major heat. Usually the insert struggles to keep the house warm when it starts dipping into the 20's but tonight the temps are actually going up in the house. Im really amazed at this insert but I dont know how I could possibly get near 1500 deg cat temps. Im really curious how accurate this probe is.
     
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  24. heavy hammer

    heavy hammer
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    Jul 18, 2015
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    I have never seen temps over 1200 degrees in my two plus years burning and a few times I have really tried to get it hotter. When I spoke with kuma they just said it could be how my setup is and that it isn't a bad thing. It will not be as hard on the cat if the temps are not super hot. I'm happy with my burn times and the heat is more than enough so for me I don't worry. I was always wondering how some people were getting these cat temps of 1500, 1600 degrees but there setup must be different than mine. I have tried splitting locust down to kindling size packing the stove full and letting it rip and still never seen it that hot. My wood it four plus years old and very seasoned. If your happy with everything else the stove is doing I would not worry to much. Only other advise I can give is give kuma a ring see what they have to say
     
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  25. 32x20

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    Aug 9, 2018
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    I've only seen 1100 that one time, and I was trying to kick it up then. I'm normally running barely in the white. Right now it's running at 1/4 open and 700. As I understand 1600 is a bad place to be for cat longevity, so maybe it's good that it runs cooler. It makes me feel better about a low risk of runaway...I've never felt at all uncomfortable about not being able to shut it down.

    I'll try cleaning the bypass rod. It is a little dry now. When I felt the resistance I did look in the firebox and could see the bypass seal, but after that one incident it has operated fine.
     

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