Madison Wood Stove (new to wood stoves)

Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
Hey, so I've been reading a lot of great wood stove info on this forum for a few weeks now and between this site and other research I finally bought a wood burning stove. I bought a Madison non-catalytic Wood Stove from Lowes for a great deal and I read good reviews. It's supposed to heat up to 2000sqft and for up to 8 hours. BTW my house is only 1200sqft.

My question is, what am I doing wrong? I'm using KILN dried wood and I get the fire going pretty easy. I actually started using the "upside down" fire method and its working well EXCEPT that I can't seem to get my fires to burn very long or very hot. The longest I get with a full load is about 3 hours and it doesn't put off a lot of heat. I think my biggest issue is, how to really use the ONE air damper correctly and how long to keep the door cracked opened during initial start-up. I'm wondering if anyone else has this same stove and any tips to share with it specifically, along with any other general tips for wood stove users.

The explain the air control, its one single control that from what I can tell has a pull out function, and a twist function. I might be reading the directions wrong, but i think if its pulled all the way, that's pretty much closed and supposed to give a longer burn, but when pushed in all the way I should get a hotter burn but a shorter use. The twist feature i think is another open damper for even more air and to be used when starting the fire. Apparently its supposed to be a smart stove and that twist function is suppose to close off once the stove hits i think 450 degrees or something.

Sorry for the long post but I think I need someone to tell me how this thing best works and assume i'm not that bright (even though I am, I swear! LOL).
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Silenced38

Feeling the Heat
Apr 11, 2014
285
Southeast Oklahoma
I have the same stove. I dont see how your only getting 3 hours from from a full load. I get between 6 - 8 hours. Since its gotten cold its been pretty constant 6 hours. But i don't pack it full to the gills. I count a burn cycle from lighting it till it gets back down to 200f to 300f degrees. Around 3 hours of actual flames then less flames and coals for 3 to 4 hours more. It sounds like your wood isn't dry enough. My stove likes wood less than 18% moisture as checked by a moisture meter. You pull the lever out to reduce the air and in to increase the air. You twist it to set the AAS (Automatic Air Set back). that way if you forget to turn it down it will automatically when it gets hot enough. Mine trips any where between 500f and 600f. But usually around 525f. I have gotten busy many times and forgot about the stove till i hear it click. Then I'm glad to have it.
 

Silenced38

Feeling the Heat
Apr 11, 2014
285
Southeast Oklahoma
one other thing is how much flue pipe do you have? I had to add some to mine so it would get enough draft to burn properly. I have 19' from the top of the stove to the cap.
 

Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
one other thing is how much flue pipe do you have? I had to add some to mine so it would get enough draft to burn properly. I have 19' from the top of the stove to the cap.
Thanks for the info!

I definitely have enough flue pipe and again I'm using KILN dried wood so I'm really thinking its not the wood because that stuff is DRY.

Can I ask what your burn process is? I know that may sound strange but I'm thinking it might help. How do you stack the wood, how much, where do you set the damper...etc. Thanks again in advance, I really appreciate the help everyone from this forum provides.
 

billb3

Minister of Fire
Dec 14, 2007
4,669
SE Mass
What kind of kiln dried wood ?
If it is kiln dried cedar or poplar you are probably doing well.

I'd get a moisture meter, split a piece of that kiln dried wood open and measure the core of that kiln dried wood to find out if just the outside of that kiln dried wood is kiln dried wood or if the inside of that kiln dried wood is also kiln dried wood.
 
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edyit

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2014
832
Wilmington NY
the kiln dried wood, is it kiln dried to remove moisture, or kiln dried to kill bugs and be transportable, there is a difference
 

Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
What kind of kiln dried wood ?
If it is kiln dried cedar or poplar you are probably doing well.

I'd get a moisture meter, split a piece of that kiln dried wood open and measure the core of that kiln dried wood to find out if just the outside of that kiln dried wood is kiln dried wood or if the inside of that kiln dried wood is also kiln dried wood.
It's mixed hardwood. I will definitely get a moisture meter though, that's a good idea, thanks! Any recommendations for a good one?

I am pretty confident this wood is DRY though, its from lifirewood, which I found from reading this forum.
 

Silenced38

Feeling the Heat
Apr 11, 2014
285
Southeast Oklahoma
Thanks for the info!

I definitely have enough flue pipe and again I'm using KILN dried wood so I'm really thinking its not the wood because that stuff is DRY.

Can I ask what your burn process is? I know that may sound strange but I'm thinking it might help. How do you stack the wood, how much, where do you set the damper...etc. Thanks again in advance, I really appreciate the help everyone from this forum provides.
First Welcome to the forum. I should have started with that. I load N/S 16" oak firewood. I usually start with 2 large chunks. Either rounds or thick splits. I rake the coals to the middle in aline N/S and put 1 large chunk on each side of the coals against the fire bricks. Then i lay a few slats of pine kindling (3 to 4) on top of the coals. Then i stack some small oak splits on the pine kindling and some larger splits on top to finish it out. I go up to the bottom of the angles that hold the fire bricks on the side of the fire box. about 3 from the burn tubes. I leave the door cracked until i can close it without the fie dieing.
Don't think of it as burn time. Think of it as Heat Time. As in how long does it put out usable heat. For me by the time it reaches 200F I'm no longer getting any usable heat. So from lighting the wood, it climbs to anywhere between 500f to 700F levels off then slowly cools back down to 200F, i get between 6 to 8 Hours of usable heat.
After you get the wood burning and you open the door. Can you hear the wood hissing?
 

FTG-05

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2014
382
TN
$10 says your wood is not seasoned and/or dry enough:

"KILN DRIED at 200 degrees for 72 hours
to an average moisture content of 25%"

https://www.lifirewood.com/compare.php

When someone complains about the performance of their reputable stove, especially a newbie, it's almost always the wood. At $725/cord, they not only should deliver it, they should load it into my stove 4-5 times per day. But I digress.

Good luck.
 
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Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
First Welcome to the forum. I should have started with that. I load N/S 16" oak firewood. I usually start with 2 large chunks. Either rounds or thick splits. I rake the coals to the middle in aline N/S and put 1 large chunk on each side of the coals against the fire bricks. Then i lay a few slats of pine kindling (3 to 4) on top of the coals. Then i stack some small oak splits on the pine kindling and some larger splits on top to finish it out. I go up to the bottom of the angles that hold the fire bricks on the side of the fire box. about 3 from the burn tubes. I leave the door cracked until i can close it without the fie dieing.
Don't think of it as burn time. Think of it as Heat Time. As in how long does it put out usable heat. For me by the time it reaches 200F I'm no longer getting any usable heat. So from lighting the wood, it climbs to anywhere between 500f to 700F levels off then slowly cools back down to 200F, i get between 6 to 8 Hours of usable heat.
After you get the wood burning and you open the door. Can you hear the wood hissing?
Thanks for the welcome, appreciate it! That is a good point, think more about heat time vs burn time. I'd say I'm still only getting about 2-3 hours of usable heat time per load and it seems to hover around 200degrees.

Thanks for the detailed stacking info too, I'll try to follow the same way and see how it goes. I will definitely update this forum.

Edit- no hissing sounds.
 

Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
$10 says your wood is not seasoned and/or dry enough:

"KILN DRIED at 200 degrees for 72 hours
to an average moisture content of 25%"

https://www.lifirewood.com/compare.php

When someone complains about the performance of their reputable stove, especially a newbie, it's almost always the wood. At $725/cord, they not only should deliver it, they should load it into my stove 4-5 times per day. But I digress.

Good luck.
HAHA yes, I had a hard time getting past the cost too but I didn't get a huge amount, i just got a few bags to "test" it out. Since I got my stove late in the season I figured that was the way to go for now as far as wood. Starting spring I plan on collecting my own wood and starting to season it myself (salt, pepper...etc ha jk) but I'll probably try another company nearby who "promises" seasoned wood and get it early so that it hopefully is ready to burn by next winter. In the meantime I think I'm a little stuck with overpriced stuff. I was also considering bio bricks and stuff that i seen a few people boosting about on here too.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,720
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Without a meter, throw a split on top of some red-hot coals and as Silenced38 just said, wet wood will hiss as steam escapes it. Also try bonking two pieces together. Wet wood will thump and thud, dry wood will clank or even ring.

It kind of doesn't matter though- at this point you're probably going to burn what you've got whether or not it's wet, so learn your stove and have at it.

From reading the owner's manual, it sounds like the twist function on the damper knob just gives you a lot of extra air into the unit until it hits a certain temperature- so instead of babysitting it until the new load is established, you can set the damper to the desired burn setting, twist the air boost, and walk away. (That's nice, if it works as advertised.)

The only other oddity I saw in the manual was that there is a secondary air intake in the front bottom of the burn chamber, which has to be kept clear of ash.
 
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Silenced38

Feeling the Heat
Apr 11, 2014
285
Southeast Oklahoma
It
Thanks for the welcome, appreciate it! That is a good point, think more about heat time vs burn time. I'd say I'm still only getting about 2-3 hours of usable heat time per load and it seems to hover around 200degrees.

Thanks for the detailed stacking info too, I'll try to follow the same way and see how it goes. I will definitely update this forum.

Edit- no hissing sounds.
I really sounds like your wood is not dry enough. Despite what anyone that is selling wood tells you. The only way to know for sure if your wood is dry is to check it with a Moisture Meter. You can get one at Lowes for around $20. You split a piece of the wood and check the fresh split side. Ideally you want less than 18% moisture content. What kind of wood is it? Soft woods get less burn time but usually burn hotter.
 

Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
Without a meter, throw a split on top of some red-hot coals and as Silenced38 just said, wet wood will hiss as steam escapes it. Also try bonking two pieces together. Wet wood will thump and thud, dry wood will clank or even ring.

It kind of doesn't matter though- at this point you're probably going to burn what you've got whether or not it's wet, so learn your stove and have at it.

From reading the owner's manual, it sounds like the twist function on the damper knob just gives you a lot of extra air into the unit until it hits a certain temperature- so instead of babysitting it until the new load is established, you can set the damper to the desired burn setting, twist the air boost, and walk away. (That's nice, if it works as advertised.)

The only other oddity I saw in the manual was that there is a secondary air intake in the front bottom of the burn chamber, which has to be kept clear of ash.
At this point, yeah, will be burning what I have but it does seem to make a clank sound. Thanks for the info!
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,720
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
i just got a few bags.
Home Depot has competitive prices on bagged firewood. I did the math, and their $9 baggie comes out to $1800 a cord. The artisinal "european" birch "logs" are a lot more.

So $1800 a cord there. Check your local area for firewood prices- it runs around $300 a cord where I am, probably half of that in most of the country. (craigslist is a good place to start- just ignore all claims that the wood is seasoned or dry, and let the seller know that you know that a cord of wood is 4' x 4' x 8' neatly stacked and you will be measuring.)

Also, "face cord" is industry slang for "I think my customers are all morons", so never buy from anyone who uses that term. ("face cord" means 4' x 8' x absolutely any third measurement- so it is pretty much a meaningless term used to defraud people who assume that it's the same as a regular cord.)
 
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Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
It

I really sounds like your wood is not dry enough. Despite what anyone that is selling wood tells you. The only way to know for sure if your wood is dry is to check it with a Moisture Meter. You can get one at Lowes for around $20. You split a piece of the wood and check the fresh split side. Ideally you want less than 18% moisture content. What kind of wood is it? Soft woods get less burn time but usually burn hotter.
Awesome, thanks silenced, i'll check out lowes after work today and see what readings I get. It's mixed hardwood, ash, hickory, birch..etc
 

Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
Home Depot has competitive prices on bagged firewood. I did the math, and their $9 baggie comes out to $1800 a cord. The artisinal "european" birch "logs" are a lot more.

So $1800 a cord there. Check your local area for firewood prices- it runs around $300 a cord where I am, probably half of that in most of the country. (craigslist is a good place to start- just ignore all claims that the wood is seasoned or dry, and let the seller know that you know that a cord of wood is 4' x 4' x 8' neatly stacked and you will be measuring.)
Yeah that seems like a mighty high price ha. I see you're on Long Island too, where do you get your wood from or do you collect your own? I'm in Suffolk county, but i'd go further out if you have any good suggestions.
 

Silenced38

Feeling the Heat
Apr 11, 2014
285
Southeast Oklahoma
Give us a run down of your running the stove. I let mine get to at least 450f before i shut the air down. By then the secondaries are lit and burning good.
 

billb3

Minister of Fire
Dec 14, 2007
4,669
SE Mass
It's mixed hardwood. I will definitely get a moisture meter though, that's a good idea, thanks! Any recommendations for a good one?

I am pretty confident this wood is DRY though, its from lifirewood, which I found from reading this forum.
I have a General from Lowes. I really didn't need one as I've been burning for a long time but it is nice to confirm beliefs with hard numbers even if they are only relatively accurate numbers.
There's a way to use a DMM also but a dedicated meter eliminates some user inaccuracy .
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
4,915
07462
Go get some bio bricks, compressed wood bricks, if you don't know what those are or have questions use the search button on the top right and type in compressed wood blocks.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,720
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Yeah that seems like a mighty high price ha. I see you're on Long Island too, where do you get your wood from or do you collect your own? I'm in Suffolk county, but i'd go further out if you have any good suggestions.
I cut my own, but I know that's not an option for many Long Islanders. I have a couple acres which abut some public land, so I get a lot of free windfall wood.

Because almost all of my free wood is pine, I also paid a tree service to drop off a truckload of oak- I paid $300 for maybe 10 cords of wood there. (It sounds cheap because most of the price of wood is in the labor required to cut, split, and stack- if you make friends with someone who runs a tree service you can probably get as much free wood as you can haul off.)

Side note: The giant grabby-arm on those tree trucks is COOL. :)
 

Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
Go get some bio bricks, compressed wood bricks, if you don't know what those are or have questions use the search button on the top right and type in compressed wood blocks.
Thanks! Yeah i heard of them from this site, they seem kind of pricey too, but considering the time of year already i might try that.
 

Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
Give us a run down of your running the stove. I let mine get to at least 450f before i shut the air down. By then the secondaries are lit and burning good.
I had been loading it up log cabin style and then using newspaper to get started, but i just started using the upside down fire method and i think that's been working better. Haven't gotten the temp up that high but again I think that's because i didn't really understand the damper even though its simple, for some reason I just didn't get it. When i first started using it last week i had a hard time getting the door closed without the fire dying, but i think i finally figured that one out. I"m going to get a moisture meter after work today, check out my fire wood and try your approach. I'm feeling hopeful!
 

Johawk

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
16
Suffolk County, NY
I have a General from Lowes. I really didn't need one as I've been burning for a long time but it is nice to confirm beliefs with hard numbers even if they are only relatively accurate numbers.
There's a way to use a DMM also but a dedicated meter eliminates some user inaccuracy .
Thanks billb3, I'm going to pick one up today.