New to the forum and inserts.

Cndctrdj

New Member
Jan 3, 2020
15
Plymouth ma USA
Just got a Jotul c550 the other day and it's finally installed. It looks beautiful. But I have so much trouble starting fires.
I need to do a few break in fires and am afraid to put too much in. But without more in the fire I am not getting anything to catch and burn.

Any suggestions.
 

Grizzerbear

Feeling the Heat
Feb 12, 2019
323
SW Missoura
Just got a Jotul c550 the other day and it's finally installed. It looks beautiful. But I have so much trouble starting fires.
I need to do a few break in fires and am afraid to put too much in. But without more in the fire I am not getting anything to catch and burn.

How long has your firewood been cut, split, and stacked. New epa stoves demand dry wood. When you get it lit can you hear hissing when the door is open.
 

Grizzerbear

Feeling the Heat
Feb 12, 2019
323
SW Missoura
I have never bought firewood from there but If the wood is from wal mart i would think it would be kiln dried but that is not a guarantee. What are you using as kindling to start fire.What do you have your primary air setting at when you are starting the fire and closing your stove door. Maybe get some scrap untreated 2x4s and mix one in per stick of firewood until you have around a 1/3 of the stove full since its a break in fire. Some details of how you are starting the fire will help.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
20,101
central pa
Got the wood from Walmart. No idea how dry it is.
The wood is probably wet. They call that stuff kiln dried but it is really just heat treated to kill bugs so they can transport it
 
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Cndctrdj

New Member
Jan 3, 2020
15
Plymouth ma USA
For kindling I chopped up some of the wood from Walmart into small pieces. I use a little newspaper under it. Spaced enough for air to get through.
The air is open all the way.
I did use a little fire starter stick to try and help. But it just burns out.
I also was spent for time. So I will be spending more time tonight to try better.
 

Grizzerbear

Feeling the Heat
Feb 12, 2019
323
SW Missoura
The wood probably is wet like bholler said. Try the lumber scraps with the firewood tonite. After about fiteen minutes or so if you hear the wood hissing and can see moisture bubbling out of the ends of firewood....then that is a sure sign. I suggest getting a moisture meter also. General tools model MMD4E is a decent one that is only about 15 bucks. Take a piece of firewood that is at room temp, split it and test it ofn the fresh split face. Your shooting for 20% moisture or less. These work great to help you until you can look and feel if firewood is seasoned enough to burn.
 
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jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,182
Long Island NY
It's ok to leave the door open an inch or two for a few minutes until you get the fire and draft established. How is it installed i.e. on what floor of the house, where is chimney (external/internal) and how long and is it lined?
 

Cndctrdj

New Member
Jan 3, 2020
15
Plymouth ma USA
I have a little more luck with it the more I put in. Tonight should be about 4 2in thick logs with some kindling and some newspaper under it.
The door opened helped a lot to get it going.
It's installed on the 1st floor. External chimney. About 30 feet.
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,182
Long Island NY
I have a little more luck with it the more I put in. Tonight should be about 4 2in thick logs with some kindling and some newspaper under it.
The door opened helped a lot to get it going.
It's installed on the 1st floor. External chimney. About 30 feet.
I have a roughly similar install. At 30' I'm guessing there is a second story overhead. That plus an cold exterior chimney can lead to an initially sluggish draft until the chimney begins to heat up.

Not to say the wood is necessarily ideal but even with dry wood it can still take a little bit to get things rolling. Besides the cold chimney I suspect you may be dealing with a little bit of negative pressure. If you ever feel cool air coming down on a cold start or if even kindling just doesn't seem to want to take off easily, try opening a window or exterior door in that room and see if that helps.
 

Cndctrdj

New Member
Jan 3, 2020
15
Plymouth ma USA
Today I had put too much wood in I think. It didn't want to stay lit. I opened the door and it fired up. Closed the door and it died off. Left the door open for about 30 minutes. Shut the door and it's been going for about 4 hours now. I added wood when it got hot. I am figuring it out slowly.
I really think it's the cold chimney that slows me down. But I'm happy so far. It's warmed the house up a few degrees and I am not even getting it up to temperature yet
 

shortys7777

Burning Hunk
Nov 15, 2017
188
Smithfield, RI
Is the damper fully open while it gets up to temp? If so it sounds like you have terrible wood. 30 minutes is a long time to leave the door open. I've been mixing some not great wood with good wood and it still takes a little longer than normal to really get going but I never have to leave the door open more than 3 minutes. Re load on a bed of coals and see how it does.
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,182
Long Island NY
Today I had put too much wood in I think. It didn't want to stay lit. I opened the door and it fired up. Closed the door and it died off.
This would have been a good time to open a window or door and see if that helps. Your wood prob sucks too but it would be good to see if you are also dealing with any pressure issues.
 

jmdavis984

New Member
Nov 22, 2019
32
46140
I've been using this method to start my new insert, and I really like it so far:

Previously I had followed the same method, just without the two logs on the sides. I used to fill the bottom with balled-up newspaper, make a criss-cross stack of kindling about 3-4 layers tall, then a medium-size live-edge-free split on top. Light all 4 corners of the paper with a match, and keep it wide open until it's going good and strong. Another key I've already found is to adjust the air SLOWLY. If you adjust the air too quickly, the fire can falter or got too big.
 

Cndctrdj

New Member
Jan 3, 2020
15
Plymouth ma USA
I'll try that later on from the video.
Last night I had a fire going ok with the door open. Had to keep it open about an hour before I could shut it and keep it going. Any time I closed it before then the fire would go out. As soon as I opened it the fire would jump back to life.
The floor plan is entirely open on the first floor. It shouldn't be a pressure thing. I think it's just the chimney is cold and fairly large and takes a long time to heat up.
Also the wood isn't the best. I know that. But I have a chord of it and am not going to throw it all away


Also, the temps were not getting above 350. But I had only had the door shut for about 30 minutes before I went to bed.
I have very little time during the week to play with the insert
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,556
South Puget Sound, WA
Also the wood isn't the best. I know that. But I have a chord of it and am not going to throw it all away

Also, the temps were not getting above 350. But I had only had the door shut for about 30 minutes before I went to bed.
I have very little time during the week to play with the insert
This definitely sounds like a wood issue. Get some known dry wood and mix it in. This can be some 2x4 cutoffs, cut down shipping pallets, etc. If possible, bring some batches of wood in the house for a few weeks to let them dry out.

Clean the flue in a month or after the first cord has been burned.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
20,101
central pa
Ok I'll take some wood inside for a while. Let it dry out in the basement. Thanks
Go get some skids or 2x4s I am pretty sure almost all of your problems are wood related
 
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Grizzerbear

Feeling the Heat
Feb 12, 2019
323
SW Missoura
This definitely sounds like a wood issue. Get some known dry wood and mix it in. This can be some 2x4 cutoffs, cut down shipping pallets, etc. If possible, bring some batches of wood in the house for a few weeks to let them dry out.

Clean the flue in a month or after the first cord has been burned.
Go get some skids or 2x4s I am pretty sure almost all of your problems are wood related
Yep and yep.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,556
South Puget Sound, WA
Cabinet making and flooring shops can be good sources for nice dry kindling. Just be sure the scraps are unfinished.
 

Cndctrdj

New Member
Jan 3, 2020
15
Plymouth ma USA
Had some dry kindling. It went up beautifully. No issues with the door open or closed. But my wood must be wet. After everything else went up. The larger logs just smoldered red and really didn't catch on. They eventually burned to Ash. But that's it.
So my question is, what do I do? How do I dry out the wood that I have?
 

Grizzerbear

Feeling the Heat
Feb 12, 2019
323
SW Missoura
Had some dry kindling. It went up beautifully. No issues with the door open or closed. But my wood must be wet. After everything else went up. The larger logs just smoldered red and really didn't catch on. They eventually burned to Ash. But that's it.
So my question is, what do I do? How do I dry out the wood that I have?
Really time is against you on that firewood. f you have the land and a saw you can try cutting some standing dead trees. Sometimes the limb wood and trunk of say 8 inches or less in diameter will be ready to burn now.If i were you i would find someone selling firewood and buy enough for next year at least. Get it stacked and supported off the ground and top covered asap. If you dont have the means to cut your own wood i would buy enough for two years at least and three being better. If you do have land or can scrounge your own wood for free i would still buy next years wood now so you will have a head start. Getting three years ahead and staying three years ahead is the goal. Its tough either way with buying it because of expense or cutting it because of labor but believe you me that you will be glad you did come year three. Oak takes me two years to get sub 20% moisture content. I would guess for you three will be your benchmark. Also get a moisture meter to help you learn how dry your wood is. 20% or less is what you are goin for. Thats measured on the face of a fresh split. For this year you can scrounge some free pallets and cut them up to stove length to mix with what you have now or try to get some framing cut offs and scraps from a construction site, lumber yard etc. Just make sure everything you burn is untreated. This year will suck but if you prepare for the next 2-3 years now....you will reap the benefits later on and your work load will be much less either way. O yea for this year you can buy some bio bricks to mix with your firewood. I have never used them but have heard a lot of first year burners did with good results. Just dont load the stove with them. Hopefully someone who has used them before will give you some info on them. They might be your easiest option for this winter.
 
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brazilbl

Member
Aug 24, 2017
93
El Dorado County, CA
If wet wood is the problem, would this be a time to introduce bio bricks/energy logs to his attention?
 
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