Osburn 2300 Operation - Confused/Frustrated etc....

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Neurotoxin

Member
Jan 26, 2019
18
Northern Ontario
Good day,


We built our ~1000sqft 1.5 story camp in Northern Ontario in 2015 and to save money at the time and to learn exactly what we needed for heating, installed an older used ~2cuft wood stove in it. As expected, the stove was too small and struggled to heat the space at our lovely minus temps we get in the winter.


After about a year of research and analysis paralysis, I pulled the trigger on an Osburn 2300. I’ve seen many reviews claiming heating whole houses comfortably with this unit at minus temps.


After several trips to camp and many frustrating and cold hours we can’t seem to get this stove to operate with consistency, any extended high heat output, or efficiency. I will explain more later.


First, some details about our camp. 24x40 main floor is insulated with R22 Roxul. 2/3 of inside ceiling is scissor trusses insulated with R22 Ruxol and finished with T&G pine. Back 1/3 is room-in-attic trusses with a ~11x11 upstairs room insulated with R22 Ruxol and covered with poly. Walls are all standard 2x4 insulated with standard R15. We have a glass patio door, large front windows and 3 larger size side windows (all vinyl) in the main room. 3 bedrooms downstairs each have small windows and the room upstairs has a fair size window. The camp sits up off rock on concrete piers and is not skirted. All and all, a big place with a fair bit of windows. The stove has a straight flue up through the center peak of our roof. Inside its ~12’ double wall black pipe then double wall insulated pipe the rest of the way past the ceiling kit.


Our wood is well seasoned hardwood ~6 year old hard wood mix mainly consisting of Maple. After years of being in log piles we bucked, split and stored in a well ventilated wood shed.


So, on with the stove. Not impressed at all. The old smaller “non-efficient” stove heated just as good or better in some instances. It was smaller so not as much wood could go in however whenever the stove started getting cool a split or two was fired in and away it went with little to no operator input. The coal bed was relatively small and the new splits would fire quite quickly. It kept the camp at about 63°F with outside temps in the -20’s.


New Osburn 2300, can’t get the camp to stay over 60°F. Spent several days there recently to play with it and just so happened outside temps were down to -36°F at night….-13°F during the day. Sure, at that temp I would expect any stove/camp to struggle a bit however like I said the smaller stove would heat to the same capacity. So, what gives here?


After reading the manual many times over I tried doing full heating cycles. No dice. By the time the coal bed burned down the camp was down to 45°F.

I tried burning down coals to an amount where I could put 3 splits in. This worked better however the camp would get down to ~55°F before being able to do so.


The most glaring observations at this point was that I had a lot of coals (quite large) and it took a long time for the flue magnetic temp gauge to get up to the optimum burn zone (300-500°F). I had to keep the door open all that time (~25 to 30mins) and wood burnt rapidly (almost as if it was dry softwood) to get the temp up into the zone (~400°F). I would close the door and start throttling back the primary air. By the time I got down to ¾ open primary air the flue temp would start dropping rapidly. A couple times I tried reopening the door to stoke it back up however the stove would never stay in the burn zone for more than like 45mins. Another time at reload, I got the temp up to ~275°C and shut the door with the primary air at 100%. The wood smoldered for quite a while without good flames or much secondary burning. The temp dropped and the stove top was cool and the coal bed wasn’t glowing bright anymore. Too hot stove burns wood too fast and leaves massive coals. Too cool and stove doesn’t really burn.


Since I returned home, I found that the temp gauge being used is not the correct one (“only to be used on single wall pipe”). Oddly we are using the same pipe as with the previous stove….I’m guessing we were over-burning with the old stove?


I’ve also learned that with the new stove, flue temp gauges aren’t the best way to measure the performance of the Osburn stove.


So, does anyone on here have experience with this stove or similar unit?


Am I over-burning the wood on start-up/reload causing all my heat to go up the pipe, burning my wood down rapidly and turn to large coals?


Should I relocate the temp gauge to the top of the stove? If so, should I get it to about 500°F or so?


When reloading, approximately how long should I have to keep the door open along with full open primary air? Do I turn the primary air down to like ¼ open first then open it back up as the wood is being consumed or do I start turning down from full open?

Is it possible that our old dry hardwood is too dry? Absolutely zero moisture comes out of the ends when being burned. Also sound hollow when hit together.

Draft issue? Flue cap plugged? It’s way up there and I can’t really see much other than that smoke is coming out. The old stove didn’t seem to have an issue.

One thing I know for sure is that this stove makes some beautiful coals.

Thank you in advance!

(sorry for the long post)
 
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By the accounts I have heard Osburn is a good stove so I don't think you made a mistake there.

Our wood is well seasoned hardwood ~6 year old hard wood mix mainly consisting of Maple. After years of being in log piles we bucked, split and stored in a well ventilated wood shed.

When was the split? Sitting in rounds does not count towards drying time.

I tried burning down coals to an amount where I could put 3 splits in. This worked better however the camp would get down to ~55°F before being able to do so.

The most glaring observations at this point was that I had a lot of coals (quite large) and it took a long time for the flue magnetic temp gauge to get up to the optimum burn zone (300-500°F). I had to keep the door open all that time (~25 to 30mins) and wood burnt rapidly (almost as if it was dry softwood) to get the temp up into the zone (~400°F). I would close the door and start throttling back the primary air. By the time I got down to ¾ open primary air the flue temp would start dropping rapidly.

Excessive coaling and inability to maintain temp points towards wet wood. What are the rough specs for your chimney, size length and bends? Got a picture?

Quick test, try a load of lumber scrap if you have any.
 
The wood was logged wood that was never taken off the property. It was sitting in large piles of full tree lengths for Im guessing 6-7 years....possibly longer. The bark is off most of it.

I believe this wood is very dry as I bucked it up....sawdust was very dry and effortless to cut. Some wood even has dry rot. It was split last summer after sitting bucked for about two months. Ill see if I can get a hold of a moisture meter to check.

Chimney is 6”....approx 10’ from stove top to ceiling then approx another 12’ above that. All double wall and straight up.

Ill look for a picture.

Thanks!
 
Picure of old stove with current flue.
 

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First pic of once got flue up to temp (using pipe gauge)

Second pic one hour later

Thrid pic two hours later
 

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First pic of once got flue up to temp (using pipe gauge)

Second pic one hour later

Thrid pic two hours later
Is that double wall pipe with a surface thermometer on it?
 
First pic just closed door and primary air full open

Second pic door closed and primary at at 3/4 open

Third pic door closed and primary air still at 3/4 open
 
Closing the primary should result in higher stove top temps. Needing to leave the door open and the primary open at 3/4 shouldn't be necessary. If anything sounds like you would tend to overheat the pipe but if you can't shut the air then indicates a problem. which is very often attributable to wet wood.

To check moisture you have to use a room temp piece of wood that's been freshly split. Get some lumber scrap and try it.

Stove-wise the chimney seems long enough etc so I would also go about checking the installation of the burn tubes and baffle for starters.
 
Closing the primary should result in higher stove top temps. Needing to leave the door open and the primary open at 3/4 shouldn't be necessary. If anything sounds like you would tend to overheat the pipe but if you can't shut the air then indicates a problem. which is very often attributable to wet wood.

To check moisture you have to use a room temp piece of wood that's been freshly split. Get some lumber scrap and try it.

Stove-wise the chimney seems long enough etc so I would also go about checking the installation of the burn tubes and baffle for starters.

I will bring some known dry lumber out next trip to try for sure. The stove did have a bumpy ride into camp so I guess it is possible something inside came loose or broke.

I'll put the thermometer on the stove top or the front face somewhere? The glass seams to radiate heat quite nicely.
 
I will bring some known dry lumber out next trip to try for sure. The stove did have a bumpy ride into camp so I guess it is possible something inside came loose or broke.

I'll put the thermometer on the stove top or the front face somewhere? The glass seams to radiate heat quite nicely.
Usually top. I took a very quick look at the manual. Have you read it through and through?
 
Wood, regardless of being bucked into rounds in the spring, and split in the summer, ain't going to be ready to burn. If it has been sitting 6 yrs exposed, I would image it is punky. It ain't going to dry well until split and stacked. Not sure what species it is, but if its hardwood, it ain't no where near dry. Even softwood split that recently is going to be tough to burn if it was left uncovered, or possibly even covered.

R22 for floor ain't much. R22 for Ceilings is not enough, and if using batts in walls, R19 is standard for 6" walls, if yours are 2x4, there is no way it is R20 with batts. If the one ceiling is Roxul batts, with no barrier, and T&G installed to the underside of the batts, you have no air barrier. Air sealing IMO is even more important than R value, and if both are insufficient, then the heat is flowing out dam near as fast as it is being produced.

The older stove was a tank, that you just fed whatever and it ate it up with a voracious appetite. The newer stoves need truly dry wood, and keeping the air open 3/4 is letting all the heat go up and out the stack. The lower the air intake the more heat the stoves actually create, short of smouldering the fuel load. If you have to keep it open that much, again, the wood ain't good.
Heavy coaling is also a sign of less than dry wood, or sever impatience in loading.

I think you have: less than sufficient insulation & more importantly air sealing, and less than dry wood. The mixture of those two = major frustration.
 
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Yes, didn't know until yesterday that this was incorrect. We have been using that for a few years on the old stove.
Well in that case your temps mean nothing. If that is what you are going by you are seriously over firing the stove and chimney. And also sending a large percentage of your heat out the chimney. get a probe thermometer so you can get useful temps.
 
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Wood, regardless of being bucked into rounds in the spring, and split in the summer, ain't going to be ready to burn. If it has been sitting 6 yrs exposed, I would image it is punky. It ain't going to dry well until split and stacked. Not sure what species it is, but if its hardwood, it ain't no where near dry. Even softwood split that recently is going to be tough to burn if it was left uncovered, or possibly even covered.

R22 for floor ain't much. R22 for Ceilings is not enough, and if using batts in walls, R19 is standard for 6" walls, if yours are 2x4, there is no way it is R20 with batts. If the one ceiling is Roxul batts, with no barrier, and T&G installed to the underside of the batts, you have no air barrier. Air sealing IMO is even more important than R value, and if both are insufficient, then the heat is flowing out dam near as fast as it is being produced.

The older stove was a tank, that you just fed whatever and it ate it up with a voracious appetite. The newer stoves need truly dry wood, and keeping the air open 3/4 is letting all the heat go up and out the stack. The lower the air intake the more heat the stoves actually create, short of smouldering the fuel load. If you have to keep it open that much, again, the wood ain't good.
Heavy coaling is also a sign of less than dry wood, or sever impatience in loading.

I think you have: less than sufficient insulation & more importantly air sealing, and less than dry wood. The mixture of those two = major frustration.

Yes, the wood is hardwood.....probably 90% Maple. I will have to get out and check the moisture in the wood for sure then.

Let me verify the R22 in the ceiling....now that I'm thinking of it they may have put another layer of R15 ontop of the R22 (I wasn't there that work weekend). Definitely only R22 in the floor however it is boxed in with OSB on the bottom.

There is vapor barrier on the ceiling under the T&G forgot to mention that.

Thanks for the info :cool:
 
Well in that case your temps mean nothing. If that is what you are going by you are seriously over firing the stove and chimney. And also sending a large percentage of your heat out the chimney. get a probe thermometer so you can get useful temps.

Thanks, since my camp is fairly remote and don't get to often I'll buy a probe thermometer as well as a IR gun to play with.

Think we were lucky we didn't burn down the camp the last few years!
 
Is this place insulated/air sealed so well that the stove can't breathe? (needs more make up air)
If it hasn't been checked already then it sounds that it is very likely the baffle could be out of place...and also likely the wood is not as dry as you think...
I'd take that thermometer and stick it on the stove top, in the center, right in front of the step up.
Aim for 5-6-700* STT...know that when you start to cut the air back, the STT will continue to drift upward (with dry wood) so you have to experiment with it to see when to start cutting back...500 is probably a good place to start.
 
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Did you ever get this stove to heat properly? I have had a 2300 in Alberta for about 10 years now and only recently have been able to get it to fire nicely. I added a second controllable air intake/damper where the cleanout is. I experimented with opening the cleanout just a bit and the fire burned much better so I then got some angle iron, a piece of 1/2" steel plate about 2"x2" and welded some 1/4" rod to it and added a curly knob like the other one that comes out of the front. Now when lighting and generally burning, I can throttle the air coming into the woodstove and it is like it came alive once it got more air. My altitude is about 3500 feet and I think air density has something to do with this stove's performance. It is designed in Quebec at sea level. I tried contacting SBI but the silence was deafening. The higher the altitude, the less dense the air and therefore less oxygen. I also removed the side panels from the stove to let the heat out - I have non-combustible walls close by so the side panels didn't affect the distance ratings for me. It doesn't a long burn time either. In Alberta all we have is spruce and poplar so it burns up quickly. Getting hardwood is like hunting for hens teeth. I am considering adding a flue damper to throttle the discharge and hopefully keep more heat in the house. Do you have a discharge damper?