relighting from coals: am I doing this right?

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wagdog

Member
Feb 12, 2021
58
Way up nord VT
I feel like I'm getting a handle on the Englander NC-32 we installed about three weeks ago (replacing an old King that I used for 25 years). It's a lot different from the old King that's for sure.

I'm finding that I'm getting good long burn times (more accurately "heating times") from the stove when I bring it up to temperature, slowly bringing the air intake down and gaining control, then running it fairly hot (with the secondary ignition happening). It runs steady like this with little to no input from me for hours once it's under control.

When run like that, I find I have a bed of completely burnt ashes in front, and quite a bit of hot coals in the back.

So on reload, here's what I'm doing:

1. Open the air all the way for about 15 minutes.
2. Remove the ash from the front.
3. Pull most of the hot coals to the front half of the firebox, leaving a very shallow bed of coal in the back.
4. Reload using splits, rounds, etc..
5. Keep the door cracked until I get flames and the stovepipe temp starts moving upward.
6. Close door, wait till the stovepipe/stovetop starts climbing in temp, start closing air, which brings the temp up, until I have a good hot fire and control.

Sound about right?
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,377
Fairbanks, Alaska
I don't see a problem with your method, don't have a non cat stove. On my cat stove the only thing I would change is your step #6 because of the catalytic combustor.
 
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Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
868
Rochester NY
If it works then there's nothing wrong with that method. I personally don't see the need to open up the air for any significant time prior to opening the door and raking coals forward, and I never remove the ash until an actual stove clean out day. Although in an effort to put off those clean out days since it is tedious, I have been removing the condensed chunks of ash that form. Easier to pull those out and put them in an ash bucket than loose ash.
 
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wagdog

Member
Feb 12, 2021
58
Way up nord VT
Seems good but I’d leave ashes until they build up every few days. About an inch is actually better than none. It will give some insulation for the coals on longer burns.
Ok, thanks, I’ll try leaving more ashes.

It’s tough to retrain after so many years with a completely different stove! My previous stove had grates and the air intake was on the bottom, under the grates. I’d shake the grates and the ash would fall down to a pan leaving any coals.

With the new epa stove, I found I was ending up with significant coals in the rear of the firebox. Raking them to the front before restarting has significantly reduced the amount coals I’m cleaning out.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,678
South Puget Sound, WA
You're doing fine. All of us have to adjust burning habits when running a different stove. It often takes a month or so to fall into the groove.
 
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wagdog

Member
Feb 12, 2021
58
Way up nord VT
You're doing fine. All of us have to adjust burning habits when running a different stove. It often takes a month or so to fall into the groove.
It’s interesting (to me anyway) how much technique there is to what should be a simple task (i.e. burning wood in a metal box).

I didn’t know about the whole epa stove and catalytic thing when I bought this stove. I just knew I had to replace my old stove and this one looked good and had decent reviews. Seemed weird that the air comes from above the fire, but sure enough, it works.

Figuring out the restart from coals and how to fully burn them off has been a big help.

Same with starting cold using a top down fire; seemed completely counterintuitive to me ‘til I tried it - worked great! I now get why it works, but would have never thought of it ‘til I read about it here.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,678
South Puget Sound, WA
Wood is a natural product with many variables like moisture content, species, etc. Then there are the variables of the installation and weather. Learning to roll with these variables is part of the art of burning.
 
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