When to close the air control?

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I have a new Pacific Energy Super LE, although I suppose my questions are relevant to most modern wood stoves.

Do I close the air control (at least partially) as soon as the wood is charred and burning well, or do I wait until the stovetop/stove pipe is close to my desired temperature?

I guess my more general question is: I know closing the air control decreases the input air, but does it also cause the stove to send less heat up the pipe, retaining more heat in the room?
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,782
Southeast CT
I have a new Pacific Energy Super LE, although I suppose my questions are relevant to most modern wood stoves.

Do I close the air control (at least partially) as soon as the wood is charred and burning well, or do I wait until the stovetop/stove pipe is close to my desired temperature?

I guess my more general question is: I know closing the air control decreases the input air, but does it also cause the stove to send less heat up the pipe, retaining more heat in the room?
With modern stoves in general, using dry wood, I’d turn the air down gradually after startup or reloads, with the goal to be burning at lowest air setting. Play around with it- if turning the air down snuffs out the flames, give it a bit more air for a short bit.
I think waiting until the stove top gets to your desired temp will result in wasted heat up the chimney. With good dry wood you could probably shut the air down sooner. And yes, with less air going in, more heat is staying in stove vs chimney, resulting in a warmer house.
 

Dix

Minister of Fire
May 27, 2008
6,569
Long Island, NY
Is this an LE insert or free standing stove?
 

MR. GLO

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2021
355
Massachusetts
My experience is some stoves you can get away with turning air down more and faster. Also how seasoned the wood plays a role....

I watch the chimney smoke and if it starts to put out smoke next time I wait longer or open again and wait. But number of logs, type of wood and draft could impact results...

Start turning inlet down usually 500 on stt. If I try earlier I get small amount smoke out chimney but with red oak and number or size of logs I need to be careful not to wait too long.

Some stoves ive owned can reload and get the internal flue temp up to 850-900 in 10 minutes....so I have to damp and turn air down a little and wait for stt to increase...

Some people don't care about a little smoke out the chimney when burning..but I have neighbors and try to be polite.

As for less heat up the pipe when turning air down or damper....yes....and it drops, stabilizes and sometimes flue and stt increases 10-20 minutes later...

but as a safety tip ...once I adjust the stove I always watch the stove for the next 20 minutes or so because some loads take off...

It's in the basement and put a nest camera with auber temp gauges.

Every stove I've owned has been a learning process and I'm still learning...

Seems like it's easier to burn and set it about halfway and leave it. If my stove was on first floor I would play with inlet more.
 
Helpful answers, thank you. A related question:

Let's say it's a very cold night and I add a couple of logs in the wee hours of the morning. Not wanting to wait there for 15 minutes to play with the air control, is it better to leave it more open to make sure the wood burns efficiently, or leave it more closed so I'm not wasting heat up the pipe for the rest of the night?
 
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ericm979

Burning Hunk
Nov 2, 2018
215
California
If I leave my stove air valve closed after adding wood it'll smoke for a long time and may never catch fire depending on what the coals were when I added it. When I add wood in the middle of the night I stay up until it's burning well at the lowest air setting.
 
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Oct 13, 2020
167
Quebec, Canada
I have a new Pacific Energy Super LE, although I suppose my questions are relevant to most modern wood stoves.

Do I close the air control (at least partially) as soon as the wood is charred and burning well, or do I wait until the stovetop/stove pipe is close to my desired temperature?

I guess my more general question is: I know closing the air control decreases the input air, but does it also cause the stove to send less heat up the pipe, retaining more heat in the room?
I have 1999 PE Spectrum Classic which is basically the same stove as you have, I am connected to a 6 inch dia. 24 ft outside Selkirk prefab insulated chimney with lots of draw, normally I have sufficient coals in the morning to restart a new fire, I rake the burning coals to the front, put in 3-4 splits, keep the air wide open for 5-10 minutes and as its starts flaming up I start closing the air control, when my double wall stove pipe probe thermometer reaches 300°F - 325°F and the wood is flaming well I close the air control to about 90%, when I reach 350°F - 400°F I close the air control all the way. Depending on the wood in the stove all this normally occurs within 20-30 minutes max. Yes when your stove is burning well you do have less heat going up the chimney with the air control fully closed, depending on the species of wood in the stove and how dry it is my Condar FlueGard probe thermometer will be between 400°F - 650°F after closing the air control fully. Your conditions and operation will vary of course as per too many factors to list here, however I suggest you experiment a lot with it and you will learn a lot from it.

1999 Spectrum Classic Black & Gold, sunburst door.jpg
 
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