Wood stove doest stay lit

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Jeffawsome

New Member
Nov 25, 2021
4
West bend
I have a Century wood stove not sure of the model. It worked fine for the first month or so of use but now it's very difficult to start and stay burning. Any help or info would help.
Thank you: Jeff
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,101
central pa
I have a Century wood stove not sure of the model. It worked fine for the first month or so of use but now it's very difficult to start and stay burning. Any help or info would help.
Thank you: Jeff
What is the moisture content of your wood?
 

Wickets

Burning Hunk
Jan 4, 2016
104
nj
i dont know why youre having problems but it isnt your wood....any wood cut and split a year ago is dry enough to burn. hopefully you get it sorted soon
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,531
South Puget Sound, WA
A moisture meter is best, but in lieu of one there are several tests you can do. For comparison, pick up a bundle of known, dry wood from the supermarket. Now, does your firewood seem heavy when compared to the known dry wood. That extra weight is moisture. Next, split some of the larger pieces of your firewood in half. Put the freshly exposed face of the wood up against your cheek. Does it feel cool and damp? If so, it needs more drying time. If you bang two pieces of dry firewood together they may ring with a musical note. Wet wood banged together will go thud. Or, bring a few splits into the house and weigh them. Write the weight on them with a sharpie. Let them sit in the warm, dry house for 2-3 weeks, then weigh them again. If there is a notable drop in weight, then the wood is losing moisture and was damp inside when the test started.

To use a moisture meter, bring a 4-6" thick split or two into the house and let it warm up for a few hours. Then, split it in half. Take the moisture meter and press the two prongs firmly into the middle of the freshly exposed face of the wood. (Testing on the ends is not meaningful.) Fully seasoned firewood will read somewhere below 20% moisture, typically in the 15-17% range. If the wood is >23% moisture it needs more seasoning.
 
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all night moe

Member
Nov 19, 2015
75
earth
i dont know why youre having problems but it isnt your wood....any wood cut and split a year ago is dry enough to burn. hopefully you get it sorted soon
This depends on stacking methods, location, and species of wood. For instance Red Oak takes 2-3yrs to fully season.
If stacked in a damp area with little wind, all wood will take longer to dry, let alone season.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,730
Colorado
Just a brand new burner here and last night I tried two types of wood and measured with my crappy moisture reader (have to drill four little holes 1/16 in the middle of a split and stick these meter prongs into it and it tells me the moisture in the wood..)---there must be a better way to measure the moisture in the wood--ugh...Buy a good meter...Well anyway my first pieces were kiln dried from GA shipped in many months back and stored in my house and those splits measured by the meter 10% maybe 11% sometimes but those (oak--16 inch long) took off and burned just wonderful and the next batch was a mix variety--seasoned they say---at 18% and I had the darnest time trying to get it light in the first place and once it was--it kept going out---so I do believe your problem might very well be moisture--just saying with knowing nothing here for lack of experience but it was a joy when it took off and stayed lite...We need to get a good moisture meter that is a lot easier than what I have...clancey
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,784
Northern Maine
i dont know why youre having problems but it isnt your wood....any wood cut and split a year ago is dry enough to burn. hopefully you get it sorted soon
Please do tell us more.
I drive past a house in town who has their kiln dried wood neatly stacked under the drip edge of a shed.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,924
Long Island NY
It might burn (while still wet) after one year in an old, pre-EPA stove. Not necessarily so in a modern one. If you have previous stove experience, you'll need to relearn, adapt, reset expectations.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,531
South Puget Sound, WA
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jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,352
Long Island NY
Since you probably can't get a meter in for a couple days you can tell to some extend by the sound when banging two splits together. Nice high pitched plink or more of a wet thunk. Before this trouble was the wood sizzling when burning or only wanted to burn with the door open?

Check your cap, if its black and fouled up you may have a blockage. Can happen pretty quick w/ bad wood and smoldering fires.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,304
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Sometimes you can go to your wood stack and cherry pick the driest stuff. Split it smaller if you must, and load the stove looser crib style in alternating directions. Most of us have had to burn wet wood at one time, it can be done.

Ideally you would have seasoned wood.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
If you were burning for a month, it's possible your chimney needs cleaning due to buildup.

This can be caused by poor wood as mentioned above, or while learning how to best operate a new stove.
 
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