Woodstock Ideal Steel & Ecobrick long burn

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OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,535
Center of Ohio
Time to post up about my new Ideal Steel I put in this season, on Thanksgiving day actually. I'm still pretty new with it and we have had a mild winter and with 2 stoves in my house I haven't even run the IS consistently. Because of this I was a bit slow learning the stove, trying to burn up 1/2 cord of punky half-rotten (but dried) wood, then my short ash pieces I cut for my other stoves, etc. I wanted to get a good grasp of running the stove before I threw a bunch of super dry and very dense compressed sawdust logs into it. I have a good ton or so of Ecobricks left over from the 3 tons I bought last year. Besides throwing 2 or 3 in to fill gaps in the cordwood, I have done 3 bigger loads where I gradually use more and more bricks. Today is the first full load of just bricks - 4 six-packs of em, 24 total which is about 84 lbs of wood in the stove. In previous tests I did have some trouble keeping the burn rate low enough, and found I could tame it by covering a portion of the dime-sized hole in the secondary air intake that always remains open. For a better solution I'd like to try a key damper but for now a magnet will suffice to slow the thing down a bit.

Quick info of my setup. IS horizontally venting 2' into tee which connects to a 22' (IIRC) insulated Duravent rigid liner through an interior brick chimney. I'm also running the ESW PAH pellet stove on the other side of the house most of the time. My house is very poorly insulated and also have trouble moving heat between the new and old sides. Plus having two stoves allows me to still utilize low burns even down into the 20's.

So on to the long burn test...

1-load_24ecobricks.JPG 2-load_24ecobricks.JPG 3-load_24ecobricks.JPG
Here is the load. I used 2 more than what is shown in the first pic, for 4 complete six-packs. Second pic is partially loaded, you can see the 3 rows of 5 bricks each for 15 packed tight in the back. All the coals were raked in front, and 2 bricks placed across the front on the coals. 3rd pic shows two more on top of the front two, then one last row of 5 on the top even with the front and close to touching the secondary plate since it slopes down in the back, but I left about an inch gap or so. I placed just a few pieces of kindling in front of it all to help it get going, there were little coals and it had cooled off. Surprising it took off very quickly.

Loaded at 11:13 AM.

7-thermo_locations.JPG
Thermometer locations. I use a Condar catalyst probe (CAT). Also a surface thermometer on the center burner (CB) and the supplied Woodstock magnetic thermometer on the back corner of the stovetop (STT). I'll later have graphs of the temps so wanted to point out where they were taken (just manually measured and entered into a spreadsheet).

The load took off pretty fast, even though initial conditions were only 150F on the stovetop with little coals. At 10 minutes I had 450 on the CAT probe and engaged the CAT and knocked the air back to 1/3.

At 16 minutes I was at 700F CAT, and walked outside to check and no smoke at all...
8-nosmoke_16minutes_700cat.JPG

At 20 minutes CAT was at 750 and I backed the air down to notch 3, and a few minutes later to 2. Somewhere in there the firebox went dark, no flames. CAT peaked at 850 and started to decline. I little while later it's second wind kicked in and started to climb and I shut the air completely off, down to the first notch. It is still there now, 12 hours later.

The glass is covered in black so no photos, and I don't want to disrupt the burn by opening the door. But here is a graph of the first 12 hours...

2-5-16.png

It burned a tad hotter than I needed and wanted there for several of these hours, but still I think I'll get a decent long burn out of it. At least I didn't hit 1200F+ like my previous tests.

Currently 32F out, great room at 72 and bedroom at 73. Pellet stove running on minimum setting. Forecast to get down to 23F tonight, 5-10mph, and 39 high tomorrow. I'll be around all weekend aside from an hour or two run each day, (and 8 hours of sleep!) so I'll be around to check up on it and jot down temps every now and then.

Cheers! cheers.gif
 
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JA600L

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2013
1,274
Lancaster Pennsylvania
Do those bricks coat the glass?
 

OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,535
Center of Ohio
They coat the glass black if that is what your asking... much like the full cat stoves this low burn coats everything in the firebox black (which is why no pics after it is up and running). Sadly these low burns aren't very exciting to watch, and either requires some glass cleaning after or a high burn if you want a nice show for a later burn. It does seem to self clean fairly well though with a good high burn.
 

OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,535
Center of Ohio
Just hit the 34 hour mark and still looking good. Should burn through till the morning I hope.

It was tapering off though, which worked fine for the bright sunny mild afternoon we were having. But with nightfall approaching I decided to bump it up. She wasn't throwing out a ton of heat, but still keeping that side of the house a degree or two above what I really needed so no complaints here. But wanted to get it up a tad for night... at 30 hours I bumped up the air 1 notch. Temps still slid a bit. 30 minutes later I went another notch. Temps picked up a little but within about 30 more minutes they started to decline slightly. I wanted to see if I could get it up a good 100F hotter or so, so at about 31 hours into the burn I decided to open the door, snap a pic, and stir up the fuel a bit.

9-31hrs.JPG
First time opening the door, 31 hours in. The back row is still just about full sized.

I toppled the stack, poked it a little, closed the door and turned the air up a bit more. Now on notch 5. In one hour on notch 5 the CAT went from 575-750 and center burner 295-345.

Here is the graph updated for 34 hours:

34hrs.png
 

OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,535
Center of Ohio
Its still alive... barely. Here is a pic when I work up around 6 am... 42 hours and 40 minutes

10-42hr40min.JPG

I stirred it up again and opened the air a couple notches. Some of those bricks on the bottom were quite solid still!

At 300F on the center burner right now. I won't let it get to the point of needing paper or tinder, but going to try for 48 hrs...

I'll have a couple more pics and data shortly.
 
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OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,535
Center of Ohio
What is the cost of that load of ecobricks?

Had to break out the calculator... $9.17
I paid $220 for a skid of 96 packages iirc

Just hit 49 hours and debating to reload soon still 295 on center burner
 

tarzan

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2014
1,552
wv
Ohio Burner, very good of you to do that and take the time to post it here.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,057
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Had to break out the calculator... $9.17
I paid $220 for a skid of 96 packages iirc

Just hit 49 hours and debating to reload soon still 295 on center burner

Amazing results, thank you for the thread and pics. Have you or anyone done same with cordwood? This is really good stuff that benefits the entire community.
 
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OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,535
Center of Ohio
Thanks Tarzan and Highbeam, just seeing what the stove is capable of, at least with Ecobricks since I can get em around here. I learned a lot myself by doing this. I know cordwood won't go this long but I have not done a good test at a low burn to see what cordwood will do. I've got around 24 hours with ash but I have to pack it in really good. And ash is all I have right now other than spruce I am just now splitting and stacking.

Just reloaded the stove, last measurement was taken at 49 hours 18 minutes.

11-46hr35min.JPG 12-48hr20min.JPG 13-49hr20min.JPG
Here is 46 hrs 35 min, 48 hrs 20 min, and finally 49 hrs 20 min.
I stirred up the coals each time but left the air control the same. That is why at the very end of the graph you see some fluctuation but the throttle remains at notch 6.

And the chart plotting all the temperature points I recorded:

50hr_chart.png

Realize there are some big gaps between points when I was outside or sleeping, etc.

I am very happy with the results! I was able to shut it down fairly quickly, but still needed 2 hours to get it into long stable burn. I could probably have shortened that some, and one or two less moves. From that point it ran about 28 hours completely untouched, and could have went much longer but I didn't want the CAT to get too close to 500. And it did not dip below 500 until about 40 hours.

I reloaded shortly after the final picture, about 12:35. After raking the coals to the front I loaded it full, with 2 larger kindling pieces over the coals in front of the pile but everything else regular splits and a couple whole rounds. It didn't have a problem taking right off.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,935
South Puget Sound, WA
Impressive. At this burn rate the cost would be about $4.50/day or about $135/month. That's less than a cord of purchased wood would be in many locations. What have the daytime/nighttime temps been?
 

OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,535
Center of Ohio
Impressive. At this burn rate the cost would be about $4.50/day or about $135/month. That's less than a cord of purchased wood would be in many locations. What have the daytime/nighttime temps been?
Yeah but realize this would only be for modest outside temps. Keep in mind I had 2 stoves going for most of this test, my pellet stove also burned about a bag a day on minimum during this test. But I have a large drafty poorly insulated house. Having two stoves though allows way better heat distribution and I can run them both at idle or fairly low where I believe they are most efficient. This seems to work for me down into the 20's. 40+ is still an issue with having to shut one down and then have one side of the house hot and the other cold. But at 40+ the difference isn't drastic usually.

I didn't track outside temps in as much detail but I did jot a few things down. At the start of the test the forecast was:
Start 11:13AM 32F slight breeze
Day 1: High 36 5-10mph mostly sunny Night: 26 5-10mph
Day 2: High 40 10-15mph partly sunny Night: 28 5-10mph
Day 3: High 45 5-10 +25 gusts Night: 32

Probably a way to scrape weather data off the net and import into my spreadsheet but I haven't looked up how.

Some things I recorded along the way:
Initial house temp 68 great room, 67 bedroom
Midnight Day 1: 32 outside, 72 great room
Day 2: morning low was 21, great room 72 not sure the high but I think around 40
Midnight Day 2: 29 out, great room 73 (max 74 min 72), bedroom 74
Day 3: around reload time 47 outside, 74 great room (71 min 74 max)

These inside temps were warmer than I'd normally keep it. I like 68-70, any more than 74 and I'll be just in boxers lol. If I could get my pellet stove to go lower would be ideal. Or just manually shut it off a little longer. I probably would not have run it as much other than that is the really drafty and poorly insulated side and my sons bedroom is there and it cools off very quickly. If it were days I didn't have him I'd have left it get cool. Last year I burned 2 tons of Ecobricks, 2-3 cords of wood iirc, and 5 tons of pellets. I've got a big insulation project going on that will help the upstairs, but I'm still in the middle of it. I really hope I can find some land and build a bit of a homestead with a smaller and better insulated house someday. I like this place, but can't wait to move on.
 
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LocustBurner

Member
Mar 30, 2015
81
Southside Virginia
This is very informative and good to know.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,935
South Puget Sound, WA
In general, west of the Cascades and Sierras, the temperatures are generally mild most of the winter. Depending on alternative fuel costs, lifestye and location, solid fuel can be a nice alternative to wood burning.
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,805
Central Mass
I wonder how long of a burn you could get with a box full of Neil's, they're more dense, maybe shoot for 100 hours?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,935
South Puget Sound, WA
Isn't that what BKVP is burning? He hasn't reported any 100hr burns. Highbeam tried some high density logs and did not get great results. This might have been due to a leaky gasket or perhaps the bricks work better for a long burn due to the lack of air space between them?
 

OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,535
Center of Ohio
I know I've read a post where a King had over 100 lbs of compressed sawdust bricks and seem to recall it burning 50-some hours, iirc. Seems like that was a couple/few years ago. Actually that post was one of the first that made me realize there were stoves out there capable of WAY exceeding the 8hr burns I was accustomed too. From that point on I was very interested in BK and they were probably my first choice for next stove, just wouldn't work for my hearth. And the King was very expensive, even the Princess was quite a bit more than the IS, from my local dealer. I'm still debating swapping out my pellet stove for another woodburner now I know they can burn this long, so maybe a BK or perhaps the new Woodstock Absolute is under consideration.

I think the biggest issue for a long burn with the compressed sawdust bricks, especially with the Ideal Steel, is keeping the temps down. And stacking a solid tight mass of bricks together without any air gaps should help a lot. I didn't try but I'd expect a faster burn if they were not packed tightly. However once most of the out gassing is done and the temperatures slack off, I found it better to then stir them up as when they were all coated in ash in a big clump they just weren't putting out much heat anymore, perhaps struggling to burn well. First stir was about 31 hours, then again a couple times at the end from 42-48hrs. One nice thing these things burn very completely and leave much less ash behind, at it is all a nice light powder that quickly sweeps into the ash pan. About a dozen or so chunks of coals and the rest swept away so a clean stove floor at the end if you let it burn mostly down.
 
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Wildbilljp

Member
Nov 30, 2018
69
Ky
I realize this is an old thread BUT THIS, is good to know especially since I just loaded 50 packs of the eco-bricks in our basement. Got them on sale for 2.18/6 pack. Guess I should go buy all I can at that price.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
I know I've read a post where a King had over 100 lbs of compressed sawdust bricks and seem to recall it burning 50-some hours, iirc. Seems like that was a couple/few years ago. Actually that post was one of the first that made me realize there were stoves out there capable of WAY exceeding the 8hr burns I was accustomed too. From that point on I was very interested in BK and they were probably my first choice for next stove, just wouldn't work for my hearth. And the King was very expensive, even the Princess was quite a bit more than the IS, from my local dealer. I'm still debating swapping out my pellet stove for another woodburner now I know they can burn this long, so maybe a BK or perhaps the new Woodstock Absolute is under consideration.

I think the biggest issue for a long burn with the compressed sawdust bricks, especially with the Ideal Steel, is keeping the temps down. And stacking a solid tight mass of bricks together without any air gaps should help a lot. I didn't try but I'd expect a faster burn if they were not packed tightly. However once most of the out gassing is done and the temperatures slack off, I found it better to then stir them up as when they were all coated in ash in a big clump they just weren't putting out much heat anymore, perhaps struggling to burn well. First stir was about 31 hours, then again a couple times at the end from 42-48hrs. One nice thing these things burn very completely and leave much less ash behind, at it is all a nice light powder that quickly sweeps into the ash pan. About a dozen or so chunks of coals and the rest swept away so a clean stove floor at the end if you let it burn mostly down.

There are some long, long burns on this site. :)