Hi all! First time user, long time fan.....
I have a fireplace here in my apartment - it's an older carriage house
and the fireplace was likely used for heat, not aesthetics. The opening
is about 2x2', there is a damper of course and there is also a hole in
the floor that is typically covered by a brick that allows the ashes to
drain down the chimney into my garage for easy removal. I am difficulty
in getting a decent fire of any sort ( I'm not building the fire for
heating, btw ). I can get the fire going easily but within several
minutes, it always is reduced to coals without a flame. Adjusting the
damper seems to have not effect except to fill the apartment with smoke
if I close it too much. Opening one or more windows also does not
change how the fire burns nor does the furnace fan have any effect.
Funny thing is, if I do not touch the fire for a couple of hours, it
will flame up, albeit not very aggresively. Here's where is gets
interesting, if I cover up the opening 2/3s the area or more with a
piece of plywood, it flames up almost instantly and stays buring like
you would expect a fire to. It appears to me that there is an airflow
problem - is it possible to get too much air? I am pretty sure this has
nothing to do with the wood or the way it is cut. Although, if I throw
a handeful of kindling on one of the burning logs, it will flame up and
hold a flame for perhaps 20 min before once again returning to a slow
flamesless burn. It just strikes me as odd that the wood will burn
exactly the way I want it to when I retrict the air going into the
fireplace. ANy suggestions would be greatly apreciated!
How old is the wood? How long has it dried? It has the symptoms of trying
to burn green wood. It smolders rather than flames. The moisture has to be
driven from the wood before it can burn very well, thus the long time burn
and then afterwards a fire.
Blocking the air creates a venturi effect and blow air right on the wood
enhancing the burn. This is the way incinerators work because if you just
piled a bunch of stuff and lit it, you get a flame across the top section
whereas the forced air gives it much more oxygen and rapid burning.
Bang two logs together. What is the sound it makes? Dull thud = green.
Nice crisp twang = dry.
Next is log placement and log size. You have to start with small kindling,
then a few small fags, then the larger wood. Too large and it will not burn
properly. Too far apart and it will not burn. Note that it is next to
impossible to burn just one log, much easier to burn two. They feed off of
each other as the heated gasses escape the log the other ignites them.
A fire can't have too much air, but certainly too strong of a draft.
In this case though, it sounds more like your logs haven't been fully
seasoned. I used to buy mine at the supermarket. It was supposedly
kiln dried, but half the time it would behave just like you're
describing. Just ruined what could have been a nice evening by the
fire. If you've bought a cord from a local dealer, ask for an exchange
or your money back.
When you cover the opening with plywood you create a stronger draft as
you would get with a woodstove. But if this is what it takes to keep a
flame going then I still say the wood is slightly damp.
Thanks for your replies. I was convinced that it was not wood because I used
to use a woodburning stove to heat my former house and I have used wood that
seemed much less dry that the wood I used in this open fireplace but still
it burned very well. Plus, some of the wood I used recently was cedar which
I figured would burn a little better than hardwood if it was a little moist.
Yes, I did by this wood in an orange net from a variety store. Perhaps I
will try one of those store bought fireplace logs next time seeing as it is
only a ambience flame I need. Thanks again to you both.
On 19 Dec 2005 08:43:04 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
They know a lot more than I do, but based only on what you say about
covering the opening, if what they say doesn't help enough, instead of
using plywood, cover the opening with a glass fireplace screen. That
will look a lot better than plywood.
If your fireplace doesn't fit any of them, there have been threads
here recently about how to buy the right glass and build your own.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
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