Good, that eliminates one part of the potential problem.
Getting a good fire going is important. If this is your first
experience, it will take some time to get things right. Start out
with about 1/4 to 1/3 full and get the fire going well. Once heated,
add a bit more wood to fill it to no more than 1/2 to 2/3 full. The
fire will use some of its energy to get the new wood dried and heated,
ready to burn. Then you can finally fill it up for the night.
Since the wood is near the stove, over time it will dry more and be
easier to burn, but that can take a couple of weeks. Never try to
burn one big log. If you watch two logs, they sort of feed off of
each other for a good burn.
That makes sense . That way all the heat doesn't go into heating/drying
the fuel .
I tried one big log before I added the hallway into the camper , didn't
work out so well but then we weren't depending on the stove for heat . Now
I'm splitting anything ove about 6" diameter , bigger gets quartered . I
hesitate to split it too small , because I don't really know how small is
"too small" . Most of the firewood is stacked outside , I guess I need a
larger inside pile . I'm going to concentrate on standing dead trees as much
as I can the rest of this winter , and plan better for next year . I had
seriously considered using electricity to heat this year , but after seeing
last month's bill I'm glad I went wood . More work , but then I have more
time than anything else . In about 6 weeks I'll be able to draw SS , which
will help keep the wolf at the door at bay ... and a damn good thing ,
because when tourist season is over up here everything else gets really slow
I think you are on your way to running a good hot stove. The more
inside time for the wood, the better. It will add needed humidity to
the living area and dry the wood for a better burn. Just watch out
for bugs as they can come out of dormancy when warmed.
I found that a mix of small and large logs works best as the small
ones burned easily while heating the larger ones. It may take you a
couple of weeks to get it figured out, but you will as you try things
and see how they work.
As an experiment, put aside a half dozen pieces of wood for at least a
few weeks to a month. You'll see the difference in that time. Use
them on a really cold day at the end of January or in February.
Gotta gloat a little here , got a free chainsaw last night . It's a 14"
Homelite , the giver said it hasn't been run in 13 yerars ... when I got it
home last night I poured a couple of drops of gas in the spark plug hole and
it fired on the first pull ... and died . So today I cleaned up the carb and
this sucker runs like a champ . It's so old it doesn't even have a hand
guard much less a chain brake .
So instead of framing up the bathroom this morning I've been cuttin' and
splittin' wood . One of the logs I chopped up has been on top of a pile of
stuff for 10 years and it's still mostly sound . Since it's dry I only split
it into halves except the part that was like 15" in diameter . Also cut and
split a couple of 8 foot logs that I cut down to make room for the house .
This afternoon I'll be looking for standing dead wood that's not too far
Ed , I really appreciate the advice . You've helped me understand the
dynamics of wood stoves and how to get the heat we need .
As Ed has advised, it takes awhile before you get the hang of it. It's
not much of a curve but there is a curve. We have a 25+ year old Kent
Tile Fire stove from New Zealand. You can see it on the internet with a
search but they are no longer imported into the USA. Best way to
describe it is a sheet steel (5/16" or 3/8") box with a double/triple
wall around the exterior. The firebox can be cooking away at 500-600
degrees (flue temp might hit 180) and you can put your hand on the back
of the stove (triple wall there) and it's merely warm.
The double walls on side and triple to the rear create very good air
circulation in the room via convection. No fan necessary on the stove,
just the ceiling fan in the room (24' x 26') to stir the air and bring
it down from the cathedral ceiling.
The damn thing has a big glass door so you can see the fire burning.
It's like watching it on television<g>. We wind up having to clean the
glass only once or twice per season since the air flow in the stove's
design tends to keep it sparkling clear.
Note: if you have a glass window on your stove that gets dirty, before
you buy some fancy cleaner - like we once did - take a paper towel, wet
it, dip it in the ash and rub it on the (cold) glass. Finish with a
clean, damp paper towel. Cleans it like a champ.
Took a bit but we learned rather quickly to start small and work up.
Once you get a good sized chunk burning in there, you can load it up,
cut back the air flow and it'll stay nice and warm all night. We load
it up for the night around 10PM with the equivalent of maybe 4 7" logs
split in half that are your standard 16"-17" long and cut the damper way
back. That keeps the house warm all night and leaves us with a great
bed of glowing coals at 6:30AM or so that we toss a couple more pieces
on and we again have a roaring fire in 10-15 minutes.
BTW, IIRC, the owners manual on our stove specifically stated to never
use a grate. They recommend that when you clean it out - typically for
us is about once every 5 or 6 days - you leave an inch of ash in the bottom.
A new chainsaw is on the event horizon for me, a Husky 455 or 460 with a
24" bar. Got a 435 now with a 16" bar, but we just landed a deal with a
guy who has 20 acres of juniper (HOT burning) that was burned slightly
in a wildfire, just enough to burn the hair off the bark. The 435 will
do good for most of it, but some of it is really hefty, and I will need
a longer bar. Besides, I need one for some of the larger trees we get
into. The owner had it all bulldozed, and it has been sitting for a
year now. Soon as the mud dries up, we will be on it. We have been
dolling our trailers up, adding toolboxes, and tie downs and all, and
we're good to go. I have not heard a lot of good on newer Homelites,
but have heard good on older ones. Run it a little oily on the gas.
Get a couple of extra plugs. Better to be a little smoky, and not lean
it out and smoke the engine.
On Friday, December 27, 2013 6:42:31 AM UTC-8, Snag wrote:
I thought I had the only one of those still operating. My thermostat never
worked from day one. It is either all open or all closed as selected by th
Ashes through grate: I have the same problem when burning Willow and Box e
lder. The ash is too light and fluffy to go through the grate on their own.
I used the poker or the side of th ash shovel to rake them down occasional
ly. burning Black Locust the ash is heavier and goes down by itself.
Burning wood is not a "fire and forget" operation. One needs to keep an eye
on it and make adjustments often or get run out of the house by heat (or f
reeze, my wife thinks 80* is "chilly").
Tell her she's right! Below 78, we freeze here.
Actually dry air gives a sense of being cold in a 'hot' room.
The absolutely BEST heat [at least to me] is glowing, radiant heat like a
fireplace, or Markel electric heater provides. You sit near and you're
warm. Get up and move about, the air is cooling and refreshing. Yep, best
of both worlds.
You need to use seasoned wood and keep your flue cleaned.
If you don't take such common sense measures you will end up with a fire
in the flue and burn your whole place down.
As to the grate: Yes you have to keep it clean.
Did you miss the part where I said this was a late-breaking decision ?
Next year we'll be using seasoned wood , this year it's whatever I can get -
a few trees I cut for the construction <cut abt 3 mo ago> and standing dead
trees from the woods around us . And the flue IS clean .
I've seen a flue fire , believe me when I say that ain't likely to happen
, because I'm monitoring the creosote buildup . None to speak of so far ,
but we've only been using the stove for about 2 weeks .
I'm new to thuis type of stove , last wood burner I used was a potbelly
stove with a grate you shook . Looks like I'll have to fab some implements
I figured it was better to err on the side of caution
I do not have a wood burner myself but have a good friend who I see
often and it's his sole source of heat. I don't know if he cleans the
grate every single day...but he does have to clean it often.
As a matter of fact, I am heading over there in a little bit.
I talked to my friend who uses wood heat and he said that if the wood is
not well seasoned a once a day cleaning sound in order. He burns
seasoned hardwood and has to clean it every two days...but he says some
of his friends can go a bit longer.
His wood burner does not have a grate beneath the logs but merely a 4"
(or so) hole and an ash collector below. I suppose if I were more clever
I could even think of a joke.
I know a lot of people don't, but I keep my firewood covered. It can
soak up a lot of water quick, and if you have it all nice and seasoned
and dry, it will suck up a lot of water with a few days of light rain.
Tarps work okay. Something permanent works better. I have a fifteen
foot by thirty foot steel awning on the side of the house that covers
the wood racks and the propane tank, and garden "stuff".
I have two wood burning stoves, one at the house, and one at the cabin.
I will soon have one at the shop.
They are simple devices, yet not maintenance free. A good practice is
to empty the ashes when they get a couple of inches deep, the deep being
up to where it interferes with the air intake for the bottom draft. You
can make a small shovel out of sheet metal, or find one at a yard sale.
It is also good (!) to vacuum the bottom inlet very well with a
implement that can get in there and get the dust. It will look clean
after you have shoveled all the ashes, but that little bit in the hard
to get area might be what is messing you up. A blaster will clean it
out, but that would only be in a shop environment. Inside you can use
an air nozzle, and have a shop vac going, but you will only get some of
the dust, and the rest usually settles on SWMBO's best antiques and
collectibles, don't ask me why.
As for the damper, it has different functions. The main one is to
regulate the fire so that all the heat does not go out the chimney. It
is a fine balance between the top and bottom draft so your fire burns
long and hot. Once you find that point, it is easy to remember.
Chimney and flue pipe cleaning is proportional to the type of wood and
amount. Different woods produce different amounts of soot, and that
soot has differing amounts of residual flammables in it, and a buildup
can cause a flue fire. Check the facts on the woods you burn. Around
here, cottonwood and aspen are good, so is juniper. Pine of any species
has lots of pitch, and I have seen some hellatious looking fires in the
stove being fed from pitch coming out of the log, sounding like a
blowtorch, and approaching scary.
Cleaning just depends on your setup, but it is good to run a brush
through there once a year at least, or have it professionally done. I
have to do the one at the cabin this year, and I have to go get two sets
of scaffold jacks so I can get way up the pipe to make entry. (A-frame
setup on that end.) The roof is like 45 degrees or more, and I don't
climb any more. I am going to check out having someone do it, cuz by
the time I do all that, I coulda paid someone. My time is very valuable
nowadays, and I don't bounce as well as I used to.
Making this short by putting the answer at the end, I bet if you vacuum
out the air passages on the bottom of the stove more frequently, it
would work better. Mine sure does, and I can notice it burns entirely
different when it is clean. I had to make a small little device to get
in there for my Eureka Mighty Mite. Also, fire ash will stop up your
filter very quickly in a vacuum, so clean it after you use it for ashes.
I have a galvanized bucket with lid, probably 6 gal. that I put ashes
in. Never assume they are out, put the bucket somewhere safe for a
couple of days, then spread the ashes in your garden or yard. Some
plants do well with ashes, check your local nursery.
Let us know how it shakes out.
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