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Fireplace insert/wood stove secondary combustion


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02-09-11, 07:34 PM   #1 (permalink)  
Fireplace insert/wood stove secondary combustion

This is an extension of a previously closed thread:
I was hoping that communicating in this forum I would have had someone warn me about making this mistake, so here is the warning for other inexperienced wood stove / fireplace insert users.
Many have described filling their wood stove with wood to get a long burn, so that is how I started using my unit.
For those of you, who like me, are new to wood stoves and fireplace wood stoves, my unit getting too hot was mostly due to my putting too much wood into the firebox. Since I have placed less wood into the firebox, the fire is more controlled and still gives off enough heat. I have learned that filling my unit with wood produces a fire that is too hot and less controllable.
We just installed a marble piece over the fireplace, replacing the wood board that was occasionally getting too hot for my comfort.

 
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02-10-11, 05:02 AM   #2 (permalink)  
Does your stove not have a control damper that regulates how much air is introduced into the fire box? I fill my stove up with wood before I go to bed and turn the control to low. That produces a slow burn that will generally allow the fire to last thru the night. The biggest problem with a slow burn is it creates more suet. Cranking the stove up in the morning will help burn some of this off but IMO it's best to clean the flue once a month if you use the stove on a daily basis.


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03-11-11, 07:54 PM   #3 (permalink)  
I am getting the amount of oxygen that allows nearly complete combustion, (I can look up the chimney and see no soot or creosote buildup) a beautiful fire, and enough heat to satisfy what I was looking for in this unit. I have added small pans of water on the narrow steel shelf above the firebox, below the mantle to add humidity to my home. I am very happy that I built this for my house.

 
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03-11-11, 11:34 PM   #4 (permalink)  
<< suet >> ??


<< Cranking the stove up in the morning will help burn some of this off Cranking the stove up in the morning will help burn some of this off >>


Oh, soot! It took me a bit to figure that one out!



(And frequently typographically challenged myself)

 
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05-09-11, 06:25 PM   #5 (permalink)  
Personally designed wood burning insert with secondary/enhanced combustion

We've used our "new" fireplace insert / wood stove for an entire cold season now and it has been a learning experience. We're very happy that we "built" this secondary combustion wood stove into our fireplace insert. The last improvement that we made that seemed to solve the excessive heat worry, was to add another layer (about three inches) of high temperature insulation directly above the fire box inside the fireplace enclosure. Just below the added insulation we installed another sheet of steel to hold the insulation up, and help the air flow more smoothly out into the room. We also added several small aluminum pans (2" X 5") on the shelf above the firebox, under the mantle that we keep filled with water. This seems to cool the mantle and adds humidity to the living area of our house. We have also learned that they type and condition of the wood being burned makes a lot of difference how much heat we get and how long it burns.

 
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12-03-11, 08:46 PM   #6 (permalink)  
Hi again.
We're into our second season with the customized fireplace/woodstove and still very happy with the result. The first year we were burning wood that had been left outside for several years and was pretty deteriorated. This year we are burning wood that I cut early this spring, kept sheltered, and is a lot more solid. I get a slower and more controlled,even burn. Now the wood stove is hot in the morning, after six or seven hours since I added wood before going to bed.

 
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12-09-11, 12:02 PM   #7 (permalink)  
I have not read anyone suggesting this but, I have found that wearing a high quality pair of welding gloves when working with my fireplace/wood stove insert allows me more freedom when touching the stove parts and when loading wood into my stove. I bought a pair of these gloves at a local hardware store for about $15.

 
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12-09-11, 02:07 PM   #8 (permalink)  
Hello Bill,


I bet you miss the bracing experience of getting out of bed in a cold house to be able to run over to get the stove started....

 
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01-20-12, 08:33 AM   #9 (permalink)  
Another thing that I have not heard recommended before: Wood stove / fireplace insert thermometers. It has not been clear to me how to know when the wood stove / fireplace should have additional wood added except by viewing the size of the fire. I always wondered how hot the unit was. Finally I searched for wood stove thermometers on the Internet and found that there are many types available. I purchased one, and now I can see when I have put too much wood on the fire, and when I need to add wood by checking the thermometer. The thermometer has settings for recommended temperatures for avoiding making creosote, and avoiding overheating to avoid chimney fires.

 
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01-20-12, 07:27 PM   #10 (permalink)  
Personally I have a thermometer sort of like a meat thermometer I always keep mounted in the vent pipe above the wood stove to monitor the flue temperature.

High temperatures are typically about 600 degrees when burning kindling and such to get a fire started.

I normally aim for about a 400 degree temperature which provides a curtain of flame throughout the firebox that burns up pretty much any smoke.

 
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02-04-12, 06:49 PM   #11 (permalink)  
We purchased three different wood stove thermometers, (we have two wood stoves): 1. First we purchased a "Rutland" at our local ACE hardware. This thermometer seems accurate but is difficult to read without getting very close, because of the colors. 2. Then we purchased a "Meeco Red Devil" thermometer from Menards. This thermometer had an attractive white background that was very easy to read without getting very close when we bought it. However, after using this "Meeco" product for a few days, the attractive white background turned a light tan/brown that is difficult to read without getting very close. Also this "Red Devil" thermometer showed about 100 degrees hotter than the "Rutland" thermometer. 3. Finally we purchased the "Inferno" thermometer from Amazon.com. We found that "Inferno" registered the same as the "Rutland" thermometer but is much easier to read from an comfortable distance away. The Inferno has kept its original attractive colors. We recommend the "Inferno" as the best choice.

 
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02-13-12, 08:48 PM   #12 (permalink)  
Still learning: When I open the doors to our fireplace/wood-stove, while the temperature is above 400 degrees, the heat against my face is noticeable. What I didn't realize was that the heat against my eyes had a negative effect on the health of my eyes and they began to feel irritated after refueling the fire. Since I had a cheap plastic set of construction goggles, I have started to wear them when refueling a hot fire. This has helped protect my eyes from that irritation and possible damage. Maybe I should use a tinted pair of goggles. Anyone have an opinion about this?

 
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02-25-12, 06:04 PM   #13 (permalink)  
Here's the thermometer I use. I drilled a hole in the side of the single wall pipe above the stove and leave the thermometer inserted all the time. After 15 years it's still in very good condition.

Not cheap, though. I used to use this in my furnace repair business.

Bacharach 12-7014 Thermometer, Tempoint

 
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10-13-12, 04:16 PM   #14 (permalink)  
face Heat Shield for wood-stove fireplace

Back again
It's been a hot summer this year and looking for winter again. We have stoked up our wood-stove fire place several times already. I found a new solution to having my face and eyes "cooked" when opening a hot wood-stove fireplace. I purchased a 3M Pro Carbonate Face heat Shield! This works great! It's cheap and works much better than safety goggles. I purchased it from our local hardware store for about $15.

 
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10-18-12, 09:05 AM   #15 (permalink)  
Face heat shield for opening a hot fireplace-woodstove.

Response from another forum:
"I've never had the problem of being cooked when I open the woodstove to add wood. I open the draft all the way before opening the loading door creating a strong draft pulling the heat and fumes up the chimney. That insures that the air rushes in to the stove and not out. "
ANSWER:
The problem that I had was not from fumes and heated air flowing out of the fireplace-woodstove but the RADIATED HEAT against my face when opening the large fireplace-woodstove doors. I learned quickly that I should open the damper and turn off the fans a few minutes before opening the doors. Even then I only open one side. My unit is not one with a small metal door, but one with doors that are the size of a fireplace opening with glass panels.

 
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01-03-13, 07:46 AM   #16 (permalink)  
Sifting out coals from fireplace/woodstove ashes

Still learning....Each morning when I have cleaned out the ashes from the fireplace/woodstove I have had some live coals and charcoal left in the ashes. I had been trying to carefully sort out these with the small shovel designed for a fireplace. Sorting out the coals was not very efficient, so I thought about how this task could be done better. Now, I am sifting out the coals by shoveling the ashes into a pan with (inch in diameter) holes in the bottom of the pan. The fine ashes filter out the bottom of the pan, leaving the coals in the pan when the pan is moved back and forth over a metal ash pail. Now, I can throw the live and unburned coals back into the fireplace/woodstove to heat and restart the new wood.

 
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01-21-13, 09:11 PM   #17 (permalink)  
Burning large logs without splitting

Wow....I hardly ever have to split firewood anymore! Our fireplace/wood-stove produces the heat and gets such a good burn with well cured wood, that we can put logs into the "firebox" that are about18' long and 12" in diameter (or 12" long and 18" in diameter) without splitting them. We start the fire in the morning with scrap wood and 3-4" diameter limbs 12 - 18" long laid on the left-over coals, and when the wood has burned down, and the fireplace/wood-stove is about 450 degrees, we can begin to just add the larger logs during the rest of the day. They burn hot and long!

 
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02-05-13, 09:39 PM   #18 (permalink)  
Some problems not mentioned before

Just in case anyone uses this thread to use our fireplace / wood stove unit experience to help to make one of their own: I had a couple problems not mentioned previously:
1, At first, when the unit had a fire going and was hot, I had thin aluminum humidifying water pans leak water onto the fireplace door glass windows and cause a shattering of the glass. Since then we have used heavier coated steel bread pans to hole the humidifying water that sits on the steel shelf located just above the fireplace and below the mantle. I'm pretty careful filling these pans!! ops:
2, Even though we are careful to quickly add wood to a diminished fire and close the doors, we always have smelled the presence of wood fire fumes in the room after we're through. Thinking that this could be a health threat, we purchased a air purifier that has two air filters (one a HEPA filter and another an activated charcoal filter). The air purifier also has an ionizer to help the filters trap pollution. This air purifier has greatly reduced the presence of smell within a few minutes after refueling the firebox.

 
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02-06-13, 06:21 AM   #19 (permalink)  
While it's not fool proof, cranking up the fire for a few minutes before opening the door to add wood will help reduce and/or eliminate any smoke that might enter the room.


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02-06-13, 08:00 AM   #20 (permalink)  
Broken glass panel during a fire

I also designed and built heavy sheet metal plates that can cover the glass panels in the fireplace doors in case I do something that causes a glass panel to shatter again when there is a fire burning. On another occasion I (won't do it again!) burned some particle board and plywood that caused a glass panel to shatter when some flames touched the glass. That time I had a sheet metal plate ready to place in front of the broken glass panel.

 
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02-10-13, 03:07 PM   #21 (permalink)  
Using fresh ash from the fireplace to help clean the glass is effective.

Another thing that we have learned about maintaining the wood stove / fireplace: To keep the glass clean enough to really enjoy watching the fire, we clean the glass every morning when we clean out the ashes and refill the fire box. My wife read somewhere that using fresh ash from the fireplace to clean the glass is effective. I have been spraying the glass with a mixture of window cleaner and ammonia, then scrubbing with a pad of fine steel wool. When I dip the moistened pad into the leftover ashes, the mixture is much more effective in cleaning the glass.

 
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12-10-13, 09:29 AM   #22 (permalink)  
Air Purifier for fire smell in house after refueling fireplace or wood stove.

Even though we are careful to quickly add wood to a diminished fire and close the doors, we always have smelled the presence of wood fire fumes in the room after we're through. Thinking that this could be a health threat, we purchased a air purifier that has two air filters (one a HEPA filter and another an activated charcoal filter). The air purifier also has an ionizer to help the filters trap pollution. This air purifier has greatly reduced the presence of smell within a few minutes after refueling the firebox.

Added Note 12/10/2013: To extend the life of the filters that came with this air purifier, (for the past year) I have placed a high quality furnace air filter in front of the unit so that the air is first filtered before going through the purifier's filters. This week I started placing a kitchen towel in front of the furnace filter as a primary filter that I can wash every week. Cleaning our air without cleaning our bank account!

 
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10-14-14, 05:39 PM   #23 (permalink)  
Back again and still learning.

This winter we are burning wood that we stacked a year and a half ago and stored in a covered, vented "wood crib" built something like a farmers corn crib.

The beginning inclusion of a heavy metal back plate with stacked cast iron window weights has been changed. The 1/4" thick steel plate holding the cast iron is not easily sustained and easily maintained. The steel plate warped after a few months of use, and was difficult to straighten.

As a replacement, we stacked full sized fire brick against the back wall's 1" thick fire brick sheeting that came with the fireplace insert. Against the side walls we stacked "half brick". To hold the fire brick together we used a fire brick caulk in a tube that is rated to withstand 2000 degrees. It is holding up very well.

This summer we cleaned the chimney and only got about one cup of soot! This fireplace/wood stove really burns clean!

 
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10-15-14, 04:05 AM   #24 (permalink)  
Thanks for the update. Generally a hotter fire will produce less soot and dry wood will burn hotter than green wood. It's best to let wood 'season' for 1 yr prior to putting it in the stove. Often if the wood sets for more than 2 yrs it starts to rot.


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