Wood Stoves, and using discarded hot coals


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Old 01-02-13, 10:21 AM
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Wood Stoves, and using discarded hot coals

We have an Osburn 1600 wood stove (max. 65,000 BTU/hr), which is the main heat source for our 1400 sq ft house. Our normal way of using the stove on basic winter days (normal daytime highs -3 C to -6 C, and nighttime around -10 C) is to start a new fire each morning from the coals left from the previous evening's fire. Then, at about 1 pm, we stop feeding the fire and let the coals die down enough so that by the time the house temp is around 18 C, we scoop coals out and put them outside in an aluminum trash can. This gives us about 1 inch of hot coals to rebuild a fire in the late afternoon.

I'm wondering about the hot coals I scoop out of there each day. It seems to be a waste of potential heat for the house to be scooping them out of the stove, but we need to clear them out or the stove would eventually fill, of course, with ash and coals.

Is there a safe way to store hot coals indoors, so that we get the benefit of the residual heat given off by them? A metal container meant for this sort of thing?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 01-02-13, 10:49 AM
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They would need to be in some sort of exhausted enclosure as if they have heat, they will have smoke still.
How old is that wood stove?
My parents use wood primarily (oil HVAC as backup) and they have very little ash with their newer stove. My dad empties out the ashes every second or third day.
 
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Old 01-02-13, 11:08 AM
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Stove can't fill with coals but it can with ash - there's no simple way to remove the ash while leaving the coals in the stove?
 
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Old 01-02-13, 11:24 AM
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I just did a quick google search and found that this model has an ash tray built into it.
Are you emptying the tray, or emptying the burn chamber?
 
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Old 01-02-13, 11:36 AM
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I never put hot coals anywhere. Basically our woodstove has a hole in the bottom of the firebox that dumps whatever you put down it into a metal box in the base of the woodstove. Heavy metal plug covers the hole. Each day, I open the door and use a tool to separate the coals/solids from the ash. Push the ash down the hole and spread out the coals to start a new fire after you've added new wood.

Eventually the old coals will turn to ash. The box underneath needs to be emptied about once every three or four days? Somewhere around there. I put the ash in an aluminum can outside as well.
 
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Old 01-02-13, 02:28 PM
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Never store hot coals inside the house once removed from the stove. Hot coals are still giving off lots of CO.

I usually push the leftovers to each side to provide an air path under my new wood. That also allows the old ash to accumulate on the sides and I can scoop out as needed, leaving the bulk of the hot coals in the center. I have seen scoops, may be just novelties, made out of wire mesh that allows one to sift out the solids and then remove the ash. Check a wood stove shop.

Bud
 
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Old 01-02-13, 05:56 PM
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OK, I think I've been doing this wrong. I've been taking out coals because it seems difficult to get down to the plug at the bottom to take it out and let ash fall into the container at the bottom of the stove. So from what you are all saying, the best procedure is to push coals to the side to make room for new wood. Those coals will eventually turn to ash, which can be scooped out.

Is that the proper way to use the stove?

Thanks so much, everyone, for taking the time to respond.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 04:47 AM
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OK, I think I've been doing this wrong. I've been taking out coals because it seems difficult to get down to the plug at the bottom to take it out and let ash fall into the container at the bottom of the stove. So from what you are all saying, the best procedure is to push coals to the side to make room for new wood. Those coals will eventually turn to ash, which can be scooped out.

Is that the proper way to use the stove?

Thanks so much, everyone, for taking the time to respond.
That is pretty much what we've done for years in the old camp (cottage) and what my parent's are doing now. Just be careful not to damage your bricks that line the outside walls.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 05:34 AM
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Every once in awhile I clean the chamber out completely, when it has been out for some time. I don't heat a lot with it any more so easy to find an opportunity. But there is a big difference between holding a bed of coals with lots of ash vs just one fire. Hot coals get buried and when I get up in the morning, if needed, I can always find enough to jump start a new fire. If I just cleaned it out, all coals are gone and just ash, so I have to get out some kindling and start over.

But every stove will be different and you will need to work out what is best for you. As a caution, we have had several houses burn down here in Maine because the owners removed hot ash and left it in the house in a bucket. Even our recycle center warns about "no hot ash" in their collection container. The benefits of enjoying wood and the heat derived from it do not outweigh the cost of replacing ones home. For those of us who choose to continue to use wood, being obsessively cautious is a must. I have had burning logs roll out the front, hot embers burn holes in my carpet 5' in front of the concrete pad (father-in-law) and some really bad smoke problems from people trying to help and not knowing what to do.

One last thought, I haven't had a stove with an ash pan in a long time so I'm wondering if you are supposed to limit it to just cold ash or if it can handle hot ash. If hot, where do the fumes (CO) go? I would hope they would be venting back into the stove, but not sure.

Be careful and enjoy,
Bud
 
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Old 01-03-13, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051
One last thought, I haven't had a stove with an ash pan in a long time so I'm wondering if you are supposed to limit it to just cold ash or if it can handle hot ash. If hot, where do the fumes (CO) go? I would hope they would be venting back into the stove, but not sure.
If I remember correctly, my dad's newer stove has a fairly small hole (3/4" maybe) for ash to fall in and the pan had a rope gasket similar to the stove door.
 
 

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