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Author Topic: Tips for keeping a wood stove going overnight?  (Read 9646 times)
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TheOntarioGardener
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« on: February 01, 2012, 09:48:41 PM »

Hello everyone,

For those that have read my other post, my wood stove chimney pipe was replaced today and I can now burn wood pretty safely.

However, the question that I have for you experts, how do you keep your fire going through the night, without tending to it, so that you don't have to start over in the morning? I know a lot of it depends on what wood is burned, and your type of wood stove, however I feel the basics are pretty much the same.

Thanks in advance.

~Jake
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2012, 05:56:45 AM »

It depends on how cold it gets. We bank the fire. Pile on the wood(Heart of Oak or Maple) and turn down the damper. This allows the wood to smolder all night. But it doesn't put out nearly as much heat. Punch up the coals in the morning and add some really dry poplar for a quick burst of heat. The truth is it will not keep all night if a lot of heat is required. There are just so many BTU's of energy in a piece of wood. If it is cold enough to use up all those BTU's then you just have to refill. A small firebox stove means it will not last the night and will need to be tended.

JMHO
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2012, 09:48:52 AM »

Ya what moon said.
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 08:56:38 PM »

What they all said....daddy used to have an old Ashley that would burn all night on low; especially if we loaded an oversized (barely smaller than the door opening) piece of oak or hickory about 1/2 hr before bedtime, opened the damper wide open, and then closed it back off 1/2 later when going to bed. If it's cold enough to run it more than on low, reloading it is the only option.

That Ashley was a dual fuel (coal/wood) heater with firebrick in it.

I've heard tell that a layer of soapstone surrounding the fire box will absorb a lot of heat and will keep giving that heat off even after the fire goes out; everything I've seen online with soapstone used that way was really expensive, though. Somebody on here might have experience with using soapstone that way.

Danny
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 10:12:48 PM »

I agree with whats already been said.
I would like to add if you don't have the big stick of wood,
you can take 2  half sticks or 4 quartered sticks and stack them really close together.
Also red oak does a great job.
Good luck with yours.
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2012, 08:07:39 AM »

We had a soapstone stove for about five years. It has the advantage of a steady heat for a long time, but is doesn't heat up as fast or as hot as a cast iron stove. I think they are good looking as well. I had the feeling that it used more wood than the cast iron stove to obtain the same heat. Ours was marginal for the purpose, whole house heater, and I sold it on Craigs list last year and went back to a cast iron stove which is sized to our needs and works well. It will hold coals all night and will be easy to get going the following day even after 12 hours. It will be barely warm after 12 hours but the house is well insulated so the temp will drop about 6 degrees over night. The soapstone stove kept coals overnight as well.
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2012, 10:48:58 AM »

Thanks for the tips everyone. Last night around midnight I loaded up the stove with a nice big piece... and by this morning at 7:30am... it was all burned, and there were no coals at all. So, at some point into the night it burned itself out, but I don't think I could fill it enough to make it last.

Not that big of a deal to start a new one in the morning, but it sure takes a long time to get up to temperature and get the house warmed back up.

~J
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2012, 07:28:57 PM »

I recently sold an Earth Stove like this to #1 son.



It will take a 24" log and weighs 350 pounds.  It's an airtight welded steel with firebrick walls and bottom.  With it loaded to the gills and the thermostat cranked all the way down, it would still have some coals after 8 hours.  However, I usually loaded it around midnight and my wife would reload around 6 am and restart the fire rather easily.

Without an airtight, it'll be very hard to keep any coals for in the morning.

Lots of folks use an outdoor furnace that they can stick half a tree into for infrequent refilling applications.
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2012, 07:36:43 PM »

I have a modern, high efficiency stove. It was in the house when I bought it last spring. I believe it is a 2007 model. Within the past 5 years in any case.

Tonight I will try to load it up even more, and keep the dampers way down, or even shut. That has worked tonight so far. The big pieces slowly cook away, and it really keeps the heat up in the house. The wood that I have is mostly Maple. I didn't get to pick it, it is what was available. Up here Maple is pretty common as burning wood, thus most of what people burn... from what I have seen anyway Wink

~J
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2012, 02:14:40 PM »

Maple is a great burner. We use it all the time. Save back the dark heartwood pieces for the overnight. They will burn the longest.
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2012, 03:27:40 PM »

Well, last night I loaded up the wood stove, and low and behold, it kept the temp above 70 all night. The wood lasted from 11pm to 7am. When I went down to check it, there was just a bit of coals left, but the stove still felt really warm and after adding a bit of paper and kindling, it started right back up. So, needless to say, I will try that technique again tonight and see what happens.

It is nice knowing that the furnace hasn't run for over 30 some hours.

~J
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2012, 06:31:40 PM »

Mine hasn't run in several days, but it's 52 degrees outside right now. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2012, 06:35:55 PM »

General rule of thumb for me:  Stoke fire and restock if needed EVERYTIME I go pee...lol.  It works for me to keep the heat even all night.

Also, I thought some maples burnt with more sap n stuff in it?  I put some maple in the wood stove once around here and actually had a black stinky sticky substance trying to run out between the stove pipe sections... I stopped burning maple due to that...course, I was younger then and didnt really know what I was doing...

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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2012, 08:01:04 PM »

Just in case you don't realize it- if you're heating with wood you are blessed. I know... it's work cutting and splitting the wood... then you have to haul it... but man... who doesn't like sitting around a wood stove all snuggley and warm...
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 07:41:33 PM »

I have a soap stone stove and I load it up full of cured oak before bed. The key is to have a good bed of coals before the last banking.  I then turn the damper down and let it burn slow.  When I wake up the next morning, I only have to throw some dry kindling on the coals and open up the damper/air to the stove and when it gets going reload with oak.
This has been working very well for me for the past couple of years.
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2012, 07:31:04 AM »

I have a Jotul Oslo cast iron wood stove. It is the 5th wood stove that we have had in 38 years and I like it. It burns 22 inch long wood pieces (logs) and heats the whole house. It is rated at 70,000 btu max sustained heat. After a day heating the house I fill it up at about 9 to 9:30 pm, turn the air vent down and go to bed. Since I am retired now We get up around 7:30, feed the dog and tend to the wood stove. I rake the ashes/coals to the center of the stove, open the door for the ash dump and empty it. The fire is roaring when I get back and I add 3 logs and close everything up with the vent wide open. The house temperature went from 72 in the evening to 66 or 68 in the morning depending on how cold it is outside. I don't usually heat the stove much above 500 degrees F (thermometer on top of stove) and adjust the vent accordingly during the day to maintain 72 degrees in the living room. The stove is in the kitchen. I only sweep the chimney once a year with this stove as opposed to every 6 weeks with some that we used previously. The chimney is something that you should keep tabs on so you don't get a chimney fire and do something bad to your house. We had a cedar shake roof for years and I always worried about it. We now have an asphalt roof and I worry less.
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Dave
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2012, 01:10:19 PM »

I lived in Alaska for twenty years and had a big Blaze King stove in the living room. The biggest secret is using hard wood. The harder the better. Have a good bed of coals going, load the stove heavy with your hard wood then shut the damper down till you hear a slight whistle. Then don't count on sleeping late. Depending on how hard and dry your wood was you can count on getting up in seven or eight hours to reload the stove.
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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2014, 07:12:33 PM »

I realize this is an old post but I just found it and wanted to add my 2 cents to the prior posts. I have found the trick to getting your stove to hold the fire/heat all night is the design of the stove and it needs to be an air tight design. Years ago I had a Fisher Grand Ma Bear with the double doors. I had a damper in the flue. I heated 35,000 sq feet with this stove. I used wood tossed at a wood yard that was used as up rights on the log trucks and was free. If I closed the air vents on the doors the stove would smother because it was that air tight. At night I would put 3 to 4 pieces of wood on the stove prior to going to bed and turn the air vents down, nearly closed and nearly close the damper. The next morning there would be  a bit of the wood left slowly burning and the house would be about 68 degrees. This was an old drafty farm house wit no insulation. Prior to bed the temp would be about 70 to 74 degrees and would have been that temp most of the day meaning all the contents would also be that temp. The contents would also slowly give off some of their warmth as the house cooled a bit helping to keep the house warm. A cast iron stove is slow to warm but is also will give off heat slowly radiating heat for a long time. A steel welded plate stove will heat quickly but also cool quickly. An air tight stove is the only one you can really effectively control the burn. I just purchased an old model Jotul 118 cast iron stove that I hope to have fired up in two weeks and I can report about the burn time on this stove if you like. It is suppose to burn through the night. To heat up a stove quickly start with a lighter wood and add heavier wood once it heats up. Dan
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« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2014, 07:39:22 AM »

I try an revive an old post too.
This isn't a woodstove forum so many people on here may not understand heating with wood today with modern EPA appliances will allow 12-40hr burn times. Whatever stove you have the single most important factor is DRY wood. I repeat DRY wood. Normally that means CSS (cut split stacked) in single rows out in an open space for 2 yrs. Not under a tree or next to a building but out in a wide open space and covered only on top. Then preferably brought into a building. Every bit of moisture in the wood you burn waists BTUs trying to dry the wood and just goes up the chimney as steam.
Next all wood has the same BTU per lb regardless of specie. Heavier wood simply means you get more lbs in your stove.
A CAT stove will allow you the longest burn time but needs more maintenance due to the CAT needing cleaned or replaced. A tube stove is practically maintenance free but typically won't allow as long burn times. Hybrid stoves can give you the quick fast heat of a tube stove but the long burn time of a CAT stove. If I've lost anyone you need to get on Hearth.com and educate yourself cause this post could get real long.
I have 2 Vermont Elms, one is a 24" the other is a 30" (thus denoting the length wood it can take). I get no less than a full 8hr burn and that is with a typical 300 degree stove top temp at the 8hr mark. If I carry it out to what they call coals to relight it could easily be 16-24hrs. I have a pretty typical 1800sqft cape code with open floor plan except there are a ton of large windows. I can easily heat it to 80 degrees and it was -11 last night and I woke to 72 degrees after an 8 hr run. Had I waited I'm sure that load from the night before would have lasted until late in the afternoon.
DRY wood DRY wood DRY wood!!! And if you think its dry.......trust me its probably not.
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2014, 08:46:31 AM »

With this recent winter this is a good topic to revive. With the Jotul Oslo stove I have I just fill it up at night and set the air intake at about half and go to bed. I haven't had to use a match ever in the morning. The coals are still going and the house temperature goes down about 5 degrees over night if its really cold outside. I use to choke the fire down and was proud of the fact that there was still wood burning in the morning. I got less heat in the house and more chimney problems doing that. Now the house is warmer and I sweep the chimney once a year instead of every 6-8 weeks. Gotta love that wood stove.
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Dave
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« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2014, 09:41:28 AM »

For those that may not know this; EPA stoves regardless of type work on the principle of burning the smoke. It takes approx. 1400 degree super heated air to burn smoke. By burning smoke you accomplish 2 things: 1 you drastically reduce or eliminate any form of creosote (that BTW comes in 3 forms) and 2 you get the heat benefit from it that would otherwise just be going out your stack and pissing off your neighbors. A perfectly tuned EPA stove is perfectly smoke free and no smell.
Once your stove is dialed in and up to temperature you are 95% running on the secondary air source only. In my case the primary is fully closed and so is the draft. Even with all the regulated air sources closed my stove top temp can sore to 800 degrees but my stack temp may only 300-400 degrees. My secondary air is running the show and burning only smoke.
Thats how you get really long burn times.
I criticize heavily alot about government regulation but to be honest the advent of EPA wood burning technology revolutionized the wood burning industry. Houses are much warmer burning much less wood much safer and you don't piss off you neighbors anymore  Grin
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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2014, 02:56:00 PM »

I agree with AllisCA, except I can burn my smoke at 450 degrees & up.  for the last 26 years I've been using an Earth Stove BV 450c, and have only had to replace the catalytic combustor once, just last fall. I burn mostly "HEDGE" Osage Orange which has excellent coaling properties along with high btu.  max heat output, 48,100 BTU. weighs 495 lbs.  corner stove.  In lets say 16 degree weather outside I burn hedge all day and at about 9P.M. I sturr the hot coals and add three 13" diameter logs, turn the catalytic combustor on and crack the intake air, by the next morning still plenty of wood left to burn, or I might add a couple of 4" diameter logs 18 inches long and I'm good for the day.  I love that stove, saved me a lot of money on heating.
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« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2014, 05:25:35 PM »

Gary...Does your stove have a blower that circulates air from around the firebox and out into the room?
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Dave in Columbia, SC

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« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2014, 05:44:27 PM »

Yes it has a blower and is reasonably quiet.  I think it plugs in to 120vac and converted to 12vdc I think if I remember correctly.
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« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2014, 05:50:08 AM »

Thanks Gary. My wood stove has a blower also. It is a big one and sits in the fireplace. The blower is fairly noisy, but puts out a lot of air. When the power goes out, I use a 12v deep cycle battery and an inverter, (converts 12v to 120v), to run the blower. Since your blower motor runs on 12v, you could hook the blower directly to a battery if you made up a pigtail that bypasses the converter. Handy for an electric outage.

I don't think I have seen a more efficient stove than yours, by the way. If we get another house, I will have to get an efficient one like yours.
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