wood burning stoves


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tinker b

the commonwealth
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 11, 2014 - 02:41am PT
ahh, it is winter and the wood stove is one of my best friends. i am living in a trailer in england, and we have a stove...thank god. i always thought the stove works better with the door closed, but i have no information to back that up. the lovely gentleman who i cohabitate with thinks it works better to keep the door open.
so here i am asking the community to give me the advice i need to stay warm.

Truckee, CA
Dec 11, 2014 - 03:02am PT
I was a stove guy and chimney sweep for several years. Make and model, please, or picture. A wood stove is engineered to work a certain way, and that way is with the door closed and using the air vents built into it for intake air. If it hasnt ben swept or if the vent pipe is damaged or installed poorly, it may not work without the door open, but that still isnt proper or safe. There would be a problem with the venting somewhere. Your buddy doesnt know how a stove works. If its not breathing out well, youll have to modify how it breathes in as a result. Fix any breathing out issues and youll be efficient and safe. Likely needs a sweep and service if it doesnt work well with the door closed, or doesnt have enought vent pipe height to build draw. That or there may be too many bends/angles/elbows in the pipe.

Post a pic.

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Dec 11, 2014 - 05:21am PT
tinker b dear,
check this out:

stove performance depends largely
on your chimney set up.

how far above your roof does the stove pipe climb?
how large of a diameter is your pipe?

with a proper pipe set up,
your stove should work equally well
with the door open or closed.

with a poor pipe set up,
smoke will exit the open door
and flood the trailer.

open doors are mostly for ambiance
(snuggling goes great with open door burns..)

get a screen if you do keep the door open
cause the wood will pop little hot zits and boogers
into your space which can be nasty ignition sources.

if you just crack the door open a wee amount,
the thing will get roaring because the fluid (oxygen)
movement across the fire increases.

so light it; open the door an inch or so until it well-establishes
a flame;

now open the door and put in your screen and make love
with the nearest warmth.

before bed close the door and stoke her up good with wood.

if you have a stove pipe valve, close that mostly-but-not-completely.

sweet dreams.

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Dec 11, 2014 - 05:23am PT
thanks for starting this thread, tinker.

i've been having a spout with my Vermont castings,
new-to-me vigilant wood stove.

these are great stoves but this one has been
puffing great bong hits into my living room
so regularly that the smoke wakes us up
in the night and i gotta go dick with it.

so i adore physics and enjoy learning
and understanding the processes upon which i rely.

i have a great stack of pipe above the stove,
due to a 12 in 12 roof pitch and a second story
thru which the pipe travels....

but this stove ain't drawing like it should...
so i cleaned the pipe last week;
still she has a smoking habit.

it only happens when i shut it down (intake and exhaust)
tightly for the night.

i burn dry and cured wood, mostly douglas fir...

so my analysis leads me to this conclusion:

the stove box is so tight that when i shut it down,
there is not sufficient fluid velocity (benoulii where oh where are you?)
to move the smoke column up the 45' pipe;

when it reaches a certain elevation (at the cooler pipe altitude)
the dense smoke (because i'm burning the wood so slow and cool)
becomes too heavy and it just f*#king falls back down the
pipe and burbs out around the door / lid rope.

i can hear the butterfly intake valve jump and rattle when
she exhales.

so my solution has been to close the damper before bed,
but keep the intake open more than I'd like
so it burns a little hotter and faster
and thus encourages the smoke out the pipe at a greater velocity.

am i a complete?

Social climber
Dec 11, 2014 - 05:25am PT
hey there say, tinker b... i have twin buddies, with a wood stove, as well...

i will also ask them for info...
but, yes, can you post a photo of it... they would do better to see it, as well...

also, i sent you an email...

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Dec 11, 2014 - 05:38am PT


Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Dec 11, 2014 - 05:41am PT
All good comments here.

I've been burning wood for over 50 years, in various wood stoves, and all the above comments are valid.

I thought firewood in the U.K. was scarce?

Dec 11, 2014 - 06:08am PT
Our Vermont Castings stove is also farter.
steve shea

Dec 11, 2014 - 07:05am PT
Pacific Energy is the company. Fusion is the model. The best stove I have had here in JH, land of way below zero. Top it off with an Ecofan or two and you are in business. Ecofan is made by Caframo. This is a great combination.

Truckee, CA
Dec 11, 2014 - 07:12am PT
For your vermont castings, do they have catalytic converters? if so, theyre the most likely culprit. Otherwise the flap is also worth a check. Most folks dont know to maintain their catalysts, and they then melt down after clogging up with ash, and the noble metals in them deform, and are expensive to replace. technology has sort of left catalyst stoves behind.

I also dont think many of those brands would apply in the UK. Not sure what they use. Maybe some scandinavian stoves? Tulakivi?
John M

Dec 11, 2014 - 07:14am PT
An eco fan was one of the best additions I bought for my wood stove.

Dec 11, 2014 - 07:16am PT
When the column of air in the chimney is not yet at a temperature above that of the air outside there is not a high draw. Draw is caused by the differing weight in the air.

Wood burns when the temperature is high enough to cause destructive distillation of hydrocarbons in the wood/ Those hydrocarbons are the white vapor coming off the wood.


if the temperature is not at or above the flash point for those vapors you get a smoky fire that will tend to clog your chimney with recondensed deposits.

if incoming air flow is not high enough to permit combustion you will hear a rapid series of explosions as the collected vapor ignites. Need to let in more air, burn down the wood a little, and then add new cold wood to lower the temperature so distillation is is not too fast for the amount of air you want to let in.

I got my air tight for $50. Then had to pay $900 for a double barrier chimney pipe that meets code and is less likely to burn the house down.

Truckee, CA
Dec 11, 2014 - 07:40am PT
Modern engineering has taken care of most of that. Im here to flame you. Woodburning is viable, modern stoves are quite clean and efficient. They do need to be maintained properly and set up properly and many arent. People seem to think that if heat comes out, it works well. Not so much the case, you need to have heat without burning your house down and not belching tons of thick smoke and such.

Where I live, we get outages quite often, electricty isnt an option, and just becuse the pollution doesnt come from your home visibly, doesnt mean that electricity is clean. You just cant see its dirtiness;) Just like hybrid cars, theyre just as polluting as petrol cars, but not directly, its the manufacture thats dirty.

The folks who insist on not upgrading their old smoke belchers are dirtying up the air more, but are also losing out on heat and efficiency as well. If you put fire in ametal box, of course it will give off heat, thats easy. You need to do it efficiently, with modern reburn and air injection, you get burn from the wood, then another burn from the reignition of the gases put off by the original burn, thus more heat from the same amount of wood and less sh#t out the vent pipe.

Dec 11, 2014 - 08:39am PT
Sure they are better than they use to be, but they still put off a lot of sh#t. Wood stoves still are nasty stuff. If everyone did it, we'd be sucking sh#t out of the air and all be dieing earlier. We just decided not to put in a sh#t, err, wood burner during a remodel, despite the prevalence of cheap wood in the area for that specific reason. It was a choice. Outages will easily be handled by a propane tank and a heater head attachment if and when we need it. I also recognize that what we have there now, electric forced air that came with the home, causes it's own troubles. The only true way to be pure is to not turn the heat on, and then the pipes are freezing - and that ain't gonna happen.

I'll admit there are a few times where they are the only choice for people. If that's all you have or truly can afford, God bless you and burn away. But most of the time folks basically are putting a wood stove in and saying "F** you and your breathing problems, and F* everyone else too, I think I'll save a nickel doing it this way and I don't give a sh#t about any environmental issues I'm personally creating by this choice so F* off".

ME ME ME. Seems to be a modern mantra.

Sorry I didn't answer your question Tinker b. Long ago, I lived for a winter burning pallets I'd score for free and cut up, you can find your own woodstoves characteristics best by paying attention to it.

Truckee, CA
Dec 11, 2014 - 08:54am PT
Well okay mister exalted fancypants.

F*#k you then I guess? I didnt realize thats what I was saying when I lit up a fire.

But I will say go eat a penis, the size of your own choosing.

I highly doubt that you truly understand how a modern stove works.

Dont drive a car then. Dont plug anything into your wall outlets then. And definitely, dont talk then. If your so concerned about air quality.

Dec 11, 2014 - 08:55am PT
LOL, when you don't have facts on your side a personal attack and adding a few detours on another subject or two will at least make you feel better.


Truckee, CA
Dec 11, 2014 - 08:58am PT
"Not having facts on your side".....

must be an idiot. And a ranty little bugger at that.

Truckee, CA
Dec 11, 2014 - 08:59am PT
Explain how a modern wood stove works without googling then, sir?

Dec 11, 2014 - 09:00am PT
Here, read up. As far as your suggestion of not using google, why would any rational person do that? If you can bring any facts to the table, instead of petty small penis offcolor attacks and bringing up non issues, lets see them.

An Engineer's Perspective on Heating with Wood and Other Solid Fuels
by Curt M. Freedman, M.S.E.M., P.E. (see resume)
In a blind attempt to stay warm for less money, many people are mistakenly choosing to burn solid fuels such as wood, wood pellets or coal this winter. The alleged popularity and benefit of heating with wood or other solid fuels is simply not justified by the expense, detrimental health impacts of "second hand" wood smoke, fire hazards, and poor heating performance of wood stoves. Newspapers and magazines as well as movies and television that promote the use of wood stoves and fireplaces as being romantic and natural do not responsibly present the detrimental health and safety ramifications of heating with solid fuels nor do they discuss more cost-effective alternatives that would promote improved energy conservation, health and safety.

Interest in energy conservation has increased recently due to the following developments:

a) Increase in natural gas prices caused by increased demand; the Wall Street Journal has reported that the increase in demand can be directly linked to the increased utilization of natural gas for electric power generation.

b) Increase in demand for oil and higher prices caused by the strong global economy;

c) Unrest in the mid-east;

d) Concern for price volatility caused by low domestic oil supplies;

As a licensed professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts specializing in energy conservation and a technical advisor for "Burning Issues", (Burning Issues is an advocacy group that promotes cleaner burning fuels) [www.burningissues.org], I have two major concerns over the use of wood for heating (I am not a representative or spokesman for the oil, natural gas or propane industries nor do I have any financial interests in the above industries):

A) There is inadequate economic benefit to burn wood; a modern high efficiency oil, propane or natural gas appliance will out perform a wood or pellet stove.

The availability of split seasoned wood is decreasing and the cost is increasing; in fact, most of the firewood dealers that were contacted in the Springfield Yellow pages were completely out of wood. The energy cost value of wood products is not cheap. Wood at $140/cord is equivalent to oil at $1.53/gallon (I have locked in with my dealer @$.91/gallon) and natural gas $1.12/Therm (I obtain natural gas @ $.65/therm). Wood pellets @ $2.78 per 40 pound bag is comparable to oil @ $1.73/gallon and natural gas @ $1.27/Therm. When one adds the $1,500 to $4,500 initial equipment cost and the ongoing value of a persons time to clean the stoves and load the fuel, an investment in a solid fueled wood or pellet stove may be financially unsound.

B) There can be significant health impacts; a wood stove is 500-1,000 times dirtier than a modern oil burner.

Wood smoke emissions contain fine particulate pollution and can have similar detrimental health effects as tobacco smoke. Experts have documented that the chemical components in wood smoke cause irritation to the respiratory system causing bronchitis, asthma, and sinus infections weakening the immune system resulting in a lower resistance to infectious diseases. I feel that it is time for more responsible energy policies to direct citizens in a more environmentally and economically smarter route on the highway to the 21st Century. I feel that the public should know that returning home in a gas guzzling SUV to their glass enclosed family room heated with a wood stove and a redwood Jacuzzi heated with wood from an 80 year old red oak tree may not be environmentally friendly. I feel that we need to utilize equipment that has comparable emission levels and protects clean air quality standards. I feel we need to more aggressively promote energy & electrical conservation to reduce our emissions from, and consumption of fossil fuels. I do not feel burning formerly healthy hardwood trees is the proper utilization of our forests.

My experience with fine particulate air pollution began seven years ago when my neighbor installed an EPA approved wood stove (with a catalytic converter) that resulted in my normally healthy lungs bleeding from bronchitis and my son being hospitalized. I resolved the problem with my neighbor by investing in a natural gas hydronic heating system for their family room so they could choose to utilize a heating system that releases 1/500th the PM1O and PM2.5 pollution of a wood stove. After this experience, I became an advocate in my community identifying problems with the use of solid fuels and promoted Best Available Technologies or "BATs" utilizing conventional heating equipment.

Within the last few years, after I presented documentation to the Longmeadow Board of Health, the Longmeadow Bertucci's Wood burning Pizza Restaurant converted its wood burning oven to natural gas. The emissions from the wood oven became a nuisance after the wood smoke continued to detrimentally impact the occupants of a nearby commercial office building, including the chairman of the Longmeadow Board of Health, Dr. Robert Rappaport.

There are other very good reasons to utilize conventional fuels:

"Wood smoke is significantly associated with respiratory function decrements in young children with asthma." In Seattle area, "60%-90% of particles in residential neighborhoods ... are from wood burning year round."

-EPA report: "A Summary of The Emissions Characterization and Non-Cancer Respiratory Effects of Wood Smoke," 12/1993.

"Individuals can also help reduce particulate pollution through simple steps such as using energy efficient light bulbs and appliances, maintaining cars properly, insulating homes, and curtailing use of wood stoves for home heating in favor of cleaner fuels."

-NRDC report: "Danger in the air," 1996.

Summary and recommendations:

1) Everyone must know the detrimental effects of secondhand wood smoke; solid fuel appliances should have warning labels as do cigarettes; we all have a right to know of substances that are unhealthful; people will make better fuel use choices if better informed.

2) We should all aggressively implement energy and electrical conservation to reduce fossil fuel emissions in our homes and in our vehicles. Example: additional zones and/or nighttime set-backs will save energy in our homes and reduced highway speeds would improve mileage on our vehicles.

3) It is far better to convert from electric heating to conventional fuels instead of converting from electric to wood;

4) Re-establish the right of every citizen in this country to breath clean air and not be detrimentally impacted by fine particulate pollution; if we were putting Creosote in our water supply there would be a public outcry;

5) Inform the public that during periods of fog or nighttime inversions atmospheric conditions may not allow sufficient atmospheric ventilation to justify using a wood stove or fireplace 24 hours a day. A conventional heating system must also be installed so that cleaner conventional fuels can be utilized when atmospheric conditions do not allow sufficient atmospheric ventilation or when the solid fuel appliance becomes a nuisance to abutters

Substantial scientific evidence has shown that wood smoke can cause and/or contribute to: cardiopulmonary disease, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other problems such as eye irritation, sinus infections, and acid reflux.

Fine Particulate Air Pollution Is Not a Small Problem!

Truckee, CA
Dec 11, 2014 - 09:02am PT
No thanks. That is not very much news to me. I am largely aware. How about how a modern wood stove works?
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