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Advice for a newbie burning wood

Traxxas28

Traxxas28

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Hello experts. As I am all new to heating with wood. I purchased a firechief 1000e and got it up and running, it makes good heat but i seem to struggle with the fan limit switch, how long should the blower be running/cycling? This is installed with a draft blower controlled by a thermostat. It's been mild temps here in mn this winter 17°-34° and seem to be adding wood anywhere from 4 to 7 hours in order to keep the house around 70°-73°.what kinda temps are you getting on ur stove pipe?
 
Pronghorn

Pronghorn

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That's a little short, but not crazy short. The wood might be a little under seasoned, the furnace might be a little undersized for the size/level of insulation in the home, or you might still need more practice with the bypass and draft . Are you burning hardwood? How long was it stacked and covered? How big and well insulated is the house? What's been your routine with the bypass?

To answer your questions: Your stack temps should be above 300 to keep a clean pipe and cut down on cleanings and your blower should cycle on and off rather than run constantly..
 
Traxxas28

Traxxas28

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The house is around 2,200sq ft. The 3rd floor seems to always be about 5° colder than the main floor so I'm guessing it could use some insulation updating beings it was built in 1926 and been mildly improved threw the years but not enough. I just bought the place in july and the old owner had left just about enough wood in the basement to heat with all winter, I think it's been inside for a couple years by the looks of it so im guessing it's to dry and not seasoned properly. I'm a little confused on what you mean with the bypass and draft? Could you please explain that a little more. I did some adjusting on the fan limit switch and I think I tuned it in a little better than it had come from factory.
 
Pronghorn

Pronghorn

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The house is around 2,200sq ft. The 3rd floor seems to always be about 5° colder than the main floor so I'm guessing it could use some insulation updating beings it was built in 1926 and been mildly improved threw the years but not enough. I just bought the place in july and the old owner had left just about enough wood in the basement to heat with all winter, I think it's been inside for a couple years by the looks of it so im guessing it's to dry and not seasoned properly. I'm a little confused on what you mean with the bypass and draft? Could you please explain that a little more. I did some adjusting on the fan limit switch and I think I tuned it in a little better than it had come from factory.
Unless the basement floods, it's probably not the wood. Most people's problem is too green (wet) not too seasoned (dry). My guess is that if you put a thermometer on the flue your temps are plenty high. But, it looks like you're at the upper end of how much house that furnace can handle in your area. Even with the relatively mild winter this year, it's still going to have to cycle awhile, especially if the house is leaky/poorly insulated which would explain why your burns are a little short.

Don't listen to me about bypass and draft, the 1000e is a newer model that doesn't make you fiddle with a bypass rod and damper like the older wood + coal fire chiefs did.

How was the previous owner heating the place?
 

panolo

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Looks like it is rated to 2k sq ft so probably right at the limit and working hard for what it is doing currently. I've learned the hard way that when it comes to wood hear more is better. More sq ft rating, more wood CSS'ed, more saws, etc. Somebody else can probably help with the dialing it as I know nothing about a wood furnace.
 

Traxxas28

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Fairmont
Unless the basement floods, it's probably not the wood. Most people's problem is too green (wet) not too seasoned (dry). My guess is that if you put a thermometer on the flue your temps are plenty high. But, it looks like you're at the upper end of how much house that furnace can handle in your area. Even with the relatively mild winter this year, it's still going to have to cycle awhile, especially if the house is leaky/poorly insulated which would explain why your burns are a little short.

Don't listen to me about bypass and draft, the 1000e is a newer model that doesn't make you fiddle with a bypass rod and damper like the older wood + coal fire chiefs did.

How was the previous owner heating the place?
He was using this with a masonary chimney no liner for the last 35years. My flue temp is running between 245 and 400 depending on how long I let it go without adding wood. I installed a s.s 6" liner with the new firechief in order to bring it up to code for my insurance. Every once in awhile I'll come across it puffing which let's smoke in the basement, usually does it when I put in solid smaller rounds in that arnt split. Kinda makes ya pucker up, iv seen a few cherry's come out. I'll have to get a pic of the new setup
 

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Mustang71

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I have my limit switch set so that my blower doesn't cycle. Why would I want to burn wood and not disburse the heat throughout the house? Electric motors don’t like to be started and stopped a lot. Let it run it doesn't effect my electric bill and keeps the house more comfortable.
 

panolo

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He was using this with a masonary chimney no liner for the last 35years. My flue temp is running between 245 and 400 depending on how long I let it go without adding wood. I installed a s.s 6" liner with the new firechief in order to bring it up to code for my insurance. Every once in awhile I'll come across it puffing which let's smoke in the basement, usually does it when I put in solid smaller rounds in that arnt split. Kinda makes ya pucker up, iv seen a few cherry's come out. I'll have to get a pic of the new setup
I think the puffing is an issue that the fire chiefs in the past have had. Don't know if they changed it but they channeled the primary air and secondary air through the same inlet.
 
sean donato

sean donato

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I have my limit switch set so that my blower doesn't cycle. Why would I want to burn wood and not disburse the heat throughout the house? Electric motors don’t like to be started and stopped a lot. Let it run it doesn't effect my electric bill and keeps the house more comfortable.
I do the same with my set up, blower comes on at 100* goes off at 75* bonnet temp.
 

Mustang71

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I do the same with my set up, blower comes on at 100* goes off at 75* bonnet temp.

I find that on the weekends when I burn full time I can coast all day on a burned down morning fire with the blower running. It provides enough "warm" air to maintain 70 degrees. Or I could set the limit higher and have to reload mid day to warm the house back up. Might as well use all the heat from the wood.
 
CaptainMauw

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Taking a look outside of the burner, Is the issue constant regardless of the weather or are you seeing subtle differences? Aka, does it get worse with breezy weather and stabilize a bit with calm weather? From someone with an old farm house, check the windows, doors, exterior joints, etc and reseal every last one with good caulk if performance seems to fluctuate with the wind. Wind sucks the heat out of an old house quick and will make it work harder, thus eating more fuel.

As to the puffing, pay attention to the wood and weather specifically. If I stuff my fire box on a calm day where its a balmy 28-34 then my stove puffs. The fire has more fuel, is putting out a lot more smoke, and the environment isn't corresponding by pulling a better draft. I blame a not great chimney design. Now on a cold windy day though, I can stuff to the gills without issue. Also, the larger chunks of wood take significantly longer to dry out. It may seem dry on the outside, but it can still have a lot of moisture on the inside, and wood doesn't really dry out when its a round and not split. It may not be the culprit, but it could be part of it

Burning wood is an art form more than anything, and the finer points come with practice and experience. Its aggravating, but it gets better with each passing year.
 

Traxxas28

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Taking a look outside of the burner, Is the issue constant regardless of the weather or are you seeing subtle differences? Aka, does it get worse with breezy weather and stabilize a bit with calm weather? From someone with an old farm house, check the windows, doors, exterior joints, etc and reseal every last one with good caulk if performance seems to fluctuate with the wind. Wind sucks the heat out of an old house quick and will make it work harder, thus eating more fuel.

As to the puffing, pay attention to the wood and weather specifically. If I stuff my fire box on a calm day where its a balmy 28-34 then my stove puffs. The fire has more fuel, is putting out a lot more smoke, and the environment isn't corresponding by pulling a better draft. I blame a not great chimney design. Now on a cold windy day though, I can stuff to the gills without issue. Also, the larger chunks of wood take significantly longer to dry out. It may seem dry on the outside, but it can still have a lot of moisture on the inside, and wood doesn't really dry out when its a round and not split. It may not be the culprit, but it could be part of it

Burning wood is an art form more than anything, and the finer points come with practice and experience. Its aggravating, but it gets better with each passing year.
Thanks for the advise, I will pay more attention to the weather outside, I did think that it might of been due to a poor draft when it puffs.
 

MFV

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Thanks for the advise, I will pay more attention to the weather outside, I did think that it might of been due to a poor draft when it puffs.
You can look up the clearance requirements for the top of your chimney it needs to be a certain height and distance from the roof. We had one in a house when I was a kid that went through the wall and didn’t go up high enough and it never worked right
 

Mustang71

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I have a 15 foot stainless triple wall chimney on my raised ranch and have zero draft issues. My parents fireplace brick chimney is a few feet to short in my professional hvac opinion and they have an issue with smoke in the house when its windy. My chimney is 3 feet above the peek of the roof which is a rule of thumb and I can burn when its 90 or 0 or windy as fu××. 2 different furnaces in 8 years with or without a baro and no draft issues. An old farm house should be drafty enough to allow for "make up air" and a tall enough chimney should work great. Otherwise its a defect in the furnace design. Ive never thought a draft induced wood furnace controlled by thermostat was a good idea. If the fire goes from ripping to no oxygen fairly quick and its going to smoke and the chimney draft can only remove so much smoke at a time. Its like a funnel, you can put a lot in but only a small amount can come out and when it overflows you have smoke in the house. The taller and larger diameter the chimney the more smoke it will remove but also the more heat it will pull up the chimney and away from your heat exchanger.
 

Mustang71

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The other thing about new epa furnaces is that the "efficiency" rating is based on clean burning so when it makes temp and shuts the draft blower off thats not part of the epa thing. They have to maintain a minimum amount of secondary air allowed in as a requirement but a lot of these furnaces get their epa stamp based on full out burn. The epa doesn't care about burn time or efficiency as long as its clean burning. Im running the cheap epa certified furnace of the last phase.. and it burns clean compared to a smoke dragon but I have control over it.
 
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