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My Woodburner Setup

Lee192233

Lee192233

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
146
Location
Cleveland, WI
Good morning everyone,
I thought you fellow wood burners might be interested in my setup. I use it to heat our 3300 square foot house. We have 2×6 walls with spray foam so it's well insulated. I burn about 3 cords a year. Probably would be 4-5 if I stayed home and heated exclusively with wood.
I run a Yukon Big Jack add on furnace. I know lots of people think they are smoke dragons but hear me out. I think they have a bad rap because people use them with wet wood and throttle them back too much. Here's how I run mine.
I start a small fire in between the two pieces of wood on the grate with fatwood and splitter scraps. Then I stack the rest of the wood in the firebox. Leaving the door open I make sure it gets going at a pretty good clip. I close the door and open the inducer flap to about half with the secondary air full open. Then I monitor the temp on the face of the furnace and pipe with an infrared thermometer. I watch for pipe temp to get to around 550° F. Then I start throttling back inducer air. I watch for front temp to get over 400°. Then I know secondary combustion is happening. I keep throttling down secondary to stabilize the face temp around 415° and pipe temp around 475°. I might have to cut back secondary a bit as well to keep it in the temp range I like. I do all this while I get ready in the morning. I keep the thermometer in my pocket to remind me. I usually get it to stable in 3-4 checks.
The key to making this work is properly seasoned wood and the thermometer. I get a 4-5 hour burn on half ash and aspen that I'm burning now. I switch to ash and maple in late December to February. With a full load of sugar maple I can get to the 7-8 hour burn time. When it gets real cold (below 0) for extended times I'll switch to anthracite coal. Costs the same as running propane but it feels like a wood fire.
Here's some pictures.
20201118_064616.jpg
The setup
20201118_064642.jpg
Face temp
20201118_064703.jpg
Flue temp
20201118_064650.jpg
Duct temp
20201120_055649.jpg
Getting it started
20201118_064447.jpg
Not bad
20190215_172231.jpg
Coal fire
Hope this helps someone get a furnace like this burning as efficiently as possible.
Have good day,
Lee
 
Lee192233

Lee192233

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
146
Location
Cleveland, WI
Cool review. Sounds like you have this thing figured out. How old is the stove? Explain the H20 setup if you get time.
Thanks! We had the furnace installed when we built the house ten years ago. The water setup is an auxiliary water heater. It's a 19 gallon mobile home water heater. As you can see I used the side ports to go to the Hot Rod Water heater that is in the furnace plenum. It gravity circulates through the heater. It will warm that 19 gallon heater to about 120 degrees overnight. The water supply to our electric water heater feeds through the top fittings of the auxiliary heater. When I'm burning it saves $20-30 a month on our electric bill. Hope that's a good explanation. Here's a picture of it.
20201120_191156.jpg

Good info Lee!
Thanks!
 
Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

AS Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
2,622
Location
Saugatuck, Michigan
The key to making this work is properly seasoned wood and the thermometer.

Yes, many want to cut and burn. Brings a lot of criticism, and poor results. As a firewood seller, people roll their eyes at my price of three hundred a cord. All the while saying they tried this place and that place last year and the year before, bla bla bla. I just tell them if they want to pay less, go back to these guys and by two years worth, so they have one year a head, and excellent wood to burn. That's too much money, and too much work for them. My wife had a theory. People just love to complain. They don't really want solutions. Side rant, sorry.
Good to see a great system, and someone putting in effort to burn clean as well. Love it!
The extra work really yields delightful returns.
Those who do it know that.
 

Lee192233

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
146
Location
Cleveland, WI
Yes, many want to cut and burn. Brings a lot of criticism, and poor results. As a firewood seller, people roll their eyes at my price of three hundred a cord. All the while saying they tried this place and that place last year and the year before, bla bla bla. I just tell them if they want to pay less, go back to these guys and by two years worth, so they have one year a head, and excellent wood to burn. That's too much money, and too much work for them. My wife had a theory. People just love to complain. They don't really want solutions. Side rant, sorry.
Good to see a great system, and someone putting in effort to burn clean as well. Love it!
The extra work really yields delightful returns.
Those who do it know that.
Thanks for the compliment. It took me a few years to get it dialed in and figure out the nuances of different species of wood. In our damp/cool climate it takes sugar maple/beech/oak 2 years to season properly. Ash is good in a year. I warped the grate in the furnace in the first three years. The problem was the wood was too wet. I had have the inducer fan open almost all the way to get a decent burn. The water would boil out of the wood and then I'd have a nuclear fire. Also had a lot more smoke and creosote buildup then.

I feel like half the reason the EPA cracked down on OWBs and whole house furnaces like mine was people who pissed off their neighbors by burning unseasoned wood and stuffing their firebox full and choking it way down to get long burn(smolder) times.

There is definitely an art and feel to burning wood that takes time to develop. I enjoy getting a good clean fire going. I think the neighbors appreciate me not filling our little valley with smoke as well!

Lee you have a nice setup. Burning properly seasoned wood sure makes the wood burning process a whole lot easier no matter what you choice of device is.
Thanks! I wish more people would try it. Everything about burning wood is easier when it's dry!
 
Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

AS Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
2,622
Location
Saugatuck, Michigan
I've never tried this, but I read about this experiment, maybe on The Arboristsite.
Take a piece of red oak and a piece of white oak and put them end down in a bucket of water.
At the end of the day, no change in the white oak.
The red oak will be very wet on the top end, due to open pores acting like a straw.
So of course different woods will season differently, and some will say seasoned in six months, and others will say it takes two years.
There is
definitely a difference in fire starting/heat/clean burn/length of burn with seasoned wood, enough to make it worth seasoning.
And as said, the neighbors will greatly appreciate it.
 

Lee192233

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
146
Location
Cleveland, WI
I've never tried this, but I read about this experiment, maybe on The Arboristsite.
Take a piece of red oak and a piece of white oak and put them end down in a bucket of water.
At the end of the day, no change in the white oak.
The red oak will be very wet on the top end, due to open pores acting like a straw.
So of course different woods will season differently, and some will say seasoned in six months, and others will say it takes two years.
There is
definitely a difference in fire starting/heat/clean burn/length of burn with seasoned wood, enough to make it worth seasoning.
And as said, the neighbors will greatly appreciate it.
I think the individual climate has a lot to do with seasoning times as well. We're within a mile of Lake Michigan. It rarely goes over 90 and highs are in the 80s for maybe two weeks. The rest of the days between April and September are between 50 and 75 degrees for highs. It's very damp as well. Needless to say it takes a while here.
 
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