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    « Why? Why???? | Main | WOW! Try THIS! »

    January 15, 2004



    Your air intake is shut stifling the fire.

    Nils Ling

    Nope ... this happens with it shut or open or in between ... although I will grant you I've not mastered how to gauge when I can cut the air down a tad to slow the burn. I'm keen to know any tricks about size or shape of logs, stacking tips, things like that ... I've been in the habit of putting a honking big log on late at night, and now I'm told that's probably not the best plan. So what else ya got?


    Pedantic I am, I think. OK, you need combustible material, an ignition source and O2. Alan be right,I think. (and that truly hurt)

    Look for commonality when both stoves are not burning to your satisfaction. (Are they on the same chimney?) My Vermont Castings stove does this routinely. The issue is always either:

    1. I need to clean the stove as there is ash preventing a good flow of O2.

    2. The air channels inside the stove are partially blocked with fly ash and need to be vacuumed.

    3. Because I have a stainless steel liner the very top of the chimney sometimes gets partially blocked due to hot gases hitting the coldest part of the flue. This reduces the draft and thus the stove does not draw sufficient O2 to burn very hot.

    4. The wind is from the NE in which case I am screwed as the obstruction to the NE of my house change the wind flow, reducing draft at the flue and thus reducing the stoves ability to draw O2.

    Big honking log at night is sound as long as you don't expect a lot of heat when stove is shut down and smoldering along waiting for your smiling morning face.

    When things are not working to your satisfaction, open the door a crack - does the fire increase? I suspect it will, which will send you chasing reasons for why there is not enough O2 getting to the combustion chamber.

    Nils Ling

    Well, that all sounds familiar ... so (say it with me, Craig, it gets less painful each time) Alan was right. At least in the sense that it's an air flow problem. I didn't consider the ash buildup - I try to leave about an inch or even two(and sometimes more, depending on opportunity and incentive to clean)of ash at the bottom, to serve as a comfy bed for the embers ... too much?


    One public "Alan is right" is quite enough thank you. Each stove is going to be different. Mine gets cleaned once a week - as I get closer to the week the fire gets harder to manage. Mind you when it is a bazillion below there is ample draft to keep most anything blazing.


    [At least I am being warmed by all this.] You also may have a structural problem with the design of your chimney with too many bends and length and too narrow to create a good suck even if you have swept and have a generous enough air intake.

    Nils Ling

    Both chimneys are straight, so that's not it ... but I've cleared away ash from my air intakes and that seems to make a difference ...

    ... and you cannot imagine how difficult it was to restrain myself from somehow working in the phrase "a good suck" ...


    hmm, think old Annie left a tennis ball stuck in there somewhere?


    I am in awe at Nil's restraint.


    Ok, I live in Wpg. I hear your pain. There are different rules for PEI cold and prairie cold. You seem to have a strong dose of prairie cold there. It won't last so it's ok to use the sissy fire help when it's like this.
    Get a box of grocery store fireplace logs. Yah, yah your chimmny will get dirty and every person with a drop of testosterone on board will cry out with horror at the thought, but it's only for a short time and you get it cleaned on a regular basis anyway. Just chuck one of those suckers in when you are fed up with begging actual wood to burn hotter and longer. They burn really well, really hot and for a really long time... Think of it as a little cold weather earned it....of course I don't live in a hundred yr. old farmhouse...Do you think that makes a differnce?

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