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Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5331774 01/25/20 12:20 PM
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My folks have had a pellet/corn burner since 1992, sadly they are a yuppy novelty now making them unaffordable unless you have a farmer willing to sell some shell corn directly (most don’t want the hassle)

Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: 53' Stude] #5331778 01/25/20 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 53' Stude
Originally Posted by Cujet
Of interest, the BTU content of wood varies significantly by type, but not by weight. Seasoned hardwood is considerably heavier than Sitka Spruce by size, but by weight they have similar BTU output when burned.



I would never ever burn spruce, pine or hemlock or ANY softwood. Only seasoned oak, cherry rock maple, locust or hickory



We had a wood stove for heat when i grew up. We did burn softwood without issue. But the key is to get the chimney hot first with hardwood. Then burn your softwood good and hot, not dampered down. Then end of the day switch back to hard wood for the damping down in the evening.

The cold chimney will collect more of the flammible creosote from the soft wood, so just get it hot first before, and hot after you burn softwood.


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Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5331779 01/25/20 12:33 PM
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Larger pieces of wood and round/square shapes will help it burn longer. You're just not going to be able to get a really hot fire and also a long burn time in a normal size stove.


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Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: 53' Stude] #5331782 01/25/20 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 53' Stude
Originally Posted by Cujet
Of interest, the BTU content of wood varies significantly by type, but not by weight. Seasoned hardwood is considerably heavier than Sitka Spruce by size, but by weight they have similar BTU output when burned.



I would never ever burn spruce, pine or hemlock or ANY softwood. Only seasoned oak, cherry rock maple, locust or hickory
Ash is awesome to burn-if you can get it dry enough, any decent wood from a deciduous tree will burn and create at least some heat. I've been burning dried tulip/yellow poplar this winter, it's been fine, but ash lasts longer & generates more heat. With the Emerald Ash Borer epidemic in these parts, there is so much standing dead & recently cut down white ash available for free that I would likely be able to use it for years. Still have a dropped ash at my Mom's with a 4 foot diameter trunk waiting for me to cut up & split when the tulip is gone. As above, NO PINE, spruce, or other evergreens!


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Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5331784 01/25/20 12:38 PM
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Also, a stainless liner is pretty much a must-have for a brick chimney. Mine accumulates some creosote when cold, then when I get it going it tends to expand & flake off. Last time I had it cleaned the chimney sweep said the mesh cap was the only part that had much of anything on it.


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Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5331785 01/25/20 12:39 PM
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I use an outdoor boiler so am onside about creosote. If you use well seasoned wood, it gives of little creosote. This is usually burned off when you fire is hot. You probably should run a brush thru the chimney every year. Better still get a SS liner in your chimney.

Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5331789 01/25/20 12:42 PM
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I burned wood for 25+ years as supplementary heat. Its dirty, brings bugs into the house, builds up creosote, taking out ashes. It sure feels good to get the fire cranking so the room is 80 degrees in the dead of winter.

Never again. Been burning propane for 25+ years.


Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5331804 01/25/20 12:58 PM
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Many times the wood may not be as "seasoned" as you think. This can have a big impact on the quality of your fire. Get yourself a moisture meter and test the moisture content of your wood. It should be less than 20%. Split some pieces of the wood you're burning in half and be sure to test the moisture on the freshly split face.

Hardwoods like oak usually need to dry for 2 years or longer after being split before being ready to burn.


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Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5331927 01/25/20 03:10 PM
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Bullwinkle: I get the comment from eljefino on burning what's on ground but I'd be leery of the creosote it can create. The oak at brothers place; most has been stacked and dried for 6+ years. the rock oak I hand split we stacked and will wait for next fall or the one after to burn


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Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: Snagglefoot] #5332096 01/25/20 06:59 PM
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dlundblad Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Snagglefoot
When I’m home I’ll get a fire going and after it burns down to coals I load two logs at a time in a cross cross fashion. When they burn down to coals but are still in a recognizable shape, I throw on another two logs. I find throwing on only one log causes it to burn out too easily.

My stove is an airtight unit with a connection from outside air. I don't dampen it down. My temp will be 500 F when the stove has lots of wood in it burning and cruises along at around 400 F all day. I don’t mind keeping the temp high as it lowers the chance of creosote build up. So basically it has two logs in the stove most of the time. I find I need to stoke it every couple of hours and will put in three logs if I leave the house. All this is predicated on it being colder than 15 F. If it’s above that the stove just over-heats the house. I use ponderosa pine and fir. smile


I tried the cross-cross method this evening after removing most of the coals. 3x3 or so. With it choked down as much as I normally do, it’s burning at about 11:00 on the gauge for now.

Normally I just throw everything in longways and parallel.

Last edited by dlundblad; 01/25/20 06:59 PM.

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Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5332102 01/25/20 07:00 PM
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Interested reducing creosote? Burn green wood with a high water content, non-seasoned wood.


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Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: KD0AXS] #5332109 01/25/20 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by KD0AXS
Many times the wood may not be as "seasoned" as you think. This can have a big impact on the quality of your fire. Get yourself a moisture meter and test the moisture content of your wood. It should be less than 20%. Split some pieces of the wood you're burning in half and be sure to test the moisture on the freshly split face.

Hardwoods like oak usually need to dry for 2 years or longer after being split before being ready to burn.


I’ll have to give that a try.

Ive been burning a lot of elm lately that’s been dead for some time because of the Dutch elm disease. I wonder how much moisture something like this would contain.

I do have some softer wood. I think it’s poplar, but I only burn that once I have a hot established fire. Pretty sure it’s still a little moist too.


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Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5332116 01/25/20 07:16 PM
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Wood heat for 17 years. Bought the chimney brush and poles, cleaned the flu annually. No problems.

Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5332230 01/25/20 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by dlundblad
I bought a stovepipe thermometer to make sure the fire is hot enough not to create creosote, but I’m having a hard time maintaining that temperature long term say 3 hours or so after filling when there’s nothing but hot coals.

When it gets to the creosote level on the thermometer after burning a few hours, would this create creosote or is that more of an issue when the fire is initially warming up?


I have an outdoor gasifying high-efficiency furnace and have been heating my house with it for several years. I also have a indoor high-efficiency fireplace that needs to be refueled within 2-3 hours. See Outdoor Wood Furnaces and Indoor Wood Fireplaces.

Flames are basically burning smoke and smoke is volatile hydrocarbon fumes that have boiled out of wood. Creosote is therefore condensed smoke so, any time your fire is smouldering, you will have creosote forming on relatively cool surfaces. Once your wood has burned down to a coal bed (essentially pure carbon), there are no longer any volatiles to boil off so you should have minimal creosote build-up even if the stove-pipe temperature has dropped.

Keep your firebox hot and supplied with enough air to fully consume the smoke. To reduce drafts in your house, make sure you have a combustion air supply from outside.

Re: Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please. [Re: dlundblad] #5332234 01/25/20 09:31 PM
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My old house had an airtight lopi and it was awesome. When we bought a new house I put in a pellet stove and have never looked back. $4 a day for pellets keeps the house at 72 and I put in an ecobee with a remote sensor that kicks the hvac on maybe 2-3 minutes an hour to keep the rooms away from the stove at 68. I’m in the country with fields all around and not a lot of windbreak, between pellets and propane it may cost around $150 a month to heat 1850 square feet. I burned wood for 18 yrs and had a professional sweep the chimney every year, I watched a friends house burn down who ignored his 1950’s chimney. Keep a hot fire and sweep it once a year to be safe.

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