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Witterings

Fueling Log Burner ... The A*a* Thread

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This is me being totally anal but having recently had a wood burner installed (should have done it years ago .... had an open fire 18 years ago) I love everything about it and want to do the most I can to enjoy it both from a functional  / economical prespective as well as an esthetic and man instinct point of view ... who does't love a fire.

 

I'm sure they're probably pretty much the same that for at least the 1st half hour or so quite a lot of wood and a decent flame provides a decent bed of embers for whatever you do after that.

 

My cycle once it was going well and had the vents closed down a bit was wait until it dies down a lot (but still decent embers) and then putting another 2 / 3 logs on ... it'd do nothing for a while and then go crazy as all 3 went up together and repeating this cycle which also made the room unbearably hot when it's not that cold.

As it was going more than I needed I'd then try and close the vent down more so it's almost "chokes it" and it seems to get lots of soot on the glass and the flame is pretty naff. 

 

Last couple of times ... fire it up well and instead of all or nothing, wait until the logs are 1/2 to 3/4 burnt but still have a decent flame and then add one more (instead of 2/3), you get a generally more consisent flame which is lovely to look at (and seems to keep the glass clearer) and repeat ... it seems to keep the heat more consitent along with the flame and I would have thought possibly more efficient all round.

 

As I said ... this is me being totally anal about something I throughly enjoy and interested to hear what works best for others in case I'm missing a trick.

 

  

 

 

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6 hours ago, Witterings said:

This is me being totally anal but having recently had a wood burner installed (should have done it years ago .... had an open fire 18 years ago) I love everything about it and want to do the most I can to enjoy it both from a functional  / economical prespective as well as an esthetic and man instinct point of view ... who does't love a fire.

 

I'm sure they're probably pretty much the same that for at least the 1st half hour or so quite a lot of wood and a decent flame provides a decent bed of embers for whatever you do after that.

 

My cycle once it was going well and had the vents closed down a bit was wait until it dies down a lot (but still decent embers) and then putting another 2 / 3 logs on ... it'd do nothing for a while and then go crazy as all 3 went up together and repeating this cycle which also made the room unbearably hot when it's not that cold.

As it was going more than I needed I'd then try and close the vent down more so it's almost "chokes it" and it seems to get lots of soot on the glass and the flame is pretty naff. 

 

Last couple of times ... fire it up well and instead of all or nothing, wait until the logs are 1/2 to 3/4 burnt but still have a decent flame and then add one more (instead of 2/3), you get a generally more consisent flame which is lovely to look at (and seems to keep the glass clearer) and repeat ... it seems to keep the heat more consitent along with the flame and I would have thought possibly more efficient all round.

 

As I said ... this is me being totally anal about something I throughly enjoy and interested to hear what works best for others in case I'm missing a trick.

 

  

 

 

You have worked it out .  What you are doing , latterly is pretty much what I do . It is possible you have too big a log burner for your requirements . Mine is too big to heat just the room its in but all the internal door are open so it heats the whole house including up stairs . 

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You'll learn through experience what works best for your set up. Other things to try are smaller logs and different types of wood  as well as how quickly in the cycle you reload and how quickly you close the vents down. 

 

If it's all about looking good then keeping vigorous flames and regulating the heat is not easily done, the flaming/off gassing part of the cycle is hottest

Edited by neiln

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Just to add that putting a lot of wood on and then trying to choke the fire is not a good idea.  This will send unburnt gasses up the chimney.  This is inefficient and some of those gasses may condense into tar in the chimney eventually leading to chimney fires if not swept out.

 

Otherwise as above, it is trial and error to get it right for your burner in your room.  Note: just to make it harder wood of different types and densities burn differently (and different log sizes) so yet more trial and error involved.  Good fun :)

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There is a balance though isn't there, vents wide open gives most complete burn but a lot of heat goes up the flue, close the vents a bit and you may send some unburnt fuel up the flue, but a lot less heat so overall efficiency can be higher. Close them too much and temps drop, logs smolder, lots of unburnt fuel wasted up the flue and low efficiency.

Finding the balance point is the hard part where we can obsess to our *n*l heart's content. I'd love to read some treatise on it but I've not found anything.

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Interesting to see the more recent comments combined with ....... whilst my logs were delivered seasoned they've been getting dryer and dryer which also seems to have helped but a couple of other things I've noticed which goes in line with what others have said ... "You'll learn what your fire's like over time".

 

I watched one manufacturers video that suggested all the logs should be placed parrallel from front to back in a row so did this for quite a few evenigs .... I find this leaves all of the logs lying on a bed of embers with no air able to get underneath then which kills half the flame ... get a poker move them around and they come to life so personally I'd call BS on that.

 

The other is how much the wind affects it / the draw on the flue, lots of wind just seems to want to burn like crazy so you seem to need to choke it more .... last couple of evenings virtually no wind and it just ticks away beautifully with the vent half open. 

 

Almost to the extent you wonder if the top of the flue could do with something to shield it from high winds.

 

Whatever it is though I much prefer it to the central heating 😄

 

 

 

Edited by Witterings

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Logs all going in 1 direction - I leanrt this years ago (in the Scouts I think) - put each layer at right angles to each other to let the ar through. The secondary school physics of the fire triangle where yuo need heat, air and fuel, bt if the bed of embers won't let the air to the fuel it's not going to go.

 

Similarly if I mss adding fuel and the fire nearly dies, smaller pieves in a pyramid over the embers is often the best way to get it back to life again (for my stove).. alltips you will pick up as you go.

 

 

Just to note, I don't have the option at the moment of what type of wood to use except the free stuff, so it all goes on and just got to learn heavy and dry = hard wod, light and dry = softwood and each produces a different type of fire. Heavy and wet.. it goes outside again to dry off for next winter

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35 minutes ago, Steven P said:

Logs all going in 1 direction - I leanrt this years ago (in the Scouts I think) - put each layer at right angles to each other to let the ar through. The secondary school physics of the fire triangle where yuo need heat, air and fuel, bt if the bed of embers won't let the air to the fuel it's not going to go.

 

Similarly if I mss adding fuel and the fire nearly dies, smaller pieves in a pyramid over the embers is often the best way to get it back to life again (for my stove).. alltips you will pick up as you go.

 

 

Just to note, I don't have the option at the moment of what type of wood to use except the free stuff, so it all goes on and just got to learn heavy and dry = hard wod, light and dry = softwood and each produces a different type of fire. Heavy and wet.. it goes outside again to dry off for next winter

The air for burning wood should come from above , not up through the embers . wood burns from the top down .  That is why wood only stoves don't have a grate .

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Don't think that is the point.  If you bed a log into the ash then only the top of the log is available to burn but if you put is in less "neatly" so some air can get between log and ash then more surface area is exposed to air so you get a stronger (more rapid/hotter) burn.

 

TBH though I use this to my advantage sometimes.  There are times I want it to burn more slowly and other times I want it to burn more rapidly.  Hence, IMHO it is not a case of right and wrong but rather another bit of technique that can be used to control your fire.

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43 minutes ago, Rob_the_Sparky said:

Don't think that is the point.  If you bed a log into the ash then only the top of the log is available to burn but if you put is in less "neatly" so some air can get between log and ash then more surface area is exposed to air so you get a stronger (more rapid/hotter) burn.

 

TBH though I use this to my advantage sometimes.  There are times I want it to burn more slowly and other times I want it to burn more rapidly.  Hence, IMHO it is not a case of right and wrong but rather another bit of technique that can be used to control your fire.

Logs radiate off each other . Its hard to get one log to burn on its own , put 3 in and away they go .  The point I was making ( very badly ) is that coal burns from the bottom up and needs air up through a gate . Wood does not .

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