Recommended tips in addition to the stove manual instructions
Insuring great performance requires more than obtaining a flash combustion stove.
It also requires understanding a new definition of seasoned wood. Freshly cut 'green' wood must be dried for two years, split & covered. Commercially seasoned wood refers to green wood that has been seasoning just for a year. All seasoned wood delivered in the fall will need another 'spring to fall' period to get the last pound or two of water from every log. Just one pound of water is a pint. Loading eight logs adds a gallon of water to the fire.
The problem wood dealers often face
- Wood is cut and split in the spring, sits there over the summer, and then is loaded and delivered to you- job done. If they had to deliver it to their own property to fully season it for an added summer, it require a storage location, and double the travel and labor to again load and deliver.
Doubling the work would make the wood dealer uncompetitive.
- This 'seasoned' wood was not a big problem with old generation stoves, as these never had the potential to burn smoke. Most wood dealers do not understand flash combustion stoves, and thus unaware of the need for truly fully seasoned wood. Thus when they say it is seasoned enough, they do so not knowing your type of stove.
- If it is your first year with a new stove, and you're burning 'seasoned' wood you just purchased, NEVER operate the draft control all the way in to low. This is because all your recently obtained 'seasoned' wood is almost certainly only halfway seasoned. Instead, pull the control back out an inch or two. This extra air leads to adequate heat to burn smoke. Unburned smoke is wasted fuel that dirties the chimney & lowers the burn time between loading. Adequate heat also provides better draft to reduce dirty glass and back-puffing.
Adequate heat reduces wood cost and work by about 40%.
However, adequate heat on the lowest setting, pushed in, only comes from seasoning your own wood. Until then, fill the stove to the ceiling without striking the fragile baffle boards. Turn to higher setting for 10 minutes before lowering. The wood remaining after a few hours, from having filled it, dries out and burns more efficiently. Fully seasoned wood more than doubles the overall appeal of the stove. Don't settle for half performance, even if half is better than your previous air tight stove.
Myth: Wood can't be too dry.
Manufacturers of fragile cast iron stoves state this lie. It is in desperation to keep the furnace cement seams and cast iron from cracking, and keep sales up, as well as creating a loop hole to avoid warranty service. Even though very dry wood heats more area and faster, the low moisture is especially important to increase the likelihood smoke will burn as a rule, on the lowest or near lowest setting.
This triggers a host of benefits, such as much longer burns and thus the stove is likely to be heating 24/7, providing much more even heating, keeping the furnace off... thus 3 to 5 times cheaper to heat. To this, add a 'stay clean' chimney, clean glass, much less wood cost and work, and truly carbon neutral. Add all these benefits, and see why it is a no-brainer to buy 'seasoned' wood long in advance of burning it. It costs a bit less buying in the spring too.
If smoking occurs when re-starting, then initialize the draft.
Ignite a single sheet of newspaper without folding it tight. Unfolded, it will flare up quickly and go out in seconds. Repeat if necessary. This will quickly lessen the cold heavy air in chimney, and get the smoke moving up and out faster.
Try this with a window cracked open if smoking persists. Once started, shut the window or door. Why?
Homes are getting more air tight these days.
New homes are now required by code to have a small permanently open 'window' in the basement. Yours likely doesn't. Make up air for the stove, and other venting appliances, often tries to get in the house down through the wood stove and fireplace flues.
Lack of a non-chimney make-up air source is what causes the smoke to travel down the chimney and into the home. It gets worse, or starts doing it, when all of the other appliances are exhausting at the same time. (Anything exhausting is also pulling make up air into the home) Examples of other appliances are the furnace, dryer, kitchen and bath vents, and some roof/attic ridge vents. If smoking is lessened by supplying make-up air from a window you open as a test, then remember to crack a window slightly when burning, or perhaps just initially when the chimney draft is weak whenever cold starting.
Fast initial heat is needed.
During the initial half hour of starting a cold stove, the stove mass is absorbing much of the heat. For this period, keep the draft control open at least halfway to quickly obtain the heat needed for better fuel economy and smoke control.
Do not turn on the blower/fan unless you are burning the stove hot.
Circulating air around the stove when on a low setting cools it below the threshold it needs to burn smoke. If it teeters on this temperature threshold, smoke comes in and out of burning, and blows out as it suddenly combusts.
On days over 50 degrees, and when outside & inside temperatures are similar, chimneys perform poorly. The smoke being generated is more than the chimney will pull up. It is on these 'not so cold' days that added attention to the above tips is recommended, especially #3, 'initializing the draft'.
If your chimney's still smoking
Given you've followed the above recommendations, verify the stove pipe is clear and not restricted with a build-up of soot. To do so, simply tap the pipe firmly and listen for falling creosote. Also, check for a creosote plugged chimney cap. If the pipe and chimney cap mesh is clear of creosote, adding chimney height to a metal chimney, or a chimney liner to a masonry chimney will greatly reduce smoke issues.
When wood burns down quickly, sometimes the firebox is half full of coals. These bulky coals take up much of the space for new logs. Coals can be reduced by pulling the draft control out, and pulling as many red coals forward from the back. Every hour or two, pull the coals forward again where they will get more air and reduce faster. Often coals will heat for half a day. When coals are reduced to ash, your ash removal work is three times reduced because most of the volume can be coals.
Remember, burning recently obtained wood is the main cause of all problems and can double the wood cost and work. Obtain and cover 'seasoned' wood no later than the spring prior to the next heating season.