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Can you give some tips to this wood stove noob?

Asked by wildpotato (12788 points ) 2 months ago from iPhone

I moved to a cabin in a deeply forested area in Massachusetts a month ago, and I want to pick the brains of some of you long-time New Englanders, upstate NYers, and Canadians (and many others, no doubt). I gave it a month before asking this question so I have some sense of what I’m doing and what to ask. Still a newbie, though, so if anyone could address these questions as well as add any useful tidbits I don’t know to request, it would be much appreciated.
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Background info: I have little experience with woodstoves but decent experience with campfires. All I really know so far is, after getting it going, to do what the stove manual describes as treating the wood like a cigar – rake the coals to the front, set the wood in, close the door and keep the damper open fully, then close it a quarter turn after a few minutes and every so often to control the draft. Repeat.

Is this your preferred method too? If not, how do you do it?

In the Jotul videos I watched, the guy packed his stove full of wood and said to control the burn and heat with the damper. But when we tried that it got wayyy too hot and got the back of the stove glowing red, which I know is bad for it. So since that experiment we’ve been doing only 1–3 logs at a time, depending on their size. Is this the way to go, or did we make a mistake in how we tried the packed-full method?

I think I got a bum cord – sizzling logs and lots of fighting with it to get it to burn. Next cord will be bought through someone else, but got any tips in the meantime on how to best burn badly seasoned wood? And should I make a strenuous effort to get as much dirt off as possible (some logs have up to half an inch caked onto one end or side)?

If we are waking up and running out the door within an hour/hour and a half, is it worth it to get the stove going, or is it best to just heat during that short time with our propane and space heaters? The area to be heated is about 650 sqft.

Got any tips for overnight/extended burns? We have a Jotul 602C, and it’s a bit smaller than the stoves and fireplaces I’ve messed around with in the past. We were only able to get about three hours of burn time before it went totally cold even when we packed it full that one time. We burn only hardwood.

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