WOOD - SLOW COMBUSTION
How to Use Your Slow Combustion Heater Efficiently.
1. Make sure that it is installed properly. In particular check that:
2. 'Season' the heater correctly. Many new appliances need to be 'run in'. Light a series of small fires, for a short period, to prepare the metal of the firebox for long and continuous exposure to high temperatures. Use easy-to-light wood, such as radiata pine, for a hot, fast burn.
- The distances to combustible materials surfaces are sufficient
(remember that many curtain fabrics are flammable too).
- The flue and smoke shelf are clean.
- The hearth is sufficiently large, not only for the heater but to store
additional wood ready for the next loading.
- The section of flue which passes through the roof space has been
- The manufacturers' instructions have been followed exactly.
3. Burn the recommended fuel. Some stoves are designed specifically for wood only. Others can be used for such purchased fuels as brown coal briquettes, woodettes, coke and charcoal. Paper 'logs' are best used in conjunction with other fuel. Flammable solvents, plastic or rubber should
never be burnt in a slow combustion heater.
4. Use dry wood. This is the most important factor and often the most neglected. Wet or green firewood substantially reduces the heat output because a substantial amount of heat must be used to drive off the moisture in the form of steam. Seasoned wood will maximise heat output and minimise the formation of creosote.
5. Do not overload the firebox. You may burn through or crack even a good heater if you build too hot a fire. You will also waste fuel because there will not be enough room in the firebox for proper combustion of volatiles. Many of the heat producing gases will simply go straight up the chimney.
6. Reduce creosote build-up by proper management of the fire. Once the flue is thoroughly heated, burn the fire hot (about three-quarter level) for at least half an hour. This will reduce the creosote that may have been deposited during the lowburn time, such as overnight.
7. Keep the heater and flue clean. It's usually sufficient to clean the flue and smoke shelf once a year but, the first year you have a heater, check every couple of months to see how the creosote is building up. Some heaters produce much more creosote than others, particularly if green, wet or soft wood is used, and a low fire is maintained for a long burn time.
8. Remove ash at sufficient intervals. In most slow combustion heaters, a bed of ash aids performance by insulating the base. Ash should be removed, however, when it's level reaches the grate or the lower lip of the firebox opening. Use a covered metal container, and don't place it on a
combustible surface. Any charcoal, however, can be left to burn again.
9. For Safety:
- Open air-intake controls for a minute before opening the loading door,
(to avoid flame and/or smoke entering the room).
- Keep a pair of insulated gloves next to your stove, and have a fire
- Do not run a heater with cracked glass.
- Never leave an open fire (a heater with it's door open for example) unless
it is properly screened.
- Shield the appliance from young children.