How to Control the Heat from Your Fire

In Stoves by JHCadminLeave a Comment

Fire By now you know that I am a recent fan of Mother Earth News. I would have been a fan before had I known about it but I didn’t and when I ran across a subscription special that I couldn’t resist, I decided to try it out. I am glad that I did.

John Gulland, the same fire expert and contributing editor that brought us How to Light a Roaring Fire, also gave us some additional information that I found helpful in regards to burning fires in our homes this fall and winter. This is a briefer and John has a lot more helpful information in the Oct/Nov edition. 

How to Manage the Blaze

  1. Burn in Cycles-Add three or more pieces at a time.

  2. Burn hot, bright fires-Fires should actively flame until charcoaled. If no flames, half the wood is wasted as smoke.

  3. Before loading, rake the coal bed-Rake the coals to wherever the combustion air reaches the fire, usually right inside the loading door. They will act as an igniter and save on fuel.

How to Control the Heat

  1. Choose Fuel Species-Use softer wood, like spruce, pine, poplar and willow in mild weather and save harder woods like oak and maple for colder weather. Softwood fires will recede in about a half hour and the coals will warm your space for a few hours.

  2. Adjust the Amount of Wood-Smaller loads make heat output easier to control in mild weather. Larger loads have longer, higher-output burn cycles.

  3. Consider the Orientation-Wood placed east-west in the firebox breaks down more slowly than in the north-south orientation.

  4. Use Different Configurations-Pieces loaded loosely in a crisscross configuration break down quickly for a shorter, hotter fire that takes the chill out the room without overheating. Compact stacking will last longer.

  5. Adjust Air Supply-Use all the other ways to control amount of heat before this one because they are better at not overheating the space and wasting energy. But use your air vent if needed either cut down or increase heat.

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