The Art of Keeping the Stove going overnight

A bit of a greenhorn here. Just had two wood burning (Godin) stoves installed and still working out how to get the best temperature out of them - seems like little and often keeps the heat up?

The real test is to try and keep these going overnight - what I am doing at the moment is loading the stoves with wood and turning the damper right down (is this right?). In the morning I have embers - but I still find that after a quick rack through and turning the damper up I have to pretty much start again with kindling and sometimes with firelighters?

SFN Stove Top Fan Review

As an aside do these stove top fans that are advertised really work?

Lastly I have been advised that it in the Dordogne I will need about 12 stere of wood to see me through the winter?

I bought and installed a new Invicta burner last November, the instruction book gives advice on maintaining a constant clean burn, and how to keep it going overnight.. saying to leave at least 3cm of ash in the grate for a good slow burn.. applying their advice, we have had a nice warm room to get up to. 270Kg of cast iron sure holds the heat.. and still have some good embers to fan and get it going again..

I frequently use the powder for helping to keep the chimney cleaner than it would be without.. m.o.h is fanatical about keeping the glass clean and spends ages and a fortune on the squirty bottle of cleaner.. most of which cost a fortune, and are pretty ineffective.. .. when i have the chance to clean the glass, i let the fire die down and leave the door open to cool, water on an abrasive dish pad[not Brillo ] cleans the worse of the loose muck.. then a stanley blade takes care of the rest.. No!. it does not scratch the glass if held at a very shallow angle and used in a gentle slicing motion.. it clears all the residue in no time.. then a clean with the product for that extra sparkle..

A CO detector is a good idea, but if you have CO in the room, or your fire is always roaring out of control with the damper closed.. look at the door and glass seaiing rope.. try a thin piece of paper between door and body of fire, when closed, the paper should be held by the seal..if it isn't.. there's a chance the rope is faulty, or the door has a fault with it's closure.. the ropes are simple to change as a DIY thing.. dirty.. but cheap, as there are kits in most Brico's to replace any seal.. same for the door glass.. our glass broke a few years ago, cost an arm and a leg.. something like 997€/m2.. it cost aroud 90€!!!.. as long as the retainers can be released, it's not difficult to renew the cord that seals the glass.. The fireproof rope comes in many dimensions.. so measure before ripping it apart.. I have found the glass on my old fire and this new one to have a seal around the bottom and sides of the glass, but opne top for air to enter by design..

1) we have 2 stoves for 150m2 and burn 15 stere mixture of 2/3rds softwood to 1/3 oak

2) in the evening we let the fire die down to embers before putting a couple of oak logs on (and as Brian says if a little humid so much the better)

3) chimneys need to be swept 2x each year not once

4) URGENT - buy a good quality C0 detector if you are keeping the fire in all night damped down. These conditions are a prefect storm for CO to leak into the house. If you are a bit head-achey and tired in the morning (and have not overdone the wine) get a CO detector immediately!

The advice from all makers of stoves that I have read and several books is that it is not good to keep burners going overnight. They burn down and produce hazardous fumes as well as tar which coats the chimney ( and glass). Start fresh each day and stay safe

In my salon I've got a tall green top opening Godin, it takes lengths of around 300mm. To go all night I put in 2 round pieces of beech or oak on a good base let it flare up and take flame then close the door, close the vent completely and then open the vent a half rotation, then it's good to go for up to 8 hours. In the morning I open up the top look in poke it about a bit chuck some more wood in and open the door. Within minutes it's roaring and I restock every 4 hours during the day, the fire in my kitchen is a front opener which I bought in the uk and only manages 6 hours overnight and burns more wood on average during the day. As they are my only source of heat downstairs I use between 15 and 20 steres during the year depending on how cold the winter is.

Here in the Jura we have snow and temperatures well below freezing from Nov to Mar. 12 steres should see us through one winter and into the next - may even manage two if winters are mild. During Feb we may light our second fire. Ours are Jotuls, the spare in the living area is a beautiful old one, the central one (open plan downstairs with dining area open to the roof) is clad in soapstone so acts as a storage radiator when the fire dies down, and heats all three floors of our house on its own. We usually wake the fire up each morning by removing some cinders/ash and adding kindling then smaller logs, and add big ones only when we have flames.

We fitted two large Elnur storage radiators in the living area and hall, and a small one in each of the two first floor bedrooms, all heated during heures creuses, mainly to maintain a reasonable temperature when we are away (aided by electric towel rails in the bathrooms), but they run throughout the winter and remove the need to light a paraffin stove on a cold morning before the log fire takes over.

Depending upon logs as primary heat source for the whole house has worked fine so far but I may not feel so keen in fifteen years time or if I lived here on my own. We build a large log wall in the rear garden when the wood arrives, use the quad pickup to bring enough logs round from time to time to stack under the Savoyarde balcony in traditional fashion, then use a large trolley (which Phil made from a rescued supermarket crate carrier) to bring two days' logs indoors at a time.

Should add that our steel flue is not insulated and rises unhidden through the stair well, so helps to heat each floor. The top floor has no heating and is always a comfortable temperature even in deepest winter.

The only modification we may make is a fan in the roof blowing warm air back to the ground floor, using a VMC unit effectively in reverse.

btw we also have an air-air heat pump with outlets above each storage radiator but this is only used in spring and autumn as when temperature outside goes more than 4 degrees below freezing, it's frankly useless and uneconomical.

We did consider oil-fired central heating but the initial installation costs came to more than 30k€ and we decided to spend the money on logs and electricity consumption instead!

Absolutely follow the advice on the Jotul website! My Burley relights from embers without trouble n the morning.
As for stove top fans, we really can’t notice any difference since setting ours up…but others will tell you they make a huge difference. We wanted ours to help move warm air from the kitchen into our salon but it just doesn’t make a difference, even in the kitchen. Ah well, we live and learn!

i like to get the last logs of the evening to flare up until well lit, then cover them with the ash from the pan, always done it with the open fires as a kid, seems to work with the logs too..

Quote from this website:

Eight tips for burning wood | Jøtul

"Very few wood stoves can burn longer than two to three hours on one wood load. The old way of closing the air supply so that the coals will smoulder overnight is a source of pollution and creates the risk of a chimney fire. In addition, the heat benefit is poor as the gases are not combusted and the energy is not utilised. The last wood load in the evening should be some bigger hardwood logs that burn as normal with the air vents open. Even if the fire dies out, the insulation in the house will keep the heat in. The stove and chimney will still be warm in the morning and it is no problem to get the fire going again."

You do exactly the right thing. Try to always use three year old wood though, because this method will leave heavy tar deposits in your chimney otherwise.

Hi Doreen.

In reply to your previous question regarding the Bouche de ramonage.

Yes they do have a place in the maintenance of a chimney. They certainly change the structure of deposits and reduce the risk of a chimney fire. They are not however a substitute for mechanical cleaning. By all means use them in accordance with instructions on the box. Make sure that the bouche you purchase says "sans chlore", this is important with stainless steel flues because chlorine is a salt and when burnt the chemical reaction with hydrogen and spare oxygen can create small amounts of sulphuric acid which will in time corrode the flue.

regards compressed logs. These logs are made in the same way as wood pellets, Extruded at high pressure which causes the lignin in the wood to act as a binder. They should when burnt act like a normal piece of wood but as always please follow instructions. It does seem to me to be an expensive way of heating.

I hope find this info. useful.

Vic. Article 31-6.

No wood burning appliance should be stoked up and left unattended over night.

As there is not adequate oxygen entering the appliance, incomplete combustion of the fuel creates tars which evaporate and then condense in the chimney. This creates a coating some way up the chimney.

The next time the appliance is burning the tar will evaporate and rise up the chimney and condense at a higher point. Higher temperatures in the chimney liquefy the tar and this will descend to a lower point. and so starts a cycle. At some point the now heavy tar deposits will boil and create what can look like the inside of an Aero chocolate bar. This will block flue liners.

A chimney fire normally starts when the volatile gases in the tar ignite, either by extreme temperatures in the flue or by a large updraft from the appliance causing a flame in the flue.

Also the problem with stoking up a wood burner overnight causes excessive carbon monoxide creation.

Steve, do you have the reference of the Law that states this ? I would love to be able to win a bet with a neighbour

Vic. That`s one of the most sensible things I have read tonight.

Doreen. You are absolutely correct. The law in France states that a chimney must be cleaned (mechanically ), once out of the burning season and once in the burning season.

As a professional chimney sweep here in France I have to advise clients of this but most just shrug their shoulders and say that the insurance says once a year. I wonder if the insurance companies will honor their policies if there is a problem ?

We use DMO as well, it does what you say and also worth saying that a) none of the others work as well and b) our ramoneur said we were using the best one.

We have just had a wood gasification boiler fitted with a twin wall external stainless steel chimney total for the chimney just over 1000€ that included from the boiler through the wall 5 sections of 1000mm and all brackets in SS

Presumably it's a flexible liner. I'm interested as a pal of mine has been quoted about 2,500 E to erect a 10 m external twin wall SS chimney for his woody central heating boiler. I think he's now looking to see what the tax implications are. I'm thinking of doing the same thing here. 10 m straight up the gable end. Simple job to do. I might even do it myself as with my old contacts in Blighty I can probably buy the material much cheaper. The external chimney appeals to me 'cos I can then clean it from outside without worrying about dust & the associated wife problems :-)

He has quoted for 5 metres of flue plus renewing the tube from the end of the flue to the woodburner.