Minnesota Farmer

Hungry wood stove
December 14, 2009, 11:49 am
Filed under: Farm, Minnesota, snow, wood heat

My outdoor wood stove, a Central Boiler model, has been very hungry.  It’s the first year for me with this stove so I had no idea how much wood I would need.  I’ve been burning wood as my main heat source here since we got married and moved in.  I’m no stranger to the constant need of a wood stove for resupply.  I just did not understand this stove.

What I have not had before is a stove that is heating so much with one unit.  Not only am I heating the house, but also the shop and our household water.  It takes a large number of BTU’s to provide heat for all of that.

I’ve also discovered that his stove, needs a little bit different type of feeding.  The Central Boiler will eat any type of wood you can get in the door, it just prefers different stuff at different times.

Earlier in the winter when temperatures were only just above freezing the stove took smaller stuff with just enough big logs to keep the fire going.  As the weather got colder I would load in the smaller pieces to discover only ash in the morning.  I tried loading only big pieces but that did not provide enough heat to fully burn the bigger logs.  I’ve discovered that it prefers a mix.

I start by putting in a bunch of bigger pieces, some of them not fully dried, and then a sled full of well dried split wood.  The split wood really gets things cooking when the stove temperature has gone down and the larger pieces help hold the fire when the damper shuts after it has heated up.  This keeps a good fire that will heat the house all day.

When the weather was warmer I could keep a small fire in the front of the fire box.  That allowed the draft from the damper to keep the fire going until the times when heat was called for.

In cold weather I’ve found you have to rake all of the coals to the front every day, then throw the large logs over them to the back.  The coals in the front benefit from the draft of air when the damper is open and burn down so you can scoop out the ash in front.  This leaves the coals in the back to be racked forward for the next fill.

I can see that I will be preparing a bit more of a wood pile for next winter.  One that includes both the larger and smaller chunks this stove likes.  If I don’t I’ll have to go without that wonderful heat source I’ve come to love in my life here on the farm.



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