FP30 burn cycle and air question

Tater1985

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
46
IN
I am pretty new to wood burning and have a new FP30. I have been taking it pretty easy and working my way up in load size and keeping a decent eye on things until I get a good feel for it. Since I had a fairly wide open Saturday this past weekend I decided to see how a good sized load would do and what kind of burn time I could get out of it before I would need to reload.

I started a fire around 730 or 8 and let it burn to get a good bed of coals to reload off of.

Pic #1
At 11am I gathered 6 medium splits of walnut and hard maple. I have been periodically checking these and they have been in the 14-15% range.

Pic #2
So I loaded them up E-W, and this made for a pretty full load. I definitely could fit another split, maybe two if I really worked at how I stacked them in the firebox.

Pic #3
I left the air open until I got the wood ignited pretty well, and then started shutting the air down in increments. Within about 45 minutes I was able to shut my air all the way down and have great secondaries working. And it looked like this around noon, 1hr into the burn.

Pic#4
At 230pm, 3.5hrs into the burn it was a mass of glowing logs with some faint secondaires, but mostly just glowing.

I missed a good portion of the second half since I decided to go hunt in the evening. But I asked he wife not to add any or disrupt it in any way since I was doing this to document and learn. Still looked good when I got back in around 630pm.

Pic #5
Here is a pic from 8pm. Lots of ash, one glowing remnant of a log. Still throwing tremendous heat from the front and out the second fan kit.

Pic #6 thru #8
Here is what was left at 9pm. Still putting out great heat, I believe the magnetic thermometer on the face was still around 250+ degrees. At this point I decided I would rake all the coals to the front and let them breathe a little to see how it did for a reload. There were plenty and it did great on reload. I guess I would call this 10 hours between reloads.


So, as a side note t othis, I have read on here that many who have the FP30 with an OAK have said that this unit breathes almost too well. So the solution for many has been to tape off a portion of your OAK at the exterior intake. My father stopped by around 1-2pm when I was getting awesome secondaries and he made the comment that I should shut my air down a bit more to slow down the burn and get more time out of the load. But I already had it shut down all the way. He couldn’t believe it (he has a Astria Montecito).
So we decided to tinker with the OAK intake and see what would happen. I asked him to hang out in the living room and watch the flame behavior while I went out and tried some duct tape on the intake. I had my father on the phone while I tried this and I tried everything from sealing half of it off, to taping off the whole thing, and he said the flames never changed a bit. Then when I pulled the tape off, still no change.
Does anyone have any ideas on when this is making no difference? Are there any other options for cutting the air back a bit more? What do you with experience with the FP30 think about that burn cycle? Thanks for any info or comments, I appreciate the help!

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saydinli

Burning Hunk
Nov 6, 2016
233
Near Fergus Ontario
Your burn times seem pretty similar to mine. In fact you might be getting a little longer burn than me. How many feet of chimney do you have? I have 30ft of chimney and it drafts very hard.

I also have my OAK totally blocked off ( as per my dealers suggestion) and I can still get a great draft. He then stuffed some insulation in the OAK ducting to see if that helped, which it did bit but it was still drafting pretty damn hard when over 400::F.

I can't burn a full load N/S without it going nuclear, unless I only put in pretty large splits.
My dealer is coming in on Wednesday and with the advice of PE, is installing a 6" to 5" or 4" reducer plate under the chimney cap to slow down the draft. PE has shipped out a special door with a meter that they use to find out how much draft the system can create and then they will install the appropriate restrictor plate.
 

Tater1985

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
46
IN
I dont know for sure how much chimney i have, but i would guess around 20ft, probably no more than that. I will try to get a better idea this evening.

Thats interesting about the restrictor plate per PE. I am not sure if i could get that level of involvement from my dealer. I have emailed PE about the possibility of too much air to see if they will offer any guidance. Also asked about using a stove top thermometer as guidance and to monitor over firing. I have placed mine above the door handle per a few other fp30 owners on here. Just not sure what types of temps i am supposed to be seeing at various stages of the burn? And most importantly what temp is dangerous in regards to over firing.

When i was in the hottest part of the secondaries saturday i had the two fans turned down so they were quiet, as i heard fans may reduce burn times. Well wgen dad and i were experimenting with the OAK i noticed it got up to 700 or a tick past on the face temp, and with the air all the way down! I freaked out and cranked both rehostats to full force on the fans to try and loose some heat. Luckily it came right down to 650 within prob 5 minutes or so.

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,572
South Puget Sound, WA
Try turning down the air sooner and more aggressively at the beginning of the burn. 45 minutes is a long time for air reduction. This morning I had the air closed down in about 15 minutes. That was with softwood, but the same principle applies. If the wood is burning well in 10 minutes then start turning down the air to 50% or further at that time until the flames start to get lazy. Then wait for the fire to regain a bit of strength and turn it down again.
 

saydinli

Burning Hunk
Nov 6, 2016
233
Near Fergus Ontario
Don't worry about 700 even 800 if its just spiking. Mine can hit 750 no problem if I didn't shut it down quick enough. I keep en eye on my thermometer in the middle above the door and I'll reload on a bed of coals with the thermometer at around 400 or below. I'll then shut it down half within about 10 mins and the rest of the way within another 5-10 mins. It'll cruise at 500-600 for the next 3 hours or so and then it will slowly start to slow.
As for emailing PE, , I tried that the first year and they don't respond. If you call them they are pretty good at helping. As for the dealer, I'm lucky to have a great dealer that is very good and very professional.
 

Tater1985

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
46
IN
Try turning down the air sooner and more aggressively at the beginning of the burn. 45 minutes is a long time for air reduction. This morning I had the air closed down in about 15 minutes. That was with softwood, but the same principle applies. If the wood is burning well in 10 minutes then start turning down the air to 50% or further at that time until the flames start to get lazy. Then wait for the fire to regain a bit of strength and turn it down again.
So i tried to turn it down as early as i could. The 45 min was just how long it took to be full blown awesome secondaries. I bet i had the air wide open for maybe 10 min, then half for 10 min, and then all the way down.

When i am checking to see if its time to turn it down i take the air to half, if i have secondaries then i leave it there for a bit, if all it does is slow or decrease the flame then i feel the baffle is not hot enough to get secondary combustion and i open it up to allow it to come up in temp more.

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Tater1985

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
46
IN
Don't worry about 700 even 800 if its just spiking. Mine can hit 750 no problem if I didn't shut it down quick enough. I keep en eye on my thermometer in the middle above the door and I'll reload on a bed of coals with the thermometer at around 400 or below. I'll then shut it down half within about 10 mins and the rest of the way within another 5-10 mins. It'll cruise at 500-600 for the next 3 hours or so and then it will slowly start to slow.
As for emailing PE, , I tried that the first year and they don't respond. If you call them they are pretty good at helping. As for the dealer, I'm lucky to have a great dealer that is very good and very professional.
Thats a relief to hear on the temps. Puts me at ease a bit. I think we gave similar reload technique as far as full air for 10 min, half air for about the same, then shut it down.

I tried locating a number for PE but did not have any luck. If you would like to share send me a private message. Thanks for all the help!

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saydinli

Burning Hunk
Nov 6, 2016
233
Near Fergus Ontario
Thats a relief to hear on the temps. Puts me at ease a bit. I think we gave similar reload technique as far as full air for 10 min, half air for about the same, then shut it down.

I tried locating a number for PE but did not have any luck. If you would like to share send me a private message. Thanks for all the help!

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PM sent
 

Mike M.

Feeling the Heat
Mar 18, 2012
295
Green Bay, WI
There's no brake or slow down on these. Go easy on the throttle, cutting the air back sooner. Good strong secondary equals tons of heat, but keep it under control.

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,572
South Puget Sound, WA
I'd be a bit more conservative. Stove front temps are lower than stove top. If this were a stove or insert, 700-800 on the stove front would be pretty hot on the stove top and likely overfiring.
When i am checking to see if its time to turn it down i take the air to half, if i have secondaries then i leave it there for a bit, if all it does is slow or decrease the flame then i feel the baffle is not hot enough to get secondary combustion and i open it up to allow it to come up in temp more.
For the first air turn down you don't need to see secondaries. The firebox is still warming up. Turn the air down until the flames get lazy and wait. The firebox will continue to heat up as long as the wood is burning and not smoldering.
 

Tater1985

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
46
IN
I'd be a bit more conservative. Stove front temps are lower than stove top. If this were a stove or insert, 700-800 on the stove front would be pretty hot on the stove top and likely overfiring.

For the first air turn down you don't need to see secondaries. The firebox is still warming up. Turn the air down until the flames get lazy and wait. The firebox will continue to heat up as long as the wood is burning and not smoldering.
So if i do my first air turn down to half and dont have secondaries wouldnt i be in the zone to be possibly be creating creosote since im not hot enough to burn all of that off?

Just trying to create good burn practices to minimize any build up in my chimney to the greatest extent possible, and figured secondaries = no creosote. But like i said, im fairly new to this. Already learned a great deal here.

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Tater1985

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
46
IN
In looking at my chimney last night i would estimate its total length to be approximately 17ft.

I also spoke with PE about some questions i had. Some of them about the OAK and temperatures. The guy said he would send me information about performing a draft test on the system. He said they generally do not go by temp readings due to variance in placement and the thermometers themselves. But if the draft test shows you are in the acceptable range then you really run no risk of over firing your unit as long as you arent running it with the air all the way open for extended periods.

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,572
South Puget Sound, WA
17' is near perfect.
 

saydinli

Burning Hunk
Nov 6, 2016
233
Near Fergus Ontario
In looking at my chimney last night i would estimate its total length to be approximately 17ft.

I also spoke with PE about some questions i had. Some of them about the OAK and temperatures. The guy said he would send me information about performing a draft test on the system. He said they generally do not go by temp readings due to variance in placement and the thermometers themselves. But if the draft test shows you are in the acceptable range then you really run no risk of over firing your unit as long as you arent running it with the air all the way open for extended periods.

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Thats great that they're sending that info to you. I have my dealer and the distributer coming tomorrow to test my draft and install the appropriate restrictor . I'll update you on how it goes.
 

bfast250

Burning Hunk
Dec 6, 2013
111
Missouri
I have noticed the same characteristics documented in this thread.

I have done three things to slow the burn rate and keep things under control:

Cut the air down sooner. This is critical if loading on an existing hot bed of coals and temps above 250 or so.

Huge splits. I try to always include at least two splits that are 3x5 or larger when loading the box full.

I put a magnet over the gap in the air intake. Getting the magnet in there is tricky with the grill in place, but it can be done.

Like you, I have noticed no difference in taping off the OAK. Maybe that only applies to an extremely tight home? I know I have a few doors that leak.

Thanks for starting this thread!
 

Tater1985

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
46
IN
bfast250

Could you speak more about the magnent over the air intake? Maybe a picture or two if it might help. Im not sure where the other air intake is. I thought i may have read it was under the ash lip, but not sure.

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saydinli

Burning Hunk
Nov 6, 2016
233
Near Fergus Ontario
My dealer and the sales rep from PE’s distributor came today with the Magnehelic gauge and a special door with a hole in it to insert the tube.
The tape over the OAK was removed and they installed a 4” restricter plate 1st at the chimney cap and lit a fire.
Once it got to temp and the secondary’s started burning the gauge was registering between .3 - .4 wc. They said goal is .1 wc , so they installed the 3” plate. The gauge got down to .2-.3 wc.
3” is the smallest they would go and even PE didn’t want to leave it there fearing it would lead to harder cold starts and smoke back draft. They went ahead and cut the 3” plate a 1/2” bigger and reinstalled it at 3 1/2” .
As per PE’s engineer ( who was on the phone, they went ahead and taped the OAK back up but it still didn’t quite get down to .1 but it was better., maybe around .2 wc Id say.
The weather here was very cold and windy today so draft was strong and getting an accurate readings were a bit trickey.

I loaded up with 7 medium splits and it looks to be under better control. The thermometer hit about 750 above the door at its peak, but settled back down. I think i have the thermometer a little too low because my IR gun was only registering about 680 just beside and above the thermometer.
I want to watch it for a week or so and see how it performs.
 

Tater1985

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
46
IN
Wow, great info saydinli, thanks for sharing. I think i will be speaking with my dealer to see if we could take a look at mine.

PE sent me the instructions and it seemed like it was saying the meter had to be installed and take readings 18-24in above the stove. I was curious how they did it at your house?

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bfast250

Burning Hunk
Dec 6, 2013
111
Missouri
bfast250

Could you speak more about the magnent over the air intake? Maybe a picture or two if it might help. Im not sure where the other air intake is. I thought i may have read it was under the ash lip, but not sure.

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I tried to get a pic, but I couldn't get any angles where it showed the placement. Get a small flashlight and look for a hole about 1" or so on the bottom of the box where the air control ends. As you close the air lever the hole gets covered up, but there is a metal tab that prevents it from closing all the way. The magnet covers this small area that remains open because of the metal tab.

Placing the magnet through the bottom grill isn't easy, but it can be done. I used a few long screw drivers to help position it.

I am interested in a pic of the plate that PE had you install if possible.
 

saydinli

Burning Hunk
Nov 6, 2016
233
Near Fergus Ontario
Wow, great info saydinli, thanks for sharing. I think i will be speaking with my dealer to see if we could take a look at mine.

PE sent me the instructions and it seemed like it was saying the meter had to be installed and take readings 18-24in above the stove. I was curious how they did it at your house?

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Damn I should have taken a picture, but essentially , my door was replaced by a door from PE's R&D department that had a little round hole in the middle and about 2" from the top of the glass. A stainless tube was placed through the hole about 3"-5" or so and a rubber hose connected to the tube that connects back to the gauge. The gauge was just sitting on the hearth the whole time and not elevated above the fireplace. The measurements where taken with the air control open. The Rep said that my issue is not very common ,and they mostly deal with a lack of draft. LOL.
 

gusguy

Member
Jul 15, 2017
40
Hayward, WI
I realize this has been quiet for a bit but the temps I'm seeing caught my eye. Last year was my first year with my fp30. I questioned temp readings from the face right away. I went to a buddy's house who has a summit to compare stove top to face reading. What we found was the temp on the top left corner above the door was about 100 cooler than than stove top. I would think if anyone was seeing 700 on the face they're actually around 800stt. I don't know what these units can take but that seems a little high to me. To each there own but these were my findings.
 

Tater1985

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
46
IN
I realize this has been quiet for a bit but the temps I'm seeing caught my eye. Last year was my first year with my fp30. I questioned temp readings from the face right away. I went to a buddy's house who has a summit to compare stove top to face reading. What we found was the temp on the top left corner above the door was about 100 cooler than than stove top. I would think if anyone was seeing 700 on the face they're actually around 800stt. I don't know what these units can take but that seems a little high to me. To each there own but these were my findings.
Thanks for the info, i will definitely do my best to keep my face temp out of the red zone (650ish) on my therometer.

Were you using 2 identical thermometers on the Summit? If so did you verify they both read the same when both on srove top or face. Curious if anyone else has seen similar results?

2018 Pacific Energy FP30
 

gusguy

Member
Jul 15, 2017
40
Hayward, WI
I used a cheap ir gun and my magnetic therometer. Not the most professional test but enough for me to get an idea of what was happening.