Posted 01-23-2005 at 07:15:38
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Good morning to all. Back in September I wrote a note that I was a fish out of water, dreaming of living in the country and not sure how to. Several of you graciously replied very supportive and inspiring replies to basically "just do it", for which I am very grateful.
Well, we've been busy packin' and movin', and here we are in WA, living on a small lake on some land and I cried when I first saw it to think I could live in a place so beautiful. God has blessed us more than I can imagine. In spite of the rain and the of winter, our 11 yr old son is so excited to be here, even though he misses his friends in CA. He's not too sure he likes all these grey skies though. I tried to reassure him that when you don't live in a desert, grey skies are just part of winter.
Well, I have a question for anyone who knows wood stoves. The house we are renting has a Lopi Answer wood stove. I have lit fireplaces before with not too much trouble, but this thing has this sealed door and this draft vent thing with an open/close slide-in/out knob, and even though I have read the manual, we are still having trouble getting it lit and especially keeping it lit. A big problem is all the smoke it often causes (even if the door is shut) especially when we have to relight it, sometimes four or five times. We have a huge wood pile out back, unfortunately most of it is wet and it is raining so often it won't really dry out. We brought some onto the back covered deck, which we found leaks and it still gets wet. However, we had problems even with the dry wood we had. When I read the manual, it seems pretty complicated with all these wood types (I have no idea what kind of wood we have) and degrees of heat (we put an oven thermometer on top like the book said and even though at one point it looked so hot my husband was worried and tossed some water on it, it registered about 350 degrees, which I later checked in the manual and found that it is only a low burn (which they don't recommend) and an intese burn is about 750 degrees I think. How you would get it that hot in that small box I have no idea. We are a bit worried that the glass will blow out from the heat (that happened twice with a glass fireplace door we had years ago).
Part of the problem in starting it I think is the box is so small it is hard to get the wood properly positioned. The book says to put a small log on each side of the box with paper and kindling in the middle and a bigger log over the top. My attempts at that so totally filled the house with smoke it was hard to breath. My husband has had the best success with teepee-style fires, but often those don't stay lit long either and sometimes cause a good deal of smoke too. He thinks the problem is insufficent dry kindling.
The manual also says that when you have it going, if you almost close the draft knob (to like 3/16ths of an inch, I think - there are no measurement marks on it so I've no idea how you tell when you've got it closed just right) and that assuming you've done everything else right, the thing will do a low burn overnight and still have coals in the morning. Haven't been able to get that right either.
Any of you who have experience at this sort of thing and know any tricks or tips, we would surely appreciate it.
Thanks again for a lovely web site. Barbara