How do I use a woodstove thermometer?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by heather, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

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    We have a Heartstone soapstone woodstove -

    We have a Rutland thermometer that is magnetic -
    we're not sure where to place it

    Everything I can find online says to either place it on the stove or on the stovepipe

    But we've noticed that placing on the pipe down near the stove is a lot hotter (obviously) than placing is up high on the pipe

    So, where does it belong?

    We were having a problem with drafting & we solved it tonight -
    The screen at the top of the stack was covered in creosote - wasn't letting much smoke out :grump:

    It's fixed now, but we want to be burning the stove as hot as we can, so we need to know where to put the thermometer

    THANKS!!
     
  2. bluetick

    bluetick Well-Known Member

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    Assuming I followed the instructions when I got mine... :rolleyes:

    My stove has an extra piece with vents in the front that the stovepipe fits through. The middle of my thermometer on the stove pipe measures 10" from the top of that piece, or 11 1/2" from the top of the stove itself. However, my stove is not soapstone, and I don't know if it matters.
     

  3. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

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    THANKS!

    I plan to call our stove company in the morning - don't know why I haven't done that yet -
    I also plan to call the thermometer manufacturer -

    They should both be able to help me (I hope!)


    PS - I grew up in upstate NY - just talked to my parents tonight - this is the first time in forever that I know of that it has been colder here than at their house! :baby04:
     
  4. jross

    jross swamper

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    I mounted our thermometer at eye level and installed a one inch sheet metal screw through the center hole to conduct heat to the thermometer for a more accurate reading. Otherwise, the heat has to go through the magnetic ring.
     
  5. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    We find ours works really well if it's not permanently attached. Once when the stovepipe got too hot the magnet lost it's 'power' and the thermometer fell off with a clatter - kinda like a smoke alarm!!!

    That was back when we just 'learning' the dos and don'ts of a new stove.
     
  6. e.alleg

    e.alleg Well-Known Member

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    Definitely put it on the pipe about eye level but not so it interferes with the damper. Have fun fiddling with the stove.
     
  7. Rod Torgeson

    Rod Torgeson Well-Known Member

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    If you have a single wall stove pipe, put it about two feet up from the stove. If you have a double wall stove pipe, put it on top of the stove. This is what I have been told by a stove installer. My wood stove in the house has double wall pipe, therefore the thermometer is on the stove. In my shop I have single wall pipe and the thermometer is on the pipe. Hope this helps.

    Rod<---in Appleton, WA
     
  8. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    Yup, 18" to 2 ft above the stove on a single wall stovepipe gives you the proper ranges according to the markings on the thermometer. You can burn the new stoves HOT. Almost always hotter is better. By stove manual defines over-fire as "parts of the stove or stovepipe are glowing red." I'd say! I have my gauge on top of the stove and I regularly bury the needle, which means a stove-top temperature of 900F.

    Pete
     
  9. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    The thermometers will only work on singlew-walled stovepipes. Our pipe is double-walled, so we have the thermometer on top of the stove itself. But our stove is steel. Not sure about the soapstone.
     
  10. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    There are two reasons you want to use a stovepipe thermometer: to assure against overburn and underburn temperatures.

    A maintained overburn temp (>600ºF) can lead to combustibles near the stovepipe and chimney to get too hot.

    A maintained underburn temp (<250ºF) can lead to creosote build up...the situation that you are having.

    The BEST place to have a thermometer to guard against too cool of a chimney...is outside, at the top of the chimney....the temps of the exhaust gases should be >250ºF. Of course this is a near impossible location.

    The temp of your stovepipe should be at a higher temp than what is necessary at the top of the chimney (250ºF) because the exhaust gases will cool as they move up the chimney. The rate of cooling will depend on factors such as length of chimney, whether the chimney is indoors or outdoors, and chimney material.

    It really makes no difference where you but the thermometer, because it's going to take some trial and error and experience to know what temp the thermometer has to be at to keep your chimney cap from creosoting up. Once you've figured it out, maintain that or a higher temp.
     
  11. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    Yep, my newer stoves operating manual says 600-800 is operating temp.

    In addition to the regular magnet thermometer I use my non-contact laser thermometer as well to track temps. Interesting to stand on the ground and be able to establish stack temps every foot or so as the pipe makes it way to the ceiling. Amazing how much the temp drops for every X amount of pipe traveled.

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  12. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

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    Well, I talked to Hearthstone today -

    They told me to place the thermometer on the center stone of the stovetop
    (optimal under 600 degree burn)

    I will do this, but it doesn't make sense to me -

    We've had the thermometer on the stove pipe, so the stove is even hotter

    So, now we'll be burning it cooler than we were
    :shrug:

    ugh

    Anyway, we are drafting much better & burning up more wood now that we have a clean chimney top :p
     
  13. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    As Cabin said, the purpose of the thermometer is to monitor the chimney pipe. Put it there, not on the stove. If you have your damper open, the pipe will tend to get hotter than the stove, for instance. Place it eye level ont he pipe so you can check it often and get a feel for your stove.
     
  14. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    Are they going to insure your house when your chimney gooks up and catches on fire?

    I don't think so. I wouldn't take their advise. Likely they don't burn wood as a primary heat source, but learned their "craft" from a book. Almost every casual user burns too cool. If creosote is forming in your chimney and you are burning decently dry wood, you are burning too cool.

    If your stove is over-firing in order to keep your chimney clear, you need a bigger stove that produces more hot exhaust.

    Pete
     
  15. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

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    I'm so confused -

    I'm inviting you all to come stay with me for a month & help me out with this one :p
     
  16. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    Don’t take this as insulting because I don’t mean it that way.

    When wood burns completely it produces ash, water vapor and carbon dioxide. Ideally the ash remains in your stove, and the carbon dioxide and water vapor float out of your chimney.

    If you cool the exhaust too much, the water reverts to liquid and starts to run back towards your stove.

    Add to this that when you damp down the stove you prevent ideal burning conditions in your stove. Your stove starts to produce unburned hydrocarbons, which combine in your chimney with the water vapor to produce creosote on the inside of your pipes.

    Thus, to prevent creosote, add as little unburned hydrocarbons and as little water vapor as you can to your exhaust. This means, burn dry wood, and burn it hot.

    There is nothing else to know. A little practice and a little knowledge will go a long way.

    Pete
     
  17. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

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    no, i'm not insulted at all

    this is the 1st woodstove i've ever had

    i do know to burn dry wood (we have burned some damp - no more!) and burn it hot

    the woodstove manual says not to burn over 600 degrees for an extended time

    So, if I put the thermometer on the stove (like the manufacturer tells me to) - the air going out the pipe is a lot cooler than if I put the thermometer on the pipe & measure it that way

    that's why I'm confused

    Obviously, since we've had creosote build up, we're burning it too cool

    Now, moving the thermometer down will make us burn it even cooler

    So, I guess I ignore the manufacturer (EEK) and put the thermometer back up on the pipe :baby04:
     
  18. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    We have a Hearthstone Bennington cast iron without the soapstone. I have my thermometer on the pipe just above the collar that is part of the stove. I have it down as close to the stove as I can get. I can't put it on the top surface because it's a false top with a heat sink under it.
    The stove shop runs there thermometers on top of their stove in the shop.
     
  19. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    YES!!!

    Burn your stove so you don't create creosote!

    What manufacturer in this world makes a wood stove that must be used in a way that will inevitably plug your chimney and burn down your house? None! If you are creating creosote, you are burning wet wood or you are burning too cool. Fix the problem, never mind what the manufacturer says!

    Pete
     
  20. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    When you go to bed at night do you damp down the stove to a temp. that the thermometer says is into the creosote range?

    If I didn't, my wood be consumed within a few hours.