Wood insert not heating up room

Huntingdon Valley, PA

We have a Vermont Castings Montpeliar wood stove, Its in a 15x20 foot room. When I start the fire the temperature in the room is 62 degrees, after burning for a couple of hours I could get the temperture up to about 66-67, not very warm. I was told maybe the fire is not getting enough air and maybe try opening a window a crack in the room and if that works they could put a vent in the firebox to the outside, I am using aged hard wood. Appreciate any help, Thanks

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

While it's possible that the room is so tight the stove is being starved I'd look for other things also. I'd think that you'd notice the room being very stuffy if it was that tight. Crack a window and see if it helps a lot.

From a quick search on the internet I assume this is a fireplace insert. It should be able to get a 15 x 20 room so hot that it's like a sauna in there. I'd look for a blocked chimney from soot accumulation or a birds nest being in it or the fireplace damper still being closed.

What is your experience level with burning wood? I assume you are opening the draft on the stove enough. When you say That the wood is aged hard wood do you know how and how long it was seasoned. Many wood vendors overstate the degree of seasoning any particular pile of wood. Just because a tree was cut down six months ago doesn't mean that the wood is seasoned much at all. Finally if it is one of those fireplaces that are mostly outside it may not be heating up enough to have much of a draft. Just a few suggestions. -Doug

Huntingdon Valley, PA

Thanks Doug, I don't think the room is that tight - it's a 60 year old house, it is a fireplace insert (Vermont Castings).
Could it be that the wood is too big, a lot of the wood is 7x7 pieces, should it be split again, I played with this and it seems like I get hotter fires with smaller wood.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

I would say yes. I wouldn't be afraid to quarter some of them and see how they work. Most of my wood is half that size 7 x 3 or so. The door on my wood boiler is 13 x 12 inches. Larger wood burns slower and therefore longer. You can go as small as you want as long as you can close the draft enough to control the fire. Don't be afraid to experiment. Each stove is different. If you have a friend that burns wood have then give you a hand. There are a lot of things I could show you in person about burning wood that are next to impossible to explain in writing. I will try to answer you questions as best I can as I've burned wood most of my life. -Doug

Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

This sounds so odd to me. We have a Jotul fireplace insert and honest to goodness it heats our entire home, and we have a 2400 square foot colonial.

Booneville, AR

if you have big trees some times you get a bad down draft we had that problem until we had some limbs cut off. now we are fine get a nice pull and lost the push. our insert keeps the house warm. have extra heat in the bath room but thats all.

Huntingdon Valley, PA

Well I think it's the wood, I am switching wood with a friend - I'll give that a try and report back. I was so thrilled because I found cheaper wood this year.
Doug - you had some good suggestions, most of my wood burning experience is with a fireplace, the store that installed the stove reassured me the fireplace damper was taken out since there is a liner from the stove to the top of the chimney, the chimney is capped and the chimney was cleaned in the falI.I do have to think about i how to move the warm air around the house.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Green wood can definitely be the cause of little heat. Just because someone told you it was seasoned doesn't mean that it is. Firewood sellers have been known to stretch how much seasoning a particular pile of firewood has. If it isn't blocked up and split it dries very slowly.

What are you paying for firewood in your area?

Booneville, AR

your insert must not have fans in it. the one we have has fans, the switch went out last winter it did not heat good with out the fans.it got fixed real fast. nettie

Huntingdon Valley, PA

I was paying $200. per cord, but the wood in question I got 2 cords for $350.
My insert does have fans.

Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

Turbofire--the best place on the net for info on woodburning of any sort is www.woodheat.org. Anyone and everyone who heats or wants to heat their homes with wood should visit that site. I think you will get a ton of good information there.

Best of luck to you!

***Edited to fix the web address ending as ".org"

This message was edited Feb 10, 2010 2:00 PM

Huntingdon Valley, PA

Niere, I remember seeing that site before. It is a great resource for burning fires, Thanks

Morrisville, PA

We've had a Vermont Castings wood burning insert installed and have been using it since last year. I swear, we are experiencing the same thing that Turbo is experiencing. We wear layers and layers and our noses are still running. We have used wood from different sources, some of it aged, some of it cut small....and the unit has a blower. The room the fireplace is never hot. It doesn't even always get warm enough to be comfortable. We have an 1800 sq ft, one level home and the fireplace is right smack in the middle. Perhaps it's the brand?

Chepachet, RI(Zone 5b)

Sorry Shakka--that is really odd. I would contact the people who installed it and have them come out to the house when you've got it running so they can try to figure out why it's not working.

I don't own stock in Jotul ;) but seriously we've had our insert for years now. It's paid for itself at this point and keeps our house very warm. We love it.

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