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Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind Of Burn Time Should I Expect With Kimberly™ And Katydid™?

Experience has shown that you can expect up to 10 hours for Katydid™, from coal bed to coal bed, and up to 8 hours for Kimberly™, from coal bed to coal bed. Individual results can and will vary as the species of wood, the moisture content in your wood, and the size of the load in your firebox do affect results. 

For example, softwoods such Douglas Fir and pine will burn to ash far quicker than hardwoods such as oak, hickory or maple. Likewise, a high moisture content in your cordwood will produce less heat and more creosote than a low moisture content in your cordwood, all other things being equal. For longer burn times and maximum heat output, always burn wood that is 20% moisture or less as verified by a moisture meter.

Even the length of the chimney can affect the length of the burn time. This makes sense when one considers that the relationship between a wood stove and its chimney is similar to that of the heart and lungs in the human body. In order for any wood stove to operate properly, it must be able to breathe properly via its chimney. Likewise, in order for one’s heart to operate properly, it must be able to breathe properly via its lungs.

The lower the temperature that a wood releases its gases, the longer the burn time in an Unforgettable Fire™ gasifier wood stove. The temperature at which cordwood can gasify varies by species and moisture content of the wood. We have found that extruded sawdust logs can gasify at a lower temperature than cordwood. The amount of BTU’s that are available in extruded sawdust logs varies by brand, as the size, shape and the amount of pressure under which the extruded logs are formed varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

We have found that the more sheen on the surface of a sawdust log and the darker the exterior color of the manufactured logs, the greater the pressure under which the sawdust log was manufactured, and the longer the burn time. The lighter the exterior color of the manufactured logs and the more sawdust fibers that are visible from the outside, the shorter the burn time. Never burn a manufactured log that is held together by wax or paraffin, as stated in our owner’s manuals.

The Kimberly™ and Katydid™ wood stoves are gasifying wood stoves. Instead of burning the wood in the fast and hot fire in a typical wood stove, the Kimberly™ and Katydid™ wood stoves first “gasify” {i.e. vaporize} the wood by restricting oxygen in the primary combustion so that the wood smolders. The wood gases {i.e. smoke} are re-burned in the secondary combustion before they exit the stove. It is the burning of the smoke in secondary combustion that produces most of the heat in an Unforgettable Fire™ wood stove and the chimney goes nearly smokless as a result. The process of releasing the wood gases is called, pyrolysis, which is defined as “decomposition brought about by high temperatures”.

The more wood smoke vapors one can extract from the wood to be re-burned in secondary combustion, the longer the burn time and more heat that will be produced in an Unforgettable Fire™ gasifier wood stove. Live flames will gradually diminish, leaving behind coals, which will continue to release heat into the room, until they too have extinguished. The temperature of your home when you wake up in the morning will be determined by your home’s ability to retain heat, which can be affected by one or more variables below:

  • Local climate and weather conditions on any given day.
  • Square footage and ceiling height of your space.
  • Insulation quality and thickness in your walls and attic.
  • Window quality and the size and number of windows.
  • Location of your wood stove within your space.
  • Air movement & humidity levels within your space.
  • Wood species and wood moisture content of your fuel.
  • Size of fuel load – size of individual logs as well as how full the combustion chamber is filled before going to bed.

Because dry, seasoned wood will produce more heat, burn longer, and produce less creosote than wood containing greater than 20% moisture content, your investment in a moisture meter with an accuracy of +/- 1% can be made for less than $50 and it will help to ensure you are getting the most heat from the least amount of wood.

Summary:

  • Can you expect to wake up to active, live flames in the morning? {No – when wood gases have been exhausted, live flames will cease to exist. Live coals will continue to release heat until they too have been exhausted.}
  • Can you expect to wake up to a warm stove and chimney with a few red coals, making it easy to get your fire going again? {Yes, depending on the variables of your choice of fuel, damper setting on your stove, and length and function of your chimney.}
  • Will my house be cold when I wake up in the morning? {Expect your house to cool a few degrees during the night. The temperature you will wake to will depend upon the insulation and heat retention of your space.}
How Many Square Feet Can Kimberly™ And Heat?

In determining which wood stove is best for your needs, one should consider not only the heat output of the wood stove but also the heat retention of your space, your local climate, the placement of the stove in your home, as well as your own personal expectations – in other words, are you comfortable at 68-degrees or is 75-degrees more comfortable for you? 

We recommend that you consider the following variables when making your purchasing decisions:

  • Local climate and weather conditions on any given day.
  • Square footage and ceiling height of your space.
  • Insulation quality and thickness in your walls and attic.
  • Window quality and the size and number of windows.
  • Location of your wood stove within your space.
  • Air movement & humidity levels within your space.
  • Wood species and wood moisture content of your fuel.
  • Size of fuel load – size of individual logs as well as how full the combustion chamber is filled before going to bed.
  • Purpose of your wood stove. Will it be used as the sole source of heat or an additional source of heat?

As well, your investment in a moisture meter with an accuracy of +/- 1% can be made for less than $50 and it will help to ensure you are getting the most heat from the least amount of wood, and the longest possible burn times.

What Size Logs Can I Burn?

Kimberly™ can accommodate one log of 4-inches in diameter and up to 9.5-inches in length; however, most people find that loading two logs of a shorter length is easier than loading a single log of a longer length inside Kimberly’s tiny combustion chamber. Once a coal bed has been established, the length of your logs must decrease according to the height of your coal bed when you reload.

Katydid™ has a much bigger firebox and can accommodate more logs and a bigger diameter than Kimberly™. We have found that logs cut to 8-inches in length make loading easy.

How Do I Vent The Kimberly™ And Katydid™ Wood Stoves?

Our Kimberly™ wood stove is approved to use 3-inch double-wall stainless steel lined pellet stove pipe with a Class A pass-through thimble at the ceiling, attic and roof.  This unique venting system saves owners hundreds of dollars in installation costs, perhaps as much as $1200 in savings, simply because pellet stove pipe is far less costly than using Class A chimney pipe as other wood stoves require.

Katydid™ is approved to vent with 4-inch double-wall stainless lined steel pellet stove pipe with Class A pass-through thimble at ceiling, attic, and roof, also saving owners hundreds of dollars in installation costs.

Most people find that installing a Kimberly™ and Katydid™ wood stove is easy for the Do-It-Yourselfer. Please consult the Kimberly™ or Katydid™ Owner’s Manuals for appropriate installation instructions. Feel free to contact us with questions regarding your specific venting needs.

Can I Vent Kimberly™And Katydid™ Through The Wall?

In Roger Lehet’s 30+ years of selling and installing wood stoves, he has always preferred to vent straight through the roof at all times. There are a few instances where this becomes impossible due to construction styles, but it is rare.

When venting any wood stove out of a wall, the cost of installation increases substantially. Also, the flue is exposed to cold outside air, which can cool the glue temperatures and negatively impact the performance of the chimney. Venting out the wall also allows heat to be transferred to the outside, rather than kept inside the home where it belongs. Additionally, horizontal runs with elbows put back pressure on the venting system, which can cause hard starts and smoke spillage when opening the door for reloading.

In effect, your Kimberly™ or Katydid™ is the “heart” of your wood stove installation, and the chimney is the “lungs.” The heart can not function properly if the lungs do not provide it with sufficient oxygen.

Whenever possible, always install your venting vertically inside the house, through the ceiling and roof. This is is true not only of our Kimberly™ and Katydid™ gasifier wood stoves, but it is true of all other wood stoves as well.

What Is The Difference Between A Catalytic And A Non-Catalytic Wood Stove?

In catalytic wood stoves, the smoke flows through a coated ceramic honeycomb device contained within the firebox, allowing smoke particles and gases to ignite and burn. This is much like a car’s catalytic converter. Even though catalytic stoves are capable of producing long, even heat output, there are many disadvantages in this technology:

    1. Many owners of catalytic wood stoves find that they need to “babysit” a catalytic wood stove until it heats sufficiently to activate the catalytic element.
    2. If at any time a catalytic wood stove is over-fired, or fueled with inappropriate material (such as treated wood or household trash), the catalyst may fail in as little as two years. Burn paper printed with colored inks or have a stray nail end up in the combustion chamber? The catalytic element will be immediately rendered useless. Six years of use can be expected from a well-maintained catalytic stove using only appropriate fuels: Even under the best of conditions the catalytic element will degrade and require replacement, which is expensive.
    3. The mining and processing of catalytic elements is costly to the environment, not to mention there are the political considerations and risks of mining the catalytic elements in the volatile Middle East.
    4. When spent, Catalytic elements must be disposed of, causing an unnecessary burden to our landfills.

Kimberly™ and Katydid™ are non-catalytic wood stoves. Unforgettable Fire™ has developed the means to get catalytic action from a non-catalytic wood stove by use of gasification technology.

Our non-catalytic Kimberly™ gasifier wood stove was EPA-certified and CSA-certified at 3.2 grams per hour particulate, well under the Federal and Washington state emissions standards of 4.5 grams per hour.

Our non-catalytic Katydid™ gasifier wood stove was EPA-certified and CSA-certified at 1.9 grams per hour particulate, making Katydid™ one of the cleanest-burning non-catalytic wood stoves on the planet.

What Can I Burn In Kimberly™ And Katydid™?

Kimberly™ and Katydid™ are warranted to burn wood and non-wax extruded sawdust logs.

How Do Your Wood Stoves Compare With Pellet Stoves?

Pellet stoves will provide a more consistent room temperature than a wood stove during the day while you are absent or at night while you are sleeping. This is because they are self-feeding by use of electricity, except for one model which is gravity-fed. This, we believe, is where the advantage ends.

When your power goes out due to a winter storm or during a long-term emergency, a pellet stove will leave you cold because they need electricity. While many pellet stoves have a 72 battery for back-up, how will you keep warm if your electricity is out for a longer period? Also, a pellet stove will be hostage to the availability and affordability of pellets. If you are unable to purchase pellets, you cannot burn an alternative fuel.

The charm of a wood stove over any other heat source is not only the warm glow of the flames, but the unquestioned reliability of wood heat.

With that said, some wood stoves need electricity for startup or monitoring moisture content in their fuel, and this type of wood stove will still be inoperable when the grid goes down.

Your fuel options are much greater with a Kimberly™ or Katydid™ gasifier wood stove. With no moving parts to wear out or fail and no electricity needed to start or operate, your Kimberly™ or Katydid™ gasifier wood stove will keep you warm in good times and in bad.

Are Kimberly™And Katydid™ Rocket Stoves?

The Kimberly™ stove and the Katydid™ stove are gasifier wood stoves, not rocket stoves.

When a Kimberly™ or Katydid™ wood stove is dampered down, the fuel maintains an approximate 450-degree Fahrenheit temperature as it burns, thus creating massive amounts of smoky gases. As the smokey gases rise to the top of the combustion chamber in our Kimberly™ or Katydid™ wood stoves, the gasses ignite and burn at a very high temperature.

The bulk of the heat produced in our Kimberly™ and Katydid™ wood stoves comes from the secondary combustion process, which produces a very efficient and clean burn, with very little smoke emitting from the chimney.

On the other hand, while rocket stoves burn very hot and clean, they are not very efficient. Rocket stoves are hungry and consume lots of fuel.

Why Are Your Wood Stoves So Costly?

When considering the price of any new wood stove, always consider TOTAL installation costs, not just the cost of the stove itself. Even a “FREE” wood stove can quickly become a $2,000 investment by the time you add in the cost of Class A chimney pipe, hearth pad, shipping and installation labor.

However, because Kimberly™ is approved to vent with 3-inch double-wall stainless steel pellet stove pipe, which is much less costly than Class A chimney pipe, the reduced cost of installation makes Kimberly™ competitive with other high-end wood stoves. 

Our Katydid™ gasifier wood stove is approved to vent with double-wall stainless steel pellet stove pipe as well, using a 4-inch diameter.

For specifics on the installation requirements for each stove and your particular installation, please download the appropriate Kimberly™ or Katydid™ Owner’s Manuals.

We’re a small company with small production runs. We buy our steel in smaller lots than bigger companies, so it comes at a higher price. Kimberly™ is made of high-quality heat and corrosion resistant stainless steel. There are 118 laser-cut and hand-welded parts inside, from domestic feedstock by American workers, all of whom pay taxes and support our country. Six years were devoted to the research and development, and the EPA & CSA certification testing alone cost $40,000. It will be some time before these costs are recouped. 

On the other hand, by replacing expensive or environmentally unfriendly options such as gas, electric, or oil heat, Kimberly™ is a sound investment, which can be recouped in as little as 1-2 years. Due to Kimberly’s reliability and portability, Kimberly™ might even save your life in a natural or man-made disaster, when other options fail. At that point, Kimberly™ becomes priceless.

Quality is not inexpensive, and we at Unforgettable Fire, LLC refuse to produce any product that is less than top quality.

How Do I Bake On A Kimberly™ or Katydid™ Wood Stove?

In our early days, we spent a great deal of time and effort to develop our own baking oven, but clients quickly discovered that a gently used Dutch oven which they already owned, or had purchased at a garage sale, was just as effective and a lot less costly, so we abandoned the project. [Insert laughter]. We do suggest that you place a metal trivet inside your Dutch oven so as to create airspace under your baking pan and place the lid on top to keep retain the heat.

Clients have excitedly reported back about their success in baking cookies, brownies, breads, meats, and poultry on top of their Kimberly™ or Katydid™ wood stove in such a manner. Some clients have taken it one step further by drilling hole in the top of their Dutch oven, so as to accommodate a thermometer.

While a cast-iron Dutch oven works very well for off-grid baking, consider that aluminum will get up to temperature more quickly, and because it must make direct contact with the top of your Kimberly™ or Katydid™ wood stove, your Dutch oven should not have feet.