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A couple questions for the experts about my new stove please

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by BobUrban, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1,479
    Loc:
    Central Michigan
    I am really pleased so far with my stove install. I was given this VC parlor stove(Knock off) and had the chimney professionally installed. The chimney is about 16' with the stove pipe being double wall and the chimney being triple wall. It goes straight up through the house and seems to draw very well. I have been burning steady for a few days and love the warmth and NOT tuning on the heat. It has not been very cold yet here in Michigan with daytime temps in the 60's and nighttime in the 40's.

    As you can see I have a thermometer in top of the stove. I was told here to keep it at or above 500 degrees and that seems very hot? I can easily get it that hot but I would be blown out of the house with those temp(for now) and get a little anxious about a house fire at that heat if I kept it steady. It burns nice and slow and I can get 6-8 hours of burn with a couple logs if I close it up and it runs in the 300 range. I have not had to start a fire since I started it a week ago because there is always enough hot coals left in the morning to get a new log going if I open the damper and air flap for a few moments. I let every new fire get going real good and the stove top above 400-450 before I shut it back down to a comfortable 300 range.

    I have been around fire/woodstoves all my life in my home growing up and the cabin we have. My question(s) is/are:

    - am I running it hot enough to keep the chimney safe?

    - I find creasote building on the LH door that I fill the stove from but cannot see much in the chimney cap when looking from the ground with binoc's

    - I will say my biggest concern is burning my house down and without having a lot of time burning with this stove I am not sure what temp I can safely run it at without worry. OR - what temps I should be runing it at to keep the chimney safe.

    After a month or so of steady use I plan to look up the chimney to get real information of what is going on in there but just want some input on my set up and any concerns any of you all may have about my practices. As I get more comfortable with the stove, it's burn rate, and just having fires going as well as waiting for cooler weather, I will be loading it more and running it a bit hotter. For now I am trying to get a feel for it so that when I really need it I am prepared. I am just a little anxious leaving the house or going to bed with a big load of wood in there and it running real hot.

    I do have 3 candles siting on the hearth behind the stove to test for how hot it is getting and they have not melted at all, yet.

    I guess I am just looking for informed feedback from you all. Thanks for all the help so far - this site has been a great resource.

    Bob Urban

    getting up to temps in the AM
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  2. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,288
    Loc:
    south central WI
    I won't claim to be an expert, but I'll get the replies started.

    Assuming that you have a clean chimney, short hot fires during the shoulder season are a better practice than
    trying to keep the fire going with lower temperature fires. 500 degrees is not too hot. The sweet spot for
    my stovetop is 550-650, and it's nudged 700 for short periods of time. If there's visible dark smoke coming from
    your chimney at that "comfortable 300 range", you are producing cresote. If I try running my stove at less than 500,
    I can usually see smoke.

    My climate is similar to yours. During this time of year, I'm burning small loads of softwood for an hour or two
    in the morning and/or evening to take the chill off. It's kind of a pain but better burning practice than trying to
    keep it going at lower temperatures all day.
  3. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1,479
    Loc:
    Central Michigan
    [​IMG]

    Here is an image of the Class A pipe going through my upstairs room. The pic was taken during install so there is now a firestop at the top. I also was planning to box it in after I had the stove dialed in but now am thinking I both like the look and heat it gives off. I think Iwill build a floor grate to go around the base and leave it exposed.

    Regarding this pipe - it gets hot to the touch when I am running the stove in the 450-500+ range and that had me a little nervous. Not super hot because you can still put your hand on it but you probably would not want to leave it there too long.

    For now it will be smaller - hotter fires in the AM to take the chill off and wait for colder temps to leave it running for continious use. I will crank it up a bit today because I am home and give it a good burn then let if go out and see how it looks inside.

    Thank you for the valuable information - I cannot say enough about how helpful your site is!

    Bob Urban
  4. hearthnleisure

    hearthnleisure Dave

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    Haverhill, NH
    Looking at those pictures I have some questions. You said a firestop was added at the roofline. Is there insulation in contact with the pipe above the firestop? There should be 2" of clearance all the way around that pipe. Also, a firestop should be installed at the floor. Normally, we will install a support at the floorline/ceiling that acts as the firestop. Look up http://www.icc-rsf.com/en/icc/chimney-configurator
  5. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    All clearances were 2+ inches prior to adding the fire block. Here are some pics of the finished chimney and stove pipe. The hole in the floor I plan to cut out more symetrically and add the grate in two pieces to go around the pipe and set into the floor just to remove the unsightly hole and make it look nice but even when the pipe feels warm/hot to the touch nothing around it even feels warm.

    Thanks for checking that - I am super anal about buring the place down and that is why, although I am pretty crafty, I had the pro's install the chimney at double what it would have cost me.

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  6. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    The pipe passing through a living space has to be enclosed in a chase. Protects from incidental contact from both people/pets and combustibles. You can put vents in the chase to take advantage of some of the heat it gives off.
  7. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Jeff - is that code? I see you are in Michigan so we would fall under the same guidelines. I only ask because I live alone with my dog( the #1 concern for not wanting to burn my home down) and the room is only used for my arrow craft. I build custom cedar arrows for traditional archery. It was always the coldes room in the house but now I think it will stay toasty. I can make a cool wrought iron surround and leave it exposed if that is the code law?

    Bob Urban
  8. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    NFPA 211

    6.1.4 Enclosures. Factory-built chimneys that pass through
    floors of buildings requiring the protection of vertical openings
    shall be enclosed with approved walls having a fire resistance
    rating of not less than 1 hour where such chimneys are
    located in a building less than four stories in height, and not
    less than 2 hours where such chimneys are located in a building
    four or more stories in height.
  9. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Thanks - have to get that done
  10. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Check with your local Authority Having Jurisdiction for the requirements where you live. NFPA 211 is a "standard", not a code. It's the result of an industry effort to publish and maintain a set of recommendations. It is not a government publication. While many local jurisdictions have adopted the wording of NFPA 211 into their codes, some have not. NFPA 211 is an excellent resource, but does not necessarily describe the exact code requirements in any given location. Rick
  11. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Looks to me like that stove is modeled after the Defiant- big heater- likes to run hot hot hot.

    Run her too low and you will see just what a creosote producer it can be.
  12. fraxinus

    fraxinus Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    coastal Maine
    If you really want to be super careful, the pipe that connects to the stove should go inside the stove's collar, not over it. The Defiants, of which this stove does seem to be a copy, used a boot which fit inside the collar and made the transition from oval collar to round stove pipe. I think these pre-made boots are still available from online parts suppliers. They're also pretty easy to make from regular stove pipe if you have access to a crimper to make the lower end that fits into the collar. Attached correctly any possible creosote runs down into the stove, not out onto its hot surface. I would estimate, however, that most Defiants were installed exactly in the way you've done yours without a widespread epidemic of leaking creosote disasters.

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