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Air Intake Issue on Insert

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jch76, Feb 19, 2006.

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  1. jch76

    jch76 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Rockford, IL
    We have a Quadra Fire insert that was installed in early December and it had been running fine. I was out of town for the last 2 weeks and so it sat idle until yesterday. I had some trouble getting the fire going. With both air controls set on full open, it didn't seem to be getting enough air unless I left the door cracked. I was burning 2 year old oak and some elm that was cut down dead this summer. The wood wasn't hissing so it was not wet.

    Once the fire did get going, I was not able to get a burn such that no smoke was exiting out chimney. There was always some white smoke. Upon inspection it appeared that only 1 of three tubes at the top of the firebox was introducing air. There was a secondary burn but not like usual.

    Is it possible that I have something blocing the air intake and if so, how can I check it? The dealer was closed by the time I noticed this yesterday and is closed today. I can talk to him tomorrow, but it is about 10 degrees here and I hate hearing the NG kick on and off all day long. On a side note, I have noticed that the firebrick at the bottom of the firebox is deteriorating. It is no longer a smooth surface when I scrape along it to remove ashes. There are some cracks and gaps now.

    Do you think I should refrain from burning until I talk to my dealer? Any advice would be appreciated.

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  2. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Messages:
    3,629
    Loc:
    Northern Colorado Mountains
    Possibly a plugged chimney cap? is the chimney lined? is the liner insulated? how tall is the chimney? If the chimney isnt lined then how big a flue is it dumping in to?
  3. jch76

    jch76 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Rockford, IL
    The insert and liner were installed by the dealer so it was done professionaly. The chimney is lined with 6" SS. It's a 2 story house and the top of the cap is few feet higher than the house. I'd say about 20'. When they installed it, they shoved insulation down the chimney around the liner. It isn't insulated the whole way, but there is some insulation and their is a piece that seals the gap between the liner and the chimney.

    I was going to go look at the cap, but there's a bit of ice on the roof. A plugged chimney cap sounds like something I could see? Is it worth looking and could I fix this if so?
  4. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Northern Colorado Mountains
    i think the cap is worth checking out, it doesnt take much to foul it. If you run the stove with the air control down, and you have some moderatly moist wood, it can plug, also if you turn it down before the secondary combustion takes place it can plug. I would call your dealer if your having issues. They can come on site and see excatly whats going on. Since they installed it they should be more than willing to come out.
  5. paulgp602

    paulgp602 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Messages:
    195
    If you have a cap with the cage around it to keep animals out, then it is unlikely that the liner is plugged up with a dead animal. It cant be a bee's nest- because it is winter. It can't be leaves because there are none to fall into it. Call the dealer
  6. jch76

    jch76 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Rockford, IL
    Thanks MSG. I'll call the dealer in the morning and wait until they can take a look before lighting another fire.
  7. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,859
    Loc:
    Eastern Nebraska
    Hummmm........ Oak ? Elm ya say , a different animal. A few things to make sure of when burning harder woods... make sure you have a hot stove and a really good coal bed going before you throw in the "hard wood" The only time i have this issue is when its been warmer outside and the fire is not needing to be real hot and or just after the stove has been cleaned out and then the oak is put into a lazy coal bed. you'll be sure to get smoke and smoke for a wile. I have 3-4 year old oak that will do the same thing if i let it. Put in some softer wood or smaller wood / stick to bring the coal bed and heat of the stove up to par before adding oak and or other hard woods. Make sure your hard wood(s) have a really good char before shutting down the damper. You can always go to half damper "after" your 10-20 minute char and run it half for 30-60 minutes and then shut it down lower. I would try the really hot coal bed in the stove first before adding real hard wood.
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