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Alderlea T5 Air Intake Clogged or Restricted?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Dan1122, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Dan1122

    Dan1122 Member

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    Has anyone with a Pacific Energy T-series had a problem with the combustion air intake becoming clogged or restricted? I have been using a T5 for three years now and at the beginning of this season everything was fine but now I just do not get enough air even with the shutter in the completely open position. I can't tell that there is anything different about the flue from the outside and don't think the problem in on the outgoing side but have not yet confirmed. I only have about 12 feet of flue (six of which is in the living space).

    Thanks,

    Dan

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  2. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Clean the chimney and cap.
    Oldhippie, PapaDave and raybonz like this.
  3. Dan1122

    Dan1122 Member

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    I cleaned the flue at the end of last season and have been burning pretty much constantly for five months now. Wouldn't it have to be really clogged for this to happen? Additionally, if I crack the door combustion really picks up. Just to rule this out I'll probably remove the flue and inspect...thanks for the advice.

    Dan
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The likelihood of the air intake being plugged is almost nil. Cap or flue, on the other hand, highly likely.

    The short pipe on the stove is not helping.
    PapaDave likes this.
  5. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    The air enters from the bottom front of the stove.. Remove the angled piece that runs right-left directly inside the stove by tilting it forward and then lifting it out.. This is the air manifold into which the air enters the stove.. Once out you can see the incoming air and clean out the ashes etc.

    Ray
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  6. Dan1122

    Dan1122 Member

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    Ray,

    That's the kind of information I was hoping to find. Thanks for your advice.

    Dan
  7. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Like the others have stated it is probably not clogged but still a good idea to clean it out and you'll see how it works from there.. Good luck!

    Ray
  8. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    I'm also a fan of the chimney being clogged, especially at any 90 degree bends. It doesn't have to be complete clogged to do this. Later in the year, it's warmer (hence less draft), plus you're probably burning slower, and it's had the seasons worth of burning. Even EPA stoves get some creosote.
    loon and raybonz like this.
  9. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Nothing wrong with getting to know the stove, but I'd say it's the cap and maybe pipe.
    There have been folks on here burning for less than a month who all of a sudden have issues like yours, and it's usually the cap or flue.
    Usually due to wet wood or burning practice.
    Has the wood you're using changed recently? When was the last time the system got cleaned?
    ETA: Has the weather changed dramatically recently?
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  10. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I clean the front boost area every time I reload the stove. I flip it forward to get rid of any ash that is on it, then I grab it with gloved hand and diagonally use it to push any ash on the inner ledge there off each side at a time. I highly doubt the boost area is you problem. The short stack ain't a benefit, and I would put money on the cap is clogged, partially clogged. Easy enough to check.
    raybonz likes this.
  11. Dan1122

    Dan1122 Member

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    I need to heed the forums advice, going to let the stove cool today and remove the flue to take a look. Does anyone know if the chimney cap can be cleaned from the inside? I have a brush and can clean all the way up to the cap but getting on the roof is more than I'm going to tackle. Otherwise it looks like I'll have to call the chimney guys.
  12. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I would say no you have to go on the roof to clean the cap. If you have binoculars you can see it from the ground many times..

    Ray
  13. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Does your cap have a screen on it? if you can get the brush up to the cap, you may be able to knock enough off of it to get burning better again. If it is the problem. I would suggest the binocular approach also first, to see if it is clogged or not. You want to know what the symptoms are before the cure, so you know what to look for should the situation arise again.
    raybonz likes this.
  14. Dan1122

    Dan1122 Member

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    I took a look with my scope and while the cap is as dirty as I've ever seen it you can still see through the rings on the side of the cap. I attached so pictures of the cap and the entire installation.

    Cap.jpg Roof.jpg Interior.jpg
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  15. Dan1122

    Dan1122 Member

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    Can anyone tell from the photos above to what extent the cap might be clogged. There is not a screen in the cap and when you look straight up the flue you can see the underside of the top of the cap.

    Thanks,

    Dan
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    No screen in the cap, but it does show dirty burning. If that is the entire flue assembly, it looks very short, like 10ft total. Is that correct? If so, there is the problem.
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  17. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Looks like a little build up to me especially if you can look straight up the flue but not a show stopper.. Milder temps and a short chimney can lead to a low draft.. Did you check your manifold and what did you see?

    Ray
  18. Dan1122

    Dan1122 Member

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    I'm still waiting on everything to cool, I had a pretty nice fire this morning when I posted, probably won't be able to get into for a couple of hours.

    This is the first time I have had any trouble with the flue, what you see in the pictures is all there is (plus about 18" in the trusses that you can't see). This is my third year burning and it rarely cools down between November and April. I would estimate there is between 12 and 15 feet of total vertical flue.
  19. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Try running hotter shorter fires to enhance your draft t least until your flue is hot.. Your flue and cap seem OK to me other than being a bit short..

    Ray
  20. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Yes. it surely doesn't look like you've got 12 feet there. About 5 1/2 in the stove room if you have a standard 8 foot ceiling, 1 1/2 feet in the roof area, and then what is showing above the roof....which does not look to be 5 feet. Even if you have 12 feet, that's short, and not surprising as the weather warms that you have a slower draft. Hotter chimney will help a bit, and good dry wood. I'd think a braced chimney extension might be in order. And a clean out from below while the stove is cool may also be helpful.
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  21. Dan1122

    Dan1122 Member

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    You may be right, it is a cathedral ceiling and I just measured the distance from the top of the stove to the ceiling box and it is right at six feet. I guess what bothers me about the total height being a factor is that this has worked flawlessly for the past two seasons and only started doing this a short while ago.
  22. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Once it is cool, check like Ray said.
    Clean the pipe.
    You are at the end of the heating season. If your pipe is marginal in length, and works fine, it may take very little to tip it to a situation where is doesn't work quite so well...slight build up, slightly warmer weather, slight obstruction of the air intake can all add up to create a problem. I wouldn't worry too much. If things have worked well for you for three years, this is likely a small, easily remediated problem, which has to be diagnosed, corrected, and in the future watched for and dealth with.
  23. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Yep, if that's 6 inside and maybe 5 outside, plus the attic space, you're at less than 13'. Take a bit off for the angle in the house and you're short although I don't know what the T-5 needs.
    I'll ask again because I didn't see it answered, but when was the last cleaning?
    I can be burning just peachy for a while, then notice a problem. It's almost always the cap getting gunked up.
  24. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    From the owners manual"

    "Chimney and Connector – Residential
    Connect to a listed chimney or a chimney suitable for use with solid fuel that is lined and
    in good condition and meets local building codes. The chimney fl ue size should be the
    same as the stove outlet for optimal performance. Reducing or increasing the fl ue size may
    adversely affect stove performance. Chimney fl ue exit is to be 3 feet (1 m) above roof and
    two feet (0.6 m) above highest projection within 10 feet (3 m). The installation must meet all
    local codes. Do not connect this unit to a chimney fl ue serving another appliance. Minimum
    system height is 15 feet (4.6 m) (measured from base of appliance)."

    Ray
  25. Dan1122

    Dan1122 Member

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    I cleaned the flue at the end of last season and aside from a bit in the joints there was no significant accumulation.

    I read the same thing as above in my manual and if the minimum system height is measured from the bottom of the appliance (the manual indicates base of the appliance) the height is fine.

    Just got through removing and cleaning the boost manifold - it was absolutely full of ash, even the holes that face the firebox. The air intake hole was covered as well. The pictures below show the cleaned up parts I just mentioned. I'm going to start a fire and see if there is any difference then look at the flue if not.

    Intake.jpg Bst Man.jpg
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