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am I running my napoleon stove wrong??

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by mainer72, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. mainer72

    mainer72 New Member

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    I've had a Napoleon 1900 going on my 3rd season and I can't get enough heat out of it when it's brutally cold to heat the room it's in let alone the rest of the house. I own a old farmhouse but the entire first floor is re-insulated and drywalled. How does everyone else run thier 1900?? I run it around 800F days and shut it down at night to get a decent burn time. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    and yes I'm burning bone dry wood. It's on fire before I get the door closed :p

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  2. shawneyboy

    shawneyboy New Member

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    Maybe your wood is to dry ? jk

    I am unfamiliar with that unit but... welcome to the forum. Rest assured someone here will be able to help you.
  3. jotulguy

    jotulguy Feeling the Heat

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    If you are getting 800 on the stove top it has to be heating. That 800 degree heater in your living room is working. If its on the pipe you are letting all your heat go up the chimney. The newer EPA stoves need to have the air shut down to produce good heat for your home.
  4. mainer72

    mainer72 New Member

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    thanks for the help. I'm assuming there's a fair amount of heat escaping up my chimney but seems to be the only way to get any heat out of the unit. I open it up and get a hot burn going on it for a bit then close it down but after the inital hot burn it just doesn't put out enough heat. I dont think it's putting out the heat it should be to be honest. I find myself emptying the ashes on average 2 times a week.
  5. jotulguy

    jotulguy Feeling the Heat

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    I would recommend trying this method. Set your stove top thermometer on the rear corner of the stove. Light a fire and let temps get up to 450-500. Shut the air down slowly. First 50% then 75% closed. If this is done correctly the temp should rise on the stove top. I would also be curious about your chimney. Could you tell us about it? How tall? All inside or outside? What size? Masonary or metal class A?
  6. mainer72

    mainer72 New Member

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    chimney from clean out to top is approx 40ft. 6 inch stainless steel liner. You guys mention stove top heat but all I really have on my stove for temp is the one built into the flue.
  7. jotulguy

    jotulguy Feeling the Heat

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    WOW! You have a more then ideal flue there. I would get a stove top thermometer at a local hardware store. They run under $20. And with out one its like driving your car with out a speedometer. I am surprised it doesnt run away on you with that flue height. Do you have a pipe damper?
  8. mainer72

    mainer72 New Member

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    no , they didn't install one and figured they would have. We always had a flue damper in our stoves growing up. Maybe I"ll go pick up a flue damper and thermometer. It's gotten too hot a few times when I space it and walk outside for something and come back in and I can smell the stove when I walk back inside.. GULP..
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    This could be due to a few issues . . . assuming of course that this stove is sized correctly to your home . . . actually I like to size the stove one size larger than what the manufacturers think I need. This seems to work out better.

    800 degree temp on the flue . . . ah . . . having a thermometer on the stove would help out as well . . . as I have said in the past . . . you do not need thermos on the flue and stove, but like a speedometer and fuel gauge they help to run your stove . . . or your car . . . more efficiently and safely.

    You do have a pretty tall chimney . . . this is one case where a pipe damper might be appropriate. However, before you run out to buy one let's work and see if we can't work out some kinks here.

    First off . . . as you may know the thing with woodstoves is they heat up the space . . . and as such the one thing I have found is that they are very much time dependent . . . meaning that while I can get my woodstove to cruising temps very quickly I don't really feel all that much warmth in the room until after it's been cooking along nicely.

    Second . . . it's been pretty nippy this week . . . if the woodstove is not sized right or is just adequate . . . it may be tough to really get the place hot. My Oslo for example is a great heater, but when the temps are in the single digits or sub-zero I can tell that -- it just doesn't feel as though the house is as warm as it is when the temps are in the teens or 20s . . . the stove is still putting out the heat -- I can see that with the thermometers . . . but the level of heat is definitely different.

    Third . . . I know you say your wood is seasoned and catches right away . . . is it safe to assume that this wood still has a good burn going even when you close the door . . . and even when you turn down the air? What I'm trying to say is that in my first year I could always get the wood to light up pretty easily . . . when the door was ajar and the air control was all the way open . . . however if I didn't get the stove up to temp and shut the door and started to turn down the air too early it would not stay lit . . . and honestly even when I thought I had good wood at the end of the burning season when I could get things going very well . . . I didn't realize just how much better truly seasoned wood is until the second year when the wood ignited easily . . . plus I could easily turn down the air earlier in the burning cycle and get some great secondaries.

    Finally, as mentioned . . . get another thermometer and try Jotulguy's suggestion . . . get the fire going with the air open all the way, bring the stove up to temp 400-500 and then start to slowly cut back the air . . . 3/4, 1/2 and then 1/4 . . . what you should end up with is a fire that changes -- flames will intially be raging and will fill the firebox . . . as you cut back the air you may see fewer flames on the wood or they will become "lazy", but a secondary fire should start appearing in the top third of the firebox -- Northern Lights (flashes of flames like the Northern LIghts or a fireworks show), the BBQ propane blue jets shooting out of the burn tubes or the Bowels of Hell (this is kind of self explaining -- once you see this and believe your woodstove is about to melt like a chocolate bar in a fat kid's hand on a August day you'll understand.) The key to really pumping out the heat is to get the secondary burn -- this is where the woodstove will begin to heat up, less air will be going up the chimney to keep the chickadees warm and you should begin to feel the heat.

    Good luck.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Some questions to get back to how the stove is being run. Are you closing down the air once the fire gets going well?

    It does sound like you need a damper on the flue. I'm wondering about the flue temp. Do you have a surface or a probe thermometer?

    The house sounds like it is still a leaky barn. How easily does heat head upstairs? How is the insulation up there, especially in the attic? I'm also wondering about potential leakage upstairs or openings to the attic. Is there an attic access door or a ceiling trap door? whole house fan vent?
  11. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Jake, nice post about how to run the wood burner, that would be very helpful to the new burners on here!
  12. carp

    carp New Member

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    I have the smaller 1400. If your 800 on the flu you are sending the heat up the flu. Flu should be more like 300 and stove top 500+. My 1400 easily keeps the open 1000sq feet it's in, warm. You want a safe flu temp and a hot stove top with the least amount of air. I had to modify the control of secondary air on mine or it will run away
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum mainer72.


    I agree with Jake. No damper until other avenues have been tested. Just because the old stoves all needed dampers does not mean all stoves do even with tall chimneys. Also, on your comment about the bone dry wood; I would not be so sure!

    Please don't think you are alone on this because it is a very common thing for first time wood burners. It seems almost everyone thinks their wood is bone dry and some even tend to think maybe their wood is too dry. Most times, it just is not so.

    To help determine about your wood could you please post what this wood is and how it was seasoned? The type of wood is important because all wood does not season at the same rate. For example, around these parts we do not even consider burning any oaks before it has seasoned for 3 years and wood does not even start to season until it has been cut to length and split. Then it should be stacked out in the open where wind will hit the sides of the piles. Most wood will dry in 1-2 years but as stated, some need more.

    On the too dry wood, we regularly burn wood that has been seasoned 6-7 years.
  14. mainer72

    mainer72 New Member

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    My home is 2000 sq +/-. I have it located in the middle of the house and have opened up many air-locked rooms by removing walls. Removed the walls along my staircase all together. I've put in numerous new windows and use r-19 in the walls. I still need to replace another 16 windows or so so that will definitly help when they are done. My attic is under construction along with the third floor. The 3rd floor is blocked off completly.

    My wood that I'm burning now is mixed hardwood 2 years old. Birch, maple, ash and oak that has been in a wood shed. I have 7 cords of ash and soft maple that has been cut since dec 09 and I cut it stove length in the spring . none of it was very big. The wood is super dry. When I close the stove down at night it's usually running very well.

    it has been very cold here. teens and lower on some nights. I'm just at the end of my rope. I can't afford to buy a new stove at the moment and I've had the urge to rip this 1900 out and get an older woodstove that will burn 12 cords a season and attempt to melt my house hahaha

    thank you everyone for the tips and advice. Much appreciated
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    So you are closing off the air once the wood gets burning well, yes? What type of flue thermometer, probe or surface?
  16. mainer72

    mainer72 New Member

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    I think the stove is pretty air tight except for the ash cleanout which I pack with ash once the fire is roaring. I'm not really a beginner wood burner. I grew up using wood heat and have had a wood stove for most of my adult life. I'm just a guy getting irritated about spending close to 4k on a stove and setup that doesn't heat my house. The dealer told me " you will be opening windows to cool it off in your house.. This stove is over-kill".. still waiting for the over kill part hahaha. Thanks again for all of the advice and help
  17. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    If the insulation is fiberglass, which I would assume it is... It will not stop air flow within the house or walls. Our house is well insulated, but leaked horribly. After investigating we sealed around the base of the walls on the interior and exterior, airsealed the attic and basement. Before we did this, we couldn't keep the house 68 at 20* out. After, we held the house at 70 when it was 5 below. If the house is a balloon framed home, I would check the attic and basement. Wet the back of your hand and walk check for drafts. If they are there you will feel them.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We're assuming you are a veteran. You asked "am I running the stove right?" without telling us how you are running it, nor do we know whether these are surface or internal flue temps. This is necessary info to answer your original question.
  19. mainer72

    mainer72 New Member

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    what I've given are internal flue temps. I haven't picked up a stove thermometer yet but will in the next few days.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That helps. The flue temps are high, but they are within the pipe spec. 800+ surface temp would be a different case entirely. If the air control is being closed down, so that secondary combustion is good, then it sounds like a lot of heat is heading up the flue. I'd definitely add a key damper to the pipe and close it once the stove is going good.
  21. Skinn

    Skinn Member

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    I would pick up an inexpensive moisture meter to get an idea of the wood. You are already planning on a surface themometer so that is good. I have seen the suggestion here that if you are not sure of your wood then buy a bundle of kiln dried firewood from homedepot or some other place, it will at least rule that out. My new Napoleon 1402 insert is keeping my house very warm. I am heating right at 2000 Sq. Ft. with it, however it has not been super cold here yet, probably low teens for the coldest. I have been using my pellet stove to get the chill off in the morning after the fire has died down overnight but that is about all. I am thinking that most of your heat is going up your chimney as well, I can shut my stove down on low as soon as I am up to temp and all is burning nicely.


    Edit**
    Ok I went back and reread your post and apparently you have the dry wood part covered. All I can say is that with a surface temp between 400 and 500 degrees I am getting a ton of heat out of my 1402.
  22. mainer72

    mainer72 New Member

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    ok, think I'm going to go right to the damper issue. I'm gonna see if I can't find a local stove installer to come check out the set-up I have and install a damper. I'm trying the advice I've recieved and it does seem to help a little but my internal flue temp is hovering around 800.. /waves bye to all that nice heat going outside to melt my snow.
  23. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Mainer - Are you doing anything to move the heat off the surface of the stove and around the room/house? Floor fans or anything?

    I have an insert, not a freestanding stove, but I can tell you that the thing will be 700 degrees and wouldn't heat as much without the blower....I think blowing air by a freestanding stove would act as the same function.
  24. mainer72

    mainer72 New Member

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    I have a blower and a fan blowing at all times... next thing I'm gonna do is blow up my house lol
  25. drhiii

    drhiii Member

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    I have a Napoleon 1400. And a 2000sq ft house built 100 years ago. Insulated, mostly. Not perfect. As a further fyi, I typically measure approx 400 degrees on a thermometer on the flu about 4 feet above the stove. I rarely go above or need to go above that temp.

    When I first started with the Napoleon I was bummed like you. I did not have the kit blower for the Napoleon. However, I purchased a high power blower from Ace Hardware, a Stanley, and married it to a timer that I have set to run for 10 minutes every hour. This works a peach. While one has to turn up the volume a little if watching TV, this pushes out a hell of a lot of heat and keeps this place toasty.

    Having read all the characteristics of your setup... I would look to air flow to get heat moving. And mebbe not just from the stove, but through the house. Right now it is in the teens outside which is not that cold for here... when it hits -10 then I do some extra work to keep things toasty.... but in the teens, running a moderate fire for this 2000sq ft home with a Nap 1400, we are amply warm. This with the temp gauge at 300 degrees on the flu. Air flow. I would look at that. Or... do you close our doors in the winter? Just kidding. Seasoned wood is as everyone has mentioned paramount. But with those temps, from what I experience, you should be getting a tan.

    What I do not know is if the factory blower is strong enough. I am very pleased with this Stanley on a timer. For an extra $5 a month electricity, we have gobs of heat distributed throughout the house.




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