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Any ideas for an alternative to my Jotul 3cb

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Englishteacher, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Englishteacher

    Englishteacher Member

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    Can anyone recommend a wood stove with a similar footprint to the Jotul 3 cb. After 5 years of trying to coax better heat from my Jotul I'm ready to throw in the towel and try another stove, but it needs to have similar clearances to the Jotul since my hearthpad and straight-up vertical chimney pipe are fixed and there's not much wiggle room.
    Could never get a burn hotter than 500 degrees on the Jotul, and secondary burns are nonexistant, no matter what I tried or whatever friendly or professional advice I followed. I hear very few complaints about the Jotul 3, maybe I just got a lemon. Open to ideas and suggestions.

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  2. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Looks like you are in a relatively mild climate..moderate, shall we say? How tall is your pipe/chimney? And how much area are you heating? Details will make it perhaps easier to understand why you've had a problem, and what might work better. What are the exact clearance parameters? Assuming you asked for help here already re your Jotul, as part of your 5 year coaxing? Surprising with 500 stovetop that you never got secondaries going, and didn't have enough heat.

    If the problem isn't diagnosed, the replacement might not be an improvement. <> So, if you haven't exhausted this site re your stove, ask away.
    PapaDave and milleo like this.
  3. milleo

    milleo Feeling the Heat

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    You been burning wet wood??? My only issue with my F3Cb is run time and I actually get more than stated burn heat time......
  4. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest


    Have you had a draft test done? Sometimes that is an issue do to to strong of a draft. We heat a cabin up north Michigan with that stove for deer camp and it works extremely well regularly get 600 to 650f temps.

    Pete
  5. Englishteacher

    Englishteacher Member

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    It has definitely occurred to me that if it's a draft issue a new stove might not fix anything, and would be a pretty expensive experiment so you're right I don't want to do anything rash or ill advised here.
    I have tried every version of wood fuel available.
    My double walled pipe goes straight up top-mounted on the stove 19 feet to a cathedral ceiling and then staight up through the roof to outdoors. I have long suspected that my draft is way too strong- but wouldn' that cause a hotter, quicker burn. I get the quick, just not the hot. As much as I have hardly ever gotten a secondary burn, I've never gotten a back draft into the house. I've had chimney guys come and look and all they tell me is Jotul's a good stove, try different wood, try fiddling with the air intakes, and charge me 100 bucks. I have fiddled with this thing constantly since I got it just to get an adequate burn. A relative just bought a Jotul 3CB I had a chance to see it. It reaches 700 without trying and secondary burn is almost constant, mine does neither. So now I have stove envy, too. For what it's worth, when I open the ash door(which I know I'm not supposed to do) It becomes a blast furnace. I have installed a disc damper in the flue and it burns slower but not much hotter. Some tell me the disc is redundant, others tell me good idea.
    My heating area is about 1500 square feet and I'm aware the stove is a bit undersized for the house, but that shouldn't effect stove temps. The dealer that installed it no longer carries Jotul and my one call to Jotul tech support went unreturned. The manual warns about overfiring, not possible with this thing if I try.
    I realize that a wood stove is a fairly uncomplicated machine relative to a car for instance in that only so many things can be wrong. But I am at a loss.
    The only thing that seems at all suspect is that the adaptor collar that transitions from the top mounted opening of the stove to the double wall pipe does not always seem well seated- as it can shimmy a little if I mess with it. Other than that everything else about the stove appears just fine. It's a beautiful stove, just no heat.
  6. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Too much draft can definitely keep stove temps down. Air passes through too quickly to transfer heat to stove and home. How hot is your pipe? (Internal temp when stove top is 500?) Damper is a good idea. How far have you tried closing it down? Do you have a fan pushing heat down from your cathedral ceiling? All the heat may be sitting up there.
  7. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Your problem is defiantly draft from the sound of it that's a very tall chimny for the little stove you may need to try a barometric damper instead. The disks are good with a proper setup but they still have holes in them which allows a lot of air through yet. Unless you can shorten the chimny barometric might be the only way to fix it but be aware that if you install a barometric damper and have a chimny fire the damper will open and make it much worse. They are generally used on boilers and gas furnaces. I believe your chimney is supposed to be 14ft to 16ft for optimum operation.

    We currently have a Jotul f50 and it is hands down the best quality and best burning stove we have had out of our previous stoves. I would give it another chance and see what can be done. Any other stove will have the same issue with a tall chimney.

    Pete
  8. Englishteacher

    Englishteacher Member

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    Had a ceiling fan installed just before we got the stove and run it 24/7. In fairness the cathedral area is more of a stairway alcove so the air can kind of get boxed in up there. The fan helps but not as much as I'd like. It actually helps better cirulate the air upstairs rather than send it back down in to the livingroom where the stove is. All the bedrooms are upstairs so I'm one of the few wood burners who can say the bedrooms are warmer than the room the stove is in.
    Flue pipe temp with a magnetic themometer is around 240 degrees on double walled pipe with stove at 450., which is the temp the stove seems to like to be the most left to its own devices. I seem to get the best burn with the disc damper not quite closed. Fully closed definitely slows it down. Also a little concerned about creosote buildup at that point, but even fully shut down overnight door is still clear in the morning and nothing but ash in the box.
  9. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I tend to agree with the above comments. I run 450 - 500::F easily with the primary air closed down completely. I added an in-line key damper for the really cold windy days so I would not loose heat too quickly, and it does make a difference. The heat output is quite noticable with it closed. I have about 25 ft. of insulated flex in a chimney.

    Secondly, make sure your wood is well seasoned. Wood with a moisture content of 12-15% burns so much easier that 20-25% mc.

    Lastly, split any larger splits down smaller to expose more surface area.

    There are a few other points like having a good coal bed on re-loads and making sure you don't close the primary air down until the fire is well established.
  10. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I agree that the outlet pipe is not the best. My F-100 had a nice cast iron collar that the outlet tee sat well in. I chinked some insulation around my current flue collar where it meets the tee as I had an air leak there, all is good now.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Your flue setup sounds great. Let's get to the nitty gritty. We need specifics about the current setup. Please provide details about the location and clearances you are working with and the area you are trying to heat. Pictures always welcome.
  12. Englishteacher

    Englishteacher Member

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    How about this latest development. In exploring the chimney setup, now six years old, I discovered that the stove pipe adapter was never connected to the stove's internal collar. The reason I discovered this is that I could actually see flame light at the seam of the doublewalled pipe and the stove itself. I naturally became concerned. When the stove cooled I wedged my fortunately small hand up between the secondary burn baffle and the interior collar to find that the stove pipe adapter had somehow ridden its way all the way up into the perimeter of the double walled pipe. Whoa. I was able to grasp the adapter and pull it back down wedging it back into the interior collar. The manual says there should be 4 screws in the bottom part of the pipe adaptor to secure it to the stove interior collar. There are no holes in this adapter that I could see and its bottom is crimped. The illustration of the stove pipe adapter in the Jotul manual shows four screw holes but no crimping. There is nothing securing it to the stove at all. It was simply wedged when installed.
    The dealer I bought this from and installed it is no longer a Jotul dealer and nobody from six years ago even works there. Could this explain my problem with a poor burn and more importantly, what do I do now? This can't be a good thing.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Is the stove pipe adapter necessary here? How does the double wall fit if you try to mate it directly into the stove collar. if that is a snug and tight fit, then that could be all you need. You may need to drill screw holes to attach the pipe.
  14. Englishteacher

    Englishteacher Member

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    There is no collar fixed to the stove. The stovetop opening is flush, where a cast iron removable plate sits in order to top vent if you wish instead of rear venting. To top-vent the plate is removed and an adapter is necessary to create a collar insert into the now flush stove top opening. The double wall is too wide in diameter to simply fit in the opening. Looking down into the opening there is a seat of sorts where you can see the adapter collar would sit. When seated properly you then have a collar that looks like a collar protruding out of the stove top. The double wall will fit over this with the inner double wall piece being the male and the colllar adaptor now protruding from the stove the female. There is no fixed cast iron collar protruding from the top like other stoves , just this 24 gauge steel adaptor that seats down into that flush stove opening. The problem appears to be that the bottom part of the adaptor that fits down into the top stove opening to sit on a recepter there was not ever fixed to the recepters-as the manual says it must- about two inches down into the stove, the crimped bottom half of the adapter was simply wedged into the opening, a collar was created and the double wall fits over that and gravity would keep everything in place. Probably the adapter was lofted with the first chimney cleaning as the inserted brush pulls upward after being jammed down the flue it probably took the unsecured adapter with it up into the double wall sitting on top of the stop like a retacting telescope.. None of the two or three different professional chimney guys I've had some out over the years bothered to look into the stove to check for such a thing. So nothing was obvious unless you removed the chimney top, no simple task since it's a very tall chimney about 19 ft straight up(they needed scaffolding to install it) and difficult to manipulate and difficult to work from within because the baffle makes viewing and access to the collar adapter very hard The only way I eventually noticed was when I could see firelight between the seam where the double wall joins the stovetop opening. Had the installers fixed the collar adapter to the internal recepticle I don't think any of this would have come about. I guess they figured gravity would hold everything in place. Well not quite. I noticed over the years that the stovepipe seemed prone to some shimmying at the bottom where it met the stove, but I figured it was just the nature of double wall pipe. After all, these were professional installers from the dealer where I bought the stove, not my brother in law. That dealer no longer carys Jotul and it was about six years ago now. Should I just chill and live with this quirk or is this serious business that might explain the stove's weak heat output all these years that I've been complaining about.
    I'm going to go to a different Jotul dealer today and see what they have to say. I've noticed there's a lot of passing the buck and I've sold it to you now go away car dealer in this woodstove business as well. Everyone talks about Jotul's great support. I hope that's true. I think I may need it here, plus whatever good advice and perspective I get here.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The adapter shouldn't be crimped. It should have a ridge on it that keeps it from pushing into the stove. Is this what your adapter looks like?
    F3 adapter.PNG
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    "240 degrees on a magnetic thermo on double walled pipe" - uhhhh...that would lend me to think you have a VERY high stack temp. 240 on a single wall would indicate almost 500F internal. I would venture a guess at 1000F internal temps.!!! (that is a total SWAG, by the way).

    Sounds like mega primary air cooling the stove. When you are running at the 500F stove top - at what percent open is your primary air setting?
  17. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Judging by the difference I saw between external magnetic and internal probe on my stove, I'd guess more like 3x = 720 degrees...still way more than you want. Too much heat going up the chimney.
    Jags likes this.
  18. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Sorry to get away from temps for a moment. The manual is vague about top venting. The rear vent has two ears in the cast which bolts which go through the adaptor into the holes. My adaptor is crimped also. I am wondering if the top of the stove has to be removed, the adaptor dropped into position and screws put in around the adaptor to keep it from pulling up and out of the top plate. There looks to be no way to screw the adaptor to the stove on the top vent. I even checked around the cast and there were no holes where the adaptor comes down through.

    Maybe a call to Jotul N.A. or e-mail can get you close to where you need to be.
  19. colin.p

    colin.p Burning Hunk

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    I meant to check mine last year, as I noticed the same thing, with light between the pipe and stove top, but I never got around to it. I just pushed down and the light seemed to disappear. My pipe doesn't seem to be attached to the stove as well, just "pushed" in and not secured. I can't say for sure, but when I take the piping down for cleaning, I will make sure it is securely fastened to the stove.
    I don't know how much that actually affects the running of the stove, but in my case, it's probably more the crappy wood I burn.
  20. Englishteacher

    Englishteacher Member

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    I went to the Jotul dealer with the crimped unattached collar adapter in my hand and we compared it to the one in the manual. I was kind of freaked out that my collar was not physically attached to the stove and was subject to loosening and riding up,right into the double walled stove pipe which mine had done. He said no big deal, that stove installers will sometimes use a different technique or collar and that the gravity was adequate to keep everything OK. For a quality stove the top venting system on this Jotul is pretty cheesy.
    Not withstanding this flue collar event , the complaint that I've had for 6 years about my particular Jotul3 underperforming, even after all kinds of advice, service guys coming out, etc. I finally have yielded and am getting rid of it and bought a Londoner 17VL. It gets installed next week. I had a smallish steel stove in the past and it served me very well. I've fiddled with this Jotul for way too long- No more fiddling. I've heard only good things about Jotul but good looks and low performance don't keep you warm. I actually like the look of the Londoner and the blower will at least move some of the hot hot air I get into the room. It also has a similar footprint and clearances to the Jotul and that's a factor. This Londoner requires a good strong draft and believe me, I've got one. It doesn't hurt that if it doesn't work out, at least I haven't blown my life savings- Appreciate the advice here over these several years trying to get my Jotul3 fully functional Hopefully not too much advice needed with my next stove
  21. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I think you were on to the problem with the collar. A loose connection here would leak air into the chimney rather than pulling it through the primary air and into the fire box. This would also kill your reburn with air not being pulled through your reburn chamber.

    Your chimney cleaners and stove dealer failed to identify a pretty standard installation defect. If it was me I would inform each of them this via a written letter and request a refund if you were paying them to identify/fix your issue. Most will not but you might find one with enough business ethics to refund a little money to justify your 15 minutes to write the letter.

    Sometimes a loose lid on the F3CB causes similar concerns.
    fishingpol likes this.
  22. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I agree with wahoowad. Sounds like a dealer just made a sale and some money instead of acknowledging a problem and resolving it. Too bad to give up at this point, when you finally likely had your problem diagnosed, and could have resolved it and had many years of successful burning in the future and no additional cost.

    However, sometimes we just get too frustrated and come to dislike something intensely. Someone will be lucky enough to get a good stove out of this, hopefully at a good price. Hope you didn't trade it in to the dealer and are selling it yourself. Give the new buyer a heads up about the need to install the adaptor collar correctly.:)

    You might consider offering it for sale in this post, or aat the appropraite forum. Might well be someone near you who'd jump at the chance to purchase it.
  23. Englishteacher

    Englishteacher Member

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    The original dealer who sold and installed this stove is no longer a Jotul dealer. The Jotul dealer where I recently went called the Jotul rep while I was there. He confirmed what this dealer told me, that alternate professional installations of the collar like I described were acceptable and also that the stove and installation was now 6 years old. That sometimes they'll send a Jotul rep out to a residence to do an assessment, but that this did not quallify. Besides, redeau is right, At this point I now mostly just hate this thing and just want it out of my house, cut my losses and move ahead.
  24. PsychHike

    PsychHike New Member

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    Hi~ I also have a jotul 3CB and I have the SAME problems as you Enlishteacher! My jotul can get UP in temp to 550-600' but it stays there for about 30-45 minutes max, then the temperature plummets from there until it goes out - I am a SLAVE to this stove and it has burnt me out! I am on my 3rd full season with it and I have called the dealer EVERY season, with being told, basically, that I do not know how to make a fire!...They sent techs out to the house the second season - and they installed a 2nd damper (this one on the pipe - it has holes in it - I was reading about the different dampers you wrote about and I was not familiar with the kinds) - well, that helped a "little" - now instead of needing to put wood in every 10 minutes like I did initially, I put it in every 30-40 minutes!....the temperature in the room where the stove is (approx 13' x 13') sets at about 66-67 degrees max with the fire oging!..That's it!...I have 3 fans running in the room and can hardly hear! My house has 4 rooms that need to be heated (each approx 13' x 13') (I curtain off the steps that lead to the upstairs and I curtain off the back part of the house) - the remaining 3 rooms remain cool...:( - Well, the dealer no longer wants to speak with me!...the stove chimney goes through the first floor into the second floor bedroom then up into the attick and out the roof (all in all around 25 ft (??)....and I was told that I most likely have too strong a draft too so I need to live with what it is - so 2 days ago I contacted the North America headquarters in Maine (as I can no longer speak with the dealer (owner of the dealership) because he is tired of listening to me...a rep called me back the same day!...he asked a lot of good questions and some that were very elementary (but he realized I knew what I was saying) and we are to speak again this coming week - just to try "something", he told me to go to my local convenience store and to buy a stack of wood (I guess he was suggesting that my wood is not too good even thought I KNOW it is) - so I tried his experiment (getting the fire up, putting in the new wood, letting it burn for 5-6 minutes then dampering it 1/2 way - and the results were EXACTLY the same! He did say that he wanted his customer(s) to be happy (which were welcoming words)..so when I speak with him this week I am going to ask HIM to come watch the fire and to decide for himself what the problem is or if it is a bum stove! I can't believe that too much draft can't be fixed if indeed that is the problem! I will come back on this site and let you know the verdict!...This has been a HORRIBLE experience for me..and an expensive one! perhaps you have fixed your problem already or have gotten a new stove (?)....If you want the headquarter info. just google jotul north america (Maine)....

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  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The fault is not the stove. To expect this stove to heat a whole house is unrealistic unless the place is a small cabin. It has a small firebox and is designed to be a small area heater. The solution is to put in a properly sized stove for the area that needs to be heated.

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