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best method for troubleshooting draft problem w/ Oslo 500?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by WestVirginian, Nov 28, 2006.

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  1. WestVirginian

    WestVirginian New Member

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    Hi all--

    I'm having draft issues with my Jotul Oslo 500! Some background: a year ago I installed a 30-foot long SS 6-inch liner (not insulated) in my pre-existing masonry chimney, which is internal to the house. In the past year the only time I've ever had inadequate draft was when the flue was completely cold, but as soon as it warmed up then the draft was great. Never had smoke come into the room, even if I opened the doors mid-burn. I have also burned some not-quite-dry wood in the past, with no smoke issues. So I don't think it's a wood issue. And again, the draft has been trouble-free for the past year.

    But for the past week I've had smoke billowing into the room. Seems like the only time it's okay to open the side door is when it is burned down to a bed of coals. For the past week the stove has also not been getting as hot as it usually did (used to get up to 700+, no problem, now struggles to get to 400). It has also been much harder to start fires. Seems like it's not getting enough air. I've even tried opening the ash pan door (I know, I'm not supposed to), and that hasn't seemed to help at all.

    So why the change in the past week? I live in West Virginia, and we've had a warm front the past week (mid-60s during the day), so is this what they call a "temperature inversion"? I didn't think that an inversion would last this long. I asked my neighbors who burn with wood about their draft, and they said their draft was worse when it's warm, but they have also had longstanding mild draft problems, not just in the past week. I looked up at the smoke coming out of the chimney, and it does seem to sort of linger around the chimney for a bit (which I've read is indicative of a temperature inversion), but I'm not convinced that explains all the draft problem.

    I'm a little paranoid that something broke on my stove. Could it have anything to do with a poor seal on the stove? Maybe I need to replace the rope gaskets? Also thought about the liner. But there is a cap on top, so unlikely that it is obstructed.

    Does anyone have ideas on how to troubleshoot and isolate the problem? I'm sort of hoping there's a methodical way that I can determine what the issue is, but I'm feeling at a complete loss.

    Thanks in advance for any guidance. Ian

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  2. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Have you cleaned the chimney recently? I know its a stupid question, but you don't seem to mention it in your description.

    Certainly temperatuture will have an effect on draft, but your setup sounds like a pretty strong drafting situation, and I think its unlikely that the higher outside temperatures are causing this much of a problem.

    I would disconnect the stove from the liner and take a peak up the stack and in the stove pipe to make sure there is no obstruction that is throttling the draft flow down.

    If the chimney system checks out, I would then look to the stove.

    I'm not sure if the Oslo has a ceramic blanket insulation on top of the baffle, but perhaps its partially obstructing the flue opening on the stove.
  3. WestVirginian

    WestVirginian New Member

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    Thanks for the guidance...

    No, I haven't ever cleaned the chimney in the year I've been burning it (yeah, I'm a slacker). I looked in the liner from below, and there was a thin film of creosote/soot, but it didn't seem like any amount that would have a significant impact on draft. Plus, the poor draft happened sort of suddenly, so I wouldn't think that a gradual process like creosote buildup would be the cause??? But again, I'm clueless. I guess that another possibility would be that something got in from above, but there is a cap, so I thought that might be kind of unlikely.

    There is a ceramic blanket in the Oslo, so I will definitely check that out too.

    Thanks again. Ian
  4. Jfigliuolo

    Jfigliuolo New Member

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    Is the cap clogged?
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    How about the elbo on the rear of the stove or soot/flyash buildup in the stove near the flue collar?

    That chimney should easily do the job. Make certain your interior pipe joints are tight also - use furnace cement from inside if possible.

    Yes, and blanket as noted above. Most liner caps do not have screens so it is unlikely that is the problem, but after you check the obvious (smoke path) you then have to check the cap, etc.
    Another thing - this "low lying" weather including warm days and fog can make chimneys lazy. The problem may cease as soon as it gets colder. Also, try to burn smaller loads at this time of year, but with more air....in other words, briskly.
  6. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    when was the last time you did a total cleaning of that stove?
  7. WestVirginian

    WestVirginian New Member

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    Ummmmm....I've never cleaned it out, and I have no idea how to. Any general guidance on cleaning an Oslo? Sounds like I need to give both the chimney and the stove a good cleaning.

    Thanks for the suggestion. Ian
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Maybe today. Cold weather's coming soon. Check to see if the flue cap has a screen and if so, is it clogged?
  9. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    Cleaning a oslo, lets see.
    Vacume off the top baffle
    Make sure the ceramic fiber blanket is in place.
    Run a brush down the flue, make sure the cap is clear
    Thats about it, if the door gaskets were bad, you would have the oppisit problem.
    Make sure you wood is dry
    it sounds like to me dirty pipe or mabey a dirty cap.
  10. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Our stove (PE brand) was running along great yesterday and last night ( high 38° low 32° ) untill a warm high front and high humidity air came through around 1 am and the temp went up last night to 58° ........... as the way the stove was running on low for a long burn it basically shut down the stove and stopped the draft. I checked on it at around 2 am and the stove was almost out and the logs quit burning.

    Wow , was that odd and something that don't happen very often ...But does happen. So yes warmer weather and high humidity can and will play havoc on draft.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Whoa, red alert - send out a bulletin. There is a moment when the mighty PE is not perfect!! :)

    rare moment at that...
  12. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    A ...........no , the weather was not perfect ........The stove is fine. Yep! Thats it.

    ************ :cheese: ***************
  13. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I mean when only using 3 splits a month I figured that stove must be self ignighting and self feeding.
    EBT

    But so what if it went out with the extra 1/32" metal thickness on the top, It would have kept heating another 16 hours anyways
  14. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    :cheese: O' at least.
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