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Bought a PE Spectrum (used). first air tight, got some questions.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Mightiestmike, Dec 6, 2013.

?

Was this post too long? ;)

  1. Too long, didn't read.

    1 vote(s)
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  2. YES, my god you talk too much

    1 vote(s)
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  3. Yes, a bit

    0 vote(s)
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  4. No

    1 vote(s)
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  5. No, tell us more.

    1 vote(s)
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  1. Mightiestmike

    Mightiestmike New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    This could be a long read. I tend to do this.

    Ok, so I bought a used PE Spectrum, paid $450, its old, but in pretty good shape, (or so it seems thus far).

    Date stamp on the sticker says Manufactured in 1990.

    Brought it home with a friend, dragged my old no name, no sticker, steel box (maybe cast iron), with cracked glass, and ropes on the doors all falling out, to the side.

    Installed the PE.

    Now I've never burned in an airtight woodstove before, well I've used them at a friends cottage or someone else's house etc. but they were all very new stoves professionally installed and all in perfect working order as far as I know.

    So I start my fire, get it burning pretty good, even get my secondary burning going, pretty excited, secondary burn is soooo cool to watch, could & have spent hours staring into the stove.

    My main concern thus far is it doesn't seem to put off nearly as much heat as my old clunker.
    According to my research this stove should be able to heat 2000 sq feet? correct?
    My house is tiny, its an old farm house (log home) 20' x 25' and 1.5 story's (sloped roof upstairs), small attic.
    So far since installing this "new" stove, the warmest I've got the house is 19.8°C. (with outside temperatures around -8°C at the lowest so far). Quite concerning as we will undoubtedly see -30°C for at least a week this winter.

    With my old stove, which is/was EXTREMELY inefficient. I would be able to get the house to 24.5°C which is too warm. (I would burn a ton of wood[recently], as the stove is much larger, but even last winter before the glass cracked and the ropes fell out, it would heat the house well enough, still inefficient I am sure, but it was highly effective for heating.)

    I'm hoping this PE will put off enough heat to keep us warm. My reason for buying it was, I didn't want to spend the time and money (nearly $140 to re-prep our old clunker for this coming winter. new glass $50 a piece need both(double doors), then the metal plates that hold on the glass, well the screws are all seized & stripped, likely have to drill them out, replace with bigger screws, need new ropes around the new glass, new ropes around the doors. So easily $140 in materials alone. The stove looks like crap, could use paint or polish or cleaning etc. Plus our old stove only has 6 firebricks in it, and all the new ones are completely lined with firebricks, so I figured more firebricks is probably better. So basically I didn't wanna dump $140 into this old junker that burns too much wood.

    Other less major concerns are, when I go to put more wood in the stove, and I open up the air control to #5 (high) then crack the door open, slowly open it. every time I get it open enough to load wood smoke comes out into the room. forces me to just get it close, swing it open, toss my wood, close it up. Is this normal? what could cause this? Seems like not enough draft, but other things show me that there is enough draft.

    I've let the fire burn out completely yesterday night/this morning. as it was super warm today and I figured I'd take this opportunity to clean out the stove and really check it over better now that I've been reading a ton about stoves & this stove. So I clean out all the ash, vacuum it, replace 3 firebricks that were cracked, check the stove for cracks etc, seems fine. (I was told by the seller when I was looking at it, that the fireplace company near his town had taken it out and would have re-certified it in its current state.) He could have just been trying to sell it, but he seemed like a honest guy etc, and the stove really does look great, almost no dings or chips in the porcelain etc. looks like it was taken good care of.

    I have noticed that the rails that hold the baffle in place are warped, I'm not sure how badly as I've never seen new rails, but I'm sure they are warped, not sure about what the baffle itself would look like new but it doesn't seem to be warped. didn't take out the baffle as I do not have a replacement gasket and did not want to make the stove unusable as we got cold weather tonight.

    I've got two of those chimney pipe thermometers, one that came with the house when we bought it and a newer one. The newer one is on the pipe 18" about the top of the stove and the other one we put it right on the stove top to measure stove top temperature.

    No matter what I do with this new stove, I can barely get the stove pipe temperature in the "burn zone" as marked on the thermometer. and only periodically does the stove surface seem to get really hot, (as in similar to our old stove top temperature, will have to go look at the actual numbers but I just have been looking at the second thermometer comparatively)
    What should my stove top temp be approximately?
    What should be my max stove top temp to avoid damage?

    My Setup is stove, 5' of single wall pipe to a weird 90° bend that also kind of goes right about 10", then it runs to and through the wall in the appropriate through the wall kit. this horizontal distance can't be more than 5' (maximum, its probably closer to 3.5', will measure and update)
    Then it 90°'s and goes up the side of my house. I've got 9' of pipe past the edge of my roof, a roof brace kit, and a standard cap. total exterior chimney is probably around 16' or 17'.

    I don't have a blower, (should I get one? more heat?)
    I'm seriously considering hooking up an OAK, although my house is MEGA-NOT air tight, so it's not super required, but if I hook it up I can probably make the house less drafty. (according to my research).
    Also I'll probably be less likely to freeze my pipes with an OAK as right now I'm sure the stove is sucking air in through the dry stack foundation into the basement and up through the floor. my pipes are all in the basement. So OAK is a likely upcoming project.

    I'm going to stop rambling now, I'd appreciate anyone's input, on any of my scattered above questions.

    *as a side note some of my wood isn't dry enough, but I do my best to pick out the driest ones, (once again though, my old stove heated the house with the same wood.) Will pick up some really dry stuff from a hardware store tomorrow just to test it out better.

    Let me know if you require any more info.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,795
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Welcome. This is not an air-tight stove. From the sounds of it the stove is too small to keep up with the heat losses of the space. It will also be fussier about proper draft and dry wood. If the wood is semi-seasoned and the draft is poor it will never run as designed. Modern stoves are fussier about dry wood and a decent draft. Describe the flue system in detail including heights from the stove top to the chimney cap.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  3. Mightiestmike

    Mightiestmike New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    It's not an air-tight?
    Perhaps I mis-understand the definition of an air-tight stove. Someone please educate me.

    The top of the woodstove is 29" from the floor. the pipe goes straight up about 48" then 90° turns, goes through the wall (horizonatally) distance is about 5'(60") then 90° straight up the side of the house, about 16-19' gotta go outside to measure that.

    6" Diameter.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,795
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    That 5 ft horiz run is a draft killer. For now make sure it's at least sloped 1/4" per ft or more upward toward the chimney. But consider using 45's with a connector in between to eliminate this horiz. pipe.

    What is the chimney that the pipe connects to? 6" class A pipe or a masonry chimney?
  5. Mightiestmike

    Mightiestmike New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    6" double wall stainless... the selkirk stuff.
    The pipe has to go horizontal to go out the side of the house.
    I'll check the slope on it in the morning.
  6. Mightiestmike

    Mightiestmike New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I think I get a pretty decent draft off this chimney setup. We've been using it with the old stove and seems to draft quite well. When we bought the place the chimney was too short, and would sometimes back puff if it was very windy outside, I've since added 9' of pipe outside and the brace kit.
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    All modern stoves allow secondary air into the firebox even when the primary air is closed. This prevents you from smothering a burn.
  8. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    7,124
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    Was entire flues checked and swept before installing the PE?
    Are you sure there is no blockage?
    Why such a long horizontal run? can you shorten it and replace the 90 inside with 2-45's?
    The burn temp sounds way too low.
    Not saying it is the case, but sounds like the wood is not dry enough.
    The old beast you had would burn anything you put in it, and put off massive heat, at the expense of much wood usage.
    This stove must have dry wood.
    The warped rails may suggest overfiring in prior lifetime. But may not be a concern if everything else is as it should be.
    How bout some photos of the stove outer & inner and the piping set up outer & inner?
    Time to do some fine tuning.
    PapaDave likes this.
  9. Mightiestmike

    Mightiestmike New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Not swept, but not blocked.
    The top 9' of chimney are new in the last year, I have checked the insides of the pipes from time to time, no major creosote build up.
    I've cleaned them once in the year we've lived here.

    Horizontal run could be shortened down by 18" maximum.
    I'm betting on wood being my major problem.
    The old beast would indeed eat a ton of wood, but at least the house was warm.

    I'll get some pictures next time the fire goes out and I clean out the stove...
    Unfortunately I fear that I will be taking this stove out and fixing up my beast, cause we need the house warm, and wood is pretty close to free.

    I found someone else on Kijiji with another old beast that is in way better condition than my old beast, and I've talked him down to $80, so if I can't get this thing working properly in the next week or so I may be going that route and storing this PE stove in a shed til next year when my wood is better seasoned.

    We have electric baseboard heaters but take a look at Ontario's hydro prices! INSANE! double Quebec's price, I believe triple US prices, (chicago was compared) and expected to increase by 42% in the next 3 years!

    That being said.... I've never turned on the baseboard heaters. (they are from 1979 approximately I believe) and are likely more of a fire hazard than me having an open fire in the middle of the house ;)
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  10. JayD

    JayD Member

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    Aug 22, 2007
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    Loc:
    35 miles north of detroit
    Ya might want to pull the baffle, It may be packed on top with ash, preventing to stove from breathing. Ya can make a gasket if ya have to. Jay
    gyrfalcon likes this.

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