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Carbon Monoxide OVER AND OVER and no solutions - PLEASE HELP US!!!!!!!!!!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by norwegn@mwt.net, Feb 9, 2009.

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  1. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    By the pictures, it looks like your home may have originally had a furnace that originally vented thru the roof chimney. I see you now have a high efficiency furnace which vents out the side of your home.

    Does your chimney have 3 flues as follows: (1) wood burner, (1) gas, (1) old furnace flue

    Ask the experts here if the old furnace flue could be down drafting the wood stove exhaust if the atmospheric conditions were correct. Also, I agree with the statement to raise your wood stove chimney 2 or 3 feet higher than your gas chimney.

    Shari

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  2. norwegn@mwt.net

    norwegn@mwt.net New Member

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    Dunebilly - I asked the fire chief and fireplace guy about that specifically.........said I would be happy to put an extension on it if they thought that could be it. Since they didn't think it was a problem, we walked away from that issue.

    Do I take off the curved part, put a tall piece straight up, or should I take it out and to the south a ways and then up (or does that hinder the movement of gas out of the house too much?)

    Thanks!
  3. norwegn@mwt.net

    norwegn@mwt.net New Member

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    Peter B. - no, I think you are both right. It is the absolute best situation. Just realistically, my husband is about ready to explode and just wants it out of our house and lives. THey brought out the wrong stove the first day, brought the right stove the second time, but wrong other pieces. THey lost a tool and spent a day looking for that. They showed up three hours late. The front piece was never ordered. They didn't do the durarock as they said they would. Brought threshold slabs that had chunks out of them and installed them with chunks missing on the front. Second visit brought the realization that something was measured wrong and another piece had to be ordered. Said to run it sitting out on the hearth pads, and they would be back.........that was mid-November. We didn't hear from them or see them for months. Left without grouting hearth pads or discussing durarock. Part of the front door was not attached and there were holes to attach the piece to that left a direct vent from the burning fire to the living area. That is just skimming the surface of all the other issues that happened. It has been a nightmare and hours and hours of leaving the house and staying away or running a gas furnace instead (hundreds of dollars more when we paid huge money for this stove to be functioning). Yes, I'm ranting, but can you see why?

    I just don't see that it is one of those appliances when they have all been checked and when the alarm never goes off when the stove is not on. Oh yes, the negative pressure.

    I love, love the idea you two shared and logically know that could help but it would take weeks of starting the stove, waiting days without those things and wondering if it will go off. My husband would sooner rip it out tonight and drop it off on their doorstep after all that has gone on.

    I'm not trying to be difficult....but I need to start with the camera, height of chimney and the exhaust on the gas furnace...those things I can manage right now. I'll have to move forward from there.
  4. norwegn@mwt.net

    norwegn@mwt.net New Member

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    MISTAKE - we have an ENERZONE woodstove, solution 2.3-1 not the Lopi...........

    The name I gave before was from a different stove packet that he gave to me as the "best directions on effective burning" because I told him I wanted to do it right. From a cold start, I load my fire bed as it says and build that coal bed and get the fire going as directed in that book, and when adding wood to the coal bed later, it doesn't take long for that new wood to just catch and go.

    Sorry, but this is the packet I have out on the counter by the stove...just grabbed it and gave you the wrong name.
  5. RonB

    RonB Feeling the Heat

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    WI girl,
    You've got every reason to go on a rant! What a nightmare of an install job.! I have no solutions for you, but plenty of empathy. It's so sad that this wood stove experience has been so negative for you and especially your husband. You really need someone on site with more experience/knowledge than the fire chief and your questionable installer. Maybe a certified/qualified sweep to look things over. I would be reluctant to let the original installer do anything else for you given their past performance.
  6. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    Wi Girl, It's kind of odd to see the woman fighting and trying to do everything to keep the stove and the hubby just wanting to get rid of it. Usually the roles are reversed! I think a lot of good ideas have been posted with the best being the isolation one. Your installation experience unfortunately is what passes with so many 'professional' installers (not just stoves.. but everything that needs installing). It's like anyone who has a ladder and a truck is an installer. Be sure to share your experience with this stove shop with anyone looking for a stove and one of the yellow pages on the internet has a review section. All those intakes and exhausts seem close together but I bet you it has to do with your 2 chimneys being so close and the same height. Hope you get it fixed before hubby throws it through the window of the shop. They would have deserved it, but still...
  7. forby

    forby New Member

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    I know the last thing you need is another opinion.........

    I have a new installation that I burn all the time. For the first time is 8 years, my on demand gas water heater coil froze!!! The stove was pulling cold air thru the power vent of the heater and chilling the coil in the process.

    Any chance that the water heater is not adequately power vented or even properly vented? The addition of the stove created just enough draw to break the fragile pressure barrier and cause a reversal.

    I'm no expert, but those levels seam low enough and random enough that it may be happening when hot water is cooking and the stove is creating enough draft to overpower a slow or faulty WH vent.

    I was soldering a pipe in the 6x9 foot furnace room in my house once and the CO detector starting going up. I was surprise how fast that happened!!!!
  8. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    WI Girl, I can certainly empathize with your frustration. Went through a similar nightmare when I built my house 4 years ago. I could not, for the life of me, get the guys I hired (and they were experienced and good workers) to build and install according to manufactures' instructions. They did things their way and that was that! I was only a retired teacher and therefore did not know anything about anything. They had been building houses for 30 years and none of their houses had yet blown down. Therefore they knew everything about everything. Forget about manufacturers and engineers: they do not know a damned thing about building houses. Jeez, what frustration!

    I had visions of a similar nightmare when I decided to install a wood stove in my new house. After a year of considering the options, I decided the only two persons I would trust to install the stove properly would be myself and a buddy. We work well together and take much pride in our work. There are times during many projects when we anticipate each other's needs so well that one would think we can read minds. I do as much as I can and use him only for work that is too difficult for moi. So far, things are working perfectly. The hearth and all inside work will be finished in a couple of weeks.

    Hopefully, you will solve the carbon monoxide problem in the near future. Enjoying the comfort and looks of a properly functioning wood stove will be worth the wait.

    Best wishes,

    John_M
  9. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Excellent idea. After every thing else the hot water heater is always a good suspect, esp. for a small leak only when the stove is on. Also I am not the expert but check codes for the chimneys, I believe the Gas chimney should be the highest, maybe our resident experts can clarify. NFPA211 is a common standard. I bet Craig will know. Be safe.
    Ed
  10. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    make sure the liner has not been ovalized. this cloud be causing some of the problem and ask if that chimney meets the 3f-2ft-10ft rule from the pic it does not look like it does.
  11. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    it looks like there is a 3rd flue up there if so what is that for?
  12. cgeiger

    cgeiger New Member

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    WI Girl - You've got a good group of people and insightful questions to work with. Keep at it! I'm sure that if folks here can't help you resolve it outright they're bound to give you some advice to at least get you closer to the source of the problem. Would it be possible for your to take some pictures and post them here for us? While you're word descriptions are very good "a picture's worth a thousand words" as they say ;) That would help greatly in noticing the little things that might not have seemed significant but are.

    Specifically I'd like to see photos of:

    1. Your chimney
    2. Your stove
    3. Your gas FP
    4. All FP OAK or other vents (mainly the ones outside on the ground)

    I'm sure that will lead to other requests as well.
  13. cgeiger

    cgeiger New Member

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    oops - ignore my last post. I somehow missed the rest of the thread and the fact that you already posted pics. :red:
  14. norwegn@mwt.net

    norwegn@mwt.net New Member

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    Well, he still doesn't call back about lining up a camera...cold weather is on its way again. ARRGGHH.

    Who should I call to find out if my hot water heater is properly vented? Is that a construction person? Not an electrician or plumber, but who do I look up? Maybe an inspector of new houses could tell me? Could an inspector tell me if the chimney heights are OK?

    I'm hearing both to raise the woodstove pipe and the gas pipe......

    I saw that image of a triangle in a diagram online about proper placement......is that the 3ft, 2ft, 10ft rule?

    The only vent I can think that the small white round thing is is our bathroom exhaust.

    May seem strange that a woman is fighting for this, but I guess since I've cut wood with my dad on weekends my whole life, I just can't see paying for gas heat when we can have that great woodburning warmth in our home. Cutting wood has always been our best family time together when we have no other care in the world except working hard together to accomplish a common goal.....no phones, no schedules.......just us and the woods ( a lot like opening weekend of deer season!).

    Thanks again and we'll see where things go when he can get a camera lined up.

    Please let me know what type of person to call about our venting.

    Thanks!
  15. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    I would look for someone with "plumbing and heating" in their title. or an HVAC guy. You definitely have a concern w/ those OAK draws and DV exhausts in that alcove. Height requirements kinda go out the window when you can have airflow stagnation in an area like that - still or windy days can both produce similar "entrapment" of the swirling air/gases.

    Those items notwithstanding, you made two comments that really made my ears perk up:

    1 - Post 45: "The alarms never went off when I was burning the gas fireplace and the woodstove at the same time. " This is the gas appliance that shares the woodstove flue?? And the problem doesn't happen when that gas appliance runs?? BINGO - When you're not running the gas fireplace, its open flue is bringing the woodstove exhaust smoke & CO right back down into the house.

    Didn't you mention also that it's later in the burn cycle when the problem occurs? That strengthens the point - woodstove flue is cooling at that time, reducing heat shared to the adjacent gas flue, and increasing its propensity to backdraft from the top - right where you are outputting CO!! If that gas fireplace can be shut off, and its flue blocked, then perhaps you will be able to verify this is the culprit.

    Alternately, if there is no suitable blocking plate sealing the top of this shared flue, you could be downdrafting AROUND the pipes - I haven't seen this addressed yet.

    2 - Post 54: All the issues with the installer's work - I can't believe you have stayed with them this long. I'm inclined to go along with Mr. WI Guy and have your installer remove all evidence of his shoddy workmanship from your property, and demand all your $$ back. The problem is not in your burning practices - you are clearly smart enough and experienced enough to realize this is not proper.

    If you have the means to do this over again, and can somehow avoid replicating the two-pipes-mashed-together installation nightmare, it would be a strongly suggested maneuver.
  16. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    I know it must be frustrating but we are talking serious here. Your local building inspector should answer the chimney height question over the phone. Or our web master if he's not in Washington consulting with our new prez. Get that right and go from there. Be safe.
    Ed
    Edit. who ever gave you your stove permit, fire chief or building inspector would be a good chimney resource.
  17. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    [quote author="WI Girl" date="1234403657"]

    I'm hearing both to raise the woodstove pipe and the gas pipe......

    I saw that image of a triangle in a diagram online about proper placement......is that the 3ft, 2ft, 10ft rule?

    quote] only raise the wood stove pipe that is a direct vent pipe it is a balanced system and would have no need to be raised raising the wood stove pipe as i stated earlier may increase draft has the chimnye guy taken a draft reading?

    3-2-10 is the chimney must penatrate the roof by 3ft and stick up high 2ft higher then anything with in 10 ft of it.
  18. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I was just cruising this thread to see wazz up because the only experience I have with CO2 was while commercial diving for a bit.
    I was looking at the pics and when I saw all those intake vents and oulet vents lined up amongst each other and tucked into the corner
    of that house, well an old feeling came back where I thought I was going to throw-up.
    I don't care if one points up and one points down or if a meter detects something at some particular moment,
    that just isn't right.
    Jury rig some temporary extensions for all the intakes and get them out where you know they're getting fresh air.
    Fixing anything is easy. Troubleshooting is a different story.
    Be patient.
  19. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    all the pipes in one spot with the air slowly circulating in that corner, some pipes pulling air in and others putting CO out, I think you found why it takes a few days for the level of CO to build up, the wood stove puts a big draw in and vents on top of the house away from the corner.
    the other idea about the gas fireplace flue also makes sense.
    I would try an OAK on the other side of the house, but at this point I can see why you would just get rid of the wood stove.
  20. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    1 - I think she said they attached some long temporary leaders to those inlets/exhausts in the corner, and the problem persisted. Makes me think that although still not a good idea, the close proximity of all those vent pipes probably isn't the core issue.

    2 - We haven't heard from her in a few days - hope the problem didn't grow to become A Problem.
  21. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Oops. Sorry. I hate it when people reply to a thread without reading it all.
    Did they say wether the CO2 detector was battery or electric?
  22. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Well I just looked quickly and I didn't see anything - I might have been recalling a different thread.
  23. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    CO2 is good . . . it makes my soda fizzy, is great for putting out fires and paintball fans love it

    CO is bad . . . it makes people sick and die ;) :)
  24. norwegn@mwt.net

    norwegn@mwt.net New Member

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    I'm still here! :) I've called and he has not called back so I stoked it up again. I figured I could be safe running it for a few days in a row to keep the costs down on gas heat and I check it every 3 hours. If something is going to happen, it should be in the next two days.

    Today, major winds blowing and I've let the fire get way down to embers to try to create the temp inversion, and I put the CO detector inside of the main level gas fireplace and left it there for long periods in the past two days. I"m still reading zero up there and in the basement. I'm still smelling smoke, but I've been more closely monitoring it. I smell it in bursts at my desk area on the main level, and it smells strong coming from my regular heat vents. I just turned on the continuous fan for the furnace, and there is a strong smokey smell to it.

    You know, here is a thought. In the mornings, the fire gets low so my regular furnace kicks in around 8. By the time the fire gets roaring enough to keep the house around 63 (that is where we always have it), it is probably late morning. In the meantime, that gas furnace has been pushing the air during those morning hours and maybe spreading it from somewhere. However, as he went around the house and did the readings, he got 15-24 consistently in the office area (the gas fireplace room), but not higher near the fireplace or the vents, just pretty consistent numbers all over. The detector that always goes off first is in the hallway directly behind the gas fireplace, but by the time that goes off, the basement has one place that is already over 60...it is head height in the space between the fireplace and the stairs to the upstairs. Nothing reads high right beneath the vents in the ceiling of the basement to say it is coming in or out of there.

    EdtheDawg- thanks for the info on who to contact. I'll have to check with someone next week on that.

    This just stinks......I want a wood stove so bad. I don't want it pulled but I want it to work. So, do I call the guy and say I want a higher pipe put in? Who am I to say that to him? It would be like him telling me how to do my profession. There are no "stove permits" here. Maybe that is part of the problem! There are two major stove places in this area, and both have been here forever, and the other one is less reputable than the one we chose. Could someone please tell me what I should actually say to the man when I call about the pipe that needs to be extended? (probably makes me sound dumb, but he knows I know nothing about stoves or pipes, so what do I say?)

    I'll talk to an inspector of HVAC person early next week. Thanks again for all the support!

    :) WI GIRL
  25. norwegn@mwt.net

    norwegn@mwt.net New Member

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    CO detectors are electric with battery backup and the basement one has the numerical display. We have replaced all detectors older than 3 years old.
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