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CFM Vermont Castings Dutchwest Everburn Non-Cat Owners Discussion and Review Thread!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by tradergordo, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Bummer... :-/ How tall are the legs? Do you know if it would be possible to get (or make) shorter legs, or put the stove on something like a stack of fire bricks to give it some spacing, but still lower the height? I have clearance issues on the front because of the loading door, but under where the stove would go is at least 3" of brick, so the legs hopefully aren't as big an issue as they could be with some setups.

    Gooserider

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  2. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    If you don't mind violating code (which generally exists for your own protection) you can do just about anything. The legs are only 6 inches though, so you still might not have enough room at least for the large (2479). A friend of mine had similar lower clearance requirements and the only stove he could find that he could legally install was the quadrafire isle royale with its special optional shorter legs.

  3. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Right....the area of my hearth under the heat shield is usually quite cool, even after continuous operation. But there is also a good amount of airflow in my setup between the shield-hearth and the firebox-shield. Also the reburner is on the lower-back of the firebox vs. on top like many other stoves, and that part does get rather warm after continuous operation. If you sat the stove directly on the hearth to fit your flue setup, you'd probably crack the brick.

    Also, the (optional) fan kit attaches below the plane of the firebox-shield, so you wouldnt be able to access the baffles with that kit or anything else you make custom.
  4. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    I just started looking at these posts today, and I'm wondering if anyone has actually heard from anyone with a technical background on the stoves that the "roar" and 600+ degree flue tems are "normal"? I was scared to death when mine "took off", and I had a surface thermometer temp of 650 degrees F on the connector pipe, and aobut 550 on the stove. After about 45 minutes, the temp on my connector dropped to 450, but the roar was still there and the temp still seemed way too high for a stove that was supposed to be so efficient. Afterall, that's A LOT of energy going up the chimney and being lost. I have had other times with a fresh (smaller) fire and chimney temp of 200, with NO SMOKE, and no noise and a firebox at 450 or so (this is how I have heard they should operate).

    I called the dealer (about 20 times), another dealer, VC tech support (twice), and ALL of them told me that there should not be much, if any, noise from the stove. I was also told by VC tech support that if I hear a roar, it means that I am overfiring the stove. By the way, I have a large non-cat Dutchwest that I got less than a year ago to replace a "too small" small Dutchwest catalytic.

    I have not been able to get a straight answer from anyone about this percieved problem. Has anyone experiencing this same thing ever heard (from anyone with any formal training with these stoves) that a 600+ degree flue temp and a jet-engine roar from the back of the stove is normal? I am curious to hear what other professionals say. It seems that either we are all doing things right, or there needs to be a major recall on this stove so that we don't burn our houses down...It doesn't seem like anyone has any answers for how they are SUPPOSED to be operated...
  5. greenergrass

    greenergrass New Member

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    I have had tepatures of 300 surface and 350 on the pipe and still heared the roar sound with no visible smoke coming from the stack. I have also had high temps (450+) on both with no noise and some smoke coming out of the stack. I just try to see flames at all times in the firebox and dont really worry about temps unless they reach over 650 to 700 on the surface.
  6. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Part of the problem might be the subjective nature of the term "roar". I personally don't use the term, I refer to it as the "everburn rumble". Its not like a lion roaring, its actually pretty quiet really. I am 100% convinced that it is not burning efficiently if it isn't rumbling during the "pre-coals" portion of the burn cycle (i.e. when smoke is being produced). That sound is the sound of secondary combustion, where all of the smoke is consumed in a continuous burn taking place inside the secondary combustion portion of the stove. I believe I've already posted it in this thread, but I have received detailed operating instruction confirmation from the cfm techs including normal flue temps. I will double check my notes, but I believe a flue temp as high as 800 continuous is still not considered over firing. Yes, this would represent a lot of heat loss out the chimney - one reason I have a nice long internal flue.
  7. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    tradergordo:

    I am interested in seeing the proper firing instructions that you were talking about - I was not able to find them on this post, and CFM techs have given me multiple (apparently WRONG information about operation). It seems that none of the CFM "technical" people have any clue about or experience with these stoves.

    I have been having a pretty rough time getting my stove to fire "correctly" (I use that term loosely since I am not yet sure what correctly is). At different times, I have had SURFACE stove temps of 400 F and SURFACE chimney temp of 200, with no "rumble" and ZERO smoke emissions (after a fresh load). On the other end of the spectrum, I have had stove SURFACE temps of 550 F and chimney surface temps of 400+ F with a good rumble and a smokey chimney. Then, there was the one time when my stove went "thermonuclear", as you called it, with stove at 700F surface and chimney surface temp of 650 F (with a good loud rumble and no smoke). All temperatures are measured with the typical magnetic thermometer. Stove thermometer is just above and to the right of the loading door, where the single-wall metal is with no refractory. Chimney thermometer is at eye level when standing. Burning seasoned oak "blocks" from the local pallet maker (average 4" X 6" X 15")

    This past weekend, it seemed the norm for a 500 stove and 200 chimney temp - no rumble, no smoke. As you can see, quite a bit of variation, and I have been lacking that consistency that engineers such as myself need in life to avoid all sorts of internal and external turmoil. I have been losing sleep thinking about all of the differnet factors contributing to the inconsistent performance of my stove, and have not been able to make any sense of it.

    I have noticed that in order to achieve the best results, I have to place some small blocks/sticks parallel to the sides of the stove and then place larger logs perpendicular, to create a space under the load of wood directly in front of the throat of the everburn (so you can look through the front window and see the throat through a sort of "tunnel". Then, the flames go directly into the refractory and seem to give me better results. If I lay my firewood in there as you normally would (on the bed of coals, parallel to the long axis of the stove, it will be very smokey outside. This is even with lots of coals raked to the back. I have also noticed that it is very difficult to get the chimney surface temp up to over 400 with the damper open, unless I leave one of the doors cracked for a few minutes

    So, if any of you out there have any advice, I'd love to hear it - or just tricks that you might have to get consistent results, and good performance. I am wondering if I need to extend my chimney for better draft? It is currently 5 feet of connector followed by 9 feet of prefab metalbestos chimney (extends about 6 feet out of a flat roof).

    I would really appreciate some feedback!!!
  8. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    from your manual
    The recommended maximum length of a hori-
    zontal run is 3 feet (1m)


    For proper draft and good performance, the chimney
    should extend at least 16’ (5 m) above the flue collar of
    the stove.


    if you have bends /elbows the chimney height must be increased 2.5" for 45 degree elbows or bends and 5" for 90 degree elbows or bends

    I do noot know your entire venting setup but from whqat you wrote it appears to be on the short side remember the 16' is minium horrizontal rise 20' is better
    which equates to better draft better stove preformance you stove opperates best 500 and above i to initiate secondary combustion.

    If y you are calling the CFM 1800 nunber and getting techs in the corporate office I can see where the info is miss leading I talk to the manager head of engineering and I have pprovide his phone ## on the forum before. I think it is time to re read your manual and check you chimney and draft requirement. Obtaining minium height may equate to minium acceptable preformance
    which you have now with less that required verticle rise. Again your situation will require and should now require chimney support system 6" un supported exceeds the unsupported distance
  9. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Haha, I actually know exactly what you are talking about! I think we have a lot in common. I also agree that the CFM techs (not to mention the owner's manual) are not always that helpful. I was a little ticked off when I first read in the user's manual (page 19 under the heading "Successful Wood Burning") "Woodburning is often said to be more of an art than a science." I thought, come on, that's ridiculous, tell me what the variables are and lets turn this into all science. Part of me still feels that way, but experience shows that there are an awful lot of variables (species of wood, size & shape of wood, configuration and orientation of wood, quantity of wood, moisture level of wood, climate, outdoor temperature, outdoor and indoor air pressure, humidity, flue and chimney configuration, flue and chimney materials, flue height, chimney height, type of chimney cap, blockage in chimney, management of coals, management of ash, thermal mass, and I'm sure I missed at least a dozen other factors).

    I'm still trying to learn a few things myself, the most important of which is what is the best way to quickly produce a large bed of lasting red hot coals. Every species of wood has different coaling properties, this is the #1 factor in the variability as it relates to operating this stove. Other factors for creating that initial coal bed include the size of the pieces of wood you initially use and how the pieces are placed. These are all things I'm still experimenting with and learning about. It seems that placing the wood perpendicular to the front door could make it burn slightly faster and hotter due to the flow of air from front to back or top but you can only place small lengths in that direction. Small splits obviously will burn faster and hotter because of the increased surface area.

    At any rate, the key to a good burn is to first get a really big red hot bed of coals - and again, the more input on the best way to do this the better - but most will just put a big pile of small splits in there with a bunch of kindling and let it completely burn down to coals, which could take an hour or longer, and of course the bypass is open during this period. Once you have your coals, you are going to use a shovel or other tool to push them all towards the center/back of the stove, its OK if coals go into the "throat". Then you pile on some fresh splits, smaller stuff first, big stuff on the top, and let it catch fire. This is when you want to start paying attention to temps. I think a probe flue thermometer is the best way to measure temps, everything else is inaccurate but as long as you measure consistently you should be able to compensate. All my temps are internal flue temps (your external numbers might be as much as half of my flue temp readings). I've revised my opinion here a couple of times but I now believe you want to see the new wood pretty much engulfed in flame with a flue temp of at least 700 and probably better at 800 before closing the bypass (I wouldn't rule out going up to 1000). This might take 20 minutes or longer if you do it by the book, or about 3 minutes if you crack the ash pan door (which probably voids your warrantee :) ). Whatever you do, do NOT leave the stove unattended with the ash pan door open.

    At this point you close the bypass and you will hear the everburn rumble (the giant sucking sound as Ross Perot would say). Sometimes after things settle down its quiet enough that you might have to go around back and listen right near the air inlet flange.

    This is another point where you will see a lot of variability, and I think it is mostly related to the quality and type of wood you are burning. If all is well (dry wood) the stove should go "thermonuclear" with the everburn rumble sustaining itself for as long as the new wood has not burned down to coals. Sometimes there is a delay, where the everburn dies down but returns with passion after some time (could even be hours later as a thicker bed of coals is established or more wood catches fire).

    Continuous temps of up to 900 are not impossible, but 600-800 is more typical. Sometimes the temps will go down as low as 500 especially as the wood is well consumed but I don't think I've ever heard an everburn going at temps below 500. As Elk said in this thread "things in motion tend to stay in motion; you get a good secondary burn it tends to continue" - this is true. Once you get a good secondary burn its hard to ruin it, you can add wood and damper down almost immediately. If the secondary burn is not so good, when adding wood you should push ash away from the throat opening in the back and move fresh coals over. You also don't want to just toss a huge split right onto your bed of coals. I find it works better if you can add wood before things have completely burned down to coals, otherwise you need to build things back up with small splits in first and a pause before dampering down.

    Recently I accidentally made a red hot coal tunnel to the throat opening which produced fantastic results (basically red hot coals on the bottom and a red hot split of coaling wood that was above the throat opening so all exhaust had to pass though this "coal tunnel"). I think this is another case where "art" is involved - sculpting those coals for an ideal secondary burn, which is any configuration where the exhaust is forced though red hot coals before it hits the secondary burn chamber.
  10. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Another comment about operating temps - there are none in the manual, and any given CFM tech or stove shop owner is probably not going to be able to give you accurate information unless they have personally used one extensively (like in their own home for at least a month). Even my own temps may not be the same as yours because of the particulars of my setup, or even the accuracy and location of my thermometer.

    And finally, if all of this sounds like a lot of futzing around - well, it is! So I can totally see why this particular stove might not go over so well with a lot of wood burners (especially new ones). But then again as I've always said, I don't have experience with other stoves so I don't really know how it compares. I've pretty much gotten used to the way this stove works and love the big heat it is capable of producing. I don't like all the smoke it produces in the initial stages as you prepare for efficient burning, but I assume this is pretty typical of any stove, you can't get efficient burns until you have established "thermal mass". With a catalytic stove you have to get the cat up to temp, with "burn tube" type stoves you have to get the burn tubes up to temp and those will probably produce the most smoke because its harder to keep tubes at the top of the stove hot than it is to keep a bed of coals at the bottom of the stove hot except perhaps when starting a new fire before the bed of coals has been established.
  11. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    My chimney is straight through the roof - no bends, no nothing. As far as "minimum" heights, I have had professional chimney installers tell me that it only needs to extend 3 feet from the roof (which I don't buy). That's what I started with, and, up until two weeks ago, had 9 feet out of the roof. I removed 3 feet because I was told it was overfiring by CFM - that was the suggested solution. (I still have to get that section back up there). That will get me to the required 16 feet. Trust me - I have been through that manual countless times. I would like for someone to reiterate their experiences with chimney and stove temps with a SURFACE thermometer. I am not really clear on temperatures that have been posted here because some have stated that they have a probe thermometer. 650 F surface is the pipe temp that mine was running at with the damper closed a week or so ago (does that equate to 1300 F internal? Yikes...).

    Again - I'm interested in seeing the operating instructions obtained from CFM!

    Oh yeah...I had been using a catalytic dutchwest for the past 5 years in my old (insulated) house and my new uninsulated house - start the fire, let it burn nice and hot, shut the damper, and the catalyst thermometer would let you know if it was working properly. Very easy to use. Start the fire and I was able to shut the damper 20 minutes later (for real). I went with the non-cat because my 1800 sq ft old (1800's old) log cabin was way too drafty and leaky for a small dutchwest to keep up with. The large non-cat model gave me one of the highest heat outputs and let me keep my 6" chimney! Last night it got down to 10 outside - the house was a toasty 82 near the stove and a comfortable 68 upstairs.
  12. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I suspect you may believe your stove is overfiring even though it is not. I also suspect CFM gave you bad advice and I would restore your chimney to its previous height. I strongly recommend you get a probe thermometer, then we can compare flue temps. Like I said, flue temps of up to 900 are not overfiring, nothing will glow orange and you won't damage the stove. Its meant to burn that hot. But don't blame me if you ruin your stove :) heh.
  13. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    This is cool to get some info from others that actually have a clue about things. Thanks a lot!! More helpful than 20 of those worthless manuals and 50 tech support guys...
  14. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Mike,
    I have 2 surface thermometers, one on the flue (horizontal) exit, one on the stove. Currently the flue is single walled, cant get my <expletive> contractor over to replace it with a double wall like he promised that will have a probe thermometer.

    Best experiences are when the flue gauge reads about 575-600 sustained (bypass open) for a new fire, then I can close it and hear the `rumble' w/ no visible smoke. Easily 50% of the time it stalls even though I am using dry, seasoned wood. It is really tempermental about the depth & orientation of the coal bed, as well as the coaling splits. But as tradergordo said, once you get it established, its more or less on autopilot after that and will work easily for the life of that fire. I've found that if its really cold outside (below 30) with good drafting conditions, the reburner will work happily at lower temps (even as low as 400 on the flue gauge).

    As for the runaway/thermo-nuclear events, my 'emergency brake' has been to open the cleanout door in the basement (about 12 feet below the stove). By tweaking the door angle, I can reduce the draft and get it back to a manageable temp (under 700). Other than that, I've found no other method to get the stove under control. I admit it is frustrating why taking wood from the same rack w/ similar outdoor conditions & coal situations sometimes produces a struggling reburner and other times one high on crack.

    Another tip I have is that when you refill the firebox w/ fresh splits, try and keep any of the upper splits away from the glass window near the air inlet, as well as stacking to avoid them falling into the glass when the pile inevitably compresses after a few hours. When they are too close to the glass, the very top smolders/burns with a small flame, and the coal bed glow decreases significantly and the reburner usually stalls.
  15. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    Thanks for the info...this sounds more like my experiences with the stove. Do you also have some troble at times getting the flue surface temp above 400? Sometimes, it seems that I need to burn for an hour with a pretty good load to get the flue temp up. By that time, I'm sitting there thinking that it's time to add more wood already and then go through the whole process again - maybe it's just me, but I think I am going through WAY more wood than I think I should. So pelase reiterate to me how your stove "ran away" from you...what noises did you hear? What types of surface temps did you observe? Again, mine was at 650 for about an hour, VERY loud rumble (you could see a violent fire between the flue collar and the connector pipe) and then eventually dropped to 450, which still seemed high, but at least within the orange renge on the thermometer. I still don't know if this is smoething to worry about or not. I am considering a connector pipe damper to quell the flames if this happens again, but I don't know if I should bother. Afterall, 650 surface temp, from what I think I know, is something like 1200 F internal. My pipe wasn't glowing, though...hmmmmmm...
  16. hookspacken

    hookspacken Member

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    Wow, This everburn Tech. seems really fincky and difficult to use. I was thinking maybe switching stoves to make it easier for my wife to use durung the day, try to get away from the catalytic stove. But after reading this I am having second thoughts.
  17. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    No problems getting the flue temp above 400, no. When I add fresh splits, I open the bypass and crank the air inlet all the way down and let the new splits catch. Even choked of air, flue temp can get higher than 500 within 10 minutes. Once it reaches 575, I open the air inlet all the way, let it really roast for about 2-3 minutes, then close the bypass.

    As for the run-away/nuclear mode, the rumble is very audible, there is no visible flame most times except for the occasional explosion of gas. Flue surface temps around 650-800, stove surface usually about 50 degrees below the flue temp. This can be a misleading stat tho as the flue gauge is nearly a real-time measure, while the stove top is more a rolling average.

    Im not sure what you mean by seeing a violent fire between the collar & the pipe? How are you viewing anything at that junction?
  18. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    OK, you are definitely having happen what I did. Maybe you have a way better draft than I do to get your flue temps up that quick - I am only able to achieve those temps quickly when I have a REALLY thick bed of coals in there (like half way or more up the andirons). I think I'm going to install that flue damper for "emergencies" to kill the draft if needed. It might be a bit more difficult for you since you have a rear exit flue, but where the connector pipe sits in the flue collar, there is about a 1/16" gap all around. I can look down from the back of the stove and see one of three things: When rumbling is happening (either loud or soft), there are flames or a soft glow, respectively. If no rumbling, it's dark and black down in there.

    hookspaken, I really enjoyed my small dutchwest catalytic, and I really miss it. Too bad it was too small for me. The differences you will see with the non cat is a) It is easier to maintain flames in the firebox (even though the combustor might not be working and you'll have lots of smoke), b) if you like things to work properly, you will probably be stepping outside constantly to see what the chimney looks like (you can look at the catalyst probe on your cat model to see the temperature climb), and c) there is a specifc trick to loading the stove - which I am still trying to figure out. The cat model you just pile the stuff in there (with good air space between pieces, and you in business. Definitely do some research before you make the switch. The non-cat may or may not be right for you. I am definitely a big believer in the catalytics. They are more efficient, have slightly lower emissions, and (in my opinion) are easier to operate. But who knows, you might get one, build your first fire, and have consistent performance all of the time - and have it easy for your wife to use, too. My wife can't get the non-cat to work right, but had no problem with the catalytic.
  19. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Mike, that gap may be a big part of your problem - it shouldn't be there for certain! It may be letting air flow down into the back of the stove and kill the afterburn or accellerate it depending on how well it was able to get going, plus it mixes cooler air with the flue gasses and kills your draft.... I would certainly try to close it up and see if the stove works better for you - I believe the best thing to use on it would probably be refractory cement. As a temporary measure you might get away with cramming a length of rope gasket into the space.

    Gooserider
  20. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    What's everburn technology? My unit has secondary burn, I don't have any control over it. I start a fire, make sure there's a space for the flames to reach the burn tubes up top, as the flames reach the secondary burn tubes secondary burn starts up and in several minutes has spread and I get full secondary burn going. It's about 15 minutes from lighting the kindling to secondary burn starting, another 5 minutes for it to be going in full swing, and about 30 minutes from lighting the kindling for me to turn down the air and have a nice day.

    Everburn must be significantly different. Anyone have a link to explain what the difference is between everburn & secondary burn?
  21. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    I found this

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/4188/

    Sounds like their everburn technology is similar to my 1975 or so steel stove, it's major selling point was that its exhaust system was placed at the bottom rear, with steel plates to force the smoke to have to go through flames & coals before exiting. Its advertisement was pretty much they were more efficient than the competition because of that innovative feature and what sold me to purchased that particular stove. I don't have the advertisement anymore, but my 1975 steel stove did appear to produce less smoke than others having that feature, it's interesting VC is doing similar. VC looks to take an extra step with what sounds like another chamber in the back? I guess I'd need to see a diagram of it, to grasp how it's supposed to work.
  22. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    You posted a link to the same thread your posting to now Rhonemas . Have you read the thread yet ? ( now dont ask me which thread )
  23. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The early messages in this thread have a pretty good explanation, and it isn't THAT much different from the steel stove you describe, but it is a more refined approach. In your steel stove, the problem was that much of the oxygen had already been consumed when the fuel was initially burned, so that when the smoke was pulled back down through the coals it really didn't have enough oxygen left to fully combust the remaining fuel gasses.

    The VC approach is to use a very high temperature clay (It's the same stuff they use to line their crucibles in the foundry) to make the back and secondary combustion chambers, which keeps everything very hot, well above the 1200注needed to combust the smoke, they then force the smoke / unburned combustion gasses down through the coal bed into a throat to a secondary burning chamber. At the same time, they are running un-combusted, oxygen rich air through other passages cast into the same ceramic blocks so that the air also becomes superheated. The two streams of superheated gasses are combined in the Everburn chamber where they combust, adding their heat back into the ceramics. The ceramics radiate back into the firebox, further heating the wood and contributing to the fuel gas production, and from there out into the room through the sides of the stove. The key is the addition of the extra air that gives the oxygen needed to combust nearly every last bit of the unburned fuel gasses, and the pre-heating in the ceramics that ensures the temperature stays high enough.

    Thus the idea isn't totally new, but it is a refined and more precise version of it.

    Gooserider
  24. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    This "gap" is normal, as far as I know. I looked at a lot of stoves when I first started burning wood. The crimped end of the connector sits on top of the tabs inside the flue collar, with the 6" connector slightly smaller than the collar. It only sits down in there an inch or so...just enough to be able to see the glow or flickering, sort of like if you hold two fingers together side by side near your monitor - though they are practically touching, you can still see the glow behind them. Maybe 1/16 " was too generous...maybe more 1/32...I've never heard of anyone packing cement or door gasket back there.
  25. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I really don't think that gap is normal and it could be a real problem, if you can see fire anywhere in your flue or around your flue collar, that's a problem! Is the flue screwed in, and if it is, are you sure the screws are tight? Also for what its worth, the local stove shop cements around the flue collar on all of their store installed stoves.

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