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Crappy Stove Pipe or User?

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by fhon, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. fhon

    fhon New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Loc:
    PA
    I probably should have joined the forum a while ago but I finally have a question I can't find the answer to and need some help. Okay so here it is...

    I just moved to a house that has electric baseboard heat. There's no way I can afford to heat with them and I have a decent amount a free wood available to me so I decided to install a wood stove. I plan on buying a new wood stove next year but I needed to save money now so I installed the only free stove I could get my hands on. An old Cannon Heater #18. Eats through wood like crazy but it'll heat the whole house.

    Anyway it's only been installed for about a month now and a while ago I started to notice it was turning a grayish silver in parts of the stove pipe. I usually burn at the high end of the optimal range (according to the stove pipe thermometer) but I never go over 700. I assumed it was just crappy stove pipe. Especially after I couldn't find anything online saying any different. Well tonight I loaded up the stove and had the door on the bottom hanging open to get it going good. I walked away for a minute and when I came back I noticed an unpleasant smell and some smoke coming out from under the heat shield. (The thermometer on the stove pipe read about 500 at this point). Then I noticed the stove pipe under the heat shield had a subtle red glow to it. I quickly closed up the stove and it went away. After doing a little research all I could find was people saying this happens when having a chimney fire or that creosote stuck to the inside of the stove pipe is burning.

    I'll be taking the stove pipe apart tomorrow but I doubt either of the above are an issue. I mean I've only been using the stove for a month now and there was no other sign of an issue during the incident. I did realize the flue is a little large for stove pipe. Seeing as how the stove pipe is 6 in. and the flue is 13X9. But I figured it would be okay for one year seeing as how the the stove is isn't airtight, I burn a hot fire, and the draft is good. So what could be the issue? Could it be as simple as bad stove pipe or something else? Can I give the fire too much air at the beginning of a load etc...?

    ***I've attached pictures of the stove and stove pipe in case that helps. Thanks in advance for any suggestions and for reading all of that.

    Attached Files:

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  2. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    852
    Loc:
    Pt Pleasant, PA (SE PA)
    I don't know about any of your pipe questions but there are horror stories on these boards about opening the bottom ash door open to get the fire going. Fire goes nuclear fast, over fire and ruins stove, pipes, etc. ANYTHING glowing should be cause for concern. Posted here recently, this same thing was done by mistake, someone hit it without knowing with a vacuum! The stove suffered quite a bit of damage but at least everyone was safe.

    DON'T DO THAT!!

    I'll leave the rest of your questions up to the experts here....good luck and burn safe ;)
  3. Premier Fireplace MI

    Premier Fireplace MI New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    Macomb Michigan
    Hello,

    I hope I can help.

    The reason your pipe is discoloring and turning gray is because you are over firing the stove. If you see the stove pipe glow that means it is almost to the point of melting. Never open the ash drawer to get the fire going. I would keep your pipe temp under 500 just because there is a 700 on there does not mean you want to hit it. The old wood stoves burn a lot different than their newer counter parts. Make sure that you have the proper clearance to combustibles and it is installed to code. I would change that pipe to Simspon Duravent Dura Black. What is the black pipe going into?
  4. ScubaSteve

    ScubaSteve Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    38
    Loc:
    Hudson, WI
    where did you get the pipe? Did it have a label on it saying it was at least 24 gauge stove pipe? Hard to tell by the picture but it looks like it is not stove pipe at least the silver one. It also appears in the picture pipe does not meet clearance code of a non- UL listed stove. If it isnt to code and are burning that hot you probably will not have to worry about next year as your house might be nothing but ashes. This year around me there has been 4 times the amount of house fires due to improper installed fireplaces. Spend the money and buy your pipe from a hearth store. The pipe is allot cheaper then replacing your house.
  5. FanMan

    FanMan Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Messages:
    316
    Loc:
    CT stix & upstate NY
    That was my thought too; it looks like galvanized vent pipe spray painted black. And what's up with that corrugated elbow? All the pipe joints appear to be backward, too.
  6. fhon

    fhon New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Loc:
    PA
    Thanks for all the help guys. I'll keep the ash door closed at all times from now on.

    The black pipe goes into a 6 inch terracotta thimble and then the 13X9 terracotta flue.

    I'm not sure where it came from actually because I'm not the one who bought it but it's made by Gray Metal Products and is 24 gauge .

    The pictures are a little deceiving. The stove pipe was just barely under 18'' from the ceiling hence the heat shield. And the closest part of the stove to any combustible material (the wall) is 38''.

    I'm not sure what you mean. What's wrong with the elbow? Now that you point it out, the joints are backward.
    Damn.
  7. fhon

    fhon New Member

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    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    PA
    I'm sorry I misspoke. I meant I never go over 550. Which is the top of the "optimal range".
  8. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,687
    Loc:
    Indiana
    I think I *may* be able to help here.

    After I installed my stove a few years ago I had a terrible problem with my double wall stove pipe getting too hot. I would put a load of wood on and after a few minutes when it really got going the stove pipe would go nuclear...even though the stove was not at all hot.

    I believe it was BB who came up with this theory so I claim no credit. (Edit: Went back and looked and it was BeGreen)

    My stove pipe was leaking air around the collar (where it connects to the stove). When the draft was established enough it would draw in air (read oxygen) into the stovepipe. Introducing this air to the smoke caused secondary combustion and I basically had afterburn going on in my stove pipe.

    Moral of the story, make sure your stove pipe connections are good and tight...and use some furnace cement to ensure a good seal. If you have a leaky joint, at best will cool down the gasses and cause creosote...and at worst cause the smoke to light off and get too hot.

    After I did that my stove went from temperamental to a joy to run.

    If that's not it, I dunno.
  9. fhon

    fhon New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
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    16
    Loc:
    PA
    Thanks you. I think that may be it. The furnace cement that was there was falling out and I don't know if it was ever that great of a seal.
  10. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,617
    Loc:
    NE PA
    Is there a pipe damper installed? Can't tell in the pics. Can't imagine not needing one, even with oversize chimney.

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