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Draft control help on VC 2 in 1

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Smokey, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. Smokey

    Smokey New Member

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    Guilford, Ct
    Thanks to all that have helped me over the past few months. Transitioning from a pre-EPA stove has been "a bit challenging". I thought I was in pretty good shape after adding a damper to my stove pipe in order to control my stove temps, when the thermostat was not enough, but I think I'm still not out of the woods. My problem seems to be after a few hours of burning 3 small to medium splits, as the wood turns into coals, the temps start climbing. I close the thermostat all the way, and the damper in the stove pipe all the way (it has holes in it) but the stove temps remain at 600. I realize this is not overfired, but I think with more wood, it will be. I even block off secondary 100% and the secondary burn is visible, and stove temps don't drop below 600 after 40 minutes. I have yet to really load up the stove for fear that I won't be able to control it. Could this be normal? I replaced the gridle, door and ash pan gaskets, and removed the catalyst, but I suspect I may have a leak in the panels that make up the stove. It's only 3 months old. Using a lighter it looks like I may have leaks, but I can be sure.
    Hopefully I'll get this sorted out before my wife throws me out with the stove, as I'm spending all my time with it. I may go back to my old Defiant 3 if I can't sort this out.

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  2. Smokey

    Smokey New Member

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    Oh, and my wood is very dense stuff, probably locust, but only 2" x 2" splits.
  3. firewoodjunky

    firewoodjunky Member

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    VC's generally like to run hot. My 2550 cruises at 600 as it's normal operating range. I don't get nervous until she starts tickling 750....

    Of course, this is not a 2n1, so take my experience with a grain of salt.

    You think that the firebox has gaps/leaks? That would be a totally different animal then.
  4. Smokey

    Smokey New Member

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    Firewood Junky,
    Thanks for the feedback. My concern is that if I can't reduce the stove temps when I'm at 600 with a small load in the stove, how am I going to reduce the temps when / if they reach 750 with a full load of wood. The manual states that the stove should operate at 350-450 when the thermostat is at the minimum setting, and I have been seeing more like 600-650 at the minimum setting. I've read other posts where guys can easily reduce stove temps by reducing the thermostat to the minimum setting. I realize there are many variables here, but I don't feel confident i can control the stove temps. I suspect leaks in the stove so I traced the seems with a grill lighter, and the flame appears to get pulled into the stove in a few spots, but I can't be sure because of the hot air rising up from the stove. I guess what I'm wondering is it normal not to be able to reduce stove temps 1 hour after starting a small fire, or am I headed for a meltdown? Probably not a question anyone can answere without spending some time with the stove.
  5. bobabuoy

    bobabuoy Member

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    I have the opposite problem with starved air creating backpuffing. I wouldn't be surprised if you have another crack or issue somewhere in your stove.
  6. firewoodjunky

    firewoodjunky Member

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    I can see why you would be concerned. If you are able to rule out any firebox issues it is possible that you just have a nice draft. When I load my stove up, I engage the cat at 450-475 and cut the air back to as low as possible, she will slowly creep up to 650 or so with no air and just sit there for the night. When I don't load my stove up (i.e. smaller load) she does the same thing, just for not as long. Point being, my stove runs at 600 to 650 with a small, medium, or full sized load of wood.That's just how my stove runs, maybe your stove is similar? For comparisons sake, I am running it on a 25 foot, interior, insulated, 6 inch chimney.
  7. Smokey

    Smokey New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I have a 30' x 8" diameter interior flue pipe. Very strong draft, but with a pipe damper, I was expecting to be able to regulate the stove temps more than I have been able to. I haven't had any problems with back puffing, but my wood is very dry and I haven't loaded up the stove.
    Have a good holiday!
  8. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Its odd that you would have the temps rising during the coaling stage... At this point the off gassing is over and usually its cooling down.

    Also interesting that we can all have such different results with similar stoves - the flue setup obviously is key. My 2550 is on a 16~18' interior 6" flue. At minimum air it typically runs around 350 on the griddle, I have to run close to half open to see 600, Andi rarely need to because at even quarter open the cat will be burning north of 1500 and it just cranks out heat off the back casting. I believe I get the bulk of my heat output from the back of the stove where the cat is.
  9. Smokey

    Smokey New Member

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    I thought it was odd that the temps climb so late in the burn as well.

    Sounds like you have the right setup, and your stove operates the way it should. BTW what type of cat probe do you use? This sounds like a must for my situation. I assume you don't have to drill through the back of the stove?
    Nice job with the historic home. mine is not so old 1824, but you can see why the draft is what it is.

    India 013.jpg
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  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Nice house there smokey!!!! I'm jealous you still have your 12 over 12 windows, are they original?

    On the encore there is a small metal button head on the back casting you can pop off and then you drill a 1/4 hole through the refractory using a drill bit by hand. I used the condar digital catayst monitor.

    I dont know if the 2in1 has the same setup? Your stove has a harder more cement like refractory right?
  11. Smokey

    Smokey New Member

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    Yes, the windows are original, one big reason for needing the woodstove.

    I saw the cap on the back and hoped I could pop it off to install the probe, but I figured it would be far to easy, so that can't be. The fire box does use a hard ceramic, but I believe the back wall felt more like a high temp foam material. When I have a chance, I will investigate. Do you seal the probe with stove cement?, I would think the temps are to high.

    Did you have to re-build the Rumsford fireplaces? They look to be in great shape.
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Thats great... whatever yo do dont ever let anyone convince you to get rid of them. If you have not already I highly recommend joining the oldhouseweb.com forum also. Many of us are members there as well, and there is a lot of discussion about how to save and improve old windows. In particular you can ask for Jade Mortimer - she is a window restoration contractor and can give all kinds of tips.

    I have been personally following some of the recommendations here to tighten up my windows:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/vze7aq8e/homewindowrestorationwork/index.html

    Another place is John Leeke's historic homework's website. His book "Saving America's Windows" is worth its weight in gold.

    Not sure what to do with the hard refractory. On my stove the soft refractory swells from heat and seals the probe in. Edit - you did say soft in the back... looks like you can do the same as I did and nekit mentioned below.

    The previous owners had the chimney rebuilt from the first floor up. The only thing that is original is the hearth extension bricks and the massive stone base in the basement.
  13. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Wow, that's a lot of wood surface area, which results in a lot of off-gassing and a hot burn. It sounds to me like you need some bigger splits to mix in with that tiny stuff.
  14. nekit

    nekit New Member

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    I have the Condar Cat Digital thermometer in my Encore 2 in 1. You do have a factory hole through the cast iron in the back. I used an undersized bit to go through the insulation/refractory material, it's soft. The undersized helped it seal and seams to be fine without any sealer.

    I agree that I would try larger splits. With small splits mine burns more aggressively. I get mine going about 500-600 then back the air down. If I back it down too quickly and too much it can back puff. The wood, outside temp and humidity seem to make a huge difference in the way the stove behaves too.
  15. loubasle

    loubasle New Member

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    smokey,
    sounds like i have the same problem as you. i have a regency 2400. like you , i am afraid to fill the stove for an overnight burn. i have been told to add a damper in the 6 inch pipe as this might help. but it didn't help you. if you find out any more info i will be looking at your posts
  16. Smokey

    Smokey New Member

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    Loubasle - I would go ahead and add the damper to give you an added level of control of your stove. It's a good investment for $6. I don't have as much control of my stove as I would like, but I have more with the damper.

    Thanks all for your feedback and you're advise. I feel that I have a much better idea what to expect from my stove. I bought a moisture meter today so I'll have a better handle on things. I'm not sure though if you need to split each piece to get an accurate reading...

    Jharkin - I'll be checking out the sights that you mentioned. Looks like a great reasource for historic homes!
  17. MIKE GREEN

    MIKE GREEN New Member

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    LONG ISLAND, NY
    Smokey- you mentioned you are using locust wood. When I use locust I only put 1-2 pcs of locust per load it burns very hot & quick. I was also told not to use a damper on my Defiant 2n1 stove. I also instaled Condor cat probe and did not seal it I do not have any problems with smoke leaking or air leaking into stove from hole
  18. Smokey

    Smokey New Member

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    Mike - Thanks for the feedback. It's good to hear about how this stove behave's from other owners. I'm measuring a moisture content of about 14 percent with a General meter I purchased at Lowe's. (I now own more meters for my woodstove than I need for my car) All my wood seems to measure about the same but i think the meter may be reading low. I season my wood in a cover-it which raises the temp 10-15 degrees above ambient which seems to dry it out fast.

    I'll either install the Condor probe, or a Type K probe. gladd to hear it doesn't need to be sealed.

    Do you have issues with a smell coming off the stove? I've used mine maybe 2 dozen times, and each time I get up to 600-650 , I get an anoying smell in the house. I would expect the paint smell to be long gone, and I removed the catalyst so that's not it either.
  19. MIKE GREEN

    MIKE GREEN New Member

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    I do not have any smells coming off the stove. Only when i first fired it up a little smoke and smell but only that once. I would suspect maybe the stove pipe. This is my 4th stove my 3rd VC. This one is by far the most difficult. I had to line my chimney with a 8" SS liner in order to get right draft for this stove. It is 1 1/2 yrs old and I have to replace cat it must have gotten contaminated by something. But i will say this it deffinently puts out alot of heat. The griddle temp is 600-700 and the load of wood lasts 8-10 hrs. I bought this stove because my old one just wasn't big enough to heat my whole house. This stove now that it is finaly working good puts out plenty of heat. With my old stove I was going to cut in floor registers for the 2nd floor but with this stove no need. Good luck
  20. slindo

    slindo Member

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    Not so odd on a VC toploader , since, once the logs have burned down into coals there is nothing between the coal bed and the top surface of the stove the way there is in most modern side and frontloaders, so in the latter stages of the burn the coal bed radiates a lot of heat directly to the stove top, making a thermometer in the recommended location on the stovetop read higher even though total heat output from the stove is reduced because the other surfaces of the stove are not as hot as they were at the peak of the fire.

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