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Draft Modification; What a Difference!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Jacklake2003, Jan 16, 2012.

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  1. Jacklake2003

    Jacklake2003 Member

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    Yeah, It actually kind of scares me to think how hot this stove got before I realized what was happening. Until I made a modification to my stove-top thermometer, I never realized how hot this stove got; even with the draft fully closed. I sleep a lot better now.

    This modification was a result of several years of "studying" how this stove burns (and my own learning curve). It's not fool-proof, you have to be careful not to close it down too early or you won't get a proper burn. But if you let it heat up properly before closing the draft, it's a thing of beauty. It really amazes me how much skill and knowledge it takes to have a proper burn, but it's worth the effort.

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  2. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Glad it's working out for you, and you learned half the battle is the learning curve on your own personal set of circumstances.....you have me just about convinced to try this same mod to my Napoleon. do you have any pictures of the piece you modified (I'm guessing the slider that closes both the primary and secondary slots is what you made to close further)?
  3. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Good deal!
    Glad there are some people out there that can figure things out and git-er-done!

    I modded mine by installing a adjustable screw through my t-stat cover to limit how far the flapper can open.
    Before it could turn into the gates of h*ll.
    I was concerend my wife or grandson might crank it all the way up and walk away.
    No worries now..and if I want a lot of air to burn coals down..I just adjust the screw that they don't know about.
    Cheers!
  4. Jacklake2003

    Jacklake2003 Member

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    I don't have any pictures, but I changed two things on the revised plate. I'm calling the "plate" the piece of sheet metal that slides back and forth and covers both draft inlets.

    1. I adjusted the "stops" location (the bent piece of metal that prevents the plate from slidding past a certain point) so that the plate would slide back another approximately 1/2-inch +.
    2. I added between 1.5 and 2-inches to the overall length of the plate. This allows more of the secondary inlet to be closed all the time.

    I should of been more scientific in my modification, but I didn't think it would work so well. I'll try to remove it and take a couple pictures in the next day or so.
  5. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Wood be hot to see!
  6. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I know exactly what you are talking about as I have had mine out before.....you also tightened the plate to the bottom of the stove, I'm assuming, by pinching up on the sheet metal retainer tabs that hold that slider in place?
  7. jdonna

    jdonna Member

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    Nice work on the modification. I have two chimneys that draft extremely well, can be frustrating dealing with burn times and stove temps. The upside is easy to start fires, less frequent smoke roll out and fast reloads.

    Not to sound negative, I hope things will change in the future with the certification process, just too many installs with 2 stories, basement installs ect. I think at the end of the day though stove retailers need to be on the ball with their product lines because some are more forgiving to different setups. I found that out the hard way with one stove I purchased.

    I do not think the average joe is going to accomplish what you did, rather they would just give up frustrated and their stove and it turns into that nice has been in the corner of their room.

    Way to go! That was how the war was won.
  8. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    My next thing is to change the door gasket I guess (dont think its bad but rule it out) but for now I'm going "old school" with something that works for me. Softest wood I burn is silver maple.
  9. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    I have long wondered about the effect that the blower has on stove performance. My quad has a blower that shoots down onto the stove top and that surely must cool it. Could this inhibit an efficient burn? I don't know. As for the original post, good job on that.
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I modified the doghouse (zipper) air on my stove to tame the beast. The air control that regulates both primary and secondary air is notched so as not to completely shut off the air and in my former home I had excessive draft that I don't have in this house.

    The blower can take a stove out of the "sweet spot" depending on how hot the fire is going at the time. I vary the blower speed to suit. My OAK supplying bitterly cold air can also take my stove out of the "sweet spot" so I find that less is more when closing down the air. I ran the stove for years with too much air and burned way more wood than I should have.
  11. pdxdave

    pdxdave Member

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    Thats great to hear you were succesful!
    I want to try adjusting the draft setting on my insert (lopi declaration), in particular reducing the secondary air intake. Stove burns way too much wood and can't hit or stay in the sweet spot very long.
  12. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    They do now.
  13. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    They don't read here..lol.
  14. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

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    Okay, time out!! I've read all this and want to know about the damper. We have a 25' 6" insulated SS liner that draws like a vacuum cleaner what with the top we have and the wind we always have out here. Ron suggested that I install a damper and I have done so on my BMF (Hybrid). So, someone tell me how to manage this thing for best burning and how I should know when it's right. The thinking seemed to be to balance things out to put the stove into a "calm(er)" zone to develop the heat and burn rate without having the bellows effect super-heating the stove. Now I see some of you don't think that a damper is useful and is maybe even dangerous, but you're modifying intakes and all that. The damper sure isn't able to close off the pipe in my case, so I'm confused here. Someone give me some "hep", so I can burn this thing right! I'd sure appreciate it. I know I've got a LOT to learn and want to get on with it. Thanks in advance.
  15. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Texas-opinions will vary, many on here have had good luck with the dampers, saying its "old school" is old school, PE and Jotul and several stove installers recomend them if you have too much draft, see if this helps you out. Not sure why its OK to give your stove a hair cut but something as simple as a damper is bad.
    http://www.navitron.org.uk/page.php?id=116&catId=85
  16. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

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    Hey, Oldie! Thanks for that link. BTW, what th' heck is a "hair cut" for a stove? Sure don't know anything by that name that has to do with a stove.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think you are reading too much into opinions and internet chatter. There are several damper threads where this is better answered. In this specific case the original poster (OP) had an insert. A damper is not an option with his installation, so he did what he needed to do by further restricting the air intake.

    No one is saying don't use a damper when it is a good solution. But it's not a universal panacea and not always applicable. The point of this posting is that for the OP's situation, a modification to the air intake solved his particular problem well. But one shoe or solution does not fit all. For your situation a damper could work out quite well. I think you should start a new thread asking the specific question - How do I use a damper properly on an EPA stove? That way you can get helpful advice for your very good question.

    PS: Can you add your actual stove make and model to your signature line? I have no idea what BMF you have. There are a lot of them out there. :coolsmile:
  18. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Yes the OP had an insert and I missed that and stuck my foot in my mouth, the hair cut remark is a slang we used to use at work for a modifacation using a cutting or grinding tool. :)
  19. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

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    Well, that's what confused me! I knew an insert couldn't use a damper, etc., etc. so I was REALLY wondering. Just reading tonight in my Hybrid manual that when intake is fully closed air still enters, so the OP modifying for less air makes sense now too. Haven't fired the PH yet, but it IS ready-- (damper in full open position, BTW) . . . just waiting for th' stars to align . . . AND temps way below today (80). ;-)
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Wish I had that problem. But I ain't moving to Texas. lol
  21. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

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    You can say "ain't" pretty good. Once y'git "y'all" into your talk, you're more'n half there! LOL!

    BTW, how do I find all the damper related threads. (I don't get out much in the cyber world!) :-S
  22. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

  23. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

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  24. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Hey Terry: I was just about to PM you to see what in the heck was going on with your Progress install? Sounds like you are ready to fire it up, just waiting for cooler weather? I know some of us are really interested to hear how the BMF heats your big Texas style house. I have been thrilled so far with our Progress - heats much better and longer than the FV.

    I thought your very hot stove temps had more to do with your ancient wood, and not the draft? Let us know when you fire up that puppy!
  25. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for asking. Actually, I got it all set up and checked it over about 9 times to make sure nothing was forgotten. Then I read the manual another time or two--found out that the manual says to engage the cat by turning the handle counter clockwise, when it's really clockwise AND that the fall-a-way handle does not fit the T on the cat handle. Then, after calling Ron to make sure I didn't mess up anything and to discuss the just mentioned items, I pulled the sheet metal out and removed the cat to have a look at it and take a photo or two. Then, after one more pre-flight, at 1323 (Sat.), I set first fire. Since it was somewhat cool, I brought it up really slowly and ran it for a few hours at around 300, burning the coals all down to ash, but not really a cold stove (I could put and leave my hand on the top as long as desired.) Then, since it was night and going to be pretty cool out, I re-started it with a half load, brought it up to about 400 (top thermometer reading), opened the cat, adjusted the air and hit the rack, getting up a couple of times to check on it. Great room temp went to 82 and stayed there until around 0430.

    Next morning at 0745 the temp was still 76 so I turned on the central unit fan to spread some of the warm around. So, it did pretty well on half a load. Course it wasn't but low 30s out, so it wasn't much of a test.

    Last night I restarted, brought it to 400, opened the cat, cut the air, got the slow blue flames trimmed in yellow about 5 inches above wood and went to shower. Came back to no flame, so adjusted air open a teeney bit a couple of times. Went across room to sit and observe when gasses ignited and scared the heck out of me. Lifted the top stone about an inch and made a loud noise, but got flame back. Adjusted again, went to bed. Temp was 80 at 0530 and only coals, with stove still just below cat range. Disengaged cat, opened air all the way and went to work.

    That's pretty much it so far. Now that I've got the explosion out of the way on this one (had one on FV, too!), I guess we're good to go. We're scheduled for much colder weather tomorrow through Thursday, so the real test is yet to come. This coming system isn't very cold though--low's in the low 20s to low 30s at our place with highs in low 40s. So, nothing too demanding yet.

    Have not used the damper yet. Had 60+ mph winds Sunday (with dirt), so probably should have. Our chimney draws like a shop vac. Plan to get ops down with no damper then move to damper testing for effect. Our "ancient" wood (you're correct on that count) and strong draft make for much hot, real quick, so have to be careful to not overload/overfire.

    Yesterday it got so warm that Lynda put on skimpy summer clothes, so there IS a big upside to higher heat! (We normally live at 60-65.) So, it sure is looking like testing will involve higher temps until further notice--if you get my draft, er, uh drift! :) Sometimes winter scenery is the best.

    More to come . . . ! Have you posted any pics on yours?
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