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Englander/Summers Heat - 25-PDVC / 55-SHP10... What Is or Is This Normal or Typical and my set-up..

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by cntbill, Feb 2, 2008.

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  1. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    Hi All,

    I would like to get some general feedback on my setup and from owners of the same stove, as this is the first pellet stove I ever had and I am not sure what is considered normal, typical, or acceptable.

    Quick overview: Purchased the stove at Lowe's "fire sale" a couple weeks back so I am quite please at the price I paid... (but lol, vent pipe cost me almost as much as the stove)... ease of installation, and performance. It seems to work well and heats our home quite well.

    My setup is in the basement, 3" vent pipe, out the back a T, to 6 one foot vertical sections, a 90, to 1' horizontal through the wall, then another 90 to go up, 3' section up (to get above the ground), then another 90 to point away from the house, and on the end of that I have the vent cap... the one that came in the kit and looks like a dryer vent. 3" fresh air. And connected to a thermostat upstairs.

    I hope this is enough info for some feedback as I have some concerns and being a newbie I'm not sure what to expect.

    So with this said, here is my limited experience and concerns. But I guess the questions are, Should I be worried?

    The stove seems to burn rich, black on glass. But from what I have read here this is typical on a low, 1 setting. I did call tech support and was guided through the settings and was able to reduce the burn rate down to a bag or less a day, current setting 4-7-1. And was told my vent pipe setup was OK.. But I am thinking of increasing the size to 4", thinking I need maybe just a little better draft?

    I am also getting a build-up of hard suet, black stuff (not sure what to call it), in the auger tube for about an 1 1/2" in. I did have an noise and found my answer here... auger tube build up. And now I include scraping that on my daily list. But would this be normal for a weeks work of burning on low to have the noise? One thing I noticed on the hopper lid is I can see marks from where it is contacting the gasket except for about a 10" area across the middle in the front. So maybe the gasket should be replaced or the latches adjusted? but it does seem to close tight. Not sure how to check this.

    OK on to the paint pealing, what I noticed the other day. By the front door... where it opens on the left side on the top to about 3" down and about an 1" wide the paint is flaking off. And today I noticed that where the door gasket contacts the stove, the paint is flaking there also. I did the flame test with a lighter with the stove just being turned on and the lighter flame was not sucked in, so I am guessing that the gasket is OK, but the pealing must be from the stove not being quite clean enough when the paint was applied? I did mentioned the top area to the support person I was talking to and he seemed to agree with me and suggest a can of high temp paint. So has anyone had a similar problem? Or maybe what I am thinking is the paint possibly never cured because the stove was a display unit and it should have had a burn in sooner?

    Now the big question... I know that with anything metal there is expansion and noise when heated, temp changes. But this thing make me jump out of my skin.... when I am near it... lol.... When starting from a cold start as the flames get going in the stove, it make a noise almost like a gun shot, or if someone hit the side of it with a sledge hammer. And each time that this has happened when I am in the basement about 30' away working on stuff I stop an look to see if anything broke. I tell you it makes me jump, it hasn't done this the first week, maybe a weld cracked? Or is this typical?

    Now what I found on pellet temps... I tried three different brands that I are local to me. What I did was start cold after cleaning and burned a bag of each all at the same settings. Chose a medium setting of 4 for heat and 6 for the fan. Places a magnetic thermostat on the stove, didn't move it, and recorded the temps 4 hours later. The one brand I thought would have the best heat, didn't. But I guess this varies a bit too...

    From Lowes, @ $4.78 a bag, Summerset = 470*
    From Home Depot, @ $4.30 a bag / $199.00 per ton, Stove Chow = 430*
    From a stove place, @ $4.38 a bag, Energex = 430*

    Even though the Energex was only at 430 at med burn it was also 20* hotter on low burn... hmmm and another thing when I did my "test" this was my second batch of Energex which came from a different pallet. As when I first tried the Energex pellets I could have swore they burned hotter then the others, but then I did not have a thermostat at the time. So I suspect even the same brand name has a bit of variations too.

    Ok... way to much typing here.... Thoughts, Ideas ?

    Bill...

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The soot buildup seems to be a problem with that stove - many users here have reported it, and that it can interfere with operation. The factory and the users here suggest cleaning it almost daily when you scrape the pot.

    I think you have it correct on the paint - they probably did not prepare the surface correctly, although it is also possible it was stored by Lowes in a high humidity environment. If I were you, I would wait awhile and then after the season clean it off with a light sandpaper and steel wool and get some stove bright (spray can) and touch it up. That is probably what they use at the factory.

    As far as the "gunshot" noise, more than ikely it is a piece of sheet metal which is under stress and the heat makes it pop. My guess is that stress will work itself out, so perhaps wait a couple weeks and see what happens.

    I don't think there is a problem with your chimney, and increasing to 4" does not really create more draft because the stove is forced draft.
  3. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    Wow... Thanks for the prompt reply :)

    "The soot buildup seems to be a problem with that stove..." Yes I am learning to clean this daily also... just trying to find the best screw driver for the Job.

    "I think you have it correct on the paint..." Yes kind of my thoughts to...

    "As far as the “gunshot” noise..." Interesting thought, feel a little more at ease, and see what happens...

    "I don’t think there is a problem with your chimney, and increasing to 4” does not really create more draft because the stove is forced draft." LOL ... Yes Forced Draft.. We are also in the middle of installing a fireplace in the living room, guess getting my chimney engineering mixed up... :)

    Thanks again...
  4. bret4

    bret4 New Member

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    I wonder if having your thermostat upstairs is the best place for it? I have my thermostat about 14' away across the room from the stove and can control the temp withing 1'F. I use a electronic programable thermostat. Could be your stove would turn on and off from hot setting to low setting more often if the thermostat was in the same room. Thinking this may help clear up some of the build up in the auger tube if it comes off the low burn setting more often and not burning on low as much.

    The stove making a sound loud enough to be like a gun shot is not right. My stove makes some little sounds as it heats up when I first fire it up. I'd talk to Englander about that sound and if it doesn't go away in a short time maybe they will replace the stove or have a fix for it.

    Another thing about carbon build up. The build up of carbon you are getting in the auger tube happens to me too. You sound like you are getting a bit more than I am. Could also be the brand of pellets you are using or the heat setting being on low a lot. I messed with the 3 buttons at the bottom of the pannel to try and get more time out of a bag of pellets but I felt that I got more build up of carbon on the low setting. This made it a little harder to clean so I went back to the factory settings. You may want to try and adjust the plat inside the hopper to get some control over the pellet feed rate.

    There is a plate inside the hopper that can be adjusted to close off the opening above the upper auger. Right now I am trying different adjustments on that plate. Closing it as far as it can go seemed to make the stove run cooler than I liked on the higher heat settings. My stove came from the factory set in the middle position. Right now I am set at about half way from that position and the closed posision. This will change due to the pellets you burn. I am burning Fireside Ultra pellets from Home Deopt. The nice thing is that with this setting you can control how many pellets you go through on all heat settings. Not just the lower number 1 and 2 heat settings that you control with the three buttons on the bottom of the control pannel.
  5. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    bret4

    My thermostat really doesn't do much at the moment as I keep it low so it don't kick in as most of the time I pretty much only need to run the stove on low. Thermostat is pretty much a convenience item if I think I would like it a little warmer without having to go downstairs to turn it up on the stove. And for another project I'm thinking about once I figure the temps from upstairs and downstairs sorted out along with air movement. Story for another topic...

    Guess at the moment a wait and see on the noise, just wondering if other owners might have similar noise.

    The seal, gasket on the hopper lid, is that there just to prevent smoke, fire back? If it was bad would that be a contributer to carbon build Up?

    Thanks for the suggestion on the plate, but at the moment it is set back in the slot for the screw as far as it will go. Got it this way.
  6. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    Not sure about the noise. Certainly not something I've ever heard from mine. As Craig said, it sounds like metal heating up, expanding and binding on something. Just a thought.....have you checked the stove for level? Side to side? Front to back? Diagonally? Could be that it its not sitting perfectly flat it is putting pressure on a section of metal that shouldn't have any.

    Low burns are just dirty. More soot on the glass and the tip of the auger. On higher settings I get gray ash on the glass instead of black. I think that's a pretty good visible indication of how well the stove is really burning.

    The gasket. I dunno. lol When the hopper lid is latched correctly you should be able to pull up on either front corner and not feel any give.
  7. bret4

    bret4 New Member

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    The seal, gasket on the hopper lid, is that there just to prevent smoke, fire back? If it was bad would that be a contributer to carbon build Up?

    You could be on to something with that idea. That could be another reason for carbon to build up so far up the auger tube. That is just a guess on my part. A better answer may come from someone at Englander.





    Thanks for the suggestion on the plate, but at the moment it is set back in the slot for the screw as far as it will go. Got it this way.

    You may want to try adjusting that plate, but if you are happy with your burn times then why mess with it.
  8. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    Doubled checked level, since I just place the stove on the concrete floor... assume to be level... from front to back, not quite an 1/8" off, side to side, pretty much dead on. I'm not sure but I don't think 1/16" - 1/8" would make a major problem.

    After my original post I did a little closer examination. It seems that my hopper lid is slightly bowed between the latches. I'm going to guess that because it was a display unit and people fooling with it could have latched and forced it closed with something under the lid causing it to bow? There for not making a tight seal in that area. Also some frays where is seems the latches caught.

    Attached is photos, although difficult to see the bow.

    Ok So I got this Bright idea.... :) But I would not recommend any one trying it with what I used for any length of time. So, I filled the hopper, cleaned the fire pot and auger area. Then I cut a thin strip of some foam, placed it on the area that I didn't believe was making a good seal, latched the lid and made sure that the stove was on 1, and set the thermostat down so it would not come on. For a longer test I am going to try to use a small bead of some high temp silicon on the lid... as I believe this would be much safer.

    Here is what I found, I had a better flame - higher, and a higher temp about 10* -20*. As far as carbon build up? not sure yet because it has only been running about 12 hrs. But still burning a bit rich, although maybe changing the setting might help, I just think it is the nature of the beast on low.

    Also attached is a photo of the flame and a photo of fire box after about 12 hrs or so.

    OK back to the drawing board ... have to make the photos smaller.... so I will post them in a bit.

    Attached Files:

  9. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    OK... photo showing what I guess is Typical of being on Low....

    (also need to get photos smaller)

    Attached Files:

  10. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    OK got the photo size down.... :)


    Additional photos of lid, fire box /pot after 12 hrs on low with extra seal in place and hopper with the extra foam seal placed on top

    Attached Files:

  11. bret4

    bret4 New Member

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    I don't think level is going to change anything. My stove is just sitting on the floor and never checked for level.

    Good test with sealing the top. Maybe if the top is bent Englander could send you a new one. Using your level as a straight edge. you can check under the front of the lid to see if it is bowed. You may be able to bend it back yourself if you were careful checking it with your straight edge.

    I still think if you are burning too rich you should look into closing the plate inside the hopper to at least the half way point. Then you may have to change your settings on the 3 buttons closer to the factory settings. Your stove being new like my stove maybe your factory setting were something like 6 4 1. Today I backed my settings down to 5 3 1 with the plate set at about 1/4 of the way from fully closed. Seems to be running nice. Of course whatever pellets we burn will change these settings.
  12. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    bret4,

    Guess didn't write it clear enough... The hopper plate is closed as far as it will go. The slot where the screw is, is at the end. But I will double check it anyway the next time I need to add pellets, I could be looking at it backwards. :)

    When I called tech support I was told to set the low feed to 3, but that was a bit too low, so at the current moment my settings are 4-7-1 and it seems to be working pretty good with the pellets I'm burning at the moment.

    Thanks I will check the plate again.... maybe I could open it a little more and set the feed to 3 like the support person told me....
  13. bret4

    bret4 New Member

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    Ok, I may have had it backwards then. Thought you had it wide open. Anyhow sounds like your starting to figure things out.
  14. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    Yes... getting there little by little, and noticed too some of your other post on the same subject.. useful info
  15. staplebox

    staplebox Member

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    @Bill

    I just noticed the same hopper bow yeasterday. It does not appear to cause the lid not to seal but I'll check it closer. I have only been running the stove X1 week but I did not notice the bow before.
  16. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    staplebox

    I believe that a slight bow is normal because the latches are on the ends. However with my stove I think it might have been a bit mishandled at the store since it was a floor model.

    The one thing that prompt me to put an extra sorta seal is I could see marks from the fiberglass seal on the hopper lid except in the front middle, no marks.
  17. MassWood

    MassWood New Member

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    I've talked to about two dozen people who've had a dirty burn with this summer's heat or the englander stove and only a couple have them have spent the months and multiply phone calls to fix the problems. Don't get me wrong the customer service and techs are great, but for so many people to have to "FIX" brand new 1500$ plus stoves to me seems a little ridiculous. If I get rid of my stove for a few hundred bucks less than I bought it for in the spring and by a Harmon, I'll be happy.
  18. petejung

    petejung New Member

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    I have the same stove and occaisionally get that metal pop/bang during the heat-up process of the stove. I have never given it a second thought, just considered it some sort of normal metal stress from heating up. I've been running for a full season now, and haven't had any problems that I know of due to that popping. It still makes me jump, though... But we pretty much run the stove 24/7, so I don't get to experience the bowel cleaning effect of the pop too often.

    The one thing I did the other night that peeved me off- I took off the room blower and sucked out the minor dust buildup on the fan blades. Upon re-installation, found that ESW has stripped two of the four bolt holes that mount the fan on. I'll fix that in the spring by tapping to the next largest screw size. But now the stupid fan goes through a "whining" period if it's been shut down and allowed to cool. Only lasts a minute or so, but it still gets under my skin.
  19. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    Last night did my weekly cleaning thing, so with the cold start once again the Bang noise... didn't seem as loud but then I was expecting it.

    yea that whining sound would get under my skin... reminding you that you have two stripped bolts...
  20. petejung

    petejung New Member

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    I remember one of the first times we heard the bang... Our dog was laying in front of the stove, and jumped about 4 feet when that thing popped.
  21. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    LOL I can relate.... with your dog :)
  22. bret4

    bret4 New Member

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    ElPedro and Bill,

    This may sound kind of funny but I wonder if you have ran you stove at full temp for say 1 or 2 hours? Setting 9, 9 or maybe 9, 7. Just wondering if that would get the metal hot enough to stress relieve it and hopefully stop it from making that noise. I guess there is just as good of a chance that doing that would not help at all.
  23. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    Interesting thought, but yes I had it running at 9 a few times for a at least a couple few hours, when I was testing the thermostat.

    This morning it was running at low, 1, but because it was a cool damp morning, snow then rain. I turned it up a bit to 5 and as it was starting to get going at 5 it popped again, but not very loud, I would say a normal expansion noise.
  24. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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    Well doing my "now" regular nightly cleaning / scraping, and since I have been running it with the extra seal material on the hopper lid; - the augur tube end was not quite a caked, neither were any of the other general areas, and the glass was somewhat cleaner. But I can not say for sure that the extra seal improved it because I was running the stove at 5 for a while today. Also on restart it made the bang sound.

    I recorded the sound last nigh and tonight with my cell phone. I am attaching the recordings if any would like to listen. I am not familiar with the file format but I was able to listen to them using Quick Time on my iMac. Used bluetooth to transfer from the phone to the iMac.

    OK Guess one can only attach an image file. So here are the links to the files.

    This is the other night.

    http://www.cnt-web.biz/ebayimg/Stove.amr

    This is tonight.

    http://www.cnt-web.biz/ebayimg/Stove2.amr
  25. cntbill

    cntbill New Member

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