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Enviro mini smoking

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by zizzlah, Feb 22, 2008.

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  1. zizzlah

    zizzlah New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    East SF Bay, CA
    I hope someone can help me. Had an enviro mini installed yesterday (dealer recommended installer) to replace my old whitfield quest that died. Stove is in the downstairs of my 2-story, 950 sq. ft. houseboat and whitfield used to heat the entire boat. Was looking forward to a quieter stove that ran on a thermostat. Had to leave as the installer was chasing down a rattle (loose screw, I imagine), came home an hour later to a house reeking of smoke. Eyes burning, sick to my stomach, I turned the stove off and opened the windows.

    The vent system is the one that worked flawlessly for my 15-year-old whitfield quest: a 3-in duravent clean-out tee, a 3 foot vertical rise and a 90 out the wall to a square cap that exhausts to both the right and left, rather than down. This cap is 12 inches from the vinyl siding. I took it apart and cleaned out all the pipe and clean-out tee before the installer got there, so I don't think a clogged vent pipe is the culprit. (Every seam of that vent pipe is caulked - where the pipes join, the seams that run along the pipe - all of it.)

    I turned the stove on again with the damper all the way out (the installer hadn't adjusted it or used a whachacallt it to measure the vacuum and the damper was all the way closed) and a window open about 3 inches. I started the stove and sniffed around as it lit. Definite smoke leakage where the clean-out tee goes into the stove, especially at the bottom, even though I saw the installer caulk it, and could see the caulk. I went outside to see if any exhaust was making it out and the air blowing out was so much weaker than what it used to be. I could hardly feel it. Checked my neighbor's pellet vent (older lopi stove) and it wasn't much different.

    Came back in and thought I'd let it run for 10 mins or so. When I went downstairs to check, the fire was out and the burn pot full of pristine pellets. Probably opened the damper too far, even though the flame looked quite robust.

    Called the dealer. They can't get to me for 2 weeks, but will try to reschedule their techs. After the clueless installer (and I'm sparing you the loose screws I found, the door to the ash drawer hanging on one hinge and the fact that the thermostat doesn't actually turn the stove on or off, or that the installer had no idea how to adjust the output of the stove), I'm not optimistic about the tech.

    Today's plan: caulk the vent pipe again, everywhere, close the damper halfway and restart the stove. I'll play with the damper a bit according to Rod's directions. If that doesn't do it, I'll open a window. And, if that doesn't work, I'm out of ideas. I'll let you know what happens.

    Meanwhile, anyone see something I'm missing? Is that right-and-left cap the issue - too hard for the exhaust to exit? Are there any technical issues with the mini I'm unaware of? How's enviro on technical support?

    Thanks for any help you can give me.

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  2. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Casper Wyoming
    check and make sure that the ash pan is sealing.
  3. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    You may be missing the clean out cover

    There is also a clean out slider that slides up in the Exhaust chamber
    This is located behind the firebox you have to take the side panel off. I think it is the control board side.
    I have seen them fall out in shipping or where an install lays the stove on the back to put things together

    With it missing you can see right into the blower housing
  4. zizzlah

    zizzlah New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    East SF Bay, CA
    Tried to post about this here a few days ago, but failed. My properly installed, burned in (10 continuous hours on high with dry golden fire pellets while I was out of the house and all the windows were open) new enviro mini does the following:

    smells like smoke when it's running which gets worse at start up and cool down
    gives me a headache, a spacey feeling and makes me nauseous and seems to suck all the air from the house
    whistles when the door the firebox is closed; stops whistling when it's open
    is unaffected by even massive damper adjustments - no change in the fire. None.
    produced more klinkering in the 10-hour burn-in than I've seen in 15 years of heating with pellets - the firepot was stuffed with dark klinkering. Stove wouldn't light until I removed the solid mass. Looks like volcanic rock
    seems to be nothing but an expensive paperweight

    What's happened so far:
    The dealer at first told me they'd send someone out as soon as they could, and they'd get back to me next day. I didn't hear from them so I called to check and was told it was the new stove curing that I was smelling, so I agreed to run it on high for 10 hours to eliminate that. (Apparently the rep was now in the store and insisting that i do this before he'd consider any other cause.) I left the house for that long and opened all the windows. When I told them that the smell persisted and that there had been extreme klinkering, they admitted that it sounded like the door isn't sealing, or the exhaust fan isn't working, but they wouldn't agree to do anything until they talked to the enviro rep, due back in 2 days. That's when the run-around began in earnest.

    From "yes, it's the fan or door" we went to "the rep isn't here, we'll call you when he comes in and we decide." to "we're still working on it" to "what kind of pellets are you using?" to "we're still working on it" It took all day yesterday (10-4:30) to go through this charade. The last time we talked, I said "you have two choices - either come and get the stove or get out here and fix it." They still tried to tell me they'd call me back that they were working on it, that the person I talked to was with a customer, that they were busy. When I insisted, the right person came on the phone and asked me to check one more thing: was the ash pan properly seated? I said: "I've had enough - either fix it or remove it." He huffily (and immediately - no checking the appointment book - said "we can be there Saturday at 11:00 (5 days hence). I quickly agreed and he hung up on me.

    So it seems that the dealer is cooperative when the rep isn't calling the shots, but gets evasive when the rep is on the premises.

    I've never experienced anything like this and don't know what to do next. I have no faith that the store will do anything when they arrive on Saturday and have a very bad feeling about enviro as a company. They must be going out of business to act this foolishly.

    I'd so appreciate any advice anyone has, either about what's wrong with the stove or how to deal with the company. I'm stunned at all this. Thanks for listening.
  5. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    I don't see any reason why they'd have to wait for a rep. Enviro is a good solid company that will be in business for many years to come. Sounds like your gripe is with your dealer. I would check the ash pan and make sure it is sealing, as well as the door. From the whistling you describe it's likely the door seal.
  6. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    You also want to check the exhaust chamber clean out door is in place
    I think I posted something on this in your other post.
  7. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    The attachments are what im talking about

    Attached Files:

  8. zizzlah

    zizzlah New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    East SF Bay, CA
    Thank you both for your ideas. It so helps to not feel alone in this. One by one:

    The ash pan has been properly seated during all the burning I've done. It's snug, so I assume the gasket is making the seal. Is there something else I should look for?

    The clean out slider in the exhaust chamber is there - it just hangs from the top, right? I can sure see how it might slip off during shipping. The picture helped Rod - thank you.

    And Rod, the clean out cover you mentioned - where would I find that? Or, if it is missing, where should it be?

    Shane - I definitely have a problem with my dealer, you're right about that. That's why I disputed the charge on my credit card this morning. Hate - really hate - to play hardball, but felt I had to use every possible channel to let them know I'm unhappy with their response. I emailed enviro customer service about all this too - haven't heard a thing from them. I'm glad to hear you think highly of them as a company. Can't take the time to dig up their annual reports, but I'm tempted.

    Thank you both for your support and practical help - I like being able to keep working on this.
  9. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Im cornfused?
    your first line said it is there
    and yes is just slides in from the top.
    the second line you ask were it is?

    They are the same thing
  10. zizzlah

    zizzlah New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    East SF Bay, CA
    My bad, Rod - sorry. I thought they were two different things. It's really there, I swear.
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