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Federal Airtight smoking...

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by dvto2, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. dvto2

    dvto2 Member

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    I last changed the gaskets two years ago. I cleaned the chimney already. This year when the stove gets a little too hot, like when I am starting a burn, it will smoke some out around the rim of the top when I shut the damper, but it usually goes away fairly quickly. I measure hot but the temperature on the pipe at two places, one where the pipe leaves the stove and one where the pipe enters the wall to the chimney. Today it really wasn't that hot but it smoked and smoked and it took me a long time to get it to settle down.

    I am not sure why today was such an issue, except that it was our first below 30 degree day here in Northern CT. I am guessing I need to change the gasket - does anyone know what size gasket the rim of the top has?

    Also, I have never replaced my cat converter, although I didn't really use it that much because I used to burn mostly coal and only recently started burning wood again two years ago - could the cat be part of the problem?

    Thanks,

    Dave

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    You didn't describe your chimney, but my guess is that this relates to the chimney not being warmed up enough - which would then not create enough draft early in the fire cycle. Cold dry weather, like we have now, would make this worse....

    If it happens when your cat is engaged then that could be part of the problem. Dust can settle on the cats and make the effective area of them smaller. But I suspect the cold chimney.

    There are various solutions which can be pursued. Read the chimney articles in the info area (menu link) and search the forum and QA for various examples:
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/search/21549910/?q=cold chimney&o=date&c[node]=38
  3. dvto2

    dvto2 Member

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    Chimney is two story exterior wall ceramic or clay. I am guessing that a cold chimney was [art of the problem but does a 2 year old gasket seem old? Should it be leaking so much when the chimney is cold?
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    It's likely nothing to do with the gaskets. Any holes in the stove should be sucking air in, not pouring smoke out.
  5. dvto2

    dvto2 Member

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    OK. Good to know. I am home all day today and am watching the stove and my next reload had no smoke, so a cold chimney sounds like the culprit. I will also check the cat next time the stove is cool to make sure it is clean. Now that I think about it, I typically let the temp on the pipe get up to and sometime a little beyond the 475 degrees that is on gauge, and try to keep it there until I get the stove heated up to at least 500 degrees. Today, for some reason, I closed the damper when the pipe was reading 400 degrees. I don't like to get it to the 600 - 700 range, it seems too hot, and it's somewhat tricky to temp surf just to 500, so that's why I shut it down early today. Thanks for the info.
  6. dvto2

    dvto2 Member

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    OK. When I restarted the stove this morning (barely a few embers) I used a slightly less inferno burn with the flue open for a long enough period of time to warm up the chimney and got no smoke when I finally closed the flue. Brilliant. Very happy. Thanks much!
  7. dmmoss51

    dmmoss51 Feeling the Heat

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    If you have draft issues, keep the flue damper open... that's more to slow down too much draft. I am talking about the stove pipe. That's different than the bypass which of course you close when your cat is up to about 500 degrees to engage the cat.
  8. dvto2

    dvto2 Member

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    Hmm.. I actually don't have a damper in my flue, just the one in the stove.
  9. dmmoss51

    dmmoss51 Feeling the Heat

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    OK I thought you were describing the flue damper not the the bypass. Did you end up checking the cat?
  10. dvto2

    dvto2 Member

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    Not yet. I am waiting for another warmish day when I am home, maybe this weekend. There is no smoke as long as I heat up the chimney as you suggested.
  11. dmmoss51

    dmmoss51 Feeling the Heat

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    Sounds good. One trick if you are experiencing a downdraft before you light the stove is lighting a small crumple of newspaper up near the flue collar can be just enough heat to get the air moving in the right direction and then light your kindling once you have that draft started. My Federal Airtight stove manual describes this process.
  12. dvto2

    dvto2 Member

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    Yep . I was doing that last year when the wood I had was too wet. I split all my wood last April and it is much drier, my meter says 18%, and it lights beautifully, so I was not having any problems until I rushed the process on a cold day. Today, with a more patient heating of the chimney with the flue open, I had no problem. Just throw the wood on the embers I had left and keep the flue open but the intake down that enough I didn't melt the flue and it started very nicely.
  13. dmmoss51

    dmmoss51 Feeling the Heat

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    By the way which FA do you have? I have te 264CCL (thought it was the 224 because they use the same EPA plate for both stoves until I measured)
  14. dvto2

    dvto2 Member

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    I'll check when I get home. Its a large.
  15. dvto2

    dvto2 Member

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    I started with the 264 based on room size, which is a large downstairs family room. But the room has a very open stairway to the upstairs, which is also a very open living/dining/kitchen area, and I wanted to heat the whole house, not just the room the stove was in. Also, I wanted all night burns, so after a year I traded up to the 288. We burned coal for a while and my wife got fed up with the dust and then one of my son's friends put a hockey puck through the glass and the stove went unused for about 10 years until I wished I had it when we were without power for 10 days in 2011. I finally realized I could burn wood more cleanly than coal and 1/10 the cost of oil, and replaced the glass and gaskets. This year I bought a new chain saw (Stihl MS261) and a 40 year old splitter that works perfect and a log load of 8 cords for $550 and am loving the heat.
  16. dmmoss51

    dmmoss51 Feeling the Heat

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    Very Nice.

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