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Fireview performance issues

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Jack33, Dec 21, 2009.

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  1. BurnerPB

    BurnerPB New Member

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    I believe that glowing orange-red is not necessarily an indication of the catalytic combustor working. This is from both WS and Tim Cork of Fire Cat Combustors (the manufacturer of the cat in the Fireview). In fact, according to Tim Cork's blog, the bulk of the cat's work is done while it is not glowing at all.

    http://firecatcombustors.blogspot.com/2009/10/understanding-catalytic-combustor-in_28.html

    Good point about the bypass handle. When I first starting using my FV, I did not fully engage the combustor bypass handle. I then realized that it has to be pulled up enough firmly and then heard the "click".

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  2. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    While I'm burning in a Keystone, the smaller brother of the Fireview, I think all that has been mentioned here applies. My chimney is also 7 by 11 tile lined though the Keyston has a 7" collar for some reason. Nonetheless, my stack is right at the top limit for my stove which results in me needing to run at somewhat more open settings than most to offset the weaker draft. I can't go below 1 ever and generally burn best in the 1.5 to 2 range. I'm sure a liner would help you but in the meantime you most likely would benefit from more air. I think your coaling issue is from too little air flow, not too much. With your stack set up that seems almost certain, try burning on an ongoin basis at a more open air setting. I was chuckling reading Dennis's earlier posts about how he loads his wood with certain pieces in certain locations. Same here and from experience I've arrived at pretty much the same techniques he has. I'd like to point out what is true with any stove; you cna get a long burn or you can get higher heat output but you can't do both. Standard burning techniques apply to these stove just like all stoves. The quickest heat comes from loosely loaded small splits and maybe some softwood mixed in. Long burns come from tightly packed, bigger pieces. You've got a stove packed with hot coals 12 hrs later, that"s nice long burn stuff there! Try switching to high heat techniques with loosely packed loads, small splits, and more air. Unless I'm going for really long burns, I almost always have some lower btu wood mixed in my loads. It seems to help the good hardwoods burn quicker and hotter in my opinion. This weather of the last week has exceeded my stoves abilities. I can't maintain non stop 500+ stove top temps for more than about 10-12 hours which I do by adding more splits whenever there's room but I evntually end up with a stove full of coals and little room for wood. I've gone away and come back 28 hrs later and still had a few buried coals left in that situation! I had an old Jotul combifire. One morning with -40 windchills, it took my house from 60 to 70 in one hour. If we were here to load it, it would do that all day long, no coals and no firewood pretty quickly either. If you wanted to burn wood in a hurry, that stove could do it. And, it would let my house go from 70 to 60 just as fast. The Woodstock stove does not get my house hot in an hour, it will take hours and hours. If it's cold out and 60 in, I'll use my furnace with the stove to get it to temp, but then with loading every 5-6 hours, it will just stay there. I could use a bigger stove if I never wanted to use the furnace. My brother in law has a Mansfield that will hold twice the wood my stove will. In his situation it's too small a stove too, huge open concept log cabin with lots of glass, stove is half buried in a massive stone fireplace, etc. But my little stove performs so well and squeezes every last bit of heat out of every stick I put in it, my house temps are steady, not up and down, it has such a gorgeous fire display that I'll run my furnace here and there instead. It stilll meets 90 to 95% of a seasons heat load. So bottom line is you should easily get 500+ once you learn to burn it in your chimney situation, and you may even have to line to get a correct chimney situation. Try smaller splits and mix a bit of pine, hemlock, pop;ar, or at least white birch or red maple or elm in with your loads. Burn a bit more open than you expect. With lots of flames an good coaling startin in the early stages of a load, when you engage the cat, (is the cat actually in the stove or is it possible it was taken out for shipping) your stove top temps will just go up and up. And correct the draftiness and get a ceiling fan, and have a great holiday too!
  3. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    No I haven't. I'm pretty sure we all know they will say it is my flu and that they recommend a 6".
  4. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    Yes, I check to make sure that the cat lights off. How long it glows seems to vary, but the manual stated that it does need to be glowing to work. I already replaced windows with low-E argon, all exterior doors, and a new slider last summer. Problem is the insulation and air leaks in the walls, especially around the outlets and switches and the posts(post and beam). I already did the foam seals and caulking. I'm pretty sure they just went around them rather than split the insulation...so sheetrock needs to come down. Only so much time and money to go around. This is a southern exposure so if the sun is out the roof melts.

    I'm liking the sound of a BK myself.
  5. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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  6. cycloxer

    cycloxer New Member

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    What you bought is a pretty soapstone stove.

    The BK is a workhorse 24hr burner.
  7. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    The handle is fully engaged, I learned that lesson the first time I tried to engaged it.
  8. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    Clearly they are completely different stoves.

    As I stated earlier, I gambled on the Fireview because I could install it without modifying my thimble and it was rated higher than what I was replacing...I lost. I will have to move the thimble up and put in a larger stove or keep what I got.
  9. cycloxer

    cycloxer New Member

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    It's not the end of the world. You win some, you lose some. I'd take your time to figure out what kind of stove you really want to get. You really have to think about what you are going to do with your chimney to complete the package. IMHO, you need to do this to get the ultimate performance out of your setup. There is no sense in putting in a top shelf stove and then not matching it up to the proper chimney setup.

    It's like putting Coopers on a Porsche - yeah it'll work, just not well.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    This is another great thing about WS, the 6 month return policy. You can also call BK and ask them about your chimney situation. They seem to be willing to speak with owners directly.
  11. jaybird396

    jaybird396 Member

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    I am having the exact same problems too with my new Fireview. I can only get stovetop temperatures in the 500-550 range by running the air at 1.25 and reloading every couple hours.

    I am burning red oak and red maple that was seasoned for 3 years. Trying to heat 1500 sf cape, built in 1960, moderately insulated.

    It will cruise at 400 or so for hours with the air turned down to about .5, but when the outdoor temps get down in the 20s this is not enough heat.

    Once the house gets behind in this weather, the Fireview just doesn't have the Horsepower to catch up. Fortunately I have an older Woodstock Classic non cat stove in the kitchen to supplement the Fireview when it gets behind. But its still a pain constantly relighting the other stove to make up for the Fireviews lack of Btus.

    I bought this stove as a primary heat source and now regret not buying a bigger stove. My demands are fairly modest, as long as the house is over 60 I'm happy. But after being away from the house for 8 hours when the temps are in the 20s most of the house will be in the mid 50s. Then I have to burn it real hard all evening to try and catch up.

    The wood I am burning lights easy and doesn't hiss. But it was seasoned uncovered for three years, and has only been stacked in my woodshed for a month. Perhaps there is still some moisture in it. I will have to buy a moisture meter to find out for sure. I do have some kiln dried wood from the supermarket I will try after I clean the ashes out this weekend.

    If I could get stovetop temps in the 600 range even for a short while, I think this would make a world of difference. But I guess the bottom line is that this stove just does not hold a lot of fuel.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    And I just keep shaking my head when I see a post like this.

    Example: yesterday with only 3 small splits our stovetop got to the overfire range; that is, it got to 700 degrees. Now this is with only a small load and the draft lever set really low and barely any flame in the firebox. It makes me wonder if folks get nervous if they don't see flame, then they turn up the draft and too much heat goes out the chimney.

    Many times we set the draft so we get no flame at all. We still have to watch it. The cat will light but usually a bit slower. Then we start getting pretty warm and look to find the cat glowing really bright red and the temperature keeps going up.

    Some will say it is because of our dry wood but methinks there is more to it than that because we've tried burning some of the wood we cut last winter; same effect.
  13. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    So far, when I turn the air down to where there is no visible flame, my temp drops. Maybe I don't wait long enough? One problem I have is that I spend way to much time at work reading about the stove and not enough time at home actually playing with it. My wife runs the stove 80% of the time and she is not quite as interested in getting maximum performance from the stove as I am. I should take some vacation days to stay home and play with this thing. :)
  14. CTburning

    CTburning New Member

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    It sounds like you are giving up before you have gotten anywhere close to proficient with your Fireview. It is one thing if you cruising at 550 for a couple of hours and it won't keep up with demand but 400 is not going to heat much space, no matter what the stove is made of. I am in a very similar situation and will write an extensive post about it next week after Christmas. I love my Fireview but my house is cold. After 12 hours the upstairs is at 60 with the cold temps we have been having (usually 20 or colder at night) and I am not getting high enough temps from the stove to quickly heat the house back up. The weekends I'm doing better of course because my loadings are more frequent. I get home from work around 2 am and most of the time the boiler has not turned on but it's close (set to 60). I load it up and go to bed. I get up and get her going with a hot fire. Solar gain is my friend and right now I went to 64 in two hours but it is 36 out and sunny. Normally it would still be 62 at this time.

    I can not set the air down below 1 and maintain any type of temp. I just did and in half an hour the temp dropped from 450 to 410 so I opened it back up to 1. In 20 minutes it will be back up to 450 or so. It won't go any higher though unless I open her up and throw another log or two. Then I will hit 550. I know my wood is still too wet. Some of my maple is only seasoned since March but other pieces are from last December. Some of the pieces are still sizzling, mostly the maple. Ironically the Red Oak which is seasoned 15 months is faring much better.

    I would not jump ship until you figure out how to get your Fireview up to temp. To redo your thimble, put in another stove and find out you still have an issue would drive me mad. I also looked hard at the Blazeking Princess and wanted to buy that stove. My local Bking dealer is a douche and the only one around. His stoves "never go on sale". It would have cost me another $1500 over the cost of the Fireview to buy from him. I made a compromise: the Fireview is a much better looking stove and because of it's size, I surmised, more efficient. I also took into consideration that a steel stove would cook me out of the little room that the stove is located in. My smoke dragon would hit 85 regularly when I wanted the upstairs toasty. I needed a conveyer belt to keep the wood stocked for that stove.

    Good luck!
  15. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    That's where I was too. While I may not have figured out the Fireview yet, it is always mid 70s in the stove room and upstairs too even is I'm just burning off coals at about 350~400 stovetop. The Smoke dragon could do better, but with huge amounts of wood and only for a couple hours.
  16. rickw

    rickw New Member

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    This thread started off with specific problems. One was coaling, and the answer from many was to open up the air at the end of the burn cycle. Without making room for more wood there is not a chance for sustained high heat output. Has that worked for you Jack? The other problem was low peak temperature; which I find hard to understand. Jack, a couple of days ago you put in pine scraps and pallet pieces and could still only get a little over 500. One thing I've noticed on my setup is that the highest stovetop temps are at relatively low air settings (less than1 for sure) and that the stove takes a while to respond - it might take an hour or more for the stovetop temp to max out. Are you giving it time at a given setting? That my high stovetop temps happen at low air setting make me wonder if you have is a draft issue at all, especially if you can support full rolling flames as a stated in one of the first posts. Something about your low temps is just not adding up for me.

    Well, my FV is still working great for me. Got home at 5:30 last night to a 300 degree stovetop temp, filled it with oak, set the air at 1. It touched near 600 an hour later, and held over 450 for 4 hours when I opened the air up to 2. It held over 400 until reloading 3 hours later. House was plenty warm at 10 degree outside temp. And today when its 40 out I can turn it way down and not need to think about it all day.

    Cyclo - please. Just a pretty soapstone stove? Mine runs 24/7 and does a fine job at it.
  17. CTburning

    CTburning New Member

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    Dennis:


    What else could it be. Insufficiently dry wood and draft. I've been experimenting and I find that I get more heat without the cat than I do with. I open the stove at 350 or so and throw in a couple of splits. If I leave the air open the heat from the front of the stove , lets just say you can feel it. I can also hear the exhaust whipping through the stovepipe. I managed to "cure" the last couple of inches of vertical run on my stove pipe this morning (morning for me) and set off the smoke detector. I've been burning for a solid month now so I have gotten to know my stove a bit. I just can't regularly get the top above 450. I set it to about .8 and it stayed at 440 or so for the last half an hour and then started to drop. It won't go up without a big visible flame (cat engaged).

    Your setup is perplexing Dennis. 12 ft of outside triple wall and you can completely shut down your stove. If I set mine below 1 I can smell a faint wiff of Red Oak smoke from around the intake lever and it goes away at 1 or above. Reminds me of barbecue in the summer but does little to warm me. Right now at 3:45 the house is 65 upstairs but the sun is going down. There is very little of anything coming out of the chimney. I can see the waves created from the warm air escaping the chimney cap but no smoke.

    My last experiment will be to set the air to 1.50 and then closer to 2 to see if I can get the temp closer to 650 (my goal). I baby my stove big time and was always afraid to overfire it and have the flames come into contact with the cat. In the mean time, I'll keep ranting away. I should mention when set to 1, I come home to a 150-200 stove top temp after 12 hours, and the Red Oak I'm using instantly ignites when put onto hot coals. Thanks in advance to all who are helping to shed a little light.

    For the last half and hour I've been running the stove at 1.5 loaded with coals and two still solid splits. The temp is hovering just below 450 but the temp in the room has gone up two degrees (measured 8ft in front of the stove). No smoke from the chimney still so I'm getting complete combustion and the cat has no visible color with some flames in the box. I think I have officially hijacked this thread and I'll stop. Just thinking out loud. Merry Christmas everyone! Family is coming over in a couple hours and the tstat will be set to 68. Figure it out next week.
  18. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I think all you guys and gals need to experiment more with your air settings. I know Dennis gets his stove top up to 700 with the air shut down close to 0, but a 600-700 stove top temp doesn't always mean the stove is pumping out the most heat. I have also had times where the fire box is black inside with the cat glowing bright red and the stove top temp takes off and if I stick a thermometer on the door it's barely 300. If I burn with a good amount of flame and beet red coals the stove top can also climb to 600 but the door temps also go up to 600. Much more heat, I can feel it. If you want heat you have to give it more air and flames, don't be afraid to let her rip! I still get a good 8 hour burn with a full load of Oak or Locust, a setting at .75-1.25 with a good bed of coals, and a stove top temp max over 600 and it stays above 500 for a good 3 hours before dropping off slowly. It might look like the pits of hell at first but it will slow down to that lazy bursting flame once the front splits get past the initial gas off stage.

    Some here are worried about flame impingement with high settings, but whenever I have a good flame going it seems to mostly go towards the back of the stove and wrap around and back up into the cat, so I don't think there's a chance of flame damage unless your burning wide open. Even if you do damage cat plead insanity and Woodstock will probably send you a new one for free. They know it takes some trial and error and mistakes can be made, they are very generous, I know from personal experience. Some may have to burn as high as #2 and leave it there, others may not need more than #1, depends on wood, draft, weather and other things.

    Maybe some of you are not waiting long enough to engage? I like to rake the coals forward, pack the stove full with 4-6 splits, burn it on #2-4 til it catches good and then turn it down to #1 trying to keep the internal flue temp below 1000. For me if I engage at internal flue temps below 600 the stove doesn't take off as fast as above 600. If you don't monitor flue temps while engaging and the flames die out I think your setting is too low and it will take longer to come up to temp than if you had a good flame. During the shoulder season this probably doesn't matter cuz your going for those long slow burns anyways. I always wait at least 10-15 minutes sometimes more depending of the reload coal bed, then I engage at #1 or a tad more for Locust and leave it there for awhile to see how the temps and flames are reacting, then I adjust from there, .5-.75 for a long slow burn or .75- 1.25 for hot burn.

    This stove is great for long burns but only during the shoulder seasons. Once the temps dip below the 30's or if the wind is strong my stove can't keep the house temps up where I want them with 12 hour burns, I have to adjust to 8 hour burns or even shorter if need be. This stove does not have a huge fire box, it is actually less than 2 cu ft if you measure usable space and there is only so many BTU's in that load, so you need to feed it like a non cat when it gets cold and burn hot to keep the coals down.

    I have a pretty well insulated 1800 sq ft house with the stove in the basement. The basement stays 75-80 and the upstairs is 70-75. I do have one cooler bedroom that will stay in the mid 60's and use a oil filled electric space heater at night because my daughter won't keep the door open. If the upstairs dips below 70 the wife and daughter start complaining so I have to either burn the stove hotter or I fire up the upstairs fireplace which will blast them out. This however is rare, I'd say the Fireview takes care of 95% of my heating needs. There are also times when I just like to burn the fireplace and give the stove a break and clean her up and check the cat and chimney.

    Don't be afraid to call Woodstock and have them walk you through a burn. I've done it a few times and learned a lot. I'm still learning today from all yous guys. When I bought my Fireview I don't think there was any others here I could suck up info from and it took me a good full year to get to now this stove. Don't be too quick to give up.
  19. cycloxer

    cycloxer New Member

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    How can a stove be so complicated to run? What a PITA. If that were my setup, it would drive me absolutely bonkers. I mean, yeah there is some technique to burning wood, but for the most part I can throw any kind of wood in the Jotul, set the air, and it burns, period, remarkably well. A 12yo could run my stove.

    All of this fiddling, fussing, air setting #'s, engaging levers, are you guys for real? Burning wood doesn't need to be so difficult. I mean if it works for you, all the power to ya, but there are stoves out there that are more forgiving where you can fill it with wood, set it and forget it, and it'll burn quite well. The Quad comes to mind in that regard. My friend's Quad will burn telephone poles if it has to.
  20. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, we are for real! Real wood stove geeks that like to get the most from our stoves. It's really not that much more complicated than your Jotul except for that extra lever for engaging the cat. For me I saved a full cord per year over my previous non cats and there is actually less fiddling with air controls because you have numbers to look at. Most of the time it's engage, set and forget for the next 8-12 hours.
  21. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    There are three "fiddles" with this stove.The first time is getting it up to temp ( #2 to #4). After that the draft gets set to .5 for long burns or 1.0 for hot burns. Then,at the end of the burn, I open the draft to #2 or #4 to burn down coals quick if needed. That's it.

    I'm embarrassed to say I could not burn telephone poles though..... :red:
  22. yamgrizz700

    yamgrizz700 New Member

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    I also have these problems with this stove, i am thinking of sending it back. I cant get it over 500 there has been two times i got this thing to 650 and thats it. i love this stove and i dont want to give up. i have a 2100 square foot cape 20 years old with the perfect layout for a wood stove. i just cant seem to get my house to heat over 66 67. i load it then wait 15 to 20 minutes then engage the cat, then wait another 10 minutes and turn the air to 1 then wait again another hour and maybe try to turn it to 1/2 but the temp goes down so i turn it back to 1, should i just leave this at 1? it seems like my cat rarely engages i think i am just messing with it too much????
  23. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    How dry is your wood? Why are you turning it down to .5? Leave it at 1 and see what happens, you might even have to run it a little hotter depending on wood moisture and draft.
  24. yamgrizz700

    yamgrizz700 New Member

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    the wood is seasoned one year i have it at 1 know for about a hour and still 425.
  25. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    How big are the splits and how many are in the fire box? Did you buy this wood or process it yourself? What does the fire look like at #1 after an hour?
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