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First Post - Energy King 385 EK Recent Installation.

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Bryan1986, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. Bryan1986

    Bryan1986 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
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    Hi Everyone,

    I recently installed an Energy King 385 EK into my 1600 sq ft house (1600 sq ft upstairs, full basement). I have been using it for a couple of months now, and I have to say I am very disappointed. I only burn well seasoned dry red oak, and I can only get a burn time of 4-5 hours, I have to clean my chimney every couple of weeks, and it does not get the house above 66*F. I would assume it is sized correctly for my house, as it is rated for a 2000 sq ft. The wood furnace is rated at 125,000 btus, and my propane furnace is rated at 115,000 btus.

    Here are a couple of pictures of my set up, I have back draft dampers in both plenums. I will get the same results no matter if I have it hooked up to my ductwork or not, same 66* in the house.

    One of my concerns is that possibly the blower on the back of the furnace does not move enough air to properly cool down the heat exchangers in it. Once I get it going, the fan limit switch will stay at a constant 130*F, and it will not cool it down anymore than that, so once I get a fire going in it, the blower will not turn off until it is out.

    Anyways, maybe someone with a similar set up can help me out here, and tell me what I am doing wrong, or is this furnace really that terrible?

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  2. Minnesota Marty

    Minnesota Marty Member

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    Oct 10, 2010
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    I can see the Chesseheads from here
    Bryan,
    I have no idea why the stove is doing what it is doing.
    I have owned several Energy king wood burning stoves over the last 25 years since I got to know Bob Meurer - the owner of Chippewa Welding which is the manufacturer of the Energy king stoves. On Monday morning or Tomorrow perhaps ( not sure if they are open tomorrow, some places are off tomorrow for New Years.) I would get on the phone to Chippewa Welding and have one of their Tech Service guys go over things with you. I know Bob does not want some one dissatisfied. IMO they are and have always been ready to help. The limit switch could be defective.
    I am in the construction business and all of us do not use the manufacturers tech service people enough to problem solve with us.

    Minnesota Marty
  3. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    Ashland OH
    Sorry to hear of your problems. Your the first person I have heard of that owned that furnace so I'm interested in its operation. With it being a secondary combustion furnace, your sure your wood is dry? Our Caddy is picky if the wood isn't properly seasoned. On our furnace, we need to run it wide open, or with the draft controls open until it the firebox is active, then from there we can close down our furnace and it will burn cleanly until we add wood again. We cleaned our 32' chimney a couple of weeks ago and got a cup of stuff from it. To me it sounds like the wood isn't dry enough. If you have a constant call for heat from the thermostat, the damper will stay open, eat wood and put too much heat up the chimney. I would think once its burning hot, closing it down will allow more heat into the home. How tall is your chimney, maybe you are overdrafting... Just a few thoughts. There should be no reason why a furnace that size can't keep your home warm. Ours is around the same btu ratings, and we heat a house much bigger without any issues. Is your home insulated and sealed?
  4. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Check the low limit setting on the limit switch . Temps vary by manufacturer but it should be set around 100-110. If blower runs till unit is out it is prolly set to low and wood explain a dirty chimney.
    The short burn times have me stumped.
    Is that a smoke bypass above the door?
    If so and its not hooked up it may be allowing most of the heat up chimney making for short burn times. Just taking some stabs in the dark.Not familiar with that unit.
  5. Bryan1986

    Bryan1986 Member

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    Yep, the wood is definitely dry, very high quality stuff, it burns amazing in my parent's insert.

    Thats what I do, I pull the sliding smoke baffle on the top, open up the manual damper, and start the fire. Once it has established itself, I shut everything down.

    There are two dampers on this furnace, one manual one, and another automatic one that is hooked up to the Tstat. I have the manual one closed , and I also have the automatic one closed too (Tstat set at 50). I have got the best results doing this, If I set the Tstat at 70 or so and open up the auto damper, it will still only heat the house to 66, but will cut my burn time down even more.

    I think you may be on to something with the chimney over-drafting, it is 30' tall, and about 8 ft higher than the nearest point it passes thru the roof. The instructions in the energy king installation manual recommend installing a barometric draft regulator. I opted to pass on this, as a lot of people I talked to, and even read some posts on here, that the BDR is dangerous on wood burning furnaces, perhaps I need to revisit installing one.
  6. Bryan1986

    Bryan1986 Member

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    Dec 30, 2010
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    I have them set what the manufacture suggests, which is 90 on, and 145 off. It will come right up to 150, and turn the fan on, then the fan is not able to cool it past 130-135 or so. I tired setting the limits at 150 on, and 135 off, but that didn't work out as the house wont get able 60 at that point. So for not I let it run the whole time.

    This is why I am wondering if perhaps the fan is underpowered for this unit??
  7. Bryan1986

    Bryan1986 Member

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    I will be writing customer support a email today, and see what they think the issues could be.
  8. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

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    Dec 31 - Mid Michigan - Thunder & Lighting WWOT

    Have you ran this with the return air unhooked, check the split across the heater exchanger- It might be starving for air [R/A looks small] this would make discharge air very hot, but low CFM this would also drive up the stack temps - Barometric damper isn't a bad idea either
  9. Bryan1986

    Bryan1986 Member

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    Dec 30, 2010
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    Yeah actually it is running right now with the CAR unhooked. It does not appear to make any difference in the airflow, and the fan still runs until the fire is out.
  10. bigburner

    bigburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
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    438
    check the temp going in and the temp coming out "split" This stove should roast you out of that house -- back in the late 70's & early 80's there was a bunch of this type stove in our town [made here, a little simpler] ton's of people had them and most had to open the windows because of the extra heat at times. I have seen these installed with every type chimney possible - a lot of dangerous installs - but they all made lots of heat.
  11. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    There are a few things that come to mind. You are overdrafting sending too much heat out of the chimney. Slowing down the draft will allow for better combustion as well as less fuel. With the firebox being fully lined with firebrick it won't transfer the heat like the older ones did. One of the reasons for the secondary heat tubes. If you can do it lower the on to 140 and off around 90. Thats our sweet spot on both furnaces we have had. If the furnace is burning correctly a baro won't hurt. We have one and we see minimal buildup in the flue. I also forgot to add. If you have cleaned that chimney every two weeks, but not the heat exchanger tubes then you aren't going to exchang heat through the tubes into the home. One of the things I wondered about with the 384EK is how do you clean those tubes? You should get in there and make sure to scrape them clean for thats where alot of heat will be exchanged. When our exchanger gets dirty, we see less heat into the home. Take note of the flue temps before cleaning and after. Then you can gauge when you need to clean them.
  12. 4wydnr

    4wydnr Member

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    N. IL
    I just installed a 385 this season and I'm having good results. I have mine setup a little differently than yours.

    On top of the furnace I put a square plenum like you have and used a 12" round duct over to the the gas furnace cold air line. During normal operation I just leave my gas furnace fan running. It takes quite some time for the wood furnace fan to kick on, but the gas furnace will draft the heat out of the wood furnace. I have the wood furnace blower kick on at 140 and off at 90.

    I too don't have long burn times 4-6 hours. But I haven't had overly dry wood to burn. (Poor planning, working overtime on next years supply). I also have the t-stat draft vent permanently open.

    What temps are you getting out of your registers in your living space? I would think that with your plenum temps staying around 130 your house would be hotter than all get out. Mine probably averages about 110 for the plenum temps and that keep my old poorly insulated farm house around 68-70 depending on how cold and windy it is. I guess what I asking is are transferring the heat from the furnace to you living space? It sounds like you are producing heat but just not moving it.
  13. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    You should never duct your heat from the woodfurnace into the return of the central furnace. There are too many things that can go wrong. Also keeping your draft wide open allows for more heat up the flue as well as lower burn times and less combustion. When the furnace is operating win a good hot fire if designed right should be able to close the damper and keep secondary combustion. How much wood are you going through? Even though our firebox is smaller than the 385ek our burns are longer than 6 hours and my plenum temps average 130-150. I would guess feeding your woodfurnace into the return of the central furnace you are losing alot of heat. There are a few things you should look at. Does the 385 burn clean?
  14. 4wydnr

    4wydnr Member

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    As far as venting into the central furnace return, that's how my dad's has been for 20+ years with no issues. I run the central furnace fan on continuous and it mixes the air well. It isn't any different than if the cold air return brought cold air to the wood furnace mixed with the hot air there and then pushed it to the main duct line. Instead it mixes in the cold air return and is pushed through the central furnace. My house stays in the 68-70 range.

    While I'm operating the wood furnace after I get a nice fire rolling I close the damper on the exhaust pipe a little bit. The 385 has two controls for the fire box air. One runs off the separate thermostat for the wood furnace. The other is a fine tuning manual control behind the t-stat control. I don't have the t-stat hooked up because the interior walls of my house are filled with plaster scrap and I can't drill through them. So that will be a project for later this winter or over the summer. I've gone through a full cord of dried maple and about a cord and a half of slightly rotted oak. Now I'm working on using up a pile of maple that has been sitting in logs for over a year. I get some smoke for about 10 minutes after I throw a new log on the fire then it clears up. I use the wood furnace for about 85% of my heating, the gas furnace only kicks on when my wife and I are gone for more than 6 hours.
  15. EnergyKing

    EnergyKing New Member

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    Chippewa Falls, WI USA
    @ Brian1986: I hope we were able to give you the support you needed when you contacted us here at the factory in Chippewa Falls, WI. If you have any further issues with your furnace, please don't hesitate to contact us toll free at (877) 720-1794 or via email at sales@energyking.com, and we will work to resolve the issue to make sure that your furnace is functioning to your satisfaction.
  16. arro222

    arro222 New Member

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    Was wondering how you are coming along with this furnace. There is one for sale on Craigs list. The guy has had it for one year and wants to get rid of it and cannot say why. I am wondering how effective the furnace really is.

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