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Fresh Air Intake?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by LRRifleman, Apr 2, 2011.

?

Where does your stove (pellet or woodburning) draw fresh air from?

  1. From within your house.

    75.0%
  2. From outside your house.

    25.0%
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  1. LRRifleman

    LRRifleman New Member

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    Hello folks ... I need to apologize ... I have jut violated one of the cardinal tennants of being a guy ... I read the installation instructions for my pellet stove. This was the result of my wanting to verify how to adjust the fresh air intake damper of my stove ... and I think I regret having trusted the "professional installation".

    According to the Technical Manual for my Regency pellet stove, the manufacturer requires fresh air venting if the pellet stove is installed in a monile home or an "airtight" house, and "strongly recommended" for ALL installations. Since my stove was installed (just prior to Christmas), I have been concerned about the pellet burn. Recently, pellet burn has been rather incomplete. Needless to say, my stove is drawing fresh air from within the house/room where the stove is installed.

    My questions ...
    a) If your pellet (or wood) stove is installed without a fresh air intake outside of the house, do you experience complete pellet burn?
    b) If your stove is installed without a fresh air intake outside of the house, do you (or any family members) experience light-headedness?
    c) Do you feel it is safe to operate a stove that does NOT have a fresh air intake drawing fresh air from outside the home?

    Thank you for your time and input!

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  2. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    A) If your house is tight enough, you may not get a complete burn. Also you will draw air in through the "Drafty" places in your home if its not tight.
    B) If you or anyone has "Light-Headedness" then the venting may be leaking into your home. Do you have a CO detector?
    C) It is safe to burn, so long as the Manufacturer does not absolutely require this. And you don't mind the combustion air coming from "Leaks" in your home.

    Not familiar with Regency, but Englander REQUIRES an OAK for installs. This is why every stove comes with one when you purchase the unit.

    If you are getting an incomplete burn. You must do one of two things. (or both). Increase your combustion air through your damper, or decrease your fuel feed rate.
  3. LRRifleman

    LRRifleman New Member

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    Loc:
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    Hello!

    1) Sadly, my house is rather airtight ... very few drafts in the living room where the stove is.
    2) Yes, I did install a CO detector with the first "light-headedness" experience.
    3) What is an OAK? Outside Air K???
  4. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Yes an OAK is an Outside Air Kit. Do you smell smoke in your home. If your vent was leaking, this would normally be when its igniting the pellets. When the stove is the smokiest...

    Why do you say you are getting an incomplete burn? What is your venting set-up (Flue)? Do you have 3" or 4" PL pipe? Is is Direct-Vent (straight through the wall), or do you have any vertical rise? If so, how much? Can you describe your Vent? Piece by Piece? (i.e.- Stove adapter to 1 foot horizontal, to Clean-out T (90), 4 feet vert, to 90, to 3 feet horizontal, to termination cap) Being Professionally installed, I would hope they followed the guidelines for EVL.
  5. LRRifleman

    LRRifleman New Member

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    On ocassion, I do smell smoke.
    I am burning the Lignette Pellets ... generally, the pellets are not burning completely, and I am getting a residual build-up in the burning tray ... sometimes it gets about an inch thick ... with burned pellets retaining much of their original shape. The build-up in the "burn tray" actually tends to suffocate the fire.

    Honestly, I am starting to believe that the stove is poorly designed. The "fire tray" where the pellets burn is "vented" on the bottom, but there is only barely an inch of "drop clearance" for the ashes to drop in the bracket box that holds the "burn/fire tray". Generally, the ashes are accumlating heavily around the door ... not dropping freely to the grate seperating the fire chamber from the ash "tray/drawer".

    The vents ... the air intake vent terminates about an inch away from the unit, and is drawing fresh air from within the house. The exhaust vent is a bit "complex". The vent is of horizontal design using what looks like regular 4" stove pipe.

    The venting system is as follows:
    Pellet stove ... attached directly to a clean out "T" (approx. 2" of horizontal pipe), about 2 foot of vertical stove pipe leading to the 90 degree elbow, leading to the thru-the-wall fixture ... approximately a foot of protrusion outside of the structure ... then a 45 degree nozzle ... that is the vent .
  6. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Lignetic's are a pretty good pellet. Actually, really good. Just picked up 2 tons today. Do they have Lignetic's wrote in "Green" or "Blue" or are they the Prest-Logs that are made my them. Do you have an air adjustment (Damper) for your intake air? Does this "Build-up" still look like burning pellets (Black)? Or does it resemble ash that has not been expelleded from the pot. The ash should not be dropping through the holes in the Burnpot ("Firetray"). There should be enough air coming through the holes in the burnpot to expel the ash or almost burnt pellets, once new pellets start dropping into the pot. Then the ash should accumulate in the ash pan (if you have one) or the bottom of your stove.

    Also you shouldn't smell smoke. Did they seal your joints with High Temp Silicone? Or a Vent tape (looks like a aluminium foil)?

    Looking up your manual now.
  7. LRRifleman

    LRRifleman New Member

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    Loc:
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    Hello!

    Lignetics is actually in Green. These pellets are purchase by the ton from Tractor Supply.

    I actually had to clean out the burn tray today ... the build up of unburned pellets is actually clay-like unburned mud ... it cakes up hard. Generally, much of the ash is blown around the burning chamber and accumulates around the door opening. The damper is (I hope) controlling the fresh air intake ...the stove just "suffocated" itself and burned out ...
  8. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    The lack of OAK will be felt even more if you are running an exhaust fan in the house, such as a dryer, bathroom fan, range hood that's vented outside, etc. They will compete with the stove for air, and will probably win, and may even draw smoke into the house in extreme cases.

    If you have a gas water heater, the stove could cause negative pressure in the house and draw its exhaust into the living area - including CO!

    I had an attic fan in another house. The previous owner warned me to keep the basement door closed when running the fan, and showed me the scorch marks where the fan actually sucked the flame out of the oil burner. A friend of mine turned on his attic fan with the fireplace damper open, and not enough windows open - all of the ashes in the fireplace "exploded" all over the living room and hallway. What a mess! These are extreme examples, yes, but you could be doing the same thing on a smaller scale with your stove.

    I had an OAK installed because I felt it was counterproductive to draw in cold outside air to replace combustion air. I'm glad I did!
  9. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    4. FEED RATE TRIM BUTTON:
    Used to change the feed rate trims in ¼ second increments for all
    feed settings. When this button is pressed, all the light will light up on
    the Heat Output Indicator except for the one that shows the current
    setting; the default setting is the number 4 light. To adjust the setting
    hold the Feed Rate Trim button down and press the Heat Level up or
    down buttons to adjust the setting.
    5. COMBUSTION BLOWER TRIM BUTTON: Used to change the
    Combustion Blower trims in 5 volt increments for all feed settings until
    it reaches line voltage. When this button is pressed, all the light will
    light up on the Heat Output Indicator except for the one that shows
    the current setting; the default setting is the number 2 light. To adjust
    the setting hold the Combustion Blower Trim button down and press
    the Heat Level up or down buttons to adjust the setting.


    NOTE:
    Incorrect use of the Damper will cause malfunction and poor
    results from your stove or insert.

    These are straight from your manual. If your Damper is not set right. You will have a lazy flame that will encourage build-up. Also you can lower the feed settings as noted above. Open your Damper. Your flame should be very active. Not like a "Blowtorch" but it should not look like a "Wood" fire. Pellet stoves need a correct amount of Air/Fuel ratio. Just like your vehicle does. Without the "Correct" amount, it will run like crap.
  10. LRRifleman

    LRRifleman New Member

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    @ Heat Seeker:

    I did not realize about the competition between pellet stove and clothes dryer.
    I am confused by your last line ... would not the OAK draw in cold air to "feed" the fire?? If so, hw is that counter productive?
  11. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    The cold air never leaves the stove - it's used in the combustion area, then vented outside. Ideally, the combustion airflow is completely sealed from the living area, both the fresh air coming in, and the burned gasses going out. Without the OAK, you are drawing heated room air from the living area, which has to be replaced by (cold) outside air.
  12. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, I wasn't clear. Without the OAK, the stove uses inside air for combustion, drawing outside air into the living area. With an OAK, the stove uses only outside air for combustion.
  13. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Without an OAK your stove is also using up the oxygen that you need to breath....add a few other gas fired appliances to the mix and you can run out of oxygen real quick.
  14. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    By not having an OAK. You are pulling cold air in through every crack and leaky place in your home. If you have an OAK, the stove uses this air for combustion, then expells it out. Without an OAK you are taking air that you heated and throwing it outside of your home. Go outside and feel how much air comes out of your vent. The amount of air that is expelled, must be brought in your home to replenish it.

    I would try the Damper, and/or adjusting the Feed Trim.
  15. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest



    Seeing your Signature Krooser, made me realize to ask LRRifleman, When was the last time your stove was cleaned.

    Fully cleaned............. Vent and all ash traps, burpot, and behind baffles. If its been over 2 months. Then its necessary to CLEAN" it.
  16. LRRifleman

    LRRifleman New Member

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    Hi.

    Well ...the stove was installed the Monday before Christmas ... it has been in almost continuous use since with the exception of a few days while I was hospitalized (kidney problems) and for a few road trips entailing a couple of weekends. Additionally, the stove was out of operation for about 3 weeks while the seller of the stove obtained a replacement glass pane to replace one the cracked.

    I have cleaned the interior of the stove ... burn pot, etc about once every 2 to 3 weeks. The (exhaust) vent has never been cleaned.

    Of note, I have followed the pellet burn ... a 40# bag of pellets is consumed in about 18 hours ... that was typically with an outdoor temperature (at night) dropping into the single digits and dytime highs rnning about 30 or so. The dealer also presumed the stove had a external thrmostat that could be attached, not realzing that a thermostat had to be purchased locally and installed. Hence, the burn rate has been manually controlled, with the heat setting at the lowest setting.
  17. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Have you checked your vent cap? The caps plug pretty easily. I do a "Ful Cleaning" every month. This includes using a leaf-blower, and cleaning the flue, emptying ash pan, cleaning the burnpot, and running brushes up every nook and cranny.
  18. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Did the stove ever do this before? If not, then you have a dirty stove, or maybe an "air leak" from a door gasket or an ash pan gasket. Any air leak will prohibit air from coming through the burn pot. Which results in a "Bad Burn".

    Straight out of the owners manual also


    If the fire should happen to go out and the heat output indicator has been
    set on the lowest setting, the Slider Damper should be pushed in slightly,
    decreasing the air in the firebox.

    If, after long periods of burning, the fire builds up and overflows the burn pot
    or there is a build up of clinkers, this would be a sign that the pellet quality
    is poor, this requires more primary air, the slider damper must be pulled out
    to compensate. Pulling the slider damper out gives the fire more air.
    The easiest way to make sure that an efficient flame is achieved is to
    understand the characteristics of the fire.

    • A tall, lazy fl ame with dark orange tips requires more air – Open slider
    (pull out) slightly.

    • A short, brisk fl ame, like a blowtorch, has too much air – Close slider
    (push in) slightly.

    • If the flame is in the middle of these two characteristics with a bright
    yellow/orange, active flame with no black tips then the air is set for
    proper operation, refer to Figure 8.

    The combustion exhaust blower is a variable speed blower controlled by
    the heat output button. This blower will decrease the vacuum pressure
    inside the stove and as the heat output button is turned down.


    SPECIAL NOTES:
    Pellet quality is a major factor in how the Pellet stove will operate. If the
    pellets have a high moisture or ash content the fire will be less efficient
    and has a higher possibility of the fire building up and creating clinkers
    (hard ash build-up).
    Figure 8: Efficient Flame.
    NOTE:
    Incorrect use of the Damper will cause malfunction and poor
    results from your stove or insert.
  19. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    DexterDay has covered this subject very well. I experienced this situation once. Hate to admit it, but found that I hadn't latched the ash door securely. My latches are behind a hinged cover. When I secured the latch, my burn returned to normal. This goes to support the importance of knowing your draft. If you think your stove is being starved for air due to a lack of OAK, just open a window for a while and monitor the burn. No change, then chances are it is the stove's draft, dirty stove or pellet issues. Remember, even a good brand of pellet can give a poor burn if they have been exposed to moisture. I highly encourage you to install OAK. It saves money, limits drafty floors, and won't compete for the air needed for combustion.
    Krooser did the original posting on the leaf bower in 2008. You can find it by using the search box upper left of this forum. http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/29847/ Shouldn't cost more than $50 bucks that will get you a stove cleaning device that will return your stove to "like new". You still have to to the inside cleaning, but wow, what a job this does cleaning the venting. I do this cleaning with every ton burned. That schedule serves me well.
  20. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Plenty of ways to play the suck the heated air out of a house game.

    In each case the replacement air must come from outside the building.

    I vote for keeping mine.
  21. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Me 2, After all it did cost me something to heat it.

    Funny how the bathroom fan breaks every winter? Only problem is what to use for an excuss this year, I think I have used them all! :)
  22. LRRifleman

    LRRifleman New Member

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    Hello!

    Just an update. I just did a thorough (shiop vac) cleaning of the stove today, then readjusted the auger speed control and the combustion fan speed on top of setting the damper ... stove appears to be burning acceptably now.

    Went to the installing delear today. Spoke with the owner, and was somewhat disturbed and disappointed with what I foud out. Apparently, they have NEVER installed an OAK on any of the wood or pellet stoves they have sold or installed. I was a bit taken back when the owner came up with a mild reactio and retort to the manufacturer's recommendation for an OAK as being merely a lawyer-ese lea suit prevent clainm in the event that something ever did go wrong. Bottom line ... they would install and OAY at extra cost ... the longer I can hold off until the "stov season" demand subsides, the better my price will be.

    Is it me, or does the dealer's response sound like a scream to be sued if something does go wrong??
  23. bacsibob

    bacsibob New Member

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    When I bought my first pellet stove, it did not even occur to me to not install an OAK. I have yet to see an acceptable (to me) argument for not using one. One of the the advantages of a pellet stove over a fireplace is not using heated air to feed the fire. Also, in older homes, the negative pressure generated by a stove without an OAK may not pop your eardrums but you can bet cold air is coming into the house because of it. In newer homes, sending heated air from the living space out the flu has to dilute/degrade the air quality.
  24. TLHinCanada

    TLHinCanada Feeling the Heat

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    While drafts would be a concern without oak hooked up, the real concern could be if you still have your furnace and are useing it for a backup. If both are running at the same time there is a potential problem. I have noticed a lot of people on this forum leave their furnace thermostat set low in case of pellet stove problems or real cold weather. I would suggest a OAK is a good precaution if your house has any other source of combustion it is a must if you are still using another furnace.
  25. rona

    rona Minister of Fire

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    There is so many reasons to use outside air I can't imagine why any dealer would choose to not install it other then lost profit.
    It does cost time and material and I expect to gain a sale the dealer may ignore it as a cost savings and potential deal breaker if the bottom line gets to high.
    A person purchases this type of stove to save money and simple logic would tell you using the inside air you have heated is a waste of money plus you are drawing cold outside from cracks etc into the house to replace the hot air you use for combustion.
    Another thing to think about is this is a prime place for smoke to seep out from the stove if the power goes out.
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