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Fresh-air intake

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Curve, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Curve

    Curve New Member

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    I am a newbie to Pellet Stoves. I just purchased a new VistaFlame VF-55FS.
    I will be installing it next weekend. After reviewing the Technical Manual, it shows that the stove has a Fresh-air intake on the back. It does recommend using this. Is this absolutely necessary? What if this just is not possible for me to do?
    Any help with this is greatly appreciated.

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  2. P38X2

    P38X2 Minister of Fire

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    I'll let the experts chime in with the technical aspects of this question, but....

    Look at it this way. You're outside by your pellet stove vent (assuming you have access to it...and pretend it's already hooked up) and your stove is on. Where is the hot air coming out of your vent coming from? Outside, and ideally you want that air from outside to come in through your cold/fresh/outside air intake or OAK (OAK-Outside Air Kit). What happens if you don't have one is the air used for combustion comes from outside, through all the nooks n crannies in your house, sometimes in the form of significant drafts. That means your using some of the warm air in your house to burn your pellets while replacing it with cold air from outside. Bottom line is its less efficient....and unless you live in an airtight ziplock bag, not necessary.

    Enjoy your new stove.
  3. Curve

    Curve New Member

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    I think I understand. If I can't put another hole in the wall to get this Fresh-air intake, is it possible to use pipe going out a window directly next to the stove? Kind of like how some people vent an electric close dryer out of a basement window?
    [​IMG]
  4. P38X2

    P38X2 Minister of Fire

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    Again, I'll let the experts take this one due to potential code issues, specifically clearances, although there are some basic requirements. Use metal for your intake piping (thanks Smokey). Also be sure there won't be any obstructions near the intake. Snow, leaves, grass, excess moisture are all bad. Have some sort of critter proof cap on there as well. The proper diameter pipe must also be used. Yer manual should specify the requirements.
  5. P38X2

    P38X2 Minister of Fire

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    Actually, your manual may also list OAK clearances as well. If you bought your stove from a dealer, they'll also have the specific info you need.
  6. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Please do a search on OAKs in this forum. There are volumes of info and opinions. There is a fairly new thread going on right now about them.

    Link: http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/oak-condensing.92375/

    Read down a ways for opinions and facts. A search will get you loads more info.
  7. imacman

    imacman Guest

    If it's at all possible to put an OAK in, do it....there's really no down side to having one, and it can only help.
  8. Curve

    Curve New Member

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    Thanks imacman. I did read the link you recommended. I guess I am more of a newbie than I thought, some of this information was way over my head. It seems that there is a division between those who agree an OAK is necessary an those who do not...as well as those who do believe the OAK is necessary and those who think that the OAK is necessary but needs to be preheated before entering the stove.
    Since I am very new to this, in simple terms, what is the downfall to not installing an OAK? I do not think I want to put another hole in my wall, the stove is on the main floor of the house. If in the basement, I would not mind so much.
    I checked the manual and could not find any information on code or clearance recommendations. Do you think I can simply have the freah air intake (3") run through the window next to the stove? It would be installed just like some people install a vent for their clothes dryers out of a window.
    [​IMG]
  9. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    I don't know if you've seen this: the OAK must not be flammable, as there are certain conditions where the hot stove gasses could travel into the OAK piping. That could be disastrous or fatal. Your photo shows what appears to be plastic dryer venting - that's a big NONO!

    I just wanted to make that clear, as it's a safety issue.

    And, I'm in the "Every stove should have an OAK" camp.
  10. Curve

    Curve New Member

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    I definately wold not be using that flexible dryer hose, I would be using a non combustible pipe of some kind.
  11. Curve

    Curve New Member

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    One other very confusing point for me as a newbie...
    If some of the people on here recommend heating the OAK before the air enters the stove, wouldn't this be defeating the original purpose? If the idea is to bring cold air in from the outside, why heat it? Wouldn't this be the same as not using an OAK and just using the already warm air from the romm?
  12. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Pre-heating the incoming air is OK.....helps eliminate any condensation some people get. But standard "cold air" OAK is just fine. As for your question " what is the downfall to not installing an OAK?"........not using one makes the stove pull the combustion air from within the house, causing a small but noticeable vacuum indoors.

    That low pressure will pull outside air in through any cracks or air leaks in the house......in the winter that means that cold air is being pulled in, while the stove sucks already heated air (aka air you already paid to heat) for combustion and sends it out of the house through the exhaust. Some people argue that their house isn't very "tight", so no need for an OAK, but regardless of how leaky a house is, the stove will just make the problem worse.

    Like I said, no downside to an OAK, IMO. Englander even includes one with every stove.
  13. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    The heating of the intake air in the OAK is usually done with the outgoing exhaust gasses, so it's "free" heat for the incoming air, using otherwise wasted heat.

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