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  1. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    6,065
    Loc:
    madison hgts. va
    i had just posted on a comment which made me think , somthing i do not see much talk of is gasket maintenance and checks. so i figured i'd sit and write out some basic ways to check these vitally important components of virtually all hearth products.

    Door gaskets;
    the most common test is the :"dollar bill test" simply open the door and shut a dollar bill in so that half is in and half is out where you can grab it. after securing the door normally , attempt to pull the bill out, if it slides out easily , replace the gasket , this should be repeated all the way around the door gasket to ensure a good seal, this is usable for wood or pellet stoves.
    NOTE: if you have a rotating door handle , note the position of it as you shut it , as the gasket wears out it compresses further and gets hard , as it compresses further , the handle rotates further , if the handle is a downward oriented handle ,if the gasket wears too much , the handle could swing past vertical , and this means that it could loosen and leak as gravity and heat work against the handle. most latches that lift straight up you can tell as when its gone too far it bottoms out with a hard stop instead of the "mushy" mashing of the gasket against its sealing point. if you get to this point with either type handle you should have already done a replacement

    Glass (window) gaskets;
    window gaskets are usually pinched between the glass and the door itself ,and in a lot of cases excess is exposed to the fire directly. this doesnt mean the gasket will be bad as soon as the flame starts to degrade the exposed parts of the gasket. the important part is not exposed. this said , the best way ive come up with to check a window gasket is with a match, lighter or candle type flame. turn the unit on and shut the door, take your flame and gently trace it around the edge of the glass where the gasket is sealing it to the door (you want to do this with a cold stove to avoid burns, as well as the convection blower disturbing your flame as you check. with pellet stoves operating under negative draft, if there is a leak , the flame will be pulled towards it. (this can also be used to check ash pan gaskets in a lot of stoves. this can also be used with woodstoves if the draft is strong enough , just shut all draft controls first to increase the pull against the potential leak)

    Hopper gaskets;
    take a pie tin or similar, wad up some tissue (just a little) place in the empty hopper with the stove turned off, light the tissue , let it get burning for a few seconds , then shut the hopper , this will extinguish the flame and create smoke, wait a few minutes and look closely around the sealed hopper lid for little tendrils of smoke. if leaks exist this will show you. now, after you perform the check , you dont want to let the smoke out , turn on the stove and crack the hopper lid just a little bit , the exhaust fan should carry the smoke out. or simply let it settle (though this will leave an odor and a film which can easily be cleaned from your hopper walls but sucking it out with the exhaust blower generally wont cause this)

    refer to your owners manual and pay attention to the section which gives suggested lifespan of these items , it isnt set in stone as some use their stoves more than others , but is a good baseline for regular gasket replacement. remember pellet stoves especially rely heavily on the proper air fuel mixture through the burnpot, leaking gaskets lead to a rich burn which not only reduces output , it makes for a dirtier burn, smoking out the flue , and more frequent necessity to have to shut down and clean out your unit.i hope this is helpful and should specific questions arise, feel free to post them or contact me , i'd be happy to help.

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  2. hoverfly

    hoverfly Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    555
    Loc:
    Southern NH
    :coolsmile: This should go under a sticky.
  3. packerfan

    packerfan Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Messages:
    375
    Loc:
    frozen tundra
    Great advice,
    And it also reminded me that I should check my gaskets before the heating season begins.
  4. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,494
    Loc:
    South Shore MA
    Excellent info, thanks Mike.
    Definitely should be a sticky!
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