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getting smoked out

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by flieman, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. flieman

    flieman New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    northern MN
    I just bought an old Montgomery Ward freestanding wood burning stove. I am using this to heat a small workshop. It puts out good heat but every time I open the gates to add wood the room fills with smoke. I've spent a significant amount of time searching through other forums on this page, got a lot of ideas, but decided to post a direct question. Attached is a picture after install. Based on other forums my ideas are:
    1. I am using freshly split wood, which I understand causes more smoke, but shouldn't the smoke still rise out the chimney?
    2. May not be getting proper ventillation to force smoke upwards - I have tried opening the stove both with the outside door open and closed, same result.
    3. Brick chimney has no liner, this is the first time I have used it, but previous tenants had a stove inplace.
    4. Not certain about chimney length requirements - this one has about 8 feet of chimney above where the flue enters. It is a squared chimney 8 inches across.
    5. So far I have still been tweeking my method of opening the gates/intake.
    6. I purchased some creosote remover but haven't used it yet.

    FYI I have checked the chimney - no obstructions. I installed a chimney cap, which has approx. a 3 inch clearance. There is a damper, which is open during burning. This building has a flat roof, chimney extends 2 feet above it.

    Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Attached Files:

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  2. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Combine 1, 2, and 3, along with what seems like some bends and horizontal piping, and there's your problem. You're kind of working with a lot of bad and not much good.
  3. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    Nov 23, 2008
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    91. wood not dry enough. Moisture content in interior of wood needs to be 20% or less , most fresh split stuff will be off the chart moisture wise. Re-split apiece if it feels damp to touch on inside it is too wet for proper use. Get a moisture meter
    2. Flue is not being warmed enough by fire to create proper draft, so you are experiencing a reverse draft problem. Additionally a cold flue and green wood is a perfect recipe for a chimney fire as the the build up of creosote will be quite quick.
    3. insulated liner for the flue would be the best overall cure
    4. Would not hurt to extend flue length above roof at least 3 ft.
    5. get you hands on some old pallets and break them down, use that to start your fire and likely have to mix with the fresh split to keep things hot enough.
    6. pre-warm the flue system with a goodly amount of loosely crunched up newspaper ( none of the shiny stuff though) Then add small lengths of pallet pieces to get things started before adding split stuff
    7. re-split your supply down to 2-3" cross section and bring inside to dry some ( at least a week) that will also help.
    8. There are many threads on this subject if you do a search.
    9. a horizontal pipe to the flue ( as mentioned above) is always a problem, if possible change out the 90 deg bends for 45 deg units to maintain a rise on the flue pipe to the chimney.
  4. flieman

    flieman New Member

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    Nov 8, 2011
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    Loc:
    northern MN
    Thanks for the info and ideas. The wood I am burning has been dead for at least a year, only recently split, so it has no problem igniting and staying lit. It also seems to heat up the flue quite efficiently. I definitely like the idea of getting a liner! Right now it is just a single wythe chimney, which I understand has safety hazards. I'm just skeptical about spending the money on a liner before I know that this will solve the problem of smoke coming out the front doors every time they are opened.
  5. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Michigan
    From the picture I'm thinking more rise off the stove top before a bend would help. In the end I think BrowningBAR has it right with it being a combo of issues that need to be addressed.
  6. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Even some wood that has been dead for 2-3 yrs will still be wet (un-seasoned) when split. Wood does not season until its split. Even then, most woods require 1 yr of seasoning, with Oak taking about 3 yrs (after it was split).

    Buy a moisture meter ($20) and split a piece in half (fresh split), I would be willing to bet its pretty high in Moisture content. An M/C of 20% or less is ideal. Some wood seasons faster than others..

    I would say the lack of vertical off the stove, mixed with the wood, and compounded by a few possible air leaks. And you will have found the problem. Wet wood will smoke a lot, it also will prohibit high flue temps, which negates the draft of the chimney. Add it all up... Smoke.
  7. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    Tell me that elbow is NOT galvanized?
    And that looks more like an insert than a freestanding wood stove.
  8. flieman

    flieman New Member

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    Loc:
    northern MN
    Wow-you guys get to it quick!
    Alright, so I've pretty much decided I'm not going to burn another fire in there until I can get the chimney lined - based on other things I've read it seems like these single wythe chimneys are a real safety hazard.
    In the meantime - I'm thinking of reworking the flue angles. So, as you can see by the picture I only have about 22 inches of vertical from the top of stove to chimney entrance. Would it be better to run a vertical straight up from the stove, then cut horizontally into the chimney? I've seen this method recomended in YouTube videos, but it seemed to me that having two 45 degree angles within forty inches of eachother was a bad plan? Obviously at some point there will have to be some horizontal section, right now it is about 14 inches long coming out of the chimney. The only way I can reduce the distance of horizontal section would be to place the stove closer to the chimney - which I'm hoping to avoid...
    thanks!
  9. flieman

    flieman New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
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    Loc:
    northern MN
    Hogwildz - Honestly I don't know the material, pretty sure it IS galvanized,,, I just went with what the guy at the hardware store recomended. Which incidentally, I had been referring it to him as an insert, but once I showed him the picture he said, "Oh that's actually a freestanding..." So please - correct me if I'm wrong.

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