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Harmon Advance igniter and soot in house issues

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Young Mike, Mar 22, 2008.

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  1. Young Mike

    Young Mike New Member

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    I purchased a Harmon Advance 26 months ago. I also purchased installation from the authorized dealer. At this point we are on igniter # 5 and the stove deposits so much soot on the walls of the house that my wife will not allow me to run it. My last conversation with the dealers rep was "I have no idea what you are doing to make these igniters burn out and I have no idea what you are doing to bring the soot back into the house" The dealer is not very high on my list at this point. I have had no success getting in touch with Harmon.

    I have a strong suspiscion that the install was faulty. The chimney is basically a candy cane shape. At start up I get what I believe to be normal smoke and I think that because of the orientation of the chimney, the smoke is directed to the fresh air intake that is located at the base of the chimney, bringing soot back into the house as well as into the combustion mix. I am really desperate at this point as I contemplate my recourse with the dealer and Harmon. Any insight into this situation would be greatly appreciated. Photos attached.

    Attached Files:

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  2. STOVEGUY11

    STOVEGUY11 Feeling the Heat

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    Is this directly out the back of the unit? Or is there a rise in pipe on the inside before it exits out?
  3. Young Mike

    Young Mike New Member

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    I have attached a picture of the inside

    Attached Files:

  4. Souzafone

    Souzafone Feeling the Heat

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    I'm no expert, but disconnect the fresh air intake and block it off at the wall, and get yourself 4 or 5 feet to add on to the chimney. I'd show these pictures to the dealer and tell him you'd post these and name his store online if he doesn't agree to fix this.
  5. toastyinri

    toastyinri Member

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    That install doesn't look correct to me.
    I don't see a seperate fresh air intake on the outside of the house. How's fresh air getting in? Also looks like you need more rise. Looking at your indoor connection for fresh air...Harman recommends 2 3/8 flex pipe, hard to tell from the picture but yours looks like vent pipe and too large. The outside setup looks weird. It looks like he used a vent cap and inserted a tee into it.

    Take a look at your Harman Manual....on page 12, fig. 19. for what your setup should more closely resemble.

    I noticed in your outdoor picture that there is a window to the right. Is that window sealed and kept closed while running the stove?
  6. Young Mike

    Young Mike New Member

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    The fresh air intake is at the base of the chimney, under a sheet metal hood. The room is pretty well sealed. Do you know how much rise is recommended, I think that is the key to the problem.

    mikehage@optonline.net
  7. toastyinri

    toastyinri Member

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    I don't think the fresh air intake is supposed to be at the base....it should be offset to the right and have it's own metal cap. The rise should be at least 3 to 4 feet.
  8. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    The fresh air system being used might be the new simpson wall thimble or something very similar to it. Its a wall thimble that has a fresh air hood built into it. Its designed to make a cleaner install, and a cleaner look. Also you only have to make one hole in the wall.

    Basically what I am saying is there is nothing wrong with the way the fresh air is setup.

    Now... the clearances to your window is another story. I have not looked in the manual but most pellet units require 48" clearance to windows.

    Also looking at that venting it looks like they put on a 90 deg elbow and then a 45 deg elbow and just ended it there. Where is the actual cap? Can you look on one of the stickers for the venting and see what brand it is? If it is simpson I can tell you that is NOT their cap on the end, its an elbow.
  9. Dougsey

    Dougsey Feeling the Heat

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    While the pictured venting might be a tad better if it had a 2 more feet ofverticle rise, I don't see it as being the cause of soot in the house. Unless maybe the nearby window is not sealing well.

    I was looking at that new wall thimble at my local stove shop last November... it's very cool. Makes for a very neat installation if you decide to use outside air.

    My understanding is that the clearance to a window that can be opened is 48" or 12" when outside air kit is used.

    The install looks a lot like the "#1 Preferred Method" as illustrated in the Harman owners manual.

    Young Mike, do you smell smoke in your house when the stove is burning?
  10. chuckpp

    chuckpp Member

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    Is that 3 inch pipe or 4 inch???? It should be 3 inch

    chuck
  11. BignBeefy

    BignBeefy Member

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    Did they seal the inside with high temp RTV?

    As far as the ignitor failing,on my p68 I was told to be careful with the vacuum when cleaning under the burn pot.Are u whacking it when cleaning it?

    I also couldnt see a screen,maybe an animal has set up shop in the pipe?

    I had a friend who with no screen and had a birds nest in it....

    Something to check
  12. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I agree with your post.. This will take the fresh air intake drawing exhaust into the house out of the equation.. I do not like the fresh air so close to the chimney nor do I like the fact that the flue pipe is so short and blowing down toward the intake... I bet the flue is leaking where the fresh air draws in air plus drawing in exhaust that blows downward... That's just what I see.. I also would definitely raise the vertical flue pipe and get rid of the bend and add a screened cap...

    My 2 cents,
    Ray
  13. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    Not that it matters now, but have you had these problems
    since the beginning or is this just lately?

    While I am no expert either, but my first thought was that OAK
    may be sucking in the air/soot from the exhaust rather than
    getting some fresh air.
  14. Young Mike

    Young Mike New Member

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    I am finding all of these posts helpful, please keep them coming. The igniter situation remains a mystery, the failed units have not been abused at all, they just stop heating up.

    It seems like there is somewhat of a consensus that the pipe is to short (2 feet) and at least should be capped and not curved down with an elbow.

    The venting components are Simpson

    Is anyone ever able to get in touch with Harmon, if so how.

    The fresh air intake is 3 inch, the exhaust is 4 inch.

    Again, please keep the info coming
  15. chuckpp

    chuckpp Member

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    I think the owners manual say 3"...all the way

    chuc
  16. chuckpp

    chuckpp Member

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  17. chuckpp

    chuckpp Member

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  18. Stilllife1

    Stilllife1 New Member

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    Here are two #'s I've come across for Harman. I have never called them though, so I don't know if they're valid.

    Harman - 717-362-9080
    Customer Service - 717-362-1422

    Also, I think your fresh air setup should be fine. And the air kit allows you to terminate your vent 18" from a window/door. The manual say's the vertical run should be atleast 3-5 feet. I would make it as long as you can (within reason). Also, I don't recall if you said the soot is collecting on the inside walls or the outside wall (which can be common - I think).

    Good luck.
  19. Bxpellet

    Bxpellet Feeling the Heat

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    When was the last time you cleaned the vent,, when I notice smoke coming out my vent I shut it down give the stove a good cleaning, and the vent a good brushing
    My fresh air is a least 5' from the vent what is above that vent can you go up 3 to 5 ft.
  20. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

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    i dont think the fresh air intake would have anything to do with soot getting the house. you are drawing air into a supposedly sealed under vacum stove. if the fresh air was getting some exhaust, the fire would suffer from lack of oxygen. that wouldnt put soot inside. there is something else wrong. i would check to see if the exhaust could be getting in through an opening in the house such as a window or door. next check the pipe for leaks. should be pretty easy when using the ignitor. last, check the stove. there is always the possibility of a defect.

    steve
  21. toastyinri

    toastyinri Member

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    RE: your ignitor....inside your burn pot there are air holes which can become blocked. Use a paper clip and stick it in each hole to push out any debrie that is collected in them. be certain to unblock the the series of holes that are closest to the bottom of the burn pot. those holes will only go half way across and if those holes are covered with charred material the they will prevent the ignitor from delivering it's full blast of heat to light your pellets. It doesn't sound right that you could have caught 5 faulty ignitors. I suspect those last lines of holes are completely blocked.
  22. toastyinri

    toastyinri Member

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    One more thought. If soot is collecting inside on your walls, it may have something to do with your cleaning method. those particles are very small and float easily in the air and will collect on flat surfaces. I cover the top of my stove with a painting tarp when I clean it and sort of sit under the tarp while I'm scraping and vacuuming out the dust. Mask sure you wear protective mask so you don't breath in that stuff.

    the holes that go half way across, as I mentioned in the last post, start on the left side of the pot and go to the center. If they are charred over you won't see or feel them. scrape the pot until everything feels smooth, then feel around with your finger for those holes and unplug them with a paper cliip.

    because those last line of holes cannot be seen when you look into the pot, you might have overlooked them. when I first got my advance 3 years ago, I didn't know they were there and when they became plugged my unit took a very long time to startup. as soon as I discovered those holes and unplugged them, it fired up quickly.
  23. Fire

    Fire Member

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    Mike,

    First, get rid of the fresh air pipe altogether. After your vent pipe exits the house, elbow it up at least six feet, then another elbow, then use a jet cap to exhaust it out straight, DO NOT have a down turn in the pipe.
    Second, use a screw to hold the first piece of vent pipe to the collar on the stove, make sure you tape all joints in the house and in the wall thimble. PM me if I can help any further. John.
  24. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    I agree with your post.. This will take the fresh air intake drawing exhaust into the house out of the equation.. I do not like the fresh air so close to the chimney nor do I like the fact that the flue pipe is so short and blowing down toward the intake... I bet the flue is leaking where the fresh air draws in air plus drawing in exhaust that blows downward... That's just what I see.. I also would definitely raise the vertical flue pipe and get rid of the bend and add a screened cap...

    My 2 cents,
    Ray[/quote]

    Ditto on the above. Also, you aren't doing a lot of pawing around in there with the door open and the stove running are you? That ceiling of yours reminds me of what a cornburner with a pot stirrer does to a house. Thats why I completely pulled mine and operate it as a clinker stove. You might be able to see if and where its leaking by getting it hot and tossing something in there that will smoke like crazy. That might show you a visual of any leaks inside the stove or on the stove pipe connections ect. If you have any kicking around toss some in there unlit and see if you can smell it in a minute or so. That might also show you something hidden like an open seam, bad weld whatever inside.
  25. toastyinri

    toastyinri Member

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    Mike,

    what I'd like to know is if you have two holes cut out,,,,one for fresh air , the other for combustion. I see the adapter on your wall with the flex pipe and venting, but if there is no seperate hole for the fresh air venting it would seem to me that your "fresh air" is actually mixing with your combustion . you also haven't said what type home you live in as far as sq. footage. Is it a mobile home?

    my concern is that if you disconnected your fresh air and your wall adapter feeds through one hole, you would have combustion material filtering in...and that would not be good for your walls or your health.

    Instead of going around in circles, I think you should get someone else out there to check the setup and venting of your stove. You definately need more of a rise in the venting, and I would get rid of the "new" air intake piping and have it installed as Harman recommends,,,with seperate air intake and combustion with caps on both.

    If it turns out to be a bad install, I would contact the original installer and try to get the labor costs back.
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