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HearthStone wood stove won't draft!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by trulyviolet, Nov 22, 2005.

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  1. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

    Joined:
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    hi everyone,
    I am new here and I hope you all can help me


    I just bought a hearthstone phoenix stove, I had a lot of trouble getting it to burn over 200 degrees.... let alone up to the hot burn temp that the manual stated of 400 degrees.

    I have a technical bulletin that states that the phoenix hot burn temp is 350-375.

    my dealer advised me to open the ash grate in addition to the primary air control.
    the owners manual specifically says not to do this.

    I was wondering if any of the other owners of this stove had this problem?
    I also could not close the glass door until I did open the ash grate as then the fire would go out even though the primary air control was wide open!

    if you had any of these problems and figured a way around them would you be so kind as to let me know?
    our total chimeny is 12 from back of stove to bottom of cap, straight up through the roof

    btw, with the ash grate opened and the primary air control partly closed I managed to get the stove to center stone surface tempeture 375, as per my stove thermometer
    but I am afraid to do this on a regular basis as the ash pan is sort of thin metal not cast iron



    thank you so much


    vi

    ps: I have been looking online and found one refrence to making the chimney taller...but the company said that the dealer needs to do a draft test on the chimney...and the dealers answer was open the ash grate and that there isn't enough combustion air.....they feel it is a design flaw on hearthstone's part.....only one review here had that problem but didn't say what they did about it

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Tell us about your installation and chimney....

    Yes, the chimney is the "engine" that makes a stove get hot, but let's start from the beginning....

    1. Let's assume that you know about wood - and that your wood is nice and dry. If you don't know about this for sure, a good course of action is to ask the dealer or a trusted friend for a few splits of good wood.

    2. Assuming wood is OK, the chimney does become suspect. Tell us about it. In general, the taller then better - a taller chimney has better draft.

    Of course, it is remotely possible that something is wrong with your stove itself, but highly doubtful...sounds like a chimney problem.

    Also, where are you located? Warm weather is often a culprit when draft is bad.
  3. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Is your wood dry? Try building hot fires with small splits. How many 90 deg elbows in your system? If you only have 12ft chimney with a couple of 90's it will reduce your draft. I think it reduces 5' for every 90 deg elbow? Most stoves require somewhere around 13 to 15 foot chimney. What is the inside diameter of your chimney? Is it the same as your stove exhaust? Weather can effect draft to.

    Follow what your manual says. You should not have to open your ash grate for your stove to operate correctly. I run my stove between 400-600 deg. My manual says overfiring is over 600deg. You should be able to burn over 400 in a couple hours.

    Give Hearthstone a call or leave the woodtech an e-mail. They should be able to help.
  4. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    18
    the chimney is a total of 12 feet, and it is 6 inch pipe, I am attaching a picture of the installed stove ( just after they installed it)
    please excuse the mess in my studio as the chimney installer was not totally finished.

    as you can see there are two 45 degree angles in the pipe, because there is a steel I beam straight about the stove. ( this was the only place we had enough floor support and wall space without being in front of a window)

    the chimney outside is a double solid insulated pipe with a small cap and a spark screen, I can't get on the roof to get a picture of it.

    from my bill of sale for the chimney, the outside sections are 48 inches and 24 inches however I do know that part of one of those sections goes through the cathedral box. ( I think it is the 24 inch part)


    I am worried about burning this stove with the ash grate opened but I do have to say that it finally got it up to 375 center stone surface temp. and the fire STAYS lit now

    thank you so very much, I really appreciate you folks taking the time to help me

    vi

    ps: my father burned wood the entire time I was growing up so I do know what seasoned wood looks and sounds like....this stuff is seasoned.. most seems to be oak, there is some birch, some apple or cherry, and some maple.

    we live in the pocono's of pa and the temps until today have been unseasonably warm

    Attached Files:

  5. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

    Joined:
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    I did call Hearthstone and spoke to Jim, who told me to call the dealer and ask for them to do a draft test.
    I called the dealer and they told me to open the ash grate and the ash door as they felt this was a design flaw in the hearthstone line of stoves.

    I have been building small hot fires with little splits of wood to exhaust the cold air from the chimney so that there would be as much draft as I could get.

    I asked the dealer about the chimney height, and they said that this was ok.
    Hearthstone won't comment until the dealer does this draft test.
    They aren't going to, as one person there never even heard of a draft test.
    I told that person that the furnace tech uses one all the time!

    Jim at Hearthstone emailed me three technical bulletins.... #21 which has the surface temp for all thier stoves and the Phoenix is 350-375 at high....

    the manual for the phoenix doesn't exactly say that....however it says that the tempature can read as high as 500 on a hot burn!
    yet they also say if you over fire that the warrenty is void.

    bulletin #54 is about low heat output from woodstoves.

    bulletin #57 is about difficult to start fires. ( I can START the fire.....but following the owners manual can NOT keep it going without the glass door open or the ash grate open)

    the owners manual says that the stovepipe should be as short and straight as possible, and that the larger the number of elbows the greater the chance for draft resistance.
    I have three 45 degree elbows
    one is not visible in the picture as it is in the base of the bottom stovepipe into the stove.

    one more thing.....this stove was installed saturday. We did our first break in burn saturday night.
    the front glass is all dark now with creosote

    thank you all so much for answering me so quickly


    vi
  6. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
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    Frank, I did NOT see that on that page, thank you again. NOW I am going to talk to the dealer with this in hand.

    I am afraid I paid them in full already, in october.
    there was a mix up in the installation timing.
    that is why the stove didn't get here until last week and wasn't installed until Saturday.

    this is on a flat roof, it is my studio which is on the back of our house. it is about 15 feet from the back gable of the main house.
    would a 3 or 4 foot section of additional chimney pipe installed up on the roof help?
    also wouldn't that cause creosole problems with it being colder as there is even more outside the heated area of the house?

    I did ask the dealer about that but they said it was a combustion air problem and a poor design on Hearthstone's part.

    I am going to call the dealer with this information tomorrow and ask why a 12 foot chimney was sold to us, when the manual says 13 feet.

    also my husband just told me that the ash pan handle came loose from the pan, so I need to get that straightened out as well.

    thank you all again so much,
    we heated with wood when I was a child but this is sort of new to me with these new woodstoves.


    vi
  7. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

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    Messages:
    18
    I keep hearing how the new woodstoves are wonderful, and I heard that the soapstones were almost revered by their owners.
    I could not understand why we had so much problems with ours.
    I kept having to constantly tend this fire to keep it going, I didn't even remember dad working so hard.....!
    he used to stack the logs light the fire and we were sweating for days on a burn!

    we had gotten this to help with the oil budget as well as emergency heat because of winter blackouts in this area, this stove won't do much good if we can't keep it running or we can't run it safely

    I have to again thank you all so much
    I was so upset that this stove wasn't working for me.

    vi
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Ok, I need Craig to help me out here. vi has a stove that will light off and burn fine with the ash cleanout door open or the door open. Not smoking up the homestead and gets up to operating temp. How in the heck is there a draft problem if they can do that? There has to be an intake air problem with the primary on that stove. Casting flaw, piece of the packaging material stuck up there somewhere, something.

    I am open to being dead wrong. Happens, often enough, but I can't buy a chimney height problem that is cured by opening the ash drawer or the stove door. That chimney is drafting.

    To vi: It is time to get ready to feed somebody that stove. The dealer or the manufacturer. If he sold you a stove with a "known" problem you and him are primed to do the Texas Two Step right into small claims court.
  9. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
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    now we can't even get it to work with the ash pan open...
    it just keeps dying out
    unless we open the glass door along with the primary air control.
    we can't heat the house this way

    vi
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    12,253
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Actually, this is EXACTLY what will happen if draft is bad.

    Now, let's go back to square one...

    Some of the blame for stoves that require a lot of draft goes back to Test labs and standards...YES, in order that stoves not be able to overheat easily, that means the draft controls must not be as far open as would be for correct design.

    So, manufacturers are somewhat hamstrung..... A stove with "easy draft" will not pass either safety or EPA standards.....

    Onward - At least this stove has a straight up chimney - this helps! And...the 45 degree elbows are much better than steeper ones.

    Here's the deal with chimneys - I have had a number of straight up chimneys of 12 feet work well, so even though that chimney is a little short, I would not assume a fault on the installer...as long as the chimney height meets the code of distance above the roof...

    Bottom line: Add a 3 or 4 foot section to the chimney - support it with the kit that the manufacturer sells.
    Check the air path in the stove - it's always possible that a chunk of furnace cement or soapstone has partially blocked it.

    Also, please read the articles on fire starting at http://www.hearth.com/what/specific.html

    Start the fire really hot and fast keeping the front door cracked open for the first 5-20 minutes - lots of kindling - warm up that chimney and get a bed of coal going. Then close the door and keep the air control open.

    If, in the end, this and extending the chimney does not work, it is probably time to talk to the dealer or manufacturer more.
  11. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

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    Nov 22, 2005
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    hahaha Frank you are funny.....well at least on TOP of the stove we could roast marshmellows!

    if we open the glass door we have a fire......


    Ok here is what I am going to do

    I am going to let this fire go out overnight and in the morning I am going to try and check if that air controller has a blockage of some sort

    ah..... does anyone know how to check the air controller for blockage? I don't have a schematic with this stove.

    I will call the store about the ash pan handle, and also see about another section for the chimney..... I will have to get my husband to go up on the roof to measure for that.

    now according to the Duratech manual, if between the bottom of the cap and the storm collar measures 5' or less we don't need that extended roof bracket, which may be a good thing as this is a membrain roof over the attached studio. ( it's a flat roof basically)

    if that doesn't work on this stove, then I think, I will call the owner of the stove store and confrence call hearthstone and then ask BOTH parties what I can do, and who is coming to get this stove and fix my roof.

    that would be a shame as it is a very pretty stove,
    and if I could just get it to work well I think we would be happy with it.

    if not, I don't know what we are going to replace it with, I wanted soap stone for the soft heat and the long cooldown time

    I can't thank you all enough, each person who took the time to answer me.

    You all have no idea how much help you all have been


    vi
  12. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

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  13. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I have read enough Frank is right its a draft problem and the dealer who installed it. sucks
    Every 45 degree ebow produces enough friction to reduce the length by 2.5 ft Let me explain this the glass half full or half enpty
    Ideal minium straight verticle length is 13 ' Somke travels ina circular pattern as it assends ech circular path it gains momentum
    It is obstructed by a elbow and looses momentum., To re gain the momentum one has to straight verticle length/. In your case code each 45 degree elbow one has to add 2.5' to the verticle length times 3= 7.5' plus the one shorted you need about 8' more feet. Another way draft can be inscrease is to keep heat in the pipe your single wall connector pipe would loose heat if it were double wall to the stare of the chimney. . Dealer double taulk he is lying what Frank says.

    Here is where a good inspector helps get things resolved. Go down to your building dept talk to the inspector. Tell how your stove will not draft correctly and bring down your manual. Tell him according to the manufactures listing and specs the chimney was improperly installed.
    It does not meet the correct verticle length and tell him there are 3 elbows in the run. Every thing I have said here is standard code concerning elbows. Pull the permit and have him fail the inspection. Them call the dealer and tell him to install a code compliant chimney. If he has any questions direct them to the inspector. Let him argue code with the inspector. As an inspector it is easy to fail an installation when the faults are already pointed out in advance. The installer is practiced in BSing un supection owners. It's another thing trying to BS an informed inspector. If I were the inspector, I would now be wondering how many other bad installs this guy made in my town. I also would be making a mental note that this guy bears watching. If he trys to BS me I might request his records of all the installs he has made in my town the past 5 years. You know where this going and it is not going to be pretty for the installer. I have all kinds od recourses like tripple fees. If he has an ounce of intelligence, he goes back to your install and makes it right
  14. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

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    We didn't have a permit, I didn't know we had to have a permit!

    The store didn't tell me that I had to get one!

    I do know that their normal installer, who did NOT do this installation does not carry workman's comp on his crew as an outside vendor. So I felt better that the store crew did the installation.

    Now I don't know what to do.

    ok as to the actual chimney, I need to replace the single wall interior pipe with double wall, and then add 8 feet to the outside pipe, which somehow not only needs to be braced but also needs to be insulated.


    My husband is all for calling the company to tell them take this entire thing out and give us our money back.
    Then trying to get ANOTHER stove store to do the job.

    plus he just told me that the door handle on the ash door is broken

    and I agree it is better safe then sorry
    this is now just getting me sick

    thank you folks again

    vi
  15. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

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    [quote author="Webmaster" date="1132730387"]
    Also, please read the articles on fire starting at http://www.hearth.com/what/specific.html

    Start the fire really hot and fast keeping the front door cracked open for the first 5-20 minutes - lots of kindling - warm up that chimney and get a bed of coal going. Then close the door and keep the air control open.

  16. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    The owners manual clearly states to check with the local code authority and mentions code compliance on the first 2 pages
    I think you now know how important have an permit and an inspector on your side. The most important part of purchasing a stove is to find a dealer you are confortable, that services what he sells, a real professional. Most people that come into my office I advise them to hold part payment till their installation pass inspection. It is not code, that the double wall connector pipe be required only that it would help keep heat in the flue and enhance draft. The outside pipe is insulated and double wall anyway either packed insulation between layers or dead air space accomplishing the same effect of a form of insulation. Make the trip to the inspections office. Start out doing the correct thing. It looks like you will have to play it by numbers to get it right and you inspector should and could be your best ally. Personally I have not heard any negatives about your stove manufacturer, but He will protect his dealer. If you tell it was failed you will create a sense of urgency that he will find hard to keep supporting a dealer's install failed by the inspector
  17. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

    Joined:
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    I didn't down load the owners manual prior to purchase and I didn't get the owners manual until after the install.
    I can't believe I have been this stupid

    I have to find out where the inspectors office is now.
    As there wasn't anything online at our local zoning board/township site

    thank you again

    vi
  18. Rick

    Rick Member

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    Loc:
    Connecticut
    I have a Hearthstone Bennington that I installed myself last year that had the exact same problem. I was over height per the manual but the draft was still weak. This year I added another 4 feet to the chimney and split my wood smaller and the difference is fantastic. I realized last year that my wood was split too big for this stove, so i re-split most of it before I used it, what a pain. I have been a wood burner for over 10 years and my previous stove could apparently handle bigger splits, not this Hearthstone. I am much happier with the stove this year. Good luck. Rick
  19. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

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    OK folks, I have a follow up

    first of all, I called the stove company and the manufacturer this morning....
    I told them both of them that I don't like burning with the ash grate open....
    and I gave them the information about the chimeny bends etc.

    the lady at the store called me back a bit ago and told me that I needed to give them time to get this fixed.....
    that I should not have called the owner
    I told her.......
    I got this stove you folks have been screwed up on all along the way
    it cost alot of money
    either fix it or give me my money back and I will go somewhere else

    she said they would give me my money back.... if I would like
    but that they would like to come out and see if this will draft......

    I said fine

    I sent the tech at the manufactures the article from here about the elbows taking away effective height, and he asked me to email it to him which I did.

    also a picture of the install.

    the store says that the 45 degree elbow at the back of the stove to connect to the pipe 'isn't even an issue' as per the store manager. She also was the one that got snippy with me...

    I am ready to call another dealer at this point, and see what they say.


    I am waiting for a call back from our township to see who to talk to there.


    thank you all

    vi
  20. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    I agree with the consensus that the chimney is too short. When a manufacturer says 13' MINIMUM, that means in ideal atmospheric conditions with minimum exposure to outside temperatures and no elbows in the pipe. Like Craig, we've had installations draft just fine with short chimneys, but not always, and not often when so many things are present that adversely affect draft.

    This installation has three 45's, a short chimney, and a soapstone stove at the bottom. From the photo, it looks like nothing can be done about the 45's due to rear clearance requirements, but the chimney should certainly be extended 3 or 4 feet (make sure to add a roof brace).

    The Phoenix is also a factor here, not because of poor design but because it is made of soapstone. Soapstone stoves soak up much of the heat from a newly-laid fire, which results in cooler chimney temperatures and sluggish draft until everything heats up. Firing a cold soapstone stove is a different process than with a plate steel or cast iron stove: you can read more about getting a soapstone stove going at http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/hosoapstone.htm .

    As to opening the ash drawer to provide an easier flow of intake air at startup, we recommend it. The manufacturer doesn't want this door left open once the fire is burning briskly, as that could burn out ash grates, but a little common-sense operation can really help in getting a cold soapstone stove going.
  21. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

    Joined:
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    thank you for this article Tom, I printed it out.
    I believe that we need to add at least the 8 feet that the folks were talking about in this thread, and see.

    I found out that in PA the is no inspection of woodstove installations. MAYBE the fire chief will come and inspect but there isn't a building inspector for this.

    My husband called the owner of this store, and I don't understand WHY they are giving me a hard time about putting more pipe up there..... They install it.....I write a check.

    if this continues..... and we decide to keep the stove anyway, we will put the pipe up ourselves or call another store down in NJ that is also a Hearthstone dealer.

    I have decided after all this grief from this store, I won't do business with them again. They don't deserve it, we will go down to either NJ or down a bit south to a hearthstone dealer.

    Again thank you all so much I will let you all know what happens.

    vi

    ps: Tom, I love that woodstove top oven your site has on it. I have gone back often to look at it and shown it to a few folks.
  22. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    VI,
    Check your air intake lever. Follow the lever under the stove and inspect the slide that allows the air flow. My Homestead had some issues with the lever. It wasn't opening all the way because of a bolt that was in the way. I had to file the bolt down to have the intake open full. My lever also tends to loosen up once in awhile. Maybe there is something blocking the air channel to the firebox? See if you can look into your air intake under the stove and where it comes out in the firebox.

    I also received those bulletins from Hearthstone and noticed the Pheonix high burn temp of 375? Seems very low to me. I think its a typo. Go by what your manual states. Mine says greater than 600 is an overburn.
  23. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Yeah Frank, I wasn't very happy with that bolt sticking out. I bet quality will suffer some this year as the stove manufactures are trying to catch up to demand.
  24. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet New Member

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    ok we just checked the primary air controller and it looks like it is clear and working fine
    the ash pan door does not have a screw to hold the handle on...... !
    it isn't there!

    I am torn between telling them take it all out and tarp our roof.......taking the risk that they won't refund all our money...
    or going to a different vendor and just having them put the chimney extention on and trying to get them to pay for the installation.

    I suppose trying to get them to give us the money back is best

    I used checks not a credit card or I would have disputed this with the card company. ( we essentially paid cash)

    I can't believe the treatment that we are now getting from this dealer.

    when you think that we paid them about 4K, I think we deserve to be treated at least civilly.

    If I knew for sure that I would get ALL my money back I would tell them to take the whole thing out....
    I have a feeling that they will try to pro-rate it as 'used'

    thank you all

    now these people are coming tomorrow afternoon, my husband can't be here as he is swamped at work. I wish he could be here as I have a funny feeling that these guys are going to give me a hard time, whereas, I doubt that they would give him a hard time.

    I will let you all know

    meanwhile I am printing out all of your answers, to show these installers.
    I still can't believe that not one of the installers didn't use a draft gauge to measure the draft! just a crumpled newspaper and a lighter and told me......(with the door wide open) that it drafts fine!

    I am going to also have the owners manual marked for this.....
    btw, I have highlighted and dog earred the owners manual, and as the stove has been used, they really are not going to want it back as it is NOT brand new anymore....

    the smartest thing they could do at this point would be to use a gauge to figure the draft, and make the chimney higher, not charge me for this install of the chimney pipe, and if they really were concerned about customer service........ they would give me maybe 25 % off for what I went through. ( I don't expect if for free. but as I have a small business, I do customer service all the time, and I bend over backwards.... one unhappy customer is 10 more then I can afford)

    in the long run it would SAVE them money.


    thank you all again
    and I hope you are all enjoying your holiday

    vi
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Hi Vi,

    I've been following this tale with a sad heart. It is a shame for any company to be so indifferent to a customer. Stand your ground, be polite but firm. And let them know that their company and Hearthstone are now being watched by a lot of people. Many following this thread will be influenced by the outcome. If the installer doesn't do the right thing, be sure to publish their name here so that others can avoid them like the plague.

    Oh, and please tell me that they got the vertical run out of the stove set plumb. It hurts my eyes to see the crooked pipe in the picture you posted.

    - Will
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