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Help! Clicking Noise in the stove pipe!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Newburner1956, Nov 11, 2008.

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  1. Newburner1956

    Newburner1956 New Member

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    hello: I'm new to wood burning. Well, not from enjoying the heat, but being the one to make the fire and tend to it. My husband passed last August and he was the expert at using a wood burner stove. We purchased a Hearthstone Heritage. My wood is seasoned 1 and 2 years. I have a thermometer on the pipe and am running the fire at about 325-350. I continue to hear a clicking noise that sounds like its in the pipe - like someone is tapping from the inside.

    I don't know how 'full' is full to load it with wood and the flame seems to take up the whole glass door and touch the top of the stove. Is that ok??

    I'm a little nervous about all of this because the reason we have the new Heritage soapstone is because two years ago we had a fire. Of course since then everything is new and up to code but I guess I'm afraid of too much flame and that clicking noise.

    What could it be??? Help!!!!

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  2. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    The clicking is the metal expanding/contracting. It's normal.
    The flames are good when you're getting it going but you'll want to damper it down once you have good ignition. Too much air and you'll burn too fast and hot and may damage your stove. When in doubt, damper it down (less air). Worst case scenario then is you have a smoldering fire and you build up a bit of creosote.
    Those temps sound like a good cruising level, though I'm not familiar with that stove. You should have the damper to the secondary and be able to almost close the air (1/4 open ?)
    With some experience you'll find the happy medium where you're burning clean and efficient but not overfiring or smoldering. Many people are here to help.
  3. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Do you hear a crackling at all? Like stuff falling down the pipe? This could be creosote. But a ticking noise would just be metal expansion.

    How far up on the pipe is the thermometer and is it double wall or single wall pipe?
  4. Newburner1956

    Newburner1956 New Member

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    Thank you! I'm finding that I have a whole "new normal" to live and my learning curve is quite steep right now. I've always been a 'city girl' who married a 'country boy' and the stoves were his baliwick, but with temperature plummeting into the teens I don't want to go broke paying for propane!!

    By damper down do you mean to close the damper at the bottom of the stove? A friend told me to always leave the stove pipe damper horizontal and close the damper on the bottom right of the stove.

    Thanks again for your help!!
  5. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Breathe in, breathe out. Relax. Welcome to the forums! Sounds like you know all about how to get a good fire burning in that very nice stove. Stovepipes will, as Brian said, make a bit of noise as they expand and contract....as will the stove itself. If it's single-wall stovepipe, and you're using a magnetic thermometer stuck to the outside of it above the stove collar, then those temperatures you've quoted are actually low...I'd like to know what kind of thermometer it is and where exactly it's located in the system. Do you have the owner/operator's manual for the stove? Do you understand the combustion airflow through the stove and the air controls? There are lots of folks here who can help you become a master of all that in short order. You're in the right place! Again, welcome! Rick
  6. Newburner1956

    Newburner1956 New Member

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    The Thermometer is a Chimgard Woodstove Thermometer. It's placed on the stove pipe (I don' know if it's double walled or single, but I'm thinking single. I will have to ask our contractor who is also a friend) and I placed it not less than 12 inches above the stove. The 'optimal range on the thermometer says 300 - 500 and I'm almost running myself out of the room with heat at 325-350.

    Yes I have the owner/operator's manual for the stove

    No I do not understand the combustion airflow through the stove and the air controls.

    I know the damper on the stove pipe is open when it is vertical.

    There is a little lever at the bottom left of the stove which when slid all the way to the right closes off the air?

    I'm not quite sure how MUCH wood I should place in the box at one time. Maybe I could take a picture and post it.

    My late husband was an expert in wood and new what wood was what. We don't burn any pine of any kind. Currently I have a lot of oak slab wood and walnut, some cherry, honeysuckle and mulberry.

    I'm overwhelmed with your willingness to help. I sleep with one eye open when I've got a fire going!! Thanks so much!
  7. Newburner1956

    Newburner1956 New Member

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    Oh yes, it has a blower attached, but when I plug it in and turn it on nothing happens. I think the motor is frozen up and have to wait for Baumgartners to find time to come out and look at it. Not that I need the blower right now. Between using the wood burner and an Eden Pure, I'm plenty warm.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Welcome. I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. Feel free to ask lots of questions here so that you get comfortable with the stove.

    Little crackling and clicks coming from the stove pipe are not uncommon. They can be from low levels of creosote being burned off or just metal expansion. The best way to assure a safe flue is to burn hot once a day. For the morning fire, let the flue get up to a higher temperature for 15-30 minutes. Maybe try 500 degrees. Then run the stove normally for the rest of the day.
  9. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    While you're learning you may end up with some "cold" or smoldering fires. No biggie, but those are what make creosote.
    Be sure to have your chimney checked/cleaned after a few weeks or a month during this learning process. The sweep will be able to tell
    you how you've been doing.
  10. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Please take some time to read the owner's manual for the stove very carefully...maybe not so much the installation part, since that's a done deal, but most certainly the operating part. Get familiar with the combustion airflow through the stove and what operator control you have over that, how it should be set for start-up and how it should be adjusted during the burn cycle. As far as how much to load the stove, well, that really depends on what fuel you have and what sort of heat output and burn time you're wanting from it. There's no "perfect" load of wood. Keep in close touch with us here for a while, until you're comfortable with your stove. I, too, offer my sincere condolences on your recent loss of your husband. Sounds like he was quite a guy. Rick
  11. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Hello, and welcome. Not too many women like us around here, but the guys are incredibly nice and helpful when they're not bragging about or complaining about "the wife." :)

    You have a manual for the stove, right? Go look up what it says about where to put the thermometer. Usually, soapstone stoves should have the thermometer on the center stone on the top. That's what their guidelines about the temperature range are keyed to, and you really do want to follow them.

    It does sound like you may be overfiring a bit. Soapstone stoves don't generally get so hot that they run you out of the room unless it's a very big stove in a very small room. You mention slab wood, and that could be the problem. I've never used it, but I gather from the guys here who talk about it that it burns very hot.

    But first you want to be sure you've got that thermometer in the right place-- and that it's working. Without that, you're flying blind.

    I found in my first months of using my stove (also a soapstone, though much smaller than yours) I needed to re-read the key parts of the manual a number of times as I learned more from the guys here and began to understand the terminology and how the thing works.

    Keep hanging out and reading and asking questions here. This forum's denizens got me through my first rocky year of wood-burning, and if they can do that, they can guide you, too!
  12. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    The damper is the thing on the pipe. The lever on the bottom of your stove is called the primary air control. Sometimes people aren't careful and say "damper" when they mean "primary air control," so be sure you're clear on which they mean.

    Once you know more what you're doing and when and what the temperature of the stove is, you can fill the stove very full and gradually close down the primary air to almost closed for a long burn time.
  13. Newburner1956

    Newburner1956 New Member

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    Wow! Thanks for your continued help! I'm sure I'll have many more questions! OK. I've got damper and primary air control!

    I do remember the manual saying the thermometer should be on the center stone, although a friend of mine said he had one on the pipe AND one on the center stone.

    I have read the manual but will re-read it again. Tonight's fire is only about the 9th fire in the stove.

    And yes, my late husband was and remains the love of my life. He was a chemistry professor. He also was quite an outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing as well as some farming. He did woodwork, collected antique crystal, blew glass. In addition he was an accomplished trumpet player and vocalist and we sang together (I teach voice lessons and am a concert soloist) in several groups together. Keeping the house warm with two wood burning stoves was only one of his accomplished skills! I hope he'd be proud of me for learning as much about the 'art' as I have and thanks to you all I'm sure I'll become more adept as the days and weeks go on.

    Thanks!
  14. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm quite sure he'd be very proud of you. Rick
  15. Jimbob

    Jimbob New Member

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    One other thing to note, the damper on the pipe should be open most of the time.
    The only time you might want to close it is if you have a big fire going in the stove, and closing the air control isn't slowing the fire enough, or during a chimney fire.

    Hope this helps.
  16. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I agree wholeheartidly.

    Bottom line, it is going to take controlled practice. Kudo's for watching the thermometer as you are.

    Now (don't ever tell my wife I shared this)

    But, from my experience, her biggest issue is not waiting long enough between loads, causing there to be a large accumulation of coals in the stove. Otherwise, she burns great. She just gets worried she is going to get cold and a little excited to add some more wood :)

    Now, I do not mean to say that you burn in this manner, but my suggestion is burn your stove in cycles. Start it, load it, burn it. Let it die until you are down to a low bed of coals, just enough to start another burn. That is the time to add wood. Then when added, burn hot until the wood begins to coal and do it all over again.

    Far too many people want to add a few splits every hour and never allow the stove and chimney to cycle which increases effeciency, comfort, and chimney cleanliness.

    Best of luck,

    pen

    pen
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