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Help! EWF30 (Sequoia II) Performance Issues

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Zman57, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    Hello everybody I am new to this forum and thank you in advance for your responses.

    I recently moved into a home that has a EWF30 from Vermont Castings (one of the reasons I was attracted to the house). This fireplace does not seem to perform the way it should. When I close down the damper, the fire dies way down even with the air control all the way up. When I open and close the air control lever, it does not seem to make much of a difference, I feel as though I have no control of the fire. Also, every time I have a fire the viewing glass turns black with creosote, which takes a very long time to clean. I am burning good wood, seasoned mixed hardwood, then I throw on seasoned oak before I go to bed for longer burn time. My burn times are good as I will have hot coals the next morning 8 hours later. I've tried a few things to fix the problems based on the advice of my local rep and no success. I just recently measured the chimney and found it to be 14.5' with one offset. The installation manual says it should be at least 19'. I never thought draft was an issue because the fire would blaze away when the damper was open. The local rep says I need to extend the chimney and chase but is not saying that it would fix my problem for sure. I am hesitant to spend the money to extend my chimney without knowing that I will have guaranteed results. I do have an outside air kit installed.

    Any input regarding the issue I am having and what I should do would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

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  2. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Your wood is not dry.

    Do a search for dry wood on this forum. How long has your wood been cut, split, and stacked?
  3. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    Zman, post up a photo of your stove.
  4. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    I agree with BB.. Wood is wet.

    Flame that needs lots of air and leaves black glass..

    What is "Seasoned" in your eyes?

    Oak takes about 3 yrs after split to "Season". Give or take.

    Welcome to the Forums. One way to.check is to buy a small bundle of Kiln dried from the store and/or some Eco bricks or EZ bricks (or the like).
  5. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Chiming in here with everyone else . . . certainly sounds like unseasoned wood may be the most likely culprit. I figure on having my wood cut, split and stacked for at least one year before burning . . . and if you want to really have your mind blown try two or three years before burning . . . although one year is fine for most species of wood (excepting oak.)

    Before giving input on the draft I guess we would need to know how you know the wood is seasoned -- if you know it was cut, split and stacked at least a year . . . if you bought "seasoned" wood . . . or if your definition of "seasoned" wood is different.

    Another possible issue may be that you're turning down the air control too soon . . . which would suffocate the fire . . . resulting in little heat, black glass and coals after a very long burn . . . and eventually plenty of creosote in the chimney.
  6. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    I can not give specifics regarding the wood I am burning. I am part owner of a tree care business. We have split mixed hardwood firewood in the yard year round, the wood gets split soon after it gets brought back to our shop and is piled (not stacked) and left uncovered on asphalt exposed to full sun. Some wood is used for our Central Boiler, which heats our shop, some is sold, and some is for personal use. When I load up wood for myself, I pick out what appears to be the most seasoned wood (dark gray in color as opposed to the lighter brown color of freshly split wood). I have to believe the wood was split 6 months to 1 year ago. My father uses wood from the same source in his VC and doesn't have the problems I have. I'm not sure of his model but it is an older model, which was bought in 1994. We also do not get complaints from our customers of unseasoned wood.

    That being said, perhaps my wood is the problem as everyone unanimously seems to be saying. Is my method of seasoning firewood flawed? Please let me know your opinions/experience. I will try out some kiln dried firewood and see what my results are, now I just have to find out where to buy it from.
  7. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    "Piled" wood does not season well..... Single stacks work best. With Lots of Sun and Wind.

    Also. The "color" is a poor indicator also. 9 month old Oak will Look black on the ends. But is still a year or two away from burning.

    Do you have a Moisture Meter? Split one of your splits in half. If its above 20% M/C, then it not ideal to burn in a Newer EPA unit.
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Wood dryness and not getting the stove hot enough before you close down the damper. Also, is that chimney lined with a stainless steel liner or is that stove trying to create a draft into a much to short tile lined liner?

    Even it is lined that pipe is too short for an EPA stove to draft correctly.
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Additionally you want to check the serial number on the stove. A bunch of them were recalled in 2006. Since the company is out of business there is no remedy for the problem if you have one of them. If you do have one of them, don't burn in it.

    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml06/06198.html
  10. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like wet wood and a short pipe.
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Wow. Did not know that.
  12. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    I've been out of town recently so I haven't been able to post any updates. Before I left, I had a fire with kiln dried firewood that I purchased and the fireplace performed much better. The wood seemed to burn hotter and longer and I had much more control over the fire with the air control lever. I did not have the thick creosote build up on the viewing glass, however, the glass did still get quite dirty. This time it was a thin, smooth film over the glass as opposed to thick rough creosote. I'm still unsatisfied with how dirty the glass got as it took over 20 minutes for me to clean it off from just one fire. I am now convinced that my wood is not properly seasoned, but I am still having the problem with the glass.

    BrotherBart, the chimney does have a stainless steel liner. You say that the chimney is too short for an EPA approved stove, not sure if this makes a difference but it is a fireplace. I was aware of the recall and checked with the local dealer who said the fireplace was repaired during the recall. I really don't want to extend my chimney if I don't have too. First off, the cost and hassle of extending the chimney and chase will be high. Secondly, I live in a ranch house and the chimney already extends about 7'-8' from where it exits the roof, adding another several feet will look very I odd, I think. I don't see other ranch houses with chimneys that extend this far above the roof so why does mine need to?
  13. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    EPA approved stoves need more draft then old stoves do.

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