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House filled with smoke on 2nd start of new St. Croix Hastings

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by stevenlmas, Nov 11, 2008.

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  1. stevenlmas

    stevenlmas New Member

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    After $2800 for the stove, $750 worth of pipe and $500 for installation (not to mention $1000 worth of pellets) I've now got a room full of smoke.

    My St.Croix Hastings that I ordered in July was finally installed on 11/7. While the installer was here we fired up the stove, noticed a small amount of smoke leakage, applied some sealant to the leaks and everything looked good. We let the stove burn for about 30 minutes after reaching full-run mode. I left it burning for about another half hour after he left and everything seemed OK.

    Since my inspection wasn't until Monday (11/10) I shut the stove down and waited until I passed the inspection with the town building inspector. The inspection passed so when I got home tonight I topped off the hopper and started up the stove--hoping to finally be buring pellets instead of oil this winter. As I started to see sparks and a small flame in the firebox I started smelling smoke. I looked up and there was smoke pouring out of the vertical joints in the pipe (Duravent). At the back of the stove there's a 5' vertical pipe, a 1' adjustable pipe, a 90, a 45 and then a 5' run out the wall thimble to the chimney. I turned off the stove immediately, which killed the exhaust fan and left smoke pouring out the intake damper vent and out the bottom of the front door. I checked the cleaning rods and the ash pan and all were closed up. I finally decided to open the door, take out the burn grate and drop all of the smoldering pellets into the ash pan and get them out of the house.

    So I have two questions....

    Did I do the right thing by turning off the stove with smoke coming into the house? It never completed the startup cycle so I couldn't shut it down properly to allow the stove to vent itself out.

    Is it normal for the pipe sealer to shrink after installation and allow smoke out again? Or is Duravent crap and I should go back to my dealer and ask them to get me something else? I purchased the stove from Royal Fireside in Uxbridge, MA and was generally happy with them Their installer is a subcontractor for them and seems like he knows what he's doing. I just hope he's able to remedy this quickly.

    Thanks,
    Steve

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  2. sydney1963

    sydney1963 New Member

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    I actually went back and applied more sealant after noticing it had shrunk a bit just to make sure. If smoke is pouring out I would suspect something elso though.
  3. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    smoke was coming out of the seams of the pipe , not the joints? also the 5 ft run is a bit long in the horizontal , if venting into a chimney especially an exterior chimney you may not have much in the way of "standby" draw or cold draw, this could be creating backpressure which is making leaks which shouldnt be there an even bigger nuisence. as for the early shutdown, killing the stove before the low limit is reached with most any unit is going to cause premature shutdown of the exhaust blower as the stove doesnt yet know it has a fire in it. if the seams of thepipe itself is leaking and not the joints then you may have a defective length of pipe. it should be noted though that a bad seal at the bottom of the section may be letting smoke into the gap between the walls of the pipe allowing it to come out the seams. by all means get the installer back out there to redo the pipe and inspect the questionable sections. if the sections are faulty simpson will stand behind them. i have worked with duravent for years and they have always been a stand up company when dealing with me.
  4. stevenlmas

    stevenlmas New Member

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    it is coming out of the joints, not the seams. The installer seemed to thing the horiz. run was OK, and it looked like it was drawing fine on the initial startup.

    Thanks for the reply...
  5. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    ok, and to be honest your brand may be able to handle that long a horizontal run (check your manual to be sure) some can some cannot. its comforting to hear that it was the joints not the seams had me worried for a bit thats not somthing you generally see in a pipe like simpson's or for that matter any of the listed manufacturers. almost sounds like one or more of the joints may not have been fully "twist locked" into place and after settling they may have opened up a bit. i'd still have the installer back outas this isnt somthing you should have to deal with after paying for the install. (diy install i'd just do it myself as i would have been the installer , but get what you paid for, have them do it.

    by the way , that st croix is a really nice unit, once you get through this issue you should love the stove. nice choice.

    mike
  6. stevenlmas

    stevenlmas New Member

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    Thanks, Mike. It's certainly a great looking stove... I'll update the post as soon as I make any progress.
  7. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Where does it go when it gets to the chimney?
  8. stevenlmas

    stevenlmas New Member

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    it goes straight through the outside wall, not into a chimney. Essentially an upside-down 'L', 7 feet up and 5 feet out through the exterior wall.
  9. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    way to much pipe if it is a 3". What was the temp outside when you started the stove? Is the chimney lined and what is the size of the liner? What is the length of the chimney. Is this the only appliance in this chimney?

    I am surprised it passed inspection. Good installer and inspector.

    Add up you EVL and try again.

    Eric
  10. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    How does it go 5 ft straight out?? does not make sense. please clarify. then up 7 ft???. Yor wall is only maybe 6.5" thick
  11. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    This does not make sense.

    Eric
  12. firewarrior820

    firewarrior820 Feeling the Heat

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    maybe a few picture's would help
  13. stevenlmas

    stevenlmas New Member

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    I will get some pictures up tonight. After airing out my house and trying to keep my toddler out of the smoke I needed a beer :) .
  14. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    I feel your pain my Brother.

    Cheers, have to wait till happy hour.

    Eric
  15. stevenlmas

    stevenlmas New Member

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    The saga continues...

    Called my installer and he recommended cleaning out the burn pot and trying it again. Relit the stove and got a good flame and no smoke. For about 45 minutes. Then the flame started dying out and finally went dead.

    It looks like the auger stopped augging. Auger button doesn't seem to be responding.

    I'm using Greenway Premium Pellets which are supposed to be pretty good.

    Unfortunately the manual doesn't have much about how to check the auger for jams...

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Steve
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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  17. stevenlmas

    stevenlmas New Member

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    Hi,

    I have read that thread several times and I'm not ready to blame venting yet. I had a good fire going last night for about 45 minutes until I stopped getting pellets and the fire went out.

    I think the auger is dead.

    To confirm, I unplugged the stove, and emptied the hopper with my shop vac.

    I plugged the stove back in and held the hopper switch with my finger and turned on the stove. I watched for 3-4 minutes as the auger sat motionless.

    I thought maybe the hopper door being open was causing the vacum switch to fail, so I put a scoopful of pellets in, just enough to cover the auger, and closed the door. 15 minutes later I haven't heard any pellets drop and no fire...

    arg.
  18. stevenlmas

    stevenlmas New Member

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    And some pictures...


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Keep in mind that the auger WOULD shut down if the venting did not provide enough flow for the exhaust. Most pellets stoves have a hi-limit in the circuit which would do this. In other words, if a certain part of the vent system inside the unit get's too hot, it disconnects the auger but lets everything else run. Some stoves will automatically start up the auger again when this switch falls below a certain temp - others may need manually restarted.
  20. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    Thats just way to much pipe leading to the outside. You need to relocate that stove or move to 4" pipe. If you dealer installed the stove then i'd get him back and have them move up to 4" pipe. Know wonder your having problems thats a terrible setup.
  21. sydney1963

    sydney1963 New Member

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    Hi Steve,

    Here is what I learned. My pipe adds up to 17 and seems to work fine with 3" but I wouldn't go above 17 EVL without using 4".

    Pellet stoves have to push the exhaust air through the vent pipe with the stove's exhaust fan. With less restriction your pellet stove will breathe easier and burn more efficiently. First let's clarify the word restriction. Restrictions come from several different items.

    45 degree elbows
    90 degree elbows
    Horizontal distance
    Vertical distance
    Elevation where you live.

    A rule of thumb equation we are using has been adopted by most pellet manufactures. The equation is called the sum of Equivalent Vent Length (EVL). All of the above mentioned venting restrictions have been assigned EVL values as follows:

    Each 45 degree elbow = 3 EVL
    Each 90 degree elbow and Tees with cleanout = 5 EVL
    Each foot of horizontal run = 1 EVL
    Each foot of Vertical run = 0.5 EVL

    Elevations above 3000 ft with an EVL of 7 must adapt to 4 inch vent pipe.
    If your installation is below 3000ft, we would need to do some math. The rule of thumb equations is that if the sum of the EVL is 15 or greater, then the pellet vent pipe would be increased to 4 inch diameter pellet vent pipe.

    Attached Files:

  22. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    WOW :eek:hh: :gulp: :ahhh:
    Are you happy with that install?

    There is no silicone on the outside of the pipe... did they just smear it on the pipe then slip it together?
    The screws aren't sealed, wondering how long they are too.
    looks plumb based on the door in the background, but looks like it runs down as it leads from the draft reducing thingy between the rise and run............
    I agree with the rest too much pipe....
    Your auger not turning is not the problem for the smoke, auger should go through a vacuum switch, Ie: no draft (airflow) no feed.......
    Just to satisfy my curiosity what kinda cap did they put on the outside?????? 8-/
  23. stevenlmas

    stevenlmas New Member

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    I'm not psyched with the install. Unfortunately it was the only way to go without spending a small fortune re-lining my entire chimney. There is nowhere on the first floor of my house where I am 4 feet from an operable window except for where we put it.

    My EVL looks like this:

    Tee & Cleanout 5
    6 feet vertical 3
    1 45 3
    1 90 5
    5 feet horiz 5
    TOTAL 21

    I felt like we should have gone with 4" but the installer said we were within the specs of the install guide... It's going to cost me a fortune to replace 3 with 4...

    I still think something's up with the Auger, though. It started fine 4-5 times, then all of a sudden it quits? I don't think it's the high limit switch as I attempted to start from a reset (unplug, waited 10 minutes, plugged back in) with a cold stove.

    <sigh>
  24. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    Your stove is not venting properly and when if does not the stove shuts it self off (auger will be 1st thing to shut down). You need to go with 4" pipe or locate it (the stove) closer to a outside wall. If it is to close to a window simply nail it shut and it may pass code that way. I would call the installers and have them replace the pipe with 4" that's the way it should have been done from the start. Your dealer installed it right? if so they need to replace the pipe and or relocate the stove. Is there a chimney behind that white brick? if so get a flex line and run it up the chimney (cost is not to bad) and attach pipe to that. Return what ever pipe you do not need and cover the flex pipe.

    Good luck

    PS metal tape is your friend on all those pipe joints.
  25. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    again what does the cap outside look like...
    You may be able to slide the stove to the left a little and farther forward and remove at least the 45* and a little of the horizontal...and fab a hearthpad if needed
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