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How to break the silicone attaching stove to pipe?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by halfpipe, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. halfpipe

    halfpipe Member

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    Oct 19, 2010
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    Hello
    I've been intrigued with the idea of a pellet stove ever since I first saw one years ago
    This year I found an attractive small unit 28000btu which I figured was a good size for the place called a Heilsa. I know it's not a known performer but decided to try one as it was 1200.00 which is lower than most others.
    This stove replaces a wood stove which replaced the oil furnace.
    I installed it myself as I built this place including the carpentry, wiring, plumbing and the wood stove that this pellet stove is replacing.
    Turns out that the stove might be defective right off the bat (store floor model) and the store has agreed to swap it for another new in the box version of the same Heilsa QCPS-28000.
    Problem is I siliconed the tee/cleanout right to the appliance and before I try to pull it off I figured maybe someone here has done something similar and could pass on a tip?
    thanks

    Attached Files:

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  2. jamesdjs

    jamesdjs Member

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    The best way to break the silicon bond is by cutting it with a exacto knife or a sharp ultility knife.
    Make sure you cut the silicon completely through or it will give you a hard time pulling it off.
  3. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    There are silicon solvents that work at room temperature you might want to have a chat with the folks at a local hardware store.

    You must be careful both while using them and to make certain you get all of the solvent off of the pipes.

    Depending upon the actual amount of it you used you might be able to scrape the worst of it off and then manage to break the seal that is left. I wouldn't hold out much hope of using the tee again unless it come right off without being deformed.
  4. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    you'll likely destroy the pipe adapter on the pipe, but a oil filter wrench for removing automobile oil filters wors as well, you just have to be able to detatch the free end of the wrench....some are riveted and not detatchable
  5. cantman

    cantman Member

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    I used Rutland's "Direct Vent Stove Sealant" on Pellet Vent Pro. The sealant label says it can be removed but I haven't been able to do that to mine.
    When I installed the system, I was informed by a Pellet Vent representative to apply sealant to the inside of the female portion of the pipe and connect them.
    Mine will never come apart. I also did that to the inside of the clean out cap and I had to pry it off and it's a big mess now. Now I have to foil tape the cap back on in its' mangled state.
  6. dac122

    dac122 Feeling the Heat

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    Upstate NY
    Honestly, I had so many problems with the Duravent PelletVent I simply threw it out and bought Excel. I've never had a leak and never had a problem getting my Excel apart. It is the last pipe you will ever buy.

    Only hope I can offer is a strap or filter wrench. Unfortunately, those never worked for me and ruined the pipe. The solvent approach is intriguing but I doubt you will get it to the inner pipe.
  7. skidozer

    skidozer Member

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    western ny
    When I clean car parts in my parts washer(mineral spirits) it loosens the sealent right up and scrapes right off.

    Of course before you fire the stove you would want to clean it good.
  8. slls

    slls Minister of Fire

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    I removed my stove adapter this summer, sealed on the inside and ruined it. The new one I sealed on the outside, no leaks.
  9. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    I have taken apart stuborn pipe that was sealed on the inside and used heat from a propane torch. The sealant is only good until about 800º. It softens around 500º and does come apart. Stinks like he!! though!
  10. halfpipe

    halfpipe Member

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    GOOD NEWS
    Got it off by simply twisting the tee while pulling back and slowwly it pulled off.
    No damage to the SPX brand Tee
    Only been a week since it was done so I suppose the silicone wasn't fully cured
    Now let's hope the replacement stove works out ok .. any body have a Heilsa?

    Attached Files:

  11. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Until you posted this thread, I never heard of a Heilsa. Not a bad looking stove though. Once you get you new one set up. Maybe you could do a review and Post a few pictures for us. We like to see fire too! :)
  12. Corny

    Corny New Member

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    All good ideas mentioned above.

    From the IBC WIKI Bixby FAQ page http://forum.iburncorn.com/wiki/index.php/BixbyFAQ section 3.6 Tips...

    "Tip: To unseal a joint, JET advises that it be deflected to one side then held there for a fraction of a minute until the seal breaks. Repeat by deflecting in a different direction until the seal is completely broken. If that doesn't work, MaryB suggests using a propane torch to soften the joint's seal. You can also try immediately, with gloves, after running the stove at a high temperature. Corny was able to unseal a joint at the converter box simply by using vibration as discussed at http://forum.iburncorn.com/viewtopic.php?p=142249. "
  13. dspencer

    dspencer Member

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    First of all, you shouldn't be using high-temp silicone ('gasket-maker') to secure your clean-out tee to the outlet pipe of the stove. You will have to remove that tee fairly often to run the brush up the pipe to clean the flue pipe, probably every ton or so of pellets. The proper thing to do (in your situation which is similar to mine, where my pellet stove is sitting on the raised apron on front of a fireplace and connects to a 4 inch flexible pipe that runs up the existing, lined flue) is to drill a hole through the clean-out tee about 1 inch in from the end, position the tee where you want it on the stove outlet, mark the hole, take the tee off and drill a pilot hole for a sheet metal screw long enough to go through the stove pipe. The tee should slip cleanly and maybe even a little snugly over that outlet pipe. If you are really keen or paranoid you could have a couple of screws, opposite one another, but that I think is silly in a horizontal connection like this. You use sticky-sided aluminum duct tape wrapped around the junction of the tee and the stove outlet to make sure it is airtight, just as you should do for the little cleanup cup at the bottom of the tee. The silicone should be used (and probably with aluminum tape) in all connections that will never be taken apart and you never want to come apart, particularly vertical runs.
    I bought this 'heilsa' (Quality Craft Ltd. QCPS-28000) from Canadian Tire (their cat. #64-2838-4) to replace a Jamestown J-1000 put into service in '94. It was getting a little finicky, and I was always a little annoyed by its small hopper and also the frequency that it needed to be cleaned because of limited ash holding capacity. However, the Jamestown taught me a lot about pellet stoves and particularly how they should be designed and set up.
    For anyone not interested in the gory details I will give below, I will tell you up front that I made a big mistake in buying that heilsa. It is poorly designed and poorly made and there is a reason that it sells (well at CTC) for $1299 before tax, about $300 less than even the next cheapest pellet stove. Unless you really like a challenge, or are dumb enough (I guess I'm both) you should avoid this stove like the plague. In the end I turned this into a project (I still question that decision) but I do have a lot of tools and equipment and fairly good background to tackle this project. Most people either aren't interested or not capable of buying a new device, then repairing, redesigning and rejigging it.
    The first big problem I encountered was when I slipped the existing clean-out tee (a reducing tee with 4 inch top and bottom and 3 inch ID to the stove) over the stove outlet pipe. It was clearly a really sloppy fit and when I measured the pipe diameter I discovered this stove's first deficiency, namely the outlet pipe was undersized. It should have been 3 inch OD (76 mm, as stated in the rather crappy manual) but it was instead 74 mm (about 2 and seven-eights to 2 and fifteen-sixteenths). That may not sound like a lot but I smiled when I saw your photo of the disassembled tee and noticed how much silicone you had to slobber on the junction to get it tight. As I say above, the clean-out tee should have slid on fairly cleanly, or even a little snugly. I went around to stove suppliers to see if I could buy an adapter to fit that outlet pipe but of course there are none. At that point (taking leave of my senses) I went to a metal supplier, bought a section of thick-walled stainless pipe of 3 inch OD, disconnected the existing outlet pipe from the blower housing, cut the old outlet pipe back to the square pipe (and tidied it up) with an angle grinder and bronzed the new stainless pipe onto it. Put it together, slobbered silicone back over the connection to the blower housing, and Bob's your uncle.
    Well, not quite. The stove has an electric heater that serves as most of the bottom of the fire pot and will start the pellets burning, but as soon as the flames started I knew I was in deep trouble. In pellet stove terminology you have to recognize and correct a "lazy" flame, which is what you see in fireplaces and conventional wood stoves. Pellet stoves should run more like a blacksmith's forge, the air being drawn over the burning pellets giving an aggressive, "sharp" flame with even hints of blue at the base of the flames. The heilsa's flame was down right lethargic. The pellets built up in the fire pot, started up the delivery shoot and I shut it down. Disconnected the clean-out tee, disconnected the blower assembly and saw that the impeller (the "fan" used in these rigs to move the air through the stove and force it up the flue) was too deep in the housing. I also saw that the motor was running ridiculously slowly (digital tach gave about 1,000 rpm) but I machined a little extension to move the impeller closer to the housing's mouth, and, of course that didn't help at all. The unit was essentially not moving air. The motor was running far too slowly to drive what is essentially a centrifugal air pump (pellet stoves I believe use only these impellers and never have either propeller or squirrel-cage fans in the exhaust blower). I ripped apart the old Jamestown, and jigged up its blower motor for the helisa, and that of course did move air. My first guess is that my heilsa (and I assume many or all others of this model or assembly run) had a 220 volt blower motor (shaded pole) and not a 110V.
    Now in the Jamestown (I assume in any good pellet stove) you need some way to fine tune how much air is being drawn through the stove because too much air over the burning pellets isn't desirable. The Jamestown has a gas engine-like throttle butterfly in the intake pipe. For the heilsa I rigged up with a little machining a 1 inch brass gate valve to allow me to control the air flow. Now the stove burns properly but the lowest pellet delivery setting is for me far too high. I'm at this point using softwood pellets of average length about three quarters of an inch and the stove goes through a 40 pound bag in about 14 hours, maybe a bit longer. The circuit board doesn't appear to have any trimmer pots that will allow controlling the timer that regulates the pellet feed motor and so I will have to rip that apart and see whether I can jig the circuitry to increase the pulse intervals to the feed motor.
    OOPS -> [cont'd]
  14. dspencer

    dspencer Member

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    [CONT']
    {Sorry, I'm being too long-winded but I want people to know about my experience with this unit.}

    Even when running more or less 'properly' this stove seems to have a higher stack temperature (the temperature of the air/gas mixture as it enters the flue) than I think pellet stoves should have but I don't have a good feeling for that. It does lose a lot of heat up the flue, which contradicts one of the supposed advantages of pellet stoves. I would assume that the path of the hot gases through the stove is simply not thought out properly.
    The glass in the door gets heavy deposits fairly fast. Another design flaw. These glass panels shouldn't have gasket running along their top. That allows small quantities of air to be drawn down over the inside of the glass and that will slow down the deposit buildup. I did take care of that problem as well.
    The manual doesn't mention the 2 sliding "doors" in the floor of the combustion chamber on either side of the fire pot. They are normally closed (and must be in normal operation) but there are little tabs under the front of the lower lip of the stove above the large ash pan and you can periodically open those to let ash drop down into the large collector.
    The stove is dirty to clean because when you open the front door ash falls off a variety of little ledges in the door and on the stove body.
    It isn't clear to me what the real intended use of this stove was. I use the pellet stove to supplement or replace the expensive electric heat in this house. I'm not convinced that this stove will serve that purpose well, though, no matter what I do to it.

    So why didn't I just return the silly thing to the store when I realized what was wrong with it? Well, it's heavy, I had to lug the thing around on my own (I lowered it off the back of my half-ton using the front bucket of my backhoe), and after getting inside, fighting to get it up onto the fireplace apron I made the decision that if it needed one fairly trivial repair that was fine. But as they say, 'when you find yourself in a hole don't ask for a shovel'.
  15. halfpipe

    halfpipe Member

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    DFS8 (Figureskater?)
    Truly heroic attempts described well.
    The first Heilsa pellet stove I returned to ctc because it would not stay lit, either the auger would produce too much fuel or none at all. I lugged it back to the store and a replacement was ordered and when a week or so later it arrived and the first thing I noticed was the date of manufacture on a little sticker on the box announcing Apr 2010. good a fairly recent version.
    Sure enough. this unit has latches on the ash tray, ensuring minimal air leakage and I'm not positive, but those trap doors either side of the burning pot seem sealed.. The auger motor might be new as well. It makes a different and less irritating sound. Double gasket on the door (must have been a mistake) as the door would bareley close and the first firing saw the second layer of gasket stick to the stove so I just pulled it off.
    This version is certainly an upgrade over the 1st one however like you said DFS8, it burns a lot of fuel in a more or less uncontrolable fashion. I bought it because it was small and I figured I could get by on 1 pound an hour but it just sucks up the fuel at an alarming rate. I don't have a feel for what exactly a lazy fire is so I can't comment on that
    The air blower to the room seems to have one speed only.
    I wonder if I can bring it back
  16. Corny

    Corny New Member

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  17. dspencer

    dspencer Member

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    When I started to recognize the deficiencies in the heilsa I wondered (as most of us would) if I was just incredibly unlucky and got a really bad unit. I'm convinced now (and the post responding to mine confirms it) that this stove is a disaster. I do wonder (worry) about people who buy this stove, have no pellet stove experience and hook it up and try to use it without anyone to give them guidance. When I bought my Jamestown in '94 there was only one insurance company in Canada (Zurich) that would write a policy on a house with a pellet stove. Letting junk like this heilsa loose is going to give all pellet stoves a bad name as homes fill up with smoke (or worse) from crappy designed and sloppily built equipment.
    As far as the "lazy flame" comment I made, I did check out the video that last post mentioned. Now that one is for a corn burner (so that could be different) but to me that stove is actually burning with a bit less air feed than I would use. I did look around YouTube and I would say that the video 'http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwYNcZPvdr0' is closer to what I consider a good burn. The video is for a very unusual pellet stove design but the close-up of the burning pellets is what I shoot for. In that video you will see a hint of blue at the base of the flames and a fairly "aggressive" flame shape, where the tips of the flames come to a point, are sharp. You don't want too much air being forced over the pellets for several reasons. If you find more than the occasional unburned pellet on the shelf outside the fire-pot then you have too much air (they get blown out of the fire pot without being ignited). However, it is normal to have small burning embers flying out of the fire-pot and dropping down to the side and slowly burning out. This behavior is described as a 'pop-corn' effect.
    If your stove looks like the photo on the box that the stove came in (at least my heilsa came in a cardboard box with a lovely color photo of a heilsa supposedly being run, and the manual has the same photo on the cover, in black and white) then your stove is running extremely badly. Maybe a graphic artist faked that flame in the stove photo but regardless, that is how a conventional wood stove (or fireplace) flame looks, not a pellet stove that is running even close to properly.
    I haven't yet attacked the issue of trying to redo the electrical timing of the auger feed motor so that the stove can be run (on its lower setting) at a far more reasonable (i.e., much slower) pellet feed rate.
  18. Corny

    Corny New Member

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    It's a multifuel stove that was burning a mix of 50/50 corn & pellets at the time of the vid http://forum.iburncorn.com/wiki/index.php/Bixby#User_Videos . The firepot is recessed, so you can't see the flame colour at the surface of the fuel. Your point is well taken nonetheless.

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