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I need a pep talk. Getting discouraged with new Jotul Oslo...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Koko, Dec 7, 2010.

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  1. Koko

    Koko Member

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    It gets confusing trying to respond to everyone. I truly appreciate all the advice. Right now I have a call into the mason who built the chimney and calls to two local Chimney companies who sweep/do mason work/install liners.

    As for the 12" vs 6" clearance to combustibles. I looked in my manual and completely agree. But according to the company who's been in the business of installing stoves for 35 years told me they need 6" to combustibles with the double walled pipe. I removed the 6"s ad advised which worked out to a little over 20" wide circle. That is why you see the huge black trim ring we had to get. Behind the wall you can see what the mason had done before the walls were sheetrocked.
    [​IMG]

    Begreen, my wife and I chose to put a masonary chimney on the outside. The builder was willing to do an indoor chimney up through the ceiling but my wife and I did not like that look. We liked the visual appeal of an outdoor chimey. At the time I had no knowledge of burning and assumed with the 1000's of homes I see burning wood with outdoor chimney that this would not be a problem.

    I would like to get a true height measurement on the chimney, because if it is not within building code, then someone mason/builder/building inspector will have some problems to answer.

    The stove is on the first floor. Here's the front of the house during construction (it's all I have here at work). The backyard is walkout since the home was built into a hill.
    [​IMG]
    Shot again from the back of house, seeing the basement part that is below grade.

    Inside the house this is directly below the chimney. Unfinished basement, that is being used for storage.
    [​IMG]

    Now back to burning. Last night I had the stove hit 600 degrees with the door cracked. We were sweating in our house. Once I locked down the door the temps dropped Sat at 500 and leveled out at 400. When I tried closing the vent down the fire was not happy. I can confirm, that a cracked window does in fact make a difference to aid in the draft. I say that because my house was 75 degrees and we had to open a window to cool it down some.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's a nice house, but putting looks before good design is the problem. There's a reason why our ancestors that lived in cold climates put the chimney on the inside of their homes. But what is done is done. You many not be that bad off if opening a window helped draft. The stove may benefit from an outside air kit. Observe how the stove burns when the kitchen exhaust fan is on, or the dryer. If that worsens draft, the house is tight and the OAK will help.

    Do check the cleanout door for seal, that's a cheap fix. If sealing it helps, when it's warmer, do it with a bead of silicone on the open door flange, then close it for a good seal. I would also follow through by connecting the stove to an insulated 6" liner before extending the chimney. That should make the stove work ok, at least in cold weather.

    What is the central chimney used for?
  3. Koko

    Koko Member

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    Central chimney is a single flue as well used for an oil burning furnace.
  4. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    Here's a pic to go with my pep talk....

    [​IMG]

    This is my chimney in Vermont...it's 8"....it's outside...it's short...and it has some dents in it. Guess what? My stove works. I run the Euro plate on the Castine to compensate for the "lack luster draft properties" of my chimney setup. To make a long story short, I get plenty of air and have to shut the air control down to just about fully closed when I load up the firebox. I'd be willing to bet my chimney set up is AT LEAST 50.8% crappier than your set up; maybe even even 80.5% crappier...I'll have crunch more numbers.

    I'm thinking that if you're able to get more air into that firebox, you'll be much much happier. Two options there: If it fits, run the Castine Euro plate. If not, get another Oslo plate and make some more holes in it. Either way, you can probably solve your current issue for under $50. If you need slip line, extend the chimney, or knock down your entire house because it wasn't build for the stove, you can cross that bridge when you come to it. For now, try the simple solution. It worked for me.
  5. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    I'm betting a liner, another foot or two of chimney, and really hot start up fires would have that thing running smoothly.
  6. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    We have quite a few one storey houses here where the effective chimney is not that high. Some people get rotating cowls on the chimney tops that vent the flue gases away from the wind, giving a small but noticeable help in draughting. When there are any bends in shorter chimneys, the flue gases are slowed down, and the draught is hindered.

    On cold days, getting that huge plug of air in the chimney moving upwards can take quite an effort........I've even known some people to open windows in the windward side of the house to assist draughting when lighting up!
  7. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    This is killing me I have to ask, what is a Euro plate?
  8. mikepinto65

    mikepinto65 Minister of Fire

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    Its only for the Castine. It allows more primary air in.
  9. Renovation

    Renovation New Member

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    And doesn't the height of the OAK add to the effective chimney height--so if he ran his OAK down to ground level, his effective chimney height would be around 25'?

    This may be a moot point, for it might be easier and better to just extend the chimney, but I am curious (as usual).
  10. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    On the Oslo there is a cast cover (doghouse cover) with three holes in it, inside the firebox at the front, shaped kind of like an upside down butter dish cover, and it bolts over the air inlet opening. It restricts the amount of air permitted into the stove. The Euro Plate is the same cover but has more holes in it, I think it is 5, which allows more air into the stove.

    If one removes the doghouse cover on the Oslo, one will find a sliding cast plate maybe an inch wide by 4 inches long and a quarter inch thick, that sits in a channel that moves from left to right when the operator moves the air control knob left and right. This plate sits atop the main air inlet, and by sliding that cast plate back or forth it either opens or closes the main air inlet.

    I have recently read where owners will remove that doghouse cover, and shim it up using washers, then bolt it back down, providing a gap all around, for air to enter the main firebox via that gap, in addition to the 3 holes.
  11. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Euro because they have different regulations overseas?
  12. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Yes, it is the plate sold with the European stoves.
  13. Koko

    Koko Member

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    I'd just like to give another update. After cleaning out the ashpan last night and starting fresh. I started a fire with the kiln dried wood I bought. I had two packages. About 5 or 6 splits a piece. Some of the larger splits, I split a second time. Overall, I think the fire caught a little bit quicker (as expected) but I still needed an hour to get the temps just shy of 500. Once I locked the door it dropped to about 425. I put some non kiln dried wood on it before bed and it too caught quickly. I turned the front air control down just about a quarter and went to bed. Woke with some hot red coals. So that was good. But the overall temps were still dissappointing when trying to get the fire going last night. It was work to just get it to 500 and it had no problem falling off that temp once the door was locked.

    I don't know if I typed this already, but I spoke with my mason. When he built it, he just build it to building code and did not look at the thimble and chimney height from there up. Everything he could research was reccomending 15 feet. He said to add 3-4 feet of chimney for me would cost around $700-800. Considering the height and current temps, that's not too bad.
    Still waiitng to hear from two chimney companies and he is calling around too asking about the cold chimney flue one story down to the ground. Since heat rises, I would think the cold flue below would be a non-issue assuming the cleanout door is sealed tightly. Just speculating at this point.
  14. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    It's been advised here before (I think it was Craig himself) to block off the flue below the thimble. Can't recall if that was actually done or if it significantly improved draft, but it made sense to me. Yes, the draft is created by the buoyancy of the hot air rising, but it is really the pressure difference between the bottom and the top of the flue that is responsible. The colder air confined in the sump below the thimble is at a lower pressure and that will create a decrease in the force of the draft above the thimble.

    I think it was recommended to stuff some fiberglass insulation just below the thimble and then remove it at cleaning time. I may be way off here, but you can PM Craig ("Webmaster") and ask what he thinks. He seemed to have a firm grasp of the principles behind it.

    That 8x8" flue isn't helping either. Flue gasses expand inside any contained area and temps drop as they do, lowering draft pressure along with it. You have so many strikes going against you here that you need to address the biggest ones. Best thing to do is to get a manometer reading when the stove is running as good as you can get it. I was on the phone yesterday with a tech from a major stove manufacturer that I am interested in, and he told me that the correct draft for almost all EPA stoves should be between 0.04 and 0.08" of water. Lower than 0.04" and the stove won't work well, higher than 0.08" creates a tendency toward overfire. He said it is standard procedure during clearance testing to deliberately induce a draft of 0.12" of water to create an overfire in their stoves.

    Bottom line is that draft is just a force, and it can be accurately measured. Doesn't make much difference how tall your chimney is if the draft at normal operating temps is in the range where it should be. Just extremely hard to get it where it should be with all you have going against you.
  15. Koko

    Koko Member

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    Extremely insightful! Thank you very much. While I have no idea what a manometer or how to read one, I can follow what your're saying.

    Wouldn't the insulation pose a fire hazard of some sort?

    I had a thought....could be crazy...could a mason cut into the chimney up closer to the thimble, and with brick, build a new "bottom" to the chimney and then install a cleanout door at that height. Effectivelly closing off the bottom portion of my chimney. Then extend the height to get me in the 15 foot range...

    I'm just still not sold on a liner being a necessity right now. Everyone including me keeps quote manufacter specs and calls for 8x8.
  16. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Wouldn't the liner be cheaper, I'm surprised they say the 8x8 is ok as that size flue will not draft as good as a round one.
  17. Koko

    Koko Member

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    I have no idea how much a liner cost. The only thing I found online had me guessing around $2k. No idea if I'm even in the ballpark. Regardless of a liner or not, I still "think" I will need to add chimney height. I'd like to see what I can do with a correct chimney and then as a last resort get a liner. Only based on what I'm seeing for costs.

    Anyone run a cement pumping truck. We'll fill the chimney to the desired height. LOL

    I'd still like to get an answer from the two chimney companies I called. Seeing thisis there business. Playing phone tag with one of them and no return call yet from the other.
  18. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Oh, I am convinced the liner will dramatically improve your situation, as I went through a similar situation, and when I installed the liner I had greatly improved performance on the stove. However, I did not want to invest in the liner, haha!

    Plus, I stuff fiberglass insulation in the bottom of my liner, and think you should try that right away. If I were you I'd take a big old wad of it and shove it back the thimble and down a bit, just roll it up so it comes out all in one piece when you go to pull it out.
  19. Later

    Later New Member

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    That is a LOT of masonry to warm up. That seems to be a fair price for the mason. I'd get it raised and see, but I'd figure on an insulated liner to finally solve the issue.
  20. Koko

    Koko Member

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    Is there a rule of thumb to use for a cost per/foot for a liner to be installed? Definitely not something I'm willing to attempt. Chimney is much to high for that, as noted in an earlier post when I was stuck on the roof like a cat in a tree.
  21. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Could you rent a lift and do it that way, from the way people talk on this forum it is not that hard and I would think off of a lift it would be a piece of cake.
  22. robalp

    robalp New Member

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    It looks like this one has been answered to death, but I just installed the same stove about a month ago and had sort of the same experience. I just could not get the stove up over 350 or so. I checked the wood and it was ok. Then I read about starting a top down fire. That made all the difference. I now do this every time and it could not be easier to start and keep a good fire. Apparently, it primes the chimney (warms it up) and this helps to improve draft. Since I started using this method, I notice that the glass stays much cleaner.

    Hope this helps,

    Good luck with the new stove!
  23. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    I have an 8x8" masonry chimney for a stove design that calls for 8" round pipe and it draws fine. ID of 8x8 nominal flue tile is about 7". Supposedly (never checked it myself) flue gasses travel upward in a spiral fashion and the corners aren't used in exhausting the gases. Despite this, in my VC manual the masonry chimney seems to have been preferred, provided that:

    See, the first problem is that your chimney is an exterior one. The second problem is the expansion of flue gases into a larger space, lowering temps and internal gas pressure. The final problem is the reduced height. Oh, yeah... that long, cold air space below the thimble.

    A liner will solve all of these problems. About $5-600 for the whole kit, but you'll have to crap yourself putting it in. If you can figure out how to safely work up there, it will be your cheapest and most effective solution. With good wood you'll be able to almost forget about creosote formation. The insulated liner will stay hot during the dirty part of the burn, allowing flue gasses to exit at temps above the condensation point. You'll get a better draw, more heat, cleaner burn, better efficiency. In short, you'll be getting the performance out of your stove that you paid to get.

    IMHO draft should never be just "adequate" if you can make it superior. It is the number one thing in a successful installation, allowing both the proper amount of air at the proper settings, and the exit of flue gasses before they can build up in the chimney. I may be in the minority, but to me, it is more important than great wood. I know I can get a decent burn with great draft and marginal wood easier than I can with great wood and marginal draft. If I was in your position, I wouldn't go adding money to improve an inferior setup when I could spend the same amount and get a prefect draft with an insulated liner.
  24. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    BK-I have always read that a round liner is better due to the eddy currents, not saying a 8x8 will not work well in some cases just that a round liner is supposed to be a better option. With all these problems people are having it's obvious any thing may or may not work.
  25. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Found this the first site I checked.
    "Round flue pipes vent a lot better than square flue pipes because the products of combustion rifle or spiral up the round pipe. Often, a square edge clay chimney liner is not even fully used because the gases will still spiral up the pipe as much as they possibly can."

    So maybe I am not the only one wrong.
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