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I need immediate advice from members, firefighters, etc...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by joefrompa, Jan 30, 2011.

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  1. boatboy63

    boatboy63 Member

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    If you look at the op's pics in the first post, it doesn't look like the insert has been pulled out. It only looks like the surround over the stove was removed.
    Furthermore, I would say it has been like that from day 1. Chances are, there was enough temperature differential (inside/outside) when cold to make th draft pull even when not in use. When it was first lit, it was drawing most of the smoke, but some of it still leaked into the room. As the temp built up in the stove and was released, it increased the velocity of the draft, therefore sucking it out more efficiently.

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    With smoke spilling from the surround from day 1 it HAD to have been like that. NO smoke can get to the area behind the surround WITHOUT a breach of the exhaust system. It ain't possible unless he was cooking off something else or the stove had a crack in it. If at the broken joint it did get smoked up, it was probably cooked right back off once the stove started to come up to temp.

    You are very lucky, my friend. This could have ended in a very bad way.

    That is a craptastic install.

    Oh, and how does this differ from an open FP - you now have a 6" flue instead of the original size flue to exhaust gasses. The exhaust "system" for an EPA stove is based off of a completely different set of requirements than an open flame.
  3. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    The insert has never been moved since it wsa installed. This insert extends out from it's trim 8" onto the hearth, so in the pictures you can see that I merely removed the top trim piece.

    I have to say though that I thought one of the points behind a flex liner is that if I needed to reposition the stove, the liner would FLEX and not pop out of a joint. Further, shouldn't a joint be fastened so well that the liner would flex before popping out of the joint? This joint appears to have simply been "plugged in" to one another....I have no idea how it was supposed to actually be sealed.

    My BIL mentioned having it redone and using aluminum tape or similar at the bottom. Can that withstand the heat?
  4. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    First off: Holy Crap! Glad no-one was seriously injured from that. I don't know squat about CO poisoning. If I were u I'd be seeking out some good advice whether repeated/chronic exposure can have long term health effects. If so I'd seek medical evaluation. Also vote that your CO detector is faulty/expired/out of batteries.

    To your questions. The point of flex liner is that it flexes enough (ussually) to get it stuffed down a chimney & through a damper. Some brands flex more than others, but no, you can't move the stove any significant distance with it still attached.
    As BB stated, that looks to be an Adjustable Elbow used to make a connection where things don't line-up very well. The top part of the elbow can spin around to get the right angle. In this case the installers look to have wrenched the flex liner into the adjustable elbow under a lot of force. The flex liner was too far out of line from the stove collar, but they forced it in there anyway. That caused the elbow to fail and come apart. When that happened is unknown of course, but you have evidence that it happened very soon after install.

    AL tape has different temp ratings depending on type. I don't think there are any that would be rated for the temps you'd see at the stove collar. Furnace cement is the only 'sealer' I'd trust there. As stated I would not trust an adjustable elbow at all after seeing that. Install needs to be re-done so the pipe lines up properly with the stove collar and all connections are solid. Also I'd demand an insulated block-off plate be installed for free (unless already there), installers explain how they are fixing this and have a 3'rd party inspect on their dime.
  5. brianbeech

    brianbeech Feeling the Heat

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    Ah! Then yes, I would be on fire (pun intended).
  6. Lanningjw

    Lanningjw Feeling the Heat

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    I was faced with a simular issue with my insert. The SS liner would not line up with the insert. This was the best I could get, its not the way I wanted it to line up.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/_GKplugI78wg/TLdE8fLE8PI/AAAAAAAANDQ/GtAHd0omjms/s640/DSC_0005.JPG

    so I was gonna get use this piece, It was made of SS and about 75$

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_GKplugI78wg/TLdE77gISFI/AAAAAAAANDI/DDmvcrjNcWA/s640/DSC_0004.JPG

    In the end, I was able to bend the SS liner to fit the insert. You gotta be willing to really bend it with all your might. Took the piece back and all is hooked up nice and clean. I bet that they can bend that SS liner to fit with out the piece.
  7. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    FYI, the one thing the installer said to me that didn't jive with hearth.com was that "A block-off plate around the liner doesn't make much sense on a convection stove. The jacket around the stove will insulate the stove already and you are getting your heat through the hot air blowing out from around it."

    I blew it off at the time since i was planning on doing a block-off myself. Now it makes me wonder about him.

    Also, my block-off plate is going to be simply rock-wool shoved up around the liner to create a really thick maze for cold air to get through to hit the stove. I'm also going to layer rock wool around and behind the stove so that it operates within a "cocoon" of insulation. I will probably face the inside of it with heavy duty aluminum foil as well, but not sure if I even need to do that.

    Joe
  8. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    a) thats horrible and totally unsat
    b) should never have happened
    c) There is no apparant soot that would indicate that this happened before you slid the stove forward (I guess that is what you did). I would be curious when it popped apart.

    Regardless, when you call the company make sure you install a new butthole in them because thats a lawsuit when it burns the housedown.
  9. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Stove was never moved since install. Literally, the last time the stove was moved was when they were scooting it back and forth a bit to slide shims underneath it to level it off.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The difference in these two scenarios is that with an open fireplace, the flue is open. With normal draft the combustion gases always head up the chimney. Your flue is not, it's capped at the top. Combustion gases either head up the flue pipe or out into the room. It appears that the only thing that saved this from being a disaster was the good draft on the flue.

    joe, it would just be speculation on why this happened, except that for sure either the elbow was under high tension or damaged on installation. The clamp being on the liner only is a good indication this is the result of sloppy, careless workmanship.
  11. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    LOOK! ITS THE NEW VENT FREE WOOD STOVE!

    seriously though, I wish i had the good luck you have had to live through that!
  12. bupalos

    bupalos Member

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    Yeah this is a totally unacceptable install. I would be quite surprised if it really did leak CO into the house though... that is essentially a badly made "passive damper," which is bad practice but was done by seat-of-the-pantsers for decades, even on oil furnaces I've seen. I'm sure it would leak on startup but once the liner above is hot it's going to vacuum anything out of that void. The vacuum generated by all the pipe above that point is vastly greater than the pressure created by a lazy under-drafting fire. All the draft you were missing in your stove was working to pull warm air out of your house up the chimney.

    Maybe just maybe when it's down to just coals and if there is no cap so the chimney cools fast, and you underfed air to the coals, maybe you'd get some CO then. But I'm not surprised at all that the detector never signaled. And to put your mind at ease, you weren't getting sick from undetectable levels of CO. I don't think you needed God's help here, physics did fine. Now that installer maybe better start praying because you have a great case that they flat out ripped you off with that kind of "install."

    I don't see it as terribly dangerous in this case, but it is undoubtedly why the thing didn't really work.
  13. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Just got off the phone with the stove store for the first time. They have 3 pictures in hand. My salesperson's voice was very neutral. He asked if I had called the installer up and I said no, that I had discovered it Saturday night, and furthermore that due to the obviously poor installation I don't really want to reach back out to the installer for this. I re-affirmed that I was reaching out to him as the provider of my stove and installation sourcing, and that I was looking to him for ways to make this right. He basically just said "I'm going to show the pictures to owners/managers and get back to you."

    Neither re-assuring at this stage nor distressing. I understand his point of view at this stage that he needs to be professional and a bit skeptical, but I'm really hoping that I start getting a little "above and beyond" soon.

    FYI, this is an NFI certified place and according to their place one of their staff members teaches and provides NFI certification.
  14. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Good point about it sucking hot air out of my house to feed it. In no way is that chamber a vacuum.....it makes alot of sense that if it was drafting, then it was sucking air all around the trim edges to feed the suction.

    And, further, it actually makes alot of sense why I had actually just posted about how the room the stove is in is not getting warm and feels drafty (despite KNOWING that the room is sealed up very tightly due to an energy audit de-pressurizing my house and us checking the whole house for air infiltration).

    If the damn stove was a source of vacuum, then I was getting an extra dose of losing hot air AND having cold air sucked from other rooms to feed the huge depressurized zone there.

    That actually could explain why my wife and I would sit 10 feet from a 600 degree stove blowing on high and still need a blanket to feel comfortable. And it explains why as the temp differences (outside/inside) increased, the room dynamics changed so much....the draft was that much stronger, and thus it was sucking ever more conditioned air out.

    Honestly, I hope i'm not overblowing that because the stove's performance has not been satisfactory to me and if it's simply a matter of sealing up the chimney pipe properly then blocking it off with rock rool and such making it work well, I'll be quite happy.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The negative pressure due to the stove may not change a lot. But the heat output and secondary performance should be markedly better. Smoke spillage when opening the door should also be significantly reduced. Essentially, the stove has been operating like one with a barometric damper, stuck open. After the proper repair I would also insist on a full sweep. There's a good chance of significant creosote formation because of the air cooled flue.
  16. bupalos

    bupalos Member

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    The combined effect of an under-drafted fire and over-drafted room is hard to overestimate. You're sucking cold air from other rooms, yes, but ultimately the make-up air is coming from outside. It's a nasty equation. That's a mighty big gap there in the liner, so I'm going to guess that it is creating significantly more total negative pressure than would be the case if the lopi were a nicely sealed drag on it. Your chimney was probably pulling half or less of it's draft from through the stove. I bet you'll be happy with the Lopi once this is fixed.

    Personally, I'd just ask for all your money back on install including the price of the liner, and fix it yourself. But not with aluminum tape. Looking again, I'd just gt a rigid 30 or 45 elbow and clamp the liner on there nice and tight and you're done.
  17. bupalos

    bupalos Member

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    Also for all the folks speculating on the safety situation, you can't really know without seeing the total setup, but this "disaster" really isn't far from how older insert style airtight stoves were done all throughout the 70's and 80's. Jam a few feet of stovepipe up through the lintel, face plate kinda-sorta sealing the fireplace opening, go home. Creosote and chimney fire factory, yes, but really, how many people have ever died of CO poisoning from a wood fire, and are you sure it wasn't alcohol poisoning instead? You have to work really hard at it and ignore a whole lot of stink and smoke before a wood fire gets you with CO. Can't say I've ever heard of an actual case. It's just not like nat. gas CO at all.
  18. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Except he no longer has an "open" cap. It has a pipe connected to it that runs all the way back down to the stove. That interior cavity is just loading up with smoke.
  19. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Bupalos - There was a member on here not too long ago that had his CO detectors go off after leaving his stove door open for 15 minutes...I believe the morning after a burn, so it was pure charcoal.

    I understand what you are saying, I just thought I'd mention that there have been a few members with close calls.
  20. boatboy63

    boatboy63 Member

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    As for the elbow being used, I would not trust it. I have used a similar type in running HVAC ducting in my attic. If placed in a bind, the seams in this will pop apart. I saw a flexible elbow at my Tractor Supply that I would trust, but can't find it shown online. This was a black flexible elbow that is made like an accordian. It is all made from 1 piece of metal and can be bent by pulling/pushing on the accordian part of the flex.
  21. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Completely unsatisfactory exchange with my stove shop. Here's basically what I was told (paraphrase, but very similar):

    "We do gas and pellet installs ourselves but recommend (Blank) to do our wood stove installations. We do not subcontract with him, but we do work closely with him and even bring him in to answer customer questions on very unique installs. He does the majority of our wood stove installations by far" (this is a place where 40% of their showroom is wood stoves, 30% is open fireplaces, and 15/15 pellet/gas)

    "We feel that he should be contacted and have a chance to come out and examine it, fix it, or respond otherwise. I will contact him for you, including forwarding the pictures to him, if you'd like."

    This is after I told the guy that I was shocked by how improper this was, was uncomfortable using the same chimney sweep, and was contacting them directly because they facilitated my interior buying process, measurements, install (sourced the installer), and after-care.

    I'm fairly dissapointed honestly, though i can't say I don't understand. Nonetheless, if their "main installer" of wood stoves did this I would think they would take it a bit more seriously.

    I'm going to call the installer/chimneysweep up now. Wish me luck.

    FYI, I'm extremely calm and professional on the phone. To the point where it occasionally behooves me to let some anger seep in.

    P.p.s. When this is wrapped up, I will write an extended review of the process and people involved so others can make their own decisions. Sadly, I probably would've used this same place and installer for a a $4k job in a few years except for this event...
  22. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

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    I certainly posted a message similar to this - trying to burn down the coals - Now, my cap was clogged which was why it wasn't drafting, but the house was not full of fumes or smoke. It's entirely feasible that you could have got CO in with the right conditions - end of burn and a warmer day leads to fumes entering the house instead. You're lucky that didn't happen.
  23. KB007

    KB007 Feeling the Heat

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    You need to give the original installer at least the chance to see what's what and offer to fix it. It could be that the elbow was defective - who knows. It would seem that there might be a better attachment solution for you, this is where you could investigate a little and possibly even offer alternatives to the installer if you think there is a better way.
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I have to admit, that as ticked off as I would be, I agree with this. EVERYBODY screws up. It is their ability and willingness to fix the problem that they should be judged by.
  25. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Yes, once he said it on the phone I agreed with him. I have to give the guy a chance, no matter how upset I am. And I totally agree with the motto that service is not giving you the product you asked for, it's making you happy when you find out the product isn't what you expected.
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