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In need of help/advice?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by acosta2269, Dec 31, 2006.

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  1. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    After months of research, and reading tons of truly informative threads from this forum, I decided on the Pacific Energy Summit insert. I had it professionally installed in late November. The insert appears to be working properly. It usually lights with little or no problems. A full load of wood will burn for hours and just about overnight. In the morning, I rake the coals, put a small piece of wood in and she starts right up again (it won't light up, if I load the box immediately). Standing in front of the insert, with the blower going, you can feel a nice amount of heat coming out.

    The unit sits in my family room fireplace. The room is fairly large (20 x 27) and opens up into the kitchen area (28 x 15), in an "L" shape. Picture the fireplace in the the botton, right hand corner of the "L". The ceiling directly above the fireplace has a cathedral ceiling (coming out 10 feet from the fireplace) and the rest of the room has 9 foot ceilings.

    My problem/confusion is with the heat output. The heat output is MUCH less than I expected. The rooms are relatively warm. Obviously, the further you move away from the fireplace and into the kitchen (the "L), the temperature gets cooler and cooler. Although together the rooms total close to 1,000 square feet, I expected the unit, which is rated to heat up to 3,100 square feet, to keep it much warmer and quite possible allow some heat to travel to the rest of the house. At this point, it seems like it's struggling to heat the 1,000 square feet. I thought the problem was the cathedral ceiling, so I installed 2 ceiling fans in the area directly above the fireplace. It has helped slightly, but it's still not what I expected. I have been in other wood burning homes (inserts and stoves) and they were definitely warmer than mine, while heating a much larger space than mine. I've read here and seen first hand, that many people heat their entire house with their stove/insert. My wife still sits on the couch (about 8 feet from the insert) wrapped in a blanket. I can't help but wonder if there is a problem.

    The temps outside (in NY) have been mild and I'm burning mixed hardwoods)

    Are my expectations unreasonable?

    Could there be a problem with the installation (draft, air intake etc...)?
    How can I determine if there is a problem? And if there is, how can I pinpoint it.
    Could it be the airflow inside the house? Where is the heat coming out of the insert going?


    Thank you for your help. This forum has been great.


    Happy New Year.

    Anthony

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  2. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    acosta2269, wow, welcome to the forums, don't leave, the experts will be along shortly to help. :lol:

    Now that I've got that out of the way, is your wood really good and dry ? Seasoned really well ?

    How does your stove seem to draw or draft ?

    Blower seems strong ?

    Have you checked your stove temps at max. output ?

    Roospike has a Summit Classic, he can probably help, he knows about the EBT stuff.






    Robbie
  3. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    Robbie, thanks for the reply.

    My wood seems to be dry. It burns pretty well and pretty fast. This is my first year of burning wood, so I have no point of reference. i don't know wood is "supposed" to burn in the insert. My neighbor, who's been burning for years, said it was good and dry.

    The blower seems strong. Standing directly in front of the insert, you feel a nice hot wind coming off the unit. However, it's not overbearingingly hot, and I don't know if it should be?

    I have not checked the stove temps. I need to run out and get a thermometer. I will do so asap.

    How do I chedk the draw or the draft?
  4. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Welcome to the fire ring brother acosta2269.

    That Summit if running correct and hot should be baking your cookies for you. I was thinking wet hard to burn wood also but with more info and questions I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of this mystery.

    Check this film loop of my P.E. Summit burning from a new fire to reload and let us know if your wood is burning as such.

    Secondary burn: http://invite.filmloop.com/x?TiGQ7F6rkWljtamOMeI1Ev2k1CLKdfik
  5. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    That Summit insert should be warming yer place real nice. My place is fairly large and it heats here well. I also have cathedral ceilings upper most top is = to 3 stories.
    I also use a fan to blow it down. I have read that you may try and reverse yer fan flow, that way you won't have a cool breeze on you, but it will come down the walls instead. I have mine normal and feel nothing but warm air hitting me. Does get a lil cooler towards the 1st floor back rooms, but nothing bad. I have a loft upstairs and a set of steps on the other side of the kitchen, so I may be getting a nice circulation. You might want to also try a box fan blowing the cooler air from the farthest room. Then you can try to blow the warm air towards the back. I have read the cool air towards the heat source works best though. Each situation is different though.
  6. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    Roospike, thank you. You are the major reason I chose the PE Summit. I was thinking of the freestanding stove at first (in the whorehouse red, of course), but after considering the kids, the dog, the space needed and the available fireplace, I opted for the insert.

    Although its a bit hard to tell, the fire in your pictures seems to burn stronger than mine does. I get a nice burn with the damper open all the way. But on occasion, when I close the damper a bit the flame also lowers significantly. However, as I write now, I have the damper all the way down, and the flame is burning nicely. It seems like the flame is actually burning above the wood, towards the top of the firebox. Is that normal?

    You mentioned in you last picture, that the logs you put in will burn for 8 hours. I find myself constantly adding wood to the insert, especially if the damper is open all the way. Even closed all the way, for an overnight burn, it doesn't last 8 hours. In the morning I find hot coals, but the blower fan has gone off, which means the insert has cooled below the required temperature to keep it running.
  7. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    The flames burning above the wood is the secondary burn, normal & a good thing.
    Overnight burn needs the box to be stuffed with large rounds &/or splits. 6"-7"+
    Get the new load charred (door cracked open about 10 mins or so), close door then let air intake on high for another 10 or so,then cut air intake lever to about 40%,for about 10 -15 mins, then set air intake all the way to low. that should get you through the night. Oh yeah look at my post "800-850+ temps", Roo has alot of helpful hints in there, and a couple photos of how he loads his rounds/splits for overnight.
  8. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    Thanks Hogwildz. That's good to hear about the secondary burn.

    I'll do some more reading to get a better overnight burn. However, my main concern is still the heat output. From everything I read, it sounds like I should be baking in this room. I'm sitting about 8 feet from the insert now, and its "comfortable". Not cold, but certainly not baking. If I move 15 feet away it gets colder and colder.

    I tried the ceilings in reverse and it is better. I feel less of a draft on me. It's helped a little, but not completely.
  9. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Try and take a good photo of the fire you have going(if you have a digital camera). I know ya shouldnt rely totally on a thermometer, but I find it helpful as a reference as to were your heat temp is at. tell me what size splits and how many in relation to how full the firebox is. I am new too, but I had the opposite problem, was getting way too hot. Do you have the Summits blower on hi also? automatic or manual?
  10. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Heres what I have going at the moment. Its several photos, prolly 2 posts.
    I haven't figured how to control photos order so I'll describe the best I can.
    One is with a flash on camera, shows the firebox lit up by the flash. So you can see what I have for splits as a reference to the heat I am getting.
    The other is the same shot pretty muich just no flash to show the minimal flame but mostly hot glowing coals.
    The other is the thermometer and the temp that I am getting from these coals, just under 550 degrees.

    Now I don't know what kind of heating for the house you expect. My thermostat is between the living room & the kitchen. About 15-20' from the insert, and set at 66 degrees, yet insert has this area at 73 degrees. Upstairs is naturally warmer. Back of kitchen a lil bit cooler and back room I dunno 70 maybe. Not sure, no temp gauge back here. Last night I had a serious flamer going, with my air leaking door and all and it got to 78 on the thermostat. Fo me that was quite toasty in the living room. I slept with no blanket. The stove with your room sizes is not going to heat your place to 85 or 90 degrees. Might get to 80 or so near the stove. or that room maybe.
    You have to be realistic, these are not furnaces, they are stoves, more meant for space heating, although many like myself use them as main heating source. My oil furnace has not fired since I installed this last weekend. 73 in here right now and not bad for 32 outside.

    Attached Files:

  11. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    I can't get the picture to attach. How do I attach them?

    I don't have a stove thermometer, so I can't tell what the temperature is on the insert.

    The logs are various sizes. I'd say from 12 to 20 inches of mixed hardwoods.
  12. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    when you post, or click edit for your previous post, look above ehere it says preview post & submit post. Click "browse" then pic the photo from your computer., if you are adding more than one, ech time you have to click preview, then add the next, up to 4 within the size limitation. then click submit post if its a new post, or update post if you are revising or adding to your previous post.
  13. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    gonna go grab a smoke, brb
  14. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    78 degrees? I'd kill for 78 degrees (lol). My thermostat is about 30 feet from the insert in my dining room (behind the kitchen wall), and even with the stove cranked all the way up for hours...has NEVER gone past 70 degrees.
  15. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    I keep trying to attach, but it keeps giving me an error message that the size of the attachment is too big.
  16. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Acosta, if you're having trouble with the pics, you can email them to me and I can get them posted. PM me for the address.

    As for the heat output, what position do you have your air control in? Also, how long is your chimney run?
  17. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    For me, my Summit get hotter after I shut the air intake lever all the way to low, but make sure you get her fired up good before shutting the lever to low. If your getting secondary burn, it should be hot enough.
  18. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Yeah , the pics cant be too large otherwise it wont let you add them , you can go to "paint" program in your computer (windows) and make the pictures smaller.

    If you cant figure out how to change the picture size you can send them to me and i will edit them and send them back to you at a smaller size ... roospike@yahoo.com
  19. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Hes not getting hot enough, I am guessing he doesn't have the door problem LOL
  20. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    My chimney run is about 25 feet. Right now my air control is all the way down, but even when its all the way open the room never really gets "too" hot. The room with the insert is "comfortable", even when its fully burning. I expected an insert of that size to bake that room and allow some heat to the rest of the house.
  21. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    Could it be the wood I'm burning? It seems to burn ok, but this is all new to me so I don't really know.

    Where does the insert get the air it needs to burn the wood? The hot air doesn't seem to travel far away from the insert. It seems as if, hot air is coming out of the insert and then getting drawn back in. Is that possible?
  22. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Pics on the way!!
  23. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    If you leave the air damper wide open the wood burns fast but heat the sky as it goes out the chimney.

    One you get the wood a burning a little bit close the damper to at least 80% open to get the wood charred and burning some more and it keep the heat in the stove and not up the pipe , one it gets going even better you can lower the damper to around 40%- 25% open.

    You can get different kinds of flame out of your wood and as you had seen in my secondary burn film loop there was a lot of secondary burn because of a newly started fire and a lot of gases come off the wood , now with an already fire going / hot coal bed you can get secondary burn after you add more wood and as the fire box heats up you can get a "gohst of flames" floating around at the top of the fire box .......... this is a hot load but the damper has been turned down for long burn times.

    Wood has just so much BTU / heat in it and it depends on how you run your damper is to how much heat and how long the wood will burn.
    If you have a few good size logs burning in your stove and the damper is open 25% you will get more heat out of your stove then if you have the damper turned all the way down but will have a shorter burn time.

    More wood = more heat / longer burn time depends on how you set the air damper.
  24. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    Here are the pics...Thanks Don.

    You can't see the flame, I guess I need to play with the settings on the camera.

    Attached Files:

  25. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    How come you ain't loading that beast front to back? Not a rule, but they are made for that. No worrys bout wood rolling out.
    Whats those black pcs? paper? Do you have a real good coal bed under those pcs of wood? A good, hot coal bed is a must for getting a load to flame up & heat well.
    I usually start with some small splits, when I have a couple inches of cherry coals, then I load it on.
    Are you burning 24/7? or just lighting here & there.
    After a couple days of continuous burning, you'll have a real nice bed of coals.
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