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Isle Royale Smoking... a lot

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by js156, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. js156

    js156 New Member

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    Well, I'm back.
    My new stove is now smoking. Please see the two videos that I have links to below.
    My questions are 1, why is it smoking and 2, why is the smoke leaving the stove where it is. It isn't visible but it does come out around the doors too. In one of the videos it visible at the bottom and in the back too.
    I did not install a thing. All I did was buy the stove and pay for it's installation from the same dealer.
    My wife and I waited three years for this stove and we were so happy to finally buy it. But...
    Note: In case you are unfamiliar with my previous thread it did over fire out of the box and did reach 900+ degrees. The dealer came back and replaced a gasket around the stove door. After that the stoves running temp dropped to 800 degrees but still burnt the hardwood very quickly.I guess it would. Now with these videos new being sent to them I have not heard a thing. I think that is just morally wrong. Almost 6500 dollars and nothing. Thank you for any helpful knowledge that you may have and share.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/73330363@N05/with/13144241155/

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  2. Warm_in_NH

    Warm_in_NH Minister of Fire

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    Peeps here know a lot more than me and they'll chime in. Initial thoughts are cold pipe (reverse draft) or clogged pipe/cap.

    Others will ask what you chimney set up is, length, turns, materials, etc...
    How much wood have you run through the stove?
    When does it primarily smoke like that, just start ups?
    Have you checked your door gaskets with a dollar bill to make sure they're tight?

    They'll get it figured out for you. Good luck.
  3. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    What is the temp beside the top plate. That top plate will always be the hottest part of that stove. My Oslo will read 200 degrees hotter on the center oval than the corner. That's why they say to measure on the corner.
    As for the smoking, give it some air! Almost every stove will puke smoke when the fire isn't established and the air is reduced all the way. The fact that their are no flames in the box tells me that either the fire wasn't established or the wood isn't seasoned. When the stove back puffs, smoke will come out of any perfectly good gasket, and the primary air inlet. Check the temps on other parts of the stove and don't reduce the air so soon or all the way.
  4. js156

    js156 New Member

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    The stove had been burning and there were hot coals in the stove. I was merely reloading. The only reason the vents were closed at this particular time was that I wanted to control the smoke entering my home. I was not able to do this. The video does not show all the smoke that I could see leaving the stove.
    It was very windy that day.
    At this time, I am in disagreement with the comment "smoke will come out of any perfectly good gasket".
    It is my opinion that a good gasket won't leak.

    Merriam Webster"s definition of Gasket: a piece of rubber or some other material that is used to make a tight seal between two parts that are joined together.
    Merriam Webster"s definition of Seal: to close or make secure against access, leakage, or passage by a fastening or coating
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  5. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    I would be more concerned that your wall is reading 175::F
  6. js156

    js156 New Member

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    It does not pass the test. The company that sold me the stove told me that the "Dollar bill test was stupid" they would not replace the gaskets. My stove was installed on February 18. Some of the smoke did get released around the doors.
  7. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Idk, these gaskets are rope on metal, not suction rubber like they use on refrigeration. The dollar bill test proves that the seal is not absolute...
    I have spots on mine that it does pass, but I don't have smoke come in my room because I have great draft.....
  8. js156

    js156 New Member

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    Mish Mouse, I have a multitude of problems with something my wife and I saved and treated ourselves to!
    Thank you for trying to keep us safe! I agree 175 is ridiculously hot.
  9. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

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    In the first video it looks like the smoke is leaking out of the bottom of the stove near where the ash door is probably located. Did you check to make sure the door was tightly shut? I certainly wouldn't burn a stove that was letting that much smoke out with all the doors shut tight on it. As already asked, tell us about your chimney set up.
  10. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I didn't see any smoke in the last video with the flames. I saw smoke when you had no flames. Is this what's going on?
  11. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Sometimes you need to leave the door cracked just a bit to get more draft especially when you have no flame like that.... I think draft is your problem and you may have loaded bigger size wood on coal that were not able to immediately ignite the wood. Try using thinner dryer pieces on redder hotter coals....
  12. js156

    js156 New Member

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    Nick,
    It goes up four feet, has a 90 degree elbow out an exterior wall to another 90 degree elbow and goes up for an approximate total of 27 feet above the top of the stove. It is stainless steel and 6".
    I did not install it.
    My guess is it should have been higher because it is lower than my highest ridge.
    I know that there are rules for that but again, I am not the installer.
    As for the ash pan, absolutely it was closed. Thanks.
  13. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You can't reload this stove with the primary air closed.
    If you are getting smoke on a hot restart you either have a backdraft issue or something is plugged up. Primary air closed down during this time will amplify the problems.
  14. js156

    js156 New Member

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    Jags, Thank you for your response. The only reason the vents were closed at this particular time was that I wanted to control the smoke entering my home. They were initially open. So, I guess if the choices for smoke entering my home are a clogged chimney or a back draft problem then I would have to say it is a back draft problem. The installers did put a cap on it which I verified is still there.
    Good, question one is solved.
    Thank you
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    The problem is that the controls for the primary air can't be completely closed (by design). It may have slowed down the entrance of smoke to the home, but it really can't stop it. It is puzzling to me that if the flue was warm/hot from the previous fire that the draft on that 27 ft pipe wouldn't overcome a negative draft or backdraft issue. Its like you are going from one extreme (overfire) to another (bad draft).
  16. rkofler

    rkofler Burning Hunk

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    Light a few pieces of newspaper on top to try to get a good draft going.
  17. Warm_in_NH

    Warm_in_NH Minister of Fire

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    From what I've seen on here and also in person, I would look closely at a couple of things.

    1. You said it was windy, should still function especially if it was already warm. You want the top of the chimney 10' away from the roof on a horizontal measure, plus 2' for drafting. Specs are easy to look up, double check their install.

    2. When was the last time the pipe was cleaned? May be clogged up restricting air flow going up.

    3. Most common cause, if you have a screen on the cap it could be clogged up w ash, debris, etc, again restricting air flow.

    If I wait too long to reload I'll get a lot of smoke but it all stays where it belongs.

    There may be more to it but that's all I can offer up.
  18. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I promise you, a gasket will leak if a stove is back puffing! It'll do it on a brand new stove. Closing the air down is not the answer. Can you see through the cap? We've had lots of clogged caps this year, even after only a few months of burning. Check that cap. Also make sure your Tee cap is sealed tight.
  19. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Your chimney wasn't drafting enough to send the smoke up. When you closed the air, you choked off the draft further and made the matter worse. Still, I'm glad to hear that your overfire/overdraft problems have changed into a not enough fire/not enough draft problem. That latter is much easier to fix. To get more draft and an easier to start fire on reload, use smaller wood on the hot coals and give the fire full primary air. Don't overdo it or you'll have your overfire problem again.

    Running a stove is a bit of an art, and there is a learning curve. More air and warmer flue, better draft. Less air and cold flue, crappy draft. As Jags said, normally on a reload, your flue should already be warm. But a scant coalbed and big wood will surely produce smoke, particularly when temps are warmer outside.

    Personally, I doubt that your chimney is clogged given your overfire experiences. So I take it that the dealer couldn't find anything structurally defective with the Isle Royale in terms of cracks or anything? And I hope you took them to task for telling you not to use the start-up air (a particularly useful control when your stove is cold and the temps outside are warm).
    Jags likes this.
  20. js156

    js156 New Member

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    The installer made a note on the job form that more pipe may be needed and that a review is needed. I imagine, after this experience, he was right. He said if it was up to him he would have installed at least 4 more feet.
  21. js156

    js156 New Member

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    NWinds, Unfortunately, my over fires were still occurring. I have since stopped using the stove. The videos don't show the smoke leaving the doors well.
    I think it stands to reason if the wind can blow air through my stove doors, and elsewhere, my over firing can pull air at will through the same openings.
    Thank you.
  22. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    There are still many unanswered questions above that could lead to answers. Help us help you.;)
  23. Kobeman

    Kobeman New Member

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    Seems as tho the smoke is coming from the primary air slot, the slot the slider moves in. You can barely see the slider if you shine a light up in there. I have almost the same chimney set up and can't believe you have lost the draft. I'd check that "T" clean out cap and if accessible go up top for a quick look. This is why I really like my cheap dwyer draft meter, I have to run a key damper and I use it to confirm my settings till I learn my stove better, based upon my experience my isle likes .04" draft with air closed. Anything over .06 my flue temps start climbing, below .02 I get smoke out the stack, your mileage may very, don't give up on the beautiful stove there are lots of good people here that will stick with you and guide you along. Any pictures of the outside stack?
    js156 likes this.
  24. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    For starters, from OP's comments, it appear that his door gasket does not seal, has not from the beginning, and his dealer has told him there is no need for it to do so. If he is still suffering from overfires, shouldn't he document that he has been given this advice? I would be concerned that he is at risk for ruining his stove with overfires, and the company may not honor a warranty claim "because he overfired the stove". Shouldn't he fix that seal before anything else?
    Woody Stover likes this.
  25. tcassavaugh

    tcassavaugh Minister of Fire

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    sorry about the smoking stove, especially after your expectations of a beautiful new stove were not what you envisioned. to me, it sounds like maybe one of a couple of things. one the gaskets suck and so does the service. second, it sounds like you have a draft problem possibly caused by a clog or an inability to get the pipe hot soon enough so you get smoke spillage caused by a downdraft. you say you have a 90 degree then another 90 degree at the chimney. wonder if a couple of 45's from your stove tot the thimble would help? My summit stove sometimes does not draft well when trying to start it. I often get spillage some until it gets a good burn in it. you've probably already done this, but try putting some small splits (kindling) and get it going quickly and leaving the door open slightly so it gets more air. the videos looked like there was no fire going hardly at all. when I have a rip roaring fire. and I close down all my drafts, I sometimes get some puffing caused by intermittent ignition of the gasses. I have a key damper to slow the roll and sometimes, I have it closed a little bit much and I get some smoke seepage from the intakes or the pipe junction into the stove.

    I'd contact my dealer again, after making sure the pipe is not impeded at all and see if you can put your heads together and work something out, especially since they did the install. if there is still an impasse and the issue can't be resolved, I'd let them know you were going to lodge a complaint with the better business bureau and show them courtesy copy of the letter and see if that gets any results. good luck.

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