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jotul 118 making A LOT of creosote, any advice?

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by daveyboy04, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. daveyboy04

    daveyboy04 New Member

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    Hi, I'm not new to wood stoves, the house I grew up in was heated only by wood, a big old Earthstove. But I am new to this 'cigar' style of stove. Anyway, I was given an old Jotul 118 for my workshop, and I'm having some problems with it. First of all, I'm having a hell of a time getting it burn hot enough to put out much heat. I can get a good, hot bed going with lumber, but as soon as I put real wood to it, and close the door, it just wants stoke down and burn real low. I'm burning seasoned oak, split small, so I know it's dry enough. And draft isn't a problem either. But the low burn is creating a lot of creosote. I've only burned it three times, and have an 1/8th inch crust of creosote in my pipes already! I'm seriously considering popping the top off and removing the upper baffle, so it would burn just like a boxwood. Does anyone have any thoughts on this before I light it up? Any advice will be truly appreciated.

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  2. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    While I love the Jotul 118, it is a pre-EPA Stove, so at low burn it will produce a fair amount of creosote.

    Have you checked your wood with a moisture meter?
  3. daveyboy04

    daveyboy04 New Member

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    no, I haven't checked the moisture content, but the tree was dead when it was dropped, bark falling off. Then it sat since last spring. It's dry as hell, I can't imagine that's the problem.
  4. AngusMac

    AngusMac New Member

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    I had an old 118, it burnt quite cleanly. I used to burn it hot (using a stove thermometer) then slow it down and it worked well.
    The symptoms sound like damp wood, like cmonstart says, try a moisture meter, other than that, I ve no idea what it could be, as you say the chimney pull is good.
  5. Mad Tom

    Mad Tom Member

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    If the lumber is burning fine then your wood is not as dry as you think it is. 3 burns with good wood would not create any noticeable creosote. Clean those pipes and throw in some of that packaged store bought stuff, should be night and day.
  6. daveyboy04

    daveyboy04 New Member

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    I guess I'll have to go invest in one of these moisture meters. We never used one, I just remember as a kid, if my Pop burnt green wood, it would hiss and bubble. This doesn't do any of that, and by the weight of it, seems good and dry. But maybe I'm wrong. Thanks for the advice.
  7. brianbeech

    brianbeech Feeling the Heat

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    daveyboy04, I also have a Jotul 118 from the 70's. This is my first year burning and I've experienced both good and bad wood in mine this year. I haven't been up on the roof to look in the pipe yet, but I have watched the smoke coming out of the chimney. When I'm below 500f on my stove top, I do see some smoke coming out of the chimney, probably more than I want, but when I'm in the 550-600+f mark, there is very little smoke and it 'appears' to be burning pretty clean.

    I began burning with wood that was split and stacked for at least a year and I had no problems getting a fire started, getting it hot quickly, and burning with the air control mostly closed. I mean mostly closed. I don't have a picture right now, but I would say that the air control is only open enough for me to fit the tip of my pointer finger in it. When doing that with 'good, dry' wood, I would see stove top temps around the 600f mark with my flue, 18" up, measuring around 300f. When I walk out to look at the chimney, it's almost as if I'm not burning anything; very small amount of smoke.

    I then split some Chestnut Oak that had been cut and stacked, but not split, for 8 months. This wood split so easily and the bark just fell off - I assumed it was dry. I tried 2 or 3 times to burn that wood with little to no success. I had to babysit the fire and leave the air open over 3X as much to get the flames to continue. If I shut the air to normal, the fire would almost smolder out. I've quit burning this year because I don't have good wood.

    I think this stove will burn really clean. To me, it sounds like you don't have good enough wood.
  8. brianbeech

    brianbeech Feeling the Heat

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    Also, I HIGHLY suggest getting a stove top thermometer and one for the flue too. These two pieces of data allowed me to figure out more of what was going on with this stove; since there is no window and when you open the door you completely change what's happening by the amount of air allowed in.

    I know you don't NEED thermometers, but I ran without one and I was scared to get the stove too hot. I then found out I was only burning at 400f. Ooops.

    Attached is my stovetop thermometer - all the guys on here say you can't go by the pre-defined ranges on the thermometers - especially for the old school Jotuls. Manual says if it, or the stove pipe, is glowing, you're over-firing it; I'm no where near that.

    Attached Files:

  9. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    It sounds more like a draft issue, if that's possible. Have you burned other stoves there before? Do you get the smell of smoke when you open the door? Even w/wet wood, it should burn half decently when mixed w/dry pine, wouldn't you think? 118 isn't a complicated rig, should make a great shop stove! Keep at it.
  10. brianbeech

    brianbeech Feeling the Heat

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    I can tell you how my draft is and it appears to be great! When I start a fire, I leave the door cracked and have the air wide open; while I sit there. Once I get up to about 250f, I close and latch the door and close the air down to about 1/4 open. Once it gets up to about 400f, I cut it waaaayy down. I then hear the air being pulled in, if there is no noise. It makes a wind whistling noise. This is when the stove top begins to heat up to 400f+. I can get it to stay between 500f and 650f for at least 3 hours with a full load of good, seasoned wood.

    On my setup, the flue is as hot or hotter than the stove until I turn the air down to less than a 1/4 open. Once I do that, I typically see flue temps to be about 50% of the stove top temps. This gives me confidence that I'm not sending too much out the chimney and that my stove is hot enough to do a cleaner burn. Otherwise, I'm afraid I'd be sending a lot of unburned particles out of the chimney.
  11. AngusMac

    AngusMac New Member

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    I couldnt agree more and I am the same as you Brian, I couldn't work a stove without a thermometer now.
  12. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Removing the top baffle will probably cut back on your heat output even more depending on how you load it. Tell us about your chimney. If you're venting that stove into a 8"x8" tile flue that's the likely culprit IMO.
  13. oldjotul118

    oldjotul118 New Member

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    Hi I have same stove and am venting into 8x8 flue tile. I can get it to burn around 350 -400 but not much hotter than that. Even with door vent wide open. I don't have room for a damper as pipe goes right into a t then a 90 and directly into flue tile. It is heating an addition now but in not confident it will in winter. I do now it burns better if I clean ashes from every fire but don't know if that is necessary.
  14. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    The oak is still wet. It needs another year of seasoning.
  15. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    i agree with calling the wood not dry enough. i have burn't 2 year cut split and stacked and still had not dry enough oak. i'm not a oak fan for one reason and that is it takes three years to dry. if split small maybe less. but love the heat output. so i compensate and turn towards black locust. but to your problem i agree with what was said earlier, buy a bundle or the store bought kiln dried stuff and see how that goes. and if you crusted up you stove connector pipe then you did the same to the chimney. you need to brush that out too.

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