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Jotul C450 Baffle Removal/Replacement without insanity

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by amikolajczyk, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. amikolajczyk

    amikolajczyk Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    Blue Knob, PA
    Hi everyone, I've lurked here for about a year after buying a house with a basement Jotul C450. I had no prior experience with wood burning. After a very educational year which I think I learned a lot, I'm about start on my second season. Just got the flu swept. Also replaced the door, baffle, and glass gaskets myself. Hope I did that right. Last year I replaced the door gaskets with some stuff from Home Despot and they did great for about a month, then failed miserably. Lots of black glass.

    Anyway, this year I decided to replace all the gaskets, baffles, doors, glass, everything and buy the stuff from a real dealer, not the Home Despot. Ok, so here's my question...the Jotul C450's baffle is like playing Tetris. It will physically come out and go back in, but it seems to take a maddening amount of tries. I got mine out after saying a lot of nasty words and sweating more than I would have thought proper. Since it came out, it can obviously go back in, right? Well, not in this reality :) I had to take off one side of the angle iron pieces that hold it in place. That is after shearing one of the bolt heads off in the process such that one side now only has one bolt holding that rail on. There must be an easier way! Especially since this is a once a year event, if not more. Also, since I'm replacing gaskets, any tips on that? Directions state to "press firmly into the channel" but I could do that 100 times all differently.

    So to summarize, how to do the Tetris/Jenga game of moving the baffle in and out, especially since it moves out OK, but not back in. Then, how does the gasket cement thing set up?

    Thanks so much for all the great wisdom I've accrued here already, you all collectively helped my first season be a great learning experience. I hope to only improve my efficiency as times go by.

    Best Regards,
    AJM

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  2. op_man1

    op_man1 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    140
    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    Hi AJM,

    Welcome to the forum. I have the same unit and removed and put the baffle back in my insert this year for the first time and didn't really have a problem, certainly did not shear off any bolts or did not need to take anything apart. All I needed to do was lift the baffle directly upwards and then play with the angle to take it out. Putting it back in was a little more difficult since it is quite heavy. I crouched in front of the insert and supported my elbows with my knees (thus supporting th eweight of the baffle) - it did not seem very heavy using that technique.

    Not sure if they have changed the design, mine is a 2009. What year is your unit? Anyways, you should not have to shear off any part of your unit (nor remove any part of it, for that matter) to do this. It would be unfortunate to damage it for a routine type of job like this, and perhaps quite costly...

    Hope my description of how I removed it helps - I know there are other threads on this on how to remove and put back the baffle on a C450, maybe that would help you as well.
  3. gibson

    gibson New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    663
    Loc:
    Lincoln, RI
    Just cleaned my flue today. I have the 550. Layed down on my back, like working on a car to put in the baffles. Had my 8 yr old hold the flashlight, and it took me less than five minutes to put the baffles and secondary tubes back in place. They might be a little heavy, but I like the Jotul baffles better than the idea of some fiberboard ones that I have heard about.
  4. Rudyjr

    Rudyjr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Messages:
    361
    Loc:
    Central Ohio
    I have the c450 and did my own chimney cleaning last year. I can really see no reason to even remove the baffle for cleaning unless you are cleaning from the bottom up. I cleaned form the top down and when I was done I used a vac on the top of the baffle and the inside of the firebox.
  5. amikolajczyk

    amikolajczyk Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    Blue Knob, PA
    Thanks folks, had my first burn of the season last night and all is well. I'm actually sitting here in front of it now after rekindling it this morning. Nice to have fire again! :) I'm not sure how old my install is, it came with the house and if I had to guess it was probably installed sometime in the mid 90's. Just to clarify, I didn't try to or mean to shear off one of the bolts, just as soon as I put some torque on it with a ratchet, it snapped. No matter though, it was just one of the bolts hold the angle iron to the side of the firebox and the remaining bolt is more than up to the task of holding it there. I don't know, maybe next year I'll try to keep more detailed notes about how I get the thing out of there and try to reverse the process exactly going back in, but for the time investment, taking out one of the angle iron "rails" that it sits on just seemed to be a lot easier.

    On an unrelated topic, I decided to replace all of the door and glass gaskets this year. I assume the previous owner never did that and what an amazing difference. I woke this morning to not a speck of dirt on the glass whereas last season cleaning it was a daily chore.

    Thanks much, I look forward to a great burn season and appreciate all the advice and wisdom this community has to offer!

    Kind Regards,
    AJM
  6. ideaman

    ideaman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    US
    Hello everyone after looking at stoves for some time and saving some $ for a good one I chose the Jotul C450.

    To my dismay it has not been the best experience, so much that I was wondering if the $ spent would have been better aimed at a new heat pump for the home or a different stove..

    When installing the unit we noticed the burn baffle was improperly put together (small metal tab not broken off) causing it to be crooked and not touch the seal. I removed the bolts and removed the small tab. I have a terrible tendency to over tighten so I made them all one hand tight with a wrench. The stove did not have legs so bricks were custom cut to raise and level the stove (our fireplace was not perfectly level).

    So some of the issues I was hoping to get advice on are:

    1. The stove creaks quite a bit as temperatures rise and fall.. (Burn baffle bolts? Or just normal with newer models?)
    2. In order to start a new fire I usually have to leave the door cracked for a few minutes to get the fire hot or it smokes like crazy.
    3. Any time I open the door smoke immediately enters the home. I have tried different combination's and have found turn the fresh air intake OFF and blower off, then crack the door and let it suck air from inside the home, then its better but smoke still come right on it. It seems to be a design flaw in the stove to me but drives me crazy.
    4. Burn Time. Have you guys tested your stoves? I was hoping to be able to stock the stove and turn the fresh air to half and have enough coals to throw another log in the morning. So far that has not happened and if I turn the fresh air much below half there are chunks left over..

    I am fairly new to wood stoves so your comments/advise are very much appreciated!

    I had the stove professionally installed, it has a dedicated 3" fresh air line (goes through a hole in the bottom of the fireplace), 6" flu that is about 14' high with what looks like a china man cap.

    Thank you
  7. amikolajczyk

    amikolajczyk Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    Blue Knob, PA
    Hi, ideaman. I'm not exactly an expert only being inside my second season with this model, but I'll try to help.

    Sorry to hear you seem to have had a manufacturing defect, but sounds like it wasn't catastrophic and easy enough to fix on your own.

    1. When I first fire my stove for the season it creaks and groans quite a bit. This subsides after the first few fires. I assume a new install would be subject to something similar as various parts settle into their post-manufacturing state, I wouldn't worry. Even now, firing from cold generates a good amount of "ticking" which never bothered me at all, figured it was normal as parts expand and contract at different rates before reaching equilibrium.
    2. I too crack the door a little bit when lighting from a cold start, I also assumed this was normal. I've found a top-down lighting method works great and while I used lots of crinkled up newspaper last year, this year I've not used any at all. Usually a 3-4 splinters of fatwood or more recently taken to a 1/4 - 1/2 chunk of Supercedar. Both get a good fire going top-down style with nothing more than a match or two. Still, I do leave the door cracked until things get going. You know when it's time because closing at the right time actually accelerates the fire as the air currents get going.
    3. I think it's somewhat normal to get a little puff of smoke inside when you open the door, but it shouldn't be substantial at all. The blower shouldn't make a difference, but I've found opening the primary intake all the way does. It's got to do with equalizing air pressure differentials between the firebox and the air in the room. Substantial smoke in the room points to a reverse draft, which is more common when the flu is cold, but once it warms up shouldn't be happening.
    4. Burn time is a question which vexes me as well. Last year I had some poorly seasoned wood. It burned, but I really had to get a hot fire going to make it burn right. Otherwise it tended to smolder quite a bit with a low heat flame. The upside was that I still had a good charcoal bed to restart when I woke up in the morning. This year I have some truly seasoned wood which sat stacked for a full year. It burns great, starts great, and puts off a lot of heat. Unfortunately, a full, tightly packed load might only give me 4 hours of good burn time now. I experimented by cutting some splits short and loaded it North-South and it seemed like I got a more densely packed firebox and longer burn, but that's not exactly practical long-term.

    I think the 450's firebox is just a little too small for my liking, but then again with an insert we're constrained by the ability to fit into a fireplace. Still, last weekend was in the single digits down to -10F all weekend long and it kept my basement at a toasty 80F with my main living area at 70F so long as I kept it loaded with the blower on high. I like the stove, as it came with the house. It burns clean with good wood and aside from lighting it, I never see smoke coming from the chimney. But if I were buying a new one today I'd see if I couldn't squeeze something with a slightly larger firebox into that fireplace. It just might be that I cannot and I have to live with it. Still, I think it's a good unit, but a little underpowered to heat an entire house consistently through the entire winter. Too much care and feeding.

    Best of luck, and keep at it. It's always good to hear from a fellow 450 burner!

    Regards,
    AJM
  8. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,046
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    I have gotten quite used to the ticking - even to the point that I can recognize heating vs cooling noises and adjust the air intake using them to gauge the trend (little over the top perhaps).

    I had a great deal of trouble with smoke my first few months. It turned out my wood wasn't dry enough, and I wasn't burning hot enough. One shouldn't have to open the door often once you get a good fire starting routine down. Once mine is lit, I don't open the door until I have coals remaining. If you are getting smoke then you aren't at the coal stage, so it may be best to leave the air open and let it burn.

    As for preps before opening the doors, I always open the air for a minute or two first. It allows the fire to burn hottest, hence draft better (and the manual suggests it).

    Let the flue get hot before you reload. So long as the top of the insert isn't glowing you are OK. With only 14 feet of chimney you are right at the minimum stack height, so anything you can do to increase stack temps will help your draft, which will help keep smoke from the room.
    jotulguy likes this.
  9. ideaman

    ideaman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    US
    Thanks for the Tips, I usually burn with the air wide open so it burns the wood fully. On a good night I can keep the fresh air at half and have it burn almost completely to nothing. At a quarter there is are chunks left over in the morning. Have you found it better to leave the fresh air open or closed while reloading?

    I am getting used to operating this stove but the smoke that enters the room is still annoying, I don't always get to the coal stage so smoke can be an issue. I guess stoves now adays are different then the old ones. I remember a special grate that fit over an old Avalon stove that would allow you to run the stove with the door open, and there was no smell. I have also heard the newer Pacific Energy inserts do not suffer as badly with smoke..

    Lastly do you think a different liner cap would make a difference? And I noticed the liner our installer put in was single wall non-insulated, I don't know the thickness but its definitely not the stuff you see in the videos that can withstand the weight of a car!

    From the stove we have a 45 degree adapter to about 1.5ft of flex, the rest is straight pipe to the top.

    Thanks!
  10. Rudyjr

    Rudyjr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Messages:
    361
    Loc:
    Central Ohio
    I have a non insulated flexible stainless liner on my c450 with an insulated block off plate. I can easily get an overnight burn with the primary air cut down to less than 25 % and coals left to start a fire the next morning. I have never had a problem with unburnt wood when using seasoned dry wood.
  11. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,046
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    My first guess is that your wood isn't as dry as the C450 would like. If I ran the air settings you mentioned I would have a glowing stove top for sure. Second to that would be the minimum chimney height - From your description you have 15 ft total right?

    Do you have a thermometer on the stove top? If not, I recommend picking one up and letting us know what temps you are getting. Also, try the fire lighting experiment I have linked in my signature and see if you get similar results - done as I demo in the post, you should end up with small coals, and a hot stove.
  12. ideaman

    ideaman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    US
    Hi everyone, I have tried the tips listed here but I just cant get this stove running right. When its hot and the flames are good everything is okay but the minute you let the heat go down, or you don't leave the door cracked long enough for the wood to really catch it just billow smoke everywhere. Yesterday it smoked out the entire house, smoke coming through the door latch. I let it die and warmed the flu longer with a small piece of wood and it ran great all night. This morning I had it going reasonably well but when i added a piece of wood more smoke, even smoke out the fresh are (above the door). All I can say so far is what a waste of a lot of money. My installer is going to try to install some additional pipe past the chimney as ugly as it will be I hope it helps.

    What really irritates me is that Jotul has no customer contact email or phone number... If i ever buy another stove again I cant say I would ever touch a Jotul.
  13. Mr A

    Mr A Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Messages:
    597
    Loc:
    N. California
    You must have a draft problem. I fired mine up in the back yard with no stack before I installed it and it smoked like you described, coming out the doors. What size pipe did your installer use? I also have a 14' stack. My terra cotta is only 6 in wide by 15. The 6 inch round flue collar exhaust is 28 square inches. Some will say I could have ovalized a 6" liner to fit. I didnt want to take that chance with no experience to back it up. I got an 8" liner ovalized to 4X10, 31.4 sq in., where as a round 8" is 50 sq in. If your installer squeezed the liner down to fit, you have less exhaust area than the flue collar, coupled with the less than 15' recommended height= draft problem. One thing I notice about my C450 is that it really needs to have a block off plate as called for in the installation instructions. I got mine cheap, so I'm happy. I don't have a block of plate, and could be happier. It only holds 2-3 uncarefully split logs. those 2-3 logs flame for about 2 hours and half the air open, then I turn it down and have coals next day.
  14. nyyfan

    nyyfan New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Loc:
    NH
    I have a C450 as well and I really like the insert after year 1. My set up is with an uninsulated SS liner and no blockoff plate, mine also makes noises as it heats up and cools down, and it will smoke a little as well but if you open the air all the way and give it a min and then open the door slowly, you should be fine. I do wish the firebox was bigger, but it just takes some getting use to it I guess. For a while I wasn't able to get really long burns, but I was actually able to get about a 7 hour burn last night loading at 1230 all north south splits I let it get going for about 15 mins then turned the air all the way down and this morning at 730-8ish I came down stairs and was quite suprised to have some good coals and a decent stove temp. If you have to keep the air open all the way then you might have some seasoned wood issues and like another person wrote, I would have my insert glowing if I left it open all the time. I got a stove top thermometer and I had to play around with it a lot to find a good spot to put it, but after pulling the insert out another inch or two I now have space to put the thermometer on top after the lip for the opening. It might not be the best spot but it's as good as I can find. A few things that I have noticed and as Mr A mentioned, I think it really does need a blockoff plate since so much of the insert is in the fireplace and the blower tends to rattle at times like a SOB when it's on the high setting. This summer I am planning on adding a blockoff plate as well as pulling it out to the max as well as a hearth pad. Does anyone here that has the 450 and a blockoff plate but an uninsulated liner care to chime in on its performance as well as your cleanouts of your chimney and how often you have to do it?
  15. TheBaron

    TheBaron New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    88
    Loc:
    Eastern ON, Canada
    Here is my placement. Probably the only way to do it, seems to be working so far!

    Attached Files:

  16. Sledhead00

    Sledhead00 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
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    25
    Loc:
    WNY
    I see you have the Tamarack surround, have any more photos showing that?
  17. TheBaron

    TheBaron New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    88
    Loc:
    Eastern ON, Canada
    Here's one. I posted a few days ago (search tamarack) and you'll see some more. Not sure if I'm going to keep it yet or switch to the kennebec surround

    Attached Files:

  18. Mr. Freeze

    Mr. Freeze New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
    Messages:
    8
    I have owned a Jotul C450 insert for 6 years now and it has been a constant headache. My complaints are short burn time, dirty burns out the stack and dirty glass in the unit. I started by seasoning clean maple for 2 years to be sure it was just right and that only helped a little. I have had the stove completely apart and feel I know it inside and out but still I can't get a clean, long burn. Out of desperation I just added 6 more feet of brick to my 12 foot stack, pulled out the uninsulated SS Flex liner and installed a super wrapped, insulated smooth stainless steel pipe all the way from collar to collar, built and installed a block off plate 2" above the fireplace opening then insulated the chimney cap, the block-off plate and the insert itself with Roxul insulation. Cost me a ton of time and money and I was so sure I would solve all three problems....didn't do a thing! Still get 2-3 hour burns and that is if I draft down to 7/8 which leaves me with gunked up windows to clean each morning. I even removed the after burner and blocked off it's entrance out of desperation and that didn't solve the problems either. Really disappointed with Jotul, got no help, no advice....all the original installer and the chimney sweep I worked with to get all the recent work done will say is: "it shouldn't do that". Well, it does. Feel like I am kicking a dead horse. Also, I don't believe I have any leaks as I replaced all gaskets and seals. If I draft down completely, with the after burner removed and it's intake blocked off the fire die completely down. Should I call it quits and look into one of those Pacific Energy Summits or does anyone know of something else I can try in order to get a clean, at least 6 hour burn?
  19. Mr. Freeze

    Mr. Freeze New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
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    Additional note to what I just posted....when I removed the after burner and blocked off it's air supply inlet I found my air wash worked much better. I get less gunk on the windows during a burn since the air that would have gone to the after burner is going to the air wash instead. Even still, if I draft down completely, which is what I need to do in order to approach a 4 hour burn time, then that shuts off the air to the air wash and the windows get so built up you have to scrape them clean. I have to leave my draft lever at 7/8 even with that after burner out or there is no air wash at all. I don't plan on continuing to operate this unit without the after burner, I just removed it for testing purposes. I want what ever I end up with to be in full compliance for everyone's sake.
  20. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    238
    Loc:
    Northeast
    I have a different Jotul than you but I noticed that Jotul had a recall on some of the baffles. They will replace the baffle it is defective. I replace mine and it is working fine now. On of the problems is that in the design of the stove, if the baffle isn't placed in properly you won't get the correct draft through the reburning tubes and around the baffle, above the blanket to the chimney. We noticed that sometime back when I saw the flames going out the back of the stove on the old baffle. So you have to be sure the baffle is installed all the way to the back wall above the tubes to insure that the flames will go around the baffle creating the draft that cleans the window automatically. Many of the new style plate steel stoves are designed like that. So, take a look at how you placed the baffle back in and make sure the flames are not going up the back but just coming around the front of the baffle and then going up. It is only my view from my experience with at Jotul 500.
  21. Mr. Freeze

    Mr. Freeze New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
    Messages:
    8
    Very good point there. Today I inspected the after burner, or baffle as you call it, and found a slightly worn seal along with a bottom plate that was slightly loose. I tightened the plate and replaced the gasket seal around the baffle then even added a seal where the baffle plugs in to the intake air tube. No help with the burn at all. I ran another test today. With clean, dry fir I get a 2 1/2 hour burn time only if I draft to 7/8 and completely close the damper I installed in the collar of the stove. Now that's with the baffle removed and both ejector jet holes plugged so that the only source of air is the air wash system. The windows did tint up but not nearly as bad as they do with the system as designed. Strangely enough the burn was just about as dirty as it is with the system as designed....can't figure it out other than I guess this stove is just poorly designed. My baffle is a 2 piece heavy cast iron with sheet metal attached. There are about 80 holes in the sheet metal for the super heated air to shoot out of. Seems like it would work, it just doesn't. Great suggestion there as that would have made a lot of sense if I did have a leak back there. Thanks for the reply. I am all out of ideas and eager to hear anyone's suggestions.

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