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Jotul c550 Rockland tips thread

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by rockreid, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. bdog

    bdog New Member

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    Loc:
    Western NY
    I never use firestarters. I tie several newspaper notes (better than crumpled paper) and use about a half dozen or so pieces of kindling (mill ends of 2x4's etc, split into small pieces perhaps 4 to 6 inches long). Never have a problem starting a fire.

    Overnight burns have been easy for me. I make sure I have a fairly good bed of coals, and hot box/chimney. I do this by making sure I have a good fire going maybe 2 hours prior to loading for the night.

    I rake the coals towards the front, almost exposing the bottom of the insert at the back of the box. I place a large split (maybe 8 inches diameter, 20 inches long) along the back. Make sure this back split is a good coaling wood like oak, hard maple or cherry. I place a smaller split (half the diameter of the back split) along the front, almost against the back split, this will be on top of the coals. I then put a 4 to 6 inch round on top of these. Let the front split start charring, get some flame going, close the air to about half. Then I take the dog out, come back in about 5 to 10 minutes, and close the air down almost to close.

    Everytime I do this, I get good warmth all night and 7 hours later have enough coals to restart. I rake the coals front, shovel out some ash from the back. Add a few small splits to the back, put some kindling on the coals and a few small (1 to 2 inch) rounds or splits over the kindling. Total process takes me less than 5 minutes. Crack the door on the stove for a few minutes to really get the air moving. Flames start, close the door and within 30 minutes the blower kicks on.

    The Rockland is a great unit. We are very pleased with the choice of this unit.

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  2. Custerstove

    Custerstove Member

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    Jan 31, 2008
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    Loc:
    Central PA
    Hey BDog, just curious as to the rockland stove temps you have in the morning after a 7 hour burn? Some of my best burns so far had temps of 150 F after 7 hours with plenty of coals to light kindling. Nonetheless I have room for improvement. I could probably fit larger and denser logs in the stove.

    A friend of mine, who was really good with wood and coal stoves, is great at fitting wood in the stove in a way that's not overly tight. To accomplish this, he would sometimes stand short logs (10 in or less) up vertically in the corners after loading the big logs horizontally in the middle of the stove.
  3. JJEGLBS

    JJEGLBS Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Illinois
    Just had my 550 installed on Tuesday and have been enjoying break-in fires the past couple of days. So far, so good. I have a question on measuring the temperature with an IR thermometer -- what should I point it at? Just testing it out, I'm getting my hottest points on the fire (duh) and on the back firebrick. Is this what everyone else uses to get an accurate reading on temperature? Suppose to get cold this weekend, so I'll really be able to fire it up! Thanks.
  4. soxfan13

    soxfan13 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
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    88
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    welcome to Rockland world....I think you will see that this thing throws some serious heat. I don't have an ir thermometer so I put my magnetic one right in the slot where the air from the blowers comes out.
  5. HopWallop

    HopWallop New Member

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    Oct 29, 2008
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    Loc:
    S.E. PA
    Welcome jjeglbs.

    Custer - I set up my fire this morning in a cold stove with half of a firestarter. I had an old box of them from my fireplace days. I should have had a stove much sooner. This is my first non break in fire and it has had the house warm all day. I used your method for building the fire and it worked perfectly. Lit it shut the door and came back to a nice fire going. I am going to try the Bdog method with the paper knots. My brother swears by this method. The Nantucket knot makes sense for a Sox fan. Manny will most likely not need his knot skills in LA.

    I will set up for my first overnight burn tonight.
  6. soxfan13

    soxfan13 New Member

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    Loc:
    eastern MA
    I use a quarter of a super cedar with some wood from pallets to get the fire started. I usually leave the door open a crack when I start a fire. Have not used the stove in about a week due to the warm temps. I think that will be changing in a couple of days.
  7. mcollect

    mcollect Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
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    121
    Loc:
    Garrett County, Md
    Great site! I just found this thread thanks to Be Green. This is my first season and therefore my wood is not dry enough. I have now resplit the splits and moved some inside to help drying. Will this work? Also I notice when I have a good fire going and I open the door just a crack the fire acts like a forge blower is being cranked real hard, is this normal? My unit is inside of a double sided stone fireplace so the back is open, can I place a fan in that side to circulate air to the other side of the house? Thinking of ordering more wood for next season right now a cord is $125 delivered and stacked, how do you stack four or five cords outside and not get it too wet and still allow it to season?
  8. HopWallop

    HopWallop New Member

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    Loc:
    S.E. PA
    Hi mcollect. I agree on the thread. Everyone here has been very helpful. My wood is in single rows about 4 feet high x 8 feet long with a tarp just over the top of the stack. It keeps it pretty dry and open to the air. There are a bunch of pictures of stacked wood in the main forum that show some different ways. I did buy 2 full cords of seasoned wood (found on craigs list) to supplement what I had to get through the season. My property is filled with maple, oak and poplar that I am now collecting for next year.

    I usually crack my door a little and let the fire adjust to the rush of air coming in from outside before I open it all the way up. I think it is a combination of the flow from the stoves air tubes and the outside air. The perfect storm in a stove.

    As far as the fan pushing air to the other side. I am going through a similar trial with my heatilator. It seems that the only real heat in the fireplace is radiant from the liner. For my unit it has not been enough to use the heatilator. It has been a constant experiment trying to move the heat around the house.
  9. Roxburyeric

    Roxburyeric Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Messages:
    154
    Loc:
    Western Connecticut
    The forge blower is normal - You're just allowing the draft to take off. You should open the air control full for a few seconds before you open the door. Doing this keeps the blower action down a little. Just be careful opening it up. $125 for a full cord is a great price (4X4X8?) if so I would jump on it if it is hard wood. You almost can't cut and split it yourself for that much. Send some up to CT. I stack of pallets and I just covered my wood for this year. I am collecting for next year and haven't cover it yet. I will probably just cover the top of next years wood to keep the snow off. I would try the fan on the back side, It can't hurt. I'm just learning the 550 also. I think I need to get it hotter and some of my wood is not seasoned enough as I have some smoke outside and the window tends to get black. Learning the stove can be fun. Best of luck.
  10. labrador

    labrador Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
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    Loc:
    upstate New York
    hi mcollect, The best way to store wood and forget about it is building a woodshed. I just fininshe building one for about $200. Tarps dont always keep wood dry, sun ruins them. A 4x8 sheet of metal roofing or plywood works better. Welcome to the jotul web site and have fun with your rockland. Labrador
  11. HopWallop

    HopWallop New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
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    Loc:
    S.E. PA
    The fan on the left side of the stove does not run at the same time as the other. Has anyone noticed a trend to its operation?
  12. leakypuppy

    leakypuppy Member

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    Mar 3, 2008
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    Loc:
    Northern NJ
    Does it run at all? My experience has been that they both run simultaneously. Perhaps you have a bad fan?
  13. Korasdad

    Korasdad New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
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    15
    Loc:
    SE CT
    One of the fans on mine had a loose connection after the install. The thermocouple is also quite questionable. I run it on manual mode after letting the box get hot. Works Ok. Not as much heat as I was expecting but I think that is more a consequence of my failing memory of the wood "furnace" in my parent's house in Northern MN when I was a bit younger... 30 or so years ago... Maybe more, the memories get thinner...

    I like this insert and the wife likes the look. This combination is killer for a happy home. I'll work it hard this winter and try to teach these children of mine how to at least keep a fire going.

    Later, KorasDad
  14. jadm

    jadm New Member

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    colorado
    Mind did the same thing. I called the dealer I bought it from and she told me how to adjust both so they worked together.

    You might try calling your dealer too. I did it last winter and I can't remember exactly what I did or else I'd tell you. I do know it was no problem to fix though...
  15. HopWallop

    HopWallop New Member

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    S.E. PA
    It is not the connections. I did call the dealer and we could not resolve it over the phone. They are coming out next week to service. It is weird because it will kick on for a minute and then go off. I think Korasdad called it. I am thinking thermocouple.
  16. Custerstove

    Custerstove Member

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    Loc:
    Central PA
    Hey Wallop, best of luck with that fan. Let us know how the problem gets solved. I haven't observed that problem, but I'll probably keep a closer eye on it since hearing your story. I keep thinking the automatic setting on the fan is acting up on mine - sometimes the stove seems hot enough but the automatic setting doesn't allow the fan to come on - especially on the colder nights?
  17. firebug360

    firebug360 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Western Connecticut
    Howdy Rockland friends,

    I recently purchased a Jotul 550 and have been having difficulty with the air control adjustment - it doesn't seem to be doing much of anything in terms of airflow. I first noticed the problem soon after I had the unit installed back in late September. The insert would only hold a flame with the door cracked open. As far as I can tell, the draft feels strong with the door cracked with lots of air rushing in resulting in a large flame. But as soon as I shut the door, the fire would go out. I called the dealer and he assured me that as soon as the temperatures get down later in the year, the draft will be much stronger and the unit should pull air in on it's own with no problem. The past few nights have been around 33 and I am still having the same issue. If I get a really strong flame going and shut the door, a flame may last 5 minutes at the most and then slowly die out, often with most or all of the flames hovering around the air tubes at the top of the unit during that time period, not around the wood. With the air control left fully opened at night, all of the wood will slowly burn down to ash and embers, so the unit is getting some air, but not enough to keep a flame, and not enough to visually differentiate between the air control being fully openned or partially closed.

    Before contacting the dealer, I wanted to see if anyone else has experienced anything like this where I can learn from their experience. Here's a few other facts that may help in troubleshooting.

    - The mixed hardwood we are using is dry, seasoned for about 2 years.
    - My external brick chimney is about 20ft high with a full liner installed.
    - Keeping the door cracked with flames, it doesn't appear the unit is creating a ton of heat. Enough to maybe heat the room it is in. Our house is 1800sq feet with about a quarter of the house closed off, the remaining rooms in a fairly open setting w/ 8ft ceilings. I'm wondering if I am getting it hot enough, thinking of getting a thermometer.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!
  18. Custerstove

    Custerstove Member

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    Loc:
    Central PA
    Are you sure that wood is dry? Wood begins to dry once it is split. Rounds could take 2 or more years to fully dry. Bottomline, if you split the wood it will dry faster - perhaps 6 months for medium splits or even faster for smaller kindling. To test for dryness, some people on the website have suggested burning 2x4's which are kiln dry. If you can't burn 2x4, I'd be really surprised.

    Also make sure you start with kindling (1-2 inches in diameter) to build up a bed of coals.
  19. firebug360

    firebug360 Member

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    12
    Loc:
    Western Connecticut
    Hi Custer, thanks for the quick reply!

    The wood has been split and drying for over 1 year, mostly medium size pieces. I want to rule out the wood so I think I'll test out your recommendation on the 2x4's. I also have some wood pallets I should be able to cut up for testing, think that will be good? I noticed that there is smoke coming out of my chimney, it's not as clear as I'd expect from some other postings i've read. There isn't a lot of smoke accumulating within the firebox... I can usually get it to clear out by opening the door slowly. However, there is still a bit of carbon on the bottom left and right corners of the glass which hasn't burned off during the day with a stronger fire.

    Where exactly does the air enter and is there a way I can test proper damper functionality? With the damper fully open, shouldn't I at least see the coals glow bright much as they do when I crack the door opened? There doesn't seem to be any difference in coal glow as I open and close the air control.

    Thanks again!
  20. bbeals

    bbeals Member

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    129
    Loc:
    South East, NH
    Hey CTJotul. I am thinking the same way Custer is. Has your seasoned wood been recently rained on? We installed our 550 in August and have been enjoying it's grace for the past few months. We have noticed that you really want to ensure you are burning good, dry wood. Additionally, we do not see a big boost of air rushing in with the damper wide open. Remember these stoves are efficient machines and only consume between 10-25 cubic feet of air for combustion every hour. If opening the door is the only way to get it going, then I would try the 2x4 method or pick up some kiln dried firewood from the gas station. Good luck, I assure you that once you get this problem licked, you will be loving Jotul land.
  21. Custerstove

    Custerstove Member

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    Are you starting with kindling or trying to light up with medium sized splits? If not, get that maul out and start hacking away.

    As far as the air control goes, make sure the lever is open the entire way when starting a fire (slide it to the right for open, slide it to the left for close). From what I understand the air enters at this lever - can anyone else confirm that is where the air enters the stove? I also believe that the damper is always open on this stove - you can't control the damper - you can only control the primary air intake. Let us know if you have any success.
  22. firebug360

    firebug360 Member

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    Loc:
    Western Connecticut
    Yup, I'm using kindling. When I first start the fire, I use the top down approach placing rolled up tied pieces of newspaper on top of small dry kindling pieces which are placed on some medium kindling (1.5 inch). It seems to work very well as long as the door is cracked open. I then slowly increase the size of the peices of wood I put on the fire until I have a good strong fire going, all with the door very slightly cracked open and the air control set to full open. If the door is shut with the air control fully open, the fire goes out and the ember glow slowly reduces but does not completely go out. At night I'll put some medium-sized logs leaving the air control fully opened. In the morning I'll then clear out some of the dry grey ash, spread out the still glowing embers, let the embers get some air by opening the door, and then throw some more small/medium kinding on top.

    We have been doing this cycle for about 4 days now and the cummulative heat building seems to be doing a much better job in terms of heating the house. In fact, we lowered our thermostats down around 50 last night and the entire house was heated to about 65 with the Jotul! That was a pretty good feeling! Within the next few weeks i'm going to be adding some extra insulation in the attic (right now it's pretty thin) and hopefully replacing an old sliding glass door where I believe we are getting a lot of heat loss. Now if I can get the unit to respond to the air control, and get the carbon cleaned off of the of the corners of the glass, I think I'll be in pretty good shape.
  23. HopWallop

    HopWallop New Member

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    S.E. PA
    Hey CT,

    I have knocked my splits in half like Custer is recommending. It is allowing me to get the fire hotter faster. My fire always seems to die down if I load it with too many large spliits, so I save the big odd ball splits and stick one of them in the back for the over night burn. The smaller splits also make it easier for my wife to load it up while I am at work. There is nothing like coming home and the stove is still going.

    You should be able to shut the door with air control fully open and get a nice hot fire with kindling. It does not seem like your stove is operating to its full capacity for you. One of my fans is not working and I called my stove supplier to come in and fix/replace it tomorrow. We paid a nice chunk of money for our unit and feel it should be in a position to back up its return on the investment.
  24. jadm

    jadm New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Messages:
    918
    Loc:
    colorado
    I watched the video on 'top down' last winter and tried lighting a fire with that method. I ended up with lots of smoke, a fire that took ages to start producing heat and also couldn't close the door for a long time.

    I went back to my 'bottom up' method - kindling, Rutland fire starter squares and a few thin pieces of pine with a piece of hard wood balanced on top. This produces a quick bed of hot coals and warms the flue and stove up preparing it for a load of hard wood to get it up to 600*-700*. Door can be closed much more quickly this way for me and then I can begin to close down the primary air.

    You should see a difference when you begin to shut down the air on your unit. I know my air has to be closed down in stages allowing it to adjust. That all depends on stove temp and outside weather conditions too....lots of variables.

    I know that for me shutting the air down is the trickiest part. Some days all goes smoothly. Other days I end up baffled because it will be burning hot with good secondary flames and no smoke out of the chimney when all of a sudden I loose flame off the wood and secondary flames go out and then the chimney starts smoking all over again.....have to open air up and start all over....Haven't figured out yet what I'm doing wrong.....but am having fun learning... :)
  25. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
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    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley - Northeastern MA
    CTJotul550: I think the corners of the glass remain dirty because the position of the fire is mainly in the center of the fire box. Mine does the same thing - others have suggested cleaning with ash and water or using a razor blade to scrap the soot off.

    perplexed: I feel your pain brother in terms of the damper control. It's like cracking a safe, one false move and your back to square one. I sometimes leave the door cracked open a bit to get things going again. It always seems to happen whenever I have added larger splits and made a damper adjustment. I may have to wait longer for the splits to catch fire before making my adjustments. I'm new to all of this myself so I think it's just a matter of getting some time and experience under my belt.

    Great thread - let's keep it going for all of our sakes.

    Good luck to all you fellow 550 Jotuler's!

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